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Re: [Synoptic-L] documentary independence

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  • dgentil@sears.com
    Leonard, Maybe I could just give a philosophical answer. What do I believe the study proves? Nothing at all. I believe absolute proof of anything is
    Message 1 of 20 , Sep 24, 2004
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      Leonard,

      Maybe I could just give a philosophical answer. What do I believe the study
      proves?

      Nothing at all. I believe absolute proof of anything is impossible.

      What the study demonstrates is that when vocabulary frequencies are
      examined, that form of evidence indicates a strong probability of Markian
      priority.

      However, it is always possible that if more evidence, of other sorts, were
      considered, the probability of Markian priority could be reduced or even
      reversed. (Updating probabilities in this way is either an implicit or
      explicit application of Bayes's theorem.) But, I think that it would
      require a quite substantial amount of evidence to change the probable
      conclusion.

      What macro features are you referring to? I recall that you have said that
      the large scale structure of the synoptics seems most consistent with
      Markian priority, but that your disagreement was with the details.

      .
      Sincerely,
      Dave Gentile

      Dave Gentile
      M.S. Physics
      M.S. Finance
      Riverside, IL




      Maluflen@...
      Sent by: To: GentDave@..., synoptic-l@...
      owner-synoptic-l@ cc:
      bham.ac.uk Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] documentary independence


      09/20/2004 07:32
      PM






      In a message dated 9/19/2004 9:16:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
      GentDave@... writes:


      I posted this because there are people here who may not be familiar with
      earlier discussions on this list. If you, or others have specific
      questions
      about material presented on the web pages, I'd be happy to try to answer
      those question, since that might help me improve the site.



      I would just like to hear you express verbally, in somewhat fuller form,
      what you think your tables of statistics prove and why. The reason I say
      this is because your less fully stated interpretation of your verbal
      statistics does not match with my interpretation of more macro observations
      -- such as the fact that the common Synoptic material is in general more
      demonstrably Matthean in origin than it is Markan in origin. It would be
      nice if the statistics re-inforced, rather than contradicted, sound
      evaluation of the evidence based on macro observations.

      Leonard Maluf
      Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
      Weston, MA




      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 9/24/2004 3:18:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... What I would like is a fuller statement of your argument, as opposed to simply discussing
      Message 2 of 20 , Sep 26, 2004
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        In a message dated 9/24/2004 3:18:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time, dgentil@... writes:


        Maybe I could just give a philosophical answer. What do I believe the study
        proves?

        Nothing at all.  I believe absolute proof of anything is impossible.

        What the study demonstrates is that when vocabulary frequencies are
        examined, that form of evidence indicates a strong probability of Markian
        priority.


        What I would like is a fuller statement of your argument, as opposed to simply discussing its formal value, or stating what you believe to be its result or conclusion. I suspect that there are presuppositions in your argument that I would have serious problems with, but I can't say so for sure until you lay it out a bit more fully. It is not sufficient to say that such a fuller exposition can be found in Synoptic-L archives. You are writing on this list to an audience which should not be presumed to be familiar with those archives, and are stating that you have made a significant argument in favor of Markan priority, based on vocabulary statistics. I think you have to be able to describe or rehearse that argument with sufficient fulness to insure that list members don't have to simply take your word for it when you pronounce on its merit. Then I could proceed to either reject your argument, or perhaps to accept it, and then go on to air the numerous other possible arguments, also based on vocabulary statistics, that would favor Matthean priority. Thanks.

        Leonard Maluf
        Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
        Weston
      • David Gentile
        Leonard, I don t expect people to look through the archives. However, I do expect people who are interested in understanding the work to study all the webpages
        Message 3 of 20 , Sep 26, 2004
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          Leonard,

          I don't expect people to look through the archives. However, I do expect
          people who are interested in understanding the work to study all the
          webpages on my site completely (including following all the links) and ask
          specific questions about items there that they do not understand, or have
          issues with.

          http://www.davegentile.com/synoptics/main.html

          I don't see any value in cutting and pasting that material here, or trying
          to do a re-statement of that material here, unless I know what is not clear
          in the first attempt at explanation.

