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Source Theory



Introducing the Synoptic Problem to students: A blog on the synoptic problem aimed at furthering student thought and participation



Updated: 2018-01-03T16:56:35.934+11:00

 



JSNT on Gospel of Thomas

2014-04-05T21:03:13.571+11:00

The recent issue of Journal for the Study of the New Testament is dedicated to discussing the composition of the Gospel of Thomas e.g. did the author know and use the synoptic Gospels? (The theme is based on discussing the books by Simon Gathercole and Mark Goodacre).

I'm hesitant to say whether or not this will be the very final post for Source Theory ...

I plan on beginning a new blog very soon ...

Update: I decided to start it today ... 
it's called Bible Translation Theory in Practice



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2013-08-30T11:11:03.624+10:00

Dunn's Oral Gospel Tradition
James Dunn has another new book forthcoming defending his source theory. It should be well worth a read and worth purchasing.
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There's a brief introduction to it on the Eerdmans blog



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2013-08-16T10:42:12.473+10:00

Gospel Writing and Canon
An interesting new book Francis Watson, Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective apparently deals with numerous issues including Gospel sources:
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Table of Contents
  • Part One: The Eclipse of the Fourfold Gospel
    • 1. Augustine’s Ambitious Legacy
    • 2. Dismantling the Canon: Lessing/Reimarus
  • Part Two: Reframing Gospel Origins
    • 3. The Coincidences of Q
    • 4. Luke the Interpreter
    • 5. Thomas versus Q
    • 6. Interpreting a Johannine Source (Jn, GEger)
    • 7. Reinterpreting in Parallel (Jn, GTh, GPet)
  • Part Three: The Canonical Construct
    • 8. The East: Limiting Plurality
    • 9. The West: Towards Consensus
    • 10. Origen: Canonical Hermeneutics
    • 11. Image, Symbol, Liturgy
    • In lieu of a Conclusion: Seven Theses on Jesus and the Canonical Gospel
 It seems Watson accepts the Farrer-Goodacre 'no-Q' stance as Q “entails a radical reconstruction of Christian origins” (p118). But how a theory has been used by some scholars need not be confused with what the theory entails.



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2013-07-26T13:10:21.788+10:00


Pericope Adulterae Originally From 'L' Source

I notice a new article out related to 'L' (see previous post re: Streeter's source theory). It is Kyle R. Hughes, "The Lukan Special Material and the Tradition History of the Pericope Adulterae" Novum Testamentum 55.3 (2013): 232251.

Abstract:
For nearly a century, scholars have wrestled with the presence of Lukanisms in the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) even as the manuscript evidence clearly indicates this account was not originally part of the Third Gospel. A comparison of the version of this pericope found in Papias and the Didascalia with the pericopae associated with the Lukan special material (or "L source") reveals remarkable similarities in style, form, and content. In light of these discoveries, we conclude that Papias and the Didascalia preserve a primitive form of the Pericope Adulterae that was originally part of the L source behind Luke's Gospel, shedding light on the tradition history of this pericope as well as the nature of L.
This theory builds on that proposed by Bart D. Ehrman, “Jesus and the Adulteress,” New Testament Studies 34 (1988): 24–44.

Hughes' article has been made available at the author's website.

Or for those wanting only a summary see here.



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2013-11-08T11:23:56.502+11:00

Streeter's Four Document Hypothesis
(CORRECTED Nov 8)Students will find various online resources and many downloadable ones at BiblicalStudies.org.uk including pdfs of Streeter's famous The Four Gospels: A Study of Origins treating of The Manuscript Tradition, Sources, Authorship, & Dates.

It's funny that I never got around to reading Streeter's book (though I feel I have indirectly through others) so I haven't previously discussed Streeter's source theory here.

Streeter's influential take on a solution to the Synoptic Problem (first published 1924) is found in chapters 7–12. Much of the 20th century (in the English-speaking "West") was either based on an acceptance or rejection of Streeter's "four-document" solution. I say influential, but his four-document solution is also often misrepresented as though Luke used a Q document.

