Re: Q and Papias

On Sun, 30 Oct 1994 gaichele@adrian.adrian.edu wrote:

> As one who takes a literary approach to the Bible, I find these
> discussions of history (especially history "behind" the text)
> generally uninteresting.  I mean, really, how reliable is Papias,
> or Eusebius? 

Well, that is part of the question, and why we are discussing the issues 
that we are.  Can you prove that they are generally unreliable?  Your 
post suggests that they aren't, unless I have misread you.

 What I have to object to, however, is the implication
> that one can somehow start in a neutral position, sift the
> "evidence" (as though evidence existed prior to theory), and then
> objectively decide the issue.  Please, read Kuhn or Quine or Copi,
> or almost any contemporary philosopher of science.

I think that you have misread both myself and the "philosopher of 
science".  First, I did not suggest "neutrality", only that when we look 
at the evidence, that we not begin with the conclusion already in hand 
and work backwards.  Second, if you are referring to the Heisenberg 
Uncertainty Principle I would agree that it applies to this discipline as 
well.  The observer changes the variables of the observable.  We come to 
these texts and issues with our own set of predispositions, baggage and 
training.  But you suggest something  else from Kuhn and Quine, anyway, 
if you are suggesting that we devise theories and then search for 
evidence to verify it, I in fact read the precise opposite-we come to the 
evidence with questions and look for answers, and from those answers we 
devise theories, and search for more evidence to verify, adjust, or 
reject the theory, and so on.  So in the case of Q, after reading and 
being trained in the 2 Source Hypothesis, I read Farmer, and other who 
took exception to it.  I then read critiques of the Farmer-Griesbach.  So 
I began asking a question-what if elements of both are true, but the 
overall conclusions reached ddo not reflect the truth of the matter.  
Thus, we begin to look at the evidence in a new way and see if there is 
an answer to the question.  I haven't begun with a theory in mind, or a 
predrawn conclusion.

I would also like to mention that the 2 Source H. came into being because 
of men who asked the same kinds of questions that some of us are now 
asking, would you suggest that this process is illegitimate?  Or has the 
2 Source in your mind taken on the image of Orthodoxy, that to questionit 
is tantamount to questioning the church of the middle ages-shall we begin 
our own form of the Inquisition?

And of course evidence exists before theory.  The gospels have been 
around for a few cneturies-they just have not been asked to answer the 
questions we are asking of them until the post-enlightenment period.  
There is a big difference between saying that the evidence does not exist 
before the theory, and that this is a new question, a new way of looking 
at what is here.  Please read Kuhn, Quine or any other philosopher of 

Speaking of which, is it true that Farmer-Griesbach-etc.
> advocates tend to be "conservative" (using the word quite loosely)
> Protestants, and 2 Source advocates tend not to be?  Does *that*
> perhaps have something to do with this thread?

Not really.  Farmer himself not only believes that Matthew is prior and 
the basis for the other 2, but that Matthew is written in the 80s at the 
earliest.  Which puts Mark and Luke into the 90s or into the next 
century-not very conservative.  And as Ken pointed out, there are many 
conservatives who have no problem with the 2 Source.

Nor do I pretend to be unbiased, otherwise I would apathetic and not 
bother responding at all.  Please, George, try not to be condescending, 
we all are aware of our biases, and the difficult nature of the documents 
in trying to sift through the various pieces and come up with a valid, 
defendable position.  Reiview the posts, you will find that what I said 
was to reexamine the evidence with a new pair of methodological glasses 
and you will see things in a different light-that does not suggest to me 
that I argue for netrality or some sort of divine objectivity.

Larry Swain
Parmly Billings Library