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RE: [Synoptic-L] Aphorism

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: David Mealand On: Directionality From: Bruce ... Bruce (earlier): I think the issue is the directionality. Is Luke B taking on a
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 6, 2012
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: David Mealand
      On: Directionality
      From: Bruce

      David had set up the problem of the "shall not pass away" saying this way:


      Bruce (earlier): I think the issue is the directionality. Is Luke B taking
      on a Matthean saying, or is Matthew incorporating a Lukan A one?

      David: You think that Mark included this in his text first
      (Matthew and Luke both presumably know that, as they both include it with
      minimal changes.)

      Then your assertion is that either one, or the other, of these writers
      _created_ either the version of the aphorism that we find in Luke (the one
      under discussion), _ or_ the one found in Matthew, (which are differently
      formulated), and you consider the latter more likely.

      Have I understood you correctly?

      Bruce: Yes, except that I would not call the Tittle saying a version; I
      would call it a derivative. Jesus's word in Mk 13, coming at the end of a
      vivid description of the Last Days, has its context here: [13:30] "Truly I
      say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take
      place. [31] Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass

      This promises two things: (1) The End Days will occur within the present
      generation, and some now living will see it, and (2) Despite the end of all
      other things, Jesus's word (his promise as to the survival of the elect)
      will not pass away, but will hold firm. There is nothing in this about the

      Mt 5:17, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the End Days, it has to
      do with the permanence of the Law (right to the end of the End Days. The
      same can be said of the briefer but similar Lk 16:17. One of the two has
      then taken a guarantee about Jesus's promise to the faithful, whose
      permanence he guarantees, and borrowed a sonorous phrase from it to make a
      saying about the permanence of the Law.

      Of Mt and Lk, which one did this borrowing and adaptation? We can look at
      two kinds of evidence: (1) the characteristic emphases of Matthew and Luke,
      for which see my previous post, or (2) the structure of the respective
      sayings in context, which I venture to repeat. The point here is that Lk
      16:7 and its two neighbors, all with counterparts in Mt, are as a group
      intrusive into a series of poverty pronouncements and parables in Lk. Notice
      that Lk 16:14-15, criticizing the avarice of the Pharisees, segues very
      smoothly into Lk 16:19-31, the Dives and Lazarus parable, which illustrates
      it by showing that it is poverty, not wealth, which goes to Heaven. Then Lk
      16:17 and its neighbors are later introductions into Lk 16, while Mt 5:17,
      which is perfectly consecutive in its Matthean context, is original.

      This makes it a Matthean creation, based on a phrase picked up from Mark and
      used to quite a different end.


      E Bruce Brooks
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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