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Re: [Synoptic-L] Osbourne in Rethinking

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  • John Lupia
    Three of the most widely misconstrued and abused principles of text criticism are continually misapplied by Synoptic theorists, which are: Lectio brevior per
    Message 1 of 40 , Jan 31, 2003
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      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).

      To clarify:

      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
      Email: jlupia2@...
      Editor, Roman Catholic News

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    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 3/11/2003 8:27:12 PM Pacific Standard Time, ... Cela veut dire: vous avez certainement raison! Leonard Maluf In a message dated 3/11/2003
      Message 40 of 40 , Mar 12, 2003
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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!

        Leonard Maluf
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