Re: [Synoptic-L] Outside Documents
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Emmanuel Fritsch
On: Pericope Adulterae and Others
I had commented on someone else's list of texts (possible sources for Luke),
and Manu had added some questions of his own. I here respond as best I can
with materials presently at hand.
EF: Some observations, independent from what I mean about no longer extant
EBB (List): Letter to the Laodiceans: [Marcion's name for Ephesians, no?]
EF: Boismard says Laodiceans has been conflated with Colossians. His
reconstruction of Laod. is focused on baptism.
EBB (Now): What is the reference? It might be interesting. Baptism is late
in Christian history; Mark has no trace of it, other than a metaphor; gJn
remarks that Jesus did not baptize, only his disciples, which I take to be
correct. Paul mentions it now and then as something done in his time. which
does not contradict the preceding. Ephesians and Colossians, once each (Eph
4:5, Col 2:12). Consistent with preceding. Boismard finds several baptismal
hymns embedded in 1 Pet, which is perhaps late enough to fit the apparent
trajectory. So is the second layer of the Didache, as I see it. I have the
sense that when finally understood, all these will fit together in a good
witness to the development, and eventual centrality, of baptism among the
EBB (List): *a stand-alone copy of the woman caught in adultery episode
[Seems to be attached variously, and in that sense independent]
EF: Are you sure? It is usually described as typical from Luke, but placed
EBB: Pretty sure. Family 13 and a few assorted papyri (none earlier than
10c) put the Pericope Adulterae at the end of Lk 21. Where its lead-in line
seems to fit pretty well as a situational identifier; some words in the PA
are also easily seen as Lukan, but not as Johannine. Where it is mostly
placed in Jn (as 7:53-8:11), it seems to interrupt the flow of the
surrounding units. The implication is that it was originally in a reasonably
concinnitous position in Lk, but was dislodged from there and wound up in an
inconcinnitous position in Jn. There are two things wrong with this picture:
(a) the dates of the texts run the wrong way: the PA turns up in Bezae (4c
or 5c, and at some points preserving a very early text) about half a
millennium earlier than it turns up in Jn (Family 13 etc, abovementioned).
(b) placement in Jn is variable; in addition to the most familiar one, it is
also placed after Jn 7:36, after Jn 7:44, after Jn 21:25, that is, at the
end of the Gospel.
There seems to be uncertainty about where it should go, but a consensus that
it should go somewhere in John. The still later placement in Luke may be
another attempt to find a fitting home for it. One more fitting than any of
the previous tries, and the enigma is, why? No answer at this moment. But I
think it may be agreed that the unit is flexible in placement, much in the
manner of the Doxology in Romans, which was my earlier point. No?
EBB (List): *a hymn text in Philippians [There are many more in other
EF: Hymn should have been oral liturgy.
EBB (Now): To me, same difference, though if we are going to distinguish the
terms, the metrical regularity of the one in Philippians suggests a hymn.
The point for me is that (a) there are many of them, and (b) they do not all
imply the same theology, meaning, the same theory of Jesus. Some seem very
early in this respect, which I take to mean that at least the beginnings of
hymnology (surely on the model of the Psalms and kindred things; no real
innovation here) was very early in early Christian development; certainly
earlier than baptism, on which see above. My present guess is that the
impetus for hymnody was the line in Mark that describes how the disciples at
[what later came to be called] the Last Supper sang a hymn before going out.
As more and more ritual came to be based on that event, the description of
the event in Mark expanded to more or less keep pace, or at least to
EF: But whatever the case, it is not a prima facie evidency : it comes from
the critics who said "it is a liturgical hymn", as they may say "it is a
john-the-baptist document" (in Luke 1-2) or "it is a travel diary" (in
Prima facie evidency are when according-a-gospeler-Jesus says "It is written
that", or Paul writes : "Read my letter to Laodiceans".
EBB: There are many inclusions in these texts, including the great majority
of the OT echoes, that are not specifically credited to sources. The NT
writers are not following the SBL Style Manual. I have the impression that
when any Gospel character quotes a specific source, it is not because of the
SBL Style Manual, but because mentioning that source (Moses, David, "a word
of the Lord") gives that quote much more authority for the hearers. Paul
does not say to the Philippians, "As you have it in your familiar hymn," he
just echoes the words of the hymn, knowing that they will recognize it, and
thus that it will add to the texture and effect of what he is saying.
Even if he disagrees with its theological content. Paul is an interesting
study in adaptive rhetoric, a useful trait in a professional persuader.
Sywndz would have hated it, but then, Sywndz hated pretty much everybody.
And he was no courtier either; he was an isolated ethical purist. What for
others at that time was a term for reasonable administrative leeway and
discretion (chywaen) is for him the grossest expediency, equal in its
deleterious social effect to literal rebellion (with which, more often than
not in his works, it is verbally paired). Sywndz didn't like "give" in the
chain of command. Paul, by all accounts including his own, liked to operate
on a rather long leash.
To what great effect, every schoolchild knows.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst