Stephen Carlson wrote:.
>You've adequately explained the contents of N1 and N2, but that is only
>part of the whole picture. The character of the N1 and N2 also
>the arrangement (order) of its contents and their wording. The 2SH,
>and FGM all make incompatible predictions on the order and wording of
>their sources. For example, the order of N1 and N2 under the 2GH would
>be most similar to Matthew and Luke respectively, but the remaining two
>hypothesis seem to require that one of the notebooks have Mark's order.
>I'm not sure exactly what you mean by reconciling the major hypotheses,
>but it would seem that they are not subsumed by the 2NH in the same
>that the Einsteinian relativity subsumes Newtonian mechanics. Rather,
>it would appear that the 2NH has the potential to appropriate the most
>persuasive aspects of its competitors and leave the others behind.
>Postulating two hypothetical documents and seven lines of dependencies
>(compared to 0/3 for 2GH, FGM and 1/4 for 2SH) adds a lot to the
>power of the model. The major concern is Occam's Razor: is it
>to explain all the data? Most of the inadequacies of the 2SH (the
>Q overlaps and minor agreements) have been thoroughly thrashed out in
>the scholarly community, and so one is unlikely to win over a majority
>unless one can produce either (a) a methodological flaw in the 2SH, or
>(b) new, unconsidered evidence that the 2SH/2GM/FGM, etc. cannot easily
>explain. If I understand you correctly, you are preparing to present
that new evidence at Lausanne in 1997, and I must patiently wait until
You write: "I'm not sure exactly what you mean by reconciling the major
hypotheses, but it would seem that they are not subsumed by the 2NH in
the same sense that the Einsteinian relativity subsumes Newtonian
mechanics. Rather, it would appear that the 2NH has the potential to
appropriate the most persuasive aspects of its competitors and leave the
This is fine! This observation captures precisely what reconciliation
is!!! If the 2NH correctly describes what actually happened, then in
just the sense you define, it reconciles the 2SH, 2GH and FGM
Hypotheses, and shows why they have been popular.
You also comment, "Postulating two hypothetical documents and seven
lines of dependencies (compare to 0/3 for 2GH.fgm and 1/4 for 2SH) adds
a lot of explanatory power to the model."
Yes. Another very perceptive observation. The 2NH, however, is no more
complex than necessary to explain the data. At the end of my talk
(available on http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/ ), I add a slide on "Is the
2NH too complex?" I show that it is not: Occam's Razor is applied.
You also write: "Most of the inadequacies of the 2SH (the Mark/Q
overlaps and the minor agreements) have been thrashed out in the
scholarly community." If by "thrashed out" you mean "solved", then I
would disagree, and (insofar as it matters) most of the scholarly
community would disagree also. As Professor Morna Hooker of
Cambridge,UK, puts it in her commentary on Mark, (page 15); "All we can
say with any certainty is that, on the evidence available, the
hypothesis of Markan priority solves more problems than any other.
But no hypothesis should ever be given the status of an 'assured
result', and we should be grateful to those who have challenged this
particular theory for reminding us of this fact." The inadequacies of
the 2SH (which are more than you state) have been argued about a great
deal because they are real inadequacies which very extensive argument
has not been able to remove.
Positively, do we not need a hypothesis which fits not only all the data
explained by the 2NH, but also all the data explained by the 2GH and FGM
hypotheses, so reconciling these three? And do we not have such a
hypothesis which, for good measure, also explains external evidence like
the codex format of the manuscripts of the synoptic gospels, the origin
of the 'nomina sacra' in Christian writing in Greek, and the Papias
tradition concerning Matthew?
-- Brian E. Wilson