Re: Dead Sea Mark

From: Daniel Ria–o (
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 14:14:07 EDT

Dramatis personae: JM: Jim West; DR: Daniel Ria–o

JM wrote:
>>[DR] The second part is not exact. O'Callaghan effectively suggested
>>that 7Q5 is a fragment of Mark, but Carsten Thiede does not say it is
>>necessary so.
>[JW] I have read both Thiede and O'Callaghan- and believe you have this just
>backwards. It is O who suggested and T who maintains it IS Mk.

[DR] Well, this could go on forever. Everyone interested read the
relevant papers and draw their own conclusions.

>>[DR] In his book, Thiede compares the methods of Classical
>>philology and Biblical studies, and supports the view that, after the
>>evidence alleged by O'Callaghan, in strict observation of the methods of
>>Classical scholarship, the burden of the prove now lies in the part denying
>>the antiquity of the Evangile of Mark in the terms proposed by O'Callaghan.
>[JW] This is completely backwards so far as scholarship is concerned. It
>is the
>duty of a person making a claim to prove it- not his opponents to disprove it!

        [DR] As scholarship is concerned, this is exactly the way the
reasoning must proceed. there are many hypothesis about how and when the
Evangiles were written. One way to classify the different views is placing
in one side those who believe they were written soon after the hypothetical
date of the death of Jesus, and those who believe in a later/much later
redaction. [here a one thousand pages book can be written explaining the
different views, but I let it be].
        Most of the assertions that constitute the fundaments of philology,
ancient history and probably any science except mathematics are not based
in irrefutable data, but just in solid hypotheses. The better hypothesis
(i.e. the one that explains more facts without contradicting the facts or
contradicting the theory) is to be considered the best. Scientific method
and scholarship demands that if you want to prove one hypothesis false or
invalid, you must produce a better explanation or new facts that fits
better with the new hypothesis. Once a hypothesis as been considered by the
scientific community to be the best at a given moment (and that may take
many years) the burden of the prove is in the side of those attacking the
>> [DR] Caps, irritancy and dozens of exclamation marks don't make an
>>argument any stronger. Ben did not forget to mention excruciating and
>>gymnastic twisting, since O'Callaghan's theories are built with sound,
>>valuable philological arguments, that need to be answered in the same way.
>[JW] No- they are not! And little emphases are useful!
[DR] eh, well, ....?
>> [DR <answering to a point raised by Nichael, about a book quoted by
>>JW] If this is correct, I agree that *that* is an argument. I must
>>recognise that I don't know the work of W. Slaby alluded, but I'll see
>>where or how I can read it, as well as Graham Stanton's book. Thanks to
>>Nichael for the reference (What exactly is the title of W. Slaby's work).
>[JW] What- you havn't read Stanton? If you have only read one side of the
>debate, without checking into the other, how can you decide which view is
>the most reasonable and fits best with the evidence?

        [DR] I haven't decided "which view ... fits best with the
evidence", and nothing in my letter can be used to argument the contrary,
why do you think the contrary?. I affirm that O'Callaghan made an
hypothesis worth of consideration; I affirm that the arguments of Thiede
are very well based and full with implications about methodology in
biblical studies. I affirm that in your two previous postings Re "Dead Sea
Mark" you are not argumenting your position, but merely denying any
validity to your opponents views without further reasoning. This attitude,
of course, doesn't mean you are wrong: it only means that you are just
expressing an opinion that says nothing about/against any question
involved. But what really upsets me (and I beg your pardon if I said
anything in an inconvenient tone) is the way of treating O'Callaghan's
hypothesis as something amateurish or even worst. Arguments must be opposed
with arguments [unless you believe somebody is hiding a part of the
evidence, but I don't think this is the case, or am I wrong?] not with
gratuitous disqualification.

Daniel Rian~o Rufilanchas
c. Santa Engracia 52, 7 dcha.

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