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[Synoptic-L] Story dualities

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Brian Wilson wrote (to Emmanuel Fritsch) -- ... Emmanuel Fritsch replied -- ... Emmanuel, It seems to me that you have imported into the discussion an idea of
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 17, 2001
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      Brian Wilson wrote (to Emmanuel Fritsch) --
      >
      >It seems to me that you are suggesting that in the triple tradition
      >there "should" be instances of two narratives forming a story duality
      >in Matthew that are parallel to two narratives forming a story
      >duality in Mark that are parallel to two narratives also forming a
      >story duality in Luke.
      >
      Emmanuel Fritsch replied --
      >
      >Focusing only on merged stories that were present (according to you)
      >in the greek notes, we have not to look for the complete pattern
      >of six narratives, but just the three merged stories, one in each
      >synoptic.
      >
      Emmanuel,
      It seems to me that you have imported into the discussion an
      idea of your own, and not of mine, that one of the two dua-stories
      forming a story duality is a "merged story". I do not hold this view. I
      do not agree with this description. I think you are mis-understanding
      what I am saying about the story dualities that can be observed in the
      synoptic gospels.

      I think this idea of "merged stories" has caused you to ignore the most
      characteristic feature of a story duality as explicitly stated in the
      definition of a story duality - that when the word-roots the same and in
      the same order are omitted from one dua-story the remainder does not
      contain material that makes more consistent sense than the dua-story as
      a whole, whereas when the same word-roots are omitted from the other
      dua-story, the remainder does contain material that makes more
      consistent sense.

      On the Logia Translation Hypothesis, this occurrence can be explained as
      follows -- (1) the writer of the Greek Logia produced one story (which
      we may call the "simple dua-story"), (2) the writer came across a second
      story that he wanted to expand, (3) he selected **only some** wording
      from the first dua-story and used this to expand the second story so
      forming the second dua-story, (4) but he made this expansion *awkwardly*
      so that the resulting dua-story (which we may call the "composite dua-
      story") displayed observable inconsistencies. Please note that it is the
      fourth step of this explanation that is by far the most important, since
      it accounts for the most distinctive feature of a story duality that I
      have described above. If we dis-regard the fourth step, we dis-regard
      the most crucial characteristic of what a story duality is.

      Please note also that the four steps do **not** define a story duality,
      but are an explanation of the occurrence of story dualities assuming
      that the Logia Translation Hypothesis is true. Story dualities are
      observed in the synoptic gospels irrespective of any attempt to account
      for their existence under any synoptic documentary hypothesis. They are
      data, not synoptic documentary hypothesis.

      To return to your question above, therefore, we do not have to look for
      any pattern of "merged stories" at all. The idea of "merged stories"
      belongs elsewhere in the study of the synoptic gospels.

      You seem to be saying that the LTH is improbable because in the synoptic
      gospels there are no occurrences of a composite dua-story in Matthew
      that is parallel to a composite dua-story in Mark that is also parallel
      to a composite dua-story in Luke. As it happens, neither is there any
      instance of a simple dua-story in Matthew that is parallel to a simple
      dua-story in Mark that is also parallel to a simple dua-story in Luke.
      Now on the LTH, each synoptist independently chose material from the
      Greek Logia, and independently edited the wording of the material he
      chose. On the LTH, therefore, whenever any synoptist came across any
      simple dua-story in the Greek Logia he was free (1) to include the dua-
      story in his gospel and copy the wording reasonably faithfully, (2) to
      include the dua-story in his gospel but edit the wording fairly heavily,
      (3) to omit the dua-story. Furthermore, the synoptist was free to do
      the same three things whenever he came across a composite dua-story in
      the Greek Logia. On this view, therefore, (which assumes the LTH, of
      course), a story duality came into existence only if a synoptist chose
      option (1) in the case of the simple dua-story, and if a synoptist (not
      necessarily the same synoptist) also chose option (1) in the case of the
      composite dua-story.

      For the same composite dua-story to occur in all three synoptic gospels,
      therefore, all three synoptists would, coincidentally, have had to
      exercise **the same option** (1) in the case of **the same composite
      dua-story** from the Greek Logia. But this is not the end of the matter.
      For if this was the only coincidence, we would not know that the dua-
      story concerned was indeed a composite dua-story. We cannot know that
      any observed story in the synoptic gospels is a composite dua-story
      unless we can observe its corresponding simple dua-story. For a
      composite dua-story to be observable in the triple tradition, therefore,
      yet a further coincidence is required -- that coincidentally at least
      one synoptist exercised option (1) in relation to the corresponding
      simple dua-story in the synoptic gospels.

      On the LTH, therefore, the occurrence of a composite dua-story in the
      triple would be the result of a multiple coincidence -- (1) that
      Matthew coincidentally selected the composite dua-story, (2) that
      Matthew coincidentally fairly faithfully retained the Greek Logia
      wording of this composite dua-story, (3) that Mark coincidentally
      selected the same composite dua-story as Matthew, (4) that Mark
      coincidentally fairly faithfully retained the wording of this dua-story,
      (5) that Luke coincidentally selected the same composite dua-story as
      Matthew and Luke, (6) that Luke fairly faithfully retained the Greek
      Logia wording of this composite dua-story, (7) that at least one
      synoptist selected the simple dua-story that corresponds to the
      composite dua-story considered in the previous six coincidences, and
      (8) that the synoptist(s) in the seventh coincidence fairly faithfully
      retained the Greek Logia wording of the simple dua-story concerned. The
      coincidence required is eight-fold. I would suggest that it is hardly
      surprising, therefore, that there is no observed instance of a composite
      dua-story in the triple tradition. (Similarly, it is hardly surprising
      that there is no observed instance of a simple dua-story in the triple
      tradition.)
      >
      >If you give me the rate of triple tradition in the global volume
      >of synoptic verses, and the number of merged stories present in
      >the triple tradition, then I give you the probability for such a
      >situation to occur if your LTH were true.
      >
      I would suggest that the idea of "merged stories" is out of place here.
      I think the statistical model you envisage does not correspond to the
      account the LTH gives of the occurrence of story dualities and which I
      have just described. A valid statistical model would have to take into
      account the eight-fold coincidence needed to produce a triple tradition
      composite dua-story, for instance.
      >
      >Take another example : if there is many widows in all synoptics,
      >but very few in the triple tradition, you may deduce that the
      >widow theme is common to first century christians, and has been
      >integrated in each synoptic independently from the other one.
      >
      I think it is the most basic mistake in using probability theory to
      suppose that it is possible to **deduce** that something happened by
      statistical considerations of sampling. If a coin with a head on one
      side and a tail on the other is spun twenty times and gives "heads" each
      time, it is nonsense to say that we can "deduce" from his data that the
      coin is biassed. This would be a fundamental misunderstanding of the use
      of probability theory. The twenty consecutive "heads" could have been an
      unlikely coincidence, and the coin not biassed.
      >
      >If in your set of merged stories, there is a lack of merged stories
      >present in the triple tradition, then we may deduce that these merged
      >stories are not due to a single author, but are a global behavior of
      >several redactors.
      >
      Really? I would suggest it is absolutely impossible to deduce the
      "global behaviour of several redactors" from the observed data in the
      synoptic gospels. Your idea that such a deduction can be made shows a
      complete lack of understanding of what a hypothesis is. No hypothesis of
      the documentary relationship between the synoptic gospels can possibly
      be deduced from the observed data in the synoptic gospels. A hypothesis
      is not the end of a chain of reasoning, but a question posed at the
      beginning of a testing of the hypothesis against the observed data.

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON

      >HOMEPAGE *** RECENTLY UPDATED *** http://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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    • Emmanuel Fritsch
      Short sumary of this answer to Brian : 1- The debate about merged stories or composite story is not relevant. 2a- When focusing on composite stories,
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 17, 2001
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        Short sumary of this answer to Brian :
        1- The debate about "merged stories" or "composite story" is not relevant.
        2a- When focusing on composite stories, simple story are not relevant
        2b- The three synoptist copying faithfully a pericope is not a
        coincidence : it constitutes the triple tradition. (according LTH)
        3- What happens to hypotheses when they do not match data.

        ----------------------------

        1- Merged stories or composite stories ?

        > >Focusing only on merged stories that were present (according to you)
        > >in the greek notes, we have not to look for the complete pattern
        > >of six narratives, but just the three merged stories, one in each
        > >synoptic.
        > >
        > Emmanuel,
        > It seems to me that you have imported into the discussion an
        > idea of your own, and not of mine, that one of the two dua-stories
        > forming a story duality is a "merged story". I do not hold this view. I
        > do not agree with this description. I think you are mis-understanding
        > what I am saying about the story dualities that can be observed in the
        > synoptic gospels.

        I imported in the discussion the words "merged story", but not
        the idea, since I found it in your finland paper. I quote (p 15) :

        # Consider the following hypothesis. A writer with a somewhat
        # repetitious style was writing out a set of pieces of Jesus
        # tradition in Greek. Sometimes he came across a story which
        # he felt could be improved in the light of a story he had
        # already recorded. So he deliberately added to one story
        # parts of a story he had previously written out.

        You are describing a merging process, and I feel confident
        when calling the second story a "merged story". I understand
        that someone may disagree with this "merging" idea, but
        certainly not you, since it comes from you.

        You do not like the words "merged story" ? In that case, let us
        replace with "composite story", as you use it in your last mail.
        I do not understand the difference between "merged" and "composite",
        but for the following, it does not matter. Let us now call it the
        "composite story", or "composite dua-story" if needed.

        ----------------------------

        2- The composite stories in the triple tradition.

        > On the LTH, therefore, whenever any synoptist came across any
        > simple dua-story in the Greek Logia he was free (1) to include the dua-
        > story in his gospel and copy the wording reasonably faithfully, (2) to
        > include the dua-story in his gospel but edit the wording fairly heavily,
        > (3) to omit the dua-story. Furthermore, the synoptist was free to do
        > the same three things whenever he came across a composite dua-story in
        > the Greek Logia. On this view, therefore, (which assumes the LTH, of
        > course), a story duality came into existence only if a synoptist chose
        > option (1) in the case of the simple dua-story, and if a synoptist (not
        > necessarily the same synoptist) also chose option (1) in the case of the
        > composite dua-story.

        Please merge options (2) and (3). The question is : whatever the
        pericope in your posited greek notes, when the synoptist came
        across, he was free (1) to remain close enough to let us aknowledge
        a common material, (2) to edit the wording heavily or to omit the
        pericopes, so that the link is now lost.


        > For the same composite dua-story to occur in all three synoptic gospels,
        > therefore, all three synoptists would, coincidentally, have had to
        > exercise **the same option** (1) in the case of **the same composite
        > dua-story** from the Greek Logia. But this is not the end of the matter.

        First bias in your demonstration : when "all three synoptists would,
        coincidentally, have had to exercise **the same option** (1)", it is
        not coincidental at all : it constitutes the triple tradition, which
        is not a minor part of synoptics. But what would look coincidental,
        and, rather, implausible, is to find few triple (1) options for
        composite stories, since when looking the global corpus, the triple
        option (1) (i.e. the triple tradition) is statistically significant.

        Second bias in your demonstration :

        > [...] But this is not the end of the matter.
        > For if this was the only coincidence, we would not know that the dua-
        > story concerned was indeed a composite dua-story. We cannot know that
        > any observed story in the synoptic gospels is a composite dua-story
        > unless we can observe its corresponding simple dua-story.

        We are not counting if a story is or not a dua-story, but if a
        composite (dua-)story is or not in triple tradition. You want
        me to introduce in your count all the possible story dualities
        that would have disappear due to the cancel of the simple story
        in all synoptist. But it is not normal to count these unknown
        composite stories as if they would have reinforced the triple
        tradition.

        We are comparing (a) the numbers of composite stories in triple
        tradition with (b) the numbers of composite stories in your
        posited greek notes. You are saying : we shall take into account
        all composite stories, including those that we can not detect
        because the corresponding simple stories have been canceled
        by all synoptists.
        But how do we count in your posited greek notes the canceled
        duality stories ? They are undetectable. Since they are not
        count in (b), they have not to be counted in (a).


        > For a composite dua-story to be observable in the triple
        > tradition, therefore, yet a further coincidence is required
        > -- that coincidentally at least one synoptist exercised
        > option (1) in relation to the corresponding simple dua-story
        > in the synoptic gospels.

        Same observation as just above. With other words, you give
        here an additional condition "for a composite dua-story to
        be observable in the triple tradition", but this condition
        ("one synoptist exercised option (1) in relation to the
        corresponding simple dua-story") is true for all story
        dualities, (thus for all composite dua-stories), since
        this condition belongs to the definition of the story
        duality as you gave it just three lines above :

        > a story duality came into existence only if a synoptist chose
        > option (1) in the case of the simple dua-story, and if [...]

        This argument is not rhetoric, but pure logic ;-)
        You are not allowed to include canceled composite stories
        in the study after having rejected them in your definition.

        ----------------------------

        3- What happens to hypotheses when they do not match data.

        > >Take another example : if there is many widows in all synoptics,
        > >but very few in the triple tradition, you may deduce that the
        > >widow theme is common to first century christians, and has been
        > >integrated in each synoptic independently from the other one.
        > >
        > I think it is the most basic mistake in using probability theory to
        > suppose that it is possible to **deduce** that something happened by
        > statistical considerations of sampling. If a coin with a head on one
        > side and a tail on the other is spun twenty times and gives "heads" each
        > time, it is nonsense to say that we can "deduce" from his data that the
        > coin is biassed. This would be a fundamental misunderstanding of the use
        > of probability theory. The twenty consecutive "heads" could have been an
        > unlikely coincidence, and the coin not biassed.

        "it is the most basic mistake in using probability theory"... I am
        sorry Brian : I may respect you as a scholar, and learn a lot from
        you about NT, greek language and perhabs history. But I am quite
        confident when saying you can not teach me on probability theory.

        The computing deduction you may say with your experience,
        is : if the coin is unbiassed, the probability to obtain such
        twenty following "heads" is less than 1 against a million.
        (exactly : 1 / 2^20 = 1 / 1,048,576 )

        The common knowlege deduction is : perhabs it could have been an
        "unlikely coincidence", and the coin is not biassed, but until
        we may verify it, I would like rather consider the coin as
        biassed, and bet on "tail" with another coin.

        Would it not be better to consider the LTH as biassed, and play
        with another hypothesis ?


        > >If in your set of merged stories, there is a lack of merged stories
        > >present in the triple tradition, then we may deduce that these merged
        > >stories are not due to a single author, but are a global behavior of
        > >several redactors.
        > >
        > Really? I would suggest it is absolutely impossible to deduce the
        > "global behaviour of several redactors" from the observed data in the
        > synoptic gospels. Your idea that such a deduction can be made shows a
        > complete lack of understanding of what a hypothesis is. No hypothesis of
        > the documentary relationship between the synoptic gospels can possibly
        > be deduced from the observed data in the synoptic gospels. A hypothesis
        > is not the end of a chain of reasoning, but a question posed at the
        > beginning of a testing of the hypothesis against the observed data.

        - We have a hypothesis : LTH. We want to check it with facts.

        - We have facts : the story dualities, the related composite
        stories, their distribution in triple radition...

        IF the distribution of composite stories in triple tradition
        is low (and this is still not checked), THEN the LTH would be
        falsified : we find a phenomenon that does not fit the hypothesis.

        Corollary : SINCE composite stories do not come from a unique
        source, they come from various ones : composite stories -and
        thus story duality- are not a characteristic stylistic pattern,
        but come from various sources. THUS story duality results from
        a global behaviour of redactors.

        Note that I join here the conclusion of Ken Olson,
        he reached through other arguments.
        Note also that this is not a hypothesis, but a deduction.

        I am lucky : it is placed at the end of the chain of reasoning.

        a+
        manu

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