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Re: [XTalk] Matthew's Infancy Narrative

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  • Rikk Watts
    Mark, Perhaps it s inherent in our Australian heritage, but I don t mind poking the possum as we say. I m intrigued at the ease with which you say surely
    Message 1 of 58 , May 17, 2006

      Perhaps it's inherent in our Australian heritage, but I don't mind poking
      the possum as we say. I'm intrigued at the ease with which you say "surely
      fictional" (which does not mean, to forestall a collective rushing of blood
      to the head in certain circles, to assume the opposite) as though this
      happily explains what's going on there. I'm not so sure. How exactly does
      one explain Matt's appeal to texts that as far as I can tell in my work on
      intertestamental Jewish traditions were never understood as predictive?

      Consider Ps 22, likewise largely without significant eschatological
      implications (excepts perhaps for hints in 1QH and the Tg., and perhaps
      concerning Zion in 4Q88) but as far as we know never read messianically. It
      seems a commonplace that Mark (or whoever first did so), given the
      crucifixion and a conviction that Jesus was the Messiah, innovatively read
      Ps 22 in this light. While not denying some reflexive engagement, it was
      essentially the event combined with a conviction that led to the invocation
      of Ps 22 not the other way around. This dynamic seems reasonably common in
      the NT where texts elsewhere not read eschatologically are so read on
      account of an event and/or conviction (I recall that you've entered the
      lists pace Crossan on this issue).

      This being so, one might expect this dynamic to also explain Matt's
      fulfillment assertions concerning seemingly "out of left field" texts.
      But if this is not the case, how exactly do you see Matt arriving at his
      narrative (given that the older easy "midrash" answer doesn't work)? Not
      least since as M. J. Down, ³The Matthean Birth Narratives: Matthew 118 ­
      223,² ExpT 90 (1978) 51-52 and Jacob Neusner in his article on comparative
      Midrash ³Toward a Theory of Comparison,² Religion 16 (1986) 269-303 the
      narrative normally comes first, and that absent his fulfillment sayings
      Matt's narrative hangs together remarkably well.


      On 17/5/06 7:58 AM, "Mark Goodacre" <Goodacre@...> wrote:

      > I must admit that Matt. 3.1 has always astonished me too and I suspect
      > that it's one of those places where the chapter and verse divisions
      > distract us from seeing the lack of segue. You may not enjoy this
      > comment, Zeb, but I think Luke also shared our perplexity, and
      > Matthew's "In those days" is Luke's invitation to supply exactly
      > *which* days we are talking about, and Luke 3.1-2 spells it out
      > clearly for the reader, "In the fifteenth year of the reign of
      > Tiberius Caesar . . ." etc. It's a good example of the way that Luke
      > works with Matthew's narrative.
      > On the issue of birth in 4 BCE, what surprises me is how scholars fix
      > so precisely on a date which is, in the end, derived from Matthew's
      > (surely fictional) Birth Narrative. Does Matthew know that Jesus was
      > born around the time of Herod's death? Well, perhaps, but I don't
      > know how one could be sure.
      > All best
      > Mark
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      ... Though this Luke seems to have had a very impressive library (Mark, Q, John I, Mary, Thomas, etc.), I am struck that it nonetheless lacked the most
      Message 58 of 58 , May 30, 2006
        At 06:00 PM 5/29/2006 -0400, Gordon Raynal wrote:
        >On May 29, 2006, at 10:58 AM, Ken Olson wrote:
        >> My own take would be that Luke had known Mark, which had
        >> been THE gospel to him, for some time when Matthew came into his
        >> hands.
        > I doubt this because from my perspective one can make far more sense
        >of the construction of the Luke-Acts work directly in relationship to
        >copying from Mark and Q and also in relationship to John (1-20), and
        >probably G. Mary, an edition of G. Thomas, and some of the other
        >fragmentary gospels and by then, decades old preachings and teachings
        >on key texts in TANAK as related to Jesus. Despite such as Mark G.'s
        >position that it's a better case that Luke got a lot of his material
        >from Matthew, as you know I think the whole issue of the use of the
        >Sayings materials makes much more sense in terms of understanding their
        >presence in Q and then the utilization and redaction independently by
        >Matthew and Luke.

        Though this "Luke" seems to have had a very impressive library (Mark,
        Q, John I, Mary, Thomas, etc.), I am struck that it nonetheless lacked
        the most popular gospel of the second century even after it had been
        circulating for 20-30 years.

        The existence of Q in the form that is most commonly accepted is
        based on the relative independence of Matthew and Luke. This premise
        has ramifications on their relative dating, because the further apart
        in time the compositions of Matthew and Luke become, the less
        reasonable it becomes to postulate their mutual ignorance of each

        As in any reduction to absurity, this exercise does not tell us
        which assumption is off. It could be that Q never existed, or
        that Q was smaller (a la Ron Price), or that Luke was written
        earlier, or that Matthew was written later, etc. Nevertheless,
        it is a good idea to step back from the jigsaw puzzle and see if
        the individual pieces actually do fit together to form a coherent

        Stephen Carlson
        Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
        Weblog: http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
        Author of: The Gospel Hoax, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481
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