Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Alan Garrow presents the “Matthew Conflator Hypothesis”

It was one of the best papers I have ever heard (perhaps the best) and came as something of a shock to my system. Alan Garrow presented his “Matthew Conflator Hypothesis” at King’s University, in 2014, taking use of multimedia to a new level, filling what I had expected would be a rather dull paper with wit and brilliance. More importantly, he offered an extremely plausible solution to the Synoptic Problem, one I had never taught or even thought much about. I’m delighted that Alan has uploaded 5 videos here, explaining his hypothesis. If you don’t love these, you’re mad, certified, and should probably apologies to all trees everywhere that you are using the valuable oxygen they kindly produce.



At 1/15/2015 6:36 AM, Blogger Richard Fellows said...

Thanks, Chris. I really enjoyed the presentation. It seems that in a later one he will explore whether part of the Didache is part of 'Q' or something along those lines. Sounds interesting.

At 1/19/2015 9:31 AM, Blogger Alan Garrow said...

Thanks very much for this post Chris. If there are questions arising from the videos there's now a facility for this at http://www.alangarrow.com/blog/the-matthew-conflator-hypothesis

At 1/20/2015 2:56 AM, Blogger Richard Fellows said...

Alan, I like the fact that you are debating this issue in the blogosphere. We will all be replaced by artificial intelligence before peer reviewed papers move the conversation forward very far.

I am not a specialist in the synoptic problem but I have some questions.
1. Is your argument about Matthew and Luke's copying styles still valid for those who don't think that codexes were in use much at the time? That is to say, do you need to be so wedded to the codex theory, or could Matthew have just had more time on his hands to go back and forth between different places in the scrolls that he copied? Your point works equally well with way, doesn't it?
2. It would be useful to list the passages that you think Matthew got from "Q" and those he got from Luke.
3. Do you make the point that your theory fits the fact that the codex was the later technology?
4. Can we assume that a codex was more expensive than a scroll? If so, Luke's use of scroll would fit has teaching on wealth.

At 1/23/2015 6:53 PM, Blogger Alan Garrow said...

Hi Richard,
1. Strictly speaking all that we can observe is that Luke and Matthew have different compositional techniques. It isn't possible to tell whether this is because they use different technology, or because Matthew is really a committee, or Matthew has more time on his hands, etc. I felt justified in calling them a 'scroll-user' and a 'codex-user', however, because their behaviour happens to match the compositional patterns used in other writers who (most likely) used these technologies.
2. There is a spectrum here. When there is very high agreement between Matthew and Luke, then there is no need to posit a third entity. When there is very low agreement, then a third entity is likely (more detail in next set of videos). With the 'in-between' passages its a judgement call - was Matthew changing Luke for his own reasons, or under the influence of another source? Without access to the other sources it's not possible to tell. The capacity to deal with data at both ends of the spectrum means, however, that the hypothesis is robust - but it might not always be able to tell you when 'Q' texts are, or are not, in play.
3. This point is explicit in the print version.
4. I suspect that scrolls were more expensive than codices (though I don't know) because easier to write on both sides. Matt seems to have been more money conscious - packing more events into a shorter (and so cheaper) text.

At 2/12/2015 12:34 PM, Anonymous owais said...

Thanks for this nice article. Keep it up. :)

At 2/26/2015 2:13 AM, Blogger Nazaroo said...

I really enjoyed the videos.

Its remarkable and gratifying that you have essentially come to complete agreement with us on the Synoptic Problem.

You can look at our more primitive and simplified presentation from 5 years ago here, with full color charts, available under the Commons copyright (free to use).


We did not flesh out some subtle points that you have, but gave perhaps more detailed insight into Matthew's (or committee's) motivations for some important but nuanced editing.


At 4/20/2015 6:34 PM, Blogger Alan Garrow said...

Is it possible that an example of 'Q' (as in sayings of Jesus used by Luke and Matthew) have been available, but overlooked, for the past 130 years?Videos of 'An Extant Instance of 'Q'' now available at: www.alangarrow.com/extantq.html


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