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Re: [Synoptic-L] the Gospel of Matthew has no clear structure

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  • Ron Price
    ... Brian, Strictly, the answer must be that it has no clear structure. For if it had a clear structure, everyone would agree on it. About 45% of the 30
    Message 1 of 12 , May 1, 2001
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      Brian Wilson wrote:

      >Is it true that the gospel of Matthew has no clear structure?

      Brian,

      Strictly, the answer must be that it has no clear structure. For if it
      had a clear structure, everyone would agree on it.
      About 45% of the 30 commentators whose structures I have noted agree
      with Bacon that there are five sets of narrative & discourse plus a
      prologue and an epilogue. But there are many minor variations from
      Bacon's boundaries.

      However this ought to be put into context. The roughly 45% support for
      Bacon or something similar represents a much higher score for what is
      essentially a two-level structure than for any other NT book. In other
      words the two-level structure of Matthew, if Bacon was roughly right (as
      I'm convinced he was), is far clearer than that of any other NT book.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail: ron.price@...

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm


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    • Brian E. Wilson
      Brian Wilson asked -- ... Ron Price replied -- ... Ron, I agree that there are five major discourses, and that the discourses and narrative material are
      Message 2 of 12 , May 1, 2001
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        Brian Wilson asked --
        >
        >Is it true that the gospel of Matthew has no clear structure?
        >
        Ron Price replied --
        >
        >About 45% of the 30 commentators whose structures I have noted agree
        >with Bacon that there are five sets of narrative & discourse plus a
        >prologue and an epilogue. But there are many minor variations from
        >Bacon's boundaries.
        >
        Ron,
        I agree that there are five major discourses, and that the
        discourses and narrative material are regularly alternated. I would also
        agree with Davies and Alison ("Matthew" Vol.I, pages 68-69) that the
        first twelve chapters of Matthew are a triad of triads of triads, and
        also that from Mt 14.1 on, Matthew's narrative faithfully follows Mark.
        As Davies and Alison note, however, --
        >
        >"Unfortunately, these conclusions do not add up to any grand scheme.
        >Leaving aside chronology, Matthew's arrangement has for its explanation
        >no one structural principle. Sometimes our author has built on triads,
        >other times he has just been Mark's disciple. So despite its 'massive
        >unity' (Moffatt, p. 244) Gundry is right: our gospel is 'structurally
        >mixed' (Gundry, Commentary, p.11)." (Davies & Alison, Vol I, page 72.)
        >
        I see Matthew as setting out to impose some structure(s) on his source
        material, but, apart from this, having no grand plan for his book as a
        whole.

        Best wishes,
        BRIAN WILSON

        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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      • Maluflen@aol.com
        In a message dated 5/1/2001 2:34:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time, brian@TwoNH.demon.co.uk writes:
        Message 3 of 12 , May 1, 2001
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          In a message dated 5/1/2001 2:34:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
          brian@... writes:

          << Leonard,
          You seem to be saying that the gospel of Matthew has more than
          one clear structure!

          I do not see any clear structure myself. Nor do Davis and Alison in
          their commentary on Matthew. >>

          No, I think the problem for most scholars really is that there are more than
          one likely structural principles involved in structuring the Gospel of Matt
          and that therefore there is some difficulty in deciding between them as to
          which should be assigned priority. Whether this makes these structures less
          "clear" or not is another question, but I could admit that it does in a
          sense, without backing down from the general observation of a number of valid
          structural principles that have been detected, including the threefold
          structure, popularized by Kingsbury inter alios, and based on the formula:
          "from then on Jesus began..." in 4:17 and 16:21.

          << I would suggest the reason is that Matthew is based on a structure-less
          document.>>


          I don't see how it would follow logically from this hypothesis, even if it
          were true, that Matthew would have no clear structure.

          Leonard Maluf

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... I ve got a different logical problem. If Matthew s having no clear structure implies that it is based on a structure-less document, then what about that
          Message 4 of 12 , May 1, 2001
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            At 09:32 PM 5/1/01 EDT, Maluflen@... wrote:
            ><< I would suggest the reason is that Matthew is based on a structure-less
            > document.>>
            >
            >I don't see how it would follow logically from this hypothesis, even if it
            >were true, that Matthew would have no clear structure.

            I've got a different logical problem. If Matthew's having no
            clear structure implies that it is based on a structure-less
            document, then what about that structure-less document? By
            the same reasoning, it too must be based on a structure-less
            document. This is an infinite regress.

            Stephen Carlson


            --
            Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
            Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
            "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

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          • Brian E. Wilson
            Brian Wilson wrote -- ... Leonard Maluf replied -- ... Leonard, I entirely agree. I was not making a logical deduction from the hypothesis that Matthew used a
            Message 5 of 12 , May 2, 2001
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              Brian Wilson wrote --
              >
              >I would suggest the reason [for Matthew being structure-less] is that
              >Matthew is based on a structure-less document.
              >
              Leonard Maluf replied --
              >
              >I don't see how it would follow logically from this hypothesis, even if
              >it were true, that Matthew would have no clear structure.
              >
              Leonard,
              I entirely agree. I was not making a logical deduction from the
              hypothesis that Matthew used a structureless documentary source. I was
              putting forward my hypothesis (that Matthew used a structureless
              documentary source) as the reason I would suggest why the gospel of
              Matthew is observed to be structureless. If Matthew largely followed the
              wording and order of material of a structureless documentary source,
              then this would account for the gospel of Matthew being structureless.

              Stephen Carlson commented --
              >
              >I've got a different logical problem. If Matthew's having no clear
              >structure implies that it is based on a structure-less document, then
              >what about that structure-less document? By the same reasoning, it too
              >must be based on a structure-less document. This is an infinite
              >regress.
              >
              Stephen,
              Matthew's having no clear structure does not imply that it is
              based on a structure-less document. Matthew having no clear structure is
              an observed synoptic phenomenon. You cannot deduce a documentary
              hypothesis from an observed synoptic phenomenon. As I hope I have made
              clear above, I have not tried to do the impossible.

              I think it may be worth pursuing this a little further. Much writing on
              the synoptic problem refers to "arguments" concerning documentary
              hypotheses of the relationship between the synoptic gospels. The
              suggestion seems to be that there are logical arguments for showing, for
              instance, that Matthew is a documentary descendant of Mark, or that
              Matthew and Luke independently used hypothetical Q.

              I would suggest, however, that no synoptic documentary hypothesis can be
              logically deduced from observed synoptic phenomena. A hypothesis is not
              the conclusion at the end of a chain of deductive reasoning (like the
              conclusion of a proof of a theorem in Euclidian geometry). It is the
              beginning of an investigation without which the hypothesis is an
              unsubstantiated guess.

              The question is not whether Matthew's having no clear structure implies
              that it based on a structureless document, but whether the hypothesis
              that Matthew used a structureless documentary source is supported by the
              observed synoptic phenomena.

              Best wishes,
              BRIAN WILSON

              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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            • Stephen C. Carlson
              ... I m having a hard time understanding what you mean by is supported by. You deny now that it means is implied by. I didn t think it meant merely is
              Message 6 of 12 , May 2, 2001
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                At 11:00 AM 5/2/01 +0100, Brian E. Wilson wrote:
                >The question is not whether Matthew's having no clear structure implies
                >that it based on a structureless document, but whether the hypothesis
                >that Matthew used a structureless documentary source is supported by the
                >observed synoptic phenomena.

                I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean by "is
                supported by." You deny now that it means "is implied by."
                I didn't think it meant merely "is consistent with", because
                an earlier message of yours, on 6 March 2001, criticized Leonard
                Maluf as follows:

                >It is no good merely showing how brilliantly the Griesbach Hypothesis
                >can be applied to the synoptic gospels to produce a breath-takingly
                >consistent explanation of how Luke wrote his gospel, when the Two
                >Document Hypothesis, and other synoptic hypotheses also, can be just as
                >brilliantly applied to the synoptic gospels and shown to produce equally
                >breath-taking results.

                It seems to me that much the same thing is now happening with
                the arguable observation of Matthew's having no clear structure
                as "support[ing]" the hypothesis that Matthew used a structureless
                document.

                Have I misunderstood what you are doing now and your earlier
                criticism of Leonard?

                Stephen Carlson
                --
                Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
                "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

                Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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              • Brian E. Wilson
                Brian Wilson wrote -- ... Stephen Carlson replied -- ... Stephen, Thanks for asking these questions. I think they are very important. I would suggest that you
                Message 7 of 12 , May 2, 2001
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                  Brian Wilson wrote --
                  >
                  >The question is not whether Matthew's having no clear structure
                  >implies that it based on a structureless document, but whether the
                  >hypothesis that Matthew used a structureless documentary source is
                  >supported by the observed synoptic phenomena.
                  >
                  Stephen Carlson replied --
                  >
                  >I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean by "is supported
                  >by." You deny now that it means "is implied by." I didn't think it
                  >meant merely "is consistent with", because an earlier message of yours,
                  >on 6 March 2001, criticized Leonard Maluf as follows:
                  >
                  >>It is no good merely showing how brilliantly the Griesbach Hypothesis
                  >>can be applied to the synoptic gospels to produce a breath-takingly
                  >>consistent explanation of how Luke wrote his gospel, when the Two
                  >>Document Hypothesis, and other synoptic hypotheses also, can be just
                  >>as brilliantly applied to the synoptic gospels and shown to produce
                  >>equally breath-taking results.
                  >
                  >It seems to me that much the same thing is now happening with
                  >the arguable observation of Matthew's having no clear structure
                  >as "support[ing]" the hypothesis that Matthew used a structureless
                  >document.
                  >
                  >Have I misunderstood what you are doing now and your earlier
                  >criticism of Leonard?
                  >
                  Stephen,
                  Thanks for asking these questions. I think they are very
                  important. I would suggest that you are misunderstanding what I am doing
                  now, and my criticism of Leonard earlier.

                  I think the most useful way I can reply to you is first to set out a
                  statement of my view on this generally, and then come back to the
                  particular questions you raise.

                  In my view, it is impossible to deduce from the phenomena observed in a
                  synopsis that any synoptic gospel is the documentary descendant of any
                  other synoptic gospel. If we assume, for the sake of argument, that we
                  observe in the synoptic gospels fatigue on the part of Matthew in
                  relation to Mark, or that the language of Mark is more vivid and more
                  primitive than the corresponding language of Matthew in parallel
                  passages, then it simply does not follow that therefore Matthew is a
                  documentary descendant of Mark. The observed phenomena are just as
                  consistent with Matthew not being a documentary descendant of Mark and
                  with both Matthew and Mark being descendants of a common documentary
                  source. This line of reasoning could be generalized to show that it is
                  not possible to deduce from observed synoptic phenomena that any
                  synoptic gospel is the documentary descendant of any other synoptic
                  gospel, or the descendant of a hypothetical documentary source posited
                  by a particular synoptic documentary hypothesis. In other words, this
                  line of reasoning can be generalized to show that no synoptic
                  documentary hypothesis can be deduced from observed synoptic phenomena.
                  In short --

                  >Result (1): No synoptic documentary hypothesis can be deduced from any
                  >observed synoptic phenomena. (In other words, no observed synoptic
                  >phenomena logically imply any synoptic documentary hypothesis.)

                  So, how can a synoptic documentary hypothesis be arrived at? If not by
                  deduction from observed phenomena, then from what? The answer is that
                  any synoptic documentary hypothesis is an invention of the mind. It is a
                  guess:

                  >Result (2): A synoptic documentary hypothesis is a guess at what
                  >happened when the synoptic gospels were written.

                  Now it is not true that one guess is as good as any another. The guess
                  that the earth is flat and is fixed in space has been accepted by
                  millions of people, as Galileo knew only too well. If you are in a
                  space station looking down on the earth, a better guess is that earth is
                  approximately spherical and that it is moving through space. The second
                  guess is better because the first has difficulty in fitting the observed
                  data (an observably "round earth" which rotates relative to the sun
                  producing the alternation of day and night every twenty-four hours in
                  New York, but not at the poles), whereas the second guess does not have
                  such difficulties in explaining what is observed from the space station.
                  Similarly, one synoptic documentary guess, or hypothesis, can be
                  preferable to a second synoptic documentary hypothesis if the second has
                  difficulties explaining the observed synoptic phenomena whereas the
                  first has no difficulties in doing so. On this basis, a Deutero-Mark
                  Hypothesis that accounts for the minor agreements of Matthew and Luke
                  against Mark is preferable to a (well-defined) Two Document Hypothesis
                  that has difficulty in accounting for these minor agreements. So:

                  >Result (3): One synoptic documentary hypothesis can be shown to be
                  >preferable to a second synoptic documentary hypothesis, if the second
                  >has difficulties in accounting for the observed synoptic phenomena
                  >whereas the first does not.

                  Now suppose we have actually found a synoptic documentary hypothesis
                  that has no difficulties with the observed synoptic phenomena, whereas
                  the other hypotheses considered do have such difficulties, then the
                  hypothesis we have found can be accepted as the best one available to
                  us:

                  >Result (4): We should accept as the best available, the synoptic
                  >documentary hypothesis that has no difficulties in accounting for the
                  >observed synoptic phenomena whereas others do have difficulties.

                  Once we have accepted that a particular synoptic documentary hypothesis
                  is the best available to us, we can apply this hypothesis to the
                  synoptic gospels. Believe it or not, there is a point in trying to
                  solve the synoptic problem! We can apply this hypothesis only by
                  assuming that it is true. Everything obtained by applying the hypothesis
                  will therefore be absolutely consistent with the documentary hypothesis
                  with which we start. For example, if we take the Griesbach Hypothesis
                  to be the best available hypothesis for us, then the more vivid language
                  in Mark (when compared with parallel passages in Matthew) is clearly the
                  result of the editorial activity of Mark in his use of material from
                  Matthew. So, by applying the GH, we arrive at the conclusion that Mark
                  has deliberately "vivified" the wording of his source material in
                  Matthew. Clearly, very different results are going to be obtained if we
                  take the Farrer Hypothesis to be the best available hypothesis for us.
                  On that view, Matthew has toned down the vivid language in the wording
                  in his source material in Mark. The point is, however, that it is
                  utterly impossible to arrive at a conclusion that contradicts our
                  preferred hypothesis if we are applying that preferred hypothesis to the
                  synoptic gospels. We cannot obtain a denial of the hypothesis we prefer
                  by assuming it to be true and applying it to the synoptic gospels. The
                  consequence of this is that we cannot use any result of having applied
                  the hypothesis to test the hypothesis. If applying the hypothesis
                  entails that we assume it to be true, then any result of applying the
                  hypothesis will be fully consistent with the hypothesis. So:

                  >Result (5): If we have accepted a synoptic documentary hypothesis as
                  >the best available to us, and if we apply this to the synoptic gospels,
                  >it is impossible to obtain a conclusion that contradicts the
                  >documentary hypothesis we are assuming to be true, and therefore no
                  >result of applying the hypothesis can be validly used to test the truth
                  >or falsity of the hypothesis we have assumed true.


                  To turn now to the particular questions you asked above, Stephen. I
                  stated that --
                  >
                  >the hypothesis that Matthew used a structureless documentary source is
                  >supported by the observed synoptic phenomena.
                  >
                  Which you queried --
                  >
                  >I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean by "is supported
                  >by."
                  >
                  By "supported" I meant what I refer to in Result (3). The observed
                  phenomenon is that Matthew is structureless. This is a difficulty for
                  synoptic hypotheses that suppose that Matthew was a free author
                  creatively crafting his own book, since one would expect that a literary
                  author would provide a clear structure for his work. On the other hand,
                  this is not a difficulty, but something that can be accounted for, by a
                  documentary hypothesis that supposes that Matthew used a structureless
                  documentary source. For Matthew could have largely retained the wording
                  and order of material of his structureless source and so produced a
                  structureless gospel.

                  You also said --
                  >
                  >You deny now that it means "is implied by."
                  >
                  It is not just "now" (in my posting to which you are replying) that I
                  have denied that synoptic phenomena do not imply a synoptic documentary
                  hypothesis. I have frequently represented Result (1) on Synoptic-L over
                  the months and years. No synoptic documentary hypothesis can be deduced
                  from any observed synoptic phenomena. Or, putting the same thing another
                  way, no observed synoptic phenomena logically imply any synoptic
                  documentary hypothesis. So, the observed phenomenon that Matthew is
                  structureless does not imply the synoptic documentary hypothesis that
                  Matthew formed his gospel from a structureless documentary source. No
                  synoptic phenomena imply any synoptic hypothesis.

                  You continued --
                  >
                  >I didn't think it meant merely "is consistent with", because an earlier
                  >message of yours, on 6 March 2001, criticized Leonard Maluf as follows:
                  >
                  >>It is no good merely showing how brilliantly the Griesbach Hypothesis
                  >>can be applied to the synoptic gospels to produce a breath-takingly
                  >>consistent explanation of how Luke wrote his gospel, when the Two
                  >>Document Hypothesis, and other synoptic hypotheses also, can be just
                  >>as brilliantly applied to the synoptic gospels and shown to produce
                  >>equally breath-taking results.
                  >
                  Yes. This is about Result (5) above. I think you are confusing Result
                  (3) with result (5). Leonard assumes the Griesbach Hypothesis as his
                  "working hypothesis". From my Result (5) it follows that nothing
                  whatever that he obtains by applying the Griesbach Hypothesis to the
                  synoptic gospels can produce a contradiction of the Griesbach Hypothesis
                  itself, because to use the GH as his working hypothesis he is obliged to
                  assume that the GH is true. Leonard apparently wishes to argue that
                  because his exposition of the GH is so consistent and works so well this
                  indicates in some way that the GH is therefore true. This is simply not
                  the case. He seems not to realize that anything that is obtained by
                  applying his working hypothesis to the synoptic gospels, that is by
                  assuming the GH to be true, will result in a set of statements that are
                  fully consistent with the GH which he assumed to be true in the first
                  place. Such a set of statements must be consistent with the GH.
                  Similarly, a set of statements obtained by applying the Two Document
                  Hypothesis to the synoptic gospels must be consistent with the 2DH and
                  can in no way be used to test the truth of the 2DH. And so on.

