4533Re: [textualcriticism] Initial and Archetype
- Feb 28, 2009Bob:
The vast majority of evangelical scholars do not agree with Ehrman on his assumptions about the differences between the Original and Archetype.
Add to this the pioneering work by Dr. Thomas showing no literary interdependence among the synopitc gospel writers, where he concludes: "Based on observational facts regarding all fifty-eight sections of triple-tradition, this study has found that only sixteen percent of the words in those sections
are identical in all three Gospels. That is far fewer than would have been identical if the writers had engaged in copying from one another or had functioned as copyists
of each other’s Gospels. That in itself is sufficient to conclude that they worked independently of each other’s writings."
Only 16 percent agreement! And yet, some still hold today some form of literary interdependence. Read his article; he actually lists all these 'triple-traditions' (places where Matt, Mark, and Luke have the same event). And the 16 percent is compared against a very important benchmark: OT quotations.
When two Gospel writers quote the same LXX passage, they agree closer to 70 percent. SO, in places where we know the gospel writes are quoting the same passage/material, their agreement is around 70 percent. When they are quoting from the same event in the life of Christ, oddly enough, they agree with each other closer to 15 to 20 percent. This huge gap is difficult to explain.
Thomas has shown mathematically that the gospel writers were not plagiarizing each others' work, but I still think they were using common sources. Even though they don't use the same wording in common pericopes, the order of pericopes seems to imply common sources from which each slightly departed. This data also, as far as I can tell, does away with Marcan priority, or anyone's priority. There is just no measurable dependence on each other.
Finally, I think it is overly speculative to say that the gospels were anonymous. I find it near impossible that Matthew, for example, wrote this gospel and then secretly put it in circulation. I think first century contemporaries knew that he wrote this gospel. As it was being delivered, I suspect the deliverers were bringing these gospels to important Christian hubs with the statement that "This account of Jesus was written by Matthew." Would not someone first ask who wrote this when being handed an anonymous scroll of such import. I keep arguing that people were the same then and now.
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