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Lk 4:14-30

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: WSW On: Luke s Nazareth Group (Lk 4:14-30) From: Bruce No, really. If we can detect, by objective signs present in our Luke, that a relocation
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 19, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      To: Synoptic
      Cc: WSW
      On: Luke's Nazareth Group (Lk 4:14-30)
      From: Bruce

      No, really. If we can detect, by objective signs present in our Luke, that a
      relocation of previous material has occurred, then we are witnessing a
      Synoptic Event, and knowledge of it ought to be valuable for future
      ratiocination. Any firm point in a volatile storm. By way of exploring its
      possible validity, I will here expand somewhat on the previous message.

      The previous suggestion was that the module sequence NAZ - CAP - SIM, which
      is what stands in our Luke, possessed narrative inconcinnities (the
      assumption of prior acquaintance with Simon in the CAP module, and the
      assumption of Capernaum healings in the NAZ module) which suggested that
      these three had originally been in the order SIM - CAP - NAZ, which is the
      order that is still reflected in both Matthew and Mark. It follows that,
      before the relocation for which we have already seen evidence, there was no
      NAZ - CAP - SIM order anywhere, and all three Synoptics, insofar as they
      existed at all, or their precursors if *they* existed at all, possessed the
      same order of this material. Without exception.

      A motive for the early placement of NAZ in Luke (the emphasis on the
      Opposition and Rejection theme) was suggested in my last, and similar
      suggestions were cited from the commentary literature; those suggestions
      could easily be multiplied. They are in keeping with what elsewhere seems to
      be the character of Luke, including its de-emphasis of Galilee (what I call
      Jerusalemization), and its rejection of Judaism in favor of a more universal
      conception of Jesus's mission. The fact that a consistent authorial scenario
      can be found for this inferred change in Luke is a useful support for the
      theory of reordering, which was independently suggested on strictly
      philological grounds. Convergence of evidence is always suggestive.

      Here is a further argument for the idea that these modules originally stood
      in a different order. As it stands, Lk 4:42-44, the end of the Lukan
      Capernaum episode, says [v44] "And he was preaching in the synagogues of
      Judea." In our present Luke, this is immediately followed by 5:1, which
      opens "While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was
      standing by the lake of Gennesaret." Gennesaret is in Galilee, south (the
      commentators tell me) of Capernaum. It is not in Judea. It is thus not
      geographically compatible with the ending of the section which presently
      precedes it.

      Again, it was noted earlier that the healings in Capernaum were narratively
      taken for granted in the Lukan NAZ module. One might say that this is just
      Luke's style; he expects his readers to know where Capernaum is, or even to
      be previously informed about the healings there. This argument is confuted
      by Lk 4:31, in the CAP module, where Capernaum is mentioned as though for
      the first narrative time. Lk 4:31: "And he went down to Capernaum, a city of
      Galilee." One might well ask what local Christian community needed to be
      told where Capernaum was (surely not that of Caesarea, where GLk is
      sometimes located), but that is not the point. The point is that here, Luke
      is introducing (for any Palestinian reader, overintroducing) Capernaum. If
      this is how Luke handles the introduction of Capernaum, then the way he
      handles it in the NAZ module is anomalous, UNLESS 4:31 originally preceded
      the NAZ module. It is the present suggestion that it DID originally precede
      that module.

      Proceeding thus, I think we will be inclined to conclude that (a) the Lukan
      material, as we see it or in closely similar form, originally stood in the
      order SIM - CAP - NAZ, and to note that (b) this is exactly the order in
      Mt/Mk, so that at some point, early in the text process which led to our
      Luke, there was total unanimity in all three Synoptics or their precursors
      as to the sequence of those events.

      We might next validly ask: Were the three Lukan modules rewritten to any
      extent, in the process of moving them? One way to check is to put them in
      their original order, and see how convincing they may be, or what anomalies
      (presumably due to authorial adjustment at the time of the move, and
      becoming anomalies by our restoring the original order) still remain. With
      apologies to those who have the whole text in memory and don't need this,
      here is the RSV text of just two of the three modules, CAP - SIM, transposed
      to their presumptive earlier sequence, SIM - CAP:

      LUKAN RESTORATION of SIM - CAP: (My Emphasis)


      4:12 And Jesus answered him, It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your
      God. [13] And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from
      him until an opportune time.


      4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and A
      REPORT CONCERNING HIM went out through all the surrounding country. [15] And
      he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

      [OMITTING NAZARETH MODULE, which ends with Lk 4:30 "But passing through the
      midst of them he went away"]

      [SIM MODULE}

      5:1 While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was
      standing by the lake of Gennesaret. [2] And he saw two boats by the lake,
      but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. [3]
      Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a
      little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
      [4] And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, Put out into the deep
      and let down your nets for a catch. [5] And Simon answered, Master, we
      toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the
      nets. [6] And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish,
      and as their nets were breaking, [7] they beckoned to their partners in the
      other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats,
      so that they began to sink. [8] But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at
      Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. [9] For
      he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which
      they had taken, [10] and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who
      were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, Do not be afraid;
      henceforth you will be catching men. [11] And when they had brought their
      boats to land, they left everything and followed him.


