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

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  • Ron Price
    ... Jeff, Thanks for your comments. Two points in reply. Firstly your conclusion as explained above depends on interpreting the wording of the short statement
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 22, 2010
      I had written:

      >> Because on the 3ST, for the aphorisms of Jesus the scholarly Luke went
      >> back to his oldest source, namely the logia mentioned by Papias, and
      >> translated them from there (and there are a couple of
      >> translation errors to back this up).

      Jeff Peterson replied:

      > One problem for this proposal is that by *logia* Papias doesn't mean
      > "sayings"; he means "divine oracles" or "teachings." He describes Mark as
      > having set these down, though not in order, by having written up "things
      > said or done by the Lord," and Matthew as having "made a [pleasing]
      > arrangement of the *logia*." Papias understands the *logia* to have been
      > embodied in biographical narratives like those transmitted under the names
      > of Matthew and Mark, not in sayings collections like the *Gospel according
      > to Thomas*.

      Jeff,

      Thanks for your comments. Two points in reply.

      Firstly your conclusion as explained above depends on interpreting the
      wording of the short statement about Matthew in the light of the longer
      statement about Mark. But the styles of these two statements are quite
      different. The latter has the appearance of much-embellished apologetic, and
      some of it (such as Mark being Peter's interpreter) is now known to be
      mistaken. The former reads like a modest historical claim. I think we should
      consider the possibility that Papias was not always entirely consistent in
      his terminology.

      Secondly I'm not sure how you interpret: "made a [pleasing] arrangement of
      the *logia*". You may be assuming it refers to the five pairs of
      discourse/narrative sections in Matthew's gospel. But my reconstruction of
      the aphorism collection (see the web page below), with its poetry, its
      arrangement in 36 linked pairs, and division into four themed sections,
      surely presents a source which would have been much more likely to attract
      the commendation: "pleasing arrangement".

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_sQet.html
    • Chuck Jones
      Bruce wrote: The real question here has always been the emotional one. It is not Why did Luke break up Matthew s Sermon, but rather, Why did Luke break up
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 22, 2010
        Bruce wrote:
        "The real question here has always been the emotional one. It is not "Why did Luke break up Matthew's Sermon," but rather, "Why did Luke break up Jesus's sermon?" If it could be established beforehand that the sermon is Matthew's assemblage and not Jesus's lecture notes, the thing could be approached with a more appropriate level of mental equilibrium than heretofore."

        Bruce,
        You are definitely on to something here.  Recognizing that Mt crafted sayings material into five sermons, including the famous Sermon on the Mount, certainly should free one from some emotional baggage.
        It also, though, creates a methodological probability that would favor Lk's not knowing Mt.  Mt is an example of arranging previously random materials to suite his rhetorical purposes.  Mk does the same thing with his narrative materials.  Likewise, Lk creates his trip to Jerusalem motif.
        Do we have any examples of the evangelists dis-assembling material, other than the Sermon on the Mount?  I believe I recall that Mt and Lk tend to leave Mk's order of events alone, but beyond that don't recall having read anything on the topic.
        Chuck
        Rev. Chuck JonesInterim Executive DirectorWestar InstituteThe Jesus Seminar       




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
        To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Order in Matthew From: Bruce [Chuck began by agreeing with me on the deleterious effects of approaching
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 22, 2010
          To: Synoptic
          Cc: GPG
          In Response To: Chuck Jones
          On: Order in Matthew
          From: Bruce

          [Chuck began by agreeing with me on the deleterious effects of
          approaching the Mt Sermon #1 as though it were ipsissima, which is
          always nice. I had perhaps just a few doubts from there on / EBB].

          CHUCK: Recognizing that Mt crafted sayings material into five sermons,
          including the famous Sermon on the Mount, certainly should free one
          from some emotional baggage.
          It also, though, creates a methodological probability that would favor
          Lk's not knowing Mt.

          BRUCE: What Mt did to Mk (or any conjectural source) has, as such,
          nothing whatever to do with Lk. I would think we are free to approach
          that problem separately. And probably should. Time's a-wastin'

          CHUCK: Mt is an example of arranging previously random materials to
          suite his rhetorical purposes.

          BRUCE: Tilt. "Previously random" is not warranted. The only source for
          Mt we have to look at, right there in front of us, is Mk, and I would
          not call Mk "random." I would call it highly purposive and
          intentional. Rearrangements can occur when a later user of this
          material is operating with *different* purposes and intentions. With
          Mt, as he goes along and (as he fancies) improfes on Mk, some of those
          are obvious. The one that chiefly screams out at me (see previous
          post) is reJudaization. Brother Jacob would have been *much* less
          unhappy with Mt than with Mk (of for that matter with his brother
          Jesus); of that I feel certain. And probably plenty of conservative
          Diaspora Jews, the probable Syrian audience of Mt, felt that way too.
          Hence, in fact, Mt. Mt was the expression, in revised Authority
          Narrative form, of just that sensibility.

          CHUCK: Mk does the same thing with his narrative materials.

          BRUCE: Not in evidence. That Mk is a digest of even earlier material
          is not apparent; it needs to be demonstrated. My own studies of Mk
          suggest that it is a primary original narrative, largely factual and
          consecutive (though with some points at which one might look for the
          kind of thing Chuck here asserts), and thus probably coming, on the
          whole, from someone who knew Jesus, into which various later invented
          incidents were inserted for theological and other late communitarian
          reasons. Leading to some inconcinnities which commentators have
          noticed, and by which Pierson Parker was so vastly, if as it seems
          inappropriately, amused.

          When you stick something into a previously consecutive narrative (I am
          thinking ruefully of my own Chapter 6, still being debugged in the
          computer), there are usually bad secondary side effects. These side
          effects (not signs of ignorance, but signs of update) abound in Mk.
          You mess up the original continuity, you mess up your previously
          composed Index, and you mess up your previously composed Index
          Locorum. Mk as a whole, at least to my eye, does not have the
          character of a single selection from unordered previous materials. It
          has the character of my Chapter 6.

