Re: [Synoptic-L] Lk 1:5f
First, let me clarify what I believe about the composition of Lk. I believe that the vast majority of Lk was assembled from pre-existing sources. Completely setting aside what those sources were--Mk, Mt, Q, L, etc.--the style of the material (and Lk's own prologue) suggest this. As with Mt and Mk, Lk is largely a collection of individual pericope that have been strung together like beads on a string.
But the birth narrative is a different kind of literature. It's a short story in which a tale is developed over nearly 200 verses. (Actually, its only other literary parallel in the NT is the shipwreck episode in Acts. And Joseph, Ruth and Esther are the only examples of this literary form in the Hebrew scriptures.) I believe Lk free-composed his birth narrative to introduce his gospel.
I also believe that this introduction was always a part of the gospel because, as I alluded to in a post to Ron, the material masterfully introduces theological themes that Lk will develop further in the "synoptic" portion of Lk and in Acts. (Four of these themes are god's preference for the poor, the leading role of the Holy Spirit in advancing god's plan, the (Jewish) orthodoxy of principal characters, and the centrality and goodness of Temple ritual.)
Which leads to your question about which compositional scenario one chooses. To me it is this thematic unity that suggests strongly that Lk's first edition contained the birth narrative.
SNIP Chuck here suggests that the birth material was
added to a body of earlier material known to Lk and incorporated into his gospel intact. SNIP
SNIP Does anybody see a way of deciding between the three alternatives, either in plausible arguments for prior states, or in the material itself?
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- Bruce Brooks wrote:
> Thinking about Ron's suggestion, just now, reminded me of something possiblyBruce,
> relevant, which I toss in as a sort of second reply to at least that aspect
> of his comment. It concerns the degree to which local communities and
> traditions were in mutual contact in the 1st century.
> I start with the ending of Mark, and I note that those who feel it is
> interrupted in the middle of a sentence seem to have the better of the
> argument. Parallels can be found, with extreme effort, for ending a sentence
> or even a segment with gar, but not a whole work, and anyway, the point with
> Mark is that if it ends at Mk 4:8 [16:8], it does not narratively deliver what
> it has narratively promised, and that is a no-no.
I don't know what you think was narratively promised but not delivered. If
you are referring to the promises in 14:28 and 16:7, then I understand your
point, but would answer it by arguing that both these verses were
interpolated into the text. Anyway you'll have to make a very good case if
it's to outweigh the overwhelming consensus of recent critical scholars that
16:8 is the original ending.
Mark is the subtlest of the synoptic authors. His picture of an empty tomb
is quite enough to suggest the resurrection of Jesus. He avoids presenting
any of the original disciples as seeing the risen Jesus, for this would add
to their status, contravening his persistent denigration of Peter et al..
Of course, as we know, later generations did try to plug what they saw as an
omission (Mk 16:9-20 etc.), but all such later additions can be shown to be
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