At 04:40 PM 12/3/2003 +0000, Brian Trafford wrote:
>We have no less than 27 verbatim word agreements in the above texts.
>Clearly Luke can be said to have taken his language from Matthew (or
>Q if you prefer the 2DH). From this, we certainly have no reason to
>argue that Luke took it from 4Q521, or even that he knew of it at all.
The flaw in this argument is that, logically
* Q might have known 4Q521, or
* 4Q521 might have known Q (or Matthew, or Luke)
Which manuscript has priority would depend on dating, of course. Schiffman,
in his Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, dates it (under the name of the
Messianic Apocalypse) to 100-80 B.C.E. He claims that it lacks any
sectarian character and "reflects the messianic hopes of the people of
Israel as a whole" (p.347). He further notes that the phrases we are
discussing appear in early rabbinic prayers about God, and he sees echoes
of it in the Amidah. His point seems to be that the messianic ideas of
4Q521 were widespread, even before Jesus' crucifixion. But he disputes
"Christianized" reading of this material (p. 348ff.), concluding that
"While some parallels do exist, they merely demonstrate that early
Christianity borrowed its messianic ideas from Judaism, specifically, the
kinds of apocalyptic notions contained in some of the texts preserved at
This thread began with Rikk's challenge to the existence of Jewish
messianic ideas that were *not* Davidic. Earlier in his book, in a more
general chapter on The Messianic Idea, Schiffman saw two basic messianic
themes: a restorationist, Davidic theme, and a utopian non-Davidic one
(pp.326f.) that was more apocalyptic. Perhaps this latter theme provides
the non-Davidic messianic ideas that Jesus may himself have been influenced by.
Wise, Abegg & Cook's translation of 4Q521 is prefaced by a note suggesting
that "the Gospel writers [Matthew and Luke] may have known [4Q521] -- or at
least have been familiar with the tradition that it contains." (p.420)
Your reasoning only makes sense on grounds of parsimony-- That is, we
already know Luke knows Q (on the 2DH), so positing a second source is not
However, since the text is not verbatim from start to finish, it might
still be instructive to compare the Greek for Matthew, Luke, and 4Q521 to
see if the *differences* provide clues to who borrowed from who.
Furthermore, if there are other agreements between Luke and 4Q521 that are
not found in Matthew, then the case is strengthened that Luke knew both
Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
Northern Arizona University
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