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913Re: [Synoptic-L] Testing the 3ST

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    Dec 14, 2007
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Dave G
      On: Hellfire in Matthew
      From: Bruce

      On the Aramaic material identified by Ron Price as lying behind Matthew and
      (at one remove) also behind Luke:

      DAVE: Interesting observation about these being from the first half of
      Matthew...significant I'm sure, but I'm not sure how to explain it. The
      first thing which comes to mind is that Luke found his own voice as he
      wrote.

      BRUCE: Or it might be simpler than that. Just by way of speculation:

      Matthew on the whole, not unlike Mark, has written a two-part Gospel, the
      second half of which is more or less oriented around the Crucifixion. The
      material in the first half of Mark and Matthew is less interested in the
      Crucifixion than in the message of Jesus. Of course, by the time you get to
      the Gospel of John, the Crucifixion IS the message of Jesus, but as many
      including von Soden have noticed, there is more of a split personality in
      the earlier Gospels. Suppose (as the distribution here noticed might imply)
      that Matthew is relying on a separate source for the material here being
      considered, and suppose again that that source was in Aramaic; that its
      material is less likely to have been packaged for the wider Near Eastern
      community. Such a source might be relatively near the original situation
      (and in Matthew, it might have been incongruously spliced into a
      Crucifixion-oriented narrative).

      What, on Ron's account of it, does that source contain? Essentially and
      predominantly, warnings about what awaits the wrongdoer at some not distant
      time. So far Jesus. How about John the Baptist? Same. Those who resist
      temptations, who keep from evil, who remain alert and watchful, will survive
      the coming wrath. The message attributed to the two apocalyptic preachers in
      this material is essentially identical. Might we not here have a snapshot of
      Jesus before he (or his posthumous apologists) had theorized him too far out
      of his own original teaching? While he was still recognizably part of the
      John movement? Might this not explain why the otherwise incongruous John
      material keeps turning up in reconstructions of Jesus sayings? I find this a
      useful and suggestive possibility.

      I will tentatively call it the Hellfire Source, or H for short. I don't at
      this moment assume that it corresponds exactly with Ron's 72-saying
      hypothetical Aramaic source, just that it is in somewhat the same direction.

      Such a possibility would be refuted if the few items from late in the
      Matthean scheme, as previously inventoried, were Crucifixion-oriented. Are
      they? The Lament over Jerusalem might be so considered. But the last item,
      Mt 24:50-51 is still about the need to be prepared for the imminent End -
      not the end of Jesus, on which no reliance is here placed, but on the End of
      the World, for which the hearer already knows how to prepare, and requires
      only to be motivated to actually carry out those preparations.

      With a few adjustments here and there, it seems to me possible. Other
      opinions always welcome.

      Bruce
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