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Re: Synoptic relations

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  • Stevan Davies
    ... JEFF ... I was speaking of Thomas proverb (from memory) A prophet is not held in honor in his home town, A physician does not heal those who know him.
    Message 1 of 21 , Nov 2, 1998
      > At 6:58 PM 11/2/98, Antonio Jerez wrote:
      > >. . . [A]s a general rule in ancient litterature an aphorism or
      > >a saying is more probably turned into a narrative than the other
      > >way around. Stevan Davies has put forward this argument in a
      > >debate with me about GThomas. Maybe he can tell us more
      > >about the basis for this kind of argument.
      JEFF
      > The reverse movement, distilling aphorisms from narrative, is evident in
      > the collection of CHREIAI from famous philosophers and rhetors; Menander of
      > Laodicea suggests that BIOI are great sources from which to pull CHREIAI.

      I was speaking of Thomas' proverb (from memory)
      A prophet is not held in honor in his home town,
      A physician does not heal those who know him.

      This strikes me as a commonplace proverb (understanding
      physician not as an M.D. but a religious healer). I see no
      reason to think that Jesus invented it (or any other of the
      proverbs attributed to him, although the possibility cannot
      be excluded).

      Mark, I said, changed this proverb into narrative in 6:1-6, which
      seems transparently obvious to me.

      Does the process "aphorisms from narrative" include the
      creation of aphorisms or rather their distillation from narrative?

      Steve
    • Stevan Davies
      ... arguably doesn t do this notion justice. Desperately would be better. It has no relationship to the couplet whatsoever but is a separate proverb.
      Message 2 of 21 , Nov 3, 1998
        Jeff:
        > The saying is Thos 31 (// POxy 1.30ff). I think the Marcan creation of the
        > scene to exemplify the proverb is a possible explanation of 6:1-6, but I
        > don't see a reason to prefer this to Thomas' derivation of it from a
        > Synoptist, probably Luke:
        >
        > (1) Mark's threefold conclusion "fatherland/kinfolk/house" has its third
        > member amputated by Matthew and retains only the first in Luke; i.e., both
        > Synoptists trim the saying back to fit its immediate context (PATRIS is in
        > the pericope, and the Mattheaen OIKIA [both family and structure] has
        > figured in the narrative at 12:46-13:2, at the introduction to the discoure
        > that 13:53ff caps).
        >
        > (2) Thomas, w/o narrative context, agrees most nearly with the shorn Lucan
        > form of the saying; just as possible that Thomas drew this from Luke as
        > that Mark took Thomas' simpler form and elaborated it, with Matthew and
        > Luke paring it back towards it original form and Luke succeeding.
        >
        > (3) Marcan omission of the very pertinent "healer" member of the Thomas
        > saying seems odd; if anything one might expect Mark to invert the Thomasine
        > clauses and so lead the reader from "healer" (the work of Jesus in view
        > from Mark chap. 5) to "prophet." The presence of the line in Thomas,
        > arguably reflecting Luke's IATRE QERAPEUSON SEAUTON (4:23), yields a
        > pleasing couplet.

        "arguably" doesn't do this notion justice. "Desperately" would be
        better. It has no relationship to the couplet whatsoever but is a
        separate proverb.

        Thomas 31
        "no prophet is accepted in his hometown;
        no physician heals those who know him."

        The "couplet" is what is known as "parallel structure" to those who
        prefer more syllables, and is a recognized common trope of Hebraic
        style found throughout the OT.

        The second element is what Mark has revised into narrative. You
        will recall that after having Jesus say no prophet is accepted in
        his fatherland/kinfolk/house (itself entirely explicable an expansion
        based on Markan denigration of Jesus' family) he goes on to show Jesus'
        inability to heal more than a few Nazarenes (unwilling to admit he
        could heal none of them?) because of their lack of faith. Here
        the "physician does not heal those who know him" has become
        a story about Jesus' inability to heal those who know him. I do not
        think this narrative is by sheer coincidence a narrative that will
        follow from taking Thomas 31 to be a report of Jesus' activities.

        The notion that Thomas has taken the first from Luke and simply
        invented the second from an unrelated parable also in Luke is
        not convincing. To say the least.

        Frankly, if I may be exasperated for a minute, I think your effort to
        use any means to find some sort of rationale, however slight, to
        prove Thomas' use of the canon is state-of-the art in conservative
        discussion of the issue. I cannot conceive that anyone on earth
        would find your arguments convincing except those who have an
        ideological commitment that requires them to do so. The
        ubiquity of such folks causes me to despair.

        Steve
      • Jeff Peterson
        ... The saying is Thos 31 (// POxy 1.30ff). I think the Marcan creation of the scene to exemplify the proverb is a possible explanation of 6:1-6, but I don t
        Message 3 of 21 , Nov 3, 1998
          At 8:28 PM 11/2/98, Stevan Davies wrote:
          >> At 6:58 PM 11/2/98, Antonio Jerez wrote:
          >> >. . . [A]s a general rule in ancient litterature an aphorism or
          >> >a saying is more probably turned into a narrative than the other
          >> >way around. Stevan Davies has put forward this argument in a
          >> >debate with me about GThomas. Maybe he can tell us more
          >> >about the basis for this kind of argument.
          >JEFF
          >> The reverse movement, distilling aphorisms from narrative, is evident in
          >> the collection of CHREIAI from famous philosophers and rhetors; Menander of
          >> Laodicea suggests that BIOI are great sources from which to pull CHREIAI.
          >
          >I was speaking of Thomas' proverb (from memory)
          >A prophet is not held in honor in his home town,
          >A physician does not heal those who know him.
          >
          >This strikes me as a commonplace proverb (understanding
          >physician not as an M.D. but a religious healer). I see no
          >reason to think that Jesus invented it (or any other of the
          >proverbs attributed to him, although the possibility cannot
          >be excluded).
          >
          >Mark, I said, changed this proverb into narrative in 6:1-6, which
          >seems transparently obvious to me.

          The saying is Thos 31 (// POxy 1.30ff). I think the Marcan creation of the
          scene to exemplify the proverb is a possible explanation of 6:1-6, but I
          don't see a reason to prefer this to Thomas' derivation of it from a
          Synoptist, probably Luke:

          (1) Mark's threefold conclusion "fatherland/kinfolk/house" has its third
          member amputated by Matthew and retains only the first in Luke; i.e., both
          Synoptists trim the saying back to fit its immediate context (PATRIS is in
          the pericope, and the Mattheaen OIKIA [both family and structure] has
          figured in the narrative at 12:46-13:2, at the introduction to the discoure
          that 13:53ff caps).

          (2) Thomas, w/o narrative context, agrees most nearly with the shorn Lucan
          form of the saying; just as possible that Thomas drew this from Luke as
          that Mark took Thomas' simpler form and elaborated it, with Matthew and
          Luke paring it back towards it original form and Luke succeeding.

          (3) Marcan omission of the very pertinent "healer" member of the Thomas
          saying seems odd; if anything one might expect Mark to invert the Thomasine
          clauses and so lead the reader from "healer" (the work of Jesus in view
          from Mark chap. 5) to "prophet." The presence of the line in Thomas,
          arguably reflecting Luke's IATRE QERAPEUSON SEAUTON (4:23), yields a
          pleasing couplet.

          >
          >Does the process "aphorisms from narrative" include the
          >creation of aphorisms or rather their distillation from narrative?

          The latter is in view in Menander, who recommends Plutarch's _Lives_ as
          good sources for CHREIAI. But the adaptation of the Lucan saying in Thomas
          argued for above isn't at all out of line with the transformation of
          sayings in the rhetorical tradition.

          Jeff

          Jeffrey Peterson
          Institute for Christian Studies
          Austin, Texas, USA
        • Jeff Peterson
          At 6:32 PM 11/3/98, Stevan Davies wrote in reply to my suggestion that the evidence for dependence in Thos 31//Mark 6:4//Matt 13:57//Luke 4:24 is ... I had no
          Message 4 of 21 , Nov 4, 1998
            At 6:32 PM 11/3/98, Stevan Davies wrote in reply to my suggestion that the
            evidence for dependence in Thos 31//Mark 6:4//Matt 13:57//Luke 4:24 is
            inconclusive:

            >Frankly, if I may be exasperated for a minute, I think your effort to
            >use any means to find some sort of rationale, however slight, to
            >prove Thomas' use of the canon is state-of-the art in conservative
            >discussion of the issue. I cannot conceive that anyone on earth
            >would find your arguments convincing except those who have an
            >ideological commitment that requires them to do so. The
            >ubiquity of such folks causes me to despair.

            I had no intention of exasperating anyone and find it regrettable that the
            exploration of a possibility should have this effect. My stated aim was not
            to "prove Thomas' use of the canon" but to suggest that the evidence for
            dependence in this case is equivocal and a conclusion either way is
            possible. I began the post by saying that "the Marcan creation of the scene
            to exemplify the [Thomasine] proverb is a possible explanation of 6:1-6"
            and later commented that it's "just as possible that Thomas drew this from
            Luke as that Mark took Thomas' simpler form and elaborated it" -- i.e., I
            left two hypotheses on even footing.

            So the question whether Steve is experiencing justified frustration reduces
            to the question whether the Thomas-abstracting-Luke alternative is a
            reasonable explanation of the evidence or represents (what were the
            phrases? oh, yes) a desperate attempt to find some sort of rationale for
            concluding to Thomasine dependence.

            >Jeff:
            >> The saying is Thos 31 (// POxy 1.30ff). I think the Marcan creation of the
            >> scene to exemplify the proverb is a possible explanation of 6:1-6, but I
            >> don't see a reason to prefer this to Thomas' derivation of it from a
            >> Synoptist, probably Luke:
            >>
            >> (1) Mark's threefold conclusion "fatherland/kinfolk/house" has its third
            >> member amputated by Matthew and retains only the first in Luke; i.e., both
            >> Synoptists trim the saying back to fit its immediate context (PATRIS is in
            >> the pericope, and the Mattheaen OIKIA [both family and structure] has
            >> figured in the narrative at 12:46-13:2, at the introduction to the discoure
            >> that 13:53ff caps).
            >>
            >> (2) Thomas, w/o narrative context, agrees most nearly with the shorn Lucan
            >> form of the saying; just as possible that Thomas drew this from Luke as
            >> that Mark took Thomas' simpler form and elaborated it, with Matthew and
            >> Luke paring it back towards it original form and Luke succeeding.
            >>
            >> (3) Marcan omission of the very pertinent "healer" member of the Thomas
            >> saying seems odd; if anything one might expect Mark to invert the Thomasine
            >> clauses and so lead the reader from "healer" (the work of Jesus in view
            >> from Mark chap. 5) to "prophet." The presence of the line in Thomas,
            >> arguably reflecting Luke's IATRE QERAPEUSON SEAUTON (4:23), yields a
            >> pleasing couplet.
            >
            >"arguably" doesn't do this notion justice. "Desperately" would be
            >better. It has no relationship to the couplet whatsoever but is a
            >separate proverb.

            There's no color coding or other indication in my edition of Luke to mark
            4:23 as unrelated to 4:24, nor was there anything in Thomas's putative copy
            preventing him from finding inspiration in the one verse for the redaction
            of the other; I'm not sure this is quite what Mark Goodacre has in mind
            when he refers to "interaction," but it strikes me that this term may be
            helpful in describing what I'm suggesting Thomas may have done. Steve's
            picture of Thomas on the basis of which my suggestion is declared
            unreassonable appears to be that of a stenographer getting down whatever
            he's heard verbatim, or as near to that possible; if I'm not
            misunderstanding this, that makes Thomas the only ideologically unmotivated
            tradent in early Christianity, as Steve is Thomas's only modern interpreter
            free of ideological motivation. I had no idea there would be such benefits
            when I subscribed to CrossTalk!