The first thing that strikes me in looking through the book is that it looks like Streeter's Luke doesn't have a copy of Q. In Streeter's chart (p.150) Luke only knows Q through his copy of "proto-Luke" (whereby Q and L are already combined).

I'm sure I have been misled by others' reading of Streeter's source theory. When Streeter talks about a "four-document" hypothesis he has two documents in mind used by Luke (proto-Luke & Mark) and three documents used by Matthew (Q, Mark and M) thus four source documents (plus other non-documented traditions) in total underlying both of these Gospels (namely: Q, Mark, M, proto-Luke) as diagrammed on his page 150.

However, I remember being taught that Streeter's "four-documents" consisted of Q, Mark, M & L even though L is not a document known or used by Luke.

According to Streeter's diagram one would not think that Streeter's Luke used Q directly (rather than only via his proto-Luke) but on page 218 he says “this same Luke some years afterwards expanded his own early work by prefixing the stories of the Infancy and by inserting extracts from Mark no doubt at the same time making certain minor alterations and additions” so it seems Streeter's own diagram misrepresents his own theory (unless we are to assume "this same Luke" lost his copy of Q? 



What was Mark for Matthew?

2013-03-26T13:35:28.741+11:00

And in contrast to the previous two posts relaying Sim's Matthew’s Use of Mark: Did Matthew Intend to Supplement or to Replace His Primary Source? a new book on Matthew's relation to Mark by J. Andrew Doole apparently gives different answers to these questions, namely 'yes' to supplement and 'no' to replace:
J. Andrew Doole examines Matthew's sources, which the evangelist used to compile and compose his own story of Jesus. Doole suggests that Matthew was not disputing the Gospel of Mark, rather developing its tradition in a conventional manner to reinforce its authoritative position in the growing Christian movement.
I'm hoping Doole is in close dialogue with Sim's 2011 NTS article. The question remains interesting and I don't believe it is easy to answer completely one way or the other.



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2012-06-22T12:08:57.721+10:00

Matthew’s Use of Mark: Did Matthew Intend to Supplement or to Replace His Primary Source?


It's been awhile but I finally got to reading Sim's article. And according to Sim the answer is 'no' to supplement and 'yes' to replace. Here is Sim's view on this point:
Whatever value Matthew placed on Mark, he still viewed it as an inadequate presentation of Jesus’ story that required correction, improvement and expansion, and which needed to be updated to meet the needs of his intended readership. Once we acknowledge and understand the extent of Matthew’s dissatisfaction with Mark on a wide variety of issues, the common view that the former largely embraced and affirmed the outlook of the latter looks decidedly shaky.
Sim claims that Bauckham's view also sees Matthew intended to replace Mark. He points out that the Gospel of Mark did almost vanish in the second century. Thus:

...That Mark sits within the New Testament amidst the other Gospels and right next to the Gospel of Matthew is, in view of the argument presented in this study, more than a touch ironic.

Anyway I have to get back to other matters today, namely thesis writing.



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2011-03-11T11:31:20.283+11:00

Matthew to Replace Mark?

Abstract:
Most scholars acknowledge Matthew's debt to Mark in the composition of his own Gospel, and they are fully aware of his extensive redaction and expansion of this major source. Yet few scholars pose what is an obvious question that arises from these points: What was Matthew's intention for Mark once he had composed and circulated his own revised and enlarged account of Jesus' mission? Did he intend to supplement Mark, in which case he wished his readers to continue to consult Mark as well as his own narrative, or was it his intention to replace the earlier Gospel? It is argued in this study that the evidence suggests that Matthew viewed Mark as seriously flawed, and that he wrote his own Gospel to replace the inadequate Marcan account.

That the author of Mt made much use of Mk indicates a degree of acceptance I presume Sim also mentions this point, I'll peruse the article next visit to college.



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2009-07-20T17:46:08.957+10:00

Rethinking the Gospel Sources, Volume 2
I notice that Delbert Burkett's second volume is now available (Rethinking the Gospel Sources: The Unity and Plurality of Q), published by SBL. I'll be ordering a copy next week.



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2009-05-14T19:02:18.601+10:00

Conjectural Date of Gospels
Recent discussion over at the Synoptic List has again got me wondering at how Matthew, Mark and Luke are presumed to have been written decades apart. That any of them were written even a decade apart is really only a conjecture, based on a hypothesis of literary dependence which does not really require such a conjecture. Actually the two notions are a bit circular since literary dependence is also based on the notion that the Gospels are written decades apart!

The three synoptics may all have been composed within one year of the other two. It is strange that scholars often give dates for Matthew and/or Luke that are a decade or two after Mark, when what they really want to say is merely that, say, Matthew evidences some knowledge of Mark. Perhaps I should add it as another myth to the eight myths/misassumptions previously mentioned (later converted to eight positive assertions here). To convert this ninth myth into a positive assertion would be to say that Matthew, Mark and Luke likely derive from roughly the same time period. It is difficult to determine whether noticeable editorial changes or detectable differences can be put down to different dates of composition (rather than to editing/retelling styles and/or different paths of 'traditioning' and/or different locales).



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2009-03-23T18:43:40.292+11:00

Published Introductions to the Synoptic Problem

David Stark's New Testament Interpretation blog has a series of posts reproducing the diagrams of synoptic problem solutions given in Kümmel's NT intro. The 'Synoptic Problem' tag will bring up the set of diagrams so far. Kümmel's presentation of the Synoptic Problem was one of the six I evaluated in my undergrad essay "Solving the Synoptic Problem for Students?"

My essay was written back in 2001 or 2002 (a few years before I had internet access at home) and 'Part A' evaluated six printed/published presentations on the Synoptic Problem, namely:

(1) Joseph A. Fitzmyer, "The Priority of Mark and The 'Q' Source in Luke," (1970);
(2) Werner George
Kümmel from his, Introduction to the New Testament (trans. 1975), 38-80;
(3) Robert Stein's classic book from 1987, The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction;
(4) Christopher M. Tuckett's entry for the Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol 6, 1992), 263-270;
(5) David L. Dungan's book, A History of the Synoptic Problem (Anchor Bible Reference Library, 1999);
(6) and two chapters from John S. Kloppenborg, Excavating Q (chapter 1 and chapter 6).

Kümmel's presentation received a 27% rating according to my criteria drawn from a 'student perspective'. Kloppenborg's presentation (in Excavating Q) faired best with 47% but should have been rated higher than that because I had only based my evaluation on 2 of 3 relevant chapters in Excavating Q (I later realized!)

Would be good to know if other students have similarly evaluated other published presentations on the synoptic problem. I guess nowadays students instead go online for introductions to the Synoptic Problem which might explain why there are still not very many introductions/presentations published (compare my 'top ten recommended books for students' to the right). 




1 Comments

2009-01-18T11:28:22.941+11:00

Neville's Review of Burkett

David Neville has reviewed Delbert Burkett's Rethinking the Gospel Sources: From Proto-Mark to Mark in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 84/1 (2008) 135-173. Neville helpfully provides some history and context for previous Urmarkus theories before addressing Burkett's arguments against direct literary dependence between any of the synoptic Gospels.

I was wondering whether to summarise some of it here. I think for now I will just say that Neville is as usual good with assessing arguments.



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2008-11-30T15:51:17.572+11:00

The Problem Never Completely Resolves
We cannot say much about what exactly the sources looked like that preceded the synoptic Gospels, only that that direct dependence does play a large part in the end result. Even if we do conclude that Mark is the earlier written Gospel it seems that Mark is still somewhat secondary to earlier sources. Mk 13 for instance looks to be older material very unlikely to have been freshly penned by the Gospel author. Also I have previously indicated my own theorizing that most of the healing stories apparently predate our written Gospels, although in these cases they would likely have existed only in oral form. So Mark is not necessarily the oldest 'source' of shared material.

So students should be aware that hypothesizing a chronology for dating Matthew, Mark and Luke still does not completely (re)solve the problem of Gospel sources. It merely gives us a simplified ‘working hypothesis’ for supposing how a particular Gospel author may have put their own stamp on the material which we suppose to have been already available to the author (and in many cases material likely already known by the audience).

I'm perpetually agnostic concerning 'Q.' How is it that the material in Matthew and Luke concerning John the Baptizer is written virtually word-for-word? This would be the result of someone copying slavishly from a written source. So if the text in Matthew is not being copied here into Luke (or theoretically from Luke into Matthew) whether by a secondary Gospel author (or inserted by a scribe within the first hundred years of copying) we must suppose that both have here accessed the same written source concerning John the Baptizer. Yet the other shared material in Matthew and Luke (and not found in Mark) is less likely to be from the same shared written source since everywhere else the doubly-shared material in Mt-Lk is phrased independently by both authors making it impossible to know much about the immediate source of such traditions or whether these traditions originated from the very same source as the John-Baptizer material. How can we conclude the same way (all stems from a singular written source?) with this differing evidence?

So the precise sources of all the triply and doubly shared traditions are still largely unknown even after having ‘solved’ the problem of the likely order the Gospels were published. There will always remain the problem of whether an earlier version of Mark, or Matthew or Luke was known or accessed by any of the other Gospel authors (aurally or in written form) on top of the problem of other pre-Gospel traditions.



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2008-09-21T13:38:00.408+10:00

Improving Definitions
Recently I visited the Wikipedia article on the Synoptic Problem to read the definition there. I decided to help clarify it by adding a few more words to the definition. This was my first experience of editing a Wikipedia article. This inspired me to write my own definition on my own wiki-site. I hope to include more of the information found here on this weblog, but in a more readable format. I'm still looking at various options for site hosting but currently I'm experimenting over here at http://sites.google.com/site/sourcetheory/



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2008-07-27T12:59:01.944+10:00

An Example of a Textual Critical Approach
This blog is always at risk of being neglected. Especially when I have nothing new to add.
So this doesn't happen completely, the present post acknowledges Randall Buth's postευθυς



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2008-06-22T15:34:43.044+10:00

Oral Tradition and Literary Dependency
A book which looks worthy of a look is that by Terence C. Mournet, Oral Tradition and Literary Dependency: Variability and Stability in the Synoptic Tradition and Q (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005). It is Mournet's revised doctoral thesis supervised by James D. G. Dunn so it may also help shed some light on Dunn's unclear perspective concerning what counts as oral sources in Mt & Lk (Mournet, like Dunn, presupposes some form of the Mk-Q hypothesis). When I get hold of a copy I hope to comment on it here.



2 Comments

2008-05-15T13:28:26.633+10:00

Matthew According to Patristic Citations
Given that early church fathers often quote from the Gospel of Matthew it would be interesting to see what Matthew would read like when constructed entirely from such quotations. Our critical Greek text of Matthew (NA27) depends basically on fourth century manuscripts, however, reconstructing a text of Matthew according to patristic quotations would yield a much earlier text (although perhaps a less accurate text if the quotations of Matthew were drawn from memory and/or give a harmonized/mixed quotation influenced by other Gospels).

But I would still like to see what Matthew looks like when so reconstructed. Peter Head has recently pointed out (here & here in answering a question of mine on Synoptic-L restated here) that it is only for Luke's Gospel that we have extensive amounts of papyri text. Understandably textual criticism for the Gospels cannot usually give to patristic citations the same 'weight' (if much at all) as actual Gospel manuscripts but it would be an interesting experiment to see what Matthew looks like when having to rely solely on early (second to fourth century) citations. Of course, this would leave many gaps in such a reconstructed text since we would probably be lucky if altogether we got 50% of Matthew. I think such an experiment may benefit not only textual criticism but also studies in the synoptic problem.



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2009-02-11T15:30:00.486+11:00

Oxford Conference Papers Uploaded

Monday 7th April begins the Oxford Conference "designed to mark the centenary of the landmark conversations that occurred in Oxford" in 1908. Most papers have now been uploaded and I have added a link [no longer working].

UPDATE: I wrote 1908 in haste. The original Oxford conference ran from 1894-1910 publishing its results in 1911.



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2008-04-05T13:40:15.091+11:00

Tim's Eight Synoptic Problem AffirmationsI was recently asked (by Keith Dyer) whether I could put together a more positive counterpart to my Eight Synoptic Problem Myths/Misassumptions. So I have converted my negatives into positives to counterbalance those Myths/Misassumptions posted here in November. Myths 6, 7 & 8 were already negating negatives, but now here they are all eight in positive form!Affirmation 1: Differences between Source Theory solutions are due in large part to differing definitions of what exactly is the Synoptic Problem (i.e. what kind of task is involved? how should we legitimately go about 'accounting for' the presence of similar synoptic data) and these differing conceptions determine whether solutions are either Intra-Gospel or Extra-Gospel solutions. Those source theories which attempt to explain the presence of (virtually) all literary data within the three synoptic Gospels by recourse only to the three synoptic Gospels (without bringing other 'external' sources into the question) might be classed as 'intra-Gospel solutions.' These solutions perceive the parameters of the problem as a literary problem similar to the problem of having to decide which of three student essays have been plagiarised of out three suspiciously similar-looking essays. Thus the Farrer theory, for example, has Luke dependent on the other two (i.e. a Mk-Mt hypothesis) in order to account for the presence of (virtually) all of the synoptic agreements whilst remaining agnostic about Matthew's non-Markan sources (and Mark's sources).   The second category of solutions suppose that the problem is identical to the larger task of source criticism and so involves imagining the other 'non-Gospel' sources which might have played a part in the construction of the three synoptic Gospels, thereby defining the task entirely differently. Some source theories, in line with this larger conception/definition of the problem, may thus include some hypothesising about how the composition of fourth Gospel relates to the composition of the other three synoptics (and will in effect dilute the definition of the labels 'synoptic problem' and 'synoptic Gospels'). This second category of solutions can be categorised as offering 'extra-(synoptic)-Gospel solutions'. Hence a theorist presupposing the second definition of the synoptic problem may suppose that it be completely legitimate to draw conclusions about Matthew's use of various 'sources' or he or she might perhaps differentiate between non-Markan and non-Matthean source material utilised in the Gospel of Luke (see for example Ron Price's Three Source Hypothesis).   These two differing presuppositions largely account for the inability to agree on whether one can legitimately speak about Matthew's different 'sources' and whether such hypothesising makes one's source theory any more or less 'plausible.' 'Two-Source' theorists (postulating a Mk-Q hypothesis) suppose that the increased specificity of the theory makes for a more plausible theory since it gives account of two major sources behind both Matthew and Luke (i.e. it 'accounts' for more of Matthew's data than does the Farrer theory). The perceived superiority or perceived plausibility of any particular source theory is thus directly related to the perceived definition of what is the task and problem under investigation. In my blog posts I presuppose the second category of the synoptic problem but only after attempting to begin with the first category for as long as the first category will allow. Thus I would agree in beginning with the task as[...]



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2008-02-08T19:20:56.471+11:00

Introductory Lecture?

I should have mentioned Horace Jeffery Hodges' posts on plagiarism from 2005 which I think could make for an intersting way of introducing students to the synoptic problem. 

UPDATE: I should also provide the link to Mark Goodacre's response.



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2007-11-11T13:25:46.301+11:00

My blog in a nutshell: Eight Synoptic Problem Myths and MisassumptionsGiven that my first year of posts largely attempted to dispel certain myths and misassumptions concerning synoptic source theories which might otherwise cloud students from clear thinking and since it is not clear how often I will be able to keep postings going here I thought to dot-point the following myths (and comments):Certain synoptic source theories are more theologically and/or pastorally superior than others. Actually whether one solution could be is very difficult to demonstrate without at the same time maintaining several assumptions about what one already considers theologically/pastorally ‘superior’ or ‘inferior.’Matthew, Mark and Luke are of the same genre. Actually each author, though employing many similar traditions (and narrative additions), tells a slightly different kind of story.There is a consensus concerning what the ‘Q hypothesis’ is. Actually the Q hypothesis is taken to mean different things by different people.‘Markan redaction’ is prevalent in both Matthew and Luke. Actually the presence of Markan style and vocabulary in Matthew and Luke is not so prevalent (is it a case of deliberate avoidance or evidence against Mark as source?) The closest verbal agreements between Matthew and Luke indicate a common written source which, for example may mean that Luke copied either Matthew’s Q source or Matthew. Actually the high verbal agreements in the John Baptizer speeches are simply anomalous for all the major source theories—i.e. how it is that Luke and/or Matthew suddenly turn into slavish scribes? Such agreement is rather unexpected even if Luke has utilized Matthew.There was a distinct ‘oral period’ of transmission where the synoptic material was transmitted (and by implication derived from/translated from Jesus’ own words). Actually most of the synoptic traditions (besides the shared healing stories) appear as further ‘takes’ on already traditional materials (i.e. common debates and sayings/teachings not necessarily initiated first by Jesus—cf. the teachings in James).Unlike in literary dependence, there are no layers in the handing down of oral traditions (a point made by Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses). Actually research on oral traditioning has still a long way to go before deciding for or against this one. Form criticism got things completely wrong. Actually even if the authors of Luke and Mark believed (and/or wanted readers to believe) that the Jesus traditions stemmed from the authority of eye-witnesses (viz. Bauckham’s thesis), one need not dispense with the whole form critical enterprise (especially if we grant recognition to the comment on 6 above).[...]



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2007-09-09T16:29:41.566+10:00

Revisiting Past Posts in the Future

I had thought that I would have finished recapping the topics covered during my first year of blogging by now. Instead, it seems I will be revisiting them at a slower pace. Today I mention the topic
Claiming Theological and Pastoral Significance (for one's source theory).

I discussed the topic in three posts (here, here, & here) and concluded that despite the claims for significance being made there appears little evidence that appealing to pastoral and theological 'implications' can be shown to have real differences in terms of significant differences since it is almost impossible to state what such implications would be (or should be). Farmer's source theory cannot be seen as any more superior than other source theories based on its alleged pastoral significance, given the highly subjective nature of such criteria (and its use). Who is to say whether reducing, increasing or re-ordering Gospel sources makes for a 'better' overall source theory simply because it might appeal theologically to lay persons and their preferences for early sources on the life of Jesus?  

Similarly Kloppenborg's 'theological stakes' were not very significant at all.  The Gospel of Mark is rather combative on any source theory as well as having downplayed the notion of Jesus as apocalyptic Judge (again, from the perspective of any source theory). Even Kloppenborg's implications of the 'Q hypothesis' seem rather stretched. One has to take Q as a full blown document with its own complete theology (i.e. produced by Christians who did not see the need for giving an account of Jesus' death). Yet because Kloppenborg makes the point that Paul's theology was not necessarily representative of normative theology of that time then do not the Gospels on almost any source theory post-date Paul and consequently provide
a more integrated/culminated  interpretation of the significance of Jesus' death (and their various perspectives allow for different interpretations of Jesus' death--Luke for example has Jesus' death as more of a necessary event than a salvific one, so it's not really Kloppenborg's Q hypothesis that makes the difference Kloppenborg claims).



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2007-08-18T14:45:19.377+10:00

Happy 1st Blogiversary to me!

I haven't dedicated as much to this blog as I would have liked to but fortunately the postings have not yet ceased!

The poll on the Q hypothesis has caused some confusion about what it asks and will need to be redone. Perhaps I will replace it with a different poll.

There still remains more summaries to come of the past year's posts...



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2007-08-15T16:21:26.304+10:00

A Year of Source Theory Blogging - Part Three

I wrote several posts last September trying to ascertain what teachers were teaching regarding the Q hypothesis seeing that the symbol 'Q' is used to mean various different things. I received some feedback from Stephen Carlson and Mark Goodacre on the issue, both who prefer to maintain that the Q hypothesis supposes a written source to account for the common Mt-Lk material (and both of whom believe that Luke actually copied the material from Matthew rather than Q).

I have now added a poll on Q to the sidebar which will run for the remainder of the year, but I may choose to run it indefinitely since the progress of results are always available anyway.



0 Comments

2007-08-15T14:46:07.345+10:00

A Year of Source Theory Blogging - Part Two (Dunn)Recapping my four previous posts on James Dunn's source theory [Aug 27; Oct 14; Dec 9; Dec 28]: Dunn's theory has an unresolved tension in that both Mk and Q are regarded as simultaneously written and oral sources. Whether Dunn regards 'Q' as being an oral source (or sources) is still not completely clear--Dunn has only explicitly argued that the first layer of Q (Q1) be seen as 'oral ' [see his "Q1 as oral tradition," in Markus Bockmuehl and Donald A. Hagner (eds.) The Written Gospel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 45-69]. I concluded humorously that "It seems Dunn wants to have his Q and eat it too!" Perhaps Dunn eventually intends to demonstrate that the remainder of 'Q' should also be seen as oral.However, what is more surprising is Dunn's article "Matthew's Awareness of Markan Redation," in F. van Segbroeck et al (eds.), The Four Gospels--1992: Festschrift Frans Neirynck, (3 vols.; BETL 100; Leuven University Press), 2:1349-59, in which Dunn argues that Matthew recognised Markan redaction in Mark and so avoided it consciously. Dunn appears to suggest that this indicates that Matthew was already familiar with many of the stories written in Mark and/or that Matthew used his Markan source in an 'oral mode.'I am not aware whether other scholars have drawn attention to this but it seems to have anticipated Delbert Burkett's assertion that Markan redaction is suspiciously absent is Matthew and Luke. Whereas Burkett sees such an absence as undermining the notion that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source Dunn sees it as evidence that Matthew could readily recognise Mark's own redaction of oral traditions. There is something persuasive about such an argument and I wish other scholars would comment on it.Somewhere in my posts on Dunn I mentioned that when we speak of the 'oral period' we really should recognise that we are merely referring generally to the period prior to the Gospels being written down (and published?) since we do not know whether it was really a distinct period of 'oral transmission.'Also I mentioned that the healing traditions appear to share less verbal/phrasing aggreements than other traditions which may be a consequence of them being widely used oral traditions. I have not researched this properly, but it deserves more attention (as a good candidate for oral story-telling that Matthew and Luke need not be completely dependent on Mark for these stories).I also mentioned two reviews of Dunn's source theory:David Neville, "The Demise of the Two-Document Hypothesis? Dunn and Burkett on Gospel Sources," in PACIFICA 19 (Feb 2006), 78-92.Dennis Ingolfsland, "Jesus Remembered: James Dunn and the Synoptic Problem," Trinity Journal (Fall, 2006), 187-97.Each of these reviews sees Dunn's source theory as undermining the Mk-Q hypothesis. But it is still not clear exactly what Dunn's source theory entails for Mark and 'Q.' I am amicable to seeing most of 'Q' as potentially stemming from oral sources. I am also comfortable with seeing the authors of Matthew and Luke capable of recognising (and avoiding) Markan redaction (so as to maintain a more 'oral mode' of writing).However, like Dunn, I am not willing to abandon literary dependence and I think Dunn has tried to incorprate oral and written together in what seems to be an impossibly complex and contradictory task. I wish I knew what to call such a theory (I [...]