Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: balance of plausibility
- At 06:28 PM 10/18/2004 +1000, Tim Lewis wrote:
>Is assuming written sources really more plausible? ...No, there's no such presumption. In fact, I do place the burden
>Stephen, you seem to be defaulting to the notion that Q must be a singular
>written document (or Mt) because of "extensive verbal agreements" and
>"large-scale agreements in sequencing" without previously established
>parameters of whether an oral source or written source (or combination) is
>just as explicable. Thus you presume the burden of plausibility/persuasion
>lies with those who do not see a written source for the double tradition.
of persuasion lies on those asserting the existence of a literary
relationship, However, "extensive verbal agreements" and "large-scale
agreements in sequencing" are among the relevant evidence that justifies a
conclusion that there is such a literary relationship. There's nothing
particularly unique about these (and other) criteria here; they've been
applied by all sort of historical critics in all sorts of fields as well
as by courts adjudicating copyright disputes.
>Yes, it would seem people who are publishing literature on "Q" are moreIt may depend on what you mean by "most Mk-Q theorists". If you
>likely to have already accepted it as a unified document. But is it
>something that most Mk-Q theorists would agree on? (Is this not one weakness
>of the theory!?) Perhaps there are just as many who are unable to suppose a
>unified document but are simply less vocal (since this is less exciting? too
mean people who have published on synoptic source criticism, there
are not a lot of them. If you mean people who more or less assent
to the Mark-Q theory but don't really publish on that topic, I don't
>Indeed several scholars are becoming more vocal against the "written"Harvey's article is available on-line along with many other in JETS
>default setting in studying the synoptic problem. E.g. James Dunn is a
>proponent for an oral Q ["Altering the Default Setting: Re-envisaging the
>Early Transmission of the Jesus Tradition" [NTS 49 (2003): 139-75].
>Cf. John D. Harvey ["Orality and its Implications for Biblical Studies:
>Recapturing an Ancient Paradigm," JETS 45/1 (March 2002): 99109] who
>believes, "a common oral source is at least as plausible a solution to the
>"Synoptic Problem" as one which is based on literary interdependence." See
>also an article earlier this year by Sharon Lea Matilda, "Negotiating the
>Clouds Around Statistics and "Q": A Rejoinder and Independent Analysis," NT
>XLVI, 2 (2004): 105-131, indicating an acceptance of the independence of Mt
>and Lk and some acceptance of the Mk-Q hypothesis but sees as problematic
>the notion of copying from a Q document (or even Mk as a document).
>Especially worth a read is, T. M. Derico "Upgrade and Reboot: A Re-Appraisal
>of the Default Setting" Trinity College, Oxford
>[http://www.sbl-site.org/PDF/Derico_Upgrade.pdf%5d in response to Dunns 2003
My impression of all these articles (two of which I have at hand
and the other two are based on my [poor] memory) is that they fail
to articulate any workable standards for judging whether there was
or was not literary use that can be applied to a broad set of actual
cases. In particular, there's a tendency to set an impossibly high
standard of proof for assessing literary dependence in the NT that
would not work in other situations, and it is not clear why.
Harvey's article stressed the orality of the culture, but the
evangelists did write gospels and, even if the greater culture was
oral, one cannot ignore the very real literary sub-culture -- a
sub-culture that, in general, was wealthier and more mobile (so
documents did circulate) and a sub-culture in which we would
regarded as plagiarism was rampant (so people did copy). In such
a sub-culture, I don't see why the constant rejoinder of "but it
could have been oral" to be particularly compelling. We're not
talking about literary dependence among illiterates.
>Helmut Koester came eventually to multiply sources (written and oral) forRedaction is a powerful (but not necessary) argument, but your
>the canonical gospels ["Written Gospels or Oral Traditions," Journal of
>Biblical Literature, Summer 94, Vol. 113 Issue 2, 293-7]. If his statement
>(p.297), "Whenever one observes words or phrases that derive from an author
>or redactor of a gospel writing, the existence of a written source must be
>assumed" is methodologically acceptable, then it is noteworthy that rarely
>does one find Markan phrases and redaction in Mt or Lk (and not very much
>Matthean phrasing is found in Lk).
statement that "rarely does one find Markan phrases and redaction
in Mt or Lk" might appear to be an acknowledgement that some such
redaction is found, because you didn't say "no" or "zero." Can
you really exclude any Markan redaction?
>I'm certainly envious of other list members' solid beliefs in theirWhen I became interested in the synoptic problem, the very first issue that
>particular source theories (most of which require much direct
>copying/editing from written sources) whilst Im still struggling to confirm
>literary dependence (which seems to be assumed rather than tested)! I must
>agree that theories of written sources are simpler. But must still disagree
>that they are therefore more plausible or more likely.
I had to deal with was the existence of literary dependence. In fact, as
an exercise, I wrote several years ago a private essay "The Synoptic Problem
is a Literary Question" that expressed my thoughts on the question to my own
satisfaction. Now that I have a weblog, I think I'll go ahead and publish it
there so that you and others can at least understand where I'm coming from.
Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
"Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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