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[Synoptic-L] Synoptic word comparisons

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  • Dennis Sullivan
    Halvor Ronning (Jerusalem School for Synoptic Research), while analyzing some word statistics, has counted some 1163 words involved in the Matthean--Lukan
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 24, 1999
      Halvor Ronning (Jerusalem School for Synoptic Research), while analyzing
      some word statistics, has counted some 1163 words involved in the
      Matthean--Lukan minor agreements. He also found 2,000 words of Mark in
      triple tradition that are not found in the Matthean and Lukan parallels
      (i.e., Matthean--Lukan agreements against Mark in omission).

      According to the theory of Markan priority, this would mean that as they
      copied Mark's
      account, Matthew and Luke independently decided to drop these 2,000 words at
      exactly the same points in their parallels to Mark.

      It looks as though this presents a problem for Markan priority. What do you
      think?

      Regards,

      Dennis Sullivan Dayton, Ohio (webwatcher for the Jerusalem School)
    • Steven Craig Miller
      To: Dennis Sullivan,
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 25, 1999
        To: Dennis Sullivan,

        << According to the theory of Markan priority, this would mean that as they
        copied Mark's account, Matthew and Luke independently decided to drop these
        2,000 words at exactly the same points in their parallels to Mark. It looks
        as though this presents a problem for Markan priority. What do you
        think? >>

        This problem has been well known for near a hundred years. Why should
        quantifying it make it seem worse than what it really is?

        On the subject of these minor agreements, Davies and Allison [1:112] have
        written:

        << ... it is only their sheer number that impresses. When looked at one by
        one, almost every agreement has an obvious explanation if one assumes that
        Matthew and Luke independently employed Mark. >>

        -Steven Craig Miller
        Alton, Illinois (USA)
        scmiller@...

        From Luther's Small Catechism: "I believe that by my own reason or
        strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the
        Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his
        gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in true faith ..." (BoC 345.6).
      • Mark Goodacre
        ... I think that you mean not Markan Priority but Matthew s and Luke s independent use of Mark. The Farrer Theory strongly affirms Markan Priority but also
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 25, 1999
          On 24 Oct 99, at 18:58, Dennis Sullivan wrote:

          > According to the theory of Markan priority, this would mean that as they
          > copied Mark's account, Matthew and Luke independently decided to drop
          > these 2,000 words at exactly the same points in their parallels to Mark.
          >
          > It looks as though this presents a problem for Markan priority. What do
          > you think?

          I think that you mean not Markan Priority but Matthew's and Luke's
          independent use of Mark. The Farrer Theory strongly affirms
          Markan Priority but also supposes that Luke knew and used
          Matthew. It thus has no difficulty explaining the Minor Agreements;
          ineed the MAs have always been key to defenders of the Farrer
          Theory (especially Goulder).

          Steven Craig Miller wrote:

          > This problem has been well known for near a hundred years. Why should
          > quantifying it make it seem worse than what it really is?
          >
          > On the subject of these minor agreements, Davies and Allison [1:112]
          > have written:
          >
          > << ... it is only their sheer number that impresses. When looked at
          > one by one, almost every agreement has an obvious explanation if one
          > assumes that Matthew and Luke independently employed Mark. >>

          In some ways the sheer number of the MAs can be a snare to those
          (like me) who want to argue that MAs are often significant. As
          Goulder has pointed out, one can be bowled over by the fact that so
          many of the MAs are simply DE for KAI, eliminations of historical
          presents etc. But in happily going through one after another of these
          minor (!) MAs, one can then find oneself inadvertently ignoring the
          several significant MAs. When "the obvious explanations" involved
          include the conjectural emendation of Matthew 26.68 to remove five
          words TIS ESTIN hO PAISAS SE; purely to save a synoptic theory,
          I think we need to think again.

          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
          The New Testament Gateway
          Mark Without Q
          Aseneth Home Page
        • Steven Craig Miller
          To: Mark Goodacre,
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 25, 1999
            To: Mark Goodacre,

            << When "the obvious explanations" involved include the conjectural
            emendation of Matthew 26.68 to remove five words TIS ESTIN hO PAISAS SE;
            purely to save a synoptic theory, >>

            It seems that the conversation has moved from needing to abandon the
            Two-Source hypothesis because there are thousands of Greek words among the
            (so called) "Minor Agreements," to needing to abandon the Two-Source
            hypothesis because of one "Minor Agreement" of five words. But conjectural
            emendation has not been the only explanation of these five words from
            advocates of the Two-Source hypothesis. According to advocates of the
            Two-Source hypothesis there are four major possibilities: (a) the longer
            reading at Mk 14:65 should be taken as authentic to the Markan text; (b)
            the conjectural emendation of Mt 26:68; (c) oral tradition; or (d)
            independent redaction. None of these explanations are outside the realm of
            the possible. In addition, it is unrealistic (IMO) to assume that any
            serious hypothesis will live or die on any one issue. At the very least,
            this is not a new problem, it was well known to Streeter and those before him.

            -Steven Craig Miller
            Alton, Illinois (USA)
            scmiller@...

            From Luther's Large Catechism: "Why, do you think, is the world now so
            full of unfaithfulness, shame, misery, and murder? It is because everyone
            wishes to be his or her own master, be free from all authority, care
            nothing for anyone, and do whatever he or she pleases. So God punishes one
            knave by means of another" (BoC 386.154).
          • Maluflen@aol.com
            In a message dated 10/25/1999 11:32:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time, M.S.GOODACRE@bham.ac.uk writes:
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 25, 1999
              In a message dated 10/25/1999 11:32:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
              M.S.GOODACRE@... writes:

              << think that you mean not Markan Priority but Matthew's and Luke's
              independent use of Mark. The Farrer Theory strongly affirms
              Markan Priority but also supposes that Luke knew and used
              Matthew. It thus has no difficulty explaining the Minor Agreements;
              ineed the MAs have always been key to defenders of the Farrer
              Theory (especially Goulder).
              >>

              I agree that the Farrer Theory strongly affirms Markan Priority, but I am not
              aware of any strong grounds on the basis of which it makes that affirmation.

              Leonard Maluf
            • Maluflen@aol.com
              ... To which Mark Goodacre responded: I think the evidence brought out by Denis is significant even against the Farrer hypothesis and its version of Markan
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 25, 1999
                << On 24 Oct 99, at 18:58, Dennis Sullivan wrote:

                > According to the theory of Markan priority, this would mean that as they
                > copied Mark's account, Matthew and Luke independently decided to drop
                > these 2,000 words at exactly the same points in their parallels to Mark.
                >
                > It looks as though this presents a problem for Markan priority. What do
                > you think?

                To which Mark Goodacre responded:

                <>

                I think the evidence brought out by Denis is significant even against the
                Farrer hypothesis and its version of Markan priority. In many of the two
                thousand cases, it would not be at all clear why Luke should have followed
                Matthew in the omission rather than Mark in the inclusion of the terms in
                question. One can simply assert that he did, but the theory does not make
                much sense in many concrete cases. In other words, the words in question are
                often of a kind that it makes much more sense to view them as part of an
                expanded, and often repetitive late version of a text for a popular and aural
                audience. So the argument against the Farrer position is not as strong as
                that against the 2 SH, but it nevertheless obtains.

                Leonard Maluf
              • Steven Craig Miller
                To: Leonard Maluf,
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 26, 1999
                  To: Leonard Maluf,

                  << I think the evidence [concerning "Minor Agreements"] brought out by
                  Denis is significant even against the Farrer hypothesis and its version of
                  Markan priority. In many of the two thousand cases, it would not be at all
                  clear why Luke should have followed Matthew in the omission rather than
                  Mark in the inclusion of the terms in question. One can simply assert that
                  he did, but the theory does not make much sense in many concrete cases. In
                  other words, the words in question are often of a kind that it makes much
                  more sense to view them as part of an expanded, and often repetitive late
                  version of a text for a popular and aural audience. So the argument against
                  the Farrer position is not as strong as that against the 2 SH, but it
                  nevertheless obtains. >>

                  Would you be so kind as to present a few examples? Which (so called) "Minor
                  Agreements" do you believe are a problem for the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis?

                  -Steven Craig Miller
                  Alton, Illinois (USA)
                  scmiller@...

                  "There are no ultimate sources of knowledge. Every source, every suggestion
                  is welcome; and every source, every suggestion, is open to critical
                  examination" (Karl Popper, "Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of
                  Scientific Knowledge," 1963:27).
                • Stephen C. Carlson
                  ... I think Leonard may have in mind the MAs discussed in Hans-Herbert Stoldt, GESCHICHTE UND KRITIK DER MARCUSHYPOTHESE (1977), English trans. by Donald L.
                  Message 8 of 11 , Oct 26, 1999
                    At 06:28 AM 10/26/99 -0500, Steven Craig Miller wrote:
                    >Would you be so kind as to present a few examples? Which (so called) "Minor
                    >Agreements" do you believe are a problem for the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis?

                    I think Leonard may have in mind the MAs discussed in Hans-Herbert Stoldt,
                    GESCHICHTE UND KRITIK DER MARCUSHYPOTHESE (1977), English trans. by Donald
                    L. Niewyk, HISTORY AND CRITICISM OF THE MARKAN HYPOTHESIS (Macon, Ga.:
                    Mercer University Press, 1980).

                    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
                  • Maluflen@aol.com
                    In a message dated 10/26/1999 7:27:48 AM Eastern Daylight Time, scmiller@www.plantnet.com writes:
                    Message 9 of 11 , Oct 26, 1999
                      In a message dated 10/26/1999 7:27:48 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
                      scmiller@... writes:

                      << To: Leonard Maluf,
                      [who wrote]

                      < I think the evidence [concerning "Minor Agreements"] brought out by
                      Denis is significant even against the Farrer hypothesis and its version of
                      Markan priority. In many of the two thousand cases, it would not be at all
                      clear why Luke should have followed Matthew in the omission rather than
                      Mark in the inclusion of the terms in question. One can simply assert that
                      he did, but the theory does not make much sense in many concrete cases. In
                      other words, the words in question are often of a kind that it makes much
                      more sense to view them as part of an expanded, and often repetitive late
                      version of a text for a popular and aural audience. So the argument against
                      the Farrer position is not as strong as that against the 2 SH, but it
                      nevertheless obtains. >

                      <<Would you be so kind as to present a few examples? Which (so called)
                      "Minor
                      Agreements" do you believe are a problem for the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis?
                      >>

                      Fair enough. I will begin with one case, but would yield to requests for
                      further examples if you so wish. Recall, to begin with, that I have a problem
                      only with half of the Farrer hypothesis -- its assumption of Markan priority.
                      I frequently play down AMk's ability to write, but my meaning should not be
                      misunderstood. I simply think it extremely unlikely that Mark generated the
                      common Synoptic material which is often, in essence, so haggadic and
                      otherwise sophisticated in fundamental character. (To reach this conclusion,
                      I employ the metaphysical argument of adequate causality, accompanied by a
                      certain amount of intuition). Nevertheless, Mark was an extremely good story
                      teller. That was his genius, and there are "moments" in Mark that, once
                      written, would, I think, have been regarded by any subsequent writer engaged
                      essentially in text-copying as indispensable, even if it might conceivably be
                      built upon or elaborated. I therefore find it remarkable that a master
                      artistic touch such as that found at the beginning of Mark 12:6 (which says
                      equivalently, in narrative asside: "he had now only one card left to play..."
                      = eti hena eichon ....) should be omitted by both Matthew and Luke
                      independently of each other, or even by either of the two with knowledge of
                      Mk plus the other's text. The intrusion of the narrator's voice at that
                      particular point in the story I find so effective as to make any Synoptic
                      sequence here, other than one that places Mark at the end of the process,
                      difficult.

                      Leonard Maluf
                    • Mark Goodacre
                      ... I believe you are missing the key word include in what I wrote above. The point that I was making in context was that the many MAs can easily blind us
                      Message 10 of 11 , Oct 27, 1999
                        I had written (much omitted):

                        > << When "the obvious explanations" involved include the conjectural
                        > emendation of Matthew 26.68 to remove five words TIS ESTIN hO PAISAS SE;
                        > purely to save a synoptic theory, >>

                        On 25 Oct 99, at 17:49, Steven Craig Miller replied:

                        > It seems that the conversation has moved from needing to abandon the
                        > Two-Source hypothesis because there are thousands of Greek words among the
                        > (so called) "Minor Agreements," to needing to abandon the Two-Source
                        > hypothesis because of one "Minor Agreement" of five words.

                        I believe you are missing the key word "include" in what I wrote
                        above. The point that I was making in context was that the many
                        MAs can easily blind us to the fact of the several really significant
                        MAs, like that at Mark 14.65. In other words, the number of MAs is
                        important but not as important, in my opinion, as the existence of
                        some really significant ones.

                        > But conjectural
                        > emendation has not been the only explanation of these five words from
                        > advocates of the Two-Source hypothesis. According to advocates of the
                        > Two-Source hypothesis there are four major possibilities: (a) the longer
                        > reading at Mk 14:65 should be taken as authentic to the Markan text; (b)
                        > the conjectural emendation of Mt 26:68; (c) oral tradition; or (d)
                        > independent redaction. None of these explanations are outside the realm of
                        > the possible.

                        Of course none are quite "outside the realm of the possible" but what
                        we are doing here is looking at what lies inside the realm of the
                        plausible. The most detailed and respected exposition of the difficulty
                        of the MA at Mark 14.65 is Neirynck's and he goes for option (b). I
                        don't know of anyone these days that goes for option (d) and since
                        Neirynck is normally the king of the independent redaction
                        explanation, I think we can conclude that it will not wash here. (a)
                        runs into the problem of the omission of the phrase from MSS in
                        which harmonising to Matthew is common -- this is most unlikely. (c)
                        will not deal with the occurrence of the rare word in Matt & Luke
                        PAIW. No, Neirynck is right that conjectural emendation is the best
                        explanation on the 2ST, and a poor explanation it is.

                        > In addition, it is unrealistic (IMO) to assume that any
                        > serious hypothesis will live or die on any one issue. At the very least,
                        > this is not a new problem, it was well known to Streeter and those before
                        > him.

                        Indeed -- Streeter was as concerned about it as are Neirynck and
                        Tuckett because it is apparently so difficult to explain. Of course the
                        2ST will not die on this one issue, but it is sometimes worthwhile
                        isolating one particularly difficult example for the 2ST and exposing
                        the difficulties. This is what Goulder attempted to do in the first
                        chapter of _Luke_ but that he did not regard this "one issue" as the
                        only important one is witnessed in the fact that there the book contains
                        not 3 pages but 800.

                        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
                        The New Testament Gateway
                        Mark Without Q
                        Aseneth Home Page
                      • Dennis Sullivan
                        ... From: Jeff Cate To: densull@megsinet.net Date: Monday, October 25, 1999 1:38 AM Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L]
                        Message 11 of 11 , Nov 1, 1999
                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Jeff Cate <jeffcate@...>
                          To: densull@... <densull@...>
                          Date: Monday, October 25, 1999 1:38 AM
                          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Synoptic word comparisons


                          >Personally, I'm never impressed by statistics alone. We must look at the
                          >quality of those statistics.
                          >
                          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

                          Dear Jeff:

                          Thanks for your reply. I think I can understand your concerns. I'd like to
                          see the word and phrase lists, too.
                          Unfortunately, Hal Ronning's dissertation is as yet unpublished. I have
                          encouraged him to find a publisher and "go for it", but haven't heard of
                          anything
                          happening yet. A few of Hal's associates in the Jerusalem School have seen
                          his
                          paper, and the excerpt I used was from a footnote to another article. Hal
                          told me that his paper is intended to statistically prove the priority of
                          Luke. I'm eager to get a look at it when it's published.

                          FWIW: I know Hal personally and have attended one of his synoptic gospels
                          seminars, and find him to be well-informed on the synoptic problem and its
                          history, the MAs, hypotheses, etc. Hal and his wife Mirja operate a school
                          for Bible translators in Jerusalem. (See his article "Why I am a member of
                          the Jerusalem School" on the JP web site.

                          The Jerusalem School's position on Lukan priority isn't based on statistics
                          alone, however. This hypothesis came out of the work of Robert L. Lindsey
                          (d.5/95), a resident of Israel for forty-two years, and pastor of the
                          Narkiss Street Congregation in Jerusalem for much of this time. He was
                          trained in classical Greek (at Princeton, I think), and later studied Koine
                          Greek (at a Baptist seminary in Lexington, KY).

                          As a pastor in Israel, it was of course necessary for him to teach and
                          preach in Hebrew as well as
                          English. While preparing a modern Hebrew translation of the Gospel of Mark
                          (which he had been taught
                          was the first gospel), he made some discoveries which started him on the
                          path of working on the
                          synoptic problem. He found that many--but not all--of AMark's phrases
                          translated easily
                          into Hebrew, and later discovered that ALuke's text contained more of
                          these "Hebraisms" than either of the other synoptics. His conclusion was
                          that
                          AMark was a "targumic" writer who dramatized and expanded upon his source
                          material, substituting words and phrases and sometimes even O.T. references
                          for those he found in his source.
                          After Lindsey shared his findings with David Flusser of Hebrew University
                          (who at the time assumed the priority of Mark), they began to work together
                          on the synoptic gospels. Later, in 1985, Dr. David Bivin (prior to that
                          time a Hebrew
                          teacher at the American Institute and a resident of Jerusalem for 25 years)
                          and several others joined with Lindsey and Flusser to continue this work as
                          the Jerusalem School for Synoptic Research. The work
                          is continuing today as time is available. Many of the JSSR affiliates
                          still hold teaching positions, which limits the time available for research
                          and writing--as you probably know.

                          The scholars of the JSSR are somewhat different from many N.T. scholars in
                          their approach to synoptics research, in that they have exceptional
                          familiarity with Hebrew and Aramaic as well as classical and Koine Greek.
                          Most of the Christian JSSR scholars are capable of lecturing in Hebrew at
                          the university level, and have done so. Two of the Jewish members of the
                          JSSR, Safrai and Flusser, are retired faculty members of Hebrew University
                          in Jerusalem, and several other Jewish scholars who have written articles
                          for the Jerusalem Perspective have taught there, too. The JSSR scholars'
                          knowledge of Hebrew,
                          however, goes beyond fluency in modern Hebrew. They have considerable
                          expertise in Biblical Hebrew and post-Biblical (Mishnaic) Hebrew as well.
                          This, in my opinion, lends weight to their views about Hebrew in the
                          gospels. (There's more info about them on the Jerusalem Perspective web
                          site.)

                          I am not personally one of the JSSR scholars, nor am I qualified to be--even
                          though I have some fluency in Modern and Biblical Hebrew and a working
                          knowledge of Koine Greek, from both classroom and independent study. I have
                          followed through on some of Dr. Lindsey's research and found it to be
                          accurate (IMO), specifically in regard to AMark's tendency to "borrow" the
                          vocabulary for many of his "expansions" from non-parallel passages in Luke,
                          as well as from Acts, the writings of Paul, and James.

                          I realize that all of this doesn't answer your questions, but I hope it
                          gives you some assurance that the JSSR scholars are aware of, and have given
                          serious consideration to most, if not all, of the points you have raised.

                          Best wishes,

                          Dennis Sullivan Dayton, Ohio
                          www.jerusalemperspective.com
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