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[Synoptic-L] Re: deductive proof and the Synoptic Problem

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  • Kym Smith
    Dear Brian, Earlier in this thread you wrote,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 7, 2001
      Dear Brian,
      Earlier in this thread you wrote,
      <<<"One method that can be used by historians, including scholars of the
      synoptic problem, is to put forward a hypothesis of what happened and
      check this hypothesis against the observed data. If the hypothesis fits
      the data well, then it can be accepted as an account of what happened
      beyond reasonable doubt, or that can be said to have happened to some
      level of probability.

      As far as I am concerned, the synoptic problem is to put forward a
      hypothesis of what happened when the synoptic gospels were written (a
      historical hypothesis) and check this against the data that can be
      observed. In this sense, the synoptic problem is a historical problem
      and therefore not something that can be solved by attempting to prove
      deductively from the observed data what happened. The idea that we can
      start from observed data and prove deductively beyond all doubt that
      some historical event must have happened is literally absurd.">>>
      I am not sure that one cannot build an hypothesis from 'observed data'. It is likely that it will be the 'observed data' which opens up possibilities upon which one creates an historical hypothesis which will then be measured against an increasing circle of 'observed data'.
      One problem, however, is that we all have certain presuppositions (e.g. dates, authors) that we bring to bear when a hypothesis is presented to us. We all have starting positions of which we are convinced which become the filters through which we view any hopothesis presented.
      My interest in your comments here are because no one (on list) has offered any feedback to the hypothesis I presented back in #6631. It is only part of a considerably more comprehensive hypothesis - a reconstruction of the decade following the Acts of the Apostles - but sufficient is there for the Synoptic Problem. If the problem is likely to be solved by standing what data is observable against various hypotheses, then it is strange that a hypothesis, when presented, draws no comment, whether positive or negative.
      For what it is worth, I believe that the hypothesis does fit much of the 'observed data', including the often acknowledged relationships not only between the Synoptics but also between John and Mark and between Luke and John.
      Kym Smith
      South Australia
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