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4003RE: [Synoptic-L] Whoever is not with me is against me

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    Feb 2, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      To: Synoptic / GPG
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Gathering and Scattering
      From: Bruce

      RON: Whoever is not with me is against me,
      And whoever does not gather with me scatters.

      The Greek of this aphorism is identical in Mt 12:30 // Lk 11:23. In Mark,
      however, there is what appears to be an equivalent which reads "Whoever is
      not against us is for us". There should be little doubt that Matthew and
      Luke preserve the more original version. Parallelism is a characteristic of
      many of the early aphorisms.

      BRUCE: Parallelism is a characteristic of Semitic style generally; it is
      what we might expect of any author who is trying so make something sound
      Biblical. By an analogous stylistic test, Luke's conspicuously Semitic and
      markedly poetic Birth Narrative could be said to be authentic and early. I
      think that conclusion would be risky, and I suggest that arguments from
      general features of form or style, in the absence of other factors, are
      generally risky. The ancient writers knew at least as much as we do about
      styles in their own language. If we can detect a difference, they were
      probably able to create and manipulate that same difference. See again the
      literary strategies of the DeuteroPaulines.

      RON: Also the exclusivity is what we might expect from the early Jesus
      movement under James, the brother of Jesus.

      BRUCE: There is no evidence that the early Jesus movement had anything to do
      with James the Brother. If we credit Mark at all, James the Brother and the
      rest of the family thought Jesus was out of his mind. That James later came
      aboard is undoubted, but nobody has ever said how that happened, and even
      after he did see the point, James had influence only at Jerusalem (in Acts,
      he simply turns up there, unannounced and unexplained), whereas the main
      preaching of Jesus (again, I am venturing to be influenced by Mark) was
      solely in Galilee and points north.

      How exclusive was that preaching? Jesus ignored food purity rules, he
      ignored Sabbath rules. He consorted with the unclean, with tax collectors
      and other people beyond the Pharisaic pale. The sense one gets from Mark is
      that Jesus was trying to widen the horizon of the potentially saved (that
      is, within Judaism), not narrow it. Everything we hear of James, in any
      century, suggests the opposite: hyperpious, hyperclean, hyperpriestly,
      hyperinvolved with the sacrificial pieties of the Temple. A Quisling of the
      Quislings, who because of his hyperpiety survived at Jerusalem in the
      persecution which killed the more radical original disciple James Zebedee
      (and maybe John also) and drove the more radical original disciple Peter
      into distant places. I cannot imagine a sharper contrast with what the
      earliest sources suggest about Jesus, let alone his well attested inner

      RON: So it looks as if Mark has deliberately reversed the default, and this
      would be consistent with his more open outlook in which the "few" to be
      saved in the early aphorisms are replaced by "many" in Mk 10:45.

      BRUCE: That is exactly the contrast. But who is replacing whom? I suggest
      that James is replacing Jesus, with all that their respective characters
      suggest that this means for the future character of the movement. Do we have
      a trajectory here, from Jesus's inclusiveness to James's (or let's confine
      ourselves to saying, the Mt/Lk) exclusiveness, and then on to the dictum of
      the Johannine Jesus: "No man cometh unto the Father but by me?" (Jn 14:6).

      I see a progression here, from open to closed in substance, and for that
      matter, from simple to affectedly Biblical to ominously draconic in style.

      * * * * CONTEXT

      In both Mt and Lk, the gathers/scatters bit is appended directly to the
      respective Beelzebul Accusations, Mt 12:22-29 and Lk 11:14-22. It has no
      obvious organic connection with that story; it is a narrator's comment.
      There is a Markan parallel to the Beelzebul Accusation (Mk 3:22-27), but
      none to the gathers/scatters verse. In Mk, the accusation is a late insert
      into the concerns of Jesus's friends and family for his sanity; the notion
      of demon possession may have suggested this placement of the interpolated
      passage. Both Mt and Lk provide a lead-in for the story, and it is the same
      lead-in, an exorcism that provides a better immediate narrative rationale
      for the objection. In Mt, the demoniac is blind and dumb; in Luke he is
      dumb. Do these differences, which are clearly not copied from Mark, since
      nothing of the kind exists in Mark, give any hint as to their
      directionality? We might note that Luke is big on narrative consecutiveness,
      and tends to provide it where Mark's sequence is choppy or unmotivated. We
      might also note Matthew's insane propensity for doubling everything in
      sight, from one demoniac to two in one instance, and (most laughably of all)
      from one animal to two as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. These two traits of
      the respective writers suggest the likelihood that the narrative fix is
      original in Luke, and was (as Matthew mistakenly thought) improved by
      Matthew. Then this narrative prefix belongs to what I have called Luke A,
      the pre-Matthean state of Luke.

      Do we find the same directionality in the "gathers" bit tacked on at the end
      in both? Not necessarily. Goulder Paradigm 2/505 makes this interesting

      "A feature of Matthew's discourse is his ability to end a paragraph with an
      epigram, often of a balanced kind. The following paragraph, on blasphemy,
      ends, "By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be
      condemned," and before he goes on to that, he closes the present topic with
      "He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathers not with me
      scatters." In Matthew this makes the point effectively - the Pharisees who
      are not 'with' Jesus are opposing his kingdom and its growth. Luke copies
      out the verse verbatim, but the eclat is gone. The SKORPIZEI looks as if it
      takes up DIADIDWSIN, but then it is Jesus who is the 'stronger,' and does
      the distributing, and it is his adversaries who 'scatter.' "

      So far Goulder. I am not prepared to decide eclatness, but if the device of
      a parallelistic capping phrase is typical Mt, and if its applicability to
      Lk's context is less, then in this case, as not in the other, we would have
      Mk > Lk. As far as I can see, Goulder's points are well taken, and I have
      marked my synopsis accordingly.

      One reason for the lack of fit in Lk is that Mt has the *Pharisees* accusing
      Jesus of demonism, so that the opposition expressed in the final maxim fits,
      whereas Luke (who, here as often, is softer on the Pharisees than either Mk
      or Mt) has the accusation not come from Mk's "scribes from Jerusalem'" but
      from some of the onlookers. Not only is this softening seen elsewhere in
      Lk, but the greater narrative continuity is his trait also. In Mk, who alone
      at this point Lk A is following, the interruption of the interpolated
      passage is conspicuous, and Luke gets a better flow by having the accusation
      come, not from some suddenly and awkwardly imported Jerusalem figures, but
      from the same crowd who witnessed the exorcism (which crowd, in any case, is
      Luke's creation). But it is exactly this feature that makes the fit with
      "gathers" less good, the second time round. The copied piece in Luke B does
      not fit the version of the preceding story as it previously stood in Luke A.

      It would be nice if these Mt/Lk directionalities all ran the same way,
      either Mt > Lk (as expounded by Goulder) or the opposite. I can't find that
      they do. I find that they run both ways, but in two stages, Luke being both
      before (Lk A) and after (Lk B) Matthew. It is this possibility, the seeming
      two-stagedness of Luke (which is required by the independent evidence of the
      moved passages in Luke, see my presentation some years ago at SBL) which
      permits the bidirectionality of the two texts to be accounted for on
      something other than an outside-source hypothesis.


      E Bruce Brooks
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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