(NOTE: This is the second in a series of five posts)
II THE TEXTS
A The Texts for the Passages
Here are the texts for the passages we will be examining, i.e., Mt
11:7-11//Lk 7:24-28//Mk 1:2//Th 46, 78:
Unit I Mt 11:7-9//Lk 7:24-26//Th 78
Mt 11:7a And, as these ones were leaving, Jesus began to say to the crowds
Th 78:1a Jesus said this,
Lk 7:24a, And, as were departing the messengers of John, he began to say to
the crowds about John
Mt 11:7b What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by
Th 78:1b Because of what did you come out to the field? To see a reed
moving about by the wind?
Lk 7:24b "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed being
shaken by the wind?
Mt 11:8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes?
Behold! the ones wearing soft clothes are in the houses of Kings.'
Th 78:2, And to see a man clothed in fine garments like your Kings and your
Lk 7:25, And what did you go out to see? A man being dressed in soft
clothing? Behold! The ones with glorious apparel and living in luxury are
in the palaces.
Mt 11:9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you--and
one greater than a prophet.
Th 78:3 These are in garments which are soft on them and they cannot know
Lk 7:26 But who did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you--and
more than a prophet
Unit II Mt 11:10//Lk 7:27//Mk 1:2
Mt 11:10a This is about whom it has been written,
Mk 1:2a Just as it has been written in Isaiah the prophet,
Lk 7:27a This one is he about whom it has been written
Mt 11:10b Behold I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your
way in front of you.
Mk 1:2b, Behold! I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare
Lk 7:27b Behold! I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare
your way in front of you.
Unit III Mt 11:11//Lk 7:28//Th 46
Mt 11:11a Truly, I say to you, there has not arisen among [those] born of
women greater that John the Baptist,
Th 46:1 Said Jesus this, From Adam up to John the Baptist, among the
begotten of woman, no one is raised up above John the Baptist so that to
break his eyes.
Lk 7:28a I say to you, among those born of women, no one is greater than
Mt 11:11b but the least in the Kingdom of the Heavens is greater than him.
Th 46:2 However, I spoke this: He among you who will come to being a little
one, he will know the Kingdom and will be raised above John.
Lk 7:28b But the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than him.
B Why the Passages are Divided into Three Separate Units
Note that, in this line schema, the passages are divided into three separate
There are two basic reasons for doing this. First, they naturally divide
this way. This is readily apparent in the observation that the outer two
units each have a parallel in Th, while the middle unit has a parallel in
Second, it is likely that they originally were three separate sayings.
For example, in The Historical Jesus (p. 236), John Dominic Crossan argues
that the first two units were originally separate, stating, "I consider that
two originally independent units have become merged in the Sayings Gospel Q
complex and that those two are still visible in that original separation at
Gospel of Thomas 78 and Mak 1:2-3, respectively:
(a) Questions and Answer About John
(1) Gos. Thom. 78
(2) 2Q: Luke 7:24-26 = Matt. 11:7-9
(b) Application of Mal. 3:1 to John:
(1) 2Q: Luke 7:27 = Matt 11:10
(2) Mark 1:2-3"
(Notes: (1) "2Q" means that they belong to the second stratum of Q. Crossan
divides Q into three strata, so these two units are assigned by him to the
middle stratum. (2) While Crossan has the Markan passage for unit two as
being Mk 1:2-3, the line analysis above reveals that it should be shortened
to Mk 1:2. (3) While Crossan states that unit two cites Mal 3:1, as will be
pointed out later, the citatation, rather, appears to be of Ex. 23:20).
Again, in Q and the History of Early Christianity (pp. 134), Christopher M.
Tuckett notes a likely seam between the second and third unit, stating,
"There does however seem to be a seam between v. 27 and v. 28. The repeated
legw humin of Q 7:28 (cf. v. 26) makes it unlikely that v. 28 belonged with
vv. 24-27 originally." (Note: Q 7:28 = Lk 7:28. When assigning
chapter(s)and verse(s) to a passage from the postulated Q, the convention is
to use the chapter(s) and verse(s) for the Lukan version of the passage.
So, when Tuckett speaks of a seam between Q 7:27 and Q 7:28, he is, in
effect, speaking of a seam between Lk 7:27//Mt 11:9 and Lk 7:28//Mt 11:10)
C. Who, Then, Combined The Three Passages?
Under the 2DH, it was the author(s) of Q who combined the three separate
sayings into a unified narrative. Under the FH and the MTH, it was Matthew
who combined the three separate sayings into a unified narrative.
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