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Re: [Synoptic-L] Alternating Primitivity (#7-8)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Ron Price On: Alternating (MT/Lk) Primitivity #7-8 From: Bruce CASE 7 (Lk 12:11 || Mk 13:9f || Mt 10:19f, 24:9f), the
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 21, 2008
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      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG
      In Response To: Ron Price
      On: Alternating (MT/Lk) Primitivity #7-8
      From: Bruce

      CASE 7 (Lk 12:11 || Mk 13:9f || Mt 10:19f, 24:9f), the persecutions of the
      faithful; Ron's focus phrase was EPI TAS SUNAGWGAS.

      Ron [now adds]: "Matthew's omission of "synagogues" in Mt 10:19a was
      probably because he had already mentioned them in 10:17. Thus both Matthew
      and Luke mention synagogues in this context, and "synagogues" was probably
      in the original."

      Bruce: Thanks to Ron for pointing out the larger context. My way of saying
      this (I am not so far operationally convinced that Mt and Lk had a sayings
      source original) would be that both Mt and Lk have synagogues in their
      respective passages, so that both cover the same ground, and there is thus
      (contrary to my earlier and too hasty suggestion) no directionality, as
      between Mt/Lk, in the word "synagogues."

      If there is no directionality, then there is no directionality, and at least
      on these grounds, we cannot declare for either Mt > Lk or for Lk > Mt. I
      think that discussion should probably end at this point. I repeat that the
      Matthean doublets could use work, but don't propose to take up that work at
      this moment. Meanwhile, the case as cited, and as further defined by Ron,
      seems incapable of yielding a firm directionality finding.

      CASE 8 (Lk 12:22-24 || Mt 6:25-38, with emphasis on Lk's "consider the
      ravens" against Mt's less specific "birds of the air." I had said that I see
      no directionality as between general vs specific.

      Ron: I beg to differ. Other things being equal I think the specific is more
      likely to be original, especially where poetry is concerned. The specific
      makes for colourfulness, and vivid poetry is more impressive than dull
      poetry.

      Bruce: On the primacy of poetry over prose, see my preceding note. As for
      the primacy of vivid poetry over dull poetry, we are surely here on pretty
      subjective ground. And in general, it is not given that in a derivative
      sequence, later imitative poets are always either better or worse than their
      predecessors, the original poets. Instances of both can be cited by the
      handful.

      As for "other things being equal," that is not the case here. There is a
      rich variety of differences to analyze, including the fact that the full
      Lukan passage is paralleled by passages occurring at different places in
      Matthew. The relative narrative placement is also different. Somebody is
      certainly operating very actively on somebody else, and there are lots of
      places where we might seek for clues as to which is which. The item Ron (or
      his source) chooses from the passage is not necessarily the most decisive
      detail.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp
    • Dennis Dean Carpenter
      I would have to disagree with the characterization of using raven versus birds of the air is a case of poetry becoming less specific. I think the author
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 22, 2008
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        I would have to disagree with the characterization of using "raven" versus "birds of the air" is a case of poetry becoming less specific. I think the author Luke is using the imagery of the unclean raven of Leviticus, along with the apocalyptic "day of retribution" found in Isaiah 34, where only the owls, ravens, jackdaws, thorns, nettles, briers, etc, will live. The author is building in the chapter a scenario where the "Christians" will be brought up before the authorities, who might be killed, etc to say that God knows all, takes care of all, it is God's kingdom, and he even takes care of the unclean, the ravens, juxtapositioning a symbol of purity, the lily into the image to reinforce the same notion, God loving all. Then the author really goes into apocalyptic mode, telling the audience to be mindful, that this day (of retribution) will happen at some unknown moment, led by Jesus. Considering the Cynic parallels, I would consider the block historical only to the author(s).

        Had it been merely poetry that was glossed over, the imagery of lilies would have been left out, I think, and replaced by "flowers," in order to remain consistent with the hypothesis.

        Dennis Dean Carpenter
        Dahlonega, Ga.




        CASE 8 (Lk 12:22-24 || Mt 6:25-38, with emphasis on Lk's "consider the
        ravens" against Mt's less specific "birds of the air." I had said that I see
        no directionality as between general vs specific.

        Ron: I beg to differ. Other things being equal I think the specific is more
        likely to be original, especially where poetry is concerned. The specific
        makes for colourfulness, and vivid poetry is more impressive than dull
        poetry.

        Bruce: On the primacy of poetry over prose, see my preceding note. As for
        the primacy of vivid poetry over dull poetry, we are surely here on pretty
        subjective ground. And in general, it is not given that in a derivative
        sequence, later imitative poets are always either better or worse than their
        predecessors, the original poets. Instances of both can be cited by the
        handful.




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      • Ron Price
        ... Dennis, This seems to me rather obscure for the author of a gospel clearly aimed at Gentiles. It assumes Luke thought his readers would know that Jews
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 23, 2008
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          Dennis Dean Carpenter wrote:

          > I would have to disagree with the characterization of using "raven" versus
          > "birds of the air" is a case of poetry becoming less specific. I think the
          > author Luke is using the imagery of the unclean raven of Leviticus, along with
          > the apocalyptic "day of retribution" found in Isaiah 34, where only the owls,
          > ravens, jackdaws, thorns, nettles, briers, etc, will live. .....

          Dennis,

          This seems to me rather obscure for the author of a gospel clearly aimed at
          Gentiles. It assumes Luke thought his readers would know that Jews
          considered ravens 'unclean'. The uncleanness is arguably more likely to
          point the other way, with Matthew, who is known to have had a strong Jewish
          background, thinking that Jesus would not have used an unclean bird to
          illustrate God's providence. Originally Jesus, being in some ways a radical
          thinker, could well have deliberately chosen an unclean bird to put even
          more stress on God's care of humans (if God cares for unclean birds, how
          much more for humans, c.f. Davies & Allison).

          Another argument is that according to Black there was a paranomasia between
          'ravens' and 'feeds'. This suggests the existence of an older version of the
          saying which predated the Greek gospels, and if true would tend to confirm
          the originality of 'ravens'.

          > Had it been merely poetry that was glossed over, the imagery of lilies would
          > have been left out, I think, and replaced by "flowers," .....

          Maybe. But flowers were not unclean.

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        • Dennis Dean Carpenter
          Ravens were symbols of destruction and death, ill omen and such, in the Greek world. In the Greek, Jewish or even American, or Germanic world, carrion eaters
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 23, 2008
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            Ravens were symbols of destruction and death, ill omen and such, in the Greek world. In the Greek, Jewish or even American, or Germanic world, carrion eaters are generally considered "unclean." I can't recall any positive images of the raven from Greek lore, so I'm not sure that the image of a raven would be "obscure." Do you have any reason to believe that it would be obscure?

            Furthermore, we find many allusions to Hebrew writings in Luke/Acts. With your logic, would these allusions also not be "rather obscure" to Gentiles? The author has Jesus begin his journey by quoting Isaiah 61. Are you saying that the Gentile audience would have been more familiar with this than Isaiah 34, in which I noted the raven as fitting into the gist of the block of material it is found? It seem natural that the author of Luke/Acts would have tweaked "birds" to fit his program.


            Dennis Dean Carpenter
            Dahlonega, Georgia


            Ron stated:
            This seems to me rather obscure for the author of a gospel clearly aimed at
            Gentiles. It assumes Luke thought his readers would know that Jews
            considered ravens 'unclean'. The uncleanness is arguably more likely to
            point the other way, with Matthew, who is known to have had a strong Jewish
            background, thinking that Jesus would not have used an unclean bird to
            illustrate God's providence. Originally Jesus, being in some ways a radical
            thinker, could well have deliberately chosen an unclean bird to put even
            more stress on God's care of humans (if God cares for unclean birds, how
            much more for humans, c.f. Davies & Allison).

            Another argument is that according to Black there was a paranomasia between
            'ravens' and 'feeds'. This suggests the existence of an older version of the
            saying which predated the Greek gospels, and if true would tend to confirm
            the originality of 'ravens'.




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ron Price
            ... Dennis, It is perfectly possible for a one-word allusion to be obscure while an explicit multi-line quotation is meaningful. In any case with this explicit
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 24, 2008
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              Dennis Dean Carpenter wrote:

              > ..... we find many allusions to Hebrew writings in Luke/Acts. With your
              > logic, would these allusions also not be "rather obscure" to Gentiles? The
              > author has Jesus begin his journey by quoting Isaiah 61. Are you saying that
              > the Gentile audience would have been more familiar with this than Isaiah 34,
              > in which I noted the raven as fitting into the gist of the block of material
              > it is found?

