Proof by rhetorical questions, was Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: Luke 6:6-11
- At 08:24 PM 10/3/99 -0500, Steven Craig Miller wrote:
>Leonard Maluf,I've noticed a rather distressing tendency in arguing for Markan
><< It amazes me if these are seriously thought to be unanswerable
>rhetorical questions. >>
>Just for the record, I never once considered my questions to have been
>merely rhetorical, nor unanswerable. In fact, I assumed that it was very
>possible for someone, perhaps even yourself, to have very satisfactory
>answers to my questions.
priority on the basis of rhetorical questions. A rhetorical
question is basically an argument presented in the form of a
question (as done here) and functions as a shifting of the
burden of proof to the other side. As such, it is effective on
a rhetorical level, but as an argument it falls flat. Basically,
all it is a challenge for the other side to disprove one's thesis,
while avoiding the difficulty in making one's case.
In response, I would challenge anyone tempted to make a rhetorical
question to turn it into an actual, direct argument. Often, this
exercise exposes the flaws in the argument.
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
- Brian Wilson wrote --
>Leonard Maluf replied --
>I would suggest that it does not take much imagination or ingenuity to
>work out very convincing reasons for what Mark did if he used Matthew,
>or for what Matthew did if he used Mark.
>Often true, in individual cases. But overall, the view of Matt re-
>Judaizing an originally Jewish-Christian tradition that has previously
>been substantially un-Judaized by Mark is difficult. One should only
>assume such a tortuous line of development for very good reasons.
>Those usually supplied in support of the relative priority of Mark do
>not fit the bill.
Your argument seems to me to be that, if we assume the Farrer
Hypothesis (or similar), (1) Mark must have un-Judaized his source
material and (2) Matthew must then have re-Judaized this source
material, and that this is "tortuous" and therefore unlikely. What are
the grounds for either (1) or (2), however?
With respect to (1), it is conceivable that Mark un-Judaized none of his
source material, but faithfully used the source material available to
him, however un-Judaic it might be. If Mark wrote first, we cannot
distinguish between tradition and redaction in the Gospel of Mark. If we
had a method for making such a distinction, we would immediately be able
to use it to tell whether Matthew used Mark, or Mark used Matthew, and
the synoptic problem would be solved in a flash. On the Farrer
Hypothesis (or similar), not only do we not know which material Mark un-
Judaized, but we do not even know that he un-Judaized any source
material at all.
With respect to (2), on the Farrer Hypothesis (or similar) since half
the Gospel of Matthew is non-Markan material, it would seem that Matthew
has combined un-Judaic Mark with Judaic source material of some kind(s).
This is neither overall un-Judaizing nor overall Judaizing. It is
So, on the Farrer Hypothesis (or similar), there is no tortuous
development of un-Judaizing followed by re-Judaizing. There is only
conflating of Judaic and un-Judaic material. This would have been very
understandable bearing in mind that Christian communities such as those
at Rome, Antioch in Syria, Corinth and so on, were an intermingling of
Gentile and Jewish Christians, and that the writer of the Gospel of
Matthew would have realized that his book could be copied and circulated
widely to such "mixed" assemblies within weeks of it being written.
The question remains whether it is possible for the advocate of the
Griesbach Hypothesis to give an irreversible directional indicator
showing that Matthew did not use Mark. The alternative question is
whether the advocate of the Farrer Hypothesis (or similar) can give an
irreversible indicator to show that Mark did not use Matthew. I doubt
that either can do this.
EM brian@... HP www.twonh.demon.co.uk TEL+44(0)1480385043
Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE18 8EB,UK
> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot_
> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".