Mt 16:13-16 par; Mk 1:11 par
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Eric Eve
On: Mt 16:13-16 par; Mk 1:11 par
I had proposed examining one group of parallels, on the initial assumption
that all Synoptists invented independently, and that by preference, they
used other Synoptists as sources. The idea was to see when the idea of a
non-Synoptic source becomes inevitable, and at those points, what kind of a
source is implied. I had noted that the initial assumption of authorial
BRUCE: . . . fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
16:13-16 || Mk 8:27-29 || Lk 9:13-20), where the theory of independent
invention is not plausible, since the coincidences would be too great. Some
reliance of two of them ultimately on a third is (on those assumptions)
unavoidable. If so, then we can proceed, with this one arbitrarily selected
passage, to ask: in terms of directionality theory, where do the lines of
connectedness lie? And at the same time, what motive can be assigned to the
authorial departures from what is explained by that connectedness? If
directionality can be consistently assigned, AND if intelligible motives can
be found for departures from directionality, then the Synoptic Problem
(insofar as it is represented by this passage) would be solved, and the
solution could then
be checked for evidence of outside, non-Synoptic, sources - things remaining
unexplained by the solution.
ERIC: The trouble is that arguments about authorial motives so often turn
out to be reversible, at least, that's how it's often appeared to me in
previous debates on this list. . .
BRUCE: That's why I put the directionality question first. If there is an
objective indication of directionality, AND if a plausible motive can be
assigned for what changes the second author makes in the text of the first
author, THEN we have a situation.
I agree that authorial motives are not strong in and of themselves, at least
not in open debate. Too much imagination is involved. Authorial plausibility
however, as it seems to me, is an important element in a complete proposal.
If a hypothesis is really inconceivable as the act of some imaginable person
holding the pen, then it is probably wrong. The catch is that those making
the evaluation must educate their sense of the conceivable, by study of what
actually happens in the period. One of the strong things about Ed Sanders'
thesis (to my eye) is that he tested Synoptic proposals against the things
that happen, observably, in the later copying of Synoptic manuscripts.
That's one way of inscenating oneself into the mind of the time, or at any
rate of a nearer time than our own.
I can't tempt Eric on Mt 16:13-16 par, and so I now change the subject,
still looking for a way to introduce some objective precision into this
Harnack (if I remember right) argued for Q because, among the many common
Mt/Lk stories, neither text seemed always to have the earlier form. It thus
seemed to him necessary to posit an outside source consisting of the earlier
forms of all those stories, and to allow now AMt, now ALk, the liberty of
departing from that earliest form. Q, on this view, would simply be the sum
of all the earliest forms in such cases. If all the earliest forms were in
(eg) Matthew, then we would not have an implied Q, but an implied literary
indebtedness Mt > Lk. It is the failure of all directionality markers to
point in the same direction (as Harnack reads the signs) that makes the Q
hypothesis preferable. Here, I should think, is a serious philological
argument, that is open to philological discussion.
Somewhat similarly, Ed Sanders, as a pendant to his thesis (in its published
form, "Tendencies"), listed passages where either Mt or Lk is thought (by
one of a sampling of scholars) to have an earlier form of a story than does
Mk. These situations have to do not with Q but with Markan Priority. Either
way, I should suppose that one thing the FG people would routinely attend to
is: What is the state of the items on that list? Are there any which are
truly difficult to explain on the FG basis?
And to that I do not know the answer. I take up as a sample the first item
on that list (from the Bellinzoni reprint, p200). It is not a Mt/Lk
parallel, but a Mk/Lk parallel. Ed's comment runs as follows:
"1. Mk 1:11 cf Lk 3:22 (D). D has the original reading in Luke, and Lk 3:22
depends on Q. Mart here also depends on Q, but gives it in a weakened form.
J Weiss, Das älteste Evangelium, 133."
In other words, the proposed order is Lk > Mk, with the Lukan version
(according to D) actually borrowed intact from the pre-Markan Q source, and
better representing that source.
Mk 1:11 "and a voice came from Heaven, Thou are my beloved Son; with thee I
am well pleased." (RSV)
Lk 3:22 "and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove,
and a voice came from Heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well
To the latter, RSV adds "Some ancient authorities read, Today have I
begotten thee." The ancient authorities in question are solely D (Bezae) and
Clement of Alexandria. This is not an imposing lineup of witnesses. May that
reading not be secondary within Luke? I borrow from Peter Head (Christology
p196) the thought of a "Western variant conforming Luke 3:22 more closely to
the LXX of Psalm 2:7 (and therefore unlikely to be original)." This strikes
me as a good directionality argument.
Separately, I would have thought that the Holy Spirit was a relatively late
conception, and that its presence in Lk 3:22 would tend to mark that version
as a theological reworking of Mark, with D (Bezae) a further reworking of
And if so, then pending an examination of Weiss's position (not seen), one
of Sanders's passages is eliminated, as not after all troublesome to the FG
Hypothesis. Forty-five more to go.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst