Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Synoptic-L] A complete list of the graphical representation of first-order gospel relationships

Expand Messages
  • John Rutledge
    ... Very nicely done. I now vaguely remember coming across your enumeration -- about a year ago or so -- but unfortunately I completely forgot about it. I
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 24, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      > For what it is worth, I too had produced a list of
      > graphs depicting possible gospel relationship, with
      > up to two hypothetical documents. (Please see my
      > homepage.)

      Very nicely done. I now vaguely remember coming across
      your enumeration -- about a year ago or so -- but
      unfortunately I completely forgot about it. I
      especially appreciate your efforts to prune the
      solution set based on n hypothetical documents. My
      main motivation for enumerating all possible solutions
      was to come to grips with the sheer number of
      disparate theories, and also to try to obtain a more
      global viewpoint in examining the problem.

      > There are at least 1488 such possible
      > relationships, and it would seem that if one were to
      > take the Wilson methodology seriously, one would
      > have
      > to compare each and every one of the possible
      > relationships
      > to the observed data.

      I see nothing wrong with a general preference for the
      simplest solution, but more complex and viable
      theories should not be discarded unless they have
      equal or less evidentiary appeal. In order to simplify
      the task of finding the "correct" solution, the vast
      number of possible theories would need to be evaluated
      based primarily on exclusionary evidence. The complete
      solution to the Synoptic Problem then would consist of
      the simplest theory, consistent with the strongest
      evidence, and with *all* other possible theories
      excluded based on the existence of weaker evidence.

      > It is a Herculean task.

      Yes, but absolutely necessary (IMHO).



      =====
      John Rutledge

      __________________________________________________
      Do You Yahoo!?
      Make a great connection at Yahoo! Personals.
      http://personals.yahoo.com

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • John Rutledge
      ... I m sure this statement of mine could be improved, but let me correct some sloppy language. Instead of reading consistent with the strongest evidence , it
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 24, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        > The complete solution to the Synoptic Problem then
        > would consist of the simplest theory, consistent
        > with the strongest evidence, and with *all* other
        > possible theories excluded based on the existence of

        > weaker evidence.

        I'm sure this statement of mine could be improved, but
        let me correct some sloppy language.

        Instead of reading "consistent with the strongest
        evidence", it should read "consistent with the "best"
        and strongest evidence". The term "best" as used here
        is essentially undefined. Part of the resolution of
        the synoptic problem would ideally involve an
        evaluation and subsequent weighting (in some sense) of
        all the relevant evidence. This would help determine
        the definition of "best" as used here.


        =====
        John Rutledge

        __________________________________________________
        Do You Yahoo!?
        Make a great connection at Yahoo! Personals.
        http://personals.yahoo.com

        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • Brian E. Wilson
        Brian Wilson wrote -- ... Stephen Carlson replied -- ... Stephen, I agree with you here. It is interesting that scholars such as Koester and Parker seem to
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 25, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          Brian Wilson wrote --
          >
          >(29) Lk->Mk->Mt, Mt->Lk
          >...
          >It seems to me that this Luke-Matthew-Mark-Luke cyclical hypothesis is
          >plausible.
          >
          Stephen Carlson replied --
          >
          >It is only made plausible by breaking the cycle, i.e. splitting Lk into
          >Luke vers. 1.0 and Luke vers 2.0.
          >
          Stephen,
          I agree with you here. It is interesting that scholars such as
          Koester and Parker seem to have no difficulty with such a concept,
          however. It seems that to some scholars each synoptic gospel went
          through a number of versions, each to some extent being influenced by
          one or both of the others.
          >
          >While I recognize that such theories are plausible, I don't think that
          >it is useful to refer to them as "cyclical." Luke 1.0 and Luke 2.0 are
          >different documents, written at different times, with different
          >contents. It is only a confusion to give the same symbol "Lk" to both.
          >
          Again, I agree with this. Another less obvious confusion is that there
          is not only a document but also an arrow missing from the cyclical
          diagram. The cyclical diagrams shows only three arrows, when there
          should be four. There should also be an arrow from Luke 1.0 to Luke
          2.0. The hypothesis being considered is Lk 1.0 to Mk, Lk 1.0 to Lk 2.0,
          Mk to Mt, and Mt to Lk 2.0.

          What is interesting is that the generation of a "graphically cyclical"
          hypothesis by an algorithm has led to the need to be clear when defining
          a synoptic documentary hypothesis. It would seem to me that when
          defining such a hypothesis it is essential that every document,
          including hypothetical ones, and every link between documents, be
          stated. Otherwise, we simply do not know what hypothesis we are talking
          about.

          I think, however, it would be a pity to overlook the question that has
          arisen from this discussion thus far. Suppose there was a Luke 1.0 which
          was used by Mark. And suppose Matthew used Mark, and that Luke 2.0 is
          Luke as we have received it, and that Luke 2.0 was formed from Matthew
          and Luke 1.0. Would this be an effective solution to the synoptic
          problem? Does it have any weaknesses? Clearly Luke 1.0 did not contain
          the double tradition, and Matthew would have had to supply the double
          tradition himself (as in the Farrer Hypothesis), and Luke 2.0 obtained
          the double tradition from Matthew. The triple tradition would be
          explained by Mark being the middle term between Luke 1.0 and Matthew.
          Interestingly, the minor agreements of Mt and Lk 2.0 against Mk in the
          triple tradition would pose the same kind of problem as they pose for
          the Two Document Hypothesis.

          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
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... Yes. It would be synoptic theory type #0056: M- L K- M a- K a- L ... Actually, it seems that the MAs for solution #0056 would pose about the same problem
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 25, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            At 09:49 PM 10/25/2001 +0100, Brian E. Wilson wrote:
            >I think, however, it would be a pity to overlook the question that has
            >arisen from this discussion thus far. Suppose there was a Luke 1.0 which
            >was used by Mark. And suppose Matthew used Mark, and that Luke 2.0 is
            >Luke as we have received it, and that Luke 2.0 was formed from Matthew
            >and Luke 1.0. Would this be an effective solution to the synoptic
            >problem?

            Yes. It would be synoptic theory type #0056: M->L K->M a->K a->L

            >Does it have any weaknesses? Clearly Luke 1.0 did not contain
            >the double tradition, and Matthew would have had to supply the double
            >tradition himself (as in the Farrer Hypothesis), and Luke 2.0 obtained
            >the double tradition from Matthew. The triple tradition would be
            >explained by Mark being the middle term between Luke 1.0 and Matthew.
            >Interestingly, the minor agreements of Mt and Lk 2.0 against Mk in the
            >triple tradition would pose the same kind of problem as they pose for
            >the Two Document Hypothesis.

            Actually, it seems that the MAs for solution #0056 would pose about
            the same problem as for Farrer (i.e. not much). The minor agreements
            would simply be due to Luke 2.0's reminiscence/influence of Matt.
            while copying from Luke 1.0 (a).

            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
            List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
          • Brian E. Wilson
            Stephen Carlson wrote -- ... Stephen, I think you very seriously understate the difficulty here. To compare each and every one of the possible relationships
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 27, 2001
            • 0 Attachment
              Stephen Carlson wrote --
              >
              >For what it is worth, I too had produced a list of graphs depicting
              >possible gospel relationship, with up to two hypothetical documents.
              >(Please see my homepage.) There are at least 1488 such possible
              >relationships, and it would seem that if one were to take the Wilson
              >methodology seriously, one would have to compare each and every one of
              >the possible relationships to the observed data. It is a Herculean
              >task.
              >
              Stephen,
              I think you very seriously understate the difficulty here. "To
              compare each and every one of the possible relationships to the observed
              data" is not Herculean (Hercules completed his twelve "labours"), but
              sheer impossibility. This is because the number of possible
              relationships is infinite. Your list of graphs is very commendable and
              useful, but is merely an infinitesimal part of the infinite number of
              possible graphs. There is no hope of listing every possible
              relationship, and therefore no hope of comparing every possible
              relationship to the observed data.

              In fact my methodology is not to compare each and every one of the
              possible relationships to the observed data. I am not inclined to
              attempt the impossible.

              My methodology is that we should put forward any hypothesis of the
              documentary relationship between the synoptic gospels, test this against
              the observed data, if the hypothesis fails to fit well the data then it
              should be rejected, otherwise it should be accepted as a solution to the
              synoptic problem. The process should be repeated for any synoptic
              documentary hypothesis that we care to examine. If more than one
              solution is obtained, then the most probable should be preferred.

              The resulting most probable solution is then the best solution we have
              obtained to date. This is the most for which we can hope. Any solution
              to the synoptic problem is provisional. It may at any time be supplanted
              by a hypothesis that is shown to be more probable. We should always be
              looking out for such a hypothesis.

              In practice, we have to work with the best hypothesis we have to date.
              There is no other option open to us. If we want to produce a commentary
              on Luke, for example, we have to assume the best solution to the
              synoptic problem we have. Most commentaries on Luke state in their
              introduction the solution to the synoptic problem to be assumed in the
              commentary.

              The same is true in the application of science in modern technology. The
              technologist has to make use of the best scientific hypotheses
              available, even though all scientific hypotheses are provisional and may
              be supplanted at any time.

              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
              List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
            • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
              I have been following this discussion with considerable interest. It seems to me that Brian makes one very important point very well here and, without
              Message 6 of 13 , Oct 27, 2001
              • 0 Attachment
                I have been following this discussion with considerable interest. It seems
                to me that Brian makes one very important point very well here and, without
                repeating all of Brian's comments, I would like to suppor it and make one
                further comment that I hope is relevant.

                Brian wrote:

                > My methodology is that we should put forward any hypothesis of the
                > documentary relationship between the synoptic gospels, test this against
                > the observed data, if the hypothesis fails to fit well the data then it
                > should be rejected, otherwise it should be accepted as a solution to the
                > synoptic problem. The process should be repeated for any synoptic
                > documentary hypothesis that we care to examine. If more than one
                > solution is obtained, then the most probable should be preferred.

                This is, I think, quite right but it seems to me that there is no hypothesis
                (at least none that I know of) that does not fail to fit the data well at
                some point. In short, we have no "perfect" solution to this very complex
                problem; every hypothesis is to some degree problematic. Furthermore, I
                agree with Brian that "if more than one solution is obtained, then the most
                probable should be preferred." We must recognize, however, that in a
                situation where there is no "perfect" solution, researchers will
                legitimately differ in their assessment of which hypothesis is the most
                probable, partly because we weigh the residual problems of each hypothesis
                differently, often magnifying the importance of the problems in other
                hypotheses while minimizing the importance of such problems in our own (for
                whatever reasons). But there are other reasons as well.

                One element contributing to what I sometimes see an as impasse in our
                scholarship is that we are attempting us understand a process that was, to
                some degree, a dynamic one with models that are, to some degree, static
                ones. To press the dynamic side of this euqation too far means that we are
                left with a solution that is impossibly complex or complicated. To press the
                static side of the equation means that we are left with a solution that is
                far too simple.

                Brian is also right when he says that "In practice, we have to work with the
                best hypothesis we have to date. There is no other option open to us."
                Clearly, however, we do not agree what this "best hypothesis...to date" is.
                In this situation it seems to me that we benefit more from attempting to
                refine our own hypothesis, and those of others, than we do looking for a
                "knock-out" punch that makes one hypothesis victorious in the fray.

                Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff
                Crawford Family Professor of Religious Studies
                Director, Jewish Studies
                Colby College
                4643 Mayflower Hill
                Waterville, ME 04901-8846
                Tel: (207) 872-3150
                FAX: (207) 872-3802



                Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.