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Re: [GPG] Help: What are the last 3 words in the NA27 Greek of Luke 7:46?

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: GPG Cc: WSW; Synoptic, various In Response To: Dave I On: Lk 7:46 From: Bruce Dave asks about the meaning of three words omitted by Bezae in Lk 7:46. This
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 19, 2009
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      To: GPG
      Cc: WSW; Synoptic, various
      In Response To: Dave I
      On: Lk 7:46
      From: Bruce

      Dave asks about the meaning of three words omitted by Bezae in Lk 7:46. This
      query raises a sympathetic echo in people like myself, who know no Greek and
      have to guide themselves through these things by touching the walls. But in
      default of other and necessarily more learned answers, let's see what comes
      out that way in this case.

      1. Swanson's Luke. Of the manuscripts he includes, both Bezae and Freer =
      Washingtoniensis omit from the end of Lk 7:46 TOS PODAS MOU (so Vaticanus,
      Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus. Many others have MOU TOS PODAS, whence UBS 4 = NA
      27 MOU TOS PODAS). The translation of those words in my bilingual NT is "my
      feet," and so without that phrase, we would presumably read for 7:46, You
      did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed me with perfume." The
      result of the elimination is to make the two anointings more analogous; it
      does not change the *story,* from which the "feet' motif has not been
      eliminated, but it makes the *words* more parallel, and is thus a
      rhetorical, if not exactly a narrative, improvement. That's my suggestion in
      response to Dave.

      2. Continuing on (not that I was asked to continue on, but it seemed sort of
      interesting), we find a similar situation in 7:47. Bezae, and this time
      Bezae alone, omits the last phrase, corresponding to "for she loved much,
      but to whom little is forgiven, he loves little." What was the point of
      omitting this Jesuine explanation of the parallel between his own parable
      and the woman before them all? I think we need only look at the knots into
      which Fitzmyer (ad loc) ties himself in trying to resolve the theology of
      forgiveness in this story. It's manifestly very uncomfortable, and I suggest
      accordingly that the Bezae variant may plausibly be seen as a local
      omission, made late in the history of Bezae (not early; unlike the
      Noninterpolations, it has no standing as the original reading, and instead
      belongs to the later vagaries of [the antecedent of] Bezae, like the Acts
      expansions), and made in order to ease interpretation by at least not
      highlighting a theological difficulty.

      3. Like most in the field, Synoptic theory or no Synoptic theory, Fitzmyer
      apparently believes that everything in all the Gospels really happened; the
      incidents have merely come down to the various Evangelists in separate
      streams of "tradition," thus accounting for the variants in parallel
      versions, or the lack of parallels for some versions. The unspoken but
      universal assumption behind the word "tradition," both NT-ishly and
      Sinologically, is that all traditions are rooted in fact. So Jesus, in
      Fitzmyer's view, must really have said this or something like it, and it is
      his task to explain it.

      The task is nothing if not formidable. As Fitzmyer himself honestly enough
      conveys, and one can only admire his completeness, the theology of the
      parable and the theology of the woman are irreconcilably different. Fitzmyer
      must conclude (honoring the parable) that the woman has already been
      forgiven when she enters, but in the immediately following story, Jesus in
      fact forgives her sins, so there can have been no prior forgiveness. At this
      point hermeneutical ingenuity comes into play, but I deplore hermeneutical
      ingenuity, as merely a way of reaching a conclusion against what the text
      evidence, if left to itself, would have implied.

      One thing the text evidence here implies, as I read it, is that Luke has
      been assiduous in introducing theological motifs into his story, but has not
      been equally tidy in reconciling their mutual relationship. In a similar
      way, he has wrenched the Nazareth story out of its Markan moorings, and
      moved it to the beginning of his version of the Ministry of Jesus. In doing
      so, he has made a symbolic point of great importance to his grand master
      Luke/Acts narrative (the point being the consistent rejection of Jesus by
      his own people), but he has left in his wake severe inconcinnities in the
      narrative sequence, since the moved version of the Nazareth story continues
      to imply a prior Capernaum story.

      Why did he not fix this inconcinnity? Is he stupid? Or is he out of his mind
      and ready for institutional commitment?

      I suggest that he did not fix it for the same reason that I did not
      eliminate a text box from chapter 3 of my current book when I moved it
      instead to Chapter 2 - just the limitations on human awareness. One does the
      thing one focuses on at that moment, and some static may be left in the
      things one is, at that moment, less focused on.

      4. I think that many things get easier to explain if we acknowledge that the
      Gospels do not in their various garbled ways reflect a single and ultimately
      historical tradition, but rather, that each Gospel reflects a stage in a
      later, nonhistorical, imputed, and evolving tradition. That is, Christian
      doctrine is something which is developing in this period, both rapidly and
      diversely, and to arrest that development, to put on paper (in narratively
      complete form) a certain stage reached or a certain version recommended in
      that development, is probably the real purpose of the Gospels. Each in its

      This, it seems to me, is why they are so competitive; why they sometimes get
      so mad at each other, why they sometimes respect (to the point of copying
      verbatim) some older version, and why at other times they scream and yell
      and tear the older version to shreds and either leave it out altogether or
      creatively reconstitute it at one or more other places in their own story.
      This is inconsistent or unintelligible behavior only to someone who (like B
      H Streeter, apparently) has never watched an author at work. It should be
      immediately and unproblematically intelligible to any working author.

      5. I thus see Luke as coming after Mark, and also after Matthew, and
      minutely aware of Matthew's changes in Mark. I did not invent this idea;
      Farrer/Goulder did. But if they hadn't, I would have: it fits the totality
      of the evidence very convincingly; it leaps up at you out of any decent
      Synopsis. Some of these Matthean changes in Mk, Luke admires (he is, after
      all, a member of the same theological generation as Matthew). Other Matthean
      changes he hates and omits, and still others he envies and thus seeks to
      retain (they are too good to leave out altogether), but *differently;* he
      insists on putting his own stamp on them, for better (as in the case of the
      Annunciation Narrative) or (as in the case of the Sermon on the Mount) for

      If we understand this triple attitude of Luke to Matthew, plus an original
      (if later diluted) respect for Mark, plus a certain aspiration to widen the
      culture of the Jesus story so as to make it more cosmopolitan (acceptable
      not only in Jewish circles, but much more than previously in the bazaars and
      hostelries and taverns of the trade centers) - if we understand these five
      things, then I think we are getting close to a sense of Luke's mind and
      motives, his Sitz im Argument, his reason for doing.

      5a. Sinologically, the same thing is going on in the Shu documents,
      conventionally accepted as transcripts from remote antiquity, but in their
      substance showing all the marks of 04c political theory controversies and
      legal developments. Many of the Shu were rewritten or extended to better
      represent late 04c or early 03c theories than they did in their original 04c
      versions. A generation passes, and the argument moves on to a different
      stage, or reshapes itself around different hot-button issues. The texts, or
      such texts as are still being actively maintained by their respective
      sponsoring bodies, tend to move with the argument, and to continue to take
      part in it.

      6. It then seems that the two Bezae omissions, from the ends of Lk 7:46 and
      Lk 7:47, have the result, and probably also the purpose, of making things
      rhetorically or theologically easier for the preacher who has to recount,
      and then explain, this story.

      7. I wasn't asked, but I may venture to ask on my own account, What is Luke
      doing by putting these difficult things in? What is he up to? I think he is
      here rejecting what for him was a theological crux in Mark, in the story of
      the Healing (properly, the Forgiveness) of the Paralytic. The paralytic in
      Mark has done nothing whatever but lie there and be paralyzed; his friends
      have shown love to him and faith in Jesus by bringing him to Jesus (and
      through the roof - here is an attention-getting device if ever there was
      one; no child of eight will ever forget it). But all that even the friends
      ask for is healing. What they get, and get not by deserving it or by asking
      for it, but out of Jesus's irritation with those bystanders who object to
      the whole procedure, is forgiveness of sins. Luke had no trouble, I imagine,
      with the idea of Jesus forgiving sins (as I mentioned, he is of a
      theological generation later than Paul, during whose time Jesus was already
      evolving into a forgiver of sins; that is, evolving into God). But the
      arbitrary nature of the forgiveness in the Mark story must have bothered
      Luke; for him, forgiveness must follow from repentance. And it must issue in
      gratitude. Forgiveness is not a stone thrown in anger, to discomfit some
      momentary opponent (which is what Mark makes it in his Paralytic story); it
      is a relationship.

      8. If so, can we get any hints or confirmations out of the way Lk treated
      the original Mk "Paralytic" story in situ? Perhaps a few. First, Lk does
      repeat that story. He follows some of the Matthean improvements (as in the
      famous KRABBATOS crux, which he agrees in omitting as unbecomingly vulgar),
      but not others (he preserves in altered form the final comment of the
      onlookers in Mk, which Mt omits). So far, he is just taking sides as between
      his sources, and tinkering slightly with the wording of his sources. Routine
      moves of the worktable. But he does introduce one suggestive change. In Mk
      (and Mt), only the onlookers glorify God; the paralytic himself simply gets
      up and goes home, providing the occasion for the onlookers' amazement, but
      not, as it were, participating in it. Whereas in Lk, and only in Lk, we have
      the Paralytic himself, as he goes home, "glorifying God." That is, it would
      appear that the gratitude of the one forgiven is important to Lk. For Mk and
      for Mt after him, the impressiveness of the miracle was enough. Their story
      was about Jesus, and was meant to document the power of Jesus. Lk reaches
      inside the story and emphasizes (and, in his terms, makes more orthodox) the
      feelings of the one who, for him, is the focal character in the story: the
      Paralytic - the person who, in the story as Luke reads it, represents Luke
      himself, and every other individual member of the Jesus community in his

      Luke does not object to the idea of the power of Jesus. He merely insists
      that forgiveness is a two-part process: magnanimity on one end, and
      gratitude on the other. The one forgiven contributes more to the process
      than just his sins.

      9. That is one confirmation of the suggestion, above, about how Luke felt
      about the forgiveness process. Is there a second? I think so. I have earlier
      suggested that though we can often discern Luke's disagreements and
      preferences in the way he handles previous material, he can probably see him
      clearer in the stuff he makes up himself, where he is not constrained by
      prior text, some of which was already reverentially regarded within the
      community of his hearers, but is authorially free to pick and choose, to
      include or to invent as he may feel inclined. In that spirit, we may take up
      the Story of the Ten Lepers. Why ten? For amplification, or course, but also
      in order that a tiny minority of them, one man, a symbolic tithe of the
      healed many, who comes to give God his due. That man returns afterward to
      thank Jesus for the gift of salvation. Lk 17:11-19. No precise Mk or Mt
      parallels. But here the theme of gratitude becomes not only visible, as it
      faintly is in Lk's remake of the Markan Paralytic story, it becomes the
      whole point of is own story.

      10. Granted that there is no precise Synoptic parallel to this story, but of
      course there is an *imprecise* parallel, the early Healing of the [One]
      Leper in Mk 1:40-45 || Mt 8:1-4, Lk 5:12-16. Does Lk sabotage this story by
      introducing the element of gratitude? No, he doesn't. He pretty much follows
      his Vorlage. He does touch things up a little, but for different reasons.
      For one, he does not follow Mt in omitting the sequel (the fact that the
      healing became known), but at the same time, he *does* absolve the leper of
      the guilt for its *becoming* known (Mk: But he went out and began to talk
      freely about it, and to spread the news. Lk: But so much the more did the
      report go abroad concerning him). So though there is no overt gratitude of
      the healed person in this story, there is at least no overt disobedience,
      and to that extent the story is tilted a little in the direction of the
      sympathies and expectations that Lk elsewhere shows. Obedience is the best

      11. As I once tried to point out in a published paper (but the editor of the
      volume eliminated that section of the paper), it is not always enough to
      read the passage, or even to read the context of the passage, you may
      sometimes need to read the whole corpus, in order to get the sense and
      import of some line or other.

      11a. It is not enough to see that one Dzwo Jwan passage vacates a previous
      idea of the relation between Heaven and Man, it is not even enough to see
      that stories scattered throughout the Dzwo Jwan reflect one or the other
      side of that great moral theory schism; it is maybe a little more adequate
      when we have gone far enough with the question to see that an initial idea
      of the Justice of Heaven is also abandoned, and also, at the same period - a
      real time synchronism - in the Mician writings, the third largest corpus of
      Warring States texts (the Dzwo Jwan itself is the largest). The Micians, to
      be sure, diverge in a different direction (in what I might call a low-class
      KRABBATOS direction: reliance not on Heaven but on avenging spirits for the
      righting of injustices), but they diverge from the same starting point. The
      great theory change of the 04c is away from Heaven as a direct and
      sufficient actor in human affairs to something else, some other agency, or
      some other way of explaining the fortunes of individuals and the rise and
      fall of states. In the 03c, this "rejection of Heaven" development
      culminates very beautifully in the Sywndz essay on Heaven, which argues
      gently that Heaven indeed has its regularities, but that those regularities
      have nothing to do with the affairs of men. The Mencians of that period, for
      their part, retain more of a sense of Heavenly determinism in the affairs of
      men, a stance for which they are roundly and explicitly abused by Sywndz.

      11b. Again, if we notice that a long section has been inserted into the Kang
      Gau (one of the most quoted of the Shu documents), we are doing well. But we
      are doing even better if we also notice that there are similar extensions
      and insertions in the Jyou Gau, in the Li Jvng, in the Lw Sying, and in many
      of the Shu texts that purport to be transcripts from the Jou dynasty. We are
      doing better yet if we notice that many of these insertions and extensions
      involve the classical theory of law, or the classical idea of the history of
      law, and that similar trajectories of evolution can be detected in other
      texts contemporary with the Shu (again, the Mwodz is conspicuous among those
      contemporary texts). It is at about this point, it seems to me, that we can
      say we are beginning to understand the Kang Gau.

      12. Insofar as may now be possible, we need to watch the whole of classical
      Chinese culture moving, or the whole of early Christian doctrine evolving.
      If we listen to the wind, that bloweth where it listeth, we can better
      understand the more constrained motions of a single leaf.

      Respectfully suggested,

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