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[Excavating-Q] Ken Olson on the order of Q

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  • John Kloppenborg
    Ken Olson s question raises an extremely difficult question, and one for which I think we are only beginning to have the answers (or at least, some answers).
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2000
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      Ken Olson's question raises an extremely difficult question, and one for
      which I think we are only beginning to have the answers (or at least, some

      The question comes in several parts:
      "In ExQ you state that those cases where we can establish Luke's ordering of
      Q as more original include "those pericopae that Matthew conflated with a
      Markan passage" (p. 89) and you provide several examples. Further, you
      argue that "we are _certain_ that Matthew's location of the text does not
      represent Q, since these pericopae are made to function in a _Markan_
      context, i.e., in a context that they could not have had in Q. All but two
      (Q 6:39 and 6:40) are found in the Lukan Travel Narrative (Luke 9:51-18:14),
      whose organization is rather loose and has in fact defied attempts to
      specify an overarching structuring principle" (p. 90).

      JSKV: I should say that here (pp. 89-90) and in the corresponding sections
      of Formation, I was concerned to sort out the arguments for order from
      logical point of view, and not to base an argument for Lukan order on the
      rather vague generalization that since Luke tends not to re-order Mark, he
      probably didn't reorder Q. Instead, I tried to construct a hierarchy of
      arguments, beginning with the most secure, and having recourse to the vague
      generalization only at the end, if necessary.

      JSKV: What Dr. Olson quotes is my second observation (following my noting
      that 27 double tradition pericopae are already in a common order), that in
      some cases, we can be sure that Matthew's position is *not* original (which
      of course does not imply that Luke's is).

      If I understand Dr. Olson's question aright, he grants (at least for the
      sake of argument) that Luke preserves Q's order, but wonders why Luke did
      not do as Matthew has done, and conflate Mark-Q overlaps (Q 12:10/Mk.
      3:28-30; Q 12:11-12/Mk. 13:11; Q 13:18-19/Mk. 4.30-32; Q 13:30/Mk. 10.31; Q
      17:1-2/Mk. 9:42). Instead, Olson says, Luke omitted or re-wrote the Markan
      version in its Markan context so that he could use the Q version in its Q
      context instead. Why would Luke do this? Why did he not conflate the Q
      version with the Markan version as Matthew did? Why did he choose to place
      these pericopae in the Travel Narrative?"

      JSKV: This is a very difficult question to ask, but I suspect that it has a
      lot to do with the physical techniques of composition. Michael Goulder has
      spoken of Luke's Block policy--i.e., his tendency to use one source at at
      time. A PhD candidate here, Robert Derrenbacker, has worked on the problem
      of the mechanics of ancient composition, and suggests that something like a
      block policy can be posited for Luke on the 2DH (Matthew is a more
      complicated matter), whereby Luke alternates between Mark and Q.
      Micro-conflation--where the author must be assumed to have visual contact
      with two sources and where the sources are interleafed, whic is what the 2GH
      must posit on the part of Mark--is in fact technically impossible and rarely
      if ever attested in ancient composition, and Derrenbacker argues that even
      Matthew is not really a good example of micro-conflation. Luke is even less
      suspect of micro-conflation, although as Neirynck has noted in his 1982
      Logia article, there are places in the Travel Narrative where Luke seems to
      betray Markan influence even when he is apparently quoting Q. This, I take
      it, would be explicable on a model of secondary orality proposed by Risto
      Uro in his work on Thomas.

      Olson: "Your argument suggests that Luke would not have found Q's context
      more appropriate than Mark's; yet he prefers it. Was it simply easier, as a
      matter of composition, to keep his sources separate and to leave the version
      he preferred in the context he found it, rather than to try to harmonize his

      I have *noted* (not argued) that Luke seems to prefer non-Markan versions of
      doublets to Markan ones (think, for example of Luke 4:16-30 over Mark
      6:1-6a, or Luke 5:1-11 over Mark 1:60-20). That is a datum to start with,
      not the conclusion of an argument. I would wonder immediately whether this
      is the result of, for example, Q/L being Luke's primary or foundational
      source, into which he has worked Mark (proto-Luke revisited???). Maybe there
      are other ways to account for Luke's pattern of choices.

      I do think that it was *clearly* easier for Luke to keep his sources
      separate, and given Derrenbacker's research, the *typical* way for
      composition to occur, especially prior to the invention of the writing desk,
      which is unattested until well into the medieval period.

      Thanks for a tough question. I can't give a response that it fully
      appropriate to your question, but I hope that i've pointed out some
      directions from which an answer might come.


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