The Hero, Li Wenliang:
The Villain, Xi Jinping:
The Patsy, Donald Trump:
The Hero, Li Wenliang:
The Villain, Xi Jinping:
The Patsy, Donald Trump:
“A few weeks back it would have been inconceivable that we would soon be living under martial law, but that is essentially what has happened. I believe the government is acting with the best intentions, with the best knowledge available to it, but the staggering power of the state is still alarming: that schools and businesses can be shut, church services closed, and movement outside the home curtailed is extraordinary. What if a government decided to take such steps for less benign reasons than the current ones? Having discovered its own power, can we really be confident that government might not want to flex the same muscles again?”
While others should have done better it is China’s fault. #XiVirus
Pray for those ruled by Xi. Pray all the other victims of the virus from Xi’s China.
On the other hand:
When people target abortion doctors, or bomb abortion clinics, pro-choice people exclaim, “See how extreme the pro-life crowd is! They’re insane!” But, no, if abortion = baby murder on par with murdering adults (or five-year-olds), and if there are no effective non-lethal means to stop these murders, then there seem to be very strong presumptive grounds for killing abortion doctors and bombing abortion clinics, according to the commonsense moral doctrine of killing in defense of others. The main normative dispute should really be about the moral status of the fetuses. Otherwise, the dispute would just be over whether killing is necessary (are there equally effective non-lethal means?), or whether the proper targets are being killed (e.g., abortion clinic bombers must avoid killing innocent people when they rightly kill abortion doctors).
What kind of body will the damned have?
Will they be raised with glorious incorruptible bodies like our risen king’s?
Will they be raised with another perishable body?
It is frustrating enough that we know so little of the future fate of the redeemed, but the future fate of the damned is even more obscure.
Given that none but God is immortal and he is the creator and sustainer of all things, whatever form the dead have will be sustained by God. Given that there is no division between body and soul in man it is not enough to say that the redeemed will be given glorious incorruptible bodies and the dead won’t.
If one holds that the dead will exist conscious yet without bodies until the resurrection will the damned just stay as disembodied spirits capable of suffering? Revelation, the Rich Man and Lazarus, and other teachings on hell don’t paint a picture of ghosts suffering, but physical pain.
And per Luke 12.47-48 suffering will be proportional to knowledge of God’s expectations and degree of violations. Is this a difference in duration of punishment (fewer blows as Jesus says) or intensity of punishment (equal number of but less forceful blows)? And what about John’s apocalyptic imagery which seems to lump all the damned together?
If eternal death is in fact eternal dying and the dead will live forever (just a horrific eternal life) then how will there be a difference in punishment? Will those who could not have converted receive a rational infinity set of blows and those who rejected the gospel receive a real infinity set of blows?1 Or is eternal death actually death without end preceded by proportional punishment-and not painfully dying without end2-as proposed by annihilationists?
Sadly the above link doesn’t return anything useful. I propose a needed feature for wikipedia is to automatically determine the ratio of citations in an article to the number of words so that articles can be sorted on this to find the least well supported articles as targets for improvement.
Certainly the quality of citations trumps the quantity. But those articles with a ratio of zero or approaching zero are easy targets for improvement.
I have proposed this at “the village pump” see below:
Commentators pay frequent attention to the Gini coefficient of income in various countries to determine which countries are more ‘equal’, that is which countries have the lowest disparities between rich and poor. Equally frequent is the lack of attention paid to the relative differences between countries. Given that you want to be tall is it better to be a random jockey, where the Gini coefficient of height is very small, or a random pro basketball player where the Gini coefficient is greater.
If we are chasing material comfort, security, and freedom money buys we should take a greater Gini coefficient in exchange for a greater (purchasing power adjusted) median income.
But assuming we are all good egalitarians, shouldn’t we be concerned not with income but with wealth?
To be a member of the idle rich elite you don’t need great income you need great wealth. You need great income in the past. Assuming you want to protect the old money from the new the best way seems for the aristocracy to impose high marginal taxes on income to prohibit entry into the elite.
Win the lottery, clear the hurdle in one swoop, and you are in. 10 million dollars in a money market account and you can safely spend 1000 dollars a day. Live at the Four Seasons Hotel in NY, fly around the world first class, wine and dine like Solomon; and never work another day in your life. Yet your income is on par with an above average dentist or your average MD.
If it is passive an income in the 99th percentile of Americans puts you in the lifestyle of the 99.99. Wealth matters more than income.
Consider saving for retirement, people work to accumulate wealth to have something to spend when they either tire of working or are unable to work; they hope their store of wealth will outlast their store of time. Income is useful as it leads to wealth. At least if income is greater than expenses.
If passive return on wealth is greater than expenses and inflation then you have a shot at being a member of the idle rich.
