Re: here's what's wrong with Q

From: Nichael Lynn Cramer (
Date: Sat Oct 14 1995 - 17:29:06 EDT

At 11:37 AM 14/10/95, Larry Swain wrote:

Two (final) points:

>Actually this is 2 criteria. A) Does the hypothesis (any hypothesis)
>explain the available data B) Does that explanation accurately take into
>account "external factors", which in this case would be such things as
>common composition techniques in the ancient world, citation and
>reference tools, and so on C) Does another theory explain the phenomena
>as well as this one does.

Larry, I'm afraid I don't see why these are seperate criteria. "External
factors" are simply other "available data" that need to be addressed by any

Any model of the formation of the Synoptic Gospels that contradicted
established evidence concerning, say, compositional techniques --i.e. that
failed to adequate "explain" that data-- would be doing a poor job of
addressing the available data, pure and simple. And would be less credible
than another hypothesis that encompassed that information.

> ... There are problems with any hypothesis,and even
>though the 2SH has great explanatory power it does not follow that it is
>therefore historically accurate.

But this is precisely the question. In what way do we do we establish what
is "historically accurate" other than by examining (and explaining) all
available data? What other tools do we have? What other mechanism do we
have for describing what we believe to have happened?

To ask the question another way: In an _historical_ context, what does the
statement "Julius Caesar really lived" mean --what can it mean-- other than
saying that we believe that this model better explains the sum total of the
literary/archaeological/etc data better than the model that he was a wholly
fictional character? Why is an appeal to any other criterion anything
other than mysticism?


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