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Re: Synoptic relations

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  • 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 1 of 21 , Nov 3, 1998
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      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
      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 2 of 21 , Nov 4, 1998
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        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 3 of 21 , Nov 5, 1998
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          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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