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RE: [Allison-Seminar] Hell in Q

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  • Mark Goodacre
    Dear Dale Many thanks for your thoughtful answer to my questions about Q; sorry for bringing up the Synoptic Problem. I should be more careful not to come
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 4, 2003
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      Dear Dale

      Many thanks for your thoughtful answer to my questions about Q;
      sorry for bringing up the Synoptic Problem. I should be more careful
      not to come across as a Johnny One Note and ask questions about Q! I
      am working on different things now, but the prominence of Q in two of
      the chapters I read meant I couldn't resist a comment. To comment on
      your comments:

      (1) Yes, one also finds some Matthaean style expressions in Mark (as
      the Griesbachians are keen to point out) and yes, I agree with you --
      on the whole -- on what happened with Matthew's use of those sorts of
      expressions in Mark: he's seen something "Matthew-pleasing".
      However, more nuancing is necessary on some of them, e.g. what is
      distinctive about hUPOKRITHS is not so much Matthew's use of the word
      but his use of the vocative hUPOKRITA/AI; Mark 7.6 is PERI hUMWN TWN
      hUPOKRITWN. And it's difficult to find anything like as striking as
      some of the expressions we have in Q, e.g. the neologism OLIGOPISTOI
      or whole phrases like weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth.

      (2) But the point about my question was not just that striking
      Matthaean locutions turn up in Q; it is that their presence in
      minimal Q places a question mark over the assumption that Q's
      language and Matthew's language was different, the assumption that is
      at the base of reconstructions of Q. Although this has important
      source-critical ramifications, the point is not primarily a source-
      critical one. It is one about the reconstruction of the text of Q.
      In other words, I'm trying to understand the way that the Q theory
      works, to make sense of the reconstruction of its wording and I keep
      running up against this problem. The difficulty is that it is a
      problem that is not acknowledged or even discussed by those who
      accept the existence of Q.

      To take "weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth", for example, the
      question we need to ask ourselves is: if this did not occur in a
      parallel Lucan context in Luke 13, would we include it in Q? Well,
      I'm pretty sure we wouldn't, would we? We'd say it showed clear
      signs of Matthaean redaction, as the IQP regularly says when
      discounting Matthaean phrases elsewhere in Matthew's versions of Q
      passages. But distinctive Matthaean phrases like this, and others
      like o ye of little faith, do crop up in minimal Q. Minimal Q
      therefore for at least some of the time sounds like Matthew. So what
      I cannot understand is where the assumption comes from that Q's
      language was different from Matthew? It is something that is never
      argued; indeed it's not even admitted in the Kloppenborg-
      Derrenbacker defence to which you refer. It may be that there is a
      reasonable answer to this point, but I've not been able to think of
      one myself.

      I'd like to have another look at the "brood of vipers" etc. material
      too:

      > ii. I have no trouble at
      > all regarding "Brood of vipers" in Mt 12:34; 23:33 and the cut down
      > tree in Mt 7:19 as Matthean redaction based upon Q 3 (a commonplace
      > verdict in the guild). That Matthew would take words of the Baptist
      > and put them into Jesus' mouth actually fits a Matthean tendency to
      > assimilate the two figures. So to observe that Matthew and Q share
      > certain words and expressions is not in itself damning.

      I realise that this is a commonplace verdict in the guild; I'd say
      that something like this must have happened if the Two-Source Theory
      is right. What I'm wondering is whether this is one of those
      occasions, like the ones you refer to in your Liking & Disliking
      Chapter, where commitment to a particular viewpoint causes us to see
      the data in a certain way. Since I've never believed in Q, I suppose
      I am inclined to see this data as being friendly to my view where you
      see it as friendly to to the Q theory. But let me attempt to explain
      how it looks to me. When we read John's Gospel and see Jesus, John
      the Baptist and the narrator all speaking in the same way, we have to
      say with F. C. Baur that this is the evangelist stamping his own way
      of talking on John, Jesus and the narrator. When we see the same
      thing in Matthew, John and Jesus speaking in identical ways (with the
      preponderance of this kind of language occurring in Jesus' mouth and
      not in John's), it seems more natural to me to think that Matthew has
      stamped his own way of talking on Jesus and John. This seems to me
      much more plausible than the notion that Matthew has imitated the
      wording of one short Q passage on John and applied it on multiple
      occasions to Jesus. After all, it's not just the language but the
      very imagery and thought-process. It's Matthew among the evangelists
      who particularly thinks of judgement in these stark terms of
      separation between the righteous and the wicked, often using harvest
      imagery but also other, similar images, wheat / chaff, wheat /
      weeds, good fruit / bad fruit, good fish / bad fish, sheep / goats.
      When I read the John the Baptist speech, its thought, language and
      imagery just looks to me so markedly Matthaean and I can't help
      finding it more plausible to think that it therefore originated with
      Matthew rather than that Matthew derived the other material from this
      passage in Q. I understand your point here, can see that it makes
      sense, but don't feel that it is as plausible as the Q sceptical
      view; but perhaps that does have something to do with the way I am
      used to looking at the data. I was unlucky enough never to have been
      taught Q at university -- Ed Sanders used to say he found it the
      least plausible solution to the Synoptic Problem; I disagree about
      that -- I find 2ST much more plausible than Griesbach -- but
      sometimes patterns of thought are very difficult to unlearn.

      > iii. I've got another question for you,
      > Mark. Do you think that any of my major conclusions about the
      > historical Jesus and Gehenna would change if I were to give up Q? And
      > would you be hesitant, if there were no Q, to trace some of the M hell
      > stuff back to Jesus? This isn't a trap--I'm honestly asking for your
      > judgment. Either way you answer, it seems to me significant and I'll
      > need to think through the ramifications. I've tended to think myself
      > that Q doesn't matter for this question as for many others, but maybe
      > I'm wrong and I need to think further about how to hedge my bets.

      Thank you for asking an interesting question; I don't have a simple
      answer. On the general issue, I differ from Michael Goulder and side
      with Ed Sanders in thinking that dispensing with Q does not mean one
      has to go for the implausible view that Matthew (and Luke) "made it
      all up", for want of a better expression. I am impressed by the fact
      that there are other streams in early Christianity that do not
      witness to a distinct Q or a distinct M tradition, but bind them
      together, e.g. epistle of James and the Gospel of Thomas -- both
      heavier on (what we call) Q + M than on L or other strands.

      On the specific question, let us say that Matthew is the author of
      that particularly distinctive way of talking about hell, with
      weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth etc., and that this only finds
      its way into Luke in fragments. What that would leave us with is
      Matthew making a pretty decisive contribution to the language and
      imagery in which hell is cast in early Christianity. The Q theory, I
      think, pushes this material much earlier and enhances the multiple
      attestation element of this particular way of expressing hell. So I
      think here this would actually make stronger your own observation
      that hell becomes more prominent as we move further away from Mark.
      But we still have it in Mark; it's there independently in Luke's
      Dives & Lazarus (which, unlike Goulder, I don't think Luke made up);
      and just because Matthew frames the language and imagery in a
      distinctive way does not mean that he has not taken over his own
      material from the tradition.

      Sorry that this answer is a little long-winded and not as coherent as
      it should be; I have had to write it quickly in order to see if I
      can get it in before the moderators call a halt to proceedings. I'm
      most grateful for your time and once again thank you for the really
      stimulating articles & the discussion.

      All best
      Mark
      ------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology tel.: +44 121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
      Birmingham B15 2TT UK

      http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
      http://NTGateway.com
    • Dale Allison
      Dear Mark Well, this is the end of the line for me; thanks to everyone for your questions and comments, which have been helpful. Now, to your commments Mark:
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 5, 2003
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        Dear Mark
        Well, this is the end of the line for me; thanks to everyone for your questions and comments, which have been helpful.
        Now, to your commments Mark:

        i. You write: >>it's difficult to find anything like as striking as some of the expressions we have in Q, e.g. the neologism OLIGOPISTOI or whole phrases like weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth.<< I've never tried to look for these, but if you're right, then you do it seems have a good question for the Q guild.

        ii. Re the reconstruction of the wording of Q. This is hard for me to think through because there are so many facts I don't have to hand. For one thing, I'd need to go through The Critical Edition and see if there are any phrases that sound Lukan and whether they come close to balancing the phrases that sound Matthean. (Your comments imply No, but I've not done this myself.) Further, I'd want to see how many things in The Critical Edition do not sound Matthean, things that in each case, if The Critical Edition is correct, Matthew consistently changed. Once I had these facts, then I'd want the details regarding what Matthew has done to the Markan sayings (not the narratives) to see to what degree Jesus' Mark sounds like Matthew's Mark. With all this in hand, then I could answer your question. Seems to me that if you could do all this, and if Matthew looks a lot more like Q's Jesus than Mark's Jesus, and if our official Q is consistently (and not just once in a while) not non-Matthean, we'd need to have some thoughts that I haven't had until now.

        iii. I'd also want, if I were working through all this now, to attempt to reconstruct the sayings of Jesus in Mark with only Matthew and Luke to hand (that is, pretending not to have Mark), using the methods of the official Q project. Would Mark end up looking more Matthean than Lukan? What would this tell us?

        iv. Re your attempt to assign John's speeches in Q 3 to Matthew (if I understand you rightly), a couple of things may be said. One is that the idea of pure redaction--but you may not be saying this--seems to me to be problematic. >>The Son of man<< in Mt 16:28 is >>pure<< redaction, being a replacement of >>the kingdom of God<< in the Markan parallel. But Matthew took his phrase from the tradition, and it doesn't sound unlike Jesus elsewhere in the synoptic tradition, does it? Again and again, redaction takes up items from the tradition, and Jesus is usually in character. No evangelist could have had him say, e.g., that there is no God. This leads into the second thing, which is that what I see with Q 3, namely, Matthew using it for other things, seems to me to be so natural because I see it everywhere in the Jesus tradition; that is, people are constantly assimilating one thing to another. Mark has assimilated the feeding of the 5000 to the Lord's Supper, right? The parallels don't argue that he invented both. Mark has also created the second feeding story to match the first, or at least assimilated them to one another, but he didn't create both, did he? Mark has probably written Gethsemane to correlate with Mark 13:32-37 (or maybe it's the other way around)--but this doesn't mean he invented both Gethsemane and the parable in Mark 13 out of nothing or nothing much. Of course I could go on and on--tons of stuff in Talbert's old list of parallels in Luke-Acts, and tons of assimilation of this story about Jesus to that OT text--and (recalling your own work on the OT in the passion narrative), Mark isn't making up the passion narrative but assimilating Bible and traditions for the most part? Assimilating this to that is just how these people worked, so Q 3 is just one more example. Of course, this doesn't prove anything at all; it just explains how I'm looking at something, and in part because I grew up with Q. To go back to the essay on apocalyptic and ideology, I really do feel that most of us, most of the time, are working from ideas we formed at the beginning, ideas which we've gotten used to and so now must defend; most of us are very bad at converting after the teenage years; we're rather typically stuck in our ways.

        v. Glad to see that you think the main points of the article on Gehenna may stand up without Q.

        vi. Thanks for the mention of Jack Sanders' new book, which I had missed. Looks worthwhile.

        vii. Have just started Steve Hultgren's Narrative Elements in the Double Tradition. More reason why I can't just go down the road assuming what I took to be knowledge when I was still going to school; or rather, I just never get out of school. I will, however, now that this so-called Seminar is over, take a brief recess.

        Best,
        Dale







        ------------------
        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        Dept of Theology tel.: +44 121 414 7512
        University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
        Birmingham B15 2TT UK

        http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
        http://NTGateway.com



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