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Further on the 3ST (Section A)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic With: Further on the 3ST (Section A) From: Bruce Myself, I am at this moment neither sold on 3ST nor do I refuse to consider it. While reserving
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 24, 2007
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      To: Synoptic
      With: Further on the 3ST (Section A)
      From: Bruce

      Myself, I am at this moment neither sold on 3ST nor do I refuse to consider
      it. While reserving any final judgement, I think it has some interesting
      features that deserve a careful look. One attractive point for me is that,
      as reconstructed, conjectural text P really is a sayings gospel, not a
      narrative in disguise (like Q). Another is that, again as reconstructed, it
      has a form of its own: not only is the material distributed into four
      topical groups, but the groups have definite lengths (of 22, 14, 22, and 14
      sayings; too bad they weren't all 14, or we could invoke the principle of
      Luke's Genealogy as having something to do with its design). Moreover, they
      are pervasively linked by thematic pairings. Now, anybody can arrange a
      random pile of sayings into topical groups, and exercising the privilege of
      choice, can wind up with groupings of seemingly intentional size, and only
      ingenuity is required to see thematic links of some sort between them. So
      this result isn't of itself decisive, but it is nevertheless appealing and
      suggestive. By way of following up one suggestion, I here take a further
      look at the principle of pairing in Group A:

      First, here is the inventory of Group A as most recently corrected:

      REVISED INVENTORY

      A: Entering the Kingdom
      Mark Matthew Luke Saying / internal links

      1. ----- 5:3-8,11-12 6:20-23 7 Beatitudes / earth
      2. 9:50a 5:13 14:34-35 Salt / earth; influence others
      3. 4:21 5:15 11:33 Light lamp / influence others
      4. (13:31) 5:18 16:17 Law / God's law persists
      5. ----- 5:25-26 12:58-59 Your accuser / God's law persists
      6. 9:43,47 5:30,29 ----- Hand/eye / separation
      7. 10:11 5:32 16:18 Divorce / separation
      8. ----- 5:39-48 6:27-30,32-36 Love enemies -
      9. ----- 15:14 6:39 Blind guide / guidance
      10 ----- 10:24-25 6:40 Teacher/disciple guidance
      11 10:15 18:3 ----- Be like child / enter K of G
      12 10:25 ----- ----- Eye of needle / enter K of G
      13 ----- 7:3-5 6:41-42 Speck/plank / criticize others
      14 (4:24) 7:1-2 6:37-8 Judge/measure / criticize others
      15 ----- 7:6 ----- Pearls/swine / do not...
      16 ----- 7:13-14 13:24 Two gates -
      17 ----- 7:15-20 6:43-44 Good tree / good & evil
      18 ----- 12:34-35 6:45 Good treasure / good & evil
      19 (11:24) 7:7-11 11:9-13 Ask / good & evil
      20 ----- 7:12 6:31 Golden rule / do
      21 ----- 7:21-23 6:46;13:26-27 I never knew you / do; everyone
      22 ----- 7:24-27 6:47-49 Rock/sand / do; everyone

      OBSERVATIONS:

      1. The first saying is actually 7 sayings, grouped as "Beatitudes." If they
      were counted separately, they would bring the section total to 28, or twice
      14. Might this be a useful emendation? The alternation of 22 and 14 leaves
      me somewhat cold, but 28 and 14 (or 14 and its double) might have something
      going for it.

      The following suggestions seem to be in the opposite direction, but not
      really.

      2. We could also make a case for eliminating the Beatitudes from P. And why?
      Because, if considered as a single passage, it falls outside the pairing
      pattern which is otherwise common in the section. It is the 2nd/3rd sayings
      in the list that are linked by "influence others," and the 4th/5th that are
      linked by "God's law persists." Saying A1 has no pair in the system unless
      (with the author of P) we recognize an overlapping link based on "earth."
      Overlapping links are not the usual way of texts which use pairing as a
      formal device. I would end by suggesting that we remove saying 1, and see
      what happens.

      3. The next problem with the rhythm of the pairing occurs at saying A8,
      summarized as "love your enemies," but actually a very long segment, the end
      of Mt 7. As I see it, this piece is too long to be fairly epitomized by any
      one phrase, as might have been said also of saying 1. Pieces this long are
      not really well described as paired sayings. If we are to follow further in
      the indicated line of reasoning, then, we might try eliminating it also from
      source P. We now have 20 sayings left in section A.

      4. If we think of Matthew writing his Sermon on Mount, and deriving it
      chiefly from source P, it is something of a wonder that he skips over
      sayings 9-12, which stand in P after the material used by Mt in his chapter
      5, and then resumes with sayings 13-14 (in reverse order, but it should be
      no problem to make the order of P agree with that of Mt) and following, for
      his Chapter 7. We still have the problem of Chapter 6, but let's ignore that
      for the moment. Mt's scenario for the Sermon as derived from P would (as it
      seems to me) be easier of A9-12 were absent. Moreover, the second pair,
      A11-12, might perhaps be no less well accommodated in section D of source P,
      which is about hindrances to the Kingdom. If we try the experiment of
      eliminating these four from section A, we are left with 16 sayings.

