Re: [Synoptic-L] Alternating Primitivity
- To: Synoptic
In Response To: Ron Price
On: Alternating Primitivity [Mt/Lk]
Chuck Jones has given a quick first impression of Ron's list of twelve
examples of Lk > Mt directionality (as I should prefer to call it; the term
"primitivity" seems to me to claim too much, since both of two related items
may easily be late, and thus not primitive in the usual sense of
"primitive"). Chuck's impression, if I read him correctly, was that some of
the examples seem to him to go in one way, and some in another. That is, the
list as a whole does not seem to him to be conclusive for either Mt > Lk or
for Lk > Mt.
In the field in which I work (classical Sinology), we have many examples of
related texts whose history is pretty much known, and whose directionality
is thus a given. These make excellent practice material. The task is to
compare *every* detail of both, and assess the directionality of that
detail, and at the end of the afternoon (some of these things are more than
a page long), sum up the tendency of the assessments.
The results, if I may be candid, are usually sobering for anyone who begins
the afternoon thinking themselves pretty good at directionality
determinations. Out of 53 points where an assessment is possible, 32 might
point in one direction, and 21 in the other. The catch is that, in the
nature of the case, one of these groups represents errors of determination.
It is the expert who can hope to have 32 right; the beginner may easily wind
up with 32 wrong.
So one tries to get better at it, and the years pass. One thing the years
teach is that it is extremely difficult, even for a moderately experienced
hand, to inhabit, and report, the predilections and authorial strategies of
someone long dead, operating in a culture also long dead, and with a purpose
about which nothing is known at the outset, and which can itself only be
glimpsed through the material in question, with all the dangers of
circularity which that situation presents. It is these authorial inscenation
attempts about which (as it seems to me) it can be not too unfairly said
that they are, in the common term, "reversible," meaning that a plausible
argument can be made for the opposite direction. Obviously, one of the pair
of arguments must be wrong (if the pieces are related in this way, then
there IS a directionality), but which is wrong is not always easy to tell
from the outside.
Non numerantur sed ponderantur. One therefore learns to put weight, not on
inscenation exercises, but on such stronger cases as may happen to be
available. Among these would be (a) framing material from one imported,
incongruously, into the other; (b) words in the first text misread by the
author of the second; and (c) originally consistent details adapted, but
inconsistently, into the second author's context. That is, one looks for
literary failures, not literary successes. They are higher yield material.
The bulk of the differences between two related texts are in most cases not
of this type; they are what I would call directional small change. With
Chuck's perhaps implicit concurrence, I might be inclined to say that Ron's
Twelve are also pretty much directional small change, in that if we suddenly
WERE TOLD which way the relationship ran, we could probably live with the
resulting verdict about the ones where we had initially inclined to the
Just a few remarks in passing about the Twelve:
Lk 6:39 (the blind leading the blind). The Mt/Lk versions are from different
areas of the respective Gospels; that is, they are skew parallels. The
difference of placement must be considered along with the difference in
Lk 10:4 and 5 (instructions to missionaries). These were extensively
discussed earlier on Synoptic. My own sense is that Lk makes the
instructions to the disciples too consistently austere for practicality. My
standard of comparison is of course the Markan parallel, which surely needs
to be considered here. So does the skewness of the Lukan member. Suppose we
ask our students: Which represents earlier tradition, a story of Jesus
commissioning Twelve missionaries, or a story of Jesus commissioning Seventy
missionaries? I think that we will mostly be inclined to favor those
students who answer, The Twelve. No?
Lk 11:30 (the Sign of Jonah). Mt can be said to spell out the "three days
and three nights" implication of the Sign, making clearer that Jesus here
refers to his later Resurrection after three days. And Lk can be said to
underline the relevance to the coming doom of the present generation (one of
Lk's themes, more consistently developed by Lk than in Mt, where it is also
present, is God's rejection of the "present generation"). Is it likelier
that a second writer would make the content of the reference clearer, or
that he would make the application of the reference clearer? I do not think
that any general principle exists here, and I am content to take whichever
answer is indicated by such stronger directionality evidence as may exist.
Lk 11:44 (woe to Pharisees). Mt has a very sonorous denunciation of
Pharisees in general, without notable narrative setting. Lk blends that
denunciation into an account of a particular Pharisee occasion. On how many
occasions, outside of Luke, does Jesus accept the hospitality of Pharisees?
I think the answer is, Zero. Then the story as set in Luke may involve Lukan
agendas, which may be of more consequence to directionality decisions than
the wording of any one passage in the story.
