[Synoptic-L] Traditions Resource
- Brian Wilson wrote --
>Jeff Peterson replied --
>If we are constructing a synopsis, what criterion should we use for
>displaying two pieces of material as a "doublet" within a synoptic
>Shouldn't the criterion be a significant degree of agreement in
>wording? The purpose of a synopsis is to exhibit the significant
>similarities between pericopes, however these may be explained.
I would want to distinguish between "horizontal" and "vertical"
agreements in the synoptic gospels. The basic purpose of a synopsis is
"horizontal" only. It is to show not only the similarities but also the
differences in wording and order of material *between* the synoptic
gospels, that is, looking horizontally across the three columns of Mt,
Mk and Lk. It is because this "horizontal" relationship exists that Mt,
Mk and Lk are called "synoptic" gospels, of course. I agree that "a
significant degree of agreement in wording" should be the criterion for
regarding a pericope in one synoptic gospel as a parallel to a pericope
horizontally across in another synoptic gospel.
In synopses, however, it has been customary to display also, as extra
information, some occurrences of "vertical" repetition in the synoptic
gospels, that is, some instances of two similarly-worded pieces of
material in the *same* synoptic gospel. Thus the two sayings about
"taking up the cross" in Mt 10.38 and Mt 16.24 are usually regarded as a
"doublet" or "two-fold repetition" in Matthew. They can be viewed
"vertically" within the same column, the one for the gospel of Matthew
only. I agree that "a significant degree of agreement in wording" should
be the criterion for regarding such pieces of material as a doublet
occurring vertically within the same synoptic gospel.
In the case of doublets or two-fold repetitions, however, the question
is what degree of agreement of wording is to be laid down. Synopses
differ **wildly** on which "vertical" repetitions within a gospel are to
be displayed as a doublet, and which are to be ignored. It is bizarre,
in my view, that most synopses display dozens of doublets of sayings
material, and yet ignore narrative doublets. Most weird is the almost
total lack of recognition in synopses of the largest doublet in the
synoptic gospels, that formed by the Feeding of the Five Thousand and
the Feeding of the Four Thousand within the gospel of Mark, and
similarly by the same two stories within the gospel of Matthew.
In my own study of "two-fold repetitions" (as I prefer to call them), I
have produced a criterion that seems to be useful. I define a "two-fold
repetition" (or "doublet") as the occurrence of two pieces of material
in separate pericopes in the same synoptic gospel such that one piece of
material has at least six (Greek) word roots the same and in the same
order within a string of no more than 15 words as six corresponding word
roots also within a string of no more than 15 words in the other piece
of material. The figures are arbitrary, of course. The important thing
in any study is to state a clear definition and stick to it
consistently. I find that this criterion works reasonably well and
covers most two-fold repetitions (doublets) displayed in synopses. It is
a totally objective criterion and could be used in a computer program.
I wonder whether we need a new sort of reference work in the study of
the synoptic gospels? In addition to a "synopsis" I would suggest that
we need a "verticalis". This work would display all vertical "two-fold
repetitions" within the individual synoptic gospel, and give also any
parallel in any other synoptic gospel to either of the two pieces of
material of the vertical repetition. A verticalis would therefore
complement a synopsis. It would give priority to vertically-observed
agreements, whereas a synopsis gives priority to horizontally-observed
The question could then be asked whether any particular synoptic
documentary hypothesis fits the data observed in a verticalis.
E-mail; brian@... HOMEPAGE www.twonh.demon.co.uk
Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot_
> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
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