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RE: [Synoptic-L] Goulder on Mt to Luke directionality

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic (Cc: GPG) Jeff Peterson: . . . [the Synoptic Problem is not insoluble as a set of unidirectional arrows] if one allows a role for oral tradition
    Message 1 of 13 , Jun 3, 2011
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      To: Synoptic (Cc: GPG)

      Jeff Peterson: . . . [the Synoptic Problem is not insoluble as a set of
      unidirectional arrows] if one allows a role for oral tradition like that I
      cited from personal experience in my earlier post: Luke reads a saying in
      Matt, he thinks, "That's not the way Paul [or Timothy or whoever] used to
      quote that logion, and as I'm on record as holding that 'The old is
      pleasing,' I think I'll go with the version I heard before," and so redacts
      Matthew accordingly.

      Bruce: That Paul (or Timothy, or whoever) ever quoted sayings of Jesus,
      other than those applying to church order and church discipline including
      divorce, is not supported by the genuine Pauline epistles. Quite the
      contrary; see Koester or any other adequate list of those quotations (plus
      Paul's explicit statement that he is not concerned to know Jesus "after the
      flesh"). Further, that Luke was a follower of Paul depends solely on Acts
      plus DeuteroPauline evidence (his name appears in the NT only in three
      pieces of that spurious literature), and propositions unsupported by best
      evidence are unsound. There is thus (1) no evidence that Paul ever quoted
      such things, and (2) no evidence that, if he had, Luke would have been there
      to hear him. Should not Synoptic theories be current with the results of
      careful investigation of other NT texts?

      And I think there are other problems with this "reprimitivization" scenario.
      According to Jeff's version of it, Luke is moved to mention something
      nonMarkan by seeing it in Matthew, and only then being reminded of other
      versions he knows, which he proceeds to substitute. I should think it
      likelier that Luke writes in the first place out of what he knows from his
      own experience as a Christian, including the Lord's Prayer. That Matthew
      takes these Lukan items and rephrases them according to his own ideas of
      completeness and sonority (the LP) or standard morality (the attenuated
      Beatitudes) is a more natural assumption. The Beatitudes are an especially
      fine example: Did the "spiritualized" version come first, and did Luke for
      some reason translate it into terms of genuinely poor people? Or did Luke
      himself come out of a church which had been through the same opposition of
      rich and poor that is expressed, sometimes violently, in James, and did
      Matthew (here as everywhere else in his Gospel) avoid mentioning, let along
      privileging, the poor, and speak instead of more affluent people, and, in
      his Parables, in terms of larger sums of money? Given the clear trends of
      both authors, as evidenced from their treatment of Mark and from their own
      additions (passages without parallel in the other), the latter looks like
      the better bet.

      There, it seems to me, in the experience of at least some churches as
      recorded in Mark (dimly) and James (loudly), is the real "oral tradition"
      available to Luke. He did not get it from Matthew, and he did not need to be
      reminded of its existence by Matthew. It was in his bones, his ear, his
      reflexive responses to regular preaching. If one stops to look at the Sermon
      on the Plain in its own terms, and allowing for the omission of some no
      longer pressing issues, it is interesting that in general outline it is not
      all that far from the circular sermon preserved for us as the "Epistle" of
      James. I think we have here (though not widely recognized by commentators on
      James) more than one piece of evidence for a certain style of early
      Christian preaching or exhortation.


      1. I have derived Luke from the tradition also represented by James. James
      is famous for directly opposing Paul's doctrine (in Romans) of faith vs
      works. We can test the supposed James continuity by asking, What is Luke's
      stand on this issue? Answer: We can see it in how he treats Mark. Mark has
      only two passages expressing Paul's faith doctrine (that Jesus's death
      ransoms others from sin). Luke, who uses most of Mark, repeats neither of
      those passages. Then in this matter, Luke visibly, albeit quietly, sides
      with James on one of the most divisive issues of the day. He cleans up Mark
      in just that sense.

      It has been noticed by many (and prominently by Kloppenborg) that "Q"
      contains no mention of the Resurrection or its associated doctrines, and on
      that basis, K identifies it as the original Galilean Gospel. If for "Q" I
      substitute "certain specified passages in Luke, for whose order and wording
      Luke is naturally our best authority," then I think we may reasonably say,
      "Luke includes many concepts going back to the early and probably indeed
      Galilean days of Jesus's ministry, and like other known writings of similar
      character (eg, the original Didache), it makes no reference to, and places
      no soteriological weight on, the supposed Resurrection of Jesus. In this
      included nonMarkan material, as in his pair of Markan suppressions, Luke
      shows a strong continuity with what on its merits is probably the oldest
      Jesus tradition - the preaching of Jesus before his death."

      This concerns Luke's antecedents. I now turn to his consequents, with a view
      to seeing who in later times might still have found Luke, and particularly
      these portions of Luke, definitive.

      2. At least one commentator takes the time to refute the idea (based on
      Luke's well known special interest in the poor) that Luke was an Ebionite.
      Or we might more carefully say, a proto-Ebionite. That idea happens to be
      testable, and we may phrase the test this way: Does Luke's radical notion
      (expressed in the Woes of his Sermon, but also, separately, in a passage not
      subject to suspicion as inspired by Matthew, in his Parable of Lazarus) that
      the poor will be saved simply because they are poor, and vice versa, find
      any expression in later literature? And if so, in what kind of later
      literature? Answer: The Clementine Homilies, agreed to be an Ebionite text,
      takes time to refute precisely these propositions, and to substitute for
      them others more agreeable to standard moral sensibilities (eg, only the
      *virtuous* poor will be saved). Then the Lukan Sermon remained not only
      alive, but problematic, for the later Ebionites. There, I submit, is
      substantial evidence for the association. See my handout (complete with
      unidirectional arrows) to the paper whose URL was given previously.

      And yes, neither the Clementine Recognitions nor the Clementine Homilies
      (both very long texts, featuring almost endless preaching and doctrinal
      disputation by Peter) mentions the Resurrection, or attributes salvation to
      any other factor than the good or evil deeds of the individual - that is,
      both keep strictly within the theological limits which James also observes;
      the soteriology of the Two Ways document, without admixture or adulteration.
      The probable Galilean Gospel.

      E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • David Mealand
      Bruce wrote-------------- Bruce: Needs proof. I would prove it this way: gThos 47:3 = Lk 5:39, nobody after drinking old wine wants new wine. This violently
      Message 2 of 13 , Jun 5, 2011
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        Bruce wrote--------------
        Bruce: Needs proof. I would prove it this way: gThos 47:3 = Lk 5:39, nobody
        after drinking old wine wants new wine. This violently reverses the meaning
        of what precedes it in Luke, and it is absent in Mark, Matthew, and, I think
        suggestively, in Bezae. Then it is a late addition to Lk, and most plausibly
        an anti-Marcionite addition (defending old = OT tradition, which Marcion had
        sought to jettison), perhaps c150. Given this origin of Lk 5:39 in the
        history of 2c dispute about the text of Luke, it is not likely to have been
        drawn from Thomas or anywhere else, and we thus have not only a
        directionality, but a date (and probably a place, namely Rome). If gThos
        were a single text, we would have to date it to the latter 2c at earliest.
        But Thos may not be a single text, as witness the many stratification

        Phew! And I just thought that Luke knew his wine and perhaps
        also had a sense of irony.

        David M.

        David Mealand, University of Edinburgh

        The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
        Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic (cc: GPG) My explanation of Lk 5:39 (as an anti-Marcionite addition to Lk) seems to have been too much for some recipients, as witness: Phew! And
        Message 3 of 13 , Jun 5, 2011
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          To: Synoptic (cc: GPG)

          My explanation of Lk 5:39 (as an anti-Marcionite addition to Lk) seems to
          have been too much for some recipients, as witness:

          "Phew! And I just thought that Luke knew his wine and perhaps also had a
          sense of irony."

          The preference for aged over new wine is standard for modern Western
          drinkers, and if we view Luke as a connoisseur of that sort, we make him a
          familiar figure, a man of vintages and with a certain budget at his
          disposal. A portly but likeable figure; very nice. But in the process, we
          may be doing some damage to the text:

          (1) Lk 5:39 apparently reverses the sense of the previous text, or at least
          that is what many readers have thought; this is not what we expect from a
          consecutive story or saying. It is therefore narratively suspect. (2) The
          preceding passage, Lk 5:36-38 ||, reported in all the Synoptics, and thus
          not suspect in the same way, seems to favor new wine, not over old wine, but
          as not being containable in old wineskins. For what is this a metaphor?
          Seemingly, the doctrines of Jesus, as not being capable of accommodation
          within older beliefs. Since Mk in particular (largely followed by Mt and
          indeed by Lk) is widely concerned to demonstrate and document the
          incompatibility of Jesus's teachings with those of the Pharisees (also
          identified as the doctrines of the fathers, that is, old tradition), this
          reading seems to be entirely in keeping, and not problematic. No commentator
          so far has suggested that this earlier part of the story is defective, or
          unintelligible, without an equivalent of Lk 5:39, so we may take it that Lk
          5:39 is at minimum extraneous. (3) WH bracket 5:39, and well they might.
          Here is why. Lk 5:39 is absent, not only from Mk and Mt (not your usual
          Minor Agreement), but from Bezae and the Old Latin, a pattern we find again
          in the Western Non passages, which also tend to cluster in Lk, and which
          seem to modernize Lk in several ritual respects; that is, they are early
          additions to Lk (and only to Lk; not also to Mt or Mk). Fitzmyer finds the
          attestation of 5:39 (Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and some papyri) to be
          overwhelming, and so in this case does the usually sagacious Metzger, but
          this amounts to saying that Vaticanus is a pure text, without admixture, and
          not to be contradicted by any other witness. Careful attention to text
          criticism details, across all the Synoptics (to mention only the Synoptics)
          will tend not to support that impression: there are places where
          Varticanus/Sinaiticus do not after all give the best reading. Nobody who
          knows the TC scene will wish to claim that Vaticanus is in all cases the
          archetype for all the texts it contains. I agree with Keith Elliott, up to a
          point, in the thought that mechanical Vaticanus assent is not a sufficient
          doctrine of text criticism. Here, as with the Western Non, we have a case
          where an assumption of Vaticanus primacy seems to go against the grain, the
          Tendenz, of the respective readings. (4) Metzger, who took a valiant stand
          against the reintroduction of the Western Non passages, but accepts 5:39,
          does suggest that "its omission from several Western witnesses may be due to
          the influence of Marcion, who rejected the statement because it seemed to
          give authority to the Old Testament." Well, that is exactly what it does, on
          any perceptive reading. But Marcion's excisions, detailed by Tertullian and
          others, are not made in our Luke, or in any major witness to Luke. That this
          one Marcion excision got into the text stream (and that our Luke preserves
          the Vorlage of Marcion) is not the pattern we find with other attested
          Marcion excisions. (5) So Marcion and Lk 5:39 are at odds, and at a point
          vital to the program of Marcion: getting rid of the Jewish background of
          Christianity was pretty much the whole ballgame to him. Accepting this as
          the field of contention, then either we have an original passage inimical to
          Marcion and accordingly excised by a hostile Marcion, or a passage inserted
          because it was hostile to Marcion. Either scenario is possible, but which is
          more likely? I cannot but suspect that the better attested reading (without
          5:39, the other Synoptics plus Bezae and Old Latin), which happens also to
          be the narratively coherent and unproblematic reading, is the correct one.
          (6) That the preceding story (about the incompatibility of Jesus doctrine
          and the old understanding) would have suited Marcion down to the ground,
          would indeed have virtually defined his approach to Scripture, is obvious.
          Suppose someone after 150 thought to curb Marcion, by removing this passage
          as a whole from *their* text of Luke. But that would be tactically
          impossible: Marcion himself was vilified by the orthodox for taking stuff
          out of Luke, and it would not be practical to imitate him, to inaugurate a
          war of excisions. Better then to add something, as a sort of stopper to the
          clear implications of Lk 5:36-38. This is exactly what 5:39 does, and it is
          all that 5:39 does. Unless we call in modern literary doctrines to read it

          As for "irony," among those doctrines, I seem to see that word cropping up
          whenever it is desired to have a passage mean more or less the opposite of
          what it says. A sort of freely insertable smiley face. I don't find that
          device typical of Jesus rhetoric. I don't even find it within the range of
          Jesus rhetoric. Paul is likely enough to use a term in a sort of sarcastic
          reverse sense (eg, "super-Apostles"), but Jesus? I would need to see a
          convincing second example. Is there one?

          E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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