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Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan priority

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  • Ron Price
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 16, 2002
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      Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan priority I wrote:

      >> 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.

      Leonard Maluf replied:

      >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?

      Leonard,

        It seems we again have a semantic problem, for you have (quite reasonably) taken "invariably" to mean "never", which was not my intention. I should have written "rarely".
        No, I am not familiar with the dispute you mention, but its conclusion - that the shorter rule was dependent on the longer one - is a good example of an 'exception which proves the rule'. In other words, the fact that you have to go to some obscure documents to find counter-examples, lends support to the general rule that subsequent editions are usually longer.
        To sum up: if Mark/Matthew or Matthew/Mark can be regarded as two editions of a gospel, then in the light of published book editions generally, and considering only the evidence of the respective lengths of these particular books, it is *more probable* that Mark was the first edition and Matthew was the second edition.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail:  ron.price@...

      Web site:  http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm







      ----------
      From: Maluflen@...
      To: ron.price@..., Synoptic-L@...
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Markan priority (was: Did Mark reject the Lord's Prayer ?)
      Date: Sun, Jun 16, 2002, 12:14 am


      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.


      Leonard Maluf


    • Zeba Crook
      ... This is not directly on topic, I admit, and I don t mean to pick on you, Ron, since many people use it, but this phrase the exception that proves the
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 16, 2002
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        Ron Price wrote:
         No, I am not familiar with the dispute you mention, but its conclusion - that the shorter rule was dependent on the longer one - is a good example of an 'exception which proves the rule'. In other words, the fact that you have to go to some obscure documents to find counter-examples, lends support to the general rule that subsequent editions are usually longer.
        This is not directly on topic, I admit, and I don't mean to pick on you, Ron, since many people use it, but this phrase "the exception that proves the rule" makes the hair on my neck stand up.  There can be no such thing as an exception that proves a rule, since by its very existence exceptions disprove a rule.  Leonard's example might appear obscure, but unless it suffers from being not analogous or parallel enough, it does disprove your "rule".  Beside, I thought it had long ago been proved that the lectio brevior was useful (though not air tight) in text criticism, but of little value for source criticism.  Sometimes a pericope is shorter in Matthew and Luke because of removing extraneous detail and repetition from Mark.

        Cheers,

        Zeb

        ***

        Zeba Antonin Crook (Ph.D. Cand)
        University of St. Michael's College
        Faculty of Theology
        81 St. Mary Street
        Toronto, Ontario, Canada
        M5S 1J4

        (416) 964-8629
        http://individual.utoronto.ca/zeba_crook

      • Ron Price
        ... Zeb, I used to think the same way. But some of these old sayings are not meant to be taken literally. I now understand it to mean: The finding of a rare
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 17, 2002
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          Zeba Crook wrote:

          > I don't mean to pick on you, Ron, since many people use it, but this
          >phrase "the exception that proves the rule" makes the hair on my neck stand
          >up. There can be no such thing as an exception that proves a rule, since
          >by its very existence exceptions disprove a rule.

          Zeb,

          I used to think the same way. But some of these old sayings are not
          meant to be taken literally. I now understand it to mean: 'The finding
          of a rare exception reminds us that a *general* rule (as opposed to an
          absolute rule) must exist.'

          > Beside, I thought it had long ago been proved that the lectio brevior was
          >useful (though not air tight) in text criticism, but of little value for
          >source criticism. Sometimes a pericope is shorter in Matthew and Luke
          >because of removing extraneous detail and repetition from Mark.

          This is all very true. But as I understand it, the research behind
          this was looking at the *pericope* level. My comments on editions relate
          to the level of a whole book. It would be dubious to extrapolate from
          the former to the latter.

          Ron Price

          Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

          e-mail: ron.price@...

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm


          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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