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[Excavating-Q] Jeff Peterson on the phenomenon of order

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  • John Kloppenborg
    Jeff Peterson writes: JP: I agree that pericopae differently placed in all three Synoptics, along with those relocated from their Marcan context by one
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2000
      Jeff Peterson writes:

      JP: I agree that pericopae differently placed in all three Synoptics, along
      with those relocated from their Marcan context by one Evangelist and omitted
      by the other, do not constitute proof of a direct literary relationship
      between Mt and Lk (though FWIW they do qualify the common assessment that
      the Marcan order is _always_ followed by at least one of the later

      JSKV: True enough, but as Neirynck comments quite properly, Sanders was
      interpreting Woods (who made the statement) contra sensum auctoris. Woods'
      point was that Matthew's and Luke's disagreements with MArk are not such as
      to suggest collaboration.

      JP: Some of Sanders's other examples however do seem to constitute
      agreement in order against Mark. Without reviewing all of them, a few
      comments on examples that especially impress me follow, with some response
      to your objections.

      > Since Dr. Peterson notes in particular the temptation story (see
      > above), the parable of the leaven, and the teaching on forgiveness,
      > let me note that the parable of the leave is differently attached to
      > Mark (Matt: at MArk 4; Luke in the travel narrative, after Mark
      > 9:50);

      JP: Right -- the Leaven is significant as a "micro-agreement": Mt and
      Lk both preserve a unit in which Leaven (lacking in Mark)
      immediately follows Mustard Seed. As you note, they locate this
      unit at different points in the Marcan narrative, but it's the common
      order within the unit that constitutes agreement against Mark, the
      absence of which has been maintained as commending 2DH.

      JSKV: Not quite, I think. A common agreement *against Mark* would be when
      Mark has the order
      a b c d e f g
      and Matthew and Luke both have
      a b e d c f g

      In this case what one has is Matthew and Mark agreeing on the placement of
      the Mustard (at Mark 4:30), but Matthew including an extra element that Mark
      does not have. Luke does not agree with Mark's placement at all, but does
      have the additional element with Matthew. There are other agreements of this
      sort elsewhere. You mention the teaching on forgiveness, but its the same

      > (e) approximately the same
      > 21. Mark 14:21 Matt 26:25 Luke 22:23
      > 22. Mark 14:45 Matt 26:50 Luke 22:48

      JP: I don't understand why these should be ruled out of consideration; they
      resemble Double Tradition passages like the Pounds/Talents where there's
      little or no verbal agreement but enough parallel content to commend a
      literary explanation. While #22 might be ascribed to independent redaction,
      the explanation on FH strikes me as more satisfying: Luke sees what
      Matthew's up to in his revision of Mark and composes 22:48 to more
      effectively exploit the possibility latent in the Marcan narrative; but I
      grant that Mt and Lk may have independently perceived this gap and filled

      But #21 really must be accounted a striking coincidence on 2DH, mustn't it?
      With no unsatisfying absence in Mark as in #22, Mt and Lk each elect to
      transition from "the Son of Man goes" to the Supper via reaction among
      Jesus' disciples? Luke 22:23 is easily explained as a redactional version of
      Mt 26:25 following the Marcan saying, which Luke also recasts (though not as

      JSKV: First, # 21: It is true that both Matthew and Luke extend Mark 14:21.
      But Luke 22:23 is hardly an adaptation of Matt 26:25, but Luke's relocation
      Matthew, by contrast, is taking care to distinguish the 11 from Judas (not
      Judas' vocative, Rabbi, which gives away his status). Luke betrays no
      evidence of this distinction. This pericope I take to be an instance of
      Matthew and Luke independently developing Mark.

      #22: I think the scenario of independent redaction is better here. The
      Matthaean Jesus is providing a commentary on Judas' action: I take it to be
      a statement rather than a question: Friend, this is what you are here for.
      In Luke it is not clear that Judas actually kissed Jesus. I take it that for
      Luke, he did not (the Lukan Jesus is normally not very tactile). Thus, I don
      't see any real evidence that Luke has seen Matthew's explanation, though it
      is remotely possible that he has and doesn't like it and so provides a
      completely different version. But why then not simply derive Luke from Mark?

      > Neirynck also points out that #5 should not be listed at all, since
      > it is a Lukan omission, not a Matt-Luke agreement against Mark.

      JP: The Return to Bethany is a Lucan omission, but the entry (EISELQEIN in
      different forms) EIS TO hIERON on first arriving at Jerusalem agrees in
      order against Mark's entry on the second day.

      JSKV: I don't see this at all. Matt=MArk=Luke: kai eishlqen/eiselqwn eis ton
      hieron (21:12/11:15/19:45).

      > 3. A careful examination of Mark 1:2-4 and parallels indicates that there
      is as much disageement between Matt and Luke as there is agreement of
      Matt-Luke against Mark. That is, it is difficult to detect any consistent
      pattern of collaboration of MAtt-Luke against Mark here.

      JP: I'm afraid I don't feel the force of the "no consistent pattern of
      agreements" observation; the problem is how to account for such agreeements
      as Mt and Lk exhibit in both wording and order apart from a direct literary
      relationship. The points in which they fail to agree, like the passages in
      Sanders's categories b and c which
      you rightly dismiss, are not probative of anything and can be accounted for
      as reflective of authorial tendency (e.g., Luke's extension of the Isa 40
      quotation through "all flesh shall see God's salvation").

      JSKV: My point is that what Sanders has done is to line up some of the
      elements in Matt 3:1-6 and parr. where Matt and Luke agree against MArk, but
      this in fact ignores the fact that there are many items out of order. We are
      tied to fixed synopses, which commend to us a particular notion of what
      elements are fixed and which ones have been moved. But I suggest than you
      take some electronic text, put it in three columns, and start to line
      various elements up yourself. You'll quickly see that there are multiple
      ways to line up the agreements and disagreements in MAtt 3:1-6, some of
      which don't suggest any collaboration at all between MAtthew and Luke. Check
      also my methodoogical comments on determing what agreements and
      disagreements are in chap. 1 of ExQ. Anyone who has tried to create a
      synopsis will know just how untransparent the process really is. My
      criticism of Sanders, in other words, is that he has not taken into account
      the complexity of the text, and has chosen to focus on one apparent MA, not
      noting that the very definition of an MA in this case is far from obvious.

      JP: It's been a real treat comparing notes with a scholar of such
      distinction. Many thanks to you, and to Mark and Stephen for
      facilitating the discussion.

      JSKV: Its a treat for me too, to have serious and thoughtful engagement.


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