          Thank you,
          Dave Gentile

          Dave Gentile
          Riverside, Illinois
          M.S. Physics
          M.S. Finance
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <Maluflen@...>
          To: <dgentil@...>; <synoptic-l@...>
          Sent: Sunday, September 26, 2004 10:39 AM
          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] documentary independence


          > In a message dated 9/24/2004 3:18:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
          > dgentil@... writes:
          >
          >
          > > Maybe I could just give a philosophical answer. What do I believe the
          study
          > > proves?
          > >
          > > Nothing at all. I believe absolute proof of anything is impossible.
          > >
          > > What the study demonstrates is that when vocabulary frequencies are
          > > examined, that form of evidence indicates a strong probability of
          Markian
          > > priority.
          > >
          >
          > What I would like is a fuller statement of your argument, as opposed to
          > simply discussing its formal value, or stating what you believe to be its
          result or
          > conclusion. I suspect that there are presuppositions in your argument that
          I
          > would have serious problems with, but I can't say so for sure until you
          lay it
          > out a bit more fully. It is not sufficient to say that such a fuller
          > exposition can be found in Synoptic-L archives. You are writing on this
          list to an
          > audience which should not be presumed to be familiar with those archives,
          and are
          > stating that you have made a significant argument in favor of Markan
          > priority, based on vocabulary statistics. I think you have to be able to
          describe or
          > rehearse that argument with sufficient fulness to insure that list members
          > don't have to simply take your word for it when you pronounce on its
          merit. Then I
          > could proceed to either reject your argument, or perhaps to accept it, and
          > then go on to air the numerous other possible arguments, also based on
          > vocabulary statistics, that would favor Matthean priority. Thanks.
          >
          > Leonard Maluf
          > Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
          > Weston
          >


          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 9/26/2004 6:44:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... I wouldn t waste my time. I have no reason to question any of your statistical data that do
          Message 4 of 20 , Sep 28, 2004
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            In a message dated 9/26/2004 6:44:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time, GentDave@... writes:

            I don't expect people to look through the archives. However, I do expect
            people who are interested in understanding the work to study all the
            webpages on my site completely (including following all the links) and ask
            specific questions about items there that they do not understand, or have
            issues with.


            I wouldn't waste my time. I have no reason to question any of your statistical data that do not require intelligence, and that can therefore be processed by a computer better than by a human being. I am interested in the following step: how you get from the data you have assembled to an argument in favor of Markan priority. It is there that I suspect (though I cannot yet say for sure, since you refuse to articulate your argument beyond the mere statement of its conclusion) that presuppositions would be operative to which I would take exception. Until you are able to articulate that argument, I don't believe its conclusion merits much credit or attention.

            Leonard Maluf
            Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
            Weston, MA

          • dgentil@sears.com
            I wouldn t waste my time. Then I really don t see why I should waste mine. But... The central premise is that if a category of text (A) and another category
            Message 5 of 20 , Sep 28, 2004
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              "I wouldn't waste my time."

              Then I really don't see why I should waste mine.

              But...

              The central premise is that if a category of text (A) and another category
              of text (B) share a similar frequency of vocabulary items, above and beyond
              any similarity we would expect, given that both categories are taken from
              the synoptics, and if another category (C) does not share a similar
              frequency of vocabulary items with (A) and (B), then (A) and (B) most
              likely have the same author, and (C) most likely has a different author.

              The study shows that the categories which include material in common
              between Matthew and Mark show a similarity to categories which contain
              material found only in Mark. But the categories containing material unique
              to Matthew, do not show a similar relation to the categories containing
              material common to Matthew and Mark.

              Hence...the material in common between Matthew and Mark was likely
              originally authored by the same person who produced the rest of Mark, and
              not be the same person that produced the rest of Matthew.