Lk 12:8 ("he who acknowledges Me"). "I" (Mt) vs "Son of Man" (Lk). The whole
Son of Man question, and the different spin which Mk, Mt, and Lk give to it
(and the contexts in which they use it at all). "My Father" (Mt) vs "angels
of God" (Lk). Is it a coincidence that Mt alone speaks of the Father, and Lk
alone speaks of the Son? I would guess not, and would put this case in the
same rather indeterminate "authorial preference" category as Lk 11:30.
Lk 12:11 ("and when they bring you"). Clearly a prediction of future
persecutions of the believers. Lk is more detailed about the tribunals,
mentioning "synagogues and rulers and authorities." I am not sure that we
know enough about 1c history, independently of such passages as this, to say
whether (eg) the "synagogues" reference is early or late. And even if we
did, what is to prevent Mt being general, and Lk specific, about the same
known history of persecutions? I would class this one as indeterminate: the
kind of thing on which any facts we discover elsewhere will shed light, but
not itself an unambiguous source of light about Gospel relationships.
Lk 12:24 ("consider the ravens"). Mt has less specifically "birds of the
air." See above comment; I find no general rule of directionality as between
general and specific. Poetic license.
Lk 13:20 (parable of the leaven). Kingdom of Heaven (Mt) vs Kingdom of God
(Lk). Mt often, but not invariably, has Kingdom of Heaven. He did not get
this from Mk, who invariably has Kingdom of God. Lk follows Mk's vocabulary
(if not always his text) in having always Kingdom of God. Then all instances
of "Kingdom of God" in Mt need scrutiny as exceptions, and thus as locally
conditioned. This passage is not such an instance, and I consider the
difference in 31:20 to be respectively typical of the two writers.
Indeterminate at best.
Lk 14:35 (salt losing its savor). The Markan member must also be considered;
no judgement based only on the Mt/Lk differences can be final. Postponed
until a later occasion.
Lk 17:6 (moving the sycamine tree). Mt has "mountain," Lk has "sycamine
tree." Of interest also is the fact that Lk's minimally animate tree "will
obey you," whereas the inert Matthean mountain "will move," not necessarily
implying volition in the mountain. The Mt version is a nature miracle, the
Lk one is closer to the empathy miracles of Jesus. Do these Evangelists have
a generally different theory of command miracles? I haven't taken the time
this morning to find out. What I suggest meanwhile is that in addition to Mt
17:20, we also need to dial in Mt 21:21 (which has a tree *plus* a
mountain). The general question of Matthean doublets also needs to be looked
at, sometime. Perhaps in light of that larger question, this smaller
question will become more obviously decidable. Best postponed.
Lk 17:24 (the lightning flashing). Mt has "comes from the east and shines as
far as the west." That is poetic enough, but it leaves out of account cases
where one has a thunderstorm in the west; are such events not to be
comprehended in this comparison? Lk (as I would imagine) remedies this
defect, if such he regarded it, and I repeat that these argument from inside
the head of an Evangelist tend to be perilous, by having his lightning light
up the whole sky at once, wherever it may have started from. Literarily, at
least to my reading eye, Lk is superior (if not more meteorologically
accurate). Some would say that this makes it better, and thus earlier. My
own experience is that later versions often improve, or attempt to improve,
on earlier ones. I would consider Lk's lightning a case of successful
improvement. But that judgement is subject to the literary taste of a modern
observer, and I wouldn't give it more weight than any hard evidence for
directionality that may happen to be available.
In sum, I think that some of these cases need to be considered in larger
context before anything firm can be safely gotten out of them, and that some
of the others are indeterminate or weak. I may have missed it (like Chuck, I
here report only a cursory inspection), but I don't see a strong indicator
in the lot. Among the weak indicators, I find, if anything, a tendency
toward a Mt > Lk solution.
But I am willing to see any one or several of them argued in detail as
instances of Lk > Mt.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
While I've not read the book backing up the quote you share with us, I do have the strong reaction: of course it is two versions of the same parable. It simply contains significant insertions. Take out the insertions (which are clumsy) and the core story is there.
It is rare for synoptic writers to take this much liberty with a source, but not unprecedented. I think of Lk's extensive reworking of Mk's story of the rejection in Nazareth.
What Mt's version has in common with Lk's Nazareth passage is that both have been reworked *to advance the theological aims of the author/editors.* Mt has clearly turned this story into a pointed rebuke of the rejection by Jewish individuals of the message of the Jesus followers. And their punishment has been the destruction of their city. Likewise, the epilogue about dressing properly for the banquet refers to the focus on righteousness that pervades Mt, most notably in the SoM.
Rev. Chuck Jones
Bruce wrote concerning the parable of the Great Banquet: I quote the introductory paragraph from
Klyne Snodgrass's new book on the Parables (which references GThos 64 as a
"Whether the accounts of this parable - Matthew on one hand and Luke/GosThom
on the other - are two versions of the same parable or two separate parables
is debatable, and therefore, whether the two should even be treated together
is questionable. Matthew's version is enough to make any interpreter go weak
in the knees; I consider it among the most difficult parables of all. . . .
Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Bruce Brooks was in agreement that:
> ..... the list as a whole does not seem ... to be conclusive for eitherBruce,
> Mt > Lk or for Lk > Mt.
True. For the list I gave was a list of Lukan verses, each of which
*contains* a phrase which (for CrEdQ and Fleddermann) looks to be more
likely to be the source of the Matthean equivalent. In other words, this set
of phrases (but not necessarily their contexts) seem to imply Lk --> Mt.
> Non numerantur sed ponderantur. One therefore learns to put weight, not onMark Goodacre's published arguments from "fatigue" come into this category.
> inscenation exercises, but on such stronger cases as may happen to be
> available. Among these would be (a) framing material from one imported,
> incongruously, into the other; (b) words in the first text misread by the
> author of the second; and (c) originally consistent details adapted, but
> inconsistently, into the second author's context. That is, one looks for
> literary failures, not literary successes. They are higher yield material.
The problem is that the number of pericopes in which examples can be found
is rather limited.
>The phrase I had in mind was MHTI DUNATAI TUFLOS TUFLON ODHGEIN.
> THE TWELVE
> Just a few remarks in passing about the Twelve:
> Lk 6:39 (the blind leading the blind). The Mt/Lk versions are from different
> areas of the respective Gospels; that is, they are skew parallels. The
> difference of placement must be considered along with the difference in
What you say is true, and Fleddermann does just that, arguing from the
context that Matthew removed the question format and made the saying into a
criticism of the Pharisees.
> Lk 10:4 ...The phrase here was KAI MHDENA KATA THN ODON ASPASHSQE. This seems to be
related to the ASPASASQE in Mt 10:12. It seems to me much more likely that
the latter was derived from the former (Uro & Fleddermann) rather than the
other way round (Goulder).
> and 5 (instructions to missionaries).The phrase here was LEGETE EIRHNH. The EIRHNH (as opposed to Matthew's
ASPASASQE) makes better sense of Mt 10:13 // Lk 10:6.
> These were extensivelyLooking at the rest of the saying, yes. But perhaps most commentators think
> discussed earlier on Synoptic. My own sense is that Lk makes the
> instructions to the disciples too consistently austere for practicality. My
> standard of comparison is of course the Markan parallel, which surely needs
> to be considered here.
the austerity is plausible (these folk were dedicated to their cause), and
that it's more likely that a later editor would alleviate the austerity than
introduce more austerity.
> So does the skewness of the Lukan member. Suppose weYes. But it's not quite so simple. I agree with Q scholars that to get back
> ask our students: Which represents earlier tradition, a story of Jesus
> commissioning Twelve missionaries, or a story of Jesus commissioning Seventy
> missionaries? I think that we will mostly be inclined to favor those
> students who answer, The Twelve. No?
to the original mission instructions we need to assess the texts phrase by
phrase, or perhaps even word by word. It turns out that the introduction,
with its mention of the *number* of missionaries, was probably an editorial
addition (Markan?!) to the original set of instructions (though I think the
"twelve" as recipients may have been implicit in the mind of the original
> Lk 11:30 (the Sign of Jonah).The phrase I had in mind was OUTWS ESTAI KAI O UIOS TOU ANQRWPOU TH GENEA
Most commentators seem to think that Matthew transformed this phrase into
his imaginative three days and three nights analogy. This is surely much
more likely than the opposite direction of influence.
> Lk 11:44 (woe to Pharisees).The phrase I had in mind here was TA MNHMEIA TA ADHLA. Fleddermann rightly
sees Matthew's redactional influence in the bringing together of the two
inside/outside sayings in Mt 23:25-26 and 23:27. As they are not together in
Luke, one can argue that the inside/outside purity theme in Mt 23:27 was
introduced by Matthew to replace the 'unmarked tombs'.
> Mt has a very sonorous denunciation ofYou appear to be considering the directionality of the saying as a whole.
> Pharisees in general, without notable narrative setting. Lk blends that
> denunciation into an account of a particular Pharisee occasion. On how many
> occasions, outside of Luke, does Jesus accept the hospitality of Pharisees?
> I think the answer is, Zero. Then the story as set in Luke may involve Lukan
> agendas, which may be of more consequence to directionality decisions than
> the wording of any one passage in the story.
Those of us who believe that an early sayings source lies behind the
aphorisms (which, by the way, I define as short pithy sayings) can
reconstruct an original which is partly reflected in Matt, in Luke, and even
in Mark, thus ending up with multiple directionality in a single saying.
> Lk 12:8 ("he who acknowledges Me"). "I" (Mt) vs "Son of Man" (Lk). The wholeMy phrase was indeed O UIOS TOU ANQRWPOU. The best clue we have is Mk 8:31
> Son of Man question, and the different spin which Mk, Mt, and Lk give to it
> (and the contexts in which they use it at all). "My Father" (Mt) vs "angels
> of God" (Lk). Is it a coincidence that Mt alone speaks of the Father, and Lk
> alone speaks of the Son? I would guess not, and would put this case in the
> same rather indeterminate "authorial preference" category as Lk 11:30.
// Mt 16:21, where Matthew replaces "Son of Man" by "he". On the basis of
this one example of Matthew replacing the phrase by a personal pronoun, it
seems somewhat more likely that he made a similar replacement in Mt 10:32 //
Lk 12:8 than that Luke replaced "I" by "Son of Man" for which there are no
precedents elsewhere in Luke.
> Lk 12:11My phrase was EPI TAS SUNAGWGAS.
> ("and when they bring you"). Clearly a prediction of futureMatthew's omission of "synagogues" in Mt 10:19a was probably because he had
> persecutions of the believers. Lk is more detailed about the tribunals,
> mentioning "synagogues and rulers and authorities." I am not sure that we
> know enough about 1c history, independently of such passages as this, to say
> whether (eg) the "synagogues" reference is early or late. And even if we
> did, what is to prevent Mt being general, and Lk specific, about the same
> known history of persecutions? I would class this one as indeterminate: the
> kind of thing on which any facts we discover elsewhere will shed light, but
> not itself an unambiguous source of light about Gospel relationships.
already mentioned them in 10:17. Thus both Matthew and Luke mention
synagogues in this context, and "synagogues" was probably in the original.
> Lk 12:24 ("consider the ravens"). Mt has less specifically "birds of theI beg to differ. Other things being equal I think the specific is more
> air." See above comment; I find no general rule of directionality as between
> general and specific. Poetic license.
likely to be original, especially where poetry is concerned. The specific
makes for colourfulness, and vivid poetry is more impressive than dull
> Lk 13:20 (parable of the leaven).My phrase was TINI OMOIWSW THN BASILEAN TOU QEOU.
> Kingdom of Heaven (Mt) vs Kingdom of God .....The phrase "kingdom of heaven" is exclusive to Matthew, so most commentators
consider Luke's "kingdom of God" to be original here. But what about the
question format? Goulder thinks Luke was influenced by Mk 4:30. But this
seems fanciful as (a) Luke wasn't in a 'Markan block' in Lk 13:20 and (b)
he's just written the very similar Lk 13:18. The question format in the
mustard seed's Lk 13:18 is probably original (Semitic poetic parallelism).
Therefore the question format in the similar yeast's Lk 13:20 is probably
> Lk 14:35 (salt losing its savor).My phrase was OUTE EIS GHN OUTE EIS KOPRIAN.
Again this is more specific (and poetic) than the doubtless accurate but
rather dull Matthean alternative ("anything" NRSV). The former is therefore
more likely to be original.
> The Markan member must also be considered;I agree that we should take Mark into account. There is no direct parallel
> no judgement based only on the Mt/Lk differences can be final.
to the phrase in Mark (unless we count Mk 9:50b, which looks pretty
obviously redactional). Looking elsewhere in the saying, I think the MWRANQH
("made foolish") of Mt and Lk is a nonsensical mistranslation from Aramaic,
and here Mark alone got it right with ANALON GENHTAI "lost its saltiness".
> Lk 17:6 (moving the sycamine tree).I've already commented on this, rejecting Goulder's idea that Luke had in
mind impressiveness when referring to a sycamine tree.
> ..... What I suggest meanwhile is that in addition to MtMt 21:21 is dependent on Mark, and I posit that it was Mark who first
> 17:20, we also need to dial in Mt 21:21 (which has a tree *plus* a
introduced the "mountain" into the saying on faith, using the mountain to
replace the sycamine tree. Matthew later remembered and preferred the vivid
"mountain" when editing the 'faith-can-move-a-tree' saying.
> The general question of Matthean doublets also needs to be lookedNot a bad idea! Doublets, along with Alternating Primitivity, constitute two
> at, sometime.
of the strongest arguments for the existence of an early sayings source
behind the synoptic gospels.
> Lk 17:24 (the lightning flashing).The phrase I had in mind here was OUTWS ESTAI O UIOS TOU ANQRWPOU EN TH
HMERA AUTOU, and the main choice here is between Matthew's "coming" and
Luke's "day". The former is the generic description of the expected
phenomenon. The latter is the poetic metaphor, and therefore seems more
likely to be original.
Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
- To: Synoptic
Cc: GPG, WSW
In Response To: Ron Price
On: Twelve Proposed Lk > Mt Passages (#1-2)
Thanks to Ron for clarifying just what words he has in mind. Could I however
take a moment to get the big picture in mind, before we shrink ourselves
down to the single syllable level?
Literary Question: What is the genre of the Gospels? Answer: The question is
meaningless, in the sense that we cannot label (eg) Mark as "romantic
biography" or "Greek drama" and walk away, with all Mark's features
explained for us as belonging to the special effects inventory of that
genre. The Gospels elude the "genre" question, and why? Because they are
undertaking more than one task, none of which is to entertain their readers.
Specifically: (1) They are apologias, laboring to explain the death of
Jesus. (2) They are mystifications, identifying the founder (and thus
themselves) with ever higher cosmological levels. (3) They are
legitimations, giving enabling precedents for early Christian practices and
beliefs. (4) They are homilies, addressing the needs of the faithful in
continuously threatening times, chiding their shortcomings and strengthening
their supernatural hopes. Any view of any Gospel which focuses on one of
these to the exclusion of the others contorts and violates the text. I
recommend that we not.
Historical Question: What is the big movement here? Answer: The big movement
here is the evolution of a Jewish puristic and Messianic movement, whose
political agenda was blocked once and for all by the efficient Romans, into
a personal salvation formula which by and large had appeal, not to Jews (who
preferred to remain focused on the Zion question), but to Gentiles. The
later Gospels are continually at pains (it is their fifth diagnostic
quality; for the other four, see above) to deny the early stages of this
process (eg, the Galilean churches, which from Matthew on are mentioned only
to be cursed) and on their ruins, to erect a rationale and pseudohistory for
the later stages of the process.
I think that if we do not lose sight of these basic answers, then even if we
get some of the small-change questions wrong (and at this distance in time
and taste, it will be a wonder if we do not), we will still come through the
exercise more or less OK.
CASE 1 (Lk 6:39 || Mt 15:14)
The phrase Ron had in mind was MHTI DUNATAI TUFLOS TUFLON ODHGEIN, or
"Surely the blind cannot lead the blind." I had pointed out that the Mt/Lk
passages are not from parallel passages, but from skew parallels, located in
different parts of the respective narrative sequences. Ron responds "What
you say is true, and Fleddermann does just that, arguing from the context
that Matthew removed the question format and made the saying into a
criticism of the Pharisees."
Or vice versa, and can we tell which? How important, to the later Luke, were
the factional disputes of Jesus within Judaism? A later Evangelist might
include such things our of textual inertia, or out of piety toward ancient
and venerable Mark, but they play a lesser role in the story for both
Matthew and Luke than they did for Mark. For Matthew, when you get right
down to it, Jesus died because it had long been prophesied that he would,
and indeed must; not because the affronted Pharisees plotted with Herod to
kill him. So also for Luke, if not more so. If in this particular case, Luke
has recast (and rearranged) Matthew so as to give less weight to the
factional point, and more weight to another point, what is so astonishing
Nothing; it is right in line with the general tendencies.
It remains to see if Luke has given the "blind/blind" saying any different
context. In Matthean terms, the segment of Luke containing this passage is
drawn from hither and yon in Matthew; it presents at first glance something
of the appearance of a grabbag. But it has a detectable logic. In Luke, our
passage directly follows one with Markan parallels, the "measure you give"
commercial maxim (Mk 4:24, cf Mt 7:2). Luke fills this out luxuriantly, the
"measure you get" is going to be "pressed down, shaken together, running
over." All this is in turn part of the expansion of the Golden Rule maxim,
separate in Mt but combined in Lk (at 6:31) with the "return good for evil"
maxim, which, as all Sinologists if not all seminarians know, has a
different Chinese origin than the Golden Rule proper. As to the Matthean
Golden Rule, note that it honors its immediate Jewish antecedents by echoing
the Hillel formulation ("for this is the law and the prophets"), a
rabbinical touch (and before that also a Confucian touch; see The Original
Analects, Columbia 1998, Index sv Golden Rule) which Luke, consistently with
his place in the larger Gentilizing trajectory, omits.
All right; proceeding with due deliberation, we are now at the blind leading
the blind. That remark does not seem to continue the previous Lukan text in
any obvious way, in expounding the logic of "return good for evil," an
exposition which seems to end and culminate in "judge not that ye be not
judged," another Matthean remark which Luke has pulled in from a different
context in Matthew. But so far, there is a perceptible logic to Luke's
assemblage. We may not like it better than Matthew, that is a matter of
taste (*our* taste), but it is at least possible to see that Luke is up to
*something,* and that is sufficient for present purposes. We are not, as
Streeter would have it, looking at the ravings of a madman.
