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Re: [Synoptic-L] Lk 1:5f

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Chuck Jones On: Lk 1:5f From: Bruce CHUCK: I thought I was clear that the birth narrative of Lk is a different kind of literature
    Message 1 of 41 , Sep 26, 2005
      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Chuck Jones
      On: Lk 1:5f
      From: Bruce

      CHUCK: I thought I was clear that the birth narrative of Lk is a different
      kind of literature than the "synoptic" portion.

      BRUCE: I find it clear from the text itself that Lk 1:5f is different from
      the rest of GLk. One commentator calls it ALk in his "omniscient" mode. I
      think that's rather apt. ALk in this section tells us things neither he nor
      anyone else could have known via witnesses, and, what to my mind is more
      important, tells us things of which no one else later in GLk seems to be
      aware. They frame the story, but they don't equip the story. The story, once
      properly begun in Lk 3:1, goes its way quite self-sufficiently, supplying
      its own material as it goes, and neither relying on nor referring to
      anything in Lk 1-2. It's like a play before the curtain, for the edification
      (the pre-edification) of the audience. Not the first act of the play.

      The question is what that difference may mean for the place of the
      John/Jesus background narratives in the overall schema of Lk. Conzelmann
      separated those narratives off from his discussion of Lukan theology.
      Nolland finds it "not necessary to engage" that decision. I think it is
      necessary to at least engage the differences that led Conzelmann to that

      There is a framework, a score or so of events in the life of Jesus plus
      their relative order, that is more or less common to the Synoptics, and,
      especially for the Jerusalem portion of that life, common to GJohn also. If
      my recent suggestions about rearrangement of material within the
      compositional history of Lk are accepted, the degree of agreement about that
      underlying sequence becomes significantly greater. That is, the further back
      we get on the compositional trail, the greater the agreement on the
      narrative core. I think that's interesting in itself, and that it also
      focuses attention on the points of significant divergence from the core
      outline within any one Gospel - whether in rearranging its units, or in
      adding new units to it. If we were beginning Gospel study from scratch,
      these divergences from narrative core are the points that I think would
      immediately invite attention as possibly new material, material in which the
      purpose of that particular Evangelist is most clearly seen.

      One of the big divergences is the Jesus birth narrative in Mt, another is
      the John/Jesus birth narrative in Lk.

      If, as Conzelmann and others have suggested, the birth narratives are alien
      to the earliest Lk, and were added (perhaps along with other changes) only
      at a later stage in the formation of that text (thus producing a more
      recognizable Lk, and as earlier noted, if people want to reserve the name
      "Lk" for that last stage, I see no objection), then we would have a
      relatively sharp window into the ideas and influences that shaped the
      eventual Canonical Luke.

      To me that would be a valuable addition to our knowledge.

      CHUCK: I don't even know how to start the dialog when you're not convinced
      Lk used sources....

      BRUCE: No need for any one dialogue, and probably a given dialogue isn't
      profitable without some degree of background agreement. My problem with the
      word "sources" is that it tends to imply that the material thus explained
      existed before the compilation of GLk, and thus is older, and thus has
      higher scriptural authority, than the rest of GLk. I don't think this is
      warranted as an assumption; I feel it needs to be argued. And the arguments
      or implications I have seen, admittedly few, don't persuade me (Conzelmann
      was too hasty; what was first needed was a study of the theology of the
      unique portions of GLk, not the whole thing on the assumption that it *was*
      a whole thing).

      My hypothesis, offered simply to get the topic going, my suggestion made in
      order to see if it can be refuted, would be that all unique material in Lk
      is Christologically or otherwise later, not earlier, than the rest of Lk.
      Quite possibly the unique material would divide itself into earlier and
      later subcategories under scrutiny; we don't know until we make an
      examination, and I don't recall seeing anyone make exactly that examination.
      But maybe they have. Can anyone supply a reference? If so, it might move the
      topic forward faster.

      Another way is to test Taylor's interpolation thesis for his proto-Luke. Has
      anyone seen a report on that exercise, and if so, can they share the


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... Bruce, I don t know what you think was narratively promised but not delivered. If you are referring to the promises in 14:28 and 16:7, then I understand
      Message 41 of 41 , Oct 2, 2005
        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > Thinking about Ron's suggestion, just now, reminded me of something possibly
        > relevant, which I toss in as a sort of second reply to at least that aspect
        > of his comment. It concerns the degree to which local communities and
        > traditions were in mutual contact in the 1st century.
        > I start with the ending of Mark, and I note that those who feel it is
        > interrupted in the middle of a sentence seem to have the better of the
        > argument. Parallels can be found, with extreme effort, for ending a sentence
        > or even a segment with gar, but not a whole work, and anyway, the point with
        > Mark is that if it ends at Mk 4:8 [16:8], it does not narratively deliver what
        > it has narratively promised, and that is a no-no.


        I don't know what you think was narratively promised but not delivered. If
        you are referring to the promises in 14:28 and 16:7, then I understand your
        point, but would answer it by arguing that both these verses were
        interpolated into the text. Anyway you'll have to make a very good case if
        it's to outweigh the overwhelming consensus of recent critical scholars that
        16:8 is the original ending.

        Mark is the subtlest of the synoptic authors. His picture of an empty tomb
        is quite enough to suggest the resurrection of Jesus. He avoids presenting
        any of the original disciples as seeing the risen Jesus, for this would add
        to their status, contravening his persistent denigration of Peter et al..

        Of course, as we know, later generations did try to plug what they saw as an
        omission (Mk 16:9-20 etc.), but all such later additions can be shown to be

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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