Re: [Synoptic-L] Osbourne in Rethinking
- Three of the most widely misconstrued and abused
principles of text criticism are continually
misapplied by Synoptic theorists, which are:
Lectio brevior per se praestat longiori - the shorter
of the two readings is to be preferred.
Lectio difficilior per se praestat faciliori - a more
difficult reading is to be preferred to a more evident
Lectio ex qua ceterae facilius derivantur praeferenda
est - that reading is to be preferred from which the
other readings can be seen to have been derived.
These principles are used by Classical text critics as
part of a method to assess antique manuscripts of a
specific title by a specific author (Homer�s Illiad,
for example) to determine relationships between a
number of manuscripts of the same work, not various
similar titles with similar contents by several
authors like the four Gospels. The misapplication of
these Classical text critical principles produces
faulty results of logic and erroneous perception.
Biblical text critics misapply these principles when
they apply it to Synoptic research, which is actually
an attempt at finding Q whether or not they are aware
of it. The only �seemingly� logical application is to
isolate and examine similar passages in the Gospels in
an effort to arrive at the original one as X (Source,
which has been shaped over 2 centuries as Q). Yet,
even this approach is flawed since it violates the
principles involved which are logically applicable to
a single work not multiple ones; since the concepts
involved are applicable to the copying practices
within a manuscript tradition of a single work.
Source criticism should follow �source criticism
criteria� not that of text criticism. This is a clear
case of misapplication in a maladroit inept attempt at
borrowing in interdisciplinary research methods.
Although the application of these Classical text
critical principles �appear� correct to Synoptic
research, they are not, as should be clear since each
is attempting to perform a different task altogether.
The correct application is to use these principles
when examining a specific Gospel and its manuscript
tradition, not across the four Gospels or just the
Synoptic Gospels to determine which is the original
source for the other two (or three).
If four different newspapers reported the same news
story is the briefest article the original?
(Admittedly, a weak example since the criteria of
chronology is omitted).
Yet, if you think about it the original story might be
the longest with the remaining later reports editing
material and shortening it. Or, it might be the
reverse. There is no �scientific criteria� which can
determine originality of a source based on length of
an account. This would only be applicable if the same
story that appeared in one newspaper (not all four)
was reprinted with changes (without any dates given of
course) and the task would be to determine which story
ran first. This is what Classical & Biblical text
critics attempt do, who do their work correctly of
course, with these principles examining manuscript
text traditions of a single work since they are
attempting to discern the single voice of a single
author to find the original archetype or autograph.
The misapplication to Synoptic research of these
principles examines three or four author voices, not
one. All it can ever show is the obvious:
similarities and differences which any Synopsis (which
no strict criteria can be determined for on how to
make one, which is why they all vary) will provide at
a glance, but without any scientific criteria to
determine which has priority serving as the source for
the other later accounts. The misapplication of text
critical principles is one of the key issues behind
the impasse in Synoptic studies.
However, these three Classical text critical
principles are not the only ones being misapplied in
Synoptic research. Mark Goodacre�s Fatigue thesis
follows Albert Curtis Clark�s third principle of text
critical criteria: �Where a manuscript is copied from
another extant manuscript it is rarely possible to
mistake their connexion. It is betrayed by minute
agreements, or mistakes which can only be discerned in
the manuscripts themselves or in the best photographic
reproductions.� Apud, Frederick William Hall, A
Companion to Classical Texts (Oxford, 1913):130. G.�s
focus on minute agreements and mistakes does not study
the manuscript tradition of a single Gospel as it
should but is misapplied in Synoptic research leading
to false conclusions of Markan priority based on
faulty methods. I have attempted in the past to show
this without success through examples but never
addressed the underlying philosophical and logical
flaws in his method. G. is not alone in misapplying
text critical principles in Synoptic research but
follws the lead of many who have paved the way. . I
do not intend to offend G. with this criticism but to
shed light for guidance in order to reevaluate his
work and for planning more solid methods.
AS for Grant R. Osbourne�s comment: "In other words,
it is easier to explain the use of Mark by Matthew and
Luke than it is the use of Matthew and Luke by Mark.
For instance, while Matthew and Mark have a great deal
of material in common, Matthew nearly always shortens
Mark rather than vice versa. This fits a key
text-critical criterion: the shorter version is to be
preferred." (p. 142) it appears that he is being
either sardonic or facetious making a concise effort
in summary to show the illogic resulting from
misapplication of logical principles.
John N. Lupia, III
31 Norwich Drive
Toms River, New Jersey 08757 USA
Phone: (732) 341-8689
Editor, Roman Catholic News
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- In a message dated 3/11/2003 8:27:12 PM Pacific Standard Time, jlupia2@... writes:
Oui, Larry, vous êtes certainement correct.
Cela veut dire: vous avez certainement raison!