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Re: [GTh] 99 and 44: Do They Expose a Weakness to the Q Hypothesis?

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  • fmmccoy
    INTRODUCTION There is a consisderable amount of material about what Jesus allegedly said that is found in Matthew and Luke, but not in John or Mark. This has
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 20, 2003
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      INTRODUCTION

      There is a consisderable amount of material about what Jesus allegedly said
      that is found in Matthew and Luke, but not in John or Mark. This has led to
      the hypothesis that Matthew and Luke had a common source that is now lost.
      This explains the material common to Matthew and Luke, but not found in Mark
      or John: for, in this case, this material comes from this now-lost source.
      Modern scholars refer to this postulated common source as Q. If it ever did
      exist, we do not know its original name.

      For a fine defense of this hypothesis, I refer you to John S. Kloppenborg
      Verbin, Excavating Q (Published by Augsburg Press, under license to T&T
      Ltd., 2001).

      However, there is a counter-hypothesis, the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis, that
      Matthew knew Mark and that Luke knew both Matthew and Mark. In this case, Q
      never did exist and the material common to Luke and Matthew, but absent from
      Mark and John, is Matthean material used by Luke.

      For a fine defense of this hypothesis, I refer you to Mark Goodacre, The
      Case Against Q (Trinity Press International, 2002).

      Because Thomas is a document primarily consisting of sayings attributed to
      Jesus, it might have a bearing on determining the reason why there are a
      large number of sayings, attributed to Jesus, that are found in Matthew and
      Luke, but not in Mark and John. Is this because the author of Matthew and
      the author of Luke used a now-lost source we now call Q? Or, is it because
      Luke used Matthew as one of his sources? Or, (to play the devil's advocate)
      is it because the author of Matthew used Luke as one of his sources? Or, is
      it a fourth possibility?

      In this post, we will look at GTh 99 and 44 and compare them to their
      parallels in Mark, Matthew, and Luke. What we find is that, they favor the
      hypothesis that Matthew knew Mark and Thomas and that Luke knew Mark,
      Thomas, and Matthew. This is contrary to the hypothesis that both Matthew
      and Luke used a now lost document called Q. This is, though, in accord with
      the hypothesis that Matthew knew Mark and tha Luke knew both Mark and
      Matthew. Indeed, this is but a refinement on that hypothesis.

      PART I GTH 99 AND PARALLELS IN MARK, MATTHEW, AND LUKE

      GTh 99, reads, "The disciples said to Him, 'Your brothers and Your mother
      are standing outside.' He said to them, 'Those here who do the will of My
      Father are My brothers and My mother. It is they who will enter the Kingdom
      of My Father.'"

      It has a parallel in Mark 3:31-35, "And his mother and his brothers came;
      and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was
      sitting about him; and they said to him, 'Your mother and your brothers are
      outside, asking for you.' And he replied, 'Who are my mother and my
      brothers?' And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, 'Here
      are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother,
      and sister, and mother.'"

      It also has a parallel in Matthew 12:46-50, "While he was still speaking to
      the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to
      speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, 'Who is my mother and
      who are my brothers?' And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he
      said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my
      Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.'"

      Finally, it also has a parallel in Luke 8:19-21, "Then his mother and his
      brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. And he
      was told, 'Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to
      see you. But he said to them, 'My mother and my brothers are those who hear
      the word of God and do it.'".

      There are a number of situations here where there are two versions vs. two
      versions.

      In two of the versions (i.e., the Markan and Lukan versions), the brothers
      and mother of Jesus first come and then stand outside. In the other two
      (i.e., the Thomas and Matthean versions), they simply stand outside.

      In two of the versions (i.e., the Markan and Matthean versions) we learn
      that his mother and brothers are standing from the prefacing narrative. In
      the other two (i.e., the Thomas and Lukan versions), we learn they are
      standing from a statement made to Jesus.

      In two of the versions (i.e., the Markan and the Lukan versions), there is a
      mention of a crowd, but no mention of the disciples . In the other two
      versions (i.e., the Thomas and Matthean versions), there is a mention of
      the disciples, but no mention of a crowd (although Matthew does mention
      "people").

