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RE: [Synoptic-L] Luke's Great Omission

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic On: The Great Omission From: Bruce David Inglis had shared his sense that the Great Omission in Luke was due to a defective Vorlage. Mark Matson
    Message 1 of 14 , May 18, 2012
      To: Synoptic
      On: The Great Omission
      From: Bruce

      David Inglis had shared his sense that the Great Omission in Luke was due to
      a defective Vorlage.

      Mark Matson commented: I think Luke definitely chose to ignore the Markan
      material.

      As far as I know, that deserves to be called the universal consensus on the
      matter. That consensus seems to me to raise these questions:

      1. Luke, at least in the form we have him, seems to favor the Gentile
      Mission; he has Jesus appoint a second Apostolic team, The Seventy, to go
      into "Samaria" (Luke's symbol for non-Jewish territory; compare the Parable
      of the Good Samaritan). The Feeding of the 4000 is Mark's symbolic way of
      bringing in the Gentile Mission, as fully on a par with the Mission to the
      Jews (symbolized by the Feeding of the 5000), and Mark's Jesus, speaking for
      Mark, is at pains to explain to us (as represented in Mark by the disciples)
      who may be slow to get the symbolism, exactly how the symbolism works. So
      there is no reasonable doubt about what the Feeding of the 4000 is doing in
      Mark. Luke, as usually understood, ought then to have had no resistance to
      this part of Mark, whereas it is easy to see why he omitted the part where
      Jesus's family and friends think Jesus is crazy, and make a move to put him
      away. What then is the authorial reason for this portion of the omission?
      Dublettenfurcht? But then why the rest of the Omission, and be it noted that
      Luke, not least in his 70 paralleling the 12, has Dubletten elsewhere?

      2. Luke's omissions from Mark are interesting, but nowhere else in Luke (or
      in Matthew) is there so large and so consecutive an omission. Why this
      anomaly, which goes against Luke's practice elsewhere?

      3. If we follow the text of Mark along with that of Luke, at the point
      leading up to the beginning of the Omission, and if when we come to that
      point we mark it with a pencil, we find that our pencilmark in the supposed
      Vorlage falls in the middle of a sentence. So also if we follow the text of
      Mark until Luke again picks up the Markan story. That makes two pencilmarks.
      Explanations for Luke's omission of one pericope certainly abound, and there
      may be some for Luke's omission of a series or pericopes (though I don't
      recall seeing any). But in no other case, whether of omission or inclusion,
      does Luke's procedure produce, or imply, ragged pericope edges. Why here,
      since it conspicuously goes against Luke's practice elsewhere?

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
    • Bob Schacht
      ... I object to this characterization of Samaria. Rather than being a symbol of Gentiles (which Samaritans were not), I think it symbolizes Luke s message that
      Message 2 of 14 , May 18, 2012
        At 12:36 AM 5/18/2012, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
        >1. Luke, at least in the form we have him, seems to favor the Gentile
        >Mission; he has Jesus appoint a second Apostolic team, The Seventy, to go
        >into "Samaria" (Luke's symbol for non-Jewish territory; compare the Parable
        >of the Good Samaritan).

        I object to this characterization of Samaria. Rather than being a
        symbol of Gentiles (which Samaritans were not), I think it symbolizes
        Luke's message that Jesus' message was for all Jews-- not just the
        orthodox Judean Jews, or the local parochial Galilean Jews, but all of them.

        >The Feeding of the 4000 is Mark's symbolic way of
        >bringing in the Gentile Mission, as fully on a par with the Mission to the
        >Jews (symbolized by the Feeding of the 5000), and Mark's Jesus, speaking for
        >Mark, is at pains to explain to us (as represented in Mark by the disciples)
        >who may be slow to get the symbolism, exactly how the symbolism works. So
        >there is no reasonable doubt about what the Feeding of the 4000 is doing in
        >Mark. ...

        I object to these characterizations, as well. The inclusion of the
        Gentiles in Luke is shown primarily by Luke 2:32 and the references
        to Tyre & Sidon in Luke 6:17 (Sermon on the Plain) and the Woes in
        Luke 10:13-14, as well as Mark's story of the Syrophoenician woman.

        The Feeding stories, IMHO, are a message that Jesus ministry was for
        all Jews, including the hoi polloi, not just a select few.

        Bob Schacht
        Northern Arizona University



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic (GPG) In Response To: Bob Schacht On: Samaritans and Gentiles From: Bruce I had suggested (without claiming entire originality for it, since both
        Message 3 of 14 , May 18, 2012
          To: Synoptic (GPG)
          In Response To: Bob Schacht
          On: Samaritans and Gentiles
          From: Bruce

          I had suggested (without claiming entire originality for it, since both
          Creed and Goulder, inter alia, have noted the symbolism of 70, echoing
          Genesis, as meaning the nations of the world; this is a variant on Mark's 7
          baskets, which is how Mark signals the meaning he intends to be perceived in
          the Feeding of the 4000), that the Samaritans in Luke symbolize the
          Gentiles, and that the appointment of the 70 is meant to imply Jesus's
          recognition, and indeed inauguration, of the Gentile Mission.

          Bob: I object to this characterization of Samaria. Rather than being a
          symbol of Gentiles (which Samaritans were not), I think it symbolizes Luke's
          message that Jesus' message was for all Jews-- not just the orthodox Judean
          Jews, or the local parochial Galilean Jews, but all of them.

          Bruce: In which case, it seems that Luke's appointing of a new set of 70
          Apostles (and splitting Mark's instructions to the 12 in half, to furnish
          them) is a bit of narrative overkill. The symbolic interpretation seems the
          more likely since no Samaritans are actually visited, or preached to, and no
          specifically Samaritan beliefs are noted (compare John, where the
          differences between Samaritans and Jews are part of the conversation between
          Jesus and the locals). We might also consider other instances in Luke, such
          as the Healing of the Ten Lepers, where Jesus says of the only one - a
          Samaritan - who returned to thank him, "Was no one found to return and give
          praise to God except this foreigner?" (Lk 17:18). I find it easier to
          construe "foreigner" as "foreigner," than as either a Jew or a heretical Jew
          (which seems to have been the status of literal historical Samaritans).

          On the prior case of Mark's 4000, . . .

          Bob: I object to these characterizations, as well. The inclusion of the
          Gentiles in Luke is shown primarily by Luke 2:32 and the references to Tyre
          & Sidon in Luke 6:17 (Sermon on the Plain) and the Woes in Luke 10:13-14, as
          well as Mark's story of the Syrophoenician woman.

          Bruce: Lk 2:32 is an Isaiah quote from Mary's Magnificat; it has nothing
          biographically to do with Jesus. As for Lk 6:17 (the crowd from Judaea,
          Jerusalem, and the coastal area of Tyre and Sidon), what is to prevent them
          from being any less Jewish than the crowds who came to hear John the
          Baptist? There were Jews as far away as Rome, and surely the apostolic
          effort outside Palestine had Jews, not the general population, of those
          places as their first, and indeed their originally intended, audience. The
          inclusion of Gentiles most likely began as an inadvertent, unlooked-for, and
          at first unwelcome side effect of preaching to Diaspora Jews. As for the
          cursing of three Galilean towns in Lk 10:13f, that might be thought to give
          preference to the Jerusalem Mission over the Galilean one, especially since
          Luke, like Matthew (who has an exactly parallel curse), was committed to the
          Jerusalem-centrist view of Christian history (he totally eliminates the hint
          of a Jesus appearance in Galilee, and transfers it to Jerusalem). But does
          that curse amount to a blessing on Gentiles? If I curse my neighbor on the
          left, is this evidence of love for my neighbor on the right?

          If these were all the evidence for Luke's acceptance, or even his awareness,
          of the Gentile Mission, it seems to me that it would be very hard to prove
          Luke's knowledge or approval of the Gentile Mission. No?

          And yet if conventional wisdom holds, the same Luke who wrote this
          Gentile-denying or at any rate Gentile-ignoring Gospel also personally
          accompanied Paul on what Paul himself was pleased to call a mission to the
          Gentiles. Surely there is a conundrum here, and so far, I prefer my solution
          to any alternative so far on offer.