OK, we begin a new section of exposition, and what is it about? Continuity
not being obvious in the previous passages, we can only look for clues at
the following passage, which is "A disciple is not above his teacher." (I
might toss in here a reference to a later Confucian philosopher, Sywndz, but
probably enough is already enough for one day, and I therefore pass it up).
This, at least if we confine ourselves geographically to the Ancient Near
East, corresponds to yet *another* part of Matthew, and either Luke is a
pile of raw materials out of which Matthew has produced an effective
sequence, or it is a redistribution of Matthean elements with a purpose
(whether or not an aesthetically successful purpose) of its own. Luke
continues with yet another relocated Matthean thought, the "speck in your
Now comes the question: Has the Lukan sequence any coherent character of its
own? I think so. In this sequence, the student without a teacher is blind;
one needs to be led by someone who knows where they are going. And when this
*is* the case, the student cannot expect to excel the teacher; but only to
get to the proper end. Getting to the right destination is 100% on the
final; there is no 105%. Students should not compete with their teacher, nor
(in the following "speck in the eye" passage) should they dispute virtue
with fellow students (this precept is also present in the Epistle of James,
to my eye a very early letter to the northern churches). None of this
material is new in the sense of not being already present in Matthew; it is
merely given a new twist by being put together in a different way. Of the
two versions, the order of Matthew has more precedents in Mark, hence that
of Luke is more of a *departure from* Markan precedent, so far as Markan
precedent obtains, and thus most intelligible as a further reworking of the
I do not see (with Fleddermann, cited by Ron, and many seem to agree) that
Matthew's application of the "blind" saying to the Pharisees is necessarily
a later use. I think it is at least as easy to see it as being detached from
the old and now obsolete sectarian squabbles of Jesus's lifetime, and
applied more generally to the instruction, and indeed the reproof, of
contemporary Christian learners.
So Fleddermann is welcome to his idea that application to the Pharisees
represents a step along the larger trajectories of Gospel development, but I
decline to join him. I think that pay dirt lies in the opposite direction.
I note in passing my suspicion that Fleddermann seems to be influenced by
Bultmann, with his pronouncement that the narrative settings of
apophthegmata (Bultmann's term) are always secondary to the sayings to which
they give context. Sometimes that happens, and I can furnish additional
examples if required, but by no means always. So Bultmann's observation
cannot be a rule, still less (under the name Formgeschichte) a discipline of
its very own. In any case, what we have here is not an uncontexted saying in
Luke given context in Matthew (à la Bultmann), but a saying which has
*different* contexts and functions in Matthew and Luke. Our task is to judge
which of those contexts might be a revision of the other. I have set forth
above the case for Lukan secondarity as I see it.I am influenced, I am free
to admit, by the overwhelming evidence for Lukan secondarity in the
surrounding material, and in the Gospel as a whole. But at minimum, I see
nothing in the "blind" saying which would refute this other evidence, and
sufficient reason to be content with the idea that Luke is here abandoning
obsolete arguments and refashioning their fragments into contemporary
CASE 2 (Lk 10:4, cf Mk 6:8-11 || Mt 10:9-14 || Lk 9:3-5)
Ron specifies Luke's KAI MHDENA KATA THN ODON ASPASHSQE ["And do not salute
anybody on the way"], and adds, "This seems to be related to the ASPASASQE
["Greet (the house)] in Mt 10:12. It seems to me much more likely that the
latter was derived from the former (Uro & Fleddermann) rather than the other
way round (Goulder).
That is not all we have to notice, and let's back up a little. The large
picture is that to the Markan Sending of the Twelve, clearly a mission to
the towns and villages of Israel, and preserved as such in Matthew (who even
rules out Samaria), Luke has added a wholly invented Sending of the Seventy,
without Gospel parallel and intrinsically implausible, symbolizing the
Mission to the Gentiles (7 and 70, in all the gospels, symbolize completion,
and specifically "all the nations"). So the real narrative parallel is the
one given above (Mk 6:8-11 ||, the Sending of the Twelve), with Lk 10:4 etc
(the Sending of the Seventy) as something of an outlier.
The immediate question is with the verb "greet, salute." Luke says that one
should not greet anyone on the road, that is, en route to one's destination
village. Why not? To avoid dilly-dallying? It's not obvious, at least not to
me. Filing that perplexity for later consideration, I turn to Matthew, where
one is *supposed* to deliver a greeting or salutation, this time not to a
person, but to a building: the house of one's host in the destination
village. My spontaneous reaction is that one should greet people, not
buildings, so again I am perplexed. But Davies and Allison explain: "the
command to 'greet' (ASPASASQE, cf Lk 10:5) a house is the idiomatic
equivalent of the commend to say, 'Peace to this house' (cf b Ta'an 20b and
see on 5:27) - although one unacquainted with the OT or Jewish tradition
might have missed this" (fn ref to Septuagint Exod 18:7, Judg 18:15).
Then the greeting in Mt is a speaking of peace, and segues naturally into
Mt's next: "and if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if
it is not worthy, let your peace return to you." That is, the "greeting" is
the actual speaking of peace, and the next lines tell what to do if that
greeting is not, so to speak, returned. I can only agree with Davies and
Allison that the whole business is too Jewish for general comprehension, and
I can readily imagine that Luke, writing for Gentiles rather than Jews, felt
the same way. He substitutes for the inscrutable phrase about greeting the
house, the actual *words* of greeting, "Whatever house you enter, first say,
'Peace be to this house.'" Thus does Luke clear up, for one audience, what
might have been clear to Matthew's quite different audience. Narrative
Luke seems however to have liked the irenic word "greet," and so used it in
a different way a little higher up in his text. To what effect? Manson has
cited 2 Kings 4:29, which orders an emissary not to greet anyone on his way,
but to proceed with all speed to his destination. This sorts well with the
urgency expressed in the introduction to this particular sequence (Lk 10:1,
"sent them on ahead of him"), and is probably what Luke had in mind. Luke
may be deJudaizing in general, but he does seem to expect his readers to
know the Septuagint. Myself, I am still working on it, with a little help
A theory of two-stage Lukan composition, which I introduced at last year's
SBL and may conceivably develop further at the coming SBL, holds that these
Lukan doublets (in this case, the highly duplicative instructions to the
Twelve and the otherwise unattested Seventy) mostly arise from following Mk
in the first stage, and Matthew (plus any remembered Mark) in the second.
That theory is most strongly supported if one member of the doublet is
indebted for its wording only to Mark (plus Luke's imagination), and if the
second member, and only the second member, is unambiguously indebted at
least at some points to Matthew. That seems to be the case here. Luke's
instructions to the Twelve vary from Mark's, but not in ways or with words
that might have been suggested by Matthew. In the Instructions to the
Seventy, Luke has chiefly cannibalized his own account of the Twelve, which
was drawn from Mark, but he also shows that this time around he knows
Matthew, and his handling of the "greeting" matter, by Gentilizing it for
his own audience, is one of the clearest of those indications. As far as
this complicated instance goes, then, and always allowing for the sometimes
inscrutable results of authorial caprice, the texts seem to behave as the
theory predicts. That is nice news for the theory.
It also adds to the theory (which is still under construction) the not very
surprising datum that the Sending of the Twelve in Luke is to be assigned to
Luke A, while the Sending of the Seventy is to be assigned to Luke B.
There are parallel texts such that one can be explained from the other, and
there are parallel texts such that neither can be satisfactorily explained
from the other, and both are better explained by some third text, if
necessarily a conjectural third text, from which both have drawn. It is
situations of the latter type which would properly give rise to a
conjectured source of the Q type. So far, meaning in these two out of Ron's
twelve examples, I don't see any indications that would require a third-text
solution. Luke is not a failed copy of Matthew. But it may plausibly be
taken as a stubbornly independent *use* of Matthew among other things, aimed
at a different audience than Matthew's, and following a somewhat different
theological and historical agenda. Luke among other things is concerned to
deJudaize Christianity, and if in the process he somewhat deJudaizes the
words that he permits to remain attributed to Jesus, well, there is not yet
any major inconsistency in that.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Copyright © 2008 by E Bruce Brooks
- Bruce Brooks wrote:
> CASE 1 (Lk 6:39 || Mt 15:14)Bruce,
> The phrase Ron had in mind was MHTI DUNATAI TUFLOS TUFLON ODHGEIN, or
> "Surely the blind cannot lead the blind." I had pointed out that the Mt/Lk
> passages are not from parallel passages, but from skew parallels, located in
> different parts of the respective narrative sequences. Ron responds "What
> you say is true, and Fleddermann does just that, arguing from the context
> that Matthew removed the question format and made the saying into a
> criticism of the Pharisees."
