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[Synoptic-L] Re: Proof by rhetorical questions

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  • Steven Craig Miller
    To: Stephen Carlson,
    Message 1 of 44 , Oct 6, 1999
      To: Stephen Carlson,

      << I don't believe it is helpful to define a rhetorical question as a
      function of the actual, subjective intent of the speaker. That is very
      difficult to determine. Rather, I prefer an "objective" test: whether an
      average reader, taking the question in its context, would understand it to
      be a rhetorical question. >>

      For your information, the actual writer (which you seem to refer to as
      "speaker") was and is a real person! Your "average reader," on the other
      hand, seems to be a mythical construct of your imagination (unless, and I
      wonder if perhaps, "average reader" is merely a cipher for yourself).
      Personally, I would find it a much more objective test to ASK the actual
      writer what he meant than to ask your (mythical) "average reader" what was

      << Therefore, your own intent was not at issue for me, and I never even
      entertained for a second any thought about whether you are a liar or had
      any nefarious intent. If my comments seemed to imply otherwise (according
      to an objective test, despite my own subjective intent), please accept my
      apologies. >>

      In the future you might want to take into consideration that not everyone
      shares your linguistic theory. Rather many people seem to hold that a
      rhetorical question is one "asked merely for effect with no answer
      expected" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition). As such,
      it is a function of authorial intent.

      -Steven Craig Miller (scmiller@...)
    • Brian E. Wilson
      Brian Wilson wrote -- ... Leonard Maluf replied -- ... Leonard, Your argument seems to me to be that, if we assume the Farrer Hypothesis (or similar), (1) Mark
      Message 44 of 44 , Feb 28, 2000
        Brian Wilson wrote --
        >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.
        Leonard Maluf replied --
        >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
        overall conflation.

        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.

        Best wishes,

        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".
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