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RE: [Synoptic-L] FGH Update

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  • Chuck Jones
    Thanks for the extra detail, Bruce.  Very interesting stuff. Chuck ... From: E Bruce Brooks Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] FGH Update
    Message 1 of 45 , May 13, 2011
      Thanks for the extra detail, Bruce.  Very interesting stuff.


      --- On Fri, 5/13/11, E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...> wrote:

      From: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>
      Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] FGH Update
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: "GPG" <gpg@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 8:20 PM


      To: Synoptic

      Still clarifying Luke A/B/C. Thanks to Chuck for keeping at the task.

      Chuck Jones: Luke A at least had to be a separate text for Mt to use it!

      Bruce: Right. But only to a certain degree. Luke was at first a proprietary

      text, a closely-held text, not a thing in general circulation, that is,

      there were no "manuscript variants" and indeed no scribes involved. How

      outsiders knew of a closely held text is a puzzle (there is a scenario for

      Vergil's Aeneid, but it does not necessarily apply here). I cannot solve it

      by offering a precise scenario; it just seems that it happened. If it was a

      house text (church text), then Matthew might have been a member of the

      church. Or of the next church down the road (like the Dissenting churches of

      Shropshire in the year 1798; see Hazlitt, My First Acquaintance with Poets).

      Within the local network, like the churches that the author of Colossians

      envisions as trading epistles back and forth. What seems to follow from the

      way the other evidence points (I can't say it more carefully than that) is

      that Luke at one point was regarded as complete by its maker, it had a

      beginning and end, and it included what new matter its maker had wanted to

      add to its Markan base. It was a new edition of Mark, if you will, and it

      was being used by its proprietors in place of Mark. To replace Mark was

      precisely its intended function. If we ask, How was Mark used, the answer, I

      think, is that nobody knows. Anyone who does know is welcome to supply that


      Bottom line: Yes, Luke at that moment was a complete text. I call it Luke A

      to distinguish it from what happened next.

      Chuck: A, B and C are layers within C only from our point of view, because

      we have no copies of A and B. Surely you don't mean that B was never

      written down.

      Bruce: Luke A and B are analytical inferences, sort of archaeological

      results, of our effort to understand our Luke. All of them were written

      down, in the sense that they existed at one point or another in the form of

      the author's manuscript, but not in the sense that they were available in

      the bookstores of Corinth.

      The next thing that happened was that Luke (somehow or other) saw the

      prettied up version that the writer of Matthew had produced, and was moved

      to update his version. So at this moment we have Luke still proprietary, and

      Matthew perhaps already in more general circulation. Seeing Matthew, Luke

      took his text (his sole copy, used for preaching and local edification, but

      not on the market) and went over it, moving things around and adding in some

      bits from Matthew, by way of catching up with Matthew, and also doing his

      own versions of things Matthew had innovated, like the Birth Narrative, and

      in this way producing a new version of his own text. This new version was

      Luke B. It isn't physically practical to imagine these additions made in the

      margins of the previous manuscript, so the new thing must have been copied

      out afresh. At that point, the old one was discarded; it never reached the

      level of general circulation. At any given moment, there was only one Luke.

      The new one, which functionally replaced the old one, was still "Luke," in

      that anyone in the church who asked to see The Book would be shown that new

      book. But it is convenient for us, trying to keep track of the process, to

      give it a distinctive label, and I have proposed Luke B.

      There is no reason (unless there are early witnesses to Luke, and the only

      one I know of is John, and I haven't yet checked out how much of Luke John

      knew) to suppose that Luke went public at this time. It can still have been

      a closely held text; available to those consulting it, including (evidently)

      some outside the community, but not multiplied for general edification.

      Luke C is a further revision, probably inspired by an external event

      producing a Jewish/Christian split (Torrey, thinking of the parallel case of

      Acts, likes the Birkat ha-Minim as an indicator, and dates it to c85, both

      of which would seem to work). It involved adding only a few details to the

      Gospel, plus a few to Acts I, plus all of Acts II, the part of Acts lying

      beyond Ac 15:36. The new keynote for Luke C was the moving and rewriting of

      the Nazareth episode, to make it symbolize the rejection of Jesus by the

      Jews FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, mirroring the rejection of the Jews after

      Paul's preaching at the end of the composite work. This is a literary move,

      and a very effective one it is.

      Luke C at some point after this (Dave Inglis and I would love to know the

      exact year) entered general circulation, and the rest of the story is what

      we know.


      Sorry for all this detail, it's too much to dump on anybody all at once. But

      Chuck is asking the right questions, and the questions can't be adequately

      addressed without mentioning the details.

      I will conclude with one tiny detail, to show how the recognition of

      separate states of Luke (still partly visible in the present Lukan sandwich)

      helps solve, or anyway clarify, some problems we otherwise have in reading


      I take it as obvious that over the 1st century, the veneration of Mary grew

      from the curtly dismissive posture of the Markan Jesus ("Here [among those

      who follow the Way] are my mother and my brothers," Mk 3:34) to the tenderly

      solicitous concern of the Johannine Jesus, speaking from the cross ("behold

      your mother," Jn 19:27). In the later Apostolic literature, this development

      continues: thus in one text the Twelve gather by magic from all over the

      world to be present at the death of Mary. Not everyone will have gone along

      with this development, or at any rate, some people may have been behind the

      general curve. A few such people may have even publicly resisted the

      tendency for the respect due Jesus to gravitate to his mother, and I can

      imagine a conservative preacher cautioning his flock against the craze that

      was sweeping other neighborhood churches (like a 19c Reformed Presbyterian

      pastor inveighing against the celebration of Christmas). I read Lk 11:27

      ("Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked," with

      Jesus's rebuke following) as just such a note of dissent from that rising

      adulation. Notice how the Mark and Luke passages end the same way: "Whoever

      does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Mk3:35) and

      "Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and keep it" (Lk 11:28).

      Luke had Mark in mind when he wrote that passage into his sermon (and

      thence, perhaps that same afternoon, into his manuscript). Of course, he had

      separately composed his parallel treatment of Mk 3:34f at Lk 8:19f, so in

      effect, Lk 11:27f is a sort of further comment. (And Luke separately toned

      down Lk 8:19f, so the thought that Jesus's mother and brothers thought he

      was crazy, which the Markan precedent gives us, Luke very kindly takes


      In contrast, and indeed in contradiction, we have Lk 1:42, "Blessed is the

      fruit of your womb," closely similar in wording to Lk 11:27f, but more or

      less opposite in tendency. The veneration of Mary here is far beyond

      anything in Matthew. What is going on? Is Luke a nitwit and a bungler, who

      doesn't know his own mind, from one page to the next? Should he be

      institutionalized? Was Streeter after all correct? That is one possibility.

      Another is that in Lk 1-2 we are seeing amendments and extensions to the

      original Luke, and this new matter is responding to the outside pressure of

      the increasingly popular Mary cult. There comes a point where it is more

      politic to join than not to join. Are there modern parallels to this? Yep.

      For instance, I could tell you stories from personal experience, complete

      with names and dates, about modern editors and their advice to modern

      authors on how to handle gender issues if they want to get published. I

      think Luke, with Matthew's greater market savvy to prompt him, reached that

      point when he wrote what are now his first two chapters, overlaying his old

      opening at Lk 3:1. So the contradiction within our Luke, between

      discouraging the Mary cult (Lk 11) and taking it to new heights (Lk 1), is

      not because Luke is a nitwit, it is an artifact of the way Luke was written,

      the new layers superimposed on the old, and at some points conflicting with

      the old. The ideology of the new layers is different at some points - to

      keep abreast of the new was the whole reason for adding them.

      Next question: Why did not Luke remove 11:27f when he added 1:1-2:52, so as

      to avoid this internal contradiction? I don't know, but I have two

      suggestions. First, it seems from the inconcinnities that Luke produced

      elsewhere when he moved some passages around (the Nazareth one is the most

      obvious, but there are others) that Luke didn't care very much about

      narrative consistency as such; he cared more about point-to-point

      motivation. But another factor that seems to obtain with all these authority

      texts is that you can add to them (and you had better, if you don't want to

      fall behind the competition), but you can't take away from them (which

      amounts to acknowledging a mistake). And who would know it if you did take

      something away? Answer: The people who had had the old text preached to

      them, and had come to regard it as familiar and to a degree official; part

      of the wallpaper of belonging to the movement. An authority text is a text

      used as an authority, and authority is a public function, even if within a

      rather geographically narrow circle. It is the publicness of the function

      that makes it impractical to remove previously familiar material.

      Sorry (as usual) to take so long, but new things can require some

      familiarization, and (as usual) I hope this helps.

      E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David Mealand
      I noted previously that while I think Luke s beatitudes in the main have an earlier form than those in Matthew, I had agreed with Benedict Green that Luke s
      Message 45 of 45 , May 16, 2011
        I noted previously that while I think Luke's beatitudes
        in the main have an earlier form than those in
        Matthew, I had agreed with Benedict Green that
        Luke's matching woes had vocabulary links with
        Matthew's beatitudes (and Isai 61.2Gk). This made me suspect
        that Luke might have changed "mourn" and "be consoled"
        to "weep" and "laugh" the first time, but then
        used the original wording (or cognates) the second time.

        Mark came up with a similar edit to that where Luke
        follows Mark, but now this one where Luke matches
        Matthew's _additions_ to Mark. (On 2ST or on FGH)

        -----Mark recently---
        Here's another analogous case. Matt. 8.1R has ὄχλοι πολλοί (OCLOI
        POLLOI), not picked up in Luke 5.12, perhaps because of the
        contradiction with 8.4 ("Don't tell anyone"). Luke 5.15, then uses
        the expression in its summary verse subsequent to the Leper story.
        This is more interesting as the oxloi polloi along with
        kai idou and Kyrie are what I would call three "minor agreements"
        but which Mark would class as Lukan dependencies on Matthew.
        I had all three flagged in the relevant colour long since,
        but had thought the agreements coincidental edits.
        However, the pattern of "not following then following later"
        might well be one worth pursuing as a possible Lukan
        editorial trait.

        In an earlier edit Mark 3.7 has polu plhqos Matt.4.25 oxloi polloi
        and Luke a neatly differentiated oxlos polus of disciples and
        plhqos polu of the people! Also with diverse lists of the regions
        from which this crowd came!

        David M.

        David Mealand, University of Edinburgh

        The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
        Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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