[Excavating-Q] Luke's failure to reproducedMatthew's additions to Mark
- Dear John
As someone who is not yet fully persuaded of the existence of
Q, I very much enjoyed your clear and helpful discussion of "Q
and the Synoptic Problem" in Chapter 1 of _Excavating Q_.
Nevertheless, there were still one or two points where
questions arose in my mind. One of these was the
discussion on p. 41 of Luke's failure to feature Matthew's
additions to Mark, which I will quote for those who don't have a
copy of the book:
"It has been observed that Luke fails to reproduce Matthew's
'additions' to Mark and fails to adopt the more obvious
Mattheanisms in the first gospel. Or, to put it more neutrally,
in Lukan material for which there are Matthaean and Markan
parallels, Luke rarely reflects what is distinctive of Matthew
when it is compared with Mark. For example, Luke lacks the
conversation between John the Baptist and Jesus in Matt.
3.14-15 (contrast Mark 1.9-11 / Luke 3.21-22) and Matthew's
extension of the quotation of Isa 6.9-10 (contrast Mark 4.12 /
Luke 8.10). Neither Mark nor Luke reproduces Matthew's
favorite "kingdom of the heavens". Luke's agreements with
Matthew, moreover, begin where Mark begins and end where
Mark ends: Matthew and Luke both have infancy stories and
resurrection stories, but their accounts are completely
different. For Luke to have so consistently avoided what
Matthew added to Mark (Farrer-Goulder) or the material that
Mark eliminated from Matthew ("Augustine") requires an
idiosyncratic view of Lukan editorializing; obviously, it is far
simpler to conclude that Luke lacks these Matthaeanisms
because he has edited Matthew independently of Matthew."
As you know, this is an argument that has been presented in
similar forms by other leading advocates of Q like Joseph
Fitzmeyer and Christopher Tuckett. Sometimes this is divided
into two separate arguments:  Luke's lack of Matthew's
additions to Mark in triple tradition and  Luke's lack of M
material / Matthew's Infancy and Resurrection Stories.
Because this is only an Email and my space and your time is
limited, I'd like to focus briefly on one of these, : Luke's lack
of Matthew's additions to Mark in triple tradition.
One of my difficulties with this argument is as follows. Let us
say, for the sake of argument, and on the assumption of the
Farrer Theory, that Luke were to include Matthew's additions
to Mark in a triple tradition passage. How would this be
treated by advocates of the Two-Source Theory? Would it not
be placed in the category "Mark-Q overlap"? Several
passages spring to mind, e.g. one that is adjacent to your
example Matt. 3.14-15, viz. Matt. 3.11-12 // Mark 1.7-8 // Luke
3.16-17. Here we have verbatim agreement between Matthew,
Mark and Luke and we also have substantial verbatim
agreement between Matthew and Luke against Mark. Where
Mark, for example, has John say, "He will baptize you with
holy spirit" (Mark 1.8), Matthew and Luke have "He will
baptize you in holy spirit and fire" (Matt. 3.11 // Luke 3.16),
and continue with a verse of near verbatim agreement featuring
pretty typical Matthean language and themes on separation,
judgement and the use of harvest imagery (Matt. 3.12 // Luke
Is this not an example of "Luke's reproduction of Matthew's
'additions' to Mark"? Or, to use your neutral formulation, Luke
here "reflects what is distinctive of Matthew when it is
compared with Mark". Perhaps the only thing that is causing
us to miss material like this is the classifying of the Synoptic
data according to the needs of the Two-Source Theory, in
particular the use of the category "Mark-Q overlap".
But I think that there may be a way that we can test the point.
Luke does not, of course, always feature what is distinctive of
Matthew when it is compared with Mark. On such occasions,
we need to ask whether the distinctive Matthean material
appears to be in any way "Luke pleasing", to use Farrer's
term. For if Luke could be shown frequently and consistently
not to feature Matthaean material that we would expect him to
feature, from what we can learn of his literary and redactional
preferences elsewhere, then there would indeed be a problem
for the Farrer Theory.
One of your choice examples of this phenomenon is Luke's
failure to include Matt. 3.14-15, John's protestation at Jesus
coming to his baptism. I am not convinced that Luke would
have found a passage like this congenial to his narrative
agenda. His parallel comes, as you point out, in Luke 3.21-
22. At this point in the development of Luke's story, John's
arrest just been narrated (Luke 3.19-20). One of the things
that many commentaries on Luke are at pains to point out is
the extent to which Luke has John off the stage before Jesus
appears, hence Luke's extraordinary account of the baptism in
which John is not even mentioned. One of my tutors in
Oxford, Eric Franklin, used to encourage his students to
imagine themselves into the place of the evangelists. Well
here, if I were Luke, and if I had Matt. 3.14-15 in front of me,
it's just the kind of passage I'd omit. Wouldn't you have done
the same if you were Luke?
With many thanks
Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom
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