          ----------

          The Gentile mission was something which arose after the lifetime of Jesus.
          On that, perhaps agreement is possible. Given that fact, if we may concede
          that it is a fact, it was awkward for any Gospel writer to portray Jesus as
          himself preaching, or sending preachers, among the Gentiles. A manifest
          anachronism would have been involved. So if Jesus's approval of the
          intentional conversion of Gentiles was to be portrayed, it could only have
          been in symbolic terms. I think that symbolic terms were in fact used, by
          both Mark and Luke. The only other course was to portray the Mission to the
          Gentiles as something not part of Jesus's plan, but as belonging exclusively
          to the post-Jesus period. In the eyes of probable readers, it seems to me
          that this would tend to render the Mission to the Gentiles invalid, as
          departing from the practice and the approval of Jesus. It was then a
          second-best rhetorical strategy. I think the Evangelists followed what they
          thought was a first-best strategy.

          In all religions, including the Buddhist, the tendency is to portray later
          innovations (in the case of Buddhism, such things as the cult of relics and
          pilgrimages to sacred sites and the establishment of fully residential
          monasticism) as occurring in the lifetime of the founder, or at any rate as
          having somehow received his explicit approval. I suggest that in these
          symbolisms of Mark and Luke, we are seeing this universal tendency also at
          work: retrojecting into the time of Jesus developments that actually came
          afterward.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        • David Mealand
          Not too sure about some of the points made in this exchange Isn t Mark s second feeding set in the Decapolis? (i.e. mainly Gentile territory containing Greek
          Message 4 of 14 , May 19, 2012
            Not too sure about some of the points made
            in this exchange

            Isn't Mark's second feeding set in the Decapolis?
            (i.e. mainly Gentile territory containing Greek cities,
            and pro-Roman in outlook, separated off from Hasmonean
            domains by Pompey, and again later by Augustus after
            Herod's death).

            Wasn't the main charge laid against Samaritans
            one of ethnicity, that their ancestors had
            inter-married with non-Israelites - they didn't
            originally belong to Judah, and orthodoxy and heresy
            are alien categories imported from the world of
            the interpreter.

            It is actually quite hard to keep reminding oneself
            to go back to the 1st century when reading these texts

            David M.




            ---------
            David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


            --
            The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
            Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
          • Matson, Mark (Academic)
            David Mealand wrote: Not too sure about some of the points made in this exchange Isn t Mark s second feeding set in the Decapolis? (i.e. mainly Gentile
            Message 5 of 14 , May 19, 2012
              David Mealand wrote:

              Not too sure about some of the points made
              in this exchange

              Isn't Mark's second feeding set in the Decapolis?
              (i.e. mainly Gentile territory containing Greek cities,
              and pro-Roman in outlook, separated off from Hasmonean
              domains by Pompey, and again later by Augustus after
              Herod's death).

              Mark: Yes, possibly. Mark certainly has Jesus going to Gentile area. And if the feeding of 4000 is logically following the geographical itinerary preceding (i.e. Mark 7:31-37) which goes through region of Decapolis, yes. But then Mark is not always careful. But this is very likely. And hence a good reason for Luke to exclude.

              Wasn't the main charge laid against Samaritans
              one of ethnicity, that their ancestors had
              inter-married with non-Israelites - they didn't
              originally belong to Judah, and orthodoxy and heresy
              are alien categories imported from the world of
              the interpreter.

              Mark: I am not as sure of the idea of considering Samaritans as "gentiles". That was certainly one aspect maintained by Judeans. But for instance if we follow the internal logic of, say, John 4 -- there is the idea of "cousins" more than outsiders. Jesus maintains that Judeans are the proper form of Yahweh religion (not Gerizim), and yet the tone is of insiders. Similarly in the logical expansion of Acts, Phillips evangelization in Samaria is not the same as Peter's later "full-blown" engagement with Cornelius (now full engagement with Gentiles).

              Mark A. Matson
              Milligan College
              http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
            • ernestpennells
              I can t resist this discussion. Whereas the mission of seventy(two) taken as a symbol of Gentile mission makes it a retrospective issue from a later era, the
              Message 6 of 14 , May 19, 2012
                I can't resist this discussion.
                Whereas the mission of seventy(two) taken as a symbol of Gentile mission makes it a retrospective issue from a later era, the option of accepting it as referring to the number of the Sanhedrin gives it direct relevance to Jesus and his disciples. They were, after all, heading for Jerusalem, and Luke lays heavy emphasis upon this throughout his journeying motif.

                Ernie Pennells
                Victoria BC
              • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                Ernie: As I understand it, the reason that the mission of the 70/72 is taken as anticipating a Gentile mission comes from the symbolism of number 72.... so the
                Message 7 of 14 , May 20, 2012
                  Ernie:

                  As I understand it, the reason that the mission of the 70/72 is taken as anticipating a Gentile mission comes from the symbolism of number 72.... so the number of nations in Gen. 10 is 72, and in 3 Enoch the number of princes of the world and languages is 72. So this number would refer to the larger gentile world. But, as I allueded to in a former post, this Gentile reference is future, it is anticipation, since in Luke's narrative construction, Jesus deliberately does not go into Gentile territory -- that awaits the coming of the Spirit and the work of the church in Acts (progressive movement, first to Samarians and then to Gentiles).

                  If I understand your point, though, you maintain this would refer to the Sanhedrin. I certainly agree that the central narrative scheme from 9:51 on is the journey to Jerusalem. And whatever symbolism is in the 70/72 it is not made clear in the narrative, and your connecting it to Jerusalem is potentially attractive. But I have two concerns:

                  1. The Great Sanhedrin in rabbinic literature is 71, not 70 or 72, I think. That is a pretty specific number.

                  2. The Great Sanhedrin itself is a pretty narrowly specific concept that might never have actually existed. At any rate, the actual assembly of Jewish leaders (synedrion is only found once in Luke at 22:66, and is actually a downplayed theme in Luke ..notice that downgrades the nighttime trial to an informal hearing: Luke has no parallel to Mk 14:55) would seem to be only smaller group.

                  So while this is tempting, I wonder if this would really be seen as the reference in Luke 10?

                  Mark A. Matson
                  Milligan College
                  http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
                  ________________________________________
                  Ernie Pennels wrote:

                  I can't resist this discussion.
                  Whereas the mission of seventy(two) taken as a symbol of Gentile mission makes it a retrospective issue from a later era, the option of accepting it as referring to the number of the Sanhedrin gives it direct relevance to Jesus and his disciples. They were, after all, heading for Jerusalem, and Luke lays heavy emphasis upon this throughout his journeying motif.
                  -------------------------------------------------------------
                • ernestpennells
                  Thank you, Mark. I find the conclusion that seventy is a symbolic reference to Gentiles unconvincing. Unpacking the symbolism: Seventy elders accompanied
                  Message 8 of 14 , May 20, 2012
                    Thank you, Mark. I find the conclusion that seventy is a symbolic reference to Gentiles unconvincing.

                    Unpacking the symbolism:

                    Seventy elders accompanied Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24.1,9).

                    Sinai was promptly followed by failure with the golden calf. Transfiguration was promptly followed by the disciples' failure with a convulsive boy. Jesus' protest echoes Moses' protest (Num. 11.11). "What an unbelieving and perverse generation!" (Lk. 9.41).

                    Jesus' appointment of seventy echoes the appointment of seventy elders to share the spirit bestowed on Moses (Num 11.16,24f.). Luke gives an ecstatic account of their mission (they shared the spirit of their Lord).

                    These links with Sinai are compelling.

                    Luke says that Moses and Elijah talked about Jesus' destiny in Jerusalem (Lk. 9.31).

                    Emphasis: "Jesus set his face resolutely toward Jerusalem" (Lk. 9.51), with recurrent reminders en route (Lk. 9.53; 13.32f; 17.11; 18.31ff; 19.11,28).

                    En route Jesus laments: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... ... your house is forsaken." (Lk.13.34f)

                    Upon setting foot in the Roman Province of Judaea, Jesus befriends Zacchaeus (an Agent of the Roman Governor). Jesus had previously silenced Peter's declaration of Messiah (Lk. 9.21). Ergo: this march on Jerusalem is not a march against Roman occupation.

                    Soon after arriving in Jerusalem Jesus publicly denounces the temple authorities as wicked husbandmen. They recognised his parable as directed against them (Lk. 20.19).