          CHUCK: Likewise, Lk creates his trip to Jerusalem motif.

          BRUCE: No he doesn't. Absolutely not correct. He expands it from
          parallel (if shorter) trip to Jerusalem sequences in Mk and (already
          somewhat expanded) in Mt. In Lk, it becomes a major constructional
          principle, occupying about a third of the whole work. This does not
          make Lk independent of Mk, and by the same token, it does not make Lk
          independent of Mt. It gives him credit for taking a strong hand on
          what was already available in the bookstores, as well as stuff he knew
          from his own experience as a Christian (the formulaic bits which are
          the chief post-Goulder exhibits for the Q hypothesis) and probably
          some other stuff, not presently attested because no longer surviving.

          Lk looked at the results of his buying spree in the bookstores, and
          said to himself, Hm, a trip occurs here. I could do something nice
          with that.

          A little like Beethoven with Diabelli's inane little waltz. He did
          not, as he had been assigned to do (people like Like and Ludwig simply
          *hate* being told what to do), write one variation on it, as one page
          in a collaborative enterprise. He wrote a whole set of variations on
          it, every one of them his own. He assaulted the heights of the
          Goldberg Variations, and scaled them with the feather in his cap still
          flying. He ennobled the theme in the process of demolishing it. Luke's
          travel narrative is a little like that. It was for him an expansion
          zone, a free hour and a half of open sermon time. He took one look at
          the Matthean travel section, and he said to himself (as he had earlier
          done with Mt's rather sparse Birth and Infancy narrative), "Buddy, you
          just don't get it. You've got it, but you don't get it. Let me show
          you how these things should be done."

          Sassy, I admit, but it's the sassy people who write the books. No?

          Anyway, surveying the whole scene with the requisite Olympian calm: If
          we like to think of a Trip Trajectory, then the sequence of
          progressive expansion and elaboration and carrying of expositional
          weight in the respective Trip secions strongly suggests Mk > Mt >> Lk,
          where the double arrow means "aware of both the preceding." I have
          reached this result before, but here is another and essentially
          independent demonstration.

          CHUCK; Do we have any examples of the evangelists dis-assembling
          material, other than the Sermon on the Mount?

          BRUCE: Lots. I have several times pointed to Lk's rearrangement of
          material in Mt, the extreme obvious unavoidable instance being the
          Nazareth scene, which he put at the front in his second version (in
          his first version, demonstrably, he had followed Mark) in order to
          stress his "alienation from Judaism" guiding motif. That motif is
          likely to have arisen when Lk later undertook to write Acts, and felt
          the need of a different distribution of material in his Gospel in
          order to provide the proper background and thematic continuity. So he
          went back and reshaped it, and my Goodness, what a mess he made of it
          in some places.

          CHUCK: I believe I recall that Mt and Lk tend to leave Mk's order of
          events alone, but beyond that don't recall having read anything on the
          topic.

          BRUCE: Simply not true, and that fact has been out for decades now. I
          recommend reading the literature. A good start would be Fitzmyer's
          Luke, in the vicinity of p70 and following. Fitzmyer has got Luke's
          major rearrangements of Mk correctly identified, and indeed for the
          most part plausibly explained. He has then not ventured to follow
          where those facts lead, but hey, it was generous of him to leave
          something for those of us who come after. The whole section beginning
          at p63 is well worth a visit, but those in a hurry for the
          rearrangements can start at p71 and go back later.

          Other than my own paper at SBL 2007, I don't know that this basis has
          been built on. Those who have references to share will incur, by
          sharing them, the gratitude of the undersigned.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • Chuck Jones
          Bruce, This has inadvertently become a case study in how much our presuppositions affect our analysis. I believe Mt and Lk used Q and Mk, separately.  In
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 22, 2010
            Bruce,
            This has inadvertently become a case study in how much our presuppositions affect our analysis.

            I believe Mt and Lk used Q and Mk, separately.  In which case Mt and Lk left Mk's narrative structure alone, except when a change suited their purposes, (a dramatic example being Lk's relocation and considerable reworking of the Nazareth rejection story).  Likewise, they arranged the material in Q to suite their purposes, Mt having much greater ambitions in this case, creating his 5 sermons.

            I also believe that Mk created the first gospel narrative, out of pieces of tradition that had previously circulated separately or as collections of incidents and teachings that claimed no chronological relationship to each other.

            Even in the absence of a source, the evidence for Mk's doing this is quite strong:
            Ch 1 contains a collection of healing stories in which Jesus quickly becomes rock-star famous.
            Ch 2 contains a collection of conflict stories in which religious leaders reject him and by 3:6 are planning to kill him (3:6 concludes Act 1).
            Act 2 begins with a unit comprised of chs 4 and 5, easily titled "A Day in the Life of Jesus," where Mk is careful to specifically link the episodes together not with a vague "kai" but with "and immediately, or "when they reached the other shore," or etc.
            Act 3 is the passion week, and Mk has saved several conflict stories and set them in the temple court to increase dramatic tension during the week between J's arrival and the arrest.  These stories stand alone and there is no internal indication in any of them that they took place in the temple.

            I'll stop here, but am struck by the extent to which our suppostions feed our analysis, which reinforces our suppositions....  And more importantly, makes it difficult to communicate!

            Chuck
            Rev. Chuck JonesInterim Executive DirectorWestar InstituteThe Jesus Seminar

            --- On Mon, 2/22/10, brooks@... <brooks@...> wrote:

            From: brooks@... <brooks@...>
            Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Was Matthew's Sermon broken up?
            To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            Cc: "GPG" <gpg@yahoogroups.com>
            Date: Monday, February 22, 2010, 4:07 PM
















             









            To: Synoptic

            Cc: GPG

            In Response To: Chuck Jones

            On: Order in Matthew

            From: Bruce



            [Chuck began by agreeing with me on the deleterious effects of

            approaching the Mt Sermon #1 as though it were ipsissima, which is

            always nice. I had perhaps just a few doubts from there on / EBB].



            CHUCK: Recognizing that Mt crafted sayings material into five sermons,

            including the famous Sermon on the Mount, certainly should free one

            from some emotional baggage.

            It also, though, creates a methodological probability that would favor

            Lk's not knowing Mt.



            BRUCE: What Mt did to Mk (or any conjectural source) has, as such,

            nothing whatever to do with Lk. I would think we are free to approach

            that problem separately. And probably should. Time's a-wastin'



            CHUCK: Mt is an example of arranging previously random materials to

            suite his rhetorical purposes.



            BRUCE: Tilt. "Previously random" is not warranted. The only source for

            Mt we have to look at, right there in front of us, is Mk, and I would

            not call Mk "random." I would call it highly purposive and

            intentional. Rearrangements can occur when a later user of this

            material is operating with *different* purposes and intentions. With

            Mt, as he goes along and (as he fancies) improfes on Mk, some of those

            are obvious. The one that chiefly screams out at me (see previous

            post) is reJudaization. Brother Jacob would have been *much* less

            unhappy with Mt than with Mk (of for that matter with his brother

            Jesus); of that I feel certain. And probably plenty of conservative

            Diaspora Jews, the probable Syrian audience of Mt, felt that way too.

            Hence, in fact, Mt. Mt was the expression, in revised Authority

            Narrative form, of just that sensibility.



            CHUCK: Mk does the same thing with his narrative materials.



            BRUCE: Not in evidence. That Mk is a digest of even earlier material

            is not apparent; it needs to be demonstrated. My own studies of Mk

            suggest that it is a primary original narrative, largely factual and

            consecutive (though with some points at which one might look for the

            kind of thing Chuck here asserts), and thus probably coming, on the

            whole, from someone who knew Jesus, into which various later invented

            incidents were inserted for theological and other late communitarian

            reasons. Leading to some inconcinnities which commentators have

            noticed, and by which Pierson Parker was so vastly, if as it seems

            inappropriately, amused.



            When you stick something into a previously consecutive narrative (I am

            thinking ruefully of my own Chapter 6, still being debugged in the

            computer), there are usually bad secondary side effects. These side

            effects (not signs of ignorance, but signs of update) abound in Mk.

            You mess up the original continuity, you mess up your previously

            composed Index, and you mess up your previously composed Index

            Locorum. Mk as a whole, at least to my eye, does not have the

            character of a single selection from unordered previous materials. It

            has the character of my Chapter 6.



            CHUCK: Likewise, Lk creates his trip to Jerusalem motif.



            BRUCE: No he doesn't. Absolutely not correct. He expands it from

            parallel (if shorter) trip to Jerusalem sequences in Mk and (already

            somewhat expanded) in Mt. In Lk, it becomes a major constructional

            principle, occupying about a third of the whole work. This does not

            make Lk independent of Mk, and by the same token, it does not make Lk

            independent of Mt. It gives him credit for taking a strong hand on

            what was already available in the bookstores, as well as stuff he knew

            from his own experience as a Christian (the formulaic bits which are

            the chief post-Goulder exhibits for the Q hypothesis) and probably

            some other stuff, not presently attested because no longer surviving.



            Lk looked at the results of his buying spree in the bookstores, and

            said to himself, Hm, a trip occurs here. I could do something nice

            with that.



            A little like Beethoven with Diabelli's inane little waltz. He did

            not, as he had been assigned to do (people like Like and Ludwig simply

            *hate* being told what to do), write one variation on it, as one page

            in a collaborative enterprise. He wrote a whole set of variations on

            it, every one of them his own. He assaulted the heights of the

            Goldberg Variations, and scaled them with the feather in his cap still

            flying. He ennobled the theme in the process of demolishing it. Luke's

            travel narrative is a little like that. It was for him an expansion

            zone, a free hour and a half of open sermon time. He took one look at

            the Matthean travel section, and he said to himself (as he had earlier

            done with Mt's rather sparse Birth and Infancy narrative), "Buddy, you

            just don't get it. You've got it, but you don't get it. Let me show

            you how these things should be done."



            Sassy, I admit, but it's the sassy people who write the books. No?



            Anyway, surveying the whole scene with the requisite Olympian calm: If

            we like to think of a Trip Trajectory, then the sequence of

            progressive expansion and elaboration and carrying of expositional

            weight in the respective Trip secions strongly suggests Mk > Mt >> Lk,

            where the double arrow means "aware of both the preceding." I have

            reached this result before, but here is another and essentially

            independent demonstration.



            CHUCK; Do we have any examples of the evangelists dis-assembling

            material, other than the Sermon on the Mount?



            BRUCE: Lots. I have several times pointed to Lk's rearrangement of

            material in Mt, the extreme obvious unavoidable instance being the

            Nazareth scene, which he put at the front in his second version (in

            his first version, demonstrably, he had followed Mark) in order to

            stress his "alienation from Judaism" guiding motif. That motif is

            likely to have arisen when Lk later undertook to write Acts, and felt

            the need of a different distribution of material in his Gospel in

            order to provide the proper background and thematic continuity. So he

            went back and reshaped it, and my Goodness, what a mess he made of it

            in some places.



            CHUCK: I believe I recall that Mt and Lk tend to leave Mk's order of

            events alone, but beyond that don't recall having read anything on the

            topic.



            BRUCE: Simply not true, and that fact has been out for decades now. I

            recommend reading the literature. A good start would be Fitzmyer's

            Luke, in the vicinity of p70 and following. Fitzmyer has got Luke's

            major rearrangements of Mk correctly identified, and indeed for the

            most part plausibly explained. He has then not ventured to follow

            where those facts lead, but hey, it was generous of him to leave

            something for those of us who come after. The whole section beginning

            at p63 is well worth a visit, but those in a hurry for the

            rearrangements can start at p71 and go back later.



            Other than my own paper at SBL 2007, I don't know that this basis has

            been built on. Those who have references to share will incur, by

            sharing them, the gratitude of the undersigned.



            Bruce



            E Bruce Brooks

            Warring States Project

            University of Massachusetts at Amherst






























            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Steve Runge
            Chuck, I appreciate your candidness about presuppositions on the Was Matthew s Sermon broken up? thread. I am new to the list, with a background primarily in
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 23, 2010
              Chuck,

              I appreciate your candidness about presuppositions on the "Was Matthew's Sermon broken up?" thread. I am new to the list, with a background primarily in biblical languages and discourse studies. I have been doing research tangential to the synoptic problem, but woould like to work more formally on the issue in the coming year.

              In surveying the synoptic literature, I am struck by how much presuppositions held about sources and compositional history direct the conclusions reached. This raises a practical question about claiming Q as a source regarding macro-level versus micro-level departures from Mark, based on Markan priority.

              Macro: Where there are entire pericopes found in the double tradition that are lacking in Mark, appealing to a sayings source can account for where the material came from. Where there is agreement between Matthew and Luke against Mark within the triple tradition, there is again appeal to a source to explain the departure from Mark. This provides an explanation about the source of the material, but sidesteps the issue of motivation. Q is established based on how it differs from Mark. Does Q ever agree with Mark? Why should the evangelists follow Q (or special L or M for that matter) against Mark?

              At the other end of the spectrum, scholars seem quite willing to explain smaller departures (e.g. changes within a clause, delection/addition of individual words or phrases) as made by the writer/redactor based on his compositional purposes. In other words, the changes become too small to make;an appeal to a source necessary or prudent.

              Why do I raise this question? I have been comparing synoptic differences for the last few years as a means of illustrating the pragmatic effects achieved by wording a proposition one way versus another for a forthcoming introduction to discourse grammar. I plan on proposing a paper this fall about the exegetical significance of these minor differences, and how they might inform discussions about the macro-level issues relating to compositional purposes. Regardless of whether Q actually exists or not, the compositional issue remains. I expect the discussion has moved beyond picturing the gospel writers as bumbling redactors, mindlessly copying their sources without stylistic or compositional considerations, at least I hope so.

              At any rate, I would appreciate hearing your opinions regarding at what point appealing to a source becomes impractical. As Chuck noted, answers will inevitably be based on one's presuppositions. If there are relevant sources (no pun intended) that you could recommended, this too would be appreciated.

              Kind regards,

              Steven E. Runge, DLitt
              Scholar-in-Residence
              Logos Bible Software
              srunge@...
              www.ntdiscourse.org



              From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chuck Jones
              Sent: Monday, February 22, 2010 2:17 PM
              To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Was Matthew's Sermon broken up?

               
              Bruce,
              This has inadvertently become a case study in how much our presuppositions affect our analysis.

              I believe Mt and Lk used Q and Mk, separately.  In which case Mt and Lk left Mk's narrative structure alone, except when a change suited their purposes, (a dramatic example being Lk's relocation and considerable reworking of the Nazareth rejection story).  Likewise, they arranged the material in Q to suite their purposes, Mt having much greater ambitions in this case, creating his 5 sermons.

              I also believe that Mk created the first gospel narrative, out of pieces of tradition that had previously circulated separately or as collections of incidents and teachings that claimed no chronological relationship to each other.

              Even in the absence of a source, the evidence for Mk's doing this is quite strong:
              Ch 1 contains a collection of healing stories in which Jesus quickly becomes rock-star famous.
              Ch 2 contains a collection of conflict stories in which religious leaders reject him and by 3:6 are planning to kill him (3:6 concludes Act 1).
              Act 2 begins with a unit comprised of chs 4 and 5, easily titled "A Day in the Life of Jesus," where Mk is careful to specifically link the episodes together not with a vague "kai" but with "and immediately, or "when they reached the other shore," or etc.

              Act 3 is the passion week, and Mk has saved several conflict stories and set them in the temple court to increase dramatic tension during the week between J's arrival and the arrest.  These stories stand alone and there is no internal indication in any of them that they took place in the temple.

              I'll stop here, but am struck by the extent to which our suppostions feed our analysis, which reinforces our suppositions....  And more importantly, makes it difficult to communicate!

              Chuck
              Rev. Chuck JonesInterim Executive DirectorWestar InstituteThe Jesus Seminar
            • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
              To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Mark s Sources From: Bruce CHUCK: This has inadvertently become a case study in how much our
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 23, 2010
                To: Synoptic
                Cc: GPG
                In Response To: Chuck Jones
                On: Mark's Sources
                From: Bruce

                CHUCK: This has inadvertently become a case study in how much our
                presuppositions affect our analysis.

                BRUCE: Trouble with statements like this is that they trivialize the
                whole enterprise. If all we find is what we thought in the first
                place, then those concerned might as well take up a more useful
                pastime. Birdwatching. Computer solitaire. Whatever.

                My own sense, quite to the contrary, is that it is sometimes possible
                to decide between several possible conclusions, and that progress in
                the subject is made by doing so. I take up the matter in that spirit.

                On the specific point:

                CHUCK: I believe Mt and Lk used Q and Mk, separately. In which case Mt
                and Lk left Mk's narrative structure alone, except when a change
                suited their purposes, (a dramatic example being Lk's relocation and
                considerable reworking of the Nazareth rejection story).

                BRUCE: No problem with Mt and Lk making changes when it suited their
                purposes. That was my earlier point exactly. Lk in changing Mk does so
                for reasons. I am glad we now agree that Lk did in fact change Mk.
                Point gained. Knowledge advanced.

                CHUCK: Likewise, they arranged the material in Q to suit their
                purposes, Mt having much greater ambitions in this case, creating his
                5 sermons.

                BRUCE: It seems to me that there is a danger of circularity here,
                since the supposed arrangement of Q is itself an inference. The
                conventional Q wisdom, I gather, is that Q was ordered as in Lk. I
                don't find that likely, or at any rate not persuasively argued, and am
                accordingly not prepared to say that Matthew treated this material
                more freely, rearranging it out of its original Lukan order. If
                someone wanted to posit that Q order was Matthean order, then it would
                turn out that *Luke* treated the material more freely. Goulder's
                findings, repeatedly and politely urged in the literature, is that the
                wording of the common Mt/Lk sayings is basically Matthean, and that
                the Q people have removed those traits to produce their Q
                reconstruction, producing an artifact text from which Mt and Lk can be
                argued to have diverged. But the artifact may have been produced by
                de-Mattheanizing the material in the first place. In which case we are
                dealing with a chimera.

                In general, I would rather acquire an understanding of Lukan and
                Matthean proclivities by seeing what they did with material which (or
                very close to which) we can also see. I would thus like to bypass this
                point for the time being. I don't think the world is ready for it.

                CHUCK: I also believe that Mk created the first gospel narrative, out
                of pieces of tradition that had previously circulated separately or as
                collections of incidents and teachings that claimed no chronological
                relationship to each other.

                BRUCE: Agreed that Mark created the first Gospel narrative. But the
                rest of the sentence gets into a description of the character,
                aetiology, and internal relationships of material that is not directly
                visible to us: a description of an assumption. Here too, I would
                rather pass the point for the moment and look at something we can
                actually see. To understand the invisible, look carefully at the
                visible. This, fortunately, Chuck proceeds to do. To save space here,
                I will not take up his Markan Acts 2 and 3 (though agreeing in general
                that Mk had some sort of groundplan in mind), and look only at his
                first two points. The first was:

                CHUCK: Even in the absence of a source, the evidence for Mk's doing
                this is quite strong:

                Ch 1 contains a collection of healing stories in which Jesus quickly
                becomes rock-star famous.

                BRUCE: Literarily speaking, it presently stands as a narrative, not
                precisely an anthology, albeit a narrative that includes healings.
                Close enough to discuss. Along in somewhere, though, I think we have
                to take note of the likelihood that the Healing of the Paralytic is an
                intrusion into the Capernaum synagogue scene, and that several of the
                other healings in this vicinity have been either added or touched up
                by later hands. There are too many classic signs of interpolation in
                Mark to argue from Mark, as we have it, to the author's intentions or
                propensities. I wish it were simpler, and I myself began (like
                everybody else, I suppose) by approaching it as though it *were*
                simpler, but on long acquaintance I have had to relinquish that
                initial expectation. So it goes.

                To continue:

                CHUCK: Ch 2 contains a collection of conflict stories in which
                religious leaders reject him and by 3:6 are planning to kill him (3:6
                concludes Act 1).

                BRUCE: Let's look. I would class 2:1-12 (including the Healing of the
                Paralytic) chiefly as a healing story, and thus in the same type class
                as 1:40-45 (the Cleansing of the Leper). A conflict over doctrine (the
                power to forgive sins) was later inserted into this healing miracle
                (notice how narratively awkward 2:6 is - "Now some of the scribes were
                sitting there"). But if we disregard the later addition, we can say
                that the narrative which is studded with healings (not the same as an
                anthology of healings) extends to 2:12.

                What follows? I find:

                2:13-14. [Calling of Levi. Narrative material].
                2:15-17. Conflict with Pharisees about eating with unclean persons.
                2:18-20. Conflict with "people" over not keeping fast days.
                2:21-22. [Sayings about new not fitting old - not a conflict story].
                2:23-28. Conflict with Pharisees about work on the Sabbath.
                3:-6. Conflict with Pharisees about healing on the Sabbath.

                Here too, I think we have to prune a bit before we can see Mark's
                tree. I mentioned 2:18-20 earlier, as a manifest case of legislation
                for the later Church (when fasting had been reintroduced into
                community practice), and thus as an intrusion. I suggest removing it
                for the nonce, if we want to get at Mark's original structure.

                Having removed it, we have . . .

                2:13-14. [Calling of Levi. Narrative material].
                2:15-17. Conflict with Pharisees about eating with unclean persons.
                2:21-22. [Sayings about new not fitting old - not a conflict story].
                2:23-28. Conflict with Pharisees about work on the Sabbath.
                3:-6. Conflict with Pharisees about healing on the Sabbath.


                . . . a narrative studded, not with healings, but with conflicts. This
                is not quite an anthology, but it would be fair to call it a
                concentration: the stories seem to have been grouped to make a point,
                the point being that Jesus's healings and other doings (previous
                narrative) produced tension with the Pharisees (this narrative).

                Assuming these incidents genuine, was this their original order? I
                would guess not; there has very probably been an authorial
                concentration for narrative effect. The Markan narrative is not a life
                of Jesus, it is an explanation of what led to his death, and so we
                have an early emphasis on the success and power of Jesus, and next a
                sense of the opposition which that aroused, specifically among the
                Pharisees.

                Did these incidents happen, or are they inventions? If the latter,
                invented by who? I don't see a way of answering this directly. If Mark
                made them up, he will have said to himself, I will now compose my
                Conflict section. If they were real and Mark somehow had access to
                them, he has arranged them to suit his narrative purpose.

                Suppose first that the stories existed before he arranged them.
                Existed where? Among the options are: (1) In Mark's memory, as a
                follower of Jesus. (2) In the memory of some other follower, somehow
                accessed by Mark. (3) In the collective memory of more than one
                person, in which case we must posit a previous effort of collection,
                most likely resulting in a text. But if we adopt this option, we are
                going to find ourselves positing a Healing Collection for Mk 1, a
                Conflict Collection for Mk 2, and so on to the end. Some intermediary
                person, or more likely half a dozen, have done what Mark will need as
                background for his Gospel, without himself (themselves) going on to
                compose Mark's Gospel. Are these six previous monothematic collections
                plausible? For me, it is about at this point that the supposition
                appears to lead to a highly schematic and improbable situation. I then
                go back and take the other fork: This material was available to Mark
                because as a follower of Jesus he remembered it. And then bunched it
                in his narrative according to his intentions and purposes with that
                narrative.

                MORE

                These instances will do to raise the question of the anthology, and
                thus of the possibility of a prior group or groups of material. But to
                my eye, the clearest example of the type comes a little later, with
                the Kingdom parables of 4:1-33 (omitting the intrusion 4:10-20, about
                which I have recently written). And why? Because at the end, it says,
                "With many such parables he spoke the Word to them." The preceding
                parables, some of which cause very great trouble to later
                interpreters, and are for that reason more likely to be genuine, are
                here explicitly offered as "the kind of thing Jesus used to say to the
                crowds." The impression which I at least get from this is that Mark
                knows even more of them, but he has given us a sufficient sample for
                his purposes, and he is going to move on to his next topic.

                So do we now posit a previous person interested only in Kingdom
                stories and nothing else, who traveled up and down Galilee/Syria
                gathering such stories from people, each of whom remembered only one
                of them, and combining them into a text which Mark later used (with
                several other texts of similar type but different theme) a a source?
                The assumption that one follower of Jesus collected them in memory,
                not as an monothematic enterprise of oral history but simply as an
                incident of being one of the party, does the same work of explanation
                and it uses about five less people in the dramatis personae.

                For the present, I prefer it. Not as an assumption, but after due
                inspection of the material, the different explanatory possibilities
                for the material, and the implications in real life to which each of
                those explanatory possibilities leads. In short, the usual way of
                testing hypotheses and fixing on one of them as one's working
                conclusion.

                I don't think gMk was written by a later ethnographer, let alone a
                team of later ethnographers plus a subsequent staff writer. I think
                that the core narrative (into which later Church Teachings were
                inserted as validation authority for later practices and issues) was
                the work of one person, and that that person used his own experience
                in the Jesus movement as his principal, and perhaps his only, source.

                I have earlier noted that it may be fruitful to consider that Luke was
                a Christian. To that apparently radical proposal, I now add the
                possibility that Mark may have been a Jesus follower. Not, like
                ourselves, a searcher of previous documents who knows only what he
                finds in the documents, and nothing more.

                Respectfully suggested,

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              • Chuck Jones
                Steve, Excellent post.  Thanks for sharing it. I have been struck by Lk s insertion of the phrase holy spirit in his gospel.  Each time he does it, it adds
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 24, 2010
                  Steve,
                  Excellent post.  Thanks for sharing it.

                  I have been struck by Lk's insertion of the phrase "holy spirit" in his gospel.  Each time he does it, it adds only three words (and is therefore an excellent example of an editorial change not based on a source), and no single one of them profoundly changes the meaning of its passage.  But the way the cumulative effect sets the stage for Acts is remarkable.

                  Likewise, why does Mt have "kingdom of heaven" rather than "kingdom of god"?

                  I think you're on to something with your thesis.  One of my professors used to say, "he who frames the terms wins the debate."

                  Chuck

                  Chuck Jones
                  Interim Executive Director
                  Westar Institute
                  The Jesus Seminar
                  --- On Tue, 2/23/10, Steve Runge <srunge@...> wrote:

                  Chuck,

                  I appreciate your candidness about presuppositions on the "Was Matthew's Sermon broken up?" thread. I am new to the list, with a background primarily in biblical languages and discourse studies. I have been doing research tangential to the synoptic problem, but woould like to work more formally on the issue in the coming year.

                  In surveying the synoptic literature, I am struck by how much presuppositions held about sources and compositional history direct the conclusions reached. This raises a practical question about claiming Q as a source regarding macro-level versus micro-level departures from Mark, based on Markan priority.

                  Macro: Where there are entire pericopes found in the double tradition that are lacking in Mark, appealing to a sayings source can account for where the material came from. Where there is agreement between Matthew and Luke against Mark within the triple tradition, there is again appeal to a source to explain the departure from Mark. This provides an explanation about the source of the material, but sidesteps the issue of motivation. Q is established based on how it differs from Mark. Does Q ever agree with Mark? Why should the evangelists follow Q (or special L or M for that matter) against Mark?

                  At the other end of the spectrum, scholars seem quite willing to explain smaller departures (e.g. changes within a clause, delection/addition of individual words or phrases) as made by the writer/redactor based on his compositional purposes. In other words, the changes become too small to make;an appeal to a source necessary or prudent.

                  Why do I raise this question? I have been comparing synoptic differences for the last few years as a means of illustrating the pragmatic effects achieved by wording a proposition one way versus another for a forthcoming introduction to discourse grammar. I plan on proposing a paper this fall about the exegetical significance of these minor differences, and how they might inform discussions about the macro-level issues relating to compositional purposes. Regardless of whether Q actually exists or not, the compositional issue remains. I expect the discussion has moved beyond picturing the gospel writers as bumbling redactors, mindlessly copying their sources without stylistic or compositional considerations, at least I hope so.

                  At any rate, I would appreciate hearing your opinions regarding at what point appealing to a source becomes impractical. As Chuck noted, answers will inevitably be based on one's presuppositions. If there are relevant sources (no pun intended) that you could recommended, this too would be appreciated.

