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Re: Supposed Distinctives in Early Xn Books

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  • Jim West
    ... You have avoided the obvious possibility that these codices were transmitted by Christians, who, then, utilized their scribal practices for transmitting
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 8, 1999
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      At 03:34 PM 2/8/99 +0000, you wrote:
      >
      >Re my previous comment that pagination was hardly a Christian
      >distinctive, Brian Wilson asserted the contrary:
      >"all non-Christian books in Greek written on codices did not have their
      >pages numbered"
      >
      >I would refer him to the following, which all seem to exhibit pagination
      >(and seem to be non-Christian books in Greek):
      >P Bodmer IV Menander, Dyscolus
      >P. Reinach 69: Homer, Illiad
      >P. Vindob. G 19815: Hesiod, Theogony etc.
      >P. Oxy 1621: Thucydides
      >JE 43227 (Cairo Menander)
      >B.M. Pap. 743L Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus

      You have avoided the obvious possibility that these codices were transmitted
      by Christians, who, then, utilized their scribal practices for transmitting
      Biblical texts when numbering.

      Do these mss predate the 2nd c. CE?

      >
      >The background for this practice apparently goes back to the numbering
      >of columns (paginae) in rolls, attested at Herculaneum (acc. Cavallo,
      >Libri Scritture Scribi a Ercolano, 14f) and in the intervening period
      >(see again: Turner, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World, p. 16: P.
      >Oxy 25, 412 [= P. Lit. Lond. 174; (between 227 and 275)], 657; PSI 1284;
      >P. Turner 14; P. Lond. III.1170).
      >
      >
      >Re his further assertion that
      >"whereas some Christian books in Greek contain large lettering of the
      >first letter of a new paragraph, this is not found in non-Christian
      >books in Greek"
      >
      >I would refer him to the following examples which seem to illustrate
      >precisely this characteristic in "non-Christian" papyri both documentary
      >and literary:
      >P. Mich. Inv. 622 (AD 42)
      >P. Berol. 7018 (144)
      >B.M. Pap. 825 (AD 155)
      >GMAW 85 (c. 240)
      >Vienna Dioscorides (MS. Med. Gr.1)
      >


      Same as above.

      >[Some should of course, check all of this evidence against plates].
      >
      >I am not convinced that this sort of unsubstantiated speculation will
      >solve the synoptic problem.
      >
      >Peter

      Nevertheless, it does say something about the theory that various mss had
      their pages disordered... which does have something to do with certain
      speculative theories about rearranged and edited gospels.

      Best,

      jim

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++

      Jim West, ThD
      Quartz Hill School of Theology

      jwest@...
      http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
    • Peter Head
      Re my previous comment that pagination was hardly a Christian distinctive, Brian Wilson asserted the contrary: all non-Christian books in Greek written on
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 8, 1999
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        Re my previous comment that pagination was hardly a Christian
        distinctive, Brian Wilson asserted the contrary:
        "all non-Christian books in Greek written on codices did not have their
        pages numbered"

        I would refer him to the following, which all seem to exhibit pagination
        (and seem to be non-Christian books in Greek):
        P Bodmer IV Menander, Dyscolus
        P. Reinach 69: Homer, Illiad
        P. Vindob. G 19815: Hesiod, Theogony etc.
        P. Oxy 1621: Thucydides
        JE 43227 (Cairo Menander)
        B.M. Pap. 743L Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus

        The background for this practice apparently goes back to the numbering
        of columns (paginae) in rolls, attested at Herculaneum (acc. Cavallo,
        Libri Scritture Scribi a Ercolano, 14f) and in the intervening period
        (see again: Turner, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World, p. 16: P.
        Oxy 25, 412 [= P. Lit. Lond. 174; (between 227 and 275)], 657; PSI 1284;
        P. Turner 14; P. Lond. III.1170).


        Re his further assertion that
        "whereas some Christian books in Greek contain large lettering of the
        first letter of a new paragraph, this is not found in non-Christian
        books in Greek"

        I would refer him to the following examples which seem to illustrate
        precisely this characteristic in "non-Christian" papyri both documentary
        and literary:
        P. Mich. Inv. 622 (AD 42)
        P. Berol. 7018 (144)
        B.M. Pap. 825 (AD 155)
        GMAW 85 (c. 240)
        Vienna Dioscorides (MS. Med. Gr.1)

        [Some should of course, check all of this evidence against plates].

        I am not convinced that this sort of unsubstantiated speculation will
        solve the synoptic problem.

