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Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: "Plagiarism" or "Creative imitation"

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  • Carl W. Conrad
    ... If I misunderstood you, I apologize; I took the opening comment as intentional sarcasm and what followed in the above paragraph as denying that repetition
    Message 1 of 15 , Nov 2, 1999
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      At 8:10 PM -0500 11/1/99, Maluflen@... wrote:
      >In a message dated 11/1/1999 9:28:14 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      >cwconrad@... writes:
      ><< I was appalled to see the heavy-handed rhetoric in: "the greatest
      > compliment an author can pay to a predecessor is to copy (plagiarize) his
      > work." Of course plagiarism is not in question, but the ancient literary
      > tradition depends upon the author's expectation that reader will recognize
      > the deft reformulation of phraseology from a predecessor and understand it
      > both as a compliment to the predecessor and as authentic originality on the
      > part of the author. I think this is a fairly well-known truth about Greek
      > and Latin literature, but I rather think that the echoes of the earlier
      > prophets in Deuteronomy and the recurrent "repetitions with a difference"
      > of Old Testament texts in the New Testament. The author of Revelation is a
      > master at this, and I would readily assume that every one of the composers
      > of gospels were doing the same thing--and this does not mean at all that
      > they weren't authors. Is it possible that this hasn't entered at all into
      > considerations about synoptic gospel relationships? Of course it's not that
      > simple a matter to determine which direction the literary comment is going
      > but to me, at least, it would seem very strange that such adoption of
      > phraseology of one evangelist by another with slight alterations that
      > transform its meaning should NOT be a factor in synoptic relationships.
      > >>
      >I don't see the relevancy of any of this to what I said in the original
      >posting. Nor do I quite understand what you are saying. If you are intending
      >to communicate with me (and I am honestly not sure from the above that you
      >are) could you please express yourself in a few sentences that make your
      >point and that address directly points I had made? Thanks.

      At 6:14 AM -0500 11/1/99, Maluflen@... wrote:
      >In a message dated 11/1/1999 5:28:21 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      >ron.price@... writes:
      ><< Au_Luke (not the 'last redactor') had less respect for Matthew than for
      > his other two sources >>
      >In Ron's world, I guess, the greatest compliment an author can pay to a
      >predecessor is to copy (plagiarize) his work. I don't believe this. By the
      >way, do you know any modern authors who copy others' work? (No. Of course you
      >don't. It's people who can't write who copy.) An author who wishes to
      >maintain any kind of respectability takes care to really author his work. If
      >he (she) takes material from a source, he attributes that material to the
      >source employed OR significantly re-structures, re-forms it. (The missing
      >premise in the above is, of course, that I believe Luke was an author).

      If I misunderstood you, I apologize; I took the opening comment as
      intentional sarcasm and what followed in the above paragraph as denying
      that repetition of another's phraseology with subtle alteration was in fact
      a standard practice in antiquity, particularly in a society wherein
      literary texts are composed to be heard and important ones are committed to
      memory. My own intention was to state a proposition to the contrary of what
      I took you to be rejecting with contempt, and I was not really (and should
      perhaps have made this clear) commenting on the substance of your exchange
      with Ron Price.

      Again: At 8:10 PM -0500 11/1/99, Maluflen@... wrote
      >Perhaps you didn't understand what I was saying in the sentence you cite as
      >containing appalling, heavy handed rhetoric. Ron is of the opinion (and has
      >said so more than once on this list) that ALk did not care much for the
      >Gospel of Matthew. His opinion, as I read him, is based mainly on the fact
      >that, according to his Synoptic theory, Luke did not copy much directly from
      >Matt. I was trying to say that copying someone's work is not the only way to
      >pay that person a compliment. Let me give you an example. In Matt 9:13 we
      >find the words of Jesus: "Go and learn what this means: 'I will have mercy
      >and not sacrifice'". Luke did not copy these words. Instead, he probably paid
      >AMt the far greater compliment of obeying them, and we have the results of
      >Luke's research on the theme "mercy and not sacrifice" in the OT in the
      >magnificent parable of the Good Samaritan.

      I appreciate this example, although I don't really believe that Luke's use
      of the parable of the Good Samaritan in his gospel was inspired by his
      reading of Matthew's gospel and I wonder whether you do either? Well, if
      you think this is a consequence of Luke's research into that theme in the
      OT, perhaps you really do believe that, and perhaps you believe that the
      parable of the Good Samaritan is Luke's own creation, a possibility I would
      certainly not reject out of hand. I think that compassion is a powerful
      theme in both gospels, but I don't think that Luke derived it from Matthew
      or vice versa. I might add, for what it's worth, that I believe all three
      of the Synoptic evangelists were authors in the sense you are using the
      word, and Mark not the least of them. Increasingly I think that the great
      difficulty in reaching any real consensus on Synoptic relationships derives
      from the fact each of the evangelists--whether or not we think of the
      finished gospels as undergoing one or more redactions--was quite creative
      with the traditional materials at his disposal.

      Carl W. Conrad
      Department of Classics/Washington University
      One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
      Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
      WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/
    • Petros Boyd
      One of the few places I have ... Thanks for calling our attention to this very interesting note. If Luke s preface is compared with that of Josephus, the
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 6, 1999
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        One of the few places I have
        > seen it explored is in Mark Matson's as yet unpublished piece
        > available on his web site, "Luke as Dialogue with Previous Gospels",
        > http://www.pubpol.duke.edu/people/faculty/matson/Bauckham.html.

        Thanks for calling our attention to this very interesting note.
        If Luke's preface is compared with that of Josephus, the question arises
        whether the intention of his gospel is to 'correct' possibly misleading data
        in the earlier undertakings. So the promise to write akribos and kathexes
        confirms serious and even critical engagement with already published works.

        On the question of naive readers, how would we assess Theophilus?
        Luke writes so that he may have asphaleia ['safety' or 'certainty' ?] in the
        matters in which he has received instruction. The instruction left him still
        needing information that is guranteed. Clearly Theophilus could have been
        his literary patron. If so the community aspect tends to fall into the
        back-ground.. Yet the claim that he the events 'have been fulfilled among
        us' suggests that the community context is not totally absent.
        But is there any need for an either/or on this question? Why not
        'both /and' We have to balance the cost of publication which might need
        the kind of financial support a community could give to a costly undertaking
        of producing in Luke's case a two-volume wor on papyrus. Also Luke in Acts
        provides evidence of numerous churches not founded by any known apostle, but
        as a result of vigorous natural expansion of the Cbristian faith. They would
        doubtless have many naive readers as well as sophisticated ones. The whole
        thrust of Luke-Acts is characterised by the universal character of the
        Gospel for a whole empire and world, more so than Matthew or Mark, yet that
        need not rule out a community of faith with a high calling to witness to the



        > It is something I have touched on myself too, especially in relation to
        > Luke's prologue, which may imply that Luke expected his readers to
        > engage with his gospel in the light of their reading of the work of his
        > predecessors. It is one of the directions in which I would like to see
        > future synoptic study developing. Contemporary interest in narrative-
        > criticism and intertextuality might be the catalyst for such
        > developments.
        > 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
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