              Dennis,

              It is perfectly possible for a one-word allusion to be obscure while an
              explicit multi-line quotation is meaningful. In any case with this explicit
              quotation Luke's point is clear even to a reader who has never before
              encountered this particular passage in Isaiah 61.

              To answer your questions more directly, I would be amazed if a typical
              Gentile audience in Luke's time would have been familiar with Isaiah 34, and
              moderately surprised if they were familiar with Isaiah 61 (it was surely
              Luke's quotation in Lk 4:18-19 which led to these OT verses becoming
              well-known outside Judaism).

              Ron Price

              Derbyshire, UK

              Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
            • Dennis Dean Carpenter
              ...To answer your questions more directly, I would be amazed if a typical Gentile audience in Luke s time would have been familiar with Isaiah 34, and
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 24, 2008
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                "...To answer your questions more directly, I would be amazed if a typical
                Gentile audience in Luke's time would have been familiar with Isaiah 34, and
                moderately surprised if they were familiar with Isaiah 61 (it was surely
                Luke's quotation in Lk 4:18-19 which led to these OT verses becoming
                well-known outside Judaism)
                Ron Price"


                I wasn't aware that the only Lukan allusion to the Hebrew scriptures was Isaiah 61. There is really no evidence that a Lukan audience wouldn't have been familiar with Mark and its approximately 160 allusions to the scriptures, or Matthew and its allusions. If, as many now see, Luke/Acts were second century compositions, it puts these two writings preluding the Apologist Church Fathers who certainly drew from the Hebrew scriptures. In fact, is there not a continuous line from Mark through the second century where these were used in Christian writings? Another thought might be that we see in the opening by Luke a writing that, like the opening Josephus had in "The Antiquities of the Jews," implies that the writing was written for a literate audience:

                Josephus: "Those who undertake to write histories do not, I perceive, take that gtrouble on one and the same account but for many reasons, and those such as are very different from one another...
                Luke: "Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed onto us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses...."

                I would think that a literate reader of Luke (would there be any other?), would also be familiar with the passages, especially in the prophets, that applied to the Jewish Jesus. Is there a reason not to come to this conclusion? (I am aware of the studies reporting on the literacy rates, but that is not at issue if the writing was for the literate, as for instance "Antiquities" was.

                Dennis Dean Carpenter
                Dahlonega, Ga.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ron Price
                ... Nor was I. Where did you get that from? By these OT verses I was clearly referring to Is 61:1-2, quoted by Luke, to which you had drawn my attention. ...
                Message 7 of 7 , Mar 25, 2008
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                  I had written:

                  > "... I would be amazed if a typical
                  > Gentile audience in Luke's time would have been familiar with Isaiah 34, and
                  > moderately surprised if they were familiar with Isaiah 61 (it was surely
                  > Luke's quotation in Lk 4:18-19 which led to these OT verses becoming
                  > well-known outside Judaism)

                  Dennis Carpenter replied:

                  > I wasn't aware that the only Lukan allusion to the Hebrew scriptures was
                  > Isaiah 61.

                  Nor was I. Where did you get that from? By "these OT verses" I was clearly
                  referring to Is 61:1-2, quoted by Luke, to which you had drawn my attention.

                  > There is really no evidence that a Lukan audience wouldn't have
                  > been familiar with Mark and its approximately 160 allusions to the scriptures,
                  > or Matthew and its allusions.

                  Perhaps we're getting nearer to the crux. As it happens I agree that Mark
                  and Matthew would have been widely known in Christian circles by the time
                  Luke was 'published'. Each major church would probably have acquired at
                  least one copy of each of the earlier gospels. Thus the typical Gentile
                  Lukan audience would have been to some extent familiar with the scriptural
                  references in Mark and Matthew. But not necessarily with the significance of
                  any subtle allusions they may have made. Anyway, they didn't mention ravens.

                  > I would think that a literate reader of Luke (would there be any other?),

                  Strictly, no. But I referred to Luke's "audience". Surely extracts from Luke
                  would have been read in church, and the audience in those days would have
                  been mainly illiterate.

                  > I am aware of the studies reporting on the literacy rates, but that is not at
                  > issue if the writing was for the literate, as for instance "Antiquities" was.

                  You appear to be assuming that most literate people in the Greek world would
                  have been familiar with the Jewish scriptures. This seems to me somewhat
                  doubtful.

                  Ron Price

                  Derbyshire, UK

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