But, but… ain’t no Synoptic Problem

Newly minted Dr. Carlson has a nice link up.

Synoptic Problem Website: Overview of Proposed Solutions.

Go with Farrer-Goulder-Goodacre.

(Yes, I intend to address this issue and show why they are essentially correct and prove it so that it is no longer a hypothesis, but the… Farrer-Goulder-Goodacre Law).

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22 Replies to “But, but… ain’t no Synoptic Problem”

  1. Simplification does not reflect historical reality. Old fashioned chart, I’ve seen it before. I expect he added Goodacre. Whatever. Where is recent critical scholarship? Chaotic solution? Not actual reconstructed models but plausible chaotic models. No? Even the Klopp concedes parsimony is a virtue of explanatory logic; it is not a feature of historical or literary realities. Goodacre is partly right but pushes over the limit of reality in an effort to achieve simple explanatory logic. NO no we mustn’t advance. Too complicated.

  2. Thanks, Joel!

    I appreciate your comments, Steph, and your characteristic appeal to chaos. Of course, by definition, “simplification does not reflect historical reality” but simple theories may provide stronger and more plausible models for the “reality” that they are representing than chaotic ones. Pointing to the undoubtedly complex nature of the reality that lies behind a model does not thereby render the model problematic. And chaotic models can have many more data points where the stress can be felt.

    1. How patronising 🙂 – my ‘characteristic’ appeal to chaos? How about historically realistic appeal to chaos? Presenting simplistic models as historical reality which is what these are, is misleading. We cannot reconstruct the chaotic models with absolute certainty, but they demonstrate the direction of literary dependence which simplistic models disguise. Michael Goulder demonstrated brilliantly to me fifteen years ago that the author of Luke knew Matthew, but not that he used him. ‘Luke’ didn’t like ‘Matthew’ – after all as Michael pointed out, ‘Matthew’ was a hopeless misogynist.

      1. Are you denying it’s “characteristic”, Steph?! There is a difference between “simple” and “simplistic”, and the models do not correspond one-to-one with “historical reality”; they are attempts to represent what happened in the most coherent manner possible. When you say “We cannot reconstruct the chaotic models with absolute certainty”, I am almost with you — we cannot reconstruct accurately the chaos with certainty. But if you are admitting that you can’t reconstruct chaotic models with certainty, then you are coming pretty close to agreeing with what I am saying; reality will always be more complex than the models we use to represent it.

        1. No – you are eliminating sources and the evidence for sources, such as variants between Matthew and Luke which are best explained by a mistaken reading by one, of Aramaic. You have never conceded the evidence for written sources – you only acknowledge oral influence.

          1. Thanks, Steph. OK, that’s a comment on the specifics of the Farrer model rather than the general issue about how models work but yes, I do acknowledge the use of written sources, Matthew and Luke’s use of Mark, Luke’s use of Matthew. I certainly don’t rule out the possibility of other written sources though I have not yet been persuaded of any particular ones.

          2. That’s the second time you have acknowledged written source material on a blog comment to me, but to my knowledge you have not yet published such a comment nor have you engaged with Maurice’s work on Mark and the double tradition. If you did this it would not only be helpful to scholarship, but I would be eternally grateful as so far only fundies of the likes of the incompetent Porter have attempted to ‘engage’ and muddle it up.

          3. and occupants of Tyndale House, just as incompetently. What we need is critical debate and discussion of these ideas.

    1. Debate to which, if your thesis is more advanced now, scholarship and general knowledge would be improved with your contribution. Initiate even. Engage… Here we are waiting on opposite sides of the pond. Hoping.

      1. Not sure about “more advanced”, Steph! I just haven’t got a lot new to say on the topic at the moment — and most scholars haven’t engaged with what I said last time anyway. But may return to it one day.

        1. Your acknowledgement of written sources and your potential engagement with existing chaotic proposals of such things? That would greatly improve and advance knowledge. You are ‘engaged’ very muchly in my regrettably unfinished monster. Please give me something else to engage with tooooooo.

  3. Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and just throw this out here, acknowledging that I have yet to study the issue for decades, but I will make the case for my position.

    1.) There needs be no written sources
    2.) Matthew knew what Mark was doing and then developed it further
    3.) Luke followed Matthew.

    I can’t verify oral sources so I can’t include them.

    Mark is first and by first, I mean the first written source.

      1. I can provide it, but these are the points that I’m going to argue fully in the future publication. No argument, really. As I said, I’m going to throw them out there.

        Further, Mark – 73-75. Matthew 75–80.

        1. To argue that there were no written sources – ie Mark wrote from scratch on the basis of hearsay only, and to suggest nobody else ever wrote things down, contradicting evidence people did and tax collectors included and Jesus’s followers weren’t likely to be illiterate, and to imply Papias made it all up contrary to what he wrote, is historically unrealistic and ignores evidence of written sources, where variants have occurred through misreading, such as Luke putting the inappropriate ‘rue’ (sh-b-r-a) in place of Matthew’s perfectly sensible ‘dill’ (sh-b-th-a), Mark 2.23-28 has ‘make’ (lema‘ebhadh) in place of ‘go along’ (lema‘ebadh) etc etc. Is that a long enough sentence for you? If it was in German it would be the appropriate length.

          1. I love the German sentences!

            But, again, I shall save the arguments until later, when they are developed. 😉

          2. NO!!!!! I include Casey and Crossley. As a matter of fact, I have made several points to Casey’s argument, especially in the son of man bit.

            Can you get more critical than they? 😉

          3. Did I ever tell you how nauseously incestuous and claustraphobic this discipline seems, locked in its little convictions and ideas of consensus. ~And no Mark – people tend to adopt your hypothesis without engaging. It appeals to more people than not on this side of the pond and you’d realise that if you came to conferences. However the impression is that reality is more complex so while there is an acknowledgent that you are pretty much right, in application to the texts and history, the theory becomes more chaotic.

        1. well if you were, your assumptions, and by necessity therefore, your conclusions, would be “unarguable” (Carrionism)

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