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8624Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: Lk21:20-28, on Jerusalem

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  • Ron Price
    Aug 10, 2002
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      Emmanuel Fritsch wrote:

      >'Luke minus Mark for Lk 21:20-28' is a strange phenomenon.
      >Where does it come from? You said that it might be the track
      >of a rough draft. When I tried to go further, you closed the
      >discussion saying : "it might be". So it is not sure.
      >But if it is not a rough draft, what is it ?
      >My statement is that at a moment, someone wrote a text
      >that looked close to 'Luke minus Mark for Lk 21:20-28'.
      >If you disagree with that, you should give an alternative


      I already did, as you noted above.
      'Luke minus Mark for Lk 21:20-28' is interesting, but we can't be sure
      that it has any significance at all.

      >Just imagine that my 'First Edition of Luke' would be
      >the same of yours, with just a little modification on
      >Lk21:20-28, where my will follow the Luke minus Mark
      >Then my 'First Edition of Luke' would passe (1) and (2)
      >as easy as yours, and would passe (3) better, since some
      >difficulties on Lk 21:20-28 have been canceled.

      You are nowhere near knowing what your supposed document contained.
      For my proposed First Edition of Luke I know exactly which pericopae it
      contained, and I know fairly accurately (based mainly on the NA27 text)
      how many words it contained, and even fairly accurately how many letters
      it contained. There is a world of difference between your vague
      suggestion and my precise hypothesis.

      >C] Your criteria

      >> Any hypothetical source ...
      >> (aa4) if it is incorporated in an extant document, then its style and
      >> theology should be distinguishable from that of the author of the extant
      >> document.

      I was assuming here what is almost always true, namely that the source
      had been written by someone other than the author of the extant

      > What is the structure of Gospel Thomas ?

      True, the Gospel of Thomas appears to be unstructured.

      > Even for the canonical [gospels], the structure[s] acknowledged by scholars
      > are not always the same.

      Yes, but most commentators judge them to be structured.
      Actually, most of the NT books are well structured. I am not
      suggesting that every document must *necessarily* have been well
      structured. There are exceptions like Thomas and James. What I am saying
      is that most documents of this type (first century Christian apologetic
      documents) were well structured and therefore any similar hypothetical
      document would *probably* have been well structured. If it is not, then
      it is probably (though not necessarily) imaginative.
      When Tuckett quotes with approval the criterion for Sondergut
      passages: "they [should] belong to texts otherwise ascribed to Q" ( _Q
      and the History of Early Christianity_, p.95), he is not saying that it
      is impossible that passages outside these texts might have been in Q. In
      effect he is saying that he would rather overlook a candidate Q passage
      than risk including one incorrectly. I am being similarly cautious,
      though applying my caution to the whole document rather than a mere part
      of it.

      >As a fragment of papyrus allows to imagine a whole complete gospel,
      >as Doura Europos fragment allows to imagine a whole gospel harmony,
      >or in another domain, a little piece of bone allows to describe a
      >whole dynosaurus, the firm reconstruction of a pericopae allows to
      >warrant the existence of an unknown document.

      When someone finds a scrap of papyrus containing writing which is
      incomplete at the beginning or end or both, then it is obvious that it
      is a fragment of something bigger.
      When someone analyses an extant text and says that parts of it
      belonged to a source, we are in the realm of subjective judgement. We
      have only to look at the work of Bultmann on John (source of 'Revelatory
      Discourses'; source for the passion story) to see how even a renowned
      scholar can often make huge misjudgements in this area.
      This is why I have proposed such strict criteria.

      > ..... if you
      >require "a plausible motivation for [the] composition" of a
      >"hypothetical source", why this motivation may be absent for
      >a "supposed earlier edition" ?

      There is little point in specifying this as a requirement for an
      earlier edition because the motivation is likely to be very similar to
      that of the extant edition.

      > ..... the roman empire
      >was great enough to insure many different places where different
      >gospels may have appeared, in the same social Sitz im Leben than
      >the other gospels, but in other locations.
      >The Sitz im Leben of common "hypothetical source"
      >of gospels presents no problem of plausibility, and your
      >criteria does not filter anything.

      I disagree. Sitz im Leben is not just geography. Kloppenborg has
      written a 546 page book on "Excavating Q". In spite of all the
      information on primitive Christianity available to us in Acts, he cannot
      name a single person who may have belonged to the supposed Q community.
      In a 30 column 'Index of Ancient texts' he has a mere 5 references to
      Acts. I know Acts is not entirely trustworthy. But some of its key
      affirmations can be confirmed from Paul's letters, so it is far from
      being complete fiction.

      >It is then absolutely not possible to say that if, in majority, a new
      >edition does not double the size, then all possible multi-edition of
      >gospels should respect that rule. This is what I call the tyranny of
      >majority. The majority (if validated) may apply on the plausibility
      >of the reconstructed source, which has to be compared with the
      >plausibility of alternative theories. The majority may never be
      >an absolute criteria.

      Many years ago I also used to argue about what is *possible*. But what
      really matters is what is *probable*. It is possible that life on earth
      may be destroyed next month by an asteroid impact.
      Fortunately it is not probable, and that's what matters.

      > ..... your criteria ..... may not be considered as universal tools for
      >rebuking or criticizing any other unknown document reconstruction.

      Last century, NT scholars were far too eager to proclaim the existence
      of lost sources. Amongst these were M, L, proto-Luke (as a sort of Luke
      minus Mark for Luke1-24), a Johannine Signs Source and Q. The first
      three have been almost universally abandoned, the fourth is in decline,
      and the last is under heavy and persistent criticism from Goulder,
      Goodacre et al..
      Hence strict criteria are highly appropriate and long overdue.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail: ron.price@...

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

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