      5. The next problem (as viewed from here) would be with saying 18, which
      like 9-12 was ignored by aMt in constructing his Sermon on Mount. Suppose we
      eliminate it. Note that in doing so, we remove another and independent
      anomaly: in the present section A there are three sayings, not two, linked
      by the "good & evil" motif. Eliminating saying 18 leaves us with two, which
      is overwhelmingly the formal precedent set by the rest of the section.

      6. Another anomaly of sayings linked in a group of 3 rather than 2 occurs at
      A20-22, all with the link "do." Of the three, there are two (sayings 21-22)
      which are linked by "everyone," so that if this group of three is to be
      reduced to two, as the formal protocol might suggest, we would then retain
      sayings 21-22 and eliminate 20.

      7. All this is apt to seem very damaging to the hypothesis. But I wish to
      note that there are compensating advantages. By definition, all anomalous
      triplets are gone from section A, and we have only duplets. Additionally,
      again by definition, the composition scenario for the Sermon on the Mount is
      greatly
      simplified, and simplicity has its attractions.

      To refer to other perhaps useful results, I must repeat the above list, this
      time eliminating the proposed extraneous passages. I eliminate links which
      are no longer functional:

      A: Entering the Kingdom
      Mark Matthew Luke Saying / internal links

      2. 9:50a 5:13 14:34-35 Salt / influence others
      3. 4:21 5:15 11:33 Light lamp / influence others

      4. (13:31) 5:18 16:17 Law / God's law persists
      5. ----- 5:25-26 12:58-59 Your accuser / God's law persists

      6. 9:43,47 5:30,29 ----- Hand/eye / separation
      7. 10:11 5:32 16:18 Divorce / separation

      13 ----- 7:3-5 6:41-42 Speck/plank / criticize others
      14 (4:24) 7:1-2 6:37-8 Judge/measure / criticize others

      15 ----- 7:6 ----- Pearls/swine / do not...
      16 ----- 7:13-14 13:24 Two gates -

      17 ----- 7:15-20 6:43-44 Good tree / good & evil
      19 (11:24) 7:7-11 11:9-13 Ask / good & evil

      21 ----- 7:21-23 6:46;13:26-27 I never knew you / everyone
      22 ----- 7:24-27 6:47-49 Rock/sand / everyone

      8. First, the pairing pattern is perfectly consistent, as was not true of
      the previous P.

      9. Second, the revised section A now includes 14 sayings, like sections B
      and D. Again, greater formal consistency seems to have been achieved by the
      changes proposed above. These are formal advantages in addition to those
      previously noted, and tend to support the initial suggestion.

      10. Matthew's composition process will need to find the Golden Rule
      elsewhere. My suggestion is that he found it in the marketplace; this is an
      old Chinese maxim of very wide circulation, first heard of in China in the
      05th century, and long nativized in the eastern Mediterranean. We do not
      need to posit some outside written source for it, the streets of Antioch
      will have served equally well.

      11. So also the Beatitudes, which might seem to be crucial to the Sermon. In
      modern ears, they doubtless ARE crucial, but modern ears do not count. What
      counts is earlier ears. Those earlier ears might well have recognized the
      Beatitudes from church, just like ourselves; they would have been familiar
      by contact (not by reading them in a book) to Mt's audience, and thus would
      have made a good way to open the Sermon: a proposition which is already
      accepted by its hearers. I don't see a rhetorical problem here; if anything,
      I see an intelligible rhetorical strategy.

      REFLECTION

      12. It is noticeable that in the revised P (section A), the proportion of
      material with Markan parallels increases. When the devotees of Q, having
      DEFINED their test as consisting of what is common to Mt/Lk but absent in
      Mk, then proceed to discuss "Mk/Q overlap," I mentally consign them to
      philology's wastebasket. If that is their consistency, I do not need to hear
      more of the argument. But an outside source need not be so defined, and it
      is in any case just a little bit strange that if a body of Jesus sayings had
      reached the point of being codified in a highly structured text, Mark would
      not have heard of it - not the text, and also, and more surprisingly, not of
      any of the material on which the text drew. So if we avoid defining P in the
      first instance as material absent from Mk, we may actually be in a better
      position. The P material (if independently defined or derived) might easily
      occur, at least recognizably, at some points in Mk.

      At least as I see it, then, this increased Mk pattern is not at all fatal to
      the P theory. Taking the above revision of section A as a basis, it might
      next be interesting to see what differences there might be between Mt's
      treatment of Mk material, and of material used also in Mk but which Mt took
      instead from P. This is
      somewhat analogous, is it not? to the experiment recently reported by Ron:
      an attempt to distinguish between material Lk gets from Mt, and material he
      gets from Mt's source, P.

      Or maybe not, but at any rate, that is where I get as of this moment.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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