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Mt 22:6-7 and Implications

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic / GPG. On: Mt 22:6-7 and Implications [Thanks to MkG for correcting one typo in my last, and for filling me in on the status of the lectionary
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 25, 2011
      To: Synoptic / GPG. On: Mt 22:6-7 and Implications

      [Thanks to MkG for correcting one typo in my last, and for filling me in on
      the status of the lectionary theory for those who follow the lectionary
      theory; I regret I am not able to join them. At the end of day it seems to
      remain true that few commentators buy the New Paradigm assertion that Mt
      22:1-14 is the ancestor of Lk 14:16-24. This strikes me as an important
      collective observation. But what can be made of it? I mean, other than to
      void the FH as usually stated, which is merely clearing the ground? I
      proceed to take up one tiny aspect of that question, using as a point of
      departure one of the passages previously discussed].


      It is hard to read through commentaries on Mt 22:1-14 without becoming aware
      that for some of them, Mt 22:6-7 presents the character of an interpolation.
      This happens to be a significant passage, and not merely because it
      interrupts the flow of the Feast story in a way that leaves a string of
      inconcinnities in its wake (how could the feast continue, as Beare in effect
      asks, after the king has destroyed the city of those who refused to come to
      it?). It is also crucial for the dating of Matthew, because it seems to
      refer, unambiguously, to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus’s armies in
      70. It will now be convenient to drop back for a moment to:


      The Gospel of Mark contains two datable references to outside events. One is
      contained in Mk 13:14, “the abomination of desolation.” This is an echo of
      Daniel 9:27 (and 11:31, 12:11), which in turn refers to the desecration of
      the altar by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who had built a heathen altar over it
      in 0168 (this from Taylor ad loc). The precision of the passage here alluded
      to by Mk makes it likely that the abomination expected in that passage is
      also a desecration, and the likely one is the intended desecration by
      Caligula, who also threatened to erect a statue of himself in the Jerusalem
      Temple, as part of a new enforcement of Emperor worship (there had been
      riots over this issue in Alexandria in 38, a few years earlier). Since the
      Mk passage hopes that the desecration, and the Final Event which it will
      bring on, will “not be in the winter,” the passage itself can be closely
      dated to summer 40. It cannot be later, because Caligula himself died in
      January 41, at which time the prediction would have been false, and thus
      would not have been made. The other reference in Mk is to the execution of
      James Zebedee in Jerusalem by Herod Antipas I in 43 or 44 (Mk 10:39). These
      are pretty close together, and are probably the last scraps of update to
      which Mark was subject. The Caligula passage itself, as Taylor has shown (in
      an appendix; 636-644), is an interpolation within Mk 13, so that the rest of
      Mk 13, and probably the bulk of that Gospel, must be earlier, namely in the
      30’s. This is convenient to know; it makes Mark about a generation earlier
      than the earliest preserved letter of Paul. For present purposes, and
      without going further into the complicated pattern of successive
      interpolations and overlays in Mark, we have a Mark A (30’s) and a Mark B
      (interpolations of date 40-c43).


      What happened to this Caligula prediction in Matthew? Answer: Nothing at
      all. It is repeated essentially unchanged in Mt. Then there is no reason, at
      least from this passage, to think that Matthew knew of, and was thus written
      later than, the Destruction of the Temple in 70. Now we come to our passage,
      Mt 22:6-7, which *does* seem to clearly envision that event; a real
      destruction rather than a mere desecration. Except that we have just
      discovered that this passage is an interpolation. Without that
      interpolation, unless someone can come up with a third, Matthew too has no
      unambiguous witness to the 70 event. The most natural implication is that
      Matthew was written before 70.

      If so, than a fortiori, Luke A, which precedes Matthew, must be earlier
      still. I have no precise number to suggest, but the sequence is Luke A > Mt
      > 70.


      It is elsewhere in Lk that we first find the Mk 13:14 passage rewritten (as
      Kloppenborg pointed out not long ago in JBL) so as to refer unambiguously to
      the siege of Jerusalem in 70. This can only be Luke B. So far, we have the
      Gospel sequence

      Mark A > 40 > Mark B; Luke A > Matthew > 70 > Mt 22:6-7, Luke B


      It is thus very convenient to be able to recognize these interpolations, and
      to work out their implications. There is a parallel case, again pivoting on
      the year 70, with the Thessalonian correspondence. The parallel is
      particularly exact with our passage Mt 22:6-7, which is why I mention it

      1 Thess 2:13-16 contains a fairly clear reference to the destruction of the
      Temple, along with a rather nasty crack that the Jews at last have got what
      was coming to them. This is atypical of Paul, who tends to see himself as
      among the Jews, and of course it is also apocryphal, since Paul died in Rome
      about the year 60, a decade earlier, and could not have known about Titus
      and Jerusalem in 70. It had often been suggested that this passage was an
      interpolation, and the demonstration by William Walker (Interpolations 2001,
      210f) makes that definite. Then 1 Thess otherwise is free to remain
      authentic (the usual date is somewhere around 50, which can stand for
      present purposes), while the interpolation must be after 70, and probably
      (as in the case of Mt 22:6-7) not long after.


      Following several 19c figures, Wrede in 1903 inaugurated the modern period
      by mounting a sustained case against the authenticity of 2 Thess. Many
      followed him, though with sufficient lack of unanimity that Kümmel
      (Introduction 17ed 1973; ET 1975) could still come down for authenticity.
      The monograph of Glenn Holland (The Tradition That You Received From Us,
      1988) pretty much pinned this down, as recognized in Schnelle (History 1994,
      ET 1998, listing Holland), who without effort puts 2 Thess down as deutero.
      So far so good, and now what about the interpolation in 1 Thess? It happens
      (as part of the case against 2 Thess) that while explicitly countering
      certain Pauline doctrines, 2 Thess very closely follows the outline of 1
      Thess. The question of interest is then, Does 2 Thess know the interpolated
      1 Thess, or merely the original 1 Thess? The answer is that it knows 1 Thess
      2:13 (see 2 Thess 2:13; diagram in Schnelle 321), and thus, though it does
      not repeat the Jerusalem reference itself, it is aware that the
      interpolation has been made. Then we have again a useful sequence: 1 Thess
      (c50) > 70 > 1 Thess 2:13-16 (c71?) > 2 Thess.


      What all this comes to cannot be conveniently represented in E-mail, least
      of all in these days when spacing is at the mercy, or the whim, of various
      Internet processes. But something like this:

      Mk A (30’s)
      -----------Caligula Threat of 40-----------
      Mk B (40), including 10:39, c43

      1 Thess (c50)
      Lk A (?)
      Matthew (?)
      -----------Destruction of Temple in 70--------------
      Mt 22:6-7, 1 Thess 2:13-16 (c71)
      Luke B
      2 Thess

      This, to me, is an example of how much can be gotten out of one correctly
      analyzed passage, as long as we also keep in mind what our colleagues have
      done with other correctly analyzed passages.

      Harnack’s Chronologie, and for that matter that of Zahn, are not really all
      that far off. But still, there are lapses, and every piece we can move to a
      more appropriate place on the blackboard is a point gained for historical
      understanding. All the texts are historically useful, the forgeries along
      with the authentics, but the history itself only comes alive when the
      pieces, whether forged or authentic, are correctly juxtaposed and sequenced.
      Here are a few steps in what I believe to be that direction.

      © 2011 by E Bruce Brooks / University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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