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A common source for the aphorisms? (was: Again on Michael Goulder)

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  • Ron Price
    ... Jeff, So far, so good. ... My contention here is that Goulder s arguments about common style were based primarily on the non-aphoristic passages in Q,
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 27, 2010
      Jeff Peterson wrote:

      > I can see an argument that the poetic style of the Double Tradition suggests
      > an origin in Aramaic or at least pre-Matthean composition


      So far, so good.

      > (although Goulder did a pretty good job identifying common style in Matthaean
      > redaction of Mark, Q, and M, particularly in his JBL articles; Matthew's date,
      > habits, and concerns are remarkably similar to Q's).

      My contention here is that Goulder's arguments about common style were based
      primarily on the non-aphoristic passages in Q, which passages I deem to have
      a Matthean origin.

      > But it's hard to see how this could "require" a common source rather than
      > direct use of one Evangelist by another; as Sanders and Davies noted, a
      > degree of Matthew/Luke agreement close enough to establish independent use
      > of a common source positively invites explanation by Luke's direct
      > acquaintance with Matthew (or, much less plausibly, vice versa). And that
      > holds regardless of the style of the common material and of the source from
      > which the earlier Evangelist derived it.

      There are three serious problems with this 'invited' explanation. Firstly it
      assumes we can treat the Double Tradition as a unity when considering the
      relationship of the Matt/Luke versions of its material. Secondly it requires
      that in every case Luke's version of a DT pericope is secondary to Matthew's
      version. Thirdly it assumes that the question of how Matthew acquired the
      aphorisms is an irrelevance.

      To deal with the first point first, there is a significant difference in
      style between the Semitic aphorisms and material such as the Temptation, the
      Centurion's Servant, the Talents/Pounds and the Lament for Jerusalem. The
      widespread use of Semitic parallelism in the aphorisms indicates an origin
      in a Semitic environment several decades before Matthew. The latter material
      includes indications of sympathy towards the Gentiles, quotations from the
      Septuagint, a hint that Jerusalem had already fallen, the acceptance of a
      delay in Jesus' promised return, as well as considerable signs of Matthew's
      characteristic style.

      Concerning indications of greater Lukan primitivity, see the paragraph
      headed "Occasional Lukan Originality" in the Web page below.

      Thirdly, where did Matthew get the Semitic aphorisms from? Was it from oral
      tradition or was it from a written source? It is very unlikely that so many
      authentic-looking aphorisms could have been preserved through several
      decades of oral tradition spanning the break-up of the Jerusalem Jesus
      movement and the era of the dominance of an apostle who took little interest
      in the life or sayings of Jesus. Surely therefore Matthew had a written
      source containing the aphorisms. Did Luke also use this source? Well there
      are the mistranslations in Lk 11:41 & 11:48 which show that at least two of
      the woes were taken not from Matthew but from an Aramaic source. Then of
      course there's the above-mentioned 'Occasional Lukan Originality'.

      Confirmation of the written source comes from the historical testimony of
      Papias, which neatly matches a scenario in which the synoptic authors had to
      make their own translations of the sayings.

      Finally there are the hints dropped by Luke.
      (1) I had already found that the aphorisms seemed to be arranged in pairs
      when I spotted that Lk 10:1 appears to hint at this. It also hints that
      there were 72 sayings in all, and my investigations have shown how a highly
      coherent structure can be formed from 72 sayings.
      (2) In April 2006 I discovered another hint, this time in Lk 9:28. Here Luke
      redacts Mark's "six days" to "about eight days". How odd. Now my posited
      structure has four distinct sections, with each section having two equal
      halves. We thus have eight half-sections. Luke must have recognized these
      because certain material Matthew largely keeps together, Luke splits: the
      mission material (part into Lk 9:57-10:12 and part of the rest into ch.12.),
      and the judgement material into the woes (ch.11) and the rest (mainly
      ch.17). Lk 9:28 is placed immediately after he had copied saying C12 (Mk
      9:1), the opening saying in the sixth of eight subsections. Lastly he added
      to Mark's version the superfluous "META TOUS LOGOUS TOUTOUS", arguably
      confirming that Lk 9:28 referred to the 'logia'.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

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