Re: [Synoptic-L] Evidence that at some point Luke began at v. 1:5b
- David Inglis wrote:
> Luke 1:1-4 is an obvious intro, so is there any other evidence to suggest thatDavid,
> at some point Luke did not have these first 4 verses?
For what it's worth, neither my page model for LukeEdn1 nor my page model
for LukeEdn2 would work without the inclusion of these verses. (For the
structures and page models of Mark, Acts, Gal and Heb, go to the web page
below. The details for Luke have not yet been made available, but they
follow a similar pattern to that of the other books.)
Consequently I am sure that these verses were part of the original gospel.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: David Inglis
On: Inside The Head of Luke
David (on 12 May) had a rather crisp response to a comment of mine about the
motive of Luke at one point, and perhaps I should not let it go by without
rejoinder. David had said, inter alia:
"Bruce then followed this with a discussion amounting to trying to get into
the head of aLk and come up with a motive for adding Lk 1:1-4 to an existing
document. IMHO any attempt to come up with a motive for why aLk (or anyone
else) wrote is most likely doomed to failure. We weren't there, we don't
know who or what any of the NT authors knew or didn't know, we don't know
who they were writing for, what other NT documents their target readership
may have had access to, etc."
That is an absolute statement, applying to anything and everything in the
past. As an absolute statement applying to *everything,* it is undoubtedly
correct. We don't know (of our own direct experience) what Luke was
thinking, we don't know what anyone at the present time is thinking; and as
any shrink will tell you, we don't know, or at any rate cannot comprehend,
what we ourselves are thinking. We don't know the atomic weight of cesium,
and we don't know the motion of the moon.
Granted. But these are all areas in which some answers are better than
others, and some of the better answers are good enough to get along with. We
don't know the motion of the moon, but the people who did the calculations
for landing a vehicle on the moon seem to have indeed made moonfall. We
don't, in the metaphysical sense, know what possessed Luke, but there are
places where, at any rate, a hypothesis at one point can be supported, and
to that extent confirmed, by data from another point.
Take for example the controversial Atonement doctrine (controversial between
Paul in Romans, who argues for it from scripture, and the Epistle of James,
which heaps scorn and ridicule on precisely Paul's arguments from
scripture). That doctrine is almost absent from Mark, but it appears, I
would say unmistakably, at Mk 10:45, "For the Son of Man also came not to be
served, but to serve, *and to give his life as a ransom for many.*" Such
words as "blood" and "bought" and "ransom" tend to be markers for this
That this passage stood in Mk is made probable by the fact that Mt repeats
it identically. We then have to do with an Atonement affirmation in Mk, and
not some phantasm. So there it is, and along comes Luke, and now what does
Lk do with it?
He omits it (cf Lk 22:27, which picks up the "one who serves" part, but not
the "ransom for many" part).
We now ask, Why? I would suggest: because he didn't like it. That reason for
omitting something in one's Vorlage is probably commonplace; it certainly
requires no straining of the imagination; it is a plausible thought. But is
there any reason why we should prefer that particular plausible thought to
what may perhaps be other plausible thoughts?
There seems to be. In Acts, Luke describes in exquisite detail the career of
Paul, who we remember made much of the Atonement Doctrine in his own letters
(not only in Romans, but also in 1 Cor and in Galatians). Paul's affirmation
of this doctrine, and indeed the central position of this doctrine in his
thinking, thus need little argument. There they are, they are part of Paul
if anything is part of Paul. If we take from our reading of Paul's genuine
letters one fact about Paul's theology, this is probably going to be it. So
Now along comes Luke, and what does Luke do with this doctrine, as part of
Paul's teaching? Answer: He suppresses it. He shows Paul as preaching in all
sorts of places, but always from the OT, and not from Jesus's death. The
concept of "ransom" appears only once, and not as preaching, but as a
passing personal comment by Paul when taking leave of the Ephesian elders
(Ac 20:28, "to feed the church of the Lord, which he obtained with his own
blood"). That's the crop. This gives an entirely different idea of Paul's
convictions, and his late preaching, than we get from Paul's presumably more
accurate letters. It can only be intentional on Luke's part, and the
intention seems to be to deny the Atonement doctrine, not quite as something
Paul believed in (whence Ac 20:28), but as something which, if Luke has
anything to do about it, is *not* going to go down in history as part of
Apostolic preaching. Luke here excises the Atonement from what is sometimes
called the kerygma.
I would suggest that this second, panoramic, wide-scale example goes far to
confirm the already plausible inference that one might draw from Luke's
treatment of the single passage Mk 10:45.
I thus submit that, short of metaphysical certainty, which by definition we
are not going to get about any proposition whatever, the inference as to
Luke's motive in treating Mk 10:45 as he does may stand as not only
reasonable, but as consistent with Luke's practice elsewhere. That thought
may at least do until something better (something that explains even more of
the data) comes along.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst