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6650[Synoptic-L] are all parallelism phenomena bound to support the 2DH?

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Sep 4, 2001
      Thomas R. W. Longstaff wrote --
      >I agree that the problem with many of the hypotheses offered to
      >"solve" the synoptic problem is that they are limited to what is
      >consistent with the evidence rather than what is most probable given
      >the evidence.
      I think the basic difficulty is to find a hypothesis that is
      consistent with all the evidence. If we enjoyed the luxury of several
      hypotheses that worked completely, then perhaps we might consider which
      of these is the most probable. But the first step is to find just one
      synoptic documentary hypothesis that works.
      >Furthermore, they are often based on assumptions about what an author
      >might have done rather than careful analyses of what an author has
      I would suggest that it is wishful thinking to suppose that careful
      analyses of what a synoptist has done to produce his gospel can be
      carried out without first solving the synoptic problem. Simply by
      examining a synoptic gospel in isolation, there is no way of
      distinguishing between wording the synoptist obtained from sources
      (tradition), and wording that he supplied (redaction). Simply by
      examining a synoptic gospel, there is therefore no way of determining
      what the synoptist has done to produce his gospel.

      Of course, if we posit a documentary relationship between the synoptic
      gospels, then, on this basis, we can immediately see some wording that
      is tradition and other wording that is redaction. For example, if we
      posit the Two Document Hypothesis in which Mt is dependent on Mk and
      hypothetical "Q", then the markan parallels in Mt are derived from the
      gospel of Mark. We can therefore see what Matthew has done to material
      he used from Mark. On the other hand, if we posit a hypothesis in which
      Mk is dependent on Mt, then the matthaean parallels in Mk are derived
      from Mt. On this basis we can see what Mark has done to material he used
      from Matthew. But if we do not posit a documentary hypothesis of which
      (if any) is dependent on the other, Matthew or Mark, then where do we
      begin to discover what either Matthew or Mark did to produce his gospel?
      For without a synoptic documentary hypothesis, we do not know one single
      word that either Matthew or Mark supplied in his gospel or one single
      word he obtained from any source. We therefore cannot even begin to
      carry out analyses of what any synoptist has done.

      I think that it is therefore wishful thinking to imagine that we can
      engage in careful analyses of what a synoptist has done to produce his
      gospel without stating the documentary relationship between the synoptic
      gospels we are positing. In other words, we first have to solve the
      synoptic problem. The careful analyses come after, and are not part of,
      solving the synoptic problem. The reconstruction of "Q" can be effected
      only by first assuming that the Two Document Hypothesis is true, and, on
      this basis, using redaction criticism to tease out the wording of "Q"
      (as is done in Robinson, Hoffmann and Kloppenborg's "A Critical Edition
      of Q".) And so on with other synoptic documentary hypotheses.

      To solve the synoptic problem, I would suggest the way to proceed is to
      posit any synoptic documentary hypothesis at all, and test it against
      the observed synoptic data. If it does not account easily for all the
      data, then posit another hypothesis, and test this. And so on. Until a
      hypothesis that works is found. Only then, by assuming this hypothesis
      to be true, does it make any sense to use careful redaction critical
      analyses to discover what a synoptist has done to produce his gospel.

      Best wishes,

      >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/

      Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
      > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
      > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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