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Re: [GTh] Merchant and Pearl

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... version ... This separation of parts along strictly syntactical lines ignores semantic order, and thus leads to illegitimate conclusions being reached as
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 6, 2003
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      > Again, let us relook at Part III ( = previous VIII):
      > Thomas, "Where no moth comes near to destroy (literally: eat)"
      > Matthew, "Where neither moth nor rust destroy"
      > Luke, "Where a thief does not come near"
      > As can be readily seen, the Matthean version is closer to the Thomas
      version
      > than to the Lukan version. This is difficult to reconcile with the
      > hypothesis that, here, Luke and Matthew are drawing on a common source,
      > i.e., Q.
      >
      > Too, let us re-look at Part IV ( = previous IX)
      > Thomas, "And no worm destroys"
      > Matthew, "And where thieves do not break in or steal"
      > Luke, "Nor a moth destroys"
      > As can be readily seen, the Lukan version is *much* closer to the Thomas
      > version than to the Matthean version. How can one, without special
      > pleading, reconcile this with the hypothesis that, here, Luke and Matthew
      > are drawing on a common source, i.e., Q?

      This separation of parts along strictly syntactical lines ignores semantic
      order, and thus leads to illegitimate conclusions being reached as to
      whether Matt or Luke is closer to the "parts" separately. To take just one
      example, the mention of thieves occurs in both Matt and Luke, but Luke's
      mention of thieves is treated in this analysis as a "version" of "Part III",
      whereas Matt's mention of thieves is treated as a "version" of "Part IV".
      That's sufficiently fishy in itself, but even more so in light of the fact
      that thieves aren't mentioned in Thomas in _either part_! The two "parts"
      are treated as separate, when in fact they should be combined, because the
      _semantic_ order of the three parallels doesn't follow the same syntactical
      order. Basically, one writer has A&B and another writer has B&A. It won't do
      to separate the text into two parts and say that B is unlike A and A is
      unlike B. Of course it is, cuz the order is reversed. What's needed is an
      analysis of the combinations:

      > Thomas, "Where no moth comes near to destroy (literally: eat)"
      > Thomas, "And no worm destroys"

      > Matthew, "Where neither moth nor rust destroy"
      > Matthew, "And where thieves do not break in or steal"

      > Luke, "Where a thief does not come near"
      > Luke, "Nor a moth destroys"

      By combining the parts, something quite different becomes evident than what
      was concluded from the parts separately. Both Matt and Luke mention thieves,
      and Thomas doesn't (although thieves are rampant elsewhere in Thomas). Also,
      neither Matt nor Luke mentions a worm, although Thomas does. Aside from
      Matt's rust, Matt and Luke are very close, except that one has reversed the
      other. They're closer to each other than either of them is to Thomas. This
      suggests that whichever of them came later (generally taken to be Luke) need
      not have had Thomas' version of this portion of the parable at all.

      The general point here is that one must be alert to differences in the order
      of semantic elements between two texts. It won't do to separate intertextual
      parallels into syntactical parts A, B, C, etc., irrespective of semantic
      order, and then compare the syntactical parts separately, unless the
      syntactical order reflects a common semantic order for the group of texts.
      Better to label each semantic element and then compare holistically from one
      collection of elements to another, in whatever syntactical order they happen
      to occur.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
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