2408An Aramaic cat among the pigeons
- Oct 16, 2009Maurice Casey liberated a much-needed cat among the synoptic pigeons when he
set out detailed evidence that an Aramaic source lay behind the 'Woes' ("An
Aramaic Approach to Q", pp. 64-104). It is to be hoped that advocates of the
Two-Source Theory will take it as a serious challenge to their posited Greek
This said, there are some aspects of Casey's method which could be improved.
Concentrating on the details of one or two aphorisms (Mt 12:30 // Lk 11:23
is dealt with later in the book) among many means that some of the original
context is lost. Thus for example "from town to town" is dismissed as a
Matthean elaboration, whereas I have found it to have a clear parallel
elsewhere in the sayings (saying B7 // saying D7 in my reconstruction on the
Web page cited below).
Also it seems to me that he (like others) is too ready to use the opponents'
terminology. His phrase "Q material" leads almost predictably to a
requirement for "at least two layers of Q" (p.103) when observing that some
of the other material is verbally identical in Matthew and Luke. Had he
referred to the 'Double Tradition' instead of 'Q', he might have proposed
straightaway a division in the origin of the Double Tradition material
rather than jumping to a conclusion about layers in a document he doesn't
really believe in (the latter revealed on p.189).
Also two of the woes (Mt 23:4 // Lk 11:46 and Mt 23:13 // Lk 11:52) were
omitted. It would be nice to hear his reason for these omissions.
Finally, Casey appears to have missed the majestic poetry of the original
woes. I invite readers to compare my English-language reconstruction of
saying D7 on the Web page cited below (together with the corresponding notes
on the following page), with Casey's reconstruction on p. 65 of his book. It
is as if Casey's cat is in a high-definition black-and-white photograph,
whereas mine is in a low-definition colour photograph. Ah well. Perhaps
someday we'll be treated to a high-definition colour photograph of this cat.
- Next post in topic >>