        Peter

        ............................................
        Peter M. Head
        Oak Hill College
        LONDON N14 4PS
        peterh@...
        ............................................
      • Jim West
        ... this view was set forth, wasn t it, by the Scandinavian school in the 20 s or 30 s???? ... There is also 4QTestimonia from Qumran, which is just what you
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 8, 1999
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          At 12:56 PM 2/9/99 +0100, you wrote:

          >One aspect which hasn't been discussed on Synoptic-L yet is the Testimonia
          >hypothesis.
          >This hypothesis means (IMH understanding) that among the earliest Christian
          >writings must have been books, notes (=Testimonia) of OT-quotes (Isaiah
          >etc...).

          this view was set forth, wasn't it, by the Scandinavian school in the 20's
          or 30's????

          >Peculiar readings, misquotings and combinations of OT quotes in the Gospels
          >strongly point to the existence of such collections. The "Search the
          >Scriptures" task was something extremely important for the earliest
          >Christians.
          >I know of one physical evidence. It's a fourth cent. Christian papyrus
          >fragment with quotes from Isa, Deu etc...

          There is also 4QTestimonia from Qumran, which is just what you suggest here-
          a string of quotations... If it existed as early as Qumran, it certainly
          was possibly in existence before the Gospels were composed.

          >A solution to the Synoptic problem should take the existence of such
          >Testimonia into account.

          I agree. Perhaps Brian's idea about the logia and the testimonia blended
          together are the best possible scenario.

          >Maybe there were also expansions of such Testimonia as combinations with
          >Jesus sayings into existence? (completely unsubstantiated speculation)
          >

          Dunno about this.

          best,

          jim

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++

          Jim West, ThD
          Quartz Hill School of Theology

          jwest@...
          http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
        • Brian E. Wilson
          Peter Head wrote - ... Peter, Like yourself, I do not think that study of the supposed distinctives of early Christian books will solve the synoptic problem
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 9, 1999
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            Peter Head wrote -
            >I am not convinced that this sort of unsubstantiated speculation will
            >solve the synoptic problem.
            >
            Peter,
            Like yourself, I do not think that study of the supposed
            distinctives of early Christian books will solve the synoptic problem
            either, whether or not this study is "unsubstantiated speculation". I am
            not interested in trying to deduce a solution to the Synoptic Problem
            from the papyrological data, because that would be trying to do the
            impossible.

            I do think, however, that a solution to the Synoptic Problem may well
            also solve some problems previously thought to be unrelated to it. In
            particular, I see no reason to suppose that a solution to the Synoptic
            Problem may not be able to account for the origin of the superscripted
            Nomina Sacra in Greek, the frequent use of cipher numbers in early
            Christian books in Greek, and the high proportion of early Christian
            books in Greek being written on codices, (these being phenomena the
            occurrence of which is not disputed).

            It seems to me that if a solution to the Synoptic Problem is correct,
            then it tells us something of what happened in the first century. If
            the solution is true, then it relates events which actually took place.
            It seems to me also that whatever these actual events may have been,
            they may well not only have produced the similarities and differences
            between the synoptic gospels observable in a synopsis, but also left
            their mark in other ways - that is, outside the synoptic gospels - in
            the prevalent use of the codex format of the book by Christian scribes,
            for instance.

            Of course, all hinges on whether the synoptic hypothesis can be shown to
            be correct. In my view, that means firstly putting forward a synoptic
            hypothesis which is clearly defined, and secondly checking whether this
            hypothesis fits well the data in the synoptic gospels. The act of
            putting forward a well-defined synoptic hypothesis is speculation. The
            hypothesis remains speculation if it is not checked against the data.
            If, however, it is checked against the synoptic data, and shown to fit
            this well, the hypothesis is to be accepted as having solved the
            Synoptic Problem, and may then be related to phenomena outside the
            synoptic gospels also.

            Best wishes,
            BRIAN WILSON

            E-MAIL : brian@...
            SNAILMAIL ; Rev B. E. Wilson, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
            10 York Close, Godmanchester, *** SEE HOMEPAGE FOR FIRST DRAFT OF PAPER ***
            Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK Comments welcome, either off-List or on-List
          • Wieland Willker
            ... One aspect which hasn t been discussed on Synoptic-L yet is the Testimonia hypothesis. This hypothesis means (IMH understanding) that among the earliest
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 9, 1999
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              Brian wrote:
              > It seems to me that if a solution to the Synoptic Problem is correct,
              > then it tells us something of what happened in the first century.