      4:31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching
      them on the Sabbath, [32] and they were astonished at his teaching, for his
      word was with authority. [33] And in the synagogue there was a man who had
      the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, [34] Ah!
      What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
      I know who you are, the Holy One of God. [35] But Jesus rebuked him, saying,
      Be silent, and come out of him. And when the demon had thrown him down in
      the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. [36] And they were
      all amazed and said to one another, What is this word? For with authority
      and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out. [37] And
      REPORTS OF HIM went out into every place in the surrounding region.

      4:38 And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now
      Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for
      her. [39] And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and
      immediately she rose and served them.

      4:40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with
      various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of
      them and healed them. [41] And demons also came out of many, crying You are
      the Son of God! But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak,
      because they knew that he was the Christ.

      4:42 And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the
      people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving
      them. [43] But he said to them, I must preach the good news of the kingdom
      of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose. [44] And
      he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

      5:12. While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy,
      and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, Lord, if you
      will, you can make me clean. [13] And he stretched out his hand, and touched
      him, saying, I will, be clean. And immediately the leprosy left him. [14]
      And he charged him to tell no one, but "go and show yourself to the priest,
      and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to
      the people.[15] But so much the more THE REPORT WENT ABROAD CONCERNING HIM,
      and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities.
      [16] But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.


      None of these three modules figures in Q (at least not in the version
      concorded under SBL auspices in 1975), so we don't have that complication.
      We are dealing with Luke, albeit, as I would suggest, with several stages in
      the evolution of Luke.

      That 4:14-15 are an anticipation of the following career has been suggested
      in the commentary literature; in present context, it amounts to saying that
      4:14-15 may have been composed at the time of the Lukan rearrangement, to
      give it a minimal context and narrative lead-in. Notice, in that passage,
      the phrase about REPORTS GOING OUT, which may well be taken from the same or
      similar lines which are found in the following material. This would seem to
      hold true for both the proposed original and the proposed altered order.

      The location of the healing in 5:12f is not given, other than as "one of the
      cities," so there is no geographical conflict (as there was with the other
      sequence). On the contrary, "one of the cities" in 5:12 now picks up nicely
      on "to the other cities also" which, in the present rearrangement, precedes
      it in 4:43. Not only is the previously noted inconcinnity removed, but a new
      concinnity is established, by the relocation. This is further and
      independent evidence for the validity of the restored order.

      In 4:31, "and he went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee" stands (in the
      restoration) as the first mention of Capernaum, and it has that character,
      as above noted. There is also a reasonable geographical sequence, Gennesaret
      > Capernaum.

      It seems to me that 5:1 is somewhat abrupt in the restoration, but probably
      better in that context than in the sequence of Luke as we have it. It might
      be still better to have said something like, "Once, when he was standing by
      the Lake of Gennesaret, and the people were pressing upon him to hear the
      word of God, he saw two boats . . ." If I were giving a practical paraphrase
      of the present text for my Sunday School class, this is about how I would do
      it. The Greek text seems to be missing an adverb. Whether the sense of such
      an adverb is regularly supplied, in comparable situations, by readers of
      Greek, is something I do not know. Pending advice from the knowing, I take
      the probable transition as at least acceptable with the proposed original
      order of the material, and will tentatively conclude that the transition was
      part of the original material. I leave open the possibility that the
      restored order might be made still more plausible by a conjectural rewriting
      of the transitional passage, or Lk 5:1, or both, presumably along the lines
      of one or more of the parallels. I don't attempt this here.

      For the present, then, I don't see any major narrative difficulties
      introduced by switching the extant Lukan SIM and CAP modules, but will be
      very glad to hear of any that list members may notice. If the restoration
      stands more or less as here proposed, then I suggest that it contains
      interesting information about the historical order of the concerns that
      apparently moved the author or authors of Luke, for example: (1) the
      Jerusalemizing tendency must be referred to the original modules, since the
      line containing it works better in the restored context, whereas (2) the
      insistence on the opposition of the Jews, which develops slowly in Mt and
      Mk, develops more rapidly in Lk only because of the Lukan reordering, and is
      an artifact, as it was earlier suggested to be the most likely motive, of
      that reordering. Then it follows that the Jerusalemization motif arose
      earlier, as a factor bearing on Lukan authorship and reauthorship, than this
      degree of emphasis of the Opposition motif. Church history. Or at least one
      strand of it.

      Which may not be unintelligible once you think about it. I am sorry the
      whole thing is not more tidy, but I think it still carries conviction, and
      that it may be useful for the future.

      Respectfully suggested,


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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