The dissimilarity test is often parodied and rarely accurately examined.
We do know quite a bit about Judaism and quite a bit about early
The point of the test is to identify those elements in the gospel tradition
which do not simply echo one or other of these but are transitional between
the two.  It is there that we have a cogent historical argument for
attributing material to the first stratum in the gospels. 

Very few people would these days carry on such a discussion in terms of
authenticity.  What is appropriate is to assign material to the first second
or third stratum of the tradition.  If anyone is confused about this then
they should read Fitzmyer on Luke.  I am not endorsing the wilder flights of
the Jesus seminar, but there is a serious historical issue here and people
should not be allowed to get away with loose and unscholarly flip dismissals.

By the way in discussing language we should not lose sight of the fact that
Galilee was forcibly Judaized by Alexander Jannaeus.  Just as it was not
directly under Roman rule before the death of Herod Agrippa, so it differed
also in the antiquity of its Judaism - or rather the lack of it.  It is quite
possible therefore that Aramaic was longer entrenched in Galilee than

David M.
David L. Mealand            *    E-mail: David.Mealand%uk.ac.ed@ukacrl
University of Edinburgh     *    Office Fax: (+44)-31-650-6579
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