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P and Q

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: GPG Cc: Synoptic On: [Ron Price s] P and [Everybody s] Q From: Bruce It has long seemed to me (and I say this despite the endpaper manuscript facsimiles
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 22, 2007
      To: GPG
      Cc: Synoptic
      On: [Ron Price's] P and [Everybody's] Q
      From: Bruce

      It has long seemed to me (and I say this despite the endpaper manuscript
      facsimiles which reify Q in its Hermeneia version) that Q as it stands - or
      lurches, since its defenders exhibit a truly remarkable ability to
      temporarily redefine Q at any point which has been successfully challenged -
      is indefensible. But this is not to say that there is nothing there at all,
      or that Synoptic theory is best off without *some* additional elements
      besides the Synoptics themselves. If there existed a now lost source prior
      to both Mt and Lk, however, it seems to me that it will need to be defined
      ab initio in a different way than Q, and defined on criteria both internally
      consistent and externally plausible. Among other things, that better theory,
      as it seems to me, must either embrace or openly abandon the "sayings
      source" notion, which is one of the appeals of Q to the Q laity, but which
      has long been violated by the framers of Q.

      It seems to me that something like this sort of alternative to Q is what Ron
      Price has come up with. His "P" is consistently a sayings source (it
      eliminates the John B material which is most frequently acknowledged, by
      votaries of Q, to be a weak spot in Q). It has a structural logic of its
      own, largely thematic (which any modern thinker might excogitate) but making
      considerable use of sayings parallelism, a device not uncommon in ancient
      texts and thus promising in itself. P has a basis in what we can directly
      observe in the Synoptics and in their pattern of interrelationships. I have
      earlier ventured to question some of its details, and to doubt that Ron's
      recent argument from string length really adds to the support for P. But I
      think the field can only benefit from further discussion, of this and like
      options.

      I add a few tiny points by way of suggesting what seem to me might be
      fruitful lines of discussion.

      PRIORITY

      To my eye, the most cogent of recent arguments in favor of Q - and they do
      not necessarily support Q as the IQP folks know it - is that in certain
      material common to Mt and Lk but absent from Mk, it is not consistently
      either Mt or Lk *but now one and now the other,* which seems to be
      developmentally prior. It is this kind of situation which can responsibly
      lead to the positing of a third source differently used by both extant
      texts. Ron's recent argument has focused on cases where, as he sees it, Lk
      has differently treated the P material when accessing it directly, and when
      accessing it via its translated version in Mt. Ron's argument is based on
      strings of *identical* wording between Mt and Lk. My own instinct is that it
      is in the *nonidentical* wording of these same passages that any evidence
      for directionality is going to be found. Identity merely proves literary
      relationship. It cannot of itself establish textual directionality. Ron's
      presumption, given that he finds Lk to be after Mt and to have used Mt, must
      be that in Matthean context Lk is always secondary to Mt, and that it is
      only where Lk directly taps Mt's source P that a Lukan passage might seem to
      be anterior to the parallel Matthean version. That possibility might be
      worth checking systematically.

      SERMON ON THE SOMETHING

      The SM (Luke's SP), at least from January through November, is the most
      beloved of NT passages, and also the one in connection with which there
      arise some of the most vehement arguments in favor of Q (as versus a theory
      of undiluted Markan priority). It is thus automatically of interest to ask
      how SM/P fares in the proposed P. For reference,

      Sermon on the Mount = Mt 5-7
      Sermon on the Plain = Lk 6:20-49

      A point of immediate interest is: does this material stand associated in P?
      The answer is that much of Mt's SM, and in Matthean order, is found in the
      "A" section of source P, and makes up the majority of that section. The
      differences are two: (a) some of the Matthean SM is omitted (eg, from the
      Beatitudes, those on the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, etc), which
      has the result of attributing these portions of SM to Matthean expansion of
      P, and leaving the rest near to the counterpart Lukan form of the Sermon.
      This is one of the places most often cited in support of Lukan priority in
      the Double Tradition, and the P theory would seem to recognize that
      argument. (b) The SM part of section "A" of source P is interspersed with
      material standing later in Mt, eg 15:14 on blind guides, 10:24f on teachers
      and disciples, and 18:3 of childlikeness, these being followed by a passage
      with no Matthean counterpart but represented among the Synoptics only in Mk
      10:25, which is linked to the preceding (in P) by the theme of entry into
      the Kingdom of God.

