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Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: Matthew's Sermon broken up?

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  • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Leonard Maluf On: Breaking Up Matthew From: Bruce In responding to John Poirier s question, Leonard had said: LEONARD: If Luke had
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 21, 2010
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Leonard Maluf
      On: Breaking Up Matthew
      From: Bruce

      In responding to John Poirier's question, Leonard had said:

      LEONARD: If Luke had only the Gospel of Matthew (and of course nearly
      the whole Greek OT) in front of him when he wrote, then he did nothing
      remotely surprising when he broke up and rewrote Matthew's great
      sermon. He did the same, consistently, with each of the other four
      major discourses in Matthew.

      BRUCE: Excellent point, Leonard, and indeed akin to one I made a bit
      ago. It is easier to explain Luke at many points than at only one. Our
      guesses at one point may be many; our experience of what Luke does at
      other points usefully narrows the range of possibilities. The large is
      easier to understand than the small.

      Now let me explain to you about the Trajectory Arguments for Synoptic
      order . . .

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
      To: Synoptic Cc: WSW, GPG In Response To: Mark Matson On: Breaking Up Matthew From: Bruce] The issue here is the importance of order. MARK: the whole term
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 21, 2010
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        To: Synoptic
        Cc: WSW, GPG
        In Response To: Mark Matson
        On: Breaking Up Matthew
        From: Bruce]

        The issue here is the importance of order.

        MARK: the whole term "order" is suspect anyway.

        BRUCE: Not to me. Is this a touch of the old Lachmann allergy?

        MARK: Is it "chronological order?" (no).

        BRUCE: We don't know that the order of events presented in any of the
        Gospels corresponds to the true Historical Jesus order. So much may be
        granted. But I should think it is obvious that each of the Gospels
        *purports* to tell that story in the order in which it happened. No
        Gospel but begins the working life of Jesus with the Baptism, has a
        middle section of more or less length in which Jesus makes the
        transition from Galilee to Jerusalem, and ends with his Crucifixion at
        Jerusalem. If any of these major elements occurred in a different
        sequence, we might fairly say that we were dealing with a mere
        collection of anecdotes. But they don't, and we aren't. What Matthew
        gives us, in his highly formalized way, is still something that offers
        itself to us as a chronology, a consecutive account, of Jesus.

        MARK: Is it simply Matthew's order? (why?).

        BRUCE: Because that is what we have in front of us. How that order
        differs in detail from that of the other Gospels is also in front of
        us; it is a perfectly objective fact, and a perfectly valid topic of
        investigation.

        MARK: What order are we talking about?

        BRUCE: See the archive. The initial question concerned the order of
        Luke, and whether it is construable as a rearrangement of that of
        Matthew.

        MARK: The assumption always starts with a presumed superiority of
        Matthew's version.

        BRUCE: "Superiority" begs the question. Superiority is a matter of
        taste, and it has been known since antiquity that arguing tastes leads
        nowhere.

        "Priority" is the real question, and that is surely investigable.
        Thus: If we had only the texts of Matthew and Luke, with no
        information or presuppositions, it would not take us long to discover
        that the two cover much the same narrative ground, though with many
        differences. One of the differences is in the tone and tendency of the
        common incidents; much there to work on. Another is the difference in
        the order in which some of the incidents are presented; much there as
        well. The original question directs our attention to the latter data
        set.

        At first glance, the differences in order between the two bring us up
        short: each order is by implication an implied real chronological
        order (see above), but at points where they differ, at least one of
        them must be chronologically wrong. We then do a directionality study
        of each of those places, and see what we come up with. Are there
        reasons why, given the A sequence, another author might have
        rearranged it as the B sequence? Or is it easier to see the B sequence
        as an intentional rearrangement of the A sequence? In this area, all
        of us are students of Tischendorf: The version which can most readily
        be seen as giving rise to the other is presumptively prior to the
        other. And proceeding in that way, we should eventually be able to
        say, This text, at all points in question (or at all points where with
        present knowledge a plausible sequence can be inferred), is prior to
        that other text.

        Then we have learned something useful. And the technique of learning
        it finds wider uses also. Thus, Fitzmyer does a pretty good job of
        showing why Luke moved certain parts of Mark from their Markan
        position to a different one. It's not all that difficult, and it's not
        a priori futile. So also with Matthew and Luke; Luke's propensities
        are readily discoverable from a reading of his entire text, and it can
        be seen in at least some cases that his differences of order from
        Matthew are consonant with those propensities. This leads toward the
        conclusion Mt > Lk.

        Which is surely a useful point to have reached, no?

        No author, no musician, no performer of any stripe, thinks order of
        presentation irrelevant. For example, a symphony should end briskly,
        not to leave the audience in a gloomy state of mind. There are thus
        conductors who will not touch Tchaikovsky's Sixth, where this rule is
        grossly violated. For a church organist to do something equally
        downbeat at end of the service is to court instant dismissal, for
        reasons that pastor and people do not even need to put into words.

        Sequence is powerful. Climax is powerful. Interlude, as it relates to
        climax, is powerful in its own kind of way. Bizet's intermezzi. The
        Greek tragedians liked to fill their transitions and interludes with
        certain kinds of material. And the way the Japanese "no" play writers
        treat the "michiyuki" portion of their groundplan would have delighted
        Luke. I get the impression that the Gospel writers understood these
        things superlatively well. Why is it irrelevant, or "suspect," to
        notice this aspect of their art?

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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