A Gini Coefficient on income of zero, perfect income equality, doesn’t mean much if most people are toiling in the salt mines for their income yet some are sipping cocktails on the beach enjoying a passive income stream. Even if everyone’s income is identical this is not an egalitarian paradise.
A Gini Coefficient on Wealth reveals a little more, including that Namibia (0.847), Zimbabwe (0.845), Denmark (0.808), and Switzerland (0.803) are less egalitarian than the United States (0.801). Which gets us back to the Jockey vs Basketballer problem. Life in Denmark, Switzerland, and the United States is certainly better than life in egalitarian paradises like China (0.550). Maybe everybody should move to Japan (0.547).
So Gini on wealth doesn’t reveal all people would like to reveal either. People want to live were everyone is equal and everyone is rich while conveniently ignoring the poor outside their borders (if you are in favor of the forced redistribution of wealth by government then you should favor taking from an American making minimum wage to give to the half of the population of the world living on less than $2.50 per day).
Proposal: to capture what people would like to capture with so-called inequality metrics graph Gini Coefficient of Wealth vs Median equivalized disposable household income at PPP.
The synoptic problem-the explanation of the literary relationship between Matthew, Mark, and Luke3-is intractable, despite (or perhaps because of) the efforts of brilliant men on all sides of the debate.4
Of the numerous possible relationships among the synoptics5 three are seriously defended by scholars today: (1) The Two-Source Theory, (2) The Farrer Hypothesis, and (3) the Griesbach Theory. The Two-Source Theory is that Mark wrote first, Matthew used Mark, Luke used Mark, but Matthew and Luke were unknown to each other. The Farrer (sometimes Farrer-Goulder or Farrer-Goodacre) Hypothesis is that Mark wrote first, Matthew used Mark, and Luke used both Mark and Matthew.6 The Griesbach Theory is that Matthew wrote first, Mark used Matthew, and Luke used both Matthew and Mark.7
The prima facie most unlikely of the three theories is the Two-Source Theory, i.e.: Matthew and Luke’s dependence on Mark but independence of each other. How does one explain the Matthew-Luke double tradition, including frequent verbatim overlap, between Matthew and Luke if one presupposes, ex nihilo, mutual independence?8 One presumes, ex nihilo, a document, “Q”,9 important enough for two canonical gospels to be independently reliant on it, but not important enough to be preserved for posterity or be mentioned by either Apostolic or Church Fathers.10
The most powerful response in favor of the Q/Two-Source theory is the supposed literary superiority of Matthew. Why, advocates of the theory ask, would Luke butcher Matthew’s superior composition?11 Possible arguments that redactions and remixes are not always artistically superior, or that differences in purpose, theological emphases, and audience trump style are minimized by Q-Theorists. I will show that Luke conceivably could have butchered Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and other discourses, given that he has butchered Mark’s discourse on Parables, or Sermon by the Sea. Mark’s parable chapter and Matthew and Luke’s parallels also testify to Markan priority, and to Luke’s knowledge of Matthean additions to Mark.
To summarize Mark 4:1-34 addresses three points in favor of the Farrer Hypothesis:
While Griesbachians would claim that Mark 4 supports Matthean priority and Markan posteriority,12 the Farrer Hypothesis is in agreement with the Two-Source theory regarding Markan priority. However the classic arguments for Markan priority: Mark’s fresh vivid style, redundant phrases, bad greek, and theological difficulties can be turned on their head by Griesbachians.13
An argument novel to the Farrer Hypothesis tradition and most developed by Goodacre is not subject to such turnabout, however. Goodacre highlights the pattern of “editorial fatigue,”14 i.e., the inability of a redactor of an earlier source to sustain omissions, substitutions, transpositions, and other editorial choices throughout a passage, thus betraying his use of the earlier manuscript in composing his own.
The Parable of the Sower and its interpretation in Mark 4 and Luke’s parallels are an interesting example in favor of Markan priority.15 By having a paired parable and explanation any redactor would have to be careful to consistently preserve any editorial changes made through both the parable and the interpretation.16 Goodacre notes that three times Luke omits portions of the Markan parable but he nonetheless interprets these portions after he has failed to include them.
First: Luke fails to mention the seed that fell onto rocky soil and “sprang up quickly because it had not depth of earth” (Mark 4:5; Luke 8:6). However, he does include the interpretation that “those who when they hear, with joy they receive the word” (Mark 4:16; Luke 8:16).
Second: In Luke 8:6 the seed that “withered for lack of moisture” is different from Mark 4:6 which notes that the withering is for lack of root. However, in Luke 8:13 (cf. Mark 4:17) Luke reverts to the Markan interpretation “and these have no root; they believe for a while.”
Third: Luke 8:6 lacks the scorching sun reference of Mark which is interpreted as “trouble of persecution.” However, Luke does include the “temptation,” which he later interprets as the scorching sun (Luke 8:13).
Goodacre’s editorial fatigue analysis is a handy tool in the quiver of arguments for Markan priority–which is too often taken for granted and not argued–that doesn’t suffer from being commutative.
Luke’s Treatment of Mark
As mentioned previously the omissions, compressions, and transpositions that Farrer-Luke undertook on Matthew, especially on the Sermon on the Mount, are held unlikely by Two-Source theorists on aesthetic merit.17 The implicit charge is that Farrer-Luke is inconsistent in his treatment of sources.18
Considering Luke’s preface his order (or radical reordering) of sources should not surprise us since he was unsatisfied with the ordering of other Gospel accounts.19
Different treatment of sources is, however, not so hard to fathom when the nature of the sources also differ. Luke’s reordering of sayings material is inherently more likely than would be his reordering of narrative material. Given that Mark is notably a narrative source for Luke and Matthew is a sayings source we should not expect Luke to treat them identically.20
Our chapter of focus, Mark 4, shows us in those cases Luke treats Mark and Matthew the same when they are a sayings source.
Luke regularly shortens Mark’s discourses, retaining some material, omitting other material, and relocating the rest. Turning to Luke’s alleged use of Matthew, we find the same behaviour. Matthew 5-7 is treated in the same way that Mark 4 is treated; some is retained, some is omitted, and the rest is distributed. The scale is different but the redactional procedure is the same… Luke’s attitude is consistent and thus prima facie coherent.21
Given Luke’s compression and rearranging of Mark’s shorter discourse, is it not therefore plausible that he would treat Matthew’s discourses, which are even longer, similarly?22 The weight of the argument against Luke’s editing of Matthew’s magnificent composition, The Sermon on the Mount, is further weakened by the “Rag Bag” nature of the latter part of the composition.23 When we compare Farrer-Luke’s treatment of Mark’s parable chapter and Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount we see that his editorial procedure is consistent.24
Minor and Major Agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark
It will now turn out that the two-source hypotheis has two Achilles’ heels. The first is the minor agreements between Matthew and Luke in the triple tradition, the second, the ‘Mark-Q overlaps’.25
Q-theorists maintain that agreements, of whatever degree, between Matthew and Luke against Mark are too limited in number or coincidental in nature to suppose that Luke is aware of Matthew’s gospel.26
Verbatim agreements in Greek between Matthew and Luke against Mark are problematic for Q theorists, and they are demonstrated in parallels of Mark 4.27 Agreements in order between Matthew and Luke against Mark are problematic for Q theorists, and they are demonstrated in parallels of Mark 4.28
The proposition that this is problematic is supported by Mann, a Griesbach Theorist, who notes that literary dependence that can be explained by extant works should be is a canon of literary criticism.29
The power of these arguments is lessened by a great deal of debate framing and semantics by Q-theorists. Rather than admitting to Major Agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark in the triple tradition, they broaden the definition of “Q material” from the Matthew-Luke double tradition to include portions of the triple tradition. These are portions that support the Farrer hypothesis, and Luke’s apparent knowledge of Matthean additions to Markan pericopae. Q theorists have thus framed the debate so passages where Luke is clearly aware of Matthew are off limits.30
On the Mustard Seed, Tuckett claims that an “unpicking” process of redaction would have to have been followed by Farrer-Luke and it is much more likely that Q-Luke followed Q and Q-Matthew conflated Mark and Q.31 Here, Tuckett claims that this sort of “unpicking” is unprecedented, however whether Streeter-Matthew or Farrer-Luke is more consistent with ancient editorial practices is debated.32
“The Q hypothesis is not, of itself, a probable hypothesis. It is simply the sole alternative to the supposition that St. Luke had not read St. Matthew.”33
The Two-Source theory is wholly dependent on the presumption that it is implausible that Luke read Matthew. As we have argued: Farrer-Luke treats source material coherently by type, the conspicuous minor34 and major agreements between Luke and Matthew against Mark, and the contortions that Q-Theorists must go through to explain away or dismiss contrary evidence demonstrate Luke’s knowledge of Matthew is inherently plausible. Further as we have seen with Goodacre’s ‘editorial fatigue’–which also testifies to Luke’s use of Matthew–Markan priority, contra Griesbach, is the most likely explanation.
While I can offer no argumentation from fundamentals, history and experience have shown that when forming explanations you are better off when you explain the most facts with the fewest hypotheticals. When judging between two competing theories that cover the facts equally well, the simplest theory is most likely to be correct.
Until Copernicus, because no one wanted to contradict Aristotle, everyone maintained that the earth was at the center of the universe.
There are problems with this hypothesis, it doesn’t accurately predict the motion of the heavenly bodies. Thus, the geocentric theory accrued complications, to explain why the planets appear to slow down and go backwards, and at different rates, while the sun and moon don’t.
As the cruft of complicating hypothesis developed there were always exceptions that were difficult to explain from this framework. Someone always stepped in with a fresh auxiliary to buttress the theory that the earth is at the center of the universe. Further unaccountable exceptions to the model’s predictions were always found.
This accrual culminated in Ptolemy’s formulation of the geocentric model which asserted that the earth was almost at the center of the universe and rotated once every day. All the heavenly bodies were attached to crystal spheres (deferents) that revolved around the earth, or the off-centered center-which was almost earth. The moon was closest followed by Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the fixed stars.
Even this of course is too simple, so another complication is needed to account for apparent retrograde motion. Each heavenly body–except the sun, moon, and fixed stars–was attached to an epicycle, another crystal sphere attached to the deferent which revolved relative to the deferent in the opposite direction of the deferents revolutions around the earth. Ptolemy worked out the relative sizes and rates of revolution of the deferents and epicycles to make the system predictive of reality.
Ptolemy was successful. An astronomical clock based on his model, called an orrery, could predict the position of the lights in the sky on whatever date you wished.
There is a problem with Ptolemy’s model, despite it accounting for all the problem cases, it is wrong. By taking a false axiom, geocentrism, hypotheses must be multiplied–the epicycles within cycles, and off centered universes–to cover all the facts. Eventually a simpler theory, heliocentrism, that covered all the facts won the day, but only by throwing away false axioms.
Given that hypothetical source documents are not needed to explain the synoptic problem, we should dispense with Q.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SELECTED WORKS
Downing, F.G. “A Paradigm Perplex: Luke, Matthew and Mark.” New Testament Studies 38 (1992): 15-36.
Drury, J. Tradition and Design in Luke’s Gospel: A Study in Early Christian Historiography. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1976.
Farmer, W.R. The Synoptic Problem. Dilsboro, N.C.: Western North Carolina Press, 1964, 2nd ed. 1976.
Farrer, A.M. “On Dispensing with Q.” In Studies in the Gospels: Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot, edited by D. E. Nineham, 55-88. Oxford: Blackwell, 1955.
___________. The Gospel According to Luke (I-IX). The Anchor Bible, vol. 28. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981.
___________. The Gospel According to Luke (X-XXIV). The Anchor Bible, vol. 28A. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985.
___________. The Gospel According to Luke (X-XXIV), The Anchor Bible, vol. 28A. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985.
Goodacre, M. The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem. Harrisburg, Pa: Trinity Press International, 2002.
___________. “Fatigue in the Synoptics.” New Testament Studies 44 (1998): 45-58.
___________. “A Monopoly on Marcan Priority? Fallacies at the Heart of Q.” In Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers 2000, 583-622. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000.
___________. The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze. New York: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Goulder, M. Luke: A New Paradigm, Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 20. 2 vols. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1989.
Green, H.B. The Gospel According to Matthew. The New Clarendon Bible. Oxford: Clarendon, 1975.
Mann, C.S. Mark. The Anchor Bible, vol. 27. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986.
McNicol, A.J. ed. Beyond the Q Impasse — Luke’s Use of Matthew: A Demonstration by the Research Team of the Institute for Gospel Studies. Valley Forge, Pa: Trinity Press International, 1996.
Neirynck, F. The Minor Agreements of Matthew and Luke Against Mark: With a Cumulative List. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 1974.
Olson, K. “Unpicking on the Farrer Theory.” In Questioning Q: A Multidimensional Critique, edited by Mark Goodacre and Nicholas Perrin pp. 127-150. Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 2004.
Orchard, B.J. The Order of the Synoptics: Why Three Synoptic Gospels? Macon, Ga: Mercer University Press, 1987.
Powery, E.B. “Q.” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Katherine Doob Sakenfeld, 4:697. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009.
___________. “Synoptic Problem.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Katherine Doob Sakenfeld, 5:429-434. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009.
Sanders, E.P. and M. Davies. Studying the Synoptic Gospels. London: SCM, 1989.
Stanton, G.N. “Q.” In The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, 644-650. Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 1992.
Stein, R.H. Studying the Synoptic Gospels: Origin and Interpretation. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.
___________. “Synoptic Problem.” In The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, 784-792. Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 1992.
Tuckett, C.M. “The Beatitudes: A Source-Critical Study. With a Reply by M.D. Goulder.” In The Synoptic Problem and Q: Selected Studies from Novum Testamentum, 180-203. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1999.
___________. Q and the History of Early Christianity: Studies on Q. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996.
___________. The Revival of the Griesbach Hypothesis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
___________. “Synoptic Problem.” In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 5:263-270. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Vinson, R. “How Minor? Assessing the Significance of the Minor Agreements as an Argument Against the Two-Source Hypothesis.” In Questioning Q: A Multidimensional Critique, edited by Mark Goodacre and Nicholas Perrin, 151-64. Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 2004.