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Re: [Synoptic-L] Why not Mt used Lk?

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  • Ron Price
    ... Bruce, This focus on the transition seems to me to be unduly narrow, and therefore flawed. It fails to ask about the likelihood or otherwise that the
    Message 1 of 18 , Dec 2, 2006
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      Bruce Brooks wrote:

      > I think the sovereign principle in directionality questions, articulated by
      > Metzger and attributed by him to Griesbach, is that "that version is
      > original which can be most readily seen as giving rise to the other."

      Bruce,

      This focus on the transition seems to me to be unduly narrow, and therefore
      flawed. It fails to ask about the likelihood or otherwise that the earlier
      text could have been composed as postulated (see below).

      > Most
      > people, I believe, will find it easier to imagine that Mt has thematically
      > grouped certain sayings from a less organized prior version, than that Lk
      > has merely scattered them, with no other end in view. If instead Lk is
      > actually following the order of a prior source, and merely keeping that
      > order (whatever its own logic or lack of it), whereas Mt is changing that
      > prior order into a more thematically clustered and literarily impressive
      > form, then the logic of both Mt and Lk appears cogent.

      This is what I find nonsensical. If it is difficult to understand the lack
      of order of sayings in Luke, how much more difficult to understand the lack
      of order in those same sayings in the much smaller early sayings source.
      Would anyone have created such a mess? Luke, on the other hand, does have a
      structure, and there are indications for at least some sayings why they were
      moved. For instance the saying about asking (11:9-13) is deliberately placed
      after two passages concerning prayer, and the salt saying (14:34-35) might
      have been deliberately placed next to a brief scene which mentions eating
      (15:1-2). Similarly Luke placed the saying about the greatest (22:24-27,
      with its Lukan addition "But I am among you as one who serves") within the
      passion story in order to present Jesus as the Servant who suffers (c.f. Is
      53). Note that Luke's narrative context provides lots of opportunities for
      non-sequential selection of suitable sayings, and contrast this with a
      (nearly?) pure sayings source where there is little or no such context. The
      idea that Luke retained almost all of the sayings source in its original
      order is, to my mind, incredible.

      > This too gives us Q,
      > along with the additional assumption that the order of Q was that of Lk
      > (otherwise the problem of order in Lk remains unsolved).

      There you go again (though I realize you're following what many others have
      written). How on earth is a perceived problematic order solved by blaming it
      on an earlier source? Is it a case of 'Out of sight, out of mind'?

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic Cc: Al Cohen; WSW In Response To: Ron Price On: Methodology Points in re Q From: Bruce I had said, BRUCE: I think the sovereign principle in
      Message 2 of 18 , Dec 2, 2006
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        To: Synoptic
        Cc: Al Cohen; WSW
        In Response To: Ron Price
        On: Methodology Points in re Q
        From: Bruce

        I had said,

        BRUCE: I think the sovereign principle in directionality questions,
        articulated by Metzger and attributed by him (perhaps a bit too generously)
        to Griesbach, is that "that version is original which can be most readily
        seen as giving rise to the other."

        RON: This focus on the transition seems to me to be unduly narrow, and
        therefore flawed.

        BRUCE: For fine points of variant wording in manuscripts, as well as for
        large points of relationship between whole texts, I think it is the best we
        have. Narrower precepts, such as Griesbach's own "lectio brevior" dictum,
        simply don't cover the ground which philology actually encounters, as
        Sanders was at pains to show, at both the word and the text level, in his
        Tendency of the Synoptic Tradition (1969). And as Housman had long before
        remarked, in terms more caustic than I would care to use in the present
        environment, but those who feel themselves up to that challenge may consult
        him direct (http://www.umass.edu/wsp > Philology > Housman).

        RON: . . . It fails to ask about the likelihood or otherwise that the
        earlier text could have been composed as postulated (see below).

        BRUCE: Not at all. It opens judgement to all the evidence, not merely to the
        wordcount of some fraction of the evidence. As for "below," see below.

        I had next said:

        BRUCE: Most people, I believe, will find it easier to imagine that Mt has
        thematically grouped certain sayings from a less organized prior version,
        than that Lk has merely scattered them, with no other end in view. If
        instead Lk is actually following the order of a prior source, and merely
        keeping that order (whatever its own logic or lack of it), whereas Mt is
        changing that prior order into a more thematically clustered and literarily
        impressive form, then the logic of both Mt and Lk appears cogent.

