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  #141  
Old 18 May 2007, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by KingDavid8 View Post
So do you think that the theory holds water? That the Q-source was notes taken by Matthew himself? Or has someone already proposed it, or is there a reason I'm not seeing that makes it unlikely?David
David, I'm sure I've heard that idea thrown around, but I can't think of off the top of my head who started it. I guess really it would be hard to prove one way or the other. I mean, proving authorship of the books we have is often difficult enough; proving authorship of a document we don't have would be all the harder! It also depends on how you define Q. I want to regard Q as a much looser collection of various written and oral traditions, more of a body of knowledge than a specific document, and as such "author" isn't really a category that could be applied to it. On the other hand, guys like John Kloppenborg (see Excavating Q) define Q as a very specific document that went through at least three different editions (you can buy his Critical Edition of Q from Fortress press even). His model would allow for the idea of an author, but wouldn't be able to attribute authorship to any one person such as matthew, but rather would need atleast 3!

Generally I tend to shy away from theories that try to assign things so specifically, since I think that history tends to develop in a much messier way. So you ask "could Matthew have taken the earliest notes of Jesus' sayings and deeds?" Well, sure, yes he could have, but surely there were many other disciples, yes? Surely there were many more who knew how to write, yes? Why not one of them? Why not several of them? Why not several of them and Matthew? Do you see what I'm saying? It kind of reminds me of those B level sitcoms that they'll play after school, like Saved by the Bell or something, and the plot will call for the characters to put on a school play or something and lo and behold not only will each one of the primary characters be involved in the play, but all the possible jobs and roles for the play will be covered by just the main characters! Thus screech will suddenly be an expert at running the lights and sound, while zak will be able to sing the solo in the starring role, and the muscular guy will suddenly know how to play guitar to lead the pit band. This happens because it's a B show, right? And so the producers can't afford too many extras and they have to give work to their primary cast anyway, so there they all go. But the earliest church wasn't confined to a set cast, and it had lots of extras to fill the different roles. To always look within the narrow roster of the few star characters to fill every roll is just a little too narrow visioned for me, and doesn't respect the messy dynamics of real life. It's just like people debating who the author of Hebrews was but confining themselves only to the names of people already mentioned somewhere else in the biblical text! Ok, sure, maybe it was one of those guys - maybe silas or barnabas - but what are the odds?! There were hundreds of other active members and participants in the earliest church, all those nameless extras get to do something, right?

Anyway, that's my rambling for you, hope that makes sense.
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  #142  
Old 18 May 2007, 04:41 AM
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(Yes I know, that's only because even the wisest scholars in the Old Days were Really Dumb compared to us clever moderns. )
Um... That's kind of true, you know. In another thread, I pointed out that, in those centuries, we have devised entirely new tools for intellectual exploration that the ancients did not have.

For instance, Aristotle, with a little help from his friends, devised the tool of symbolic logic. Logical thought, of course, had existed up to then, but it had never been formalized. It has become one of our standard tools for exploring a system of statements; it didn't exist, and no one was able to apply it, in preceding millennia.

It isn't just physical technology -- computers and jet aircraft -- in which our knowledge is superior to that of distant ancientry. We really are more capable and competent thinkers than they were.

Silas (and our distant descendants will have the same thing to say about us!)
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  #143  
Old 18 May 2007, 05:44 AM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Um... That's kind of true, you know. In another thread, I pointed out that, in those centuries, we have devised entirely new tools for intellectual exploration that the ancients did not have.

For instance, Aristotle, with a little help from his friends, devised the tool of symbolic logic. Logical thought, of course, had existed up to then, but it had never been formalized. It has become one of our standard tools for exploring a system of statements; it didn't exist, and no one was able to apply it, in preceding millennia.

It isn't just physical technology -- computers and jet aircraft -- in which our knowledge is superior to that of distant ancientry. We really are more capable and competent thinkers than they were.

Silas (and our distant descendants will have the same thing to say about us!)
There might be something to that, but I guess my sarcasm is directed at the many who include themselves in your "we" but show little evidence of their own use of logical thought processes.
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  #144  
Old 18 May 2007, 11:42 AM
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I'mNotDedalus I'mNotDedalus is offline
 
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I have no problem with the "Mark-first" hypothesis and am totally open to the possibility it is true. It certainly doesn't threaten my faith! (If anything you'd think if Mark wrote first, that would strengthen the evidence for Jesus' divinity versus "Jesus was just a nice guy who gave a lot of wise advice", because Mark is much more chock-full of miracles than any of the other gospels and he omits all the lengthy sermons).
A more miraculous Jesus, huh? I believe his own response was, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Unless we're doing away with free will for greater miraculous proof in the name of The Grand Inquisitor.

More seriously, though, I wasn't aware that the "Markan Priority" necessarily robs the other Synoptics of their relevance and/or authenticity for the Christian faith. If the oldest gospel (Matthew or Mark) did, why canonize four as opposed to one?

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AFAIK even the theory's most enthusiatic proponents have never stated "anyone who doubts my theory is wrong", and yes although callee claims to be unaware of them, there is a large and increasing body of respected scholars who prefer a Matthew-first theory, which had after all remained pretty much universally accepted for 1800 years.
I know callee asked you earlier in the thread, but I'm also curious which respected scholars you had in mind. Not really as a point of refutation, but more to see where you're coming from.
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  #145  
Old 18 May 2007, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
For instance, Aristotle, with a little help from his friends, devised the tool of symbolic logic. Logical thought, of course, had existed up to then, but it had never been formalized. [...]
(Sorry to continue a hijack.) Even Aristotle's symbolic logic had a flaw, didn't it? I don't remember the name or which one it was but I recall that it wasn't found until a few centuries ago. Am I misremembering something?
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  #146  
Old 18 May 2007, 11:57 AM
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I'mNotDedalus I'mNotDedalus is offline
 
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(Sorry to continue a hijack.) Even Aristotle's symbolic logic had a flaw, didn't it? I don't remember the name or which one it was but I recall that it wasn't found until a few centuries ago. Am I misremembering something?
First-Order-Logic/predicate logic has essentially relegated Aristotelian term logic to historical studies, IIRC. Is that what you had in mind? Or is it Aristotelian susceptibility to The Informal Fallacy of Equivocation?
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  #147  
Old 18 May 2007, 12:15 PM
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- My only problem is with callee's elevation of the Mark-first hypothesis to sacred dogma.
But he's not doing that. callee is saying that from his knowledge, and his experience, the evidence only supports a Mark first theory. Anything else just creates more questions and problems and/or just doesn't make as much sense.

The grammar question, for example. While the language may be simplified for a less educated audience, that does not mean bad grammar, just simpler language. And why do it in writing? Why intentionally put bad grammar into writing for other than stylistic reasons in a novel? If Mark wanted to make the language simpler, he could have done so, but it just would not look the same as a poor translation that uses bad grammar. Haven't you ever read an instruction manual that was badly translated from the Japanese or Chinese? It's just not the same as making language easier to understand. So either Mathew was originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew and Mark made a poor translation into Greek, or Mathew cleaned up Mark's translation. A half-decent translator could tell the difference. And in any case, applying Occam's razor, there's no reason to think that despite any clear signs, Mathew was origninally written in other than Greek, Mark made a bad translation into Greek and then Mathew was properly translated into Greek. It's too convoluted to assume that's true.

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AFAIK even the theory's most enthusiatic proponents have never stated "anyone who doubts my theory is wrong",
Let's add a caveat...change it to "anyone who doubts my theory, without providing compelling evidence for their alternate theory, is wrong because current facts just don't support it."

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and yes although callee claims to be unaware of them, there is a large and increasing body of respected scholars who prefer a Matthew-first theory, which had after all remained pretty much universally accepted for 1800 years.
I'm always suspicious of claims that "lots of experts agree" and then no experts are named. And sciences do progress, and that has nothing to do with intelligence. If Einstein and or Hawking lived back in Newton's day, I doubt they would have done any better than he did, but because of later knowledge and technology, they both have far surpassed Newton's theories. Knowledge of linguistics, translation, theories on textual criticism/interpretation have not remained stagnant.

pinqy
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  #148  
Old 18 May 2007, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by I'mNotDedalus View Post
First-Order-Logic/predicate logic has essentially relegated Aristotelian term logic to historical studies, IIRC. Is that what you had in mind? Or is it Aristotelian susceptibility to The Informal Fallacy of Equivocation?
Aristotelian logic is still taught in formal logic (or at least it was back in 2000, and only in the first few classes), but with the caveat that two or three of his syllogisms are not considered valid by anyone else. The fallacy of equivocation being one of the three, IIRC. Silas would know better.
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  #149  
Old 18 May 2007, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Admiraldinty View Post
Aristotelian logic is still taught in formal logic (or at least it was back in 2000, and only in the first few classes), but with the caveat that two or three of his syllogisms are not considered valid by anyone else. The fallacy of equivocation being one of the three, IIRC. Silas would know better.
I wish I did; I'd never heard of the Fallacy of Equivocation before today! I just did some reading, and it appears to be playing games with "definitions" of words. We all know this one from some creationists: "There are laws of nature, such as the law of gravity. Laws cannot exist without a lawmaker, thus there has to have been a Creator."

Aristotle and Plato absolutely thrive on this stuff -- although, to be fair, I do not know if it is just a problem of translation. The whole "being and becoming" thing is nothing but nonsense in English; maybe it made sense in Greek. Still, reading Aristotle's "Ethics" is like an exercise in really, really bad legal reasoning! He quietly slides around notions like "good" and "useful" and "purposeful" and switches from one meaning to another.

Actually, as I recall it, the only thing "wrong" with Aristotle's logic was that he was inconsistent in assuming the existence of items in statements regarding subsets. Today, in our mathematical logic, it is valid to say "All unicorns are pink," but it is not valid to say "Some unicorns are pink." Now, that blows people's minds in Philosophy 101, but, really, it's just a convention we developed over the centuries to deal with the Empty Set. Aristotle didn't work it through, and sometimes did -- and at other times didn't -- accept the validity of such statements.

(It doesn't even matter which way you go. It's like Ben Franklin assigning "negative" to the cathode. He was wrong...but electrical engineering works just fine this way. An alternative logic, where the properties of the empty set do not imply the validity of such statements -- "It is not true that all unicorns are pink" -- is completely functional and workable. Ya just gotta be consistent!)

Silas (what has one horn and likes sluts instead of virgins? a uniporn!)
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  #150  
Old 18 May 2007, 09:44 PM
KingDavid8 KingDavid8 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by callee View Post
Generally I tend to shy away from theories that try to assign things so specifically, since I think that history tends to develop in a much messier way. So you ask "could Matthew have taken the earliest notes of Jesus' sayings and deeds?" Well, sure, yes he could have, but surely there were many other disciples, yes?
True, but how many of the disciples were present for all of the events that the Q-source apparently mentions? A lot of what Jesus did was very public, but a lot of it was quite private, just Him and the twelve, or even Him and just a few of the twelve. I honestly don't know which events likely came from Q, so I can't say. But unless the Q source only mentioned things that were very public, then they (or at least those items that were done privately) would have to have an apostle as their source, either having written the notes himself, or having told someone else who wrote them.

It could certainly have been multiple apostles as the ultimate source, or one of the lesser known ones, and Matthew and Luke were the ones who ended up with copies of Q. Without evidence that we don't already have, I'm sure we'll never know one way or the other. I'm certainly not convinced that Matthew was the sole, or primary, author of Q. I'm just considering the possibility.

David
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  #151  
Old 19 May 2007, 12:33 PM
PeterK
 
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Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
But he's not doing that. callee is saying that from his knowledge, and his experience, the evidence only supports a Mark first theory. Anything else just creates more questions and problems and/or just doesn't make as much sense.
Dunno if he'd appreciate you putting words into his mouth. He said that any schlolar who doubts his conclusion is wrong. He's not prepareed to concede even a theoretical possibiliity that he could be wrong.
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I'm always suspicious of claims that "lots of experts agree" and then no experts are named.
If that's directed at me because it's a couple of days since i promised to dig up some names, sorry I haven't had access to them til now. Callee actually named a couple of first-rank modern scripture scholars who say Matthew was the first gospel, a few others are B C Butler, William R Farmer, Bernard Orchard, C S Mann, Lamar Cope, John A. T Robinson and Claude Tresmontant. (btw the last 3 are also noted for their persuasive arguments that the gospels were originally written in Hebrew and certainly well before the Fall of Jerusalem which began the discussion on the other thread.)
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And sciences do progress, and that has nothing to do with intelligence. If Einstein and or Hawking lived back in Newton's day, I doubt they would have done any better than he did, but because of later knowledge and technology, they both have far surpassed Newton's theories. Knowledge of linguistics, translation, theories on textual criticism/interpretation have not remained stagnant.
pinqy
Indeed and my point is that as they have progressed recently the Mark-first theory is looking much more dubious than it was once held to be. There have been many long books published on this subject, but I might mention among the evidence adduced eg Clement of Alexandria's reference to "the gospels with genealogies (Matthew and Luke) which were written first". It was Jean Carmignac in "The Birth of the Synoptics" who pointed out what I mentioned about the words of the Benedictus:
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The Benedictus, the song of Zachary, is given in Luke 1:68-79. In Greek, as in English, the Benedictus seems unexceptional as poetry. There is no evidence of clever composition. But, when it is translated into Hebrew, a little marvel appears. In the phrase "to show mercy to our fathers," the expression "to show mercy" is the Hebrew verb hanan, which is the root of the name Yohanan (John). In "he remembers his holy covenant," "he remembers" is the verb zakar, which is the root of the name Zakaryah (Zachary). In "the oath which he swore to our father Abraham" is found, for "to take an oath," the verb sha'ba, which is the root of the name Elishaba (Elizabeth).

