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

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Ron Price ap Dave Gentile On: Lukan Accuracy From: Bruce I confess I am not up on Dave s recent proposals in sufficient
    Message 1 of 34 , May 13, 2009
      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG
      In Response To: Ron Price ap Dave Gentile
      On: Lukan Accuracy
      From: Bruce

      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
      and ameliorations.

      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.

      Anybody on?


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • 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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