Re: [Synoptic-L] Matthew and "Q"
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Ron Price ap Dave Gentile
On: Lukan Accuracy
I confess I am not up on Dave's recent proposals in sufficient detail to
comment on specifics, but from what I recall otherwise, I am inclined to
agree with Ron that the closeness of agreement between a Lk passage and its
Mt counterpart is a function of more variables than whether the passage is
or is not a saying of Jesus. I think the basic fidelity of Luke was not to
Matthew, and not to the image of Jesus as Matthew constructs it, but to
Luke's own image of Jesus. What he could take that fit that model, he was
content to take. What needed adjustment, he adjusted. What was not
salvageable within those limits, he left alone.
Another of Luke's strong motives, as I read Luke, was his sense of literary
propriety. He adjusts some fine points of Matthew not for any detectable
doctrinal reason, but rather to improve the style, prune the prolixity,
enhance the parallelism, improve the contextuality, reveal the motivation,
or to accomplish any number of other rhetorical and narrative improvements
I have just been translating a bit of Pascal (esteemed a master stylist of
French, but the taste underlying that esteem has perhaps come to seem a
little ornate in the intervening centuries), and I find myself doing to
Pascal quite a bit of what Luke seems to me to be doing to Matthew:
sharpening the vocabulary, pruning the digressions, and that sort of thing.
This is on the second draft. On the first draft, I did it more or less as
Pascal left it, but today as I came back to it, it seemed to me that it did
not fairly represent Pascal, or at any rate the substance of his argument,
for contemporary readers. I admit that I find that argument defective (this
is the Wager with God section, Pensées #233), but I don't want to seem to be
prejudicing readers against Pascal's logic by leaving it wrapped in Pascal's
style. I can in all charity imagine Luke feeling something like this about
Matthew: disagreeing profoundly with Matthew on some of the issues, but
wanting to be fair to Matthew (so to speak) in the parts of Matthew that he
does take over. Which can involve more or less recasting of the passage.
The Documenta Q people have been subjecting selected parallel Mk/Lk passage
to an excruciatingly detailed (or anyway an extensively anthologized)
examination, but at their rate of progress, the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae
will be long finished before they reach the end of that part of Luke for
which there are Matthean parallels, and anyway, faithful to their founding
conception, they leave out of consideration the parts of Matthew/Luke where
the parallel, in their judgement, is not sufficiently exact to warrant the
supposition of a common source. And there is still the part of Luke without
Matthean parallels at all, or even Markan ones, and these parts may well
reveal the authorial temper of Luke better than anything which is
complicated for him by already existing in written form. We very much need
to know what kind of guy Luke is, when left to his own unassisted devices.
As well as at other times.
Than the Documenta Q approach, I would like to see something much faster,
cheaper, and less committed in advance to a directionality hypothesis which
Michael Goulder, with a few others, has shown to be questionable. I suggest
that the Gospel of Luke be divided into 104 segments of roughly equal
length, and that the Luke Group meet weekly to consider those passages in
turn, noting what changes Lk makes to any still extant source, and also
those places where the general directionalities Mk > Lk and Mt > Lk seem,
exceptionally, not to obtain. The group might appropriately meet at a corner
table in some hospitable pizza parlor (the functional equivalent of
Slaughter's Coffee House, two centuries agone), and write up their findings
week by week. The group would pay for its own pizza and lemonade. Total
budget: zero. Computer time: zero. Writeup cost: zero. It would be hard to
write a grant proposal for this project, but at the end of two years of its
operation, I think that we would have learned, or at any rate would have
material before us to facilitate our learning, more than we know at present.
Or anyway, more than *I* know at present.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
> 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.
>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.
> 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've not had a chance to look at the rest yet. Probably Tuesday, if not before then.