Sam, Chr & Josephus

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Mon Mar 12 04:20:55 EST 2001

Well, I wasn't expressing a preference, rather pointing out, less clearly
than Stephen, that there are other solutions. Sorry, Ian, I can't honour you
by calling your claim the "Hutchesson fallacy", because Butler got there
first with the name "Lachmann fallacy".

Peter Kirk

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen C. Carlson [mailto:scarlson at]
Sent: 11 March 2001 23:21
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: Re: Sam, Chr & Josephus

At 10:49 PM 3/11/01 +0100, Ian Hutchesson wrote:
>This won't explain, except with massive conditions, why Josephus almost
>agrees with either one or the other and when not, it is usually a matter of
>epitomising. We don't have three texts of the same tradition drifting
apart. We have
>clear redactional activity.

If it is true that "Josephus almost always agrees with either one
or the other" (I don't really know because I've haven't checked it),
it only means that Joseph is a middle term between Sam. and Chr.
When one text is a middle term, as B. C. Butler (1951) pointed out
in reference to the synoptic problem where Mark is the middle term
between Matthew and Luke, there are a number of possible solutions:

1. The other two text are independently dependent on the middle
term, or upon a common source that the middle term is also dependent
only more accurately. (Here, Jos. almost always agree with one
or the other, because the one or the other's divergences are
unlikely to converge.)  [Butler termed the assumption that this
solution must be correct to the exclusion of the others the
"Lachmann fallacy".]

2. Josephus is dependent on Sam., and Chr. is dependent on Jos.
(Here, Jos.'s would agree with Sam. against Chr. if Chr diverges;
and Jos.'s would agree with Chr. against Sam. if Jos. divergers
and Chr. follows Jos.)

3. (Same as 2. but in the other direction) Jos. is dependent on
Chr., and Sam. is dependent on Jos.

4. Josephus harmonizes Sam. and Chr.  Where Sam. and Chr. diverge,
Jos. picks one, creating an agreement with one against the other.

In this case, Ian prefers solution no. 1, and Peter prefers
solution no. 4.  Logically, the evidence adduced by Ian that
"Josephus almost always agrees with either one or the other"
support either solution (and more).  If we adopt reasonable
datings for the materials, i.e. Sam. and Chr. earlier than
Jos., then Peter's solution is preferable.

Stephen Carlson
Stephen C. Carlson                        mailto:scarlson at
Synoptic Problem Home Page
"Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words."  Shujing 2.35

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