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Hawkins's observation and the Farrer Hypothesis

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Hawkins s observation is that the words and phrases characteristic of each synoptic gospel (when compared with the other synoptic gospels) are scattered more
    Message 1 of 3 , May 7, 1999
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      Hawkins's observation is that the words and phrases characteristic of
      each synoptic gospel (when compared with the other synoptic gospels) are
      scattered more thickly over the parts peculiar to the gospel than over
      the parts in common with one or both of the other gospels. (J. C.
      Hawkins, "Horae Synopticae", Oxford, 2nd edn 1909, page 26 ). Is this
      observation consistent with the Farrer Hypothesis?

      On the Farrer Hypothesis, Matthew and Luke each used Mark. Where,
      therefore, Matthew copied from Mark , Matthew was restricted to some
      extent to using Markan words and phrases which were not characteristic
      of his writing. On the other hand, where Matthew did not copy from Mark,
      Matthew would have been free to use as many words and phrases
      characteristic of his writing as he chose. The result, therefore, could
      well be that words and phrases characteristic of Matthew would be
      scattered more thickly in the peculiar parts of Matthew than in the
      common parts. Similarly, if we assume that Luke used Mark, where Luke
      did not copy from Mark, Luke would have been free to use as many words
      and phrases characteristic of his writing as he chose. The result of
      this could well be that words and phrases characteristic of Luke would
      be scattered more thickly in the peculiar parts of Luke than in the
      common parts. We note here that where Matthew, for instance, copied from
      a particular passage in Mark into a particular passage in Matthew, the
      effect on Matthew of copying this particular passage in Mark would be
      confined to the passage in Matthew into which the Markan passage was
      copied. The effect would be "localized" to one passage, and would not
      extend to the whole Gospel of Matthew. Similarly, where Luke copied from
      a particular passage in Mark, the effect on the scattering of words and
      phrases characteristic of Luke would be localized to the passage in Luke
      into which the Markan passage was copied.

      On the Farrer Hypothesis, it is therefore easy to account for the words
      and phrases characteristic of Matthew, and of Luke, being scattered
      more thickly (on average) in the peculiar parts of their gospel, than in
      the common parts.

      When we consider the remaining part of Hawkins's observation, however,
      we find, on the Farrer Hypothesis, that what holds true for Matthew and
      Luke does not hold true for Mark.

      For on the Farrer Hypothesis, Mark did not use Matthew, and neither did
      Mark use Luke. Mark was therefore not restricted in any way by the
      wording of Matthew or Luke, since he wrote his gospel before they wrote
      theirs.

      Furthermore, where Matthew or Luke copied from a particular passage in
      Mark, the words copied would be words found in the particular passage in
      Mark from which Matthew or Luke copied. Now in some instances, a word
      copied into Matthew or Luke could have been found in Mark only in the
      particular passage from which Matthew or Luke copied. If so, however, it
      could not have been a word or phrase characteristic of Mark, since, by
      definition, a characteristic word or phrase of Mark would have to occur
      in Mark at least three times. So if the copying of the word or phrase in
      the particular Markan passage into Matthew or Luke is to affect the
      determining of words or phrases characteristic of Mark, it must be found
      in at least two other places in Mark. So the copying of a word or phrase
      in a particular passage in Mark into a particular passage in Matthew or
      Luke may well affect the determining of characteristic words and phrases
      of Mark outside the particular passage being copied. Indeed, any word
      or phrase copied from Mark into Matthew or Luke will affect the
      determining of words and phrases characteristic of Mark **wherever**
      that word or phrase occurs in Mark, irrespective of whether it is in
      common or peculiar parts of Mark. In other words, the effect of Matthew
      or Luke copying a word or phrase from a particular passage in Mark is on
      the **whole** of the Gospel of Mark as far as determining the words and
      phrases characteristic of Mark is concerned. The effect is not
      "localized" to the particular passage being copied from Mark, but is
      "global" - it affects the determining of the words and phrases
      characteristic of Mark throughout the whole of Mark.

      This is because Hawkins's definition of a word or phrase characteristic
      of Mark is that it must occur at least three times in Mark and that
      either (a) it is not found at all in Matthew or Luke, or (b) it occurs
      in Mark more often than in Matthew and Luke together. This definition
      does not depend on Mark having passages in common with Matthew and/or
      Luke. It could have been used to determine the words and phrases
      characteristic of Mark even if neither Matthew nor Luke had any material
      in common with Mark at all. It applies to the occurrences of any word or
      phrase throughout the Gospel of Mark.

      The conclusion to be drawn is that Hawkins's observation that the words
      and phrases characteristic of Mark are scattered more thickly in the
      peculiar parts than in the common parts of Mark is incompatible with the
      Farrer Hypothesis. For, as we have shown above, (1) on the Farrer
      Hypothesis, since Mark wrote before Matthew and Luke, Mark was in no way
      restricted by Matthew or Luke in his use of his characteristic words and
      phrases, and (2) on the Farrer Hypothesis, where Matthew or Luke copied
      from a particular passage in Mark the effect of this was not localized
      to the particular passage in Mark but applied "globally" - to every part
      of the Gospel of Mark. On the Farrer Hypothesis, therefore, we should
      expect not what Hawkins observes - that the words and phrases
      characteristic of Mark are scattered more thickly in the peculiar than
      in the common parts of Mark - but that the words and phrases
      characteristic of Mark are scattered to approximately the same extent in
      the common as in the peculiar parts of Mark.

      It follows that Hawkins's observation is a difficulty for the Farrer
      Hypothesis. On the Farrer Hypothesis we should expect that the words and
      phrases characteristic of Mark would occur no more thickly (on average)
      in the peculiar parts than in the common parts of Mark.

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON

      E-MAIL : brian@... homepage -
      SNAILMAIL ; Rev B. E. Wilson,
      10 York Close, Godmanchester, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
    • Mark Goodacre
      ... Thanks for the attempt to crack Farrer, but I am afraid that the argument, like any based on Hawkins s observation, is fallacious. I attempted to spell
      Message 2 of 3 , May 7, 1999
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        On 7 May 99 at 15:08, Brian E. Wilson wrote:

        > It follows that Hawkins's observation is a difficulty for the Farrer
        > Hypothesis. On the Farrer Hypothesis we should expect that the words and
        > phrases characteristic of Mark would occur no more thickly (on average)
        > in the peculiar parts than in the common parts of Mark.

        Thanks for the attempt to crack Farrer, but I am afraid that the argument, like
        any based on Hawkins's observation, is fallacious. I attempted to spell
        out elements of this in _Goulder and the Gospels_, Chapter 2 and also in one or
        two recent Synoptic-L messages, but I will attempt now to focus specifically on
        the argument that Brian poses.

        The basic difficulty arises from an important fact that Hawkins overlooked:
        that the key way in which we identify a "common" passage is "common"
        vocabulary. This means that by definition, there will be more words
        characteristic of Mark in the peculiar parts than there will be in the common
        parts.

        Consider Hawkins's criteria for a word characteristic of Mark (quoted from
        Brian's message): "it must occur at least three times in Mark and that either
        (a) it is not found at all in Matthew or Luke, or (b) it occurs in Mark more
        often than in Matthew and Luke together".

        Now given that common passages are, largely by definition, those containing
        some common vocabulary, one will also by definition have more words
        characteristic of Mark in the peculiar parts than one has in the common parts.
        This is especially clear in relation to (a) above. There will be far more
        examples of words "not found at all in Matthew or Luke" in peculiar parts than
        there will in common parts because common parts feature common vocabulary *by
        definition*.

        Lest the point is not clear, let me illustrate. Mark 2.14 is parallel to Matt.
        9.9 and Luke 5.27b-28. It is a "common part" and we call it a common part
        because there is common vocabulary: PARAGWN common to Matt. and Mark, EIDEN
        common to Matthew and Mark, LEUIN common to Mark and Luke, KAQHMENON EPI TO
        TELWNION common to all three and so on. Notice what is happening: this common
        part features lots of vocabulary common to Mark and Matthew and/or Luke.
        So in this "common part" we are unlikely to get many words "not found at all
        in Matthew and Luke" (Hawkins's (a) criterion). Conversely, we will have many
        more words "not found at all in Matthew and Luke" in peculiar parts.

        See?

        For this reason we need to be careful not to depend on Hawkins's observation in
        an attempt to solve the Synoptic Problem, whether in favour of 2ST, Farrer,
        Griesbach or any other.

        Mark
        --------------------------------------
        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
        University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
        Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

        http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
        Aseneth Home Page
        Recommended New Testament Web Resources
        Mark Without Q
      • Stephen C. Carlson
        ... [...] ... The problem with using Hawkins s observation is that the pattern of occurrences of characteristic phrases in peculiar part as applied to Mark is
        Message 3 of 3 , May 7, 1999
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          At 03:08 PM 5/7/99 +0100, Brian E. Wilson wrote:
          >Hawkins's observation is that the words and phrases characteristic of
          >each synoptic gospel (when compared with the other synoptic gospels) are
          >scattered more thickly over the parts peculiar to the gospel than over
          >the parts in common with one or both of the other gospels. (J. C.
          >Hawkins, "Horae Synopticae", Oxford, 2nd edn 1909, page 26 ). Is this
          >observation consistent with the Farrer Hypothesis?
          [...]
          >It follows that Hawkins's observation is a difficulty for the Farrer
          >Hypothesis. On the Farrer Hypothesis we should expect that the words and
          >phrases characteristic of Mark would occur no more thickly (on average)
          >in the peculiar parts than in the common parts of Mark.

          The problem with using Hawkins's observation is that the pattern of
          occurrences of characteristic phrases in peculiar part as applied
          to Mark is not statistically significant (although both Matthew and
          Luke are).

          On pages 14-15, Hawkins noted that about 1/13th of Mark is peculiar
          but nearly 1/10th of the 357 characteristic phrases are found in those
          sections. However, this difference is insignificant at the 95% level.

          Therefore, Hawkins's observation presents no difficulty for the Farrer
          Hypothesis.

          Stephen Carlson
          --
          Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
          Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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