RE: [Synoptic-L] FGH Update
- 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
Cc: "GPG" <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 8:20 PM
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
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
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]
- 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)
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
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 Mealand, University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.