Re: [textualcriticism] Reconstructed Mark - a thought experiment
Can that approach provide any insight into a proto Mark or any type of strands of development?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wieland Willker" <wie@...>
To: "B-Greek" <b-greek@...>, email@example.com
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 5:02:18 AM
Subject: [textualcriticism] Reconstructed Mark - a thought experiment
A little off-topic, but I think it should be known more widely.
A very important dissertation has been finished by Joe Weaks last year, in
which he is studying a reconstructed text of Mark from the Gospels of Mt and
This is an interesting thought experiment. Imagine, not Q is lost, but Mark.
Now remove all Q material from Mt and Lk and analyze the remaining part.
This remaining double tradition, then, must be Mark. How close can one come
to the real Mark this way?
The result gives us important insights in how close we can come Q (assuming
it existed) and how much one can deduce from it.
NB: If you want to discuss this topic, please do so on the Synoptic-L
The thesis is available online.
Go to http://www.worldcat.org
And enter: Mark without Mark Weaks
MARK WITHOUT MARK:
PROBLEMATIZING THE RELIABILITY OF A
RECONSTRUCTED TEXT OF Q
Joseph Allen Weaks
Here's his conclusion:
"The text of MarQ is a poor reconstruction of Mark both in its extent, and
in its content. In extent, MarQ is but half of the size of Mark. It lacks
significant pericopes, many of which are foundational to a typical
understanding of the literary, theological, redactional characteristics of
Mark. In terms of content, even within the traditions that have been
reconstructed, their final forms are at times but a shadow of their instance
in Mark. The changes in verbal and grammatical frequency are profound
evidence to this fact. Many of the principle theological and literary
features of Mark are lost to MarQ. Likewise, there are predominant features
in MarQ that have no corresponding occurrence in Mark.
In the end, once Mark has been reconstructed from the common material in
Matthew and Luke, several pitfalls are revealed in working with that
reconstructed text. Again and again the defining features of Mark are lost
in the text of MarQ. In analyzing the reconstruction, predominant and
cohesive features of MarQ stand out in such a way that, when compared to
canonical Mark, they can be seen to be false positives. Some significant
vocabulary occurs in MarQ that never occurs in Mark, and some occurs in Mark
that never occurs in MarQ.
Scholars that work with the text of Q need to find new analogies for how to
make use of any reconstructed text of the Q source. To reclaim a source from
Matthew and Luke is to unravel two stages of degradation of the text, both
the evangelist's use of the text and then the scholar's process for
"de-redacting" it back out. Previous defenses of the resulting text of Q
center on the collective wisdom and self-confirming quality of the
reconstruction process. The proposal here is that the question to ask is not
how good or reliable or easy was the process of reconstructing a text behind
Matthew and Luke. The reconstruction here was performed with a set of ideal,
implausible (yet possible) methods that are even superior to those used for
Q. Rather, the question to ask is how representative is the resulting
reconstruction to the actual source document that Matthew and Luke both
used. The answer is "Not very."
When Matthew's and Luke's Marcan source is reconstructed from their non-Q,
common material, the resulting reconstructed text is strikingly
differentiated from the canonical text it is approximating. The tremendous
difference shines a spotlight on the profoundly tenuous nature of a
reconstructed text. It even begs the question as to whether those who work
in source and redaction criticism have done a disservice to historians by
presenting them with a text of Q, as unreliable as it is, with little
guidance regarding the limited level of analysis, dissection, and
stratification that a reconstructed text can endure."
Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany