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[Synoptic-L] Re: Q and the Lachmann fallacy

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  • Wieland Willker
    If I understand the term Lachmann fallacy correctly, then this (that Mark comes last) is only a theoretical possibility, not really a probable scenario.
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 30, 2005
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      If I understand the term "Lachmann fallacy" correctly, then this (that
      Mark comes last) is only a "theoretical" possibility, not really a
      probable scenario. The argument from order still is a strong one.
      I don't know why Q should be a "necessary corollary" though.

      Best wishes
      Wieland
      <><
      ------------------------------------------------
      Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
      mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
      http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
      Textcritical commentary:
      http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... Just to be clear, the Lachmann fallacy is not about Mark coming last. In fact, the phrase, as Butler defined it, refers to critics who favored Markan
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 31, 2005
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        Wieland Willker wrote:
        >If I understand the term "Lachmann fallacy" correctly, then this (that
        >Mark comes last) is only a "theoretical" possibility, not really a
        >probable scenario.

        Just to be clear, the "Lachmann fallacy" is not about Mark coming
        last. In fact, the phrase, as Butler defined it, refers to critics who
        favored Markan priority based on Lachmann's observation that
        Mark was the connecting link or middle term between Matthew and
        Luke. Butler has shown that Mark's being the middle term means
        that it could be either first or second, but later conceded that Mark
        could be third as well in response to a criticism from Farmer.*

        The Lachmann fallacy is unfortuately misnamed, because Lachmann
        himself did not conclude that Mark was first. Rather, he was a
        supporter of a fragmentary hypothesis (that the synoptic evangelists
        composed their gospels out of various unconnected notes). Though
        the fragmentary hypothesis is adequate for explaining the high degree
        of verbal similarity in the pericopae shared among the synoptics, it
        is rather poor at explaining the commonality of order for the separate
        pericopae. Lachmann posited that the ordering of the account came
        from oral tradition and used his observation to conclude that Mark's
        order resembled that of the oral tradition more than the others.
        Needless to say, no one now really supports Lachmann in his premises
        or conclusions anymore.

        Because Lachmann did not commit the Lachmann fallacy, I would
        prefer a more accurate nomenclature, such as the "Middle Term
        Fallacy."

        It always amazes me that more than forty years after Butler's
        devastating exposure of the middle-term fallacy people (e.g.
        Patterson, Funk, Hoover) are still using it to establish Markan
        priority. Synoptic source criticism has few assured results, but
        one of them is the fallaciousness of the middle-term argument
        when used to prove the priority of the middle term. It is also
        not as if Bulter's argument is obscure: it is ably explained in
        Sanders & Davies textbook on the synoptic gospel and showcased
        in Farmer's critique of the Two-Document Hypothesis.

        There is another way in which the middle term argument backfires:
        though it is true that Mark is the middle term for most of the
        material in Mark's gospel, that is not always true. There is a set
        of materials in which Matthew, not Mark, is the middle term.
        Obviously, Matthew and Mark cannot be both first. The reason
        this set of contradicting evidence gets ignored by the Mark-Q
        camp is that it is immediately quarantined into the Mark/Q overlap
        category, which prevents it from contaminating the logic.

        >The argument from order still is a strong one.

        David Neville has published two books on the argument from
        order, finding it to be inconclusive at all levels, i.e., both at
        the formal order (the middle-term phenomenon) and
        compositionally. He may have been too pessimistic about
        the compositional argument from order (looking at the
        specific changes in order from a redaction-critical perspective),
        but I think he has at least made the case that it is not strong
        argument.

        >I don't know why Q should be a "necessary corollary" though.

        Q is a necessary corollary of Markan priority plus the relative
        independence of Matthew and Luke. It was interesting to Jack
        Poirier that Patterson used the middle-term fallacy to not only
        find Markan priority but also establish Matthew and Luke's
        relative independence. So, if the middle-term argument does
        what Patterson said it did, Q just falls out of the solution like
        a precipitate.

        Interestingly, Kloppenborg's EXCAVATING Q also uses the
        middle-term argument to erect Markan priority and the
        existence of Q in one step. But Kloppenborg managed to
        avoid becoming yet another victim of the middle-term fallacy
        because he merely called it the simplest solution and took
        the effort to examine competing solutions.

        Kloppenborg's twist is to use the middle-term argument
        to create a presumption in favor of the Mark-Q theory
        (i.e., make it the default solution if nothing is better) and
        thereby shift the burden of proof to its competitors. That
        is why Kloppenborg, though he had lots of nice things to
        say about Goodacre's CASE AGAINST Q, was able to say
        that Goodacre has not shown that Q is implausible. This
        only works if Goodacre had the burden of proof to show
        that Q didn't exist. Normally, the burden belongs on the
        one proposing a hypothetical entity, so how can Kloppenborg
        get away with shifting the onus over to Goodacre? I would
        suggest that Kloppenborg did it by designating the Mark-Q
        theory as the simplest solution based on the middle-term
        argument. If Occam's Razor means anything, one always
        gets the burden of proof in arguing against the simplest
        solution. Fair enough, but only if the designation of the
        simplest solution is correct in the first place.

        In my opinion, it is not self-evident to me that the Mark-Q
        solution is the simplest way for account for the middle-term
        phenomenon. The point of Butler's exposé is that the other
        possibilities are equivalently simple.* Also, the Mark-Q
        solution only looks simple if the (smaller but non-negligible)
        amount of material in which Matthew is the middle term is
        ignored.

        Stephen Carlson

        * Actually, I suspect that Butler was right the first time in
        dismissing conflation as a viable explanation for the middle
        term phenomenon. If so, this was tended to exclude theories,
        at least from claiming to be "simplest," that rely on conflation
        to create the middle-term effect. For the Markan middle-term
        material, this means excluding the Griesbach hypothesis (e.g.
        the Two-Gospel theory built on it). For the Matthean middle-
        term material, this would exclude the Mark-Q theory since the
        explanation for that material is that Matthew conflated the
        overlapping Mark and Q materials while Luke did not. If my
        suspicion about the usefulness of conflation is correct, this
        would imply that any theory in which Luke is third has the
        rightful claim to being the simplest. This would include
        both the Farrer and Augustinian theories.

        --
        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
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • Wieland Willker
        Thanks Stephen for your detailed reply. Perhaps I should read Butler and Neville? On a theoretical level (logic) Mark comes second or Mark comes third can
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 31, 2005
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          Thanks Stephen for your detailed reply. Perhaps I should read Butler and
          Neville?

          On a theoretical level (logic) "Mark comes second" or "Mark comes third"
          can certainly also explain the evidence from order. But in reality these
          are just too improbable to take them serious.
          The problem with these two is that both are scenarios where one copies
          from two. In both cases one (Lk or Mk) have to carefully pick out those
          things that are in the same order in both other editions and re-sort
          everything else. Only "Mk comes first" avoids this problem (one copies
          from one).

          Best wishes
          Wieland
          <><
          ------------------------------------------------
          Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
          mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
          http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
          Textcritical commentary:
          http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html


          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Stephen C. Carlson
          ... Perhaps Sanders & Davies STUDYING THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS is more accessible. ... I don t think that the procedure is particularly problematic for Luke being
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 1, 2005
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            At 08:15 AM 2/1/2005 +0100, Wieland Willker wrote:
            >Thanks Stephen for your detailed reply. Perhaps I should read Butler and
            >Neville?

            Perhaps Sanders & Davies STUDYING THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS
            is more accessible.

            >On a theoretical level (logic) "Mark comes second" or "Mark comes third"
            >can certainly also explain the evidence from order. But in reality these
            >are just too improbable to take them serious.
            >The problem with these two is that both are scenarios where one copies
            >from two. In both cases one (Lk or Mk) have to carefully pick out those
            >things that are in the same order in both other editions and re-sort
            >everything else. Only "Mk comes first" avoids this problem (one copies
            >from one).

            I don't think that the procedure is particularly problematic
            for Luke being third. Matthew incorporates 90% of Mark. For
            Luke to adopt Mark's order instead of Matthew, all he has to
            do is follow Mark instead of Matthew. It's that simple. It
            makes no difference when Mark and Matthew were actually written
            relative to each other.

            Here's what I wrote to Synoptic-L on Sep. 9, 1999 explaining
            this in more detail:

            ------

            I must admit that I've always been puzzled by Sanders and others
            who argue that it does not make sense that the middle term could
            be second. Let's use the AH as an example. Mark uses Matthew,
            either copying Matthew (and creating Matt-Mark agreements) or
            modifying Matthew (and creating Matt-Mark disagreements). [NB:
            this result also occurs under the FH if Matt uses Mark.] When
            Luke uses Mark for the narrative framework, he will either copy
            Mark or modify Mark, for four possibilities:

            1. If Luke copies Mark at the Matt-Mark agreements, then we have
            Matt-Mark-Luke agreements.
            2. If Luke copies Mark at the Matt-Mark disagreements, then we
            have Mark-Luke agreements against Matt.
            3. If Luke modifies Mark at the Matt-Mark agreements, then we
            have Matt-Mark agreements against Luke.
            4. If Luke modifies Mark at the Matt-Mark disagreement, then
            we have a triple disagreement between Matt, Mark, and Luke,
            unless Luke coincindentally modifies Mark to be in agreement
            with Matthew, which I would estimate to be at the same
            probability as for the Farrer Hypothesis.

            Thus, the theory predicts that Matt-Mark-Luke agreements, Mark-Luke
            agreements against Matt, Matt-Mark agreements against Luke, and
            triple disagreements are more common than Matt-Luke agreements
            against Mark, which is exactly what we see.

            For the order of Luke->Mark->Matt, we apply the same argument,
            mutatis mutandi, with the roles of Matt and Luke reversed, and
            come to the same conclusion.

            Interestingly, Butler thought that Griesbach was excluded as an
            explanation for the middle term, but withdrew this criticism in
            light of Farmer's work. I suspect that Butler was onto something
            but could not articulate it. To me, it seems that Griesbach should
            produce a slightly different prediction than the other middle term
            explanations.

            -----

            Stephen
            --
            Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
            Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
            "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35


            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
            List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
          • Wieland Willker
            ... You are right! One could ask though, why Lk should follow Mk if he knows that Mt is older and more comprehensive. But, ok, I understand the problem now.
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 1, 2005
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              Stephen wrote:
              > I don't think that the procedure is particularly
              > problematic for Luke being third. Matthew incorporates
              > 90% of Mark. For Luke to adopt Mark's order instead of
              > Matthew, all he has to do is follow Mark instead of
              > Matthew. It's that simple.


              You are right!
              One could ask though, why Lk should follow Mk if he knows that Mt is
              older and more comprehensive.
              But, ok, I understand the problem now. Thanks.

              Best wishes
              Wieland
              <><
              ------------------------------------------------
              Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
              mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
              http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
              Textcritical commentary:
              http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html


              Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
              List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
            • Stephen C. Carlson
              ... Great minds must think alike. This is exactly in line with Mark Goodacre s reaction to my original message. See:
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 1, 2005
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                Wieland Willker wrote:
                >You are right!
                >One could ask though, why Lk should follow Mk if he knows that Mt is
                >older and more comprehensive.

                Great minds must think alike. This is exactly in line with
                Mark Goodacre's reaction to my original message. See:

                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/synoptic-l/message/3073

                >But, ok, I understand the problem now. Thanks.

                You're very welcome,

                Stephen Carlson

                --
                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
                List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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