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Re: [Synoptic-L] Matthew and "Q"

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  • Dave Gentile
    Ron Price: You and Mark may make this supposition, but you d both be wrong. Have you ever analysed the Double Tradition (the material common to Matthew and
    Message 1 of 34 , May 12, 2009
      Ron Price:

      You and Mark may make this supposition, but you'd both be wrong. Have you
      ever analysed the Double Tradition (the material common to Matthew and Luke
      but not Mark)? It is as varied in theology and style as Matthew. But an
      early source would be expected to have a narrower focus. As you know, my
      conclusion is that part of the Double Tradition derived from Matthew, and
      part from an early sayings source.

      Dave: The varied theology poses no problem for my latest proposal, since I'm proposing there was no early source for the double tradition.


      Let's suppose for the sake of argument that we can measure "respect" by the
      carefulness of someone's references. Would you not agree that we must take
      into account *all* the texts where Luke is dependent on Matthew? We then
      have to include, for instance, Luke's transformation of the Parable of the
      Talents into the Parable of the Pounds, the Prodigal Son's dependence on Mt
      21:28-32 (as argued by Goulder, and Ken Olson), and even the dependence of
      Luke's birth narratives on certain key elements in Matthew's birth
      narratives. Thus Luke's references to Matthew are not always faithful to the
      original text.


      Well, again, I don't see the problem for my idea. I think Luke regarded the gospel of Matthew as a contemporary creation, I would not expect him to be concerned with preserving the parable of the Talents if he didn't like it. And he is quite free to replace it with another story which was suggested to him by reading Matthew i.e. the Prodigal Son.


      You appear to think that a skilful author would not choose to quote
      accurately some parts of a source, while using other parts of the same
      source in a very cavalier manner.

      Dave: Actually, that is exactly what I am proposing. Luke is accurately quoting parts of Matthew where saying of Jesus are involved, and mostly to completely ignoring Matthew the rest of the time. This `conjecture' is considerably strengthened however, if we can offer a simple scenario which would predict that Luke would act exactly this way. This is what I believe I've done.

      Let's try to start with something I think we agree on – let's suppose that Luke is accurately quoting Jesus from his source, because he believes they actually are the words of Jesus. Luke is a believing Christian of the late 1st century to early 2nd century. He tells us he wants to do something like history in his prolog (although I certainly think he is not above adding, subtracting, and altering to fit his interpretation of history). This seems to be a very simple explanation for his quoting the words of Jesus carefully – he believes they really are the words of Jesus.

      If we agree Luke believes he has in front of him the words of Jesus, we might propose some of the following reasons for that:

      1) Luke has an actual early sayings source.
      2) Luke has a saying source, which he believes to be authentic, but is not.
      3) Luke has only the gospel of Matthew as a source for this material, but the gospel of Matthew in fact is an early source.
      4) Luke has the gospel of Matthew, and even though Matthew is contemporary, Luke believes it is an early source.
      5) Luke has only the gospel of Matthew, and while he recognizes most of the material as contemporary, believes the quotes of Jesus are from early sources. And they really are.
      6) Luke has only the gospel of Matthew, and while he recognizes most of the material as contemporary, believes the quotes of Jesus are from early sources. But they really are not.

      Note, that if we propose that the whole gospel of Matthew is a contemporary creation, and Luke knows this, then we have violated our initial premise, that Luke believes he has the actual words of Jesus. We then need an alternate explanation for Luke's fidelity here, or the conjecture suffers greatly.

      I had previously argued #2, but I would now suggest #6 is simpler, and thus better. #6 is also somewhat favored by some more recent versions of the statistical study.

      #3 certainly has advocates, but since we have both rejected this idea, we may pass over it. The statistical study firmly rejects this as well.

      For #4 – We could consider this, but I would argue #6 is a better hypothesis for two reasons. First, it would seem to be more difficult for someone to pass off a whole gospel as being form an early source that to claim that the gospel, while newly created, is based on an interview with an early source who remembers quotations of Jesus. Thus #6 is more plausible here. Secondly, If Luke thinks all of Matthew is early then we need a simple explanation for him mostly ignoring this source in favor of Mark, paying no attention to its order of events, etc… If we lack a simple explanation, the conjecture suffers greatly, and certainly suffers relative to #6. This also brings in to question our initial premise about Luke's behavior in accurately preserving much of what he believes to be accurate.

      Now we come to #1 and #5 – in both of These Luke actually does have access to early sayings material. One problem for me is we failed to find distinct vocabulary profiles when looking at your proposed Matthew and sQ sections. This is not proof that this hypothesis is wrong, but we did fail to support it, which lessens my confidence. But we also disagree on the interpretation of sayings in Mark, the salt and light sayings in particular. I personally am convinced that these sayings in Mark are more original than their Matthew/Luke versions. Thus I would tend to reject these hypotheses for this reason.

      #6 then is the surviving hypothesis, at least for me.

      Dave Gentile
      Riverside, IL
    • Dave Gentile
      ... Dave: Better , is a subjective judgment. Personally I d prefer a version without the fire and brimstone, but that s just my subjective judgment.
      Message 34 of 34 , May 15, 2009

        > Dave,
        > What you propose is clearly not impossible. But it is certainly not as good
        > as the original. What you present here is a brief general call to
        > repentance, followed by scenarios of people eager to repent. In our extant
        > Luke there is a warning of wrath and fire, so that by verse 10 one can sense
        > the crowds feeling guilty and ready to make amends. It parallels an
        > evangelistic meeting where there is a lengthy build-up of emotion before a
        > challenge to commitment. Luke was a good storyteller!


        'Better', is a subjective judgment. Personally I'd prefer a version without the fire and brimstone, but that's just my subjective judgment.

        Consistency, and sticking with a theme is a less subjective measure.


        > But there remains the jump in the opposite direction, between verses 3 & 4.
        > In the extant text vv. 4-6 represent a temporary departure from the theme of
        > repentance so that Luke can portray the Jewish scriptures as hinting at the
        > salvation of the Gentiles (v.6).

        I really don't see this as much of a jump, if any. v3 mentions forgiveness (group not named), and the quote from Isaiah's 'punchline' is about salvation (for all). "Forgiveness -> salvation" seems like theme continuity to me.

        I've not had a chance to look at the rest yet. Probably Tuesday, if not before then.

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