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Re: [XTalk] The Shrewd Manager

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  • Loren Rosson
    ...And my apologies, Mark, for misspelling your name. Loren Rosson III Nashua NH rossoiii@yahoo.com __________________________________________________ Do You
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 26, 2001
      ...And my apologies, Mark, for misspelling your name.

      Loren Rosson III
      Nashua NH
      rossoiii@...

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    • Bob Schacht
      ... 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
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 28, 2001
        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 admitted
        >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.
        >Luke 14.31).

        Thanks for the good example.

        >But, for what it's worth, I am not here convinced by Goulder's case.
        >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).

        Rosson's point (2) was
        >2. In one story, a servant acts unmercifully to a fellow servant (despite
        >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
        >gamble.

        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.

        Rosson's point (3) was
        >3. The theme of mercy and forgiveness lies at the
        >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).

        But I am suggesting that the common core was a teaching on Mercy vs.
        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
        Forgiven (7:36-50)

        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, I
        >was reminded of this article relevant to the recent thread on the
        >Unjust Steward -- it may be of interest:
        >
        ><http://personal1.stthomas.edu/dtlandry/steward.html>http://personal1.sttho
        >mas.edu/dtlandry/steward.html
        >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
        >
        >Mark

        Thanks for this reference.

        Bob


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      • Henry Carrigan
        I will be away from the office until October 1. I will respond to your messages upon my return. Thank you. Henry Carrigan
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 1, 2001
          I will be away from the office until October 1. I will respond to your messages upon my return. Thank you.
          Henry Carrigan
        • Loren Rosson
          ... The punchline of The Shrewd Manager seems more like, Show mercy and you will come out ahead . The master reinstates his manager neither out of charity nor
          Message 4 of 10 , Oct 1, 2001
            Bob Schacht wrote:

            >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". 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
            >teaching on Mercy vs. Justice.

            "Mercy" figures into The Shrewd Manager only when the
            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 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...

            Exactly.

            Loren Rosson III
            Nashua NH
            rossoiii@...

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          • Bob Schacht
            ... Loren, 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,
            Message 5 of 10 , Oct 3, 2001
              At 04:06 AM 10/1/01 -0700, you wrote:
              >Bob Schacht wrote:
              >
              > >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". ...

              Loren,
              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. :-)

              Bob


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