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John Reece
05-14-2014, 10:24 PM
I just received a couple of books by Maurice Casey, in one of which ― Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998) ― he presents a critical history of the works of his predecessors who wrote about Aramaic sources of the Gospels, including C. C. Torrey, some of whose writings I am in the process of transcribing in other threads.

In a series of posts beginning after this OP, I propose to present verbatim the entirety of Casey's criticism of Torrey's work in the latter's Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, which is on pages 22-26 of the 278 page monograph cited above.

John Reece
05-15-2014, 12:45 PM
The beginning of excerpts from pages 22-26 of the Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998), wherein Maurice Casey presents a critique of Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, by Charles C. Torrey:


Torrey recognized that Burney's proposed mistranslations were not satisfactory, which is very ironical, for Torrey proceeded to major on mistranslations as his central criterion for believing that the Gospels were translated from Aramaic. He had one or two good ideas. At Luke 12.49, he noted that the Greek text (τί θέλω εἰ) must mean 'what do I desire if'. He reconstructed this מָה צָבֵא אֲנָא הֵן, and translated it 'how I wish that'. Torrey did not fully understand the translator, who was not only rendering word for word, but also suffereing from interference. His Aramaic is perfectly correct, however, and should be accepted as an explanation of the Lukan expression. Torrey also commented plausibly on Luke 1.39, εἰς πόλιν Ἰούδα. Noting correctly that Judah was not a city, Torrey reconstructed מדינת יהודה, meaning 'to the province of Judah'. At the same time, however, Torrey was very dogmatic and not altogether convincing about the behavior of the translator. He was quite sure that מדינא in Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic always meant 'province', and that in Gentile usage it always meant 'city'. He thought that the trouble was simply caused by Luke's being Gentile. It is not, however, obvious that Luke was the translator, and Torrey had insufficient ground for his assertion about Gentile usage. Moreover, we should add the problem of interference. A bilingual who was used to the first of the two nouns being in the construct, and the second not having case, might have read the expression in what has become the traditional way, 'to a city of Judah'.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-16-2014, 12:47 PM
Continuation of excerpts from pages 22-26 of the Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998), wherein Maurice Casey presents a critique of Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, by Charles C. Torrey:


Despite a small number of gains of this kind, Torrey's work suffers from serious defects. It is very badly set out. Aramaic usage is often authoritatively declared without supporting evidence. Torrey also deals often with only one or two words, which greatly facilitates playing tricks. Some suggestions are plausible, but doubtful because we do not have sufficient reason to believe that there ever was an Aramaic original to the passage discussed. For example, he describes the single word εἰσῆλθον at Luke 7:45 as 'An especially clear case of false rendering'. He reconstructs the word as עלת. He supposes that the source meant עַלַּת, 'she came in', but was misread in an unvocalized text as if it were עַלֵּת, 'I came in', partly because the translator rendered עלת correctly with εἰσῆλθον in the previous verse. This explanation is plausible, and gives a better account of the translator than Torrey usually does. Doubts remain because this piece is in Luke only, and is fluently written in Greek. It may be therefore that the author was not quite as sure as Torrey that the woman came in after Jesus, and really meant 'since I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet', which is very entertainingly put.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-17-2014, 12:08 PM
Continuation of excerpts from pages 22-26 of the Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998), wherein Maurice Casey presents a critique of Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, by Charles C. Torrey:


More serious are cases where Torrey has creatively rewritten the text with Aramaic backing. For example, for μετ᾿ ὀργῆς at Mark 3:5 Torrey reconstructs ברגז. This is not an unreasonable version of the two words taken in isolation: viewing the the sentence as a whole, I shall use the same word for ὀργή in a complete reconstruction of the verse, beginning ופנה עליהון לרגז. Torrey, however, was quite sure that Jesus was not angry. He argues that the word signifies 'distress, deep sorrow', citing Tg. Ps. 6.8; Job 17:7, both of which are too late in date, together with 2 Sam. 19:1, which is in the wrong language. Torrey's argument is a thus a mixture of good and bad method. It was right to find the underlay of ὀργῆς, and wrong to take it in isolation from the rest of the sentence. It would have been entirely right to offer a careful outline of the semantic area of רגז, and not to be hidebound by the translator in considering what Mark's source really meant and what Jesus really felt. It was wrong to have such a conviction that Jesus could not have been angry, and to rummage around texts in either Hebrew or Aramaic, written centuries before and afterward, to find a meaning which fits a conviction that Jesus was not angry.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-18-2014, 01:19 PM
Continuation of excerpts from pages 22-26 of the Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998), wherein Maurice Casey presents a critique of Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, by Charles C. Torrey:


With such method, the rewriting can go much further astray, especially in dealing with texts which were first written in Greek. I have noted the Johannine prologue, where Torrey accepted Burney's use of a supposed Aramaic substratum to introduce the virgin birth where they felt that it should not have been left out. Torrey was equally sure that the imperfect ἦν at 1.15, and the participle ὢν at 1.18, could not be right. So he suggested that ἦν at 1.15 was due to the misremembering of הוּא, which should have been rendered 'is', but which the translator interpreted הֲוָא, 'was'; while at 1.18, הֲוָא, which should have been rendered 'was', was read as הוּא, and misrendered 'is'. Both suggestions arise from Torrey's lack of sympathy for the Johannine way of putting things. Here the author looks back on the ministry of Jesus from the perspective of the church, seen through the rewritten witness of John the Baptist. This is the reason for the past tense. Similarly at 1.18, Jesus is in the bosom of the Father, for that is where he has been since the time of the ministry, the narrative of which begins at 1.19. Torrey's comment on 1:15 is classic: 'The fact that the Greek translator of the Gospel erred here is placed beyond doubt by the subsequent examples of the same mistake.' What this really means is that Torrey was very good at naughty tricks and played this one elsewhere too. At this stage, a supposed Aramaic stratum has become an excuse for altering difficult texts to something more convenient.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-19-2014, 02:22 PM
Continuation of excerpts from pages 22-26 of the Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998), wherein Maurice Casey presents a critique of Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, by Charles C. Torrey:


Torrey's suggestions also involved some poor work by translators, and at times this goes beyond the reality of this world, in which some poor translating is indeed done, into the realms of lunacy. For example, at John 7:38 he suggests that מִן גַּוַּהּ, 'out of the midst of her', was misread as מִן גַּוֵּהּ, 'out of his belly'. This gives us a sensible original meaning, and enables us to find scriptures which refer to the flowing of water out of Jerusalem. However, Torrey's account of the translator is an account of an extraordinary blunderer. That cannot be excluded a priori, and we would have to believe it on the basis of good evidence, but on the basis of conjectures of this sort it is hardly convincing.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-20-2014, 12:22 PM
Continuation of excerpts from pages 22-26 of the Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998), wherein Maurice Casey presents a critique of Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, by Charles C. Torrey:


Not only did Torrey fail to give proper details of the attestation of difficult Aramaic, but in some cases he got it wrong. For example, at Mark 7:3 he suggested that πυγμῇ was a translation of לִגְמֹד, 'with the fist', whereas the translator should have read לִגְמָד, and should have translated this 'at all'. It is not, however, clear that these were Aramaic words. Neither occurs in Aramaic of anything like the right period, and as far as I know there is no Aramaic word גמד = 'fist'. Finally, some suggestions are not properly worked through. For example, he makes the claim that 'Lk. 16:18, last clause, gives an exact verbal rendering of the Aramaic here conjectured from Mk.!' He does not, however, explain this.

To be continued...

John Reece
05-21-2014, 11:16 AM
This is the final paragraph of excerpts from pages 22-26 of the Society For New Testament Studies Monograph Series 102: Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel (Cambridge University Press,1998), wherein Maurice Casey presents a critique of Our Translated Gospels: Some of the Evidence, by Charles C. Torrey:


We must therefore conclude that, like Burney, Torrey took work on the Aramaic substratum of the Gospels backwards rather than forwards. He had learning and ingenuity, but no serious controls, and he understood neither texts nor translators. Some of the contemporary discussion of his work was equally poor. Goodspeed argued that there have not been any Aramaic Gospels, because there was no Aramaic literature at that time. His wild polemic failed to come to terms with indications that there was such Aramaic literature, and his second-rate analysis of Gospel evidence shows that he had not taken seriously, and perhaps had not read, the work of Meyer. From this grim retrospect, we can see the more clearly what a shining light Meyer had been, and Black was to be.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from pages 258 and 259 of the final chapter titled "Conclusions":


.... To recover the original meaning of Mark's source, we had to suppose that the narrative was originally written by a Jew from Israel. In the process, we found numerous signs of this, including evidence of the literal translation of an Aramaic source. .... (page 258).

.... I do not see how such a source could have been written later than c. 40 CE, when the Gentile mission was such a great success that it would have to be taken note of. A date earlier than this is surely more probable. .... (page 259).

robrecht
07-23-2014, 02:11 PM
Hi, John. Just curious. Before I dive into your other Aramaic threads (still not sure when that will be), what do you think of Casey's methdological suggestions?

John Reece
07-23-2014, 02:45 PM
Hi, John. Just curious. Before I dive into your other Aramaic threads (still not sure when that will be), what do you think of Casey's methdological suggestions?

I have not read his 39-page chapter titled 'Method'; I only used the index in Aramaic Sources of Mark's Gospel to cite everything he wrote about Torrey's work, plus his chapter titled 'Conclusions'.

I notice that he also has a 14-page chapter titled 'Method' in his An Aramaic Approach to Q, which I have at hand but have not yet read.

So, until I am able to read one or both of those two chapters, I will not be able to respond with any degree of competence.

John Reece
07-24-2014, 12:44 AM
Hi, John. Just curious. Before I dive into your other Aramaic threads (still not sure when that will be), what do you think of Casey's methodological suggestions?

I think Casey's methodological suggestions are an exhaustive seven-stage/eight-stage (Mark/Q) process calculated to survive criticism by critical scholars.

You have probably noticed via the email notification that I deleted a second paragraph, which was incomplete and therefore inaccurate in terms of Casey's presentation.

robrecht
07-24-2014, 11:36 AM
I think Casey's methodological suggestions are an exhaustive seven-stage/eight-stage (Mark/Q) process calculated to survive criticism by critical scholars.

You have probably noticed via the email notification that I deleted a second paragraph, which was incomplete and therefore inaccurate in terms of Casey's presentation.Hi, John.

Yes, Casey's more rigorous methodology was respected by critical scholars who nonetheless disagreed with his extraordinary conclusions. He loved to stir the pot.

By the way, I did not get an email or private message from you or anyone.

John Reece
07-24-2014, 01:32 PM
By the way, I did not get an email or private message from you or anyone.

Wonderful!

I was referring to the automatic notices sent by TWeb to thread subscribers. I must have deleted my second paragraph before the automatic notice thereof was triggered.

I had more to say ― and did say more ― by way of an opinion about Casey's work; however, I had misgivings about having written what I wrote, and so deleted it.

I much prefer to keep my amateurish opinions to myself and let readers of my threads come to their own conclusions based on what all the respective authors say for themselves and ― in the cases of Black and Casey ― about the works of other scholars.

Casey's books are still in print, so that anyone who wishes to see all he wrote about Aramaic sources of Mark's Gospel and An Aramaic Approach to Q can do so by purchasing the books.

I have already posted all that Casey wrote about Torrey, and have posted or will post all that Black said about Torrey ― because Torrey is my favorite maverick, three of whose works I have posted or am posting; and so, therefore, I think I owe readers of my threads a full airing of all that I can find of what his expert critics wrote about his novel and radical theories.