RE: [Synoptic-L] Aphorism
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: David Mealand
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
\O OURANOS KAI \H GH PARELEUSONTAI \OI DE LOGOI MOU OU MH PARELEUSONTAI
(Matthew and Luke both presumably know that, as they both include it with
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.  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