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The Sermon on the Plain

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  • Ron Price
    Neither the 2ST nor the FT can provide satisfactory explanations for Luke s sermon . 2ST advocates have difficulty with the level place (Lk 6:17). (Why is
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 4, 2008
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      Neither the 2ST nor the FT can provide satisfactory explanations for Luke's
      'sermon'.

      2ST advocates have difficulty with the "level place" (Lk 6:17). (Why is it
      mentioned if not as a hint at Luke's dislike of Matthew's "mountain" with
      its reminder of Moses?)
      They also have difficulty with the fact that Luke's sermon just happens to
      start and finish with the same sayings with which Matthew's sermon starts
      and finishes. (The supposed "Q" has no obvious sections.)

      FT advocates have a different problem. Goulder suggested that Luke found
      Matthew's sermon too long. But what would an editor most naturally do with a
      text which was too long? Abbreviate it of course. Yet Luke didn't simply
      abbreviate the SoM. In spite of the existence of a plentiful supply of
      'Luke-pleasing' sayings in Mt 5-7, including Mt 6:19-21 // Lk 12:33-34; Mt
      6:22-23 // Lk 11:34-35; Mt 6:25-33 // Lk 12:22-31, he decided to augment the
      'abbreviation' with three sayings from elsewhere in Matthew: Mt 15:14 // Lk
      6:39; Mt 10:24-25 // Lk 6:40; Mt 12:34-35 // Lk 6:45.

      The 3ST provides the most satisfactory explanation for all three problems.
      The "level place" is indeed a negative reaction against Matthew's
      "mountain". Both sermons begin and end with the same sayings because both
      sermons were based on the first section of the logia which started with
      "Blessed are the poor ..." and ended with 'Rock/sand'. All the logia sayings
      in Luke's Sermon on the Plain are from the first section of the logia, so
      although Luke did add some of his own material (e.g. the four woes), he
      didn't take any sayings from the other logia sections.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Luke-Pleasingness From: Bruce Ron and I end in a substantial agreement, which is nice. On the way to which: RON: In
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 5, 2008
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        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Ron Price
        On: Luke-Pleasingness
        From: Bruce

        Ron and I end in a substantial agreement, which is nice. On the way to
        which:

        RON: In any case my context should have made it absolutely clear that
        "Luke-pleasing" meant 'liked
        sufficiently to include in his gospel'.

        BRUCE: The record of what Luke does and does not take from Matthew is useful
        evidence for the authorial propensity of Luke. I would prefer to put it that
        way, and so avoid the difficulty of making the inside of Luke's head a
        primary datum for the research. Luke's head is the last thing we are likely
        to recover from the research.

        RON: My expectation is that if Luke set out to abbreviate the Sermon on the
        Mount, then by Occam's razor he would be unlikely to want to supplement the
        material with sayings from elsewhere in Matthew.

        BRUCE: Occam's Razor does not mean that. Occam's Razor is a reminder not to
        include in a hypothesis elements that do no work in the hypothesis. It does
        not mean to make the simplest assumption possible, or to frame the
        hypothesis with the fewest moving parts, irrespective of the needs of the
        data that are to be covered by the hypothesis. Nor is it obvious, Occam or
        no Occam, that a wish to cut would preclude a wish to supplement, or (as I
        suggested) a wish, following a cut, to patch the edges of the cut with a
        little available material. Finally, we have no ground for thinking that
        Luke, as a primary motive and prior to all else, "set out to abbreviate the
        Sermon on the Mount." So the "if" here is just an "if," a supposition, and
        like any supposition, it is vulnerable to refutation by the evidence. The
        evidence shows that Luke did things to the S/M other than simply eliminate
        material from it. Then the supposition "that he wished only to shorten it"
        is refuted, and (as it turns out) we would better have supposed "that he
        meant to change it."

        Better than all suppositions, it seems to me, is simply to ask what Luke DID
        with the S/M, and then see if we can infer a motive, or a constellation of
        motives, from the answer to that question. The work of the hand, which we
        have before us, is surely our best clue as to the intent of the mind, which
        we do not.

