Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan priority (was: Did Mark reject the Lord's Prayer ?)
- In a message dated 6/15/2002 12:48:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ron.price@... writes:
> Are you willing to admit that my arguments for a late Mark, at least in theory, are valid?
You mentioned, for instance, that Mark may well have intended to add a dramatic dimension to existing stories. I think it unlikely. For modifying someone else's work is far less satisfying than producing one's own. On Markan priority theories each synoptic author makes a substantial material contribution. If Mark wasn't first, he did not make a substantial material contribution.>>
You are just illustrating the validity of my criticism: you seem sensitive only to material contribution and not to formal and text-pragmatic dimensions of a text.
Incidentally I've been doing some mathematical analysis involving the measurement of the distinctiveness of book sections. When by his choice of words an author produces distinctive sections in a book, I call that book "picturesque". I have measured this picturesqueness for the best 2-level structures of twelve original NT documents, and Matthew and Luke come bottom, i.e., they are the least picturesque. Mark and Acts, for instance, are very much more picturesque. The most likely explanation for the poor showing of Matthew and Luke is that they had each copied extensively from written sources (i.e., Mark and to a lesser extent the early sayings source).
I would have thought the most natural conclusion from your evidence is that Matt and Lk could not have known Mark, otherwise they would have picked up picturesqueness from their source. As it is, it appears that picturesqueness was a feature added to the Synoptic tradition at a late stage, Mark, and that is why it is only found in Mark. Picturesqueness is in fact an obvious subcategory of dramatization; so this would go well with my theory of Mark as a dramatized version of an originally literary Gospel story.
Consequently the content of Matthew and Luke has been constrained, and their
own distinctive vocabulary has been blurred, by that of their sources.
>That it in no way follows logically from the fact that Mark is materially
>shorter than Matthew and Luke that Mark is prior to those two Gospels?
True, it doesn't follow "logically," i.e. by a process of undisputable logic.
However in my opinion, the fact that most of the Markan material exists in some form in the much larger Matthew, makes it far more likely that Matthew was copying from Mark and not vice versa. Think of them as two editions. In my experience a second edition is invariably larger than the first.
This certainly shows that your experience is limited. Are you familiar, for example, with the history of the dispute over the priority of the Rule of Benedict with respect to the Rule of the Master? The latter is considerably longer, and was thought for many years to have been based on Benedict's Rule. A French Trapist scholar, Adalbert de Vogue, demonstrated conclusively, however, and to the satisfaction of most monastic scholars, that the relationship was the reverse: Benedict produced a considerably shortened rule for monks while drawing (verbatim in many passages) on the older and longer work called the Rule of the Master. This is only one such example. I believe Thomas Longstaff has written about many other examples of same.