Is it by chance that the second strophe of this poem begins by a triple allusion to the names of the three protagonists: John, Zachary, Elizabeth? But this allusion only exists in Hebrew; the Greek or English translation does not preserve it. ..... Hebrew has a great preference for plays on words, and it takes great pleasure in making reference to similar sounds, which facilitate the task of memorization. Another typical case is hidden in the Our Father (Matt. 6:12-13), in which the word `forgive' corresponds to the root nasa, `debts and debtors' to nashah, and `temptation' to nasah. Is this yet another case of mere chance? Isn't it reasonable to think that these words have been chosen by design in order to produce a sort of internal rhyme?"
He gives a lot of other examples of this.
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  #152  
Old 19 May 2007, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by I'mNotDedalus View Post
A more miraculous Jesus, huh? I believe his own response was, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Unless we're doing away with free will for greater miraculous proof in the name of The Grand Inquisitor.
Not sure what you're getting at here. Jesus quoted the scripture you mentioned when the Devil (who was apparently grilling him to try to find out who or what Jesus really was) told him to throw himself off the parapet of the Temple and see if God saved him. His miracles were never worked for sych self-centred ego-building but to build up people's faith and show that he had the power to forgive sins. Jesus himself repeatedly pointed to his miracles to point to his own divine nature. Sorry I can't work out what this has got to do with free will or inquisitors.
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More seriously, though, I wasn't aware that the "Markan Priority" necessarily robs the other Synoptics of their relevance and/or authenticity for the Christian faith. If the oldest gospel (Matthew or Mark) did, why canonize four as opposed to one?
OK I guess my point was a little obscure to some. A lot of people today like to claim that Jesus was just a wise and good teacher and that the miracles in the gospels were only tacked on to his life story much later by admirers who never knew him but lied to make him seem divine. If the very first gospel to be written is the one which is most packed with miracles and least packed with wise teachings, then this idea looks pretty silly. (Mark's gospel is just over half the length of the others, but he includes nearly all of the miracles mentioned in their gospels, and he includes a couple of other miracles which none of the others mentions.)

The primary purpose why the early church canonised certain books as scripture was not to prove points of the faith, but to sanction use of them in liturgies, having satisfied itself that there was nothing in these books which was contrary to the faith. The faith would have been the same whether the Church had canonised one, four, twenty or zero gospels.
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  #153  
Old 27 May 2007, 08:10 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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[...] Jesus himself repeatedly pointed to his miracles to point to his own divine nature. [...]
Peter, I couldn't think of the scripture you're referring to here. Not surprising considering that I'm not very familiar with it but where did it say he pointed to his miracles to point to his divine nature?
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  #154  
Old 27 May 2007, 08:48 PM
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Don't many atheist scholars acknowledge that a man named Jesus Christ did indeed live?
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  #155  
Old 27 May 2007, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Zakor View Post
Don't many atheist scholars acknowledge that a man named Jesus Christ did indeed live?
No, I don't think so, because no man named Jesus Christ did live. Christ is a description, not a surname. He is called Christ because he was supposed to be the messiah.
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  #156  
Old 27 May 2007, 09:26 PM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Zakor View Post
Don't many atheist scholars acknowledge that a man named Jesus Christ did indeed live?
After admiring geminilee's response, I would only add that, yes, many do. But many of us also note that the actual evidence is scanty. Four gospels and one historian's note.

There are, in fact, lots of people who are named only once in historical writings. Just for example, some of the people in Plato's recounting of the Socratic Dialogues; is it meaningful for us to "acknowledge that a man named Euthyphro did indeed live?" If we do, are we then obliged to accept that he actually did and said all the things which Plato depicts him doing and saying?

Until Mr. Peabody makes the WABAC Machine available to us all as a research tool, these questions remain unanswered.

Silas
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  #157  
Old 28 May 2007, 12:10 AM
Zakor
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
After admiring geminilee's response, I would only add that, yes, many do. But many of us also note that the actual evidence is scanty. Four gospels and one historian's note.
I was under the impression that there was a larger corpus of evidence than scriptural.


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There are, in fact, lots of people who are named only once in historical writings. Just for example, some of the people in Plato's recounting of the Socratic Dialogues; is it meaningful for us to "acknowledge that a man named Euthyphro did indeed live?" If we do, are we then obliged to accept that he actually did and said all the things which Plato depicts him doing and saying?
That depends: Are we going to go to war and/or spend a lot of money based on what we think Euthyphro said?
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  #158  
Old 28 May 2007, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Peter, I couldn't think of the scripture you're referring to here. Not surprising considering that I'm not very familiar with it but where did it say he pointed to his miracles to point to his divine nature?
There are plenty of them if you care to look. Here is a nice article that mentions a few of them:
http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/S...s_miracles.htm
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  #159  
Old 28 May 2007, 02:31 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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There are plenty of them if you care to look. Here is a nice article that mentions a few of them:
http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/S...s_miracles.htm
Thanks, PeterK.
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