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Re: [textualcriticism] Reconstructed Mark - a thought experiment

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  • Richard Smith
    Can that approach provide any insight into a proto Mark or any type of strands of development? Richard Smith ... From: Wieland Willker
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 24, 2011

      Can that approach provide any insight into a proto Mark or any type of strands of development?


      Richard Smith

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Wieland Willker" <wie@...>
      To: "B-Greek" <b-greek@...>, textualcriticism@yahoogroups.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

      Joseph Allen Weaks
      January 2010
      383 pages

      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."

      Best wishes
      Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
      Textcritical commentary:

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