                  Kind regards,


                  Steven E. Runge, DLitt
                  Scholar-in-Residenc e
                  Logos Bible Software
                  srunge@logos. com

                  www.ntdiscourse. org






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Chuck Jones
                  Bruce, Thanks for the thoughtful response.  Rather than going line by line or paragraph by paragraph, here are a few thoughts: 1.  It is indeed progress for
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 24, 2010
                    Bruce,

                    Thanks for the thoughtful response.  Rather than going line by line or paragraph by paragraph, here are a few thoughts:

                    1.  It is indeed progress for us to agree that Mk arranged material thematically to suit his literary and rhetorical purposes.  The key point is that we can see this through an examination of Mk, even in the absence of a source with which to make comparisons.  (A topic for another day:  I do not believe that Mk as we have it is the result of multiple editions or major redactions.)
                    2.  Let's pretend we didn't have Lk for a moment.  Using the same literary analysis, we would conclude, I think, that it is highly likely that Mt created five sermons by grouping teachings together thematically.

                    3.  A principle is at work in the above points:  the more thematically a set of materials is arranged in a synoptic gospel, the more likely it is the work of the redactor, especially when we can see the arrangement advancing the author's cause.  Mk wants to set his plot dilemma as quickly as possible, establishing in chs. 1 and 2 that even though Jesus is wildly popular with the people, religious leaders oppose him and are trying to kill him.  Mt wants to frame Jesus as the new Moses.
                    4.  I have no idea what in what order the material in Q might have been.  One certainly sees sections of Lk in which themes are addressed.  Does it seem a safe hypothesis than when we come across double tradition material in Lk that has not been thematically arranged, it probably reflects its original order in Q?  This would be a simple appeal to Lk and Mt's use of the order of Mk, which they left alone when they were not pursuing literary or rhetorical goals.

                    I'll stop here.  I'm enjoying the dialogue.

                    Chuck

                    Chuck JonesInterim Executive DirectorWestar InstituteThe Jesus Seminar

                    --- On Tue, 2/23/10, brooks@... <brooks@...> wrote:

                    In Response To: Chuck Jones

                    On: Mark's Sources

                    From: Bruce



                    CHUCK: This has inadvertently become a case study in how much our

                    presuppositions affect our analysis.



                    BRUCE: Trouble with statements like this is that they trivialize the

                    whole enterprise. If all we find is what we thought in the first

                    place, then those concerned might as well take up a more useful

                    pastime. Birdwatching. Computer solitaire. Whatever.



                    My own sense, quite to the
                    contrary, is that it is sometimes possible

                    to decide between several possible conclusions, and that progress in

                    the subject is made by doing so. I take up the matter in that spirit.



                    On the specific point:



                    CHUCK: I believe Mt and Lk used Q and Mk, separately. In which case Mt

                    and Lk left Mk's narrative structure alone, except when a change

                    suited their purposes, (a dramatic example being Lk's relocation and

                    considerable reworking of the Nazareth rejection story).



                    BRUCE: No problem with Mt and Lk making changes when it suited their

                    purposes. That was my earlier point exactly. Lk in changing Mk does so

                    for reasons. I am glad we now agree that Lk did in fact change Mk.

                    Point gained. Knowledge advanced.



                    CHUCK: Likewise, they arranged the material in Q to suit their

                    purposes, Mt having much greater ambitions in this
                    case, creating his

                    5 sermons.



                    BRUCE: It seems to me that there is a danger of circularity here,

                    since the supposed arrangement of Q is itself an inference. The

                    conventional Q wisdom, I gather, is that Q was ordered as in Lk. I

                    don't find that likely, or at any rate not persuasively argued, and am

                    accordingly not prepared to say that Matthew treated this material

                    more freely, rearranging it out of its original Lukan order. If

                    someone wanted to posit that Q order was Matthean order, then it would

                    turn out that *Luke* treated the material more freely. Goulder's

                    findings, repeatedly and politely urged in the literature, is that the

                    wording of the common Mt/Lk sayings is basically Matthean, and that

                    the Q people have removed those traits to produce their Q

                    reconstruction, producing an artifact text from which Mt and Lk can be


                    argued to have diverged. But the artifact may have been produced by

                    de-Mattheanizing the material in the first place. In which case we are

                    dealing with a chimera.



                    In general, I would rather acquire an understanding of Lukan and

                    Matthean proclivities by seeing what they did with material which (or

                    very close to which) we can also see. I would thus like to bypass this

                    point for the time being. I don't think the world is ready for it.



                    CHUCK: I also believe that Mk created the first gospel narrative, out

                    of pieces of tradition that had previously circulated separately or as

                    collections of incidents and teachings that claimed no chronological

                    relationship to each other.



                    BRUCE: Agreed that Mark created the first Gospel narrative. But the

                    rest of the sentence gets into a description of the character,

                    aetiology, and
                    internal relationships of material that is not directly

                    visible to us: a description of an assumption. Here too, I would

                    rather pass the point for the moment and look at something we can

                    actually see. To understand the invisible, look carefully at the

                    visible. This, fortunately, Chuck proceeds to do. To save space here,

                    I will not take up his Markan Acts 2 and 3 (though agreeing in general

                    that Mk had some sort of groundplan in mind), and look only at his

                    first two points. The first was:



                    CHUCK: Even in the absence of a source, the evidence for Mk's doing

                    this is quite strong:



                    Ch 1 contains a collection of healing stories in which Jesus quickly

                    becomes rock-star famous.



                    BRUCE: Literarily speaking, it presently stands as a narrative, not

                    precisely an anthology, albeit a narrative that includes healings.

                    Close
                    enough to discuss. Along in somewhere, though, I think we have

                    to take note of the likelihood that the Healing of the Paralytic is an

                    intrusion into the Capernaum synagogue scene, and that several of the

                    other healings in this vicinity have been either added or touched up

                    by later hands. There are too many classic signs of interpolation in

                    Mark to argue from Mark, as we have it, to the author's intentions or

                    propensities. I wish it were simpler, and I myself began (like

                    everybody else, I suppose) by approaching it as though it *were*

                    simpler, but on long acquaintance I have had to relinquish that

                    initial expectation. So it goes.



                    To continue:



                    CHUCK: Ch 2 contains a collection of conflict stories in which

                    religious leaders reject him and by 3:6 are planning to kill him (3:6

                    concludes Act 1).



