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

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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 1 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
      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

      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

      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,

      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@...
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