            >
            >Thomas 31
            >"no prophet is accepted in his hometown;
            >no physician heals those who know him."
            >
            >The "couplet" is what is known as "parallel structure" to those who
            >prefer more syllables, and is a recognized common trope of Hebraic
            >style found throughout the OT.

            Yes, and this has no bearing on the question of its originality. An author
            steeped in the Jewish Scriptures could turn such phrases himself with ease,
            as 1 John and Revelation do among the later books of the NT. In spite of
            its venerable history, I don't much like the jargon term "parallelism," by
            the way, and generally prefer brevity to prolixity, although I confess that
            I don't usually count syllables in posts.

            >
            >The second element is what Mark has revised into narrative. You
            >will recall that after having Jesus say no prophet is accepted in
            >his fatherland/kinfolk/house (itself entirely explicable an expansion
            >based on Markan denigration of Jesus' family) he goes on to show Jesus'
            >inability to heal more than a few Nazarenes (unwilling to admit he
            >could heal none of them?) because of their lack of faith. Here
            >the "physician does not heal those who know him" has become
            >a story about Jesus' inability to heal those who know him. I do not
            >think this narrative is by sheer coincidence a narrative that will
            >follow from taking Thomas 31 to be a report of Jesus' activities.

            As I've said, I think Steve's explanation is possible. The alternative I'm
            suggesting would have Thomas composing the second line of the couplet under
            the influence of the Lucan/Synoptic narrative, and in spite of Steve's
            protestations I can't see anything to rule these possibilities out.

            >
            >The notion that Thomas has taken the first from Luke and simply
            >invented the second from an unrelated parable also in Luke is
            >not convincing. To say the least.

            It wouldn't be at all out of line with what one sees in the chreia
            tradition; I'll leave it to others to assess its convincingness in regard
            to Thomas and the Synoptics.

            Jeff


            Jeffrey Peterson
            Institute for Christian Studies
            Austin, Texas, USA
          • Mark Goodacre
            ... I think I agree with Jeff on this one. It is quite possible that Steve is right but I can t see any strong reason to prefer that explanation to Jeff s. In
            Message 5 of 21 , Nov 5, 1998
              On 4 Nov 98 at 12:16, Jeff Peterson wrote:

              > As I've said, I think Steve's explanation is possible. The alternative I'm
              > suggesting would have Thomas composing the second line of the couplet under
              > the influence of the Lucan/Synoptic narrative, and in spite of Steve's
              > protestations I can't see anything to rule these possibilities out.

              I think I agree with Jeff on this one. It is quite possible that Steve is
              right but I can't see any strong reason to prefer that explanation to Jeff's.
              In arguments for directionality here it seems to be a draw. The only hint that
              to me seems to give a clue either way is the presence of DEKTOS in Luke //
              Thomas. If one thinks that this is Luke's redactional addition of a word fresh
              in his mind from the Isaiah quotation earlier in the pericope (as Tuckett
              argues), then the presence of the formulation in Thomas featuring the same word
              will be a minor indication of Thomasine dependence on Lukan redaction of Mark.
              But as I say, I think that this is a hint rather than overwhelming
              evidence. It is possible, of course, that Luke is redacting Mark in the light
              of his knowledge of a Thomasine-type version of the saying, in which case the
              presence of DEKTOS also in the Isaiah quotation will simply be coincidence.

              Mark
              -------------------------------------------
              Dr Mark Goodacre M.S.Goodacre@...
              Dept of Theology, University of Birmingham

              Recommended New Testament Web Resources:
              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre/links.htm
              World Without Q:
              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q
              Homepage:
              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
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