        I had ended an earlier comment by saying, "[Luke] also moves things around;
        ditto. He is not just a chopper, he is a craftsman. Is this visualization of
        aLk a problem for anybody?" We then had:

        RON: Not impossible, just unlikely on Goulder's 'abbreviation' hypothesis.

        BRUCE: Then Goulder's abbreviation hypothesis needs work. Given the results
        of Goulder's investigations, it would be a gray day indeed if we could not
        retrospectively improve on his assumptions, here and there. My suggestions
        on this subject all come to this - such improvements are the best way to
        follow up on Goulder's work. I think he has opened the door a good deal
        wider than it was before. That is a tremendous contribution to our
        collective understanding. It does not necessarily mean that we are all the
        way through the door yet.

        RON: Goulder's "Luke: A New Paradigm" makes a very good case for Luke's use
        of Matthew's narratives and longer sayings. / But its treatment of the
        aphorisms is not convincing. This aspect of synoptic origins is a major
        weakness of the Farrer Theory.

        BRUCE: As earlier noted, I think it is just in this area (which I would not
        necessarily want to call aphorisms, but have instead labeled otherwise) that
        the Goulder result could use further work. My own previous formulation was
        this:

        "The amendment to the hypothesis is that, besides knowing Mark, and knowing
        Matthew, Luke also knew the rituals and litanies and catechisms and other
        fixed verbal forms of his own Christian community."

        This is the area of broad agreement that I mentioned earlier.

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Karel Hanhart
        I have always understood Luke s title Sermon on the Plain to refer to his audience. Mark and Matthew wrote Gospels primarily intended for the Judean members
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 20, 2008
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          I have always understood Luke's title 'Sermon on the Plain' to refer to his audience.
          Mark and Matthew wrote Gospels primarily intended for the Judean members of the ecclesia. The Mountain refers to Mt Sinai where the Revelation to Moses was revealed. Jesus' sermon was meant to express fulfillment of the commandments. Luke's audience was wider, more diffuse, and directed to Gentiles and Gentile Christians. His aim was apologetic. He recognized Jesus spoke to his own peple. At the same time his words were meant for the world, according to Luke. Hence the sermon was also meant for the people "on the plain." The problem is in line with the Farrer hypothesis, which I adhere to.

          cordially

          Karel
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Ron Price
          To: Synoptic-L elist
          Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 10:08 AM
          Subject: [Synoptic-L] The Sermon on the Plain


          Neither the 2ST nor the FT can provide satisfactory explanations for Luke's
          'sermon'.

          2ST advocates have difficulty with the "level place" (Lk 6:17). (Why is it
          mentioned if not as a hint at Luke's dislike of Matthew's "mountain" with
          its reminder of Moses?)
          They also have difficulty with the fact that Luke's sermon just happens to
          start and finish with the same sayings with which Matthew's sermon starts
          and finishes. (The supposed "Q" has no obvious sections.)

          FT advocates have a different problem. Goulder suggested that Luke found
          Matthew's sermon too long. But what would an editor most naturally do with a
          text which was too long? Abbreviate it of course. Yet Luke didn't simply
          abbreviate the SoM. In spite of the existence of a plentiful supply of
          'Luke-pleasing' sayings in Mt 5-7, including Mt 6:19-21 // Lk 12:33-34; Mt
          6:22-23 // Lk 11:34-35; Mt 6:25-33 // Lk 12:22-31, he decided to augment the
          'abbreviation' with three sayings from elsewhere in Matthew: Mt 15:14 // Lk
          6:39; Mt 10:24-25 // Lk 6:40; Mt 12:34-35 // Lk 6:45.

          The 3ST provides the most satisfactory explanation for all three problems.
          The "level place" is indeed a negative reaction against Matthew's
          "mountain". Both sermons begin and end with the same sayings because both
          sermons were based on the first section of the logia which started with
          "Blessed are the poor ..." and ended with 'Rock/sand'. All the logia sayings
          in Luke's Sermon on the Plain are from the first section of the logia, so
          although Luke did add some of his own material (e.g. the four woes), he
          didn't take any sayings from the other logia sections.

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm





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