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[Synoptic-L] RE: [Excavating-Q] David Hindley (2)

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  • David C. Hindley
    Dave Hindley s response to Q Seminar reply is posted to Synoptic-L: Professor Kloppenborg, Again thank you for the kind response, although none was really
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 5, 2000
      Dave Hindley's response to Q Seminar reply is posted to Synoptic-L:

      Professor Kloppenborg,

      Again thank you for the kind response, although none was really
      required or expected (as I realize that you are very busy)!

      You are quite right, IMHO, to emphasize the arbitrary nature of
      hypothetical entities when analyzing evidence. A short while ago I was
      re-reading _Induction and Hypothesis: A Study of the Logic of
      Confirmation_ (S. F. Barker, Cornell U. Press, 1957), which I had
      looked at back in college (in the late 70's). The first pass through
      it had left me with the feeling that there was no *one* way to analyze
      evidence, and I was left a bit disenchanted. In the 20+ years that
      have passed since then, and in the aftermath of the recent J. D.
      Crossan seminar on XTalk, I thought that, maybe, it would come
      together for me this time around.

      Unfortunately, I was wrong. The only conclusion I could come to was
      that I would have to invest much more resources towards increasing my
      familiarity with the various means by which hypotheses can be formed
      (through eliminative and enumerative induction) and evaluated on their
      own merit - especially in cases where unobserved entities are required
      (through criterion of simplicity, the principals of reductionism and
      formalism) along with the problems and limitations they present in
      their methodological application. These things, I am sure, you are
      also grappling with, and I have great confidence in your ability to
      sort these issues out.

      That being said, the social models you have employed in your analysis
      of the Q evidence are problematic in my opinion. _Excavating Q_ goes
      "on the offensive" in defense of the Galilean social models created by
      several researchers to explain the Q evidence. In spite of all the
      individual parallels that can be made with known 1st century
      historical relics, all sorts of modern presuppositions can be
      transferred to the hypothetical models that must be created to explain
      the parallels. So again, the arbitrary nature of hypotheses becomes an
      issue. In the process of bettering my understanding of the
      methodological problems inherent in historical investigations, such as
      above, I've found Alun Munslow's _Deconstructing History_ (Routledge,
      1997) to be quite helpful.

      Finally, in regard to your approach to literary analysis, I again
      appreciated the fact that you have a clear-cut method in mind (perhaps
      along the lines of Hans Conzelmann & Andreas Lindermann, _Interpreting
      the New Testament_, ET 1988?). Of course, I presume that you are
      familiar with the Structural approaches and the new dispensation of
      Narrative Criticism that developed in reaction to it, and in may ways
      incorporating many of its methods? Scouring your author index, though,
      I did not see names associated with structural approaches such as
      Roland Barthes, Paul De Man, Jacques Derrida, Michael Foucault, Julia
      Kristeva, Jacques Lacan and Daniel Patte, or with historical
      methodology in general, such as E. H. Carr, R. G. Collingwood,
      Geoffrey Elton, Carl Hemple, Jean Francois Lyotard, Ferdinand Saussure
      or Hayden White.

      After the Crossan seminar, I became anxious about the methodological
      state of affairs in biblical criticism. It was clear that biblical
      critics who employ variations of the historical method had largely
      forged their own path, creating a number of unique structures and
      methods along the way, but at the same time have not been keeping
      close tabs on the secular side of the discipline. I am almost afraid
      that "we" are deluding ourselves into thinking we are more or less
      objectively going along when we are in fact constructing something
      that reflects ever more our modern hopes and desires than a historical
      reconstruction of the past.

      My hope is that you, and others, will (continue to?) make a concerted
      effort to keep in touch with the methods and epistemological issues
      that are raging in the secular branches of historical investigation,
      as well as try to present up front (and to an extent justify)
      approaches that are adopted in the analytical process. From reading
      reviews in the RBL newsletters, it is clear that in the ranks of
      academia these issues are being considered, but they are not being
      reflected in many major works. This has to be of concern, if only to
      preserve our own integrity. If we limit ourselves to authors specific
      to our disciplines only, we are running a risk of proceeding with
      tunnel vision.

      Good luck! I look forward to your future contributions!


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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