      In two of the versions (i.e., the Markan and the Matthean versions), Jesus
      asks rhetorically asks who are his mother and his brothers. In the other
      two versions (i.e., the Thomas and the Lukan versions, he does not ask this
      rhetorical question.

      In two of these versions (i.e., the Markan and the Matthean versions), Jesus
      not only speaks of his mother and brothers, but of his sisters as well. In
      the other two versions (i.e., the Thomas and the Lukan), he speaks only of
      his mother and brothers.

      In two of these versions (i.e., the Markan and the Lukan versions), Jesus
      speaks of God. In the other two versions (i.e., the Thomas and the
      Matthean), Jesus speaks of my Father.

      In these six cases, where it is two versions vs. two versions, these are the
      matchups:
      1. Mark + Luke vs. Thomas + Matthew
      2. Mark + Matthew vs. Thomas + Luke
      3. Mark + Luke vs. Thomas + Matthew
      4. Mark + Matthew vs. Thomas + Luke
      5. Mark + Matthew vs. Thomas + Luke
      6. Mark + Luke vs Thomas + Matthew.

      Note that, in all six cases, Mark and Thomas always disagree. I interpret
      this to mean that they are independent of each other. This might mean that
      the author of Mark did not know about the Thomas version of the incident and
      that the author of Thomas did not know about the Markan version of the
      incident. However, it might also mean that the author of Mark did know
      about the Thomas version of the incident, but rejected it. Indeed, there
      also is a third eventuality, i.e., the author of Thomas did know about the
      Markan version of the incident, but rejected it.

      Also note that:
      1. Mark and Matthew agree in three cases and disagree in three cases
      2. Thomas and Matthew agree in three cases and disagree in three cases

      I interpret this to mean that Matthew had both a copy of the Markan version
      and a copy of the Thomas version. Further, he used both as sources in
      writing his own version. This is in accord with the standard hypothesis
      that Matthew used Mark as one of his sources.

      Also note that:
      1. Mark and Luke agree in three cases and disagree in three cases
      2. Thomas and Luke agree in three cases and disagree in three cases.

      I interpret this to mean that Luke had a copy of both the Markan version and
      of the Thomas version. Further, he used both as sources when writing his
      own version. This is in accord with the standard hypothesis that Luke used
      Mark as one of his sources.

      Finally, note that Matthew and Luke disagree in all six cases.

      I interpret this to mean that the Matthean and Lukan versions are
      independent of each other, meaning that Matthew did not use the Lukan
      version as one of the sources for his own version and that Luke did not use
      the Matthean version as one of the sources for his own version of the
      incident.

      There are three possibilities to explain this:
      (1) Matthew did not know the Lukan version and Luke did not know the
      Matthean version
      (2) Matthew knew the Lukan version, but rejected it
      (3) Luke knew the Matthean version, but rejected it.

      Which of these three possibilities is the correct one? For answering this
      question, let us turn to GTh 44 and its parallels in Mark, Matthew, and
      Luke.

      PART II GTH 44 AND PARALLELS IN MARK, MATTHEW, AND LUKE

      GTh 44 reads, "Jesus said, 'Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be
      forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven, but
      whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on
      earth or in heaven.'"

      It has a parallel in Mark 3:29-30, "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be
      forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but
      whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is
      guilty of an eternal sin."

      It has another parallel in Matthew 12:31-32, "Therefore I tell you, every
      sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit
      will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of Man will
      be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be
      forgiven; either in this age or in the age to come."

      It has a third parallel in Luke 12:10, "And every one who speaks a word
      against the son of Man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the
      Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."

      Just as it appears that Matthew knows both GTh 99 and the Markan version of
      it, so, it appears, Matthew knows both GTh 44 and the Markan version of it.

      The first part of the Matthean version reads:
      Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the
      blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
      This appears to be based upon Mark 3:29-30:
      Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever
      blasphemies they may utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
      never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin."
      Basically, all Matthew does is to shorten Mark.

