Re: [Synoptic-L] Lk 1:5f
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Ron Price
On: John Birth Narratives
I had said, with respect to the Lukan dual birth stories:
BRUCE: 2. The addition of Births material. The motive would be to extend the
contact point of Jesus with the higher divinity back from the Baptism (which
is where Mark has it) to an earlier, indeed, a prenatal stage.
RON: Maybe. But I have a simpler explanation of the motive. Some readers of
the first edition probably criticized the new gospel for not having birth
stories like Matthew. The rivalry between the two influential Christian
communities where the respective gospels were written would then have been
enough to trigger the creation of new and better birth stories for the new
BRUCE: This seems to assume very modern conditions of book production and
crowd pleasing. In particular, it seems to assume that the audience for Luke
and Matthew was the same, and that its collective reaction forced changes in
a later version of Luke.
I would have thought it more probable that the "communities" were not merged
(as far as publisher agendas were concerned), but separate, according to the
Lachmann-Streeter local text hypothesis. Example (from memory): When Origen
went from Alexandria to Caesarea, his quotations from Mark also change, from
an Alexandrian type text to a recognizably different Caesarean type text.
Then the respective communities, even in his time, were still functionally
distinct, and the only people to bridge those differences were people at
Origen's level: those in authority. They were also the text producers (we
have many of Origen's writings), and a felt disability in one such person
might produce, in that person, a desire to repair the deficiency, but on the
Origen model, only if that one person changed locality between one stage of
the text and the next. If the author was an institution in the first place,
this scenario fails. If it was a person, at least for these two stages of
the process, then a plausible relocation scenario for that person needs to
Ron's suggestion also doesn't suggest why the later added Lukan birth
stories didn't merely parallel the Matthean ones, with suitable literary
improvements, but instead went a notch further to include JtB in the list.
For this, some motive beyond mere competition with (or emulation of) Matthew
seems to be required. What would be Ron's (or anyone's) suggestion as to
that that might have been? I have made my own suggestion, which I am
disposed to let stand. Are there others that would suggest a different
authorship scenario, whether the one Ron here proposes or any other?
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- Bruce Brooks wrote:
> Thinking about Ron's suggestion, just now, reminded me of something possiblyBruce,
> 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
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