This is exactly what I meant. You mix up your "hard, observable, readable data" with your interpretation of these data points, which is exactly the same thing you accuse others of doing. Those people who have a different model of the sequence of gospels don't use any different "hard, observable, readable data". They just interpret them differently.neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:33 amNo, the claim is based squarely on observable data. Yes, it is a judgement call, but it is based squarely on the evidence before our eyes. It is based on hard, observable, readable data.Ulan wrote: ↑Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:00 amI think at this point you are leaving your own criteria behind. Sure, it "is reasonable that Mark was the main source for the other three canonical gospels". It's a judgment call. We don't have any solid evidence for this claim. This is even more true for the claim that "[w]e don't know of any gospels prior to Mark". Maybe. Maybe not. I say this by the way even though I generally agree with this point of view.
The idea that Mark was not the first gospel is not based directly on any observable evidence. It is entirely hypothetical.
You don't need to explain to me why most of NT scholarship thinks gMark is first. As I said, it's a reasonable interpretation, and it's the interpretation I also follow. Yet, it's just that, an interpretation with a specific likelihood. It may actually be completely wrong. There are quite a few NT scholars around who will tell you that this interpretation is wrong. I don't think all of them are bonkers.
You forget a few things here. A whole lot of assumptions are put into the interpretation to come to this conclusion. One of these assumptions, which you incidentally spent a lot of time defending on your blog, is that ancient authors tended rather to extend texts than to shorten them. This is just one of these assumptions. And no, you don't need to defend this position. I just want to point out that you mix up data with interpretation.neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:36 amWe do know that the canonical gospels, especially the synoptics, are related because we have observable evidence to tell us so, and it is a judgment call based on analysis of that observable data that leads us to conclude Mark came first.
Contrast the basis of the hypothesis that other gospels were extant before Mark.
While Berger for example is an apologist, he is a good analyst nevertheless. I was simply pointing out that both of these apologists are completely right with pointing out that modern mainstream NT scholarship isn't that data-driven as they claim, either. Most work with completely unquantifiable judgment calls. This may be better than just working on the basis of belief, but we should not be too sure about our assumptions. The whole dating (of NT texts) circus is particularly dubious.
I was just picking up the word you used to describe your own position as it may be seen by others. I probably should have used quotes to remind you of this.neilgodfrey wrote: ↑Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:33 amWhat is nihilistic about my approach? It is surely not nihilistic to tailor one's questions and inquiries to fit the extent and nature of the evidence we have in hand and to avoid methods based on circular arguments. Mainstream historical inquiries are far from nihilistic.