        RON: This is what I find nonsensical. If it is difficult to understand the
        lack of order of sayings in Luke, how much more difficult to understand the
        lack of order in those same sayings in the much smaller early sayings
        source. Would anyone have created such a mess?

        BRUCE: That is very easy to understand, and I think that it is part of the
        appeal of Q, allegedly a "sayings Gospel," that it offers such an
        understanding. It is a question of genre. Luke, if we take note of its
        manifest form, and/or the intention expressed in the ostensible
        self-introduction, is trying to put together a coherent narrative account; a
        history. If his material appears unordered by that criterion, that is, if it
        doesn't make narrative sense, then there is a problem between the seeming
        intention of Luke and the text that Luke has actually produced. On the other
        hand, Q is supposed to be a "sayings Gospel," for which one model is Thomas.
        Thomas tells no very visible story. It simply gives you wisdom vignettes one
        after the other, though sometimes with keyword or other associational links.
        It has never been perceived as a fault in Thomas that it does NOT tell a
        story, because storytelling is not the formal intent of that kind of text.
        No reasonable and genre-conscious person could possibly object.

        [I have mentioned before that this "sayings collection" genre, though rare
        or even conjectural in the Mediterranean world, is very common in the
        contemporary and slightly earlier classical Chinese world, and that
        experience gained with these EXTANT early Chinese wisdom collection might be
        useful to the NT field. I mention it again, but only in parentheses. Does
        this mean that all seminarians should learn classical Chinese? No. But they
        might manage to lunch occasionally with someone who has a foot on that shore
        of our common lake].

        The "Sermon on the Mount" literature is there in its reverential depth and
        enthusiastic breadth to attest that the Matthean arrangement of the "Q"
        wisdom material is supremely convincing and thus successful. The same
        material is more dispersed in Luke, and most readers seem to have found Luke
        inferior to Matthew in this respect. Thus arises a difficulty for the theory
        that Luke used Matthew: Why (people perpetually ask) would Luke break up the
        Sermon on the Mount, of all things, and that in a way which achieves a
        notably less successful result? A terrible situation, surely. But if Luke is
        NOT using Matthew, but is INSTEAD respecting the order of a wisdom or
        Sayings source for this material, just as he respects the order of the
        narrative material he has taken from Matthew, then (1) any defects in order
        of Luke's wisdom material, as compared to Matthew, are to be attributed to
        the "wisdom" order, which will be at most an associational order, in Luke's
        source, and Luke is not to be faulted for his faithfulness to his source.
        His seeming defect as an author accordingly vanishes. This is a conclusion
        which is likely to be applauded by fans of Luke, and everybody is in some
        degree a fan of Luke.

        RON: Luke, on the other hand, does have a structure, and there are
        indications for at least some sayings why they were
        moved. For instance the saying about asking (11:9-13) is deliberately placed
        after two passages concerning prayer, and the salt saying (14:34-35) might
        have been deliberately placed next to a brief scene which mentions eating
        (15:1-2). Similarly Luke placed the saying about the greatest (22:24-27,
        with its Lukan addition "But I am among you as one who serves") within the
        passion story in order to present Jesus as the Servant who suffers (c.f. Is
        53).

        BRUCE: This is precisely what I mean by "associational" ordering, as
        distinct from the historical ordering which Luke otherwise purports to
        exhibit. Luke as it stands, especially as read by someone who knows Matthew,
        seems to hover between two genres: narrative (things in historical order),
        and wisdom (things in associational clusters). If instead the author of Luke
        is merely alternating between two sources of different genre, and doing his
        best to intercalate the one into the other, then all is well. No?

        [I should add that Ron's suggestions of how Luke might rationally be derived
        from Matthew, without the hypothesis of a separate source Q, may well be
        helpful contributions toward the World Without Q which some at least on this
        list have in mind as the right answer to the question. I don't evaluate
        those possibilities here, but I am aware of their potential].

        RON: Note that Luke's narrative context provides lots of opportunities for
        non-sequential selection of suitable sayings, and contrast this with a
        (nearly?) pure sayings source where there is little or no such context. The
        idea that Luke retained almost all of the sayings source in its original
        order is, to my mind, incredible.

