Re: Q and Papias
On Sun, 30 Oct 1994 email@example.com 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
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.
Parmly Billings Library