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RE: [Synoptic-L] Documentary independence

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  • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
    Tim Lewis wrote: _____ Are there other documents around that share enough similarity together that we would be certian of documentary dependence? Among the
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 16 5:48 AM
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      Tim Lewis wrote:


      Are there other documents around that share enough similarity together that we would be certian of documentary dependence? Among the synoptics, documentary (inter)dependence should still be considered hypothetical. Granting that the 1) common material 2) common phrasing of the material and 3) common sequence of the material, points to dependence as more sensible (than independence), is surely an acceptable working hypothesis if we do not have reason to believe that independent documents about Jesus would share such agreements. So do we have for comparison other examples where it seems certain that documentary dependence explains similarities? 
       
      Tim Lewis 
      Long ago, "in that green time between BC and now" (anyone recognize the poet?) I wrote my Ph.D. thesis on this very topic (under the direction of Lou Martyn, Reg Fuller and Ray Brown). Several years later the thesis was published in the SBL Dissertation Series, No. 28 with the title, EVIDENCE OF CONFLATION IN MARK? A STUDY IN THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM. In an attempt to identify characteristics of conflation as an editorial process I studied several known examples of conflation (documentary dependence) where the lines of dependence were well known. I attempted to choose diverse samples so that I would be more likely to identify characteristics of that editorial process rather than coincidental phenomena. We know, for example, that in the Diatessaron Tatian was combining material from the four canoncial gospels. Although the Diatessaron survives primarily in translations, a Greek fragment was discovered at Dura Europos which provides us a very clear and interesting look at Tatian's method of combining his sources. I also looked at several medieval chroniclers where the lines of documentary dependence are well known. I chose these Latin chroniclers because they provided particularly clear examples of documentary interrelationships where three texts were closely related, and in one case where document A was a source used for document B and where both A and B were sources for C. Since I completed that work other known examples of documentay dependence have been identified and studied. So, the simple answer to the question is, "yes, there are other documents around that share enough similarity together that we would be certain of documentary dependence." The not-so-simple task is identifying the source and derivative documents when the lines of dependence are not clearly known.
       
      Thomas R. W. Longstaff
      Crawford Family Professor, Emeritus
      Colby College
      Waterville, ME 04901
       
      (P.S. Personal note: the uncle after whom I am named moved from England to Melbourne where he and his family very happily lived out the remainder of their lives.)
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