                  I think I have covered the questions you have asked above.

                  I think Davies and Alison are on the dot concerning Matthew not having a
                  clear structure. It is interesting to me that they do not look for a
                  hypothesis to account for this. Perhaps they realize that if they found
                  such a hypothesis, it would not be the Two Document Hypothesis that they
                  advocate.

                  Best wishes,
                  BRIAN WILSON

                  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
                  List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                • Maluflen@aol.com
                  Although Shawn Kelley has already responded effectively to Brian s post, I yield here to my unholy instinct to pile on . Brian wrote:
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 3, 2001
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                    Although Shawn Kelley has already responded effectively to Brian's post, I
                    yield here to my unholy instinct to "pile on".

                    Brian wrote:

                    << So, how can a synoptic documentary hypothesis be arrived at? If not by
                    deduction from observed phenomena, then from what? The answer is that
                    any synoptic documentary hypothesis is an invention of the mind. It is a
                    guess:>>

                    I think this poses an exaggerated disjunction: is there nothing between
                    strict deduction from observed phenomena, and a [pure?] "invention of the
                    mind"? Of course there is, and it is this "in-between" area that generates
                    Synoptic hypotheses: in other words, hypotheses are excogitated on the basis
                    of observed phenomena. It is true that they cannot be "deduced" therefrom in
                    the strict sense of the word, but the phenomena are nonetheless very much the
                    basis for any workable hypothesis.

                    [Brian writes]
                    << Now it is not true that one guess is as good as any another.>>

                    This statement is true, because what I said above is true. Illustration of
                    Brian's point here: the hypothesis that Matthew intends to describe Jesus as
                    the fulfillment of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings is probably a
                    better guess to account for the structural "phenomena" of Matthew than is the
                    guess that Matt copied from a structureless body of Greek notes: it at least
                    accounts for a variety of structures that are in fact found in the document,
                    whereas the second named hypothesis does not. In fact, understanding
                    Matthew's project as precisely that of presenting Jesus to a Jewish audience
                    in terms of the Law, the Prophets and the Writings is a perfect recipe for
                    arriving at a conglomerate of structures such as are commonly recognized as
                    informing the Gospel of Matthew. The hypothesis would of course have to be
                    demonstrated, but at face value it would be regarded neither as outlandish
                    nor as groundless by most scholars.

                    [Brian again]
                    << The point is, however, that it is
                    utterly impossible to arrive at a conclusion that contradicts our
                    preferred hypothesis if we are applying that preferred hypothesis to the
                    synoptic gospels.>>

                    This is simply not quite true. What about all the numerous cases, e.g., in
                    which 2 DH supporters admit, with commendable honesty, that data they are
                    dealing with in a given pericope are extremely difficult to account for on
                    the basis of their preferred source hypothesis?

                    For those who have had the patience to read this far, I offer, in conclusion,
                    the following (unrelated) Gospel-trivia conundrum:

                    In what three consecutive Gospel verses do we find the names Jesus, Mary, and
                    Joseph, in that order?

                    Further conditions and hints:

                    1. "Jesus" does not refer to Joshua in the text in question;
                    2. "Mary" refers to the mother of Jesus;
                    3. "Joseph" occurs in the precise phrase: "and Joseph".

                    Leonard Maluf

                    Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                    List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                  • Mark Goodacre
                    ... Difficult to resist some trivia, not least if it gives me the chance to test resources on my All-in-One Biblical site! I can do it in two verses -- Matt.
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 3, 2001
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                      On 3 May 2001, at 9:48, Maluflen@... wrote:

                      > In what three consecutive Gospel verses do we find the names Jesus,
                      > Mary, and Joseph, in that order?
                      >
                      > Further conditions and hints:
                      >
                      > 1. "Jesus" does not refer to Joshua in the text in question;
                      > 2. "Mary" refers to the mother of Jesus;
                      > 3. "Joseph" occurs in the precise phrase: "and Joseph".

                      Difficult to resist some trivia, not least if it gives me the chance to
                      test resources on my All-in-One Biblical site! I can do it in two
                      verses -- Matt. 1.18-19. Will that do?

                      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
                      Homepage
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                      The New Testament Gateway

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                    • Brian E. Wilson
                      Brian Wilson wrote -- ... Leonard Maluf replied -- ... Leonard, There is nothing between strict deduction from observed phenomena and a hypothesis that is an
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 4, 2001
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                        Brian Wilson wrote --
                        >
                        >So, how can a synoptic documentary hypothesis be arrived at? If not by
                        >deduction from observed phenomena, then from what? The answer is that
                        >any synoptic documentary hypothesis is an invention of the mind. It is
                        >a guess
                        >
                        Leonard Maluf replied --
                        >
                        >I think this poses an exaggerated disjunction: is there nothing between
                        >strict deduction from observed phenomena, and a [pure?] "invention of
                        >the mind"? Of course there is, and it is this "in-between" area that
                        >generates Synoptic hypotheses: in other words, hypotheses are
                        >excogitated on the basis of observed phenomena. It is true that they
                        >cannot be "deduced" therefrom in the strict sense of the word, but the
                        >phenomena are nonetheless very much the basis for any workable
                        >hypothesis.
                        >
                        Leonard,
                        There is nothing between strict deduction from observed
                        phenomena and a hypothesis that is an invention of the mind, because, as
                        you rightly admit above, no hypothesis can be deduced from observed
                        phenomena. Whatever the psychological route by which a hypothesis is
                        arrived at, it still remains true that the logically it has not been
                        deduced from the data. You are confusing psychology and logic. They are
                        not the same.

                        Archimedes ran naked through the streets shouting EURHKA having
                        conceived his hypothesis concerning the reduced weight of objects partly
                        or wholly immersed in water. The psychological route is fascinating!
                        Archimedes himself, however, would have been the last person to say that
                        he had logically deduced his hypothesis from his observations. He was a
                        brilliant mathematician. (Some say one of the greatest the world has
                        seen.) He knew very well that his hypothesis was not a deduced theorem
                        of number theory or geometry, where conclusions follow inescapably by
                        deduction from stated axioms. He knew very well that his observations in
                        the bath were used to **test** his hypothesis, not to create it. It is a
                        logical howler to suggest that phenomena are the **logical** basis for
                        any synoptic documentary hypothesis. If they were, it would no longer be
                        necessary to test a documentary hypothesis against what is observed in a
                        synopsis. The term "hypothesis" would in fact no longer be needed. The
                        logical disjunction between hypotheses that can be tested and a theorem
                        that can be deduced from axioms, is absolute.

                        I also wrote --
                        >
                        >The point is, however, that it is utterly impossible to arrive at a
                        >conclusion that contradicts our preferred hypothesis if we are applying
                        >that preferred hypothesis to the synoptic gospels. We cannot obtain a
                        >denial of the hypothesis we prefer by assuming it to be true and
                        >applying it to the synoptic gospels.
                        >
                        To which Leonard Maluf replied --
                        >
                        >This is simply not quite true. What about all the numerous cases,
                        >e.g., in which 2 DH supporters admit, with commendable honesty, that
                        >data they are dealing with in a given pericope are extremely difficult
                        >to account for on the basis of their preferred source hypothesis?

                        I think, Leonard, that you are misunderstanding the idea of "preferred
                        hypothesis" here. The "preferred hypothesis" is one that "has no
                        difficulties with the observed phenomena" (See Result (3) in my previous
                        posting.)

                        If you are correct that there are such extreme difficulties in the 2DH
                        accounting for the observed data in the synoptic gospels, then it is not
                        our preferred hypothesis, and should not be applied to the synoptic
                        gospels.

                        I think you will find, however, that the commendably honest supporters
                        of the 2DH do find ways of overcoming the difficulties they acknowledge
                        so that they can hold that the 2DH is true. The introductory articles of
                        "The Critical Edition of Q" are a fascinating example of this. The
                        difficulties are admitted with commendable honesty and then overcome
                        with awesome ingenuity. The redaction-critical reconstruction of Q that
                        follows is produced entirely on the assumption that the 2DH is the
                        truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

                        Best wishes,
                        BRIAN WILSON

                        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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