Re: [Synoptic-L] Green, McKnight & Marshall
- To: Synoptic
Cc: GPG; WSW
In Response To: Ron Price
On: Green, McKnight & Marshall
Again on method, or so it seems.
I entirely agree with Ron that the GM&M arguments against Luke's use of
Matthew are weak if not circular. Whether that instates his 3SH or some
other alternate as the preferred solution is a corollary that can be left
for next week. On the way to next week, I think that Michael Goulder's
argument (recently cited) against the way IQP has set up Q is decisive
against that variant. His key point is that IQP defines Q *in the first
place* as non-Matthean, and thus refers Matthean qualities in the joint
Mt/Lk material to "Matthean redaction signs." Well, "Matthean redaction" is
a presupposition, and not a well grounded one. If the Matthean qualities in
that material were left in, we would instead have "Matthean authorship
The question, post-Goulder, is, how far can you get with a theory that
requires Mt > Lk directionality in points of substance as well as points of
style? My answer is, Most of the way. Meaning not that Goulder is wrong, but
that his theory only explains *most* of the data; there is in my opinion an
unexplained or unconvincingly explained residue which requires at least one
supplementary theory. That is simply to say that there is more than one
thing going on as between Mt and Lk. Nothing outrageous there; it would be
strange if Luke was fiddling with only one string to his redactional violin.
I have made my own suggestions about that possibility (they are not, at
bottom, all that different from Ron's, though they do not presuppose a third
document). That too can be left for the future. But I think we are at this
point moving up a little toward the future. Bringing it nearer.
My take on GM&M specifics is again similar to Ron's, but perhaps with some
useful variants. Offered on that assumption herewith. Their p790:
(1) Why does Luke lack the Matthean additions to the Triple Tradition?
BRUCE: This reduces to a question of the type Why did Luke not . . . .
[include certain material available to him in Mt and Mk together, as it is
here supposed he had]. The answer to all such question requires a previous
careful study of Luke's predilections as an author. The old view does not
undertake such a study, because it regards Luke as a copyist, and not as a
person with any personal characteristics whatever. This is a bad assumption;
Luke is very assertively his own man in all this, as a modicum of reading in
the actual Luke will reveal. And I note that the Q assumption requires also
that Luke take THIS, but not THAT, from his supposed Vorlage. The question
of what Luke likes and does not like thus arises again. It cannot be gotten
rid of. We can only choose to meet it on one or another ground. The best
ground is the one that yields the most convincing solution. The "copyist
Luke" ground is about as unfavorable for decision as could be imagined. A
recipe for defeat. We are currently trying to pull ourselves out of that
slough of defeat.
(2) The "Q" material is found in a different context in Luke. Why destroy
the 5-discourse framework?
BRUCE: Words like "destroy" display the anger of the writer, and thus convey
a sense of indignation that anybody should tamper with what the writer
memorized in childhood. Such sentences have no scholarly value, and should
not occur in scholarly writing. The prior emotional question, if one is
going to approach the subject emotionally, and it is one which also arises
for Q proponents, is, Why did Mt CONSTRUCT the 5-discourse framework? Or in
terms more obviously emotion-compromised, Why did Mt tear up previous
material and pack it into 5 manifestly Torah-referential discourses, all of
them too long and miscellaneous to be plausible in real life?
People who like to indulge their faculty for anger should dump it on Mt.
Then, when they come to Lk, they may well find themselves sympathizing at
many points with what Lk accepts, and what Lk rejects, of Matthew's
extensive tampering with the tradition previous to him. Meaning: The average
analyst simply takes Matthew as a given in the question. But Matthew is not
a given, neither in priority (it is not the first of these attempts to write
a convincing Gospel) nor in any other way; it is redaction product, or as I
think it better to say, an authorial and theological product. It too has
characteristics; it is not the Way of Nature in modo Synoptico. It is not
just the sound of rain on the roof. It does things, and not other things,
for reasons agreeable to itself. Like everybody else in the Synoptic arena.
(3) At times the Q material is less developed in Luke, e.g. "poor" (6:20);
"hunger now" (6:31); no reference to law and prophets (6:31); "Father"
(11:2); "hate" (14:26).
BRUCE: This is merely descriptive (except that the phrase "less developed"
is aetiologically prejudicial); it does not ask a question, it merely
records details. If there is a question in the details, it has to be asked
in more precise form. That Matthew is big on (eg) his reconception of' the
Law, and Luke is not, is one of the manifest differences of taste and
temperament between them. So is Luke's strident favoritism for the poor,
whereas Matthew goes about clad as a bishop, and bowing deferentially to
cardinals. His chain clanks as he walks.
There ARE, as it seems to me, some Mt < > Lk directionality problems in here
(previously noted; one of them involves the Beatitudes, another the Lord's
Prayer) - places where it does indeed seem, taking things in the way a
directionally sensitive reader naturally would take them, that the Lukan
form is somehow developmentally prior to the Matthean form, and not simply
(as Goulder, following one explanatory mode, would have it) a social
reaction to the overfed Matthean one. Here is where the supplementary theory
I mentioned above comes in rather nicely. But the supplementary theory
itself has no ground, no purchase, until this scatterbrain question is pared
down to a consistent data set, and then asked in something like answerable
(4a) If Luke used Matthew, why does the order never agree against Mark?
BRUCE: Sometimes it does. And where it does not, we have the precedent that
Luke also messes up *Mark's* order when he feels like it (including the
order of statements within a single narrative unit). Large scale or small;
all the time. Then (sparing our overstressed emotions for a moment) we enter
in the lab notebook the established fact that Luke likes to tinker with
other people's sequences of statement. Sometimes for what he thinks (not
always correctly, to my taste, but taste is not the point of the exercise)
is a more effective sequence of presentation, sometimes for reasons which,
sound or unsound, may not always be clear. But THAT he does so is manifest
to the greenest reader. We then log in the fact that, whatever his thinking
may be at a given point, he is very restless with the sequence of other
people's prose. (As a journal editor, I know the feeling, and try to resist
it - most of the time).
Once that fact is aboard, and has become part of our thinking, the question
either vanishes or is reduced to a form in which it is more readily
answerable than in this inexact blanket indictment.
4b) and why are there so few verbal agreements in Mt-Lk against Mk?
BRUCE: Ron cited Schnelle, pointing out that there are in fact many such
agreements. So we have here another nonquestion, a demand that one address a
situation which does not in fact exist.
(5) Why did Luke not use any of the 'M' material?
BRUCE: As Ron in effect notes, this is basically a definition question. The
prior difficulty is simply with reading Matthew. How do you account for the
stuff in Matthew that is not in Mark? Since to the 19th century (and in many
ways we are still in the 19th century) the very idea of origination was
unpalatable, we got the idea of a "special source" which the faithful Mark
copied with his nose half an inch off the page. Of course, there is an
irreducible element of originality in Matthew's DECIDING TO USE that
"source" in the first place, so the problem is not really banished (cf
Luke's interference with prior narrative order, above), but it was evidently
reduced to a point where the 19c was prepared to shrug it off as solved.
Coming now to Luke (and here as elsewhere, I accept the Trajectory argument
about the basic, overall, gross sequence of composition Mk > Mt > Lk), we
have in effect the question, Why does Luke not use the things he does not
use? The only answer, as to many other questions in this none too impressive
series, is, Because he has his own distinctive preference profile as an
author and Christian expositor. The job is to ascertain just what Luke is
like as an author. If we start there, and proceed diligently and without
residual Sunday School emotions, and if we are a little lucky (some problems
in antiquity are simply insoluble for lack of sufficient information), we
will reach the point where that question can be asked with some hope of
giving an answer to it. I have been trying myself to work toward that point;
M Goulder (in my considered estimation) took us a long way in a mostly right
direction, and the thing should be possible. If not by next Tuesday, then at
least in time to get something in the 2011 issue of whatever journal any
individual investigator is aiming at.
If we are going to ask questions about Luke, it makes sense to first make
Luke's acquaintance, on his own terms and in extenso. This is not, on the
whole, how the thing seems to have been handled in the history of NT. Luke
has most conspicuously been the dumping ground for Synoptic reactions and
discomforts (he stands a good deal higher with the general public, including
the Hallmark Greeting Card Company, but we are here talking about the
My Goodness, there is even stuff published on the much-defended Mahabharata
that is more adult than the questions about Luke that Ron is here quoting,
and a good deal of other stuff that he has kindly refrained from quoting.
But hopefully that is ending. If so, it is not a moment too soon.
Comes the day when someone like Schnelle routinely includes, for each of
these texts, a profile of its authorial practices and predilections, and
asks the question of text integrity *before,* not *after,* bringing up any
other question whose answer depends on a conclusion about text integrity,
and it will be a pleasure to get up in the morning.
Yours faithfully meanwhile,
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst