Re: [Synoptic-L] No Luke
- To: Synoptic-L
In Response To: Leonard
On: Redaction Evidence for Directionality
I here return to Leonard's comments. His general point, a propos
Davies/Allison, was the following:
"The fact that differences in Matt can be "rationally attributable to
'Matthean redaction'" does not settle the issue of priority between Matt and
Mark. One would at least have to study systematically the question of
whether the differences in Mark can be rationally attributable to (a late)
Markan redaction as well. A third and final step in a more responsible
methodology would then involve the careful assessment of the relative
strength of the cases made, respectively, for a late Matthean and a late
All very sound, and I can't imagine anyone disagreeing. But perhaps one can
go a little further without actually resorting to Davies and Allison for
particular passages. Staying, then, on this general level, I would find the
following situation to be convincing evidence of directionality as between
any pair of texts A and B.
1. A and B both introduce a common passage in the same way, but the
introduction is atypical of B and narratively nonfunctional in B, whereas it
is typical of A and concordant with the procedure elsewhere within A. Then B
has taken the passage from A, and has inadvertently taken with it the
surround material which makes sense only in A, and thus must have come from
A. The indication is A > B. That indication is extremely strong.
We recently had such a case at the Chinese end. Not to intrude outlandish
details, and thus expressed only schematically, it runs something like this.
A story in text L is FOLLOWED by a sort of moral-drawing last paragraph. But
at the same time, that story is INTRODUCED in L by a thematic placement
paragraph which is congruent with similar paragraphs in other sections of L,
whereas the following moral-drawing paragraph has no L parallels, and is
extraneous, even somewhat contradictory, within that part of L. Then, by the
pattern given above, it is very likely that L has borrowed the story from an
earlier text, call it J, in which the moral-drawing final paragraph was more
typical and fully functional. No text J is presently extant. It suffices,
for this conclusion, that the story in L contains editorial matter
functionally extraneous in L, and thus not attributable to L.
Confirmation 1. It supports that scenario that many stories in L have known
and extant sources in earlier texts; that is, L is known to be a borrower of
stories, not just from the oral soup, but from written versions. The likely
situation is that L is borrowing here also, even though in this case no
source text is extant.
We then go ahead to hypothesize a J text with features abovementioned, and
containing at least a few other stories of the same general type, followed
by similar moral-drawing final comments. That is a hypothesis. Is there any
check on the hypothesis?
Confirmation 2. It supports this hypothesis that texts later than L, call
them M and N, contain stories of this type, some of which are followed by a
moralizing final comment. In M, those moral-containing stories form small
consecutive subgroups, each of which either has no final morals or has final
morals of quite similar tendency. In the much later N, those stories are
rearranged and combined with many others which lack final morals, so that
the coherence of the little subgroupings that we see in M is lost.
For a long time, we of the Sinological persuasion had only N to work with. M
was recovered archaeologically about 30 years ago. Before M, and working
only with N, people had published different ideas about the, as it seemed,
occasional moral-drawing paragraphs in N. The most popular idea was to
attribute them to the late Han editor who put together N out of six source
texts (which he named, but then proceeded to discard, and which are thus no
longer extant). The discovery of M of course instantly refuted that
suggestion, since M already contained similar moral-drawing paragraphs, and
some scholars then referred those paragraphs to the editor of M, which like
the much larger N was obviously put together out of more than one source,
even though the type of moral-drawing paragraph varied with the sources, and
thus would have been much more plausibly attributed to the pre-M sources,
rather than to M itself.
Noticing the case of L, with its implied earlier J, was work that two
students did under my direction, and on which they read a paper a couple of
years ago at what for the Sinologists (if not the Biblicists) is a major
convention. Audience comment was that their finding was the first real
advance in the subject since the discovery of M. In effect, that discovery
pointed independently to another source somewhat typologically like the
sources simply juxtaposed in M, but of an ideologically earlier type than
those sources as preserved (not necessarily completely) in M. I agreed with
the audience opinion, or I wouldn't have encouraged the students to go to
New York with it in the first place.
Anyway, that is my example, and I suggest that the general pattern of which
it IS an example is sound, and that where it can be shown to occur, we have
a firm directionality situation.
So far my Type #1. Does anyone care to contribute, with or without example,
a possible type #2?
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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