              Some objections to directly connecting vocabulary frequency, and authorship
              have been raised on this list, and the objections are summarized and
              discussed here.

              http://www.davegentile.com/synoptics/problems.html

              Dave Gentile
              M.S. Physics
              M.S. Finance
              Riverside, IL






              Maluflen@...
              Sent by: To: GentDave@..., synoptic-l@...
              owner-synoptic-l@ cc:
              bham.ac.uk Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] documentary independence


              09/28/2004 11:55
              AM






              In a message dated 9/26/2004 6:44:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
              GentDave@... writes:

              I don't expect people to look through the archives. However, I do expect
              people who are interested in understanding the work to study all the
              webpages on my site completely (including following all the links) and ask
              specific questions about items there that they do not understand, or have
              issues with.


              I wouldn't waste my time. I have no reason to question any of your
              statistical data that do not require intelligence, and that can therefore
              be processed by a computer better than by a human being. I am interested in
              the following step: how you get from the data you have assembled to an
              argument in favor of Markan priority. It is there that I suspect (though I
              cannot yet say for sure, since you refuse to articulate your argument
              beyond the mere statement of its conclusion) that presuppositions would be
              operative to which I would take exception. Until you are able to articulate
              that argument, I don't believe its conclusion merits much credit or
              attention.

              Leonard Maluf
              Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
              Weston, MA




              Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
              List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
            • Maluflen@aol.com
              In a message dated 9/28/2004 1:51:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Hmmm... I am wondering whether to try to tease out what this all means, or just to let it
              Message 6 of 20 , Sep 28, 2004
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                In a message dated 9/28/2004 1:51:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time, dgentil@... writes:

                The central premise is that if a category of text (A) and another category
                of text (B) share a similar frequency of vocabulary items, above and beyond
                any similarity we would expect, given that both categories are taken from
                the synoptics, and if another category (C) does not share a similar
                frequency of vocabulary items with (A) and (B), then (A) and (B) most
                likely have the same author, and (C) most likely has a different author.


                Hmmm... I am wondering whether to try to tease out what this all means, or just to let it stand as a monument to the stunning perlucidity of argumenation in favor of Markan priority. More seriously, I see a potential problem here in the fact that, on the one hand, you refer to "authors" of text here and on the other, the argument seems to presuppose a secondary author who is really, in a significant sense, more a copier than an author. I'm not sure exactly how this observation affects your argument, because it is not perfectly clear to me yet what your argument is, but perhaps some light will emerge if I proceed to read your next sentence


                The study shows that the categories which include material in common
                between Matthew and Mark show a similarity to categories which contain
                material found only in Mark. But the categories containing material unique
                to Matthew, do not show a similar relation to the categories containing
                material common to Matthew and Mark.



                Now you are writing in sentences I can understand, and if its components are true, your study would seem to be a valid, if inconclusive, argument in favor of Markan priority. I am not exactly sure how you are using the term "categories" in the above. Does it mean something more than "passages"? Also, I think it would be interesting if you could supply a concrete example, that could then be discussed, of the phenomenon the above sentences intend to convey. I realize that your original argument did not depend on a single item, but was rather cumulative in force. But I still find it difficult to evaluate your claims without the help of a few particulars. Maybe you could report on what you would regard as the most telling instances of the phenomenon you describe?


                Hence...the material in common between Matthew and Mark was likely
                originally authored by the same person who produced the rest of Mark, and
                not be the same person that produced the rest of Matthew.


                Your conclusion intrigues me because it is counter-intuitive. It states the opposite of what I would think to be true, coming at the problem from an approach not based exclusively on detailed vocabulary statistics. I think the material common to Matthew and Mark is demonstrably more Matthean than it is Markan in origin. I think, for instance, that the miracles in the two Gospels function differently in the two communication settings, and that that of Matthew is much more likely earlier than that of Mark. In Matthew the miracles of Jesus are part of a scriptural argument that legitimates Jesus as Israel's Messiah; in Mark the miracles are used to illustrate the saving mediation of Jesus' divine power in an ecclesial situation. Mark is not only no longer interested in legitimating Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, he is no longer even particularly interested in defining Jesus' relationship vis-a-vis Israel nor does he understand this relationship to be Jesus' defining identity. In other words, Mark's perspective is that of the later Christian creeds.

                Leonard Maluf
                Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
                Weston, MA

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