        BRUCE: Well, go argue that one with the Q establishment. I do so myself, and
        I would take up some details on this list, except that the last time I
        offered to do so, no particular interest seemed to exist. Far be it from me
        to bore a large concentration of learned persons, least of all at this
        season of the year.

        Noting, in any case, the attractions of this model for framers or acceptors
        of Q, I had added:

        BRUCE: This too gives us Q, along with the additional assumption that the
        order of Q was that of Lk (otherwise the problem of order in Lk remains
        unsolved).

        RON: There you go again (though I realize you're following what many others
        have written).

        BRUCE: I am indeed; I am in part trying to inhabit the mind of Q acceptors,
        and see what is going on in there. I think that the whole enterprise rests
        on feet of something or other, but that does not mean that there is nothing
        that an approach de novo cannot use, or usefully provide for in other ways.

        RON: How on earth is a perceived problematic order solved by blaming it on
        an earlier source? Is it a case of 'Out of sight, out of mind'?

        BRUCE: Tsk. Already answered, but once again: There is no question of
        "blame," merely a question of trying to find what makes sense of the data in
        front of our noses. If the wisdom material in Lk is even in part
        associational, then to that extent it constitutes a departure from Lk's
        otherwise historical texture. That is one alternative, and it is not very
        flattering to Luke. But If the wisdom material in Lk is associational, not
        because Lk has changed his structural principle in midstream (and back
        again, over and over, like some bipolar idiot), but merely because he has
        changed his source, with a view to completeness, telling the WHOLE story of
        Jesus as best he can with the sources available to him, then our view of Lk
        as a historian is altered for the better, and our view of Lk's sanity
        (faulted already by Streeter and by others since) becomes more benign. I
        suspect that people like this, and I also suspect that their liking it is
        one of the ongoing attractions of the Q idea.

        I like it myself, but I am not prepared to stop there. The editors of the
        Critical Edition of Q have not only given a table of contents of Q as they
        see it, but also a list of Q in Matthean order. In those lists, or in the
        somewhat simpler but largely equivalent table given by Raymond Brown in his
        Introduction, one can see that some sayings or other units which are
        consecutive in Matthew have been, so to speak, broken up and rearranged in
        Q. To their credit, the Documenta Q people consider scholarly opinions, not
        only about the wording of the units they discuss, but also about their
        sequential order. If we take the Matthean and not the Lukan sequence of the
        Q material as more likely to be original (just a thought experiment), then
        we find a whole different picture in front of us; one which, like the other,
        makes sense of the material, but DIFFERENT sense of DIFFERENT PARTS of the
        material. Probably, somewhere in the gigantic Q literature, someone has
        investigated the possible implications and consequences of this. Can anyone
        here present point to such an investigation, or summarize its findings?

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
        http://www.umass.edu/wsp
      • Ron Price
        ... Bruce, I don t see how you come to this conclusion. The focus is solely on the process of giving rise to , i.e. on how the author of the later text might
        Message 3 of 18 , Dec 3, 2006
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          Bruce Brooks wrote:

          > I think the sovereign principle in directionality questions,
          > articulated by Metzger and attributed by him (perhaps a bit too generously)
          > to Griesbach, is that "that version is original which can be most readily
          > seen as giving rise to the other."
          > ...
          > [This principle] opens judgement to all the evidence

          Bruce,

          I don't see how you come to this conclusion. The focus is solely on the
          process of "giving rise to", i.e. on how the author of the later text might
          have edited the earlier text. There is no mention of assessing the
          plausibility of the behaviour of the author in producing the earlier text.
          This is why I say the principle is too narrow.

          >> If it is difficult to understand the
          >> lack of order of sayings in Luke, how much more difficult to understand the
          >> lack of order in those same sayings in the much smaller early sayings
          >> source. Would anyone have created such a mess?

          > It is a question of genre.
          > ..... Q is supposed to be a "sayings Gospel," for which one model is Thomas.
          > Thomas tells no very visible story.

          The clue is in your words "supposed to be". Q is a mess by comparison with
          GTh because (a) it contains some narratives (b) the distribution of these
          narratives is peculiarly skewed (c) it contains some words attributed to
          John the Baptist. It is indeed a question of genre, and if one looks at the
          contents of Q in an investigative rather than a defensive manner, it will be
          seen that Q doesn't fit any known genre, despite Kloppenborg's strenuous
          attempts to prove otherwise. Q is an oddity. No person in their right mind
          could have produced such an inconsistent mess. When will the NT world wake
          up to this?

          > ..... But if Luke is
          > NOT using Matthew, but is INSTEAD respecting the order of a wisdom or
          > Sayings source for this material, just as he respects the order of the
          > narrative material he has taken from Matthew,

          Presumably you mean Mark.
          You're not making sufficient allowance for the difference between narrative
          and sayings. The order of the former was often constrained by the logic of
          the overall story. Matthew and Luke were both free to make many changes to
          the order of the sayings without thereby showing any disrespect.

          > ..... any defects in order of Luke's wisdom material, as compared to
          > Matthew, are to be attributed to the "wisdom" order,

          Or it could be that the subtlety of Luke's editorial endeavours is beyond
          the comprehension of modern commentators. Why are they so sure of
          themselves? Luke's skill has been vastly underestimated.

          > which will be at most an associational order,

          If you mean 'the wisdom material will only be ordered by word associations
          between adjacent sayings', then I don't agree. In my reconstruction of the
          sayings source there are 46 other links (including seven in a recent
          discovery of one-to-one links between the blessings and the woes), plus a
          clear division into four sections, two of which are each clearly divided
          into two equal halves.

          > ..... Luke is not to be faulted for his faithfulness to his source.

          This is a widely held scholarly assumption. However it is untrue. For
          instance, scholars arguably only reject Lk 10:5b and 10:23 because they make
          this very assumption.

          > ..... everybody is in some degree a fan of Luke.

          Yes. But why? It's in part because he rejected sayings such as Mt 6:7; 7:6;
          10:5b and 10:23, and in two other cases replaced "Gentiles" by a euphemism
          to avoid a slur. Basically Luke is attractive to Gentiles because he tends
          to remove the evidence of authentic pro-Jewish attitudes (which we should
          naturally expect from the original disciples), to play down apocalyptic
          fervour (unpalatable to most Christians from Luke's time onwards), and to
          introduce nice little stories like the Good Samaritan which praises a
          non-Jew.

          > Luke as it stands, especially as read by someone who knows Matthew,
          > seems to hover between two genres: narrative (things in historical order),
          > and wisdom (things in associational clusters). If instead the author of Luke
          > is merely alternating between two sources of different genre, and doing his
          > best to intercalate the one into the other, then all is well. No?

          He was indeed doing his best at intercalation. Unfortunately NT scholarship
          on the whole seriously underestimates the freedom which Luke exercised in
          reordering his sayings source and in creating new parables.

          > ..... I am in part trying to inhabit the mind of Q acceptors,
          > and see what is going on in there. I think that the whole enterprise rests
          > on feet of something or other, but that does not mean that there is nothing
          > that an approach de novo cannot use, or usefully provide for in other ways.

          This is exactly what I've done (my new approach salvaging the majority of
          Q), and what Farrer supporters have conspicuously avoided doing.

          > If the wisdom material in Lk is even in part
          > associational, then to that extent it constitutes a departure from Lk's
          > otherwise historical texture. That is one alternative, and it is not very
          > flattering to Luke. But If the wisdom material in Lk is associational, not
          > because Lk has changed his structural principle in midstream (and back
          > again, over and over, like some bipolar idiot),

          Again I think you underestimate Luke's flexibility. He was extremely skilled
          in several aspects of literature. He could even imitate the style of others,
          whether Hebraic, Septuagintal or formal. There's no reason why he shouldn't
          have made use of association, and I referred to least one example (the theme
          of prayer in Lk 11:2-4; 5-8; 9-13). In any case Luke's "historical texture"
          was somewhat stretched in the artificial 'journey to Jerusalem'.

          > If we take the Matthean and not the Lukan sequence of the
          > Q material as more likely to be original (just a thought experiment), then
          > we find a whole different picture in front of us; one which, like the other,
          > makes sense of the material, but DIFFERENT sense of DIFFERENT PARTS of the
          > material. Probably, somewhere in the gigantic Q literature, someone has
          > investigated the possible implications and consequences of this. Can anyone
          > here present point to such an investigation, or summarize its findings?

          My Web site contains the detailed results of an investigation which adopts
          this as well as other revolutionary approaches. The resulting proposed order
          of the original sayings in relation to their positions in the synoptics can
          best be seen on the following page:

          http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_sQsQ.html

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        • Ron Price
          ... Chuck, That s a fair question. Firstly compared to the nearest documents: the synoptic gospels, all of which have a definite structure and a story line
          Message 4 of 18 , Dec 4, 2006
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            Chuck Jones wrote:

            > Q is a mess compared to what?

            Chuck,

            That's a fair question.

            Firstly compared to the nearest documents: the synoptic gospels, all of
            which have a definite structure and a story line which develops logically
            from a dramatically sensible start to a dramatically sensible end.

            Secondly compared to what are perhaps the theologically closest collections
            of sayings/poetry: the psalms, the proverbs and GTh. All three of these
            appear to exhibit a remarkable uniformity of style. I would expect any
            sayings collection produced by the earliest followers of Jesus to have had
            at least this degree of stylistic uniformity.

            > It seems to me that a natural trajectory of gathering and retaining memories
            > from the career of Jesus would be something like (1) the community told,
            > retold and created stories about the sayings and deeds of Jesus, (2) they
            > began to write the stories down, (3) the stories were gathered into
            > collections, (4) at some point those collections were arranged thematically,
            > and then (4), evidently with Mark, they were arranged into a career/life-of
            > narrative framework.
            >
            > If Mt and Lk drew from a document produced at stage (3), is it fair to call
            > that document a mess?

            I'm not happy with your trajectory, for it seems to me to demand a leisurely
            timescale which would not fit into the time available. Don't forget that
            Paul had met Peter, and Mark was probably written less than ten years after
            Paul's death. Another problem is that the death and destruction associated
            with the Jewish rebellion would have cut across any chain of oral tradition.
            Finally another barrier becomes apparent when we take together the fact that
            Paul showed relatively little interest in the sayings of Jesus, and the fact
            that Pauline Christianity rapidly became the norm. It seems to me that the
            only way a large number of Jesus' sayings could have been reliably
            transmitted to posterity is if the twelve committed them to writing before
            ca. 60 CE whilst Jerusalem was at peace (which indeed is just what I am
            proposing). Furthermore I would expect them to put in the requisite
            expertise and effort to make a good job of it right from the start, once
            they had decided that Jesus' return was not quite so imminent as to make the
            job pointless.

            Ron Price

            Derbyshire, UK

            Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
          • Chuck Jones
            Ron, My reconstruction implies no particular elapsed time. In fact a compressed time frame would make it more likely that Mt and Lk would have a stage 3
            Message 5 of 18 , Dec 5, 2006
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              Ron,

              My reconstruction implies no particular elapsed time. In fact a compressed time frame would make it more likely that Mt and Lk would have a stage 3 document (collected sayings that had not been placed into any thematic order) at their disposal.

              Chuck

              Rev. Chuck Jones
              Atlanta, Georgia

              Chuck Jones wrote:

              > It seems to me that a natural trajectory of gathering and retaining memories
              > from the career of Jesus would be something like (1) the community told,
              > retold and created stories about the sayings and deeds of Jesus, (2) they
              > began to write the stories down, (3) the stories were gathered into
              > collections, (4) at some point those collections were arranged thematically,
              > and then (4), evidently with Mark, they were arranged into a career/life-of
              > narrative framework.
              >
              > If Mt and Lk drew from a document produced at stage (3), is it fair to call
              > that document a mess?

              Bruce replied:
              I'm not happy with your trajectory, for it seems to me to demand a leisurely
              timescale which would not fit into the time available. Don't forget that
              Paul had met Peter, and Mark was probably written less than ten years after
              Paul's death. Another problem is that the death and destruction associated
              with the Jewish rebellion would have cut across any chain of oral tradition.
              Finally another barrier becomes apparent when we take together the fact that
              Paul showed relatively little interest in the sayings of Jesus, and the fact
              that Pauline Christianity rapidly became the norm. It seems to me that the
              only way a large number of Jesus' sayings could have been reliably
              transmitted to posterity is if the twelve committed them to writing before
              ca. 60 CE whilst Jerusalem was at peace (which indeed is just what I am
              proposing). Furthermore I would expect them to put in the requisite
              expertise and effort to make a good job of it right from the start, once
              they had decided that Jesus' return was not quite so imminent as to make the
              job pointless.



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