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

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Feb 22, 2010
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      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 2 of 11 , Feb 22, 2010
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        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 3 of 11 , Feb 23, 2010
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          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 4 of 11 , Feb 23, 2010
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            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 5 of 11 , Feb 24, 2010
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              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 6 of 11 , Feb 24, 2010
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                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







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