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RE: [XTalk] Matthew's Infancy Narrative

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  • Martin Wells
    What we need to do is ignore Luke when it comes to looking at Matthew. All that both knew was that Jesus had been born not long before Herod died in 4BCE. Luke
    Message 1 of 58 , May 17 1:45 PM
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      What we need to do is ignore Luke when it comes to looking at Matthew. All
      that both knew was that Jesus had been born not long before Herod died in
      4BCE. Luke just made a mistake when he referred to the 6CE census in
      connection with Jesus' birth. The Infancy Narrative of Matthew is a creation
      based upon Davidic messianism, a developing and fluid early Christology and
      the narrative structure of divine/heroic births (portent, threat to childs
      life, escape, sudden appearance as a man). Ignore Luke as he didn't know
      Matthew and was doing his own thing. This is the reason the two don't match
      and have caused such headaches.


      My socio-historical studies into late first century BC Judaea has made clear
      that if Matthew's account was historical we'd have seen a social revolt of
      very large proportions. Imagine what would happened if an eastern embassy of
      astrologers marched into Jerusalem, proclaimed the arrival of the king of
      the Jews, the messiah? Only the Emperor could appoint kings so he would have
      gone ballistic, plus it would have led to a revolt against the hated Herod
      and we'd have the First Revolt against Rome 60 years early.

      Throw in a supposedly stellar event of ultra rare proportions and its then
      surprising that we hear of nothing from anyone other than Matthew (who wrote
      85 odd years after the event). Nothing in Josephus, no Latin writings
      telling the tale of the time someone from the east (the Parthian empire,
      Rome's most powerful enemy) annoyed Augustus and Herod, no hint of any
      unrest, nothing in the reception history of Matthew within Patristic
      writings, and so on. We can ignore the fallacy of the argument from silence
      as the blaring silence of history is just too improbable. The social
      conditions of the time would not have allowed Mt 1-2 to have happened as it
      did.

      It never happened as its just a clever story written around a common
      literary device using Davidic messianism. It's a theological prologue.



      Martin
      Bristol, UK



      -----Original Message-----
      From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of Stephen C. Carlson
      Sent: 17 May 2006 20:36
      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [XTalk] Matthew's Infancy Narrative

      At 02:27 PM 5/17/2006 -0400, Zeba Crook wrote:
      >>How about 4 Kgdms 20:1 or 1 Macc 2:1?
      >>
      >I don't have access to 4 Kgdms where I am. Can you provide your
      >analysis of the passage?

      4 Kgdms 20:1 (LXX) has EN TAIS hHMERAIS EKEINAIS HRRWSTHSEN EZEKIAS
      EIS QANATON. It corresponds to 2 Kgs 20:1 of the Hebrew Bible, which
      relates events that occur in an unspecified part of the reign of
      Hezekiah, mostly likely prior to the actions of Sennacherib in ch. 19.
      This phrase is just looks like a vague indication of time.

      >1Ma 2:1 is interesting and looks a lot like Matt 3:1. It does not tell
      >us how long it took Mattathias to appear on the scene. It also does not
      >tell us how long the persecution lasted. But we can safely assume that
      >it was during the persecution that Mattathias came along, ie, at the
      >same time. Rikk suggested earlier that "In those days" refers to the
      >fact that Jesus was still living in Nazareth when John began his
      >mission, and that it doesn't matter whether he happened to be 25 years
      >older. So, still, I see the 1 Ma use of the phrase as less open ended
      >than Matt's use of it. But I'll grant that it's the closest parallel
      >I've seen yet.

      Thanks. I like Rikk's suggestion as to the antecedent of "in
      those days" in Matt 3:1, and it looks likes it can be just
      vague enough not to pin Matthew down to any particular date.

      If anything the phrase seems to tell us more about when Matthew
      was written than when John appeared, because lumping together
      the first twenty-odd years of the first century becomes easier
      and easier to do with one's further temporal distance from
      those events.

      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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    • 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 7:19 AM
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        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
        other.

        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
        picture.

        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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