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Fwd: Matthew in Papias [was Re: [Synoptic-L] On Q]

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    ... From: maluflen To: brooks ; Synoptic-subscribe Sent: Sat, Dec 25, 2010
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 26, 2010
      -----Original Message-----
      From: maluflen <maluflen@...>
      To: brooks <brooks@...>; Synoptic-subscribe
      Sent: Sat, Dec 25, 2010 5:26 pm
      Subject: Matthew in Papias [was Re: [Synoptic-L] On Q]

      1. Papias. A kook and a dimwit: nobody who had read his books would
      give him
      a second look; even the snippets in Eusebius are a warning. His comment
      the Matthean Hebrew logia is prized by Eusebius (ever the historian, if
      somewhat credulous one) as a hint about a question that also concerns
      the nature and relation of the Gospels. I note (with Allen, Bacon, and
      several since, now a century ago) that all the OT citations in Matthew
      LXX based (that is, Greek-based) except ten or so, which apparently
      rest on
      a Hebrew OT source.

      To adapt Bruce’s opening metaphor of contributing “from the edge of the
      conversation,” my own commentary is from the edge of the edge, and
      commenting only on Bruce’s first, Matthew-focused paragraph. Bruce’s
      frequently voiced point that epithet is not argument should apply to an
      evaluation of Papias, as well as to any one else. “[E]xcept ten or so”.
      I read “ten or so” as a fairly large number of OT citations in Matthew
      best to be understood as related to a Hebrew text. I don’t remember
      having seen the number put that high. Ten texts would have the capacity
      to govern quite a large chunk of Matthew, if not its entire basic
      structure. I would love to see greater detail on which texts these are
      supposed to be. I can think of a couple myself, but there certainly
      could be more. There is significance in the fact (see below) that so
      much of Matthew is structured with reference to OT texts, whether these
      are cited in Hebrew Bible or LXX form.

      These are separately identified by Matthew himself by a
      standard phrase, roughly "this was to fulfil the Scripture, which saith
      . .
      ." Then of all the OT in Mt, these are highlighted by Matthew himself
      especially significant and predictive.

      I am unsure whether “these” refers specifically to Matthean citations
      that are based on a Hebrew OT “source”? If so, this is news to me as
      well. I can think of at least two formal OT citations in Matthew’s
      introduction (which includes Matt 3) that appear to be quite directly
      derived from LXX (Matt 1:22-23 and 3:3).

      The case for Jesus being foreseen in
      past ages, which in a way is the main thesis of Matthew as distinct
      Mark, rests crucially on these passages. It rests on them not because I
      to but because Matthew himself has twice signalled them as fundamental.

      My response to these interesting statements is readily predictable by
      those who have been regular readers of Synoptic-L, but I think there is
      value is reiterating core positions, even if doing so results in
      patterns of circularity in list argumentation over extended periods of
      time. “The case for Jesus being foreseen in past ages” is not quite
      precise: Matthew is interested in showing specifically, not that Jesus
      was foreseen in past ages, but that he is the fulfillment of Old
      Testament Scriptures and Old Testament hopes and prophecies. To make
      this reformulated version of what I think Bruce means “the main thesis”
      of Matt is a further step, and indeed a bold move forward. It is,
      however, one with which I would agree, and which I have in fact
      proposed on many occasions in the past. I take this still another small
      step further when I argue that that the entire Gospel of Matthew is
      structured from this basis in OT texts (in addition to an extremely
      sketchy outline of Jesus’ generally known historical life and
      ministry). The next step Bruce et al. do not take with me. Since the
      basic shape of the Jesus story is the same in all three Synoptics, it
      follows that the Synoptic story is based on the work of Matthew and his
      efforts to root the Jesus story firmly within the heritage of Israel. A
      progressive distancing from this project can be seen in the later
      Gospels, Mark in particular. Mark, for instance, is able to tell the
      dramatic story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a colt without citing
      Zech 9:9. Whether he hopes his audience remembers the citation from
      catechetical instruction based on Matthew is an open question: but the
      story value of the incident does not require this. And since the main
      point of the citation, if not the incident itself in Matt, is to help
      establish that Jesus is legitimately King of Israel (ho basileus su),
      the point is also no longer of interest to an audience in Rome who are
      non-Israelites. Royal David’s fatherhood is evoked in Mark’s text in a
      generic-nationalistic rather than a dynastic-hierarchical sense (Mark
      has no hosanna to(i) huio(i) Dauid as in Matthew), in keeping with
      Mark’s non-elitist, popular audience. When the reversal in scholarly
      consensus moves back from Markan to Matthean priority again, it will
      be, I predict, largely driven by an argument whose core is given here:
      it is Matthew’s scribal work that supplies the basic framework for a
      story-line of Jesus’ life and ministry that is shared by the three
      Synoptic Gospels.

      Since the label is so different from anything else redactional in Mt,
      since the content is so distinguishable from anything else in the
      Matthean sources, it is open to any reader to infer that Matthew's core
      source was a collection of what are called "proof texts" in Hebrew. I
      that Papias was the first reader of record to draw that conclusion (to
      noted is the difference between logia and logoi).

      Bruce, I am not sure I understand what you are saying here. Are you
      suggesting that Papias is referring to testimonia that pre-date
      Matthew’s Gospel, rather than to that gospel itself, or to a collection
      of sayings of Jesus? OK, this does seem to be where you are going with
      this, given your sentences that follow…

      And I think that this is the end of that particular bit of evidence
      for Q. If we look for a "Sayings source" behind Mt/Lk, it will not be
      because Papias has predicted one, but
      because some other evidence points that way. To take Papias as
      envisioning a
      Sayings Source is what I call the Papias Fallacy.

      I am known to agree with the insight expressed in your final statement
      here, but I take umbrage with your careless reference to Papias
      “predicting” anything, though I know you didn’t intend it literally.
      The nature of Papias’ statement, whether deemed credible or not, is
      that of simple affirmation (testimony) of what is known to have
      occurred in the recent past with regard to the production of the
      Gospels. It is not speculating as to the existence of a pre-Matthean
      source, or regarding any other point, on the basis of a careful
      synoptic study and analysis of the gospel texts.

      Leonard Maluf
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