In Response To: Ron Price
On: The Lukan Great Omission
Date: 13 May 2009
I had pointed out that Streeter (The Four Gospels, p172-178) had
irrefutably - repeat, irrefutably, and let anyone who doubts it collate the
Greek text of Mk and Lk at this point, and tell the rest of us how you come
out) - established that Luke omitted this material, not because he somehow
disliked it, as all the commentators still delight in saying, but because it
was not present in his copy of Mark. Then:
RON (snittily): Perhaps someone should have pointed this out to Professor
Goulder, who finds traces of this section of Mark elsewhere in Luke ("Luke:
A New Paradigm", p.436f.).
BRUCE (goodnaturedly as always): Michael should have checked with me before
writing that. For that matter, he should have read Streeter more carefully.
Streeter explains the Bethsaida bit very adequately. And as for other
echoes, Michael believes, as Streeter did not (and indeed Michael's whole
point in this book is to establish), that Luke knew Matthew. That important
conclusion, which I should say is in its turn irrefutable, opens up the
situation here in question to a rational explanation which was unavailable
to Streeter (who went off into regrettable conniptions on the question of
Luke knowing Matthew) but WAS available to Michael. I should have advised
Michael (back in 1989, not all that long ago) simply to have used what,
through his own admirable efforts, was available to him and not to Streeter.
Which is, or leads to, roughly this: Luke at this point is following Mark,
and is doing his honest best (see Streeter, who walks us through it very
convincingly) to make sense across the break of several pages in his
Vorlage. But he also has Matthew around, on his mind if not always in the
center of his tabletop, and as we can see in a hundred places (most of them
very ably discussed by Michael), Luke is wont to rearrange and redistribute
themes and snatches of original Matthean material, which, save for a
somewhat greater coefficient of respect, is how he treats Mark also.
Luke does not follow Matthew for the passage in question; he follows Mark
and makes the best of Mark. But if he scatters here and there at other
points in his composition a stray motif from Matthew's better version of
that passage (not that Luke will have thought it better; he will have
thought it one more Matthean expansion, and treated it as deeply
inauthoritative, though occasionally of some literary interest), there is
nothing to be wondered at.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst