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

Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: Bias against omissions?

Expand Messages
  • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
    ... It seems to me that there are, indeed, good reasons to suppose that the authors would omit material. 1. It can be demonstrated that authors, other than the
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 2, 2001
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      David Gentile wrote (in part):

      > Is this a bias against omission?
      > Or is there really a good reason to suppose the authors would omit
      > material?

      It seems to me that there are, indeed, good reasons to suppose that the
      authors would omit material.

      1. It can be demonstrated that authors, other than the authors of the
      gospels, do so. Omissions, when one author is using another as a source, are
      common.

      2. If an author who writes, using another as a source, does not intend to
      replace his source but rather intends to present the material in a different
      way, for a different purpose, or for a different audience, knowing that the
      document used as a source will continue to be available and will continue to
      be read, the motivation to copy everything is significantly diminished.
      After all, readers will still have the omitted material in the source
      document.

      3. Authors write with particular purposes in mind and for particular
      audiences. It seems to me more likely that an author would omit material not
      relevant to his purpose or not appropriate for his audience than that he
      would include it because, for whatever reason, he is reluctant to omit
      anything. I would even include, in this category, the likelihood that an
      author would even omit those elements not consistent with his narrative
      style.

      Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff
      Crawford Family Professor of Religious Studies
      Director, Jewish Studies
      Colby College
      4643 Mayflower Hill
      Waterville, ME 04901
      email: tlongst@...
      Telephone: (207) 872-3150
      FAX: (207) 872-3602


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • David Gentile
      Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff wrote: =========== It seems to me that there are, indeed, good reasons to suppose that the authors would omit material. ===========
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 2, 2001
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff wrote:

        ===========

        It seems to me that there are, indeed, good reasons to suppose that the
        authors would omit material.

        ===========

        Thank you for your reply.

        On point #2
        --------
        2. If an author who writes, using another as a source, does not intend to
        replace his source but rather intends to present the material in a
        different
        way, for a different purpose, or for a different audience, knowing that the
        document used as a source will continue to be available and will continue
        to
        be read, the motivation to copy everything is significantly diminished.
        After all, readers will still have the omitted material in the source
        document.
        --------

        DG: This may be part of the reason for my view against omission. I do see
        the authors as intending to replace their sources. The sources were not
        clearly written, and may have conflicted in some ways, or contained clearly
        objectionable material. (proto-Mark may have even been secret Mark, for
        example). I see them as writing to reconcile their sources, and clarify
        them. The exception might be Mark. Here my theory would be that a gospel
        containing sayings was becoming widely used, as it contained both the
        source tradition and the sayings. Mark might have added detail to the
        original, it order to help the saying-less gospel compete.

        If they intended
        "to present the material in a different way,
        for a different purpose, or for a different audience"
        this might be a valid case for omission in my view.
        If we have good reason to believe a specific gospel was intended for a
        specific audience, and that audience would have objected in some way to the
        omitted material, then this is a good reason to believe it would be
        omitted. Otherwise, I think respect for the source would have argued
        against omission.

        On point #1
        --------
        1. It can be demonstrated that authors, other than the authors of the
        gospels, do so. Omissions, when one author is using another as a source,
        are
        common.
        --------

        DG: In general authors certainly do that. But the authors of the gospels
        clearly were copying earlier traditions, while clarifying them, and most
        likely reconciling them with other disparate versions. In general authors
        do not reproduce as much of their source as the gospel writers did. This
        suggest that they were indeed concerned with preserving most of the source
        in their gospel. Also, by the time the later documents were probably
        written, I think there would have been some respect for recording history,
        at least.


        On point #3
        --------
        3. Authors write with particular purposes in mind and for particular
        audiences. It seems to me more likely that an author would omit material
        not
        relevant to his purpose or not appropriate for his audience than that he
        would include it because, for whatever reason, he is reluctant to omit
        anything. I would even include, in this category, the likelihood that an
        author would even omit those elements not consistent with his narrative
        style.
        --------

        DG: Given my view that they were intending to replace their source, this
        seems unlikely. Unless there was a compelling reason to omit it, or a
        conflict in theological views, I doubt the material would have been
        omitted.

        Thanks again,

        Dave Gentile
        Riverside, Illinois






        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • Maluflen@aol.com
        In a message dated 11/2/2001 10:50:45 PM Eastern Standard Time, GentDave@worldnet.att.net writes: [Responding to Thomas Longstaff who wrote:]
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 3, 2001
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          In a message dated 11/2/2001 10:50:45 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          GentDave@... writes:

          [Responding to Thomas Longstaff who wrote:]
          << -------
          2. If an author who writes, using another as a source, does not intend to
          replace his source but rather intends to present the material in a
          different
          way, for a different purpose, or for a different audience, knowing that the
          document used as a source will continue to be available and will continue
          to
          be read, the motivation to copy everything is significantly diminished.
          After all, readers will still have the omitted material in the source
          document.
          --------

          DG: This may be part of the reason for my view against omission. I do see
          the authors as intending to replace their sources. >>

          I wonder, though, whether your "seeing" the authors as intending to replace
          their sources is based on your already adopted viewpoint that Mark was the
          original Gospel, and whether your argument here is not therefore circular. I
          believe Professor Longstaff's observations are both valid and more objective,
          i.e., not assuming a predetermined solution to the Synoptic problem -- and
          they are certainly based on considerable research on the topic itself, rather
          than merely on feeling. Accordingly I think you properly identified your
          position against the likelihood of omissions as a bias. In this you are only
          more honest than many.

          Leonard Maluf

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • David Gentile
          ... replace ... I ... objective, ... rather ... only ... I have no doubt that my view of the actions of the authors is influenced my belief that Mark was
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 3, 2001
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            > Leonard Maluf wrote:

            > I wonder, though, whether your "seeing" the authors as intending to
            replace
            > their sources is based on your already adopted viewpoint that Mark was the
            > original Gospel, and whether your argument here is not therefore circular.
            I
            > believe Professor Longstaff's observations are both valid and more
            objective,
            > i.e., not assuming a predetermined solution to the Synoptic problem -- and
            > they are certainly based on considerable research on the topic itself,
            rather
            > than merely on feeling. Accordingly I think you properly identified your
            > position against the likelihood of omissions as a bias. In this you are
            only
            > more honest than many.
            >
            > Leonard Maluf

            I have no doubt that my view of the actions of the authors is influenced my
            belief that Mark was essentially first. However, I don't think my reasoning
            is circular, since I believe that Markian priority can be established to a
            reasonably high degree of probability, without assuming things about the
            motives of the authors. But, given the amount that has been written
            supporting Markian priority, I doubt there is anything I could add to
            influence your view on this matter.

            Dave Gentile
            Riverside, Illinois


            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
            List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
          • Maluflen@aol.com
            In a message dated 11/3/01 9:26:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, GentDave@worldnet.att.net writes:
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 4, 2001
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              In a message dated 11/3/01 9:26:13 PM Eastern Standard Time,
              GentDave@... writes:

              << I have no doubt that my view of the actions of the authors is influenced my
              belief that Mark was essentially first. However, I don't think my reasoning
              is circular, since I believe that Markian priority can be established to a
              reasonably high degree of probability, without assuming things about the
              motives of the authors. But, given the amount that has been written
              supporting Markian priority, I doubt there is anything I could add to
              influence your view on this matter.>>

              There is, though, theoretically at least. Tell me, please, e.g., how one goes
              about establishing Markan priority to a reasonably high degree of probability
              without assuming things about the motives of the authors? This would be
              really new to me.

              Leonard Maluf

              Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
              List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
            • David Gentile
              ... goes ... probability ... We talk about Occum s razor a lot in order to select the simplest hypothesis. But, part of simplicity is not only the number of
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 4, 2001
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                > There is, though, theoretically at least. Tell me, please, e.g., how one
                goes
                > about establishing Markan priority to a reasonably high degree of
                probability
                > without assuming things about the motives of the authors? This would be
                > really new to me.
                >
                > Leonard Maluf

                We talk about Occum's razor a lot in order to select the simplest
                hypothesis. But, part of simplicity is not only the number of documents, but
                how simple the author's task was. An author that behaved like GH Mark had an
                enormously difficult task, and one that we have never seen performed
                anywhere else. Thus, the hypothesis that an author behaved as GH Mark did, I
                would consider to be a fairly extraordinary claim. Without sufficient
                evidence to support the claim, I'd choose a simpler explanation. The sorts
                of activities I see the authors doing on my hypothesis are relatively
                simple. They copy, they delete offensive bits, they add material in
                appropriate places. They may be reconciling two texts, but they do it in a
                manner that one would not be at all difficult.

                That the authors behaved in relatively simple ways is not a starting
                assumption.
                However, simplicity is a criteria by which competing hypotheses are judged.

                In effect, given the information I have, I believe my hypothesis is the best
                one because it is truly the simplest one. More information might change that
                view of course.

                Dave Gentile
                Riverside, Illinois


                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.