Sunday, January 21, 2007

Henry Owen not first to argue direct copying?

Stephen Carlson on his weblog hypotyposeis recently had a post on the early proponents of the utilization hypothesis (i.e. early scholars who saw direct copying of one Gospel to another). When talking about scholars espousing ‘direct dependence’ we should probably distinguish between two types of dependence:
(a) those who see that the later Gospel compositions were written with knowledge of predecessors (Augustine’s position) and
(b) those who recognize that an author fully ‘depends’ on the earlier work for the material (without which they would probably lack the information).
The first category would remain agnostic whether the author is ‘relying’ on an earlier work or whether they simply show some knowledge/familiarity of the earlier work when writing their own version.

I had previously taken Henry Owen (1764) as the first person to espouse the second category of dependence because I had thought any persons prior to Owen would simply have been considered heretics and feared for their lives and consequently never got around to articulating or demonstrating a theory of dependence.

Stephen Carlson translates a passage from 1716 of LeClerc mentioning direct dependence in which it seems that the second category might have already been espoused by others. I asked Stephen who these might be and what type of dependence they saw. Stephen’s helpful reply is found in his post Early Proponents of the Utilization Hypothesis.

The "they" that Le Clerc referred to in 1716 should be the early modern "Augustinians," such as Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) and John Mill (1645-1707), who, along with J. J. Wettstein (1693-1764) and others, were more explicit than Augustine in fact about the utilization of prior gospels.

Stephen then provides a quote each from Grotius, Mill and Wettstein indicating they each held to a model of direct dependence. Thank you Stephen for these (especially the translation of a passage from Grotius whom I have been meaning to find out more about).

I will have to revise my understanding of the beginnings of the utilization hypothesis and update my lecture notes for BN101.

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