              One aspect which hasn't been discussed on Synoptic-L yet is the Testimonia
              hypothesis.
              This hypothesis means (IMH understanding) that among the earliest Christian
              writings must have been books, notes (=Testimonia) of OT-quotes (Isaiah
              etc...).
              Peculiar readings, misquotings and combinations of OT quotes in the Gospels
              strongly point to the existence of such collections. The "Search the
              Scriptures" task was something extremely important for the earliest
              Christians.
              I know of one physical evidence. It's a fourth cent. Christian papyrus
              fragment with quotes from Isa, Deu etc...
              A solution to the Synoptic problem should take the existence of such
              Testimonia into account.
              Maybe there were also expansions of such Testimonia as combinations with
              Jesus sayings into existence? (completely unsubstantiated speculation)

              Read more about Testimonia in H. Gamble "Books and Readers" and in JBL 98
              (1979).

              Best wishes
              Wieland

              ---------------
              Wieland Willker
              willker@...-bremen.de
              http://purl.org/WILLKER/index.html
              Egerton Homepage: http://purl.org/WILLKER/Egerton/Egerton_home.html
              Secret Mark Homepage: http://purl.org/WILLKER/Secret/secmark_home.html
            • Brian E. Wilson
              Wieland Willker wrote - ... See also R. T. France, Matthew - Evangelist and Teacher (London, 1989) pages 172-181 on The Text-Form of the Formula-Quotations
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 10, 1999
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                Wieland Willker wrote -
                >
                >Read more about Testimonia in H. Gamble "Books and Readers" and in JBL 98
                >(1979).
                >
                See also R. T. France, "Matthew - Evangelist and Teacher" (London, 1989)
                pages 172-181 on 'The Text-Form of the Formula-Quotations' and 'The
                Origin of the Formula-Quotations' (in the Gospel of Matthew).

                On France's line of thinking, it seems that in many instances, in his
                own way and for his own purposes, the evangelist Matthew probably used
                the Old Testament directly rather than any book of proof-texts drawn
                from the OT. One of the possible indications of this would appear to be
                that many of the proof-texts in the Gospel of Matthew are quoted nowhere
                else in the New Testament.

                Best wishes,
                BRIAN WILSON

                E-MAIL : brian@...
                SNAILMAIL ; Rev B. E. Wilson, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
                10 York Close, Godmanchester, *** SEE HOMEPAGE FOR FIRST DRAFT OF PAPER ***
                Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK Comments welcome, either off-List or on-List
              • Wieland Willker
                ... I am not a defender of the Testimony hypothesis, but I think it is a quite probable scenario. The JBL article, Hodgson 98 (1979) 361 tells us: Mt shares 20
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 10, 1999
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                  Brian wrote:
                  > On France's line of thinking, it seems that in many instances, in his
                  > own way and for his own purposes, the evangelist Matthew probably used
                  > the Old Testament directly rather than any book of proof-texts drawn
                  > from the OT. One of the possible indications of this would appear to be
                  > that many of the proof-texts in the Gospel of Matthew are quoted nowhere
                  > else in the New Testament.

                  I am not a defender of the Testimony hypothesis, but I think it is a quite
                  probable scenario.

                  The JBL article, Hodgson 98 (1979) 361 tells us:
                  Mt shares 20 quotations with Mk and Lk, besides that he has 20 peculiar
                  quotations.
                  Matthews fulfillment citations (Mt 1:23, 2:6, 2:15, 2:18, 2:23, 4:15-16,
                  8:17, 12:18-21, 13:35, 21:5, 27:9-10) stand farther away from the LXX than
                  do other Mt quotations.
                  False ascriptions:
                  Mt 13:35 Ps to prophets
                  Mt 27:9 Zec to Jer

                  Every OT passage has to be examined on its own, probably Mt used a testimony
                  book AND the LXX.

                  The testimony hypothesis was founded(?) by Rendel Harris in Britain in
                  1916-20 with a 2-volume book "Testimonies".
                  4QTestim and 4QFlor can be found in JBL 75 (1956) 174 and 77 (1958) 350.

                  Best wishes
                  Wieland

                  ---------------
                  Wieland Willker
                  willker@...-bremen.de
                  http://purl.org/WILLKER/index.html
                  Egerton Homepage: http://purl.org/WILLKER/Egerton/Egerton_home.html
                  Secret Mark Homepage: http://purl.org/WILLKER/Secret/secmark_home.html
                  (UPDATED: Article by A. Criddle: It's a forgery)
                • Jeff Peterson
                  ... C. H. Dodd offered an important consideration of Harris s hypothesis in his _According to the Scriptures_ (the sequel to his more widely influential
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 10, 1999
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                    At 1:32 PM +0100 2/10/99, Wieland Willker wrote:

                    >The testimony hypothesis was founded(?) by Rendel Harris in Britain in
                    >1916-20 with a 2-volume book "Testimonies".
                    >4QTestim and 4QFlor can be found in JBL 75 (1956) 174 and 77 (1958) 350.

                    C. H. Dodd offered an important consideration of Harris's hypothesis in his
                    _According to the Scriptures_ (the sequel to his more widely influential
                    _Apostolic Preaching and its Developments_). Dodd's concludes that rather
                    than a testimony book standing behind the concordant use of OT in NT, what
                    one had was an informal, orally circulated concentration on certain
                    passages of Jewish Scripture (e.g., Hos 1-3; Isa 53; Dan 7). (The same sort
                    of thing can incidentally be seen in the doctrinal/interpretive traditions
                    of the Free Churches.) Dodd is inclined to trace the rudiments of this
                    interpretive history back to Jesus; at the least the KATA TAS GRAFAS of 1
                    Cor 15:3-4 supplies a warrant for thinking of the twelve and other apostles
                    named in that passage as influential in its development and promulgation.

                    Jeff

                    ------------------------------------
                    Jeffrey Peterson, Ph.D.
                    Assistant Professor of New Testament
                    Institute for Christian Studies
                    Austin, Texas, USA
                    ------------------------------------
                  • Andrew & Priscilla Upshaw
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                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 10, 1999
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                    • Brian E. Wilson
                      Wieland Willker wrote - ... Wieland, We know that the OT books in Hebrew were available to Mt when he wrote his gospel. We know that the OT books in the Greek
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 11, 1999
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                        Wieland Willker wrote -
                        >probably Mt used a testimony book AND the LXX.
                        >
                        Wieland,
                        We know that the OT books in Hebrew were available to Mt when
                        he wrote his gospel. We know that the OT books in the Greek LXX were
                        also available to Mt when he wrote. We know also that Christians used
                        OT quotations in their preaching and teaching in Greek at the time when
                        Mt wrote his gospel. By definition of "OT proof-texts", we know that all
                        the OT proof-texts in the Gospel of Matthew are found in the OT. It is
                        therefore perfectly feasible that Mt obtained the material of all his
                        proof-texts from the Hebrew OT or the Greek LXX or oral tradition in
                        Greek. Mt could have taken them all from the OT and/or oral tradition.

                        However, we do not know that any testimony-book of OT quotations
                        suitable for use in writing an account of Jesus was available to Mt at
                        the time he wrote his gospel. We do not even know that such Christian
                        testimony-books were written in the first century AD. A first century
                        Christian testimony-book is a hypothetical entity. It is true that if Mt
                        had both the LXX and such a Christian testimony-book, then he could have
                        taken his proof-texts from these. As we have already seen, however, the
                        same outcome can be explained without the assumption that Mt had such a
                        testimony-book. So the idea that Mt had a Christian testimony-book is
                        an unnecessary additional "entity" (to use William of Ockham's
                        terminology). By the principle of parsimony (or "Occam's Razor")
                        therefore, it is less probable that Matthew used a testimony-book than
                        that he did not.

                        If probability is to be our guide (as you propose above), then, I would
                        suggest that we should therefore reject the idea that Mt used a
                        testimony-book. For, on the principle of parsimony, the hypothesis that
                        he used a testimony-book in addition to the OT and oral tradition is
                        less probable than the hypothesis that he used the OT and oral tradition
                        but no testimony-book.

                        Best wishes,
                        BRIAN WILSON

                        E-MAIL : brian@...
                        SNAILMAIL ; Rev B. E. Wilson, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
                        10 York Close, Godmanchester, *** SEE HOMEPAGE FOR FIRST DRAFT OF PAPER ***
                        Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK Comments welcome, either off-List or on-List
                      • David C. Hindley
                        Message text written by Brian E. Wilson ... suggest that we should therefore reject the idea that Mt used a testimony-book. For, on the principle of
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 11, 1999
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                          Message text written by "Brian E. Wilson"

                          >If probability is to be our guide (as you propose above), then, I would
                          suggest that we should therefore reject the idea that Mt used a
                          testimony-book. For, on the principle of parsimony, the hypothesis that
                          he used a testimony-book in addition to the OT and oral tradition is
                          less probable than the hypothesis that he used the OT and oral tradition
                          but no testimony-book.<

                          Brian,

                          Unfortunately, it is not too difficult to find real life cases where the
                          number of entities required to resolve a problem turned out to be more than
                          the minimum required by the principals of "Occam's Razor." Who is to define
                          what is "necessary"? Why must simpler always be better? If it was true,
                          then we'd all be better off living like trogladytes.

                          It is probably safer to ask: "Where are examples of the use of a 'testimony
                          book', and why do these examples -require- a testimony book?"

                          While I do not think anyone can come up with many cases where the
                          assumption of a testimony book is -required-, but I also think that plenty
                          of cases can be made that a testimony book was likely.

                          BTW, I am not sure why your proposed Matthean note-book does not qualify as
                          an "unnecessary additional entity" when a "testimony book" does. Also, the
                          simplest solution is that the authors of Mt, Mk, Lk and Jn just made
                          everything up. That doesn't require any additional entities at all, aside
                          from the authors themselves.

                          Dave Hindley
                          DHindley@...
                        • Brian E. Wilson
                          Brian Wilson wrote - ... Dave Hindley commented - ... Dave, I agree with this entirely. But what you write does not affect my argument above. It was Wieland
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 12, 1999
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                            Brian Wilson wrote -
                            >
                            >If probability is to be our guide (as you propose above), then, I would
                            >suggest that we should therefore reject the idea that Mt used a
                            >testimony-book. For, on the principle of parsimony, the hypothesis that
                            >he used a testimony-book in addition to the OT and oral tradition is
                            >less probable than the hypothesis that he used the OT and oral
                            >tradition but no testimony-book.
                            >
                            Dave Hindley commented -
                            >
                            >Unfortunately, it is not too difficult to find real life cases where the
                            >number of entities required to resolve a problem turned out to be more than
                            >the minimum required by the principals of "Occam's Razor."
                            >
                            Dave,
                            I agree with this entirely. But what you write does not affect my
                            argument above. It was Wieland who introduced the idea of "probably",
                            and who has in the past appealed to Occam's Razor in order to assess the
                            relative probability of two appropriately-related hypotheses. I would
                            suggest the principle applies in this particular case, to the two
                            hypotheses set out at the end of my paragraph set quoted above. I was
                            not suggesting that every hypothesis positing a hypothetical document
                            should be rejected. I was pinpointing just the two hypotheses at the end
                            of the paragraph above, as is required in a proper application of
                            Occam's Razor.
                            >
                            >BTW, I am not sure why your proposed Matthean note-book does not qualify as
                            >an "unnecessary additional entity" when a "testimony book" does.
                            >
                            As I explain above, I have not argued that generally the idea of a
                            testimony-book is an unnecessary additional entity. Testimony-books were
                            actually written several centuries after the first century. I produced
                            one myself when I was a teen-ager, using the columns of "cross-
                            references" in my copy of the King James Version of the Bible. Very
                            obviously these testimony-books from later centuries actually exist and
                            cannot be unnecessary additional entities. A testimony-book as such
                            clearly does not necessarily qualify as an "unncessary additional
                            entity".

                            Also, if you consider that there is an "unnecessary additional entity"
                            in my LTH, you should be able to put forward a simpler hypothesis which
                            explains the facts equally as well, or even better. What is this
                            simpler hypothesis? Please tell us, and show how it fits the facts. I
                            would be genuinely delighted if you can simplify the LTH in this way to
                            produce a solution to the Synoptic Problem.
                            >
                            > Also, the simplest solution is that the authors of Mt, Mk, Lk and Jn
                            >just made everything up. That doesn't require any additional entities
                            >at all, aside from the authors themselves.
                            >
                            Such a hypothesis is indeed simple. But is it a solution? Not every
                            hypothesis is a solution. A solution would have to be a hypothesis which
                            can be shown to fit the observed data. Independent authors making
                            everything up would not produce the sort of close agreement in wording
                            observable between the canonical gospels. This is why for over two
                            hundred years scholars have considered that there is a Synoptic Problem
                            to solve, and speak of a "literary relationship" between the synoptic
                            gospels. It is precisely because the idea that all four canonical
                            evangelists independently "made everything up" does not fit the observed
                            facts, and does not begin to explain the relationship between the
                            synoptic gospels, that the study of the Synoptic Problem began. I would
                            suggest that the idea is therefore not "the simplest solution", but no
                            solution.

                            One of the conditions of using "Occam's Razor" is that each of the two
                            hypotheses being compared must fit the observed phenomena. William of
                            Ockham himself actually criticized people of his day who put forward
                            hypotheses which were too simple to fit the facts. Some of William's
                            hypotheses were very complicated. He was not interested in simple
                            hypotheses which do not work, but in establishing the simplest
                            hypotheses which do work.

                            Best wishes,
                            BRIAN WILSON

                            E-MAIL : brian@...
                            SNAILMAIL ; Rev B. E. Wilson, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
                            10 York Close, Godmanchester, *** SEE HOMEPAGE FOR FIRST DRAFT OF PAPER ***
                            Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK Comments welcome, either off-List or on-List
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