      These conclusions as to the content and order of P entail the corollary that
      Mt has broken up and redistributed the Sermon as he found it in his source.
      I suspect that not all readers will find these modifications convincing, and
      that some will respond to them as Streeter did to the notion that Luke had
      broken up and redistributed the Sermon as he found it in Mt. I doubt,
      myself, that the Sermon in any form has any real rhetorical integrity, and
      suspect that it was assembled, by whomever, from materials originally
      separate from each other, merely in order to have a connected discourse of
      Jesus, rather than the bits and snippets which the Gospels otherwise present
      to us as representing Jesus's teachings.

      LORD'S PRAYER

      Mt 6:9-15 || Lk 11:2-4

      Another Q discussion crux, and one in which again the Lukan version of
      common matter is often judged to be prior to the Matthean version, is the
      Lord's Prayer. One problem for modern persons is that so many of them have
      from childhood been accustomed to the Matthean version; it is hard-wired in
      most people who consider NT matters at all. But for those considering the LP
      on its philological merits, a good case can be made that the Matthean
      version is an ecclesiastical expansion and indeed a commentary on the Lukan
      version. Why it is not then routinely inferred that both aMt and aLk got it
      from their own kindergarten exposure to it as members of the community of
      the early faithful, and not from some written source which it is then
      necessary to posit and to publish complete with endpapers, entirely escapes
      me.

      In any case, what does P do with the LP? Seemingly it omits it. Portions of
      Mt 6 are found not in "A" (the SM context) but in sections "C" and "D" of
      the P construct, largely (I assume) on thematic grounds. Up to a point, I am
      inclined to agree with this; it seems to me, on merely intuitive grounds,
      that the LP is an unlikely item in a general ethical sermon, and that Mt was
      wrong to bundle it into his general ethical sermon.

      As for the antiquity of the LP, I think it probably has none, but that the
      LP arose in post-Crucifixion early Church practice, along with many usages
      which, at least as I see it, were taken over from, or reintroduced from, the
      practice of the much better established believer community of John. If the
      SM/SP is to be distinguished rhetorically from a catechism, or from such
      instruction of converts as we see in the Didache, then it or its more
      plausible future revised version will probably have to avoid including the
      LP. In this matter too, Luke (who locates the LP elsewhere) may be in the
      right. This would be a point also in favor of the P hypothesis.

      It occurs to me in this connection that (1) it would be interesting to see
      how much the P hypothesis regards Mt 6 as having drawn from P, and how much
      from other places, and in general, what is the compositional logic of Mt 6.
      And that (2) there is no time to pursue such matters in the present note,
      which accordingly I will end at this point.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts
    • Ron Price
      ... Bruce, Many thanks for inadvertently bringing my attention to an error on my Web site. My reference there for Matthew s beatitudes is Mt 5:3-4,6,11-12.
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 22, 2007
        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > Sermon on the Mount = Mt 5-7
        > Sermon on the Plain = Lk 6:20-49
        >
        > A point of immediate interest is: does this material stand associated in P?
        > The answer is that much of Mt's SM, and in Matthean order, is found in the
        > "A" section of source P, and makes up the majority of that section. The
        > differences are two: (a) some of the Matthean SM is omitted (eg, from the
        > Beatitudes, those on the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, etc), which
        > has the result of attributing these portions of SM to Matthean expansion of
        > P, and leaving the rest near to the counterpart Lukan form of the Sermon.

        Bruce,

        Many thanks for inadvertently bringing my attention to an error on my Web
        site. My reference there for Matthew's beatitudes is Mt 5:3-4,6,11-12. This
        refers to a much earlier version of my reconstruction. It should read Mt
        5:3-8,11-12. In other words I believe that to match the 7 woes there were 7
        beatitudes in the logia (or "P" if you prefer), including those concerning
        the meek, the merciful and the pure in heart. My English language
        reconstruction does include the 7 beatitudes.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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