      The second part of the Matthean version reads:
      And whoever says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever
      speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven; either in this age or
      in the age to come.
      I suggest that it is based upon this part of Thomas 44:
      Whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes
      against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven.'
      In this case, Matthew makes three changes to the Thomas version: (1) he
      expands "Son" to "Son of Man", (2) he amends "blasphemes" to "says/speaks a
      word against", and (3) he amends the doublet, "either on earth or in
      heaven", to the doublet, "either in this age or the age to come".

      Indeed, a reason can be found for each postulated change by Matthew. He
      changes "Son" to "Son of Man" in 12:31-32 to prepare the reader of his
      gospel for 12:40, where he refers to Jesus as the Son of Man. He changes
      "blasphemes" to "says/speaks a word against" so as to inform the reader as
      to how he defines "blasphemy". He changes the concluding doublet, "either
      on earth or in heaven" to the doublet "either in this age or the age to
      come" in order to conform it to the concluding phrase in the Markan version
      of the saying (i.e., the phrase, "but is guilty of an eternal sin.").

      Next, with parallel lines taking the same line number, let us compare Thomas
      44:
      1. Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven
      2. And whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven
      3. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
      4. Either on earth or in heaven.
      with Matthew 12:32
      2. And whoever says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven
      3. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
      4. Either in this age or in the age to come
      and with Luke 12:10:
      2. And every one who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven
      3. But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
      From this, it is apparent that Luke has rejected the Markan version and its
      Matthean counterpart in Matthew 21:31 and accepted lines 2 and 3 of the
      Thomas version and its Matthean counterpart in Matthew 12:32.

      Let us look at the three versions of line 2:
      Luke: And every one who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be
      forgiven
      Matthew: And whoever says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven
      Thomas: And whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven
      Here, Luke prefers the Matthean version (which has "speaks a word against
      the Son of Man") over the Thomas version (which has "blasphemes against the
      Son").

      Next, let us look at the three versions of line 3:
      Luke: But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
      Matthew: But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
      Thomas: But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
      Here, Luke prefers the Thomas version (which has "blasphemes") over the
      Matthean version (which has "speaks against").

      So, to conclude, it appears that Matthew used Mark 3:28-29 as his source for
      the first part of Matthew 12:31-32 and used Thomas 44 as his source for the
      second part of Matthew 12:31-32. Luke had a copy of each of these three
      passages. He rejected the Markan version and the Matthean counterpart of
      it. He accepted lines 2 and 3 of the Thomas version and its Matthean
      counterpart, preferring Matthew for line 2 and Thomas for line 3.

      So, judging by Thomas 44 and its parallels in Mark, Matthew, and Luke, it
      would appear that Matthew used both Mark and Thomas as sources and that Luke
      used all three of them as sources.

      This, in turn, suggests that, as respects Thomas 99 and its parallels in
      Mark, Matthew, and Luke, it would appear that the apparent independence of
      the Matthean and Lukan versions is due to Luke rejecting the Matthean
      version.

      IMPLICATIONS
      An analysis has been made of Thomas 99 and its Synoptic parallels and of
      Thomas 44 and its Synoptic parallels. They suggest the scenario that
      Matthew used both Mark and Thomas as sources and that Luke used Mark,
      Thomas, and Matthew as sources. This is in accord with the Farrer-Goulder
      hypothesis that Matthew used Mark as a source and that Luke used both Mark
      and Matthew as sources. This, in turn, raises questions about the validity
      of the Q hypothesis because, it means, the material common to Matthew and
      Luke, but absent from Mark and John, might primarily exist because of Luke's
      usage of Matthew as a source.

      QUALIFICATION
      If, as argued above, both Matthew and Luke knew of Thomas 44 and 99, these
      two sayings might have been known to Matthew and Luke not from the version
      of Thomas we possess but, rather, from an earlier predecessor. I think that
      both were part of a postulated predecessor to Thomas I refer to as
      Proto-Thomas. In "The Original Gospel of Thomas", (Vigiliae Christianae,
      Vol. LVI, No. 2, 2002, pp. 167-199), A. D. DeConick assigns both to a
      postulated precessor to Thomas she refers to as the kernel gospel.

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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