Re: [Synoptic-L] Synoptic word comparisons
- -----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.
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Unfortunately, Hal Ronning's dissertation is as yet unpublished.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
happening yet. A few of Hal's associates in the Jerusalem School have seen
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
into Hebrew, and later discovered that ALuke's text contained more of
these "Hebraisms" than either of the other synoptics. His conclusion was
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
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.
Dennis Sullivan Dayton, Ohio