> Or vice versa, and can we tell which? How important, to the later Luke, were
> the factional disputes of Jesus within Judaism? A later Evangelist might
> include such things our of textual inertia, or out of piety toward ancient
> and venerable Mark, but they play a lesser role in the story for both
> Matthew and Luke than they did for Mark. For Matthew, when you get right
> down to it, Jesus died because it had long been prophesied that he would,
> and indeed must; not because the affronted Pharisees plotted with Herod to
> kill him. So also for Luke, if not more so. If in this particular case, Luke
> has recast (and rearranged) Matthew so as to give less weight to the
> factional point, and more weight to another point, what is so astonishing
> about that?
There are two factors here. Firstly because elsewhere (in 11:39ff.) Luke
retains detailed criticisms of some Jewish groups. This nullifies your
argument about Luke's supposed lack of interest in Jewish factional
disputes. Secondly because the change from a question in Luke to an
assertion in Matthew would have made Matthew's criticism of the Pharisees
more barbed, whereas the change from an assertion in Matthew to a question
in Luke would seem quite pointless.
> ..... we are now at the blind leadingQuite. Your observation matches well the hypothesis that Luke was here
> the blind. That remark does not seem to continue the previous Lukan text in
> any obvious way, .....
taking sayings from an early source and not keeping them in their original
> So Fleddermann is welcome to his idea that application to the PhariseesI don't think Fleddermann said that. In some places the trajectory is not as
> represents a step along the larger trajectories of Gospel development, but I
> decline to join him.
smooth as an idealistic view of history might suggest.
> CASE 2 (Lk 10:4, cf Mk 6:8-11 || Mt 10:9-14 || Lk 9:3-5)Bruce is not alone in wondering what this phrase meant. Most likely it
> Ron specifies Luke's KAI MHDENA KATA THN ODON ASPASHSQE ["And do not salute
> anybody on the way"], and adds, "This seems to be related to the ASPASASQE
> ["Greet (the house)] in Mt 10:12. It seems to me much more likely that the
> latter was derived from the former (Uro & Fleddermann) rather than the other
> way round (Goulder).
refers to the urgency of the mission in view of the imminent coming of the
kingdom/Son of Man. But I have an additional explanation. The editor of the
logia wanted the word "greet"/"greeting" in the instructions in order to
create a link between the corresponding sayings B4 and D4 ("... and to be
greeted with respect in the marketplaces."
> .....On the contrary, Luke's Semitic greeting "Peace ..." correctly reflects the
> I can readily imagine that Luke, writing for Gentiles rather than Jews, felt
> the same way. He substitutes for the inscrutable phrase about greeting the
> house, the actual *words* of greeting, "Whatever house you enter, first say,
> 'Peace be to this house.'" Thus does Luke clear up, for one audience, what
> might have been clear to Matthew's quite different audience. Narrative
Palestinian background of this early saying. Matthew's "Greet it", i.e. the
house or household, saves a few pen strokes but makes the next verse more
difficult to understand. My view is that Matthew's version is too obscure to
have been original.
>> ..... But it's not quiteYou misunderstand me. You insult me at the same time. I did not deny that
>> so simple. I agree with Q scholars that to get back to the original mission
>> instructions we need to assess the texts phrase by phrase, or perhaps even
>> word by word. It turns out that the introduction, with its mention of the
>> *number* of missionaries, was probably an editorial addition (Markan?!) to
>> the original set of instructions (though I think the "twelve" as recipients
>> may have been implicit in the mind of the original speaker/author)."
> If the second Sending was not conceived of by Luke (and only he *has* a
> second one) as a Sending of Seventy, but originally as a Sending of Twelve,
> as Ron seems here to imply, then surely he is seriously forgetful of what he
> has already written (and only one chapter previously, for Goodness' sake),
> and he probably needs to seek medical help. There is no point to the second
> Sending unless it be a symbolic widening of the narrower Jesus mission to
> the whole Gentile world, .....
the framework of Luke's second sending was conceived by Luke. All I was
doing here was reiterating the majority view that the original version of
the mission instructions deriving from an early source which predated the
synoptic gospels, did not include the *number* of missionaries. Of course
the number of missionaries in Lk 10 was introduced by Luke.
> and the label "seventy" (symbolically "all," andThe best MSS have "seventy-two". This was the number in the original text of
> specifically so in "nations of the world" contexts)
> ..... Ron would sacrifice it as an "editorial addition."It was part of Luke's editorial 'wraparound' to his second version of the
mission instructions, a version which was dependent on an early sayings
source. His first version in Lk 9 had been dependent on Mark. These two
dependencies happen also to be the view of the majority of scholars (though
I differ from them somewhat on the supposed contents of the sayings source).
> ..... I can't see how the passageIt is perfectly possible to conceive that Luke added his original thought to
> following is going to work, symbolically, unless it *was* his original
> thought. I thus posit that it *was* his original thought.
a kernel which he had not written himself but found in an early sayings
Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm