Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark and Aramaic
- Just on the first example cited (about validity
in relation to the time when heaven & earth come
to an end) surely the triple tradition and
the double tradition sayings are making quite
different points, so I am not sure we can just
tot up word changes in the Greek (which _is_ valid
when comparing like with like).
The double tradition pair raise the issue of the
continuing validity of the torah (Lk16.17//Mat).
The triple set on the other hand assert the
continuing validity of the utterances of Jesus
The triple set is something all three of the
evangelists are agreed on, and have no wish to
amend or reinterpret, so they don't change it.
The double tradition pair reveal a different
attitude to the law in Matthew as against Luke
(the context in Luke 16.16a about the law and the
prophets being "until John" is important for
Luke). It is no surprise that Matthew (and quite
probably the tradition he represents) insists on
the continuing validity of the torah in entirety.
Luke 16.17 is, however, more intriguing. It could
well be an example of exasperated irony in prophetic
mode - objecting to opponents insisting on every
last mark on the text of the torah. If we hear
the tone of the saying that way then one could
put forward an argument like Casey's _Sitz im Leben_
arguments for it fitting the first stage of the
Jesus tradition. (Casey's arguments do not rely
solely on reconstructing Aramaic, but do also invoke
claims about likely _Sitz im Leben_, some more
persuasive than others.)
We might then reconstruct the series as follows:
a) a prophetic utterance ironically denouncing
excessive insistence on every last mark in the torah.
b) an early Christian modification that the words
of Jesus do have lasting significance - no controversy
over that within the community, so hardly altered in
the triple version.
c) A rival version of a) in a torah affirming line
preserved in Matthew (5.18) upholding rather than
ironically criticizing the smallest points of the torah.
If this is right then there is a further irony in
people who insist on proposition b) but use it
to miss the tone in which the words of Jesus were
uttered. His wit and humour are often also missed.
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
- Jack Kilmon wrote:
> I am convinced that Matthew was neither Aramaic nor Hebrew competent andJack,
> used Mark and a Q document in translational Greek. Luke, however, was
> Aramaic competent and used Mark and an Aramaic Q which he translated
> himself. This is why Luke explains the Hoybyn/"debts"/"sins" idiom in his
> version of the LP and Matthew does not.
I can't comment on Matthew's knowledge of Hebrew, but Matthew's retention of
"debts" could have been for other reasons than his lack of understanding of
the Aramaic word. Both Matthew and Luke transliterate and thus retain the
Aramaic words "mammon" (Mt 6:24 // Lk 16:13) and "saton" (Mt 13:33 // Lk
Also, Matthew's gospel is widely thought to have been written in Antioch of
Syria. Wasn't the Syrian dialect of Aramaic the main language of that town?
Wouldn't it follow that Matthew probably had some understanding of Aramaic?