                    Moses – Sinai – seventy, and a heavy emphasis on target Jerusalem to denounce the presiding priesthood all say rulers (Sanhedrin) to me.

                    There are numerous references to ruling councils and representative bodies in ancient texts: War, Ant, Life, mSanh, tSuk, Boule, M.Hag, mZeb, mYad, Zebahim, Yadaim. The specific number varies (70,71,72).

                    Ernie
                  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                    Thanks Ernie for the great response. I don t know if I find the gentile symbolism all that much either... what I was citing was the commonly cited reasons
                    Message 9 of 14 , May 20, 2012
                      Thanks Ernie for the great response. I don't know if I find the "gentile" symbolism all that much either... what I was citing was the "commonly cited" reasons for seeing it as that reference.

                      I am still not personally convinced, though, that 70/72 refers to the Sanhedrin, despite some variation in numbers in earlier sources. It just doesn't fit with the size of the council imagined in the gospels (which might well have been ad hoc groups anyway).

                      But I am intrigued by your references to the Sinai traditions... hadn't thought about that. That would be a reasonable intertextual reference / allusion that would fit with Luke.

                      mark
                      Mark A. Matson
                      Milligan College
                      http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
                      ________________________________________
                      Ernest Pennells wrote:

                      Thank you, Mark. I find the conclusion that seventy is a symbolic reference to Gentiles unconvincing.

                      Unpacking the symbolism:

                      Seventy elders accompanied Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24.1,9).

                      Sinai was promptly followed by failure with the golden calf. Transfiguration was promptly followed by the disciples' failure with a convulsive boy. Jesus' protest echoes Moses' protest (Num. 11.11). "What an unbelieving and perverse generation!" (Lk. 9.41).

                      Jesus' appointment of seventy echoes the appointment of seventy elders to share the spirit bestowed on Moses (Num 11.16,24f.). Luke gives an ecstatic account of their mission (they shared the spirit of their Lord).

                      These links with Sinai are compelling.

                      Luke says that Moses and Elijah talked about Jesus' destiny in Jerusalem (Lk. 9.31).

                      Emphasis: "Jesus set his face resolutely toward Jerusalem" (Lk. 9.51), with recurrent reminders en route (Lk. 9.53; 13.32f; 17.11; 18.31ff; 19.11,28).

                      En route Jesus laments: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... ... your house is forsaken." (Lk.13.34f)

                      Upon setting foot in the Roman Province of Judaea, Jesus befriends Zacchaeus (an Agent of the Roman Governor). Jesus had previously silenced Peter's declaration of Messiah (Lk. 9.21). Ergo: this march on Jerusalem is not a march against Roman occupation.

                      Soon after arriving in Jerusalem Jesus publicly denounces the temple authorities as wicked husbandmen. They recognised his parable as directed against them (Lk. 20.19).

                      Moses – Sinai – seventy, and a heavy emphasis on target Jerusalem to denounce the presiding priesthood all say rulers (Sanhedrin) to me.

                      There are numerous references to ruling councils and representative bodies in ancient texts: War, Ant, Life, mSanh, tSuk, Boule, M.Hag, mZeb, mYad, Zebahim, Yadaim. The specific number varies (70,71,72).
                    • ernestpennells
                      On the numbers game: Luke and Sinai traditions consistently mention seventy. However, when Moses and the seventy present themselves at the Tabernacle, they
                      Message 10 of 14 , May 21, 2012
                        On the numbers game:

                        Luke and Sinai traditions consistently mention seventy. However, when Moses and the seventy present themselves at the Tabernacle, they total seventy-one. Likewise, Jesus plus his seventy. Josephus also mentions provision for alleged miscreants to be brought before him and seventy he appointed.

                        The question arises as to whether the number cited in other ancient texts includes or excludes the HP or other figurehead.

                        The seventy(-two) variant arises from a different number count in LXX and MT of the list of nations in Genesis. The number is not actually stated there.

                        Seventy-two is a multiple of twelve, possibly suggesting even handed treatment in a tribal society.

                        Should we expect mathematical precision in ancient texts? (Or modern ones, come to that).

                        Ernie Pennells
                        Victoria BC
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