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[Synoptic-L] Traditions Resource

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Brian Wilson wrote -- ... Jeff Peterson replied -- ... Jeff, I would want to distinguish between horizontal and vertical agreements in the synoptic
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 28, 2001
      Brian Wilson wrote --
      >If we are constructing a synopsis, what criterion should we use for
      >displaying two pieces of material as a "doublet" within a synoptic
      Jeff Peterson replied --
      >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.

      Best wishes,

      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".

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