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[Synoptic-L] Re. Sanders on Tendencies (was "attitudes")

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  • Mark Goodacre
    ... You are quite right and I stand corrected for my over-enthusiastic suggestion that Sanders s work helps us to counter some of the standard criticisms of
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 10, 2000
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      Peter Head wrote:

      > I add:
      > Sanders' study does not directly address the literary question whether
      > "later authors nearly always improving the texts that they copy". It
      > is an investigation primarily into the transmission of material in the
      > oral phrase (with, as he says, one eye on the synoptic problem); based
      > on an investigation of material in the literary phase (and hence
      > problematic to the extent that the assumption of continuity from oral
      > into written phases may be questionable). He really only investigates
      > four categories (all form-critical favourites): increasing length,
      > increasing detail, dimishing semitism, the use of direct discourse and
      > conflation.

      You are quite right and I stand corrected for my over-enthusiastic suggestion
      that Sanders's work helps us to counter some of the standard criticisms of the
      Griesbach theory. I like to try to think myself into the positions of those I want
      to criticise, in this case the adherents of the Griesbach theory, and I have just
      been reading Dungan's _History_. He includes Sanders's _Tendencies_ under
      "Critiques of Previous Scholarship from the Perspective of the Two Gospel
      Hypothesis" (p. 379), which is not one hundred percent accurate since Sanders
      has never declared himself in published work as an adherent of Griesbach. And
      I will not miss this opportunity (how could I?) to point out his preference for the
      Farrer Theory -- as one of Sanders's students it's one of the major factors that
      influenced my own conversion to Farrer, and it was Prof. Sanders himself who
      encouraged me to write a thesis on Goulder.

      By way of footnote, I had a look at _Studying the Synoptic Gospels_ to see if
      Sanders's thinking on this had changed over the twenty years that separate it
      from _Tendencies_. The answer is that in _Studying_ he only discusses the
      results of _Tendencies_ in his section on Form-Criticism, when dealing with
      Bultmann et al and not at all in the extensive section on the Synoptic Problem,
      which corroborates what you say above.

      Further to the general discussion about Sanders's background, perhaps I might
      use this opportunity to advertise his forthcoming Cadbury Lectures at the
      University of Birmingham. His topic is "Inner and Outer: Ritual and Purity in
      Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity". The lectures run for two weeks
      beginning 13 March. I would be happy to pass on more details to anyone
      interested.

      Mark
      ---------------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology
      University of Birmingham Fax.: +44 (0)121 414 6866
      Birmingham B15 2TT Tel.: +44 (0)121 414 7512

      http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
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    • Dr Peter M. Head
      Thanks Mark for your comments. In relation to Stephen s question whether in the light of Sanders study we should not even attempt to utilise rules relatign
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 11, 2000
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        Thanks Mark for your comments. In relation to Stephen's question whether in
        the light of Sanders' study we should not even attempt to utilise rules
        relatign to the development of the tradition (I paraphrase from memory as I
        couldn't find the message, ooops), I think I would agree: we can't
        presuppose absolute rules/laws for the tradition, whether in oral or
        written phase. But that this is actually, to some degree, a departure from
        Sanders who in the conclusion to the book actually constructs a set of
        criteria precisly for assessing the relative stages in the tradition (rated
        in categories: not very strong, fairly strong, strong, and very strong).

        It is another feature of the selectivity of our reading, that this aspect
        of Sanders' work is almost always passed over (and it only impinged on my
        consciousness in the light of this discussion). I suppose it may be due to
        the fact that Sanders' _Tendencies_ is for the most part simply lists. This
        focuses attention on the conclusion and his italicised sentence: "dogmatic
        statements that a certain characteristic proves a certain passage to be
        earlier than another are never justified". Of course, but this is very
        loaded, and even the most ardent form critic would proabbly have agreed
        (many of them were not fond of dogmatic statements to start with); and this
        only expressed the negative aspect of Sanders' study, he wanted a positive
        as well as a negative conclusion, hence his criteria in which 'a tendency
        to change in one way or other was more or less pronounced'.

        On another point raised by Mark. I wonder whether enough people on the list
        have read Dungan's _History_ in order to make a discussion of it
        profitable.

        Cheers


        Dr. Peter M. Head
        Tyndale House
        36 Selwyn Gardens
        Cambridge CB3 9BA
        Tel: 01223 566607
        Fax: 01223 566608
        email: pmh15@...
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