                    BRUCE: Let's look. I
                    would class 2:1-12 (including the Healing of the

                    Paralytic) chiefly as a healing story, and thus in the same type class

                    as 1:40-45 (the Cleansing of the Leper). A conflict over doctrine (the

                    power to forgive sins) was later inserted into this healing miracle

                    (notice how narratively awkward 2:6 is - "Now some of the scribes were

                    sitting there"). But if we disregard the later addition, we can say

                    that the narrative which is studded with healings (not the same as an

                    anthology of healings) extends to 2:12.



                    What follows? I find:



                    2:13-14. [Calling of Levi. Narrative material].

                    2:15-17. Conflict with Pharisees about eating with unclean persons.

                    2:18-20. Conflict with "people" over not keeping fast days.

                    2:21-22. [Sayings about new not fitting old - not a conflict story].

                    2:23-28. Conflict with Pharisees about work on the
                    Sabbath.

                    3:-6. Conflict with Pharisees about healing on the Sabbath.



                    Here too, I think we have to prune a bit before we can see Mark's

                    tree. I mentioned 2:18-20 earlier, as a manifest case of legislation

                    for the later Church (when fasting had been reintroduced into

                    community practice), and thus as an intrusion. I suggest removing it

                    for the nonce, if we want to get at Mark's original structure.



                    Having removed it, we have . . .



                    2:13-14. [Calling of Levi. Narrative material].

                    2:15-17. Conflict with Pharisees about eating with unclean persons.

                    2:21-22. [Sayings about new not fitting old - not a conflict story].

                    2:23-28. Conflict with Pharisees about work on the Sabbath.

                    3:-6. Conflict with Pharisees about healing on the Sabbath.



                    . . . a narrative studded, not with healings, but with conflicts. This

                    is not quite an
                    anthology, but it would be fair to call it a

                    concentration: the stories seem to have been grouped to make a point,

                    the point being that Jesus's healings and other doings (previous

                    narrative) produced tension with the Pharisees (this narrative).



                    Assuming these incidents genuine, was this their original order? I

                    would guess not; there has very probably been an authorial

                    concentration for narrative effect. The Markan narrative is not a life

                    of Jesus, it is an explanation of what led to his death, and so we

                    have an early emphasis on the success and power of Jesus, and next a

                    sense of the opposition which that aroused, specifically among the

                    Pharisees.



                    Did these incidents happen, or are they inventions? If the latter,

                    invented by who? I don't see a way of answering this directly. If Mark

                    made them up, he will have said to himself,
                    I will now compose my

                    Conflict section. If they were real and Mark somehow had access to

                    them, he has arranged them to suit his narrative purpose.



                    Suppose first that the stories existed before he arranged them.

                    Existed where? Among the options are: (1) In Mark's memory, as a

                    follower of Jesus. (2) In the memory of some other follower, somehow

                    accessed by Mark. (3) In the collective memory of more than one

                    person, in which case we must posit a previous effort of collection,

                    most likely resulting in a text. But if we adopt this option, we are

                    going to find ourselves positing a Healing Collection for Mk 1, a

                    Conflict Collection for Mk 2, and so on to the end. Some intermediary

                    person, or more likely half a dozen, have done what Mark will need as

                    background for his Gospel, without himself (themselves) going on to

                    compose Mark's Gospel.
                    Are these six previous monothematic collections

                    plausible? For me, it is about at this point that the supposition

                    appears to lead to a highly schematic and improbable situation. I then

                    go back and take the other fork: This material was available to Mark

                    because as a follower of Jesus he remembered it. And then bunched it

                    in his narrative according to his intentions and purposes with that

                    narrative.



                    MORE



                    These instances will do to raise the question of the anthology, and

                    thus of the possibility of a prior group or groups of material. But to

                    my eye, the clearest example of the type comes a little later, with

                    the Kingdom parables of 4:1-33 (omitting the intrusion 4:10-20, about

                    which I have recently written). And why? Because at the end, it says,

                    "With many such parables he spoke the Word to them." The preceding


                    parables, some of which cause very great trouble to later

                    interpreters, and are for that reason more likely to be genuine, are

                    here explicitly offered as "the kind of thing Jesus used to say to the

                    crowds." The impression which I at least get from this is that Mark

                    knows even more of them, but he has given us a sufficient sample for

                    his purposes, and he is going to move on to his next topic.



                    So do we now posit a previous person interested only in Kingdom

                    stories and nothing else, who traveled up and down Galilee/Syria

                    gathering such stories from people, each of whom remembered only one

                    of them, and combining them into a text which Mark later used (with

                    several other texts of similar type but different theme) a a source?

                    The assumption that one follower of Jesus collected them in memory,

                    not as an monothematic enterprise of oral
                    history but simply as an

                    incident of being one of the party, does the same work of explanation

                    and it uses about five less people in the dramatis personae.



                    For the present, I prefer it. Not as an assumption, but after due

                    inspection of the material, the different explanatory possibilities

                    for the material, and the implications in real life to which each of

                    those explanatory possibilities leads. In short, the usual way of

                    testing hypotheses and fixing on one of them as one's working

                    conclusion.



                    I don't think gMk was written by a later ethnographer, let alone a

                    team of later ethnographers plus a subsequent staff writer. I think

                    that the core narrative (into which later Church Teachings were

                    inserted as validation authority for later practices and issues) was

                    the work of one person, and that that person used his own experience


                    in the Jesus movement as his principal, and perhaps his only, source.



                    I have earlier noted that it may be fruitful to consider that Luke was

                    a Christian. To that apparently radical proposal, I now add the

                    possibility that Mark may have been a Jesus follower. Not, like

                    ourselves, a searcher of previous documents who knows only what he

                    finds in the documents, and nothing more.



                    Respectfully suggested,



                    Bruce



                    E Bruce Brooks

                    Warring States Project

                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst







                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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