Re: [XTalk] The Shrewd Manager
- At 02:14 PM 9/25/01 +0100, Mark wrote:
>Michael Goulder would also say that the differences are substantial.At the level of words, which is where the battle of Q is generally fought,
this is quite right. It is difficult to find identical word sequences in
the two passages.
>His case is based on the notion that the admittedThanks for the good example.
>differences can be explained in terms of Luke's redactional
>preferences witnessed elsewhere. Let me comment, for example,
>on point 1:
> > 1. One story has a king, the other an aristocratic
> > overlord. "King" would have carried messianic
> > overtones, and I see no hint of a messianic thrust in
> > The Shrewd Manager.
>I suspect that Goulder would say here that it is characteristic of
>Matthew to have royalty in his parables, cf. the Wedding Banquet
>in 22 and the Sheep & Goats in 25. It's much less characteristic of
>Luke who doesn't ever have kings in narrative parables (though cf.
>But, for what it's worth, I am not here convinced by Goulder's case.Rosson's point (2) was
>The extent of Lucan creativity demanded by his model seems to
>me to be belied by the mismatch between content and context --
>Luke famously appears to have several attempts to unravel the
>meaning of the parable in vv. 8ff. Further, Goulder spends too
>much time on individual features / elements in the parables without
>paying careful to the matter of overall plot / parable structure. [I
>elaborated on these in my _Goulder and the Gospels_]. You [Rosson]
>rightly hint at the importance of this point in your (2).
>2. In one story, a servant acts unmercifully to a fellow servant (despiteSuppose at the punchline level, the moral of the story was, "Show mercy,
>having been treated mercifully
>himself) and is then punished unmercifully in turn, by the king. In the
>other story, the manager acts
>favorably to the debtors, sabatoging instead his own overlord in a wild
and you will receive mercy; but if you demand justice, that is what you
will get." Both stories could be generated from this same principle.
Rosson's point (3) was
>3. The theme of mercy and forgiveness lies at theBut I am suggesting that the common core was a teaching on Mercy vs.
>heart of one story (apropos messianism) but not the
>other. Mercy/forgiveness does not even figure into the
>editorial conclusion of The Shrewd Manager (Lk
>16:8b-9) -- nor, for that matter, the appended
>theological commentary (Lk 16:10-13).
Justice. The Matthew version has both; the Lukan version blurs the lesson
on justice because in the end the master (acting as judge) rules that mercy
over-rides justice because the shrewd manager showed mercy.
So it is clear that I cannot press my case on the level of literary
dependence. But how about on the level of an oral tradition based on a
proverbial statement about mercy vs. justice, with Matthew constructing a
story in one direction, and Luke constructing a story in a different
direction? Of course, unfortunately for my thesis, Luke does not end with a
conclusion about mercy, but with a conclusion about shrewdness (phronimos).
And we cannot claim that shrewdness is one of Luke's editorial
propensities, because this is the only place where he uses the word--
indeed, the only place in the entire NT. A more basic common thread is the
issue of debt. In the Gospels, debt is an issue only in Matthew and Luke:
1. In the Lord's Prayer (both versions in Luke the word is "indebted");
2. In Matthew's Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, as discussed above;
3. In Luke's antithetical Parable of the Shrewd Manager, as above, and
4. A short discussion embedded in Luke's parable of the Sinful Woman
All deal, in one way or another, with the partial or complete forgiveness
of debts. So this makes me wonder about a common oral tradition of some
kind, or maybe even a common element in Q that does not rise to the level
of literary dependence.
Hey, I don't have answers. I'm just trying to ask the right question! I
actually started this response not quite knowing where it would go....
At 03:00 PM 9/26/01 +0100, Mark Goodacre wrote:
>While working on the NTGateway Luke-Acts pages this afternoon, IThanks for this reference.
>was reminded of this article relevant to the recent thread on the
>Unjust Steward -- it may be of interest:
>David Landry and Ben May, "Honor Restored: New Light on the
>Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-8a)", _Journal of Biblical
>Literature_ 119 (2000), pp. 287-309
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- Bob Schacht wrote:
>Suppose at the punchline level, the moral ofThe punchline of The Shrewd Manager seems more like,
>the story was, "Show mercy, and you will receive
>mercy; but if you demand justice, that is what you
>will get." Both stories could be generated from
>this same principle.
"Show mercy and you will come out ahead". The master
reinstates his manager neither out of charity nor
mercy (on the contrary, he **praises** the manager for
his shrewd tactic), but rather because the manager
made him look good. Your punchline does apply to The
Unmerciful Servant -- at least, as it stands in its
Matthean context. Originally, that story's punchline
may have been a bit more complex.
>I am suggesting that the common core was a"Mercy" figures into The Shrewd Manager only when the
>teaching on Mercy vs. Justice.
manager forgives part of the bills owed by the
debtors. He may have done this out of
self-preservation as much as charity.
>...unfortunately for my thesis, Luke does not endthat
>with a conclusion about mercy, but with a conclusion
>about shrewdness (phronimos). And we cannot claim
>shrewdness is one of Luke's editorial propensities...Exactly.
Loren Rosson III
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- At 04:06 AM 10/1/01 -0700, you wrote:
>Bob Schacht wrote:Loren,
> >Suppose at the punchline level, the moral of
> >the story was, "Show mercy, and you will receive
> >mercy; but if you demand justice, that is what you
> >will get." Both stories could be generated from
> >this same principle.
>The punchline of The Shrewd Manager seems more like,
>"Show mercy and you will come out ahead". ...
We're talking past each other, because I'm arguing from a Q-like
hypothetical source document that might lie behind the Matthean and Lukan
texts, whereas you are arguing only from the Lukan text.
I don't think I have much chance of convincing anyone about that, though,
and my case is based more on whimsy than solid evidence, so I won't pursue
it further, unless I receive some additional source of inspiration. :-)
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