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Re: [Synoptic-L] The Sermon on the Plain (Goulder)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG; Crosstalk In Response To: Ron Price On: Luke s Sermon on the Plain RON: But what would an editor most naturally do with a text which was
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 4, 2008
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      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG; Crosstalk
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Luke's Sermon on the Plain

      RON: 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.

      BRUCE: Which is to say, aLk didn't take, undiluted, the most simpleminded
      option available to him. The more credit to him, surely, as an intelligent
      and reflective writer.

      RON: 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, . . .

      BRUCE: The adjective "Luke-pleasing" is to me one of the big mistakes in the
      vocabulary of the FGH people, going back to the founder of the movement. It
      means merely "what I think Luke would have liked." It is much more
      profitable to see what aLk DID in fact like. I thus resume:

      RON: . . . 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.

      BRUCE: This is said as though it were self-refuting. It is not
      self-refuting. It is simply a report of what aLk did. The perfectly
      arbitrary expectation that aLk will cut the prototype passage, AND NOTHING
      ELSE, has been proved wrong.

      From this evidence, I would reflect as follows about the workings of aLk:
      Sometimes when you cut something, you find that the ragged pieces of what is
      left can use a little patching, whether with borrowed material or with new
      material improvised on the spot. aLk, to the best of my recollection, does
      both in his handling of the Sermon on the Matthean Mount, and I think the
      better of him for it. He also moves things around; ditto. He is not just a
      chopper, he is a craftsman. Is this visualization of aLk a problem for
      anybody?

      I think Michael Goulder tries a little too hard, in this section of his book
      on Luke, to prove that one hypothesis will account for everything in Luke
      that differs from Matthew. I think that Michael is very much on the right
      track, but from independent study of the question, I suspect that there is a
      little more going on than he has included in his hypothesis. I remarked a
      propos Adela Yarbro Collins' Mark Commentary, against her critics, that she
      may have done well to leave some hard places in something of a decisional
      mist; allow that some points await future research (dai kau, as we say in
      Chinese), so as not to run the risk of being refuted by pronouncing on a
      point that isn't soluble under present conditions, or with the hypothesis
      being applied to the text. Same applies here.

      One test of a hypothesis (for a complex phenomenon) is not whether it covers
      all the data, since often it won't, but whether it leaves behind it an
      intelligible residue of the unexplained, or less convincingly explained. I
      think that this test is met by Goulder's Luke. The points which I for one
      see running in a direction (Lk > Mt) opposite to that predicted by the FGH
      theory have a very simple trait in common, and suggest a very simple
      amendment to the hypothesis, thus (to my mind) strengthening and completing
      the hypothesis.

      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. Not everything in life is
      literary. Not everything in *literature* is literary.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... Wrong. It means, in the context of a posited theory (in this case the Farrer Theory), what Luke chose to select from an earlier source. If we grant that he
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 5, 2008
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        I had written:

        > 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, . . .

        Bruce Brooks replied:

        > The adjective "Luke-pleasing" is to me one of the big mistakes in the
        > vocabulary of the FGH people, going back to the founder of the movement. It
        > means merely "what I think Luke would have liked."

        Wrong. It means, in the context of a posited theory (in this case the Farrer
        Theory), what Luke chose to select from an earlier source. If we grant that
        he had a free choice, Luke clearly in some sense liked the passages he
        selected and disliked the passages he rejected. In any case my context
        should have made it absolutely clear that "Luke-pleasing" meant 'liked
        sufficiently to include in his gospel'.

        >> . . . 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.

        > This is said as though it were self-refuting. It is not
        > self-refuting. It is simply a report of what aLk did.

        It is a report of what Luke did *according to the Farrer Theory*.

        > The perfectly arbitrary expectation that aLk will cut the prototype passage,
        > AND NOTHING ELSE, has been proved wrong.

        Not so. Your logic is as follows:

        1. Let's assume the Farrer Theory correct.
        2. On this basis, proposition 'x' is found to be wrong.
        3. Therefore proposition 'x' is false.

        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.

        > From this evidence, I would reflect as follows about the workings of aLk:
        > Sometimes when you cut something, you find that the ragged pieces of what is
        > left can use a little patching, whether with borrowed material or with new
        > material improvised on the spot. aLk, to the best of my recollection, does
        > both in his handling of the Sermon on the Matthean Mount, and I think the
        > better of him for it. He also moves things around; ditto. He is not just a
        > chopper, he is a craftsman. Is this visualization of aLk a problem for
        > anybody?

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

        > One test of a hypothesis (for a complex phenomenon) is not whether it covers
        > all the data, since often it won't, but whether it leaves behind it an
        > intelligible residue of the unexplained, or less convincingly explained. I
        > think that this test is met by Goulder's Luke. The points which I for one
        > see running in a direction (Lk > Mt) opposite to that predicted by the FGH
        > theory have a very simple trait in common, and suggest a very simple
        > amendment to the hypothesis, thus (to my mind) strengthening and completing
        > the hypothesis.

        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.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

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