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Re: [GTh] extended Farrer-Goulder hypothesis

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  • sarban
    ... From: fmmccoy To: Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 2:36 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] extended Farrer-Goulder
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 9, 2003
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "fmmccoy" <FMMCCOY@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 2:36 PM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] extended Farrer-Goulder hypothesis


      >
      > Hi Andrew
      >
      > One can test the theory of gravity by predicting that a ball dropped off
      the
      > Tower of Pisa will fall to the ground and then observing whether this
      > actually happens. How, though, can one scientifically predict what Luke
      > would have done in a given situation? A human being is not a robot and is
      > subject to making unpredictable actions due to having irrational impulses
      > and due to having many, not necessarily consistent, beliefs and due to
      > having many, not necessarily consistent, dispositions, etc.. So, I can't
      > envison how to write up a scientifically rigorous protocol for
      definitively
      > testing the elaborated Farrer-Goulder hypothesis in the fashion you
      suggest.
      > Perhaps someone else on this list can? Help!
      >
      > What I can do is to is to attempt to see whether this hypothesis leads
      > Matthew and Luke to making changes to their postulated sources that are in
      > accord with their apparent dispositions, beliefs, etc.
      >
      > In this post, we will focus on three passages:
      > Thomas 54, "Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven."
      > Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of
      > Heaven."
      > Luke 6:20, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God."
      >
      > In the elaborated Farrer-Goulder hypothesis, Matthew knew Mark and Thomas.
      > Acording to this hypothesis, then, Matthew knew of Thomas 54 and, so, what
      > he states in Matthw 5:3 is, presumably, his modified version of Thomas 54.
      >
      > In this case, Matthew makes two changes to Thomas 54. First, he changes
      > "yours" to "theirs".
      >
      > This is a minor editorial change. Thomas 54 has an internal minor
      > inconsistency between "the poor" and "yours". For sake of consistency, it
      > should have "you poor" and "yours" or else "the poor" and "theirs".
      Matthew
      > opts for the latter choice.
      >
      > Second, he adds, after "poor", the phrase "in spirit". This is a major
      > change that dramatically impacts on how to interpret the saying.
      >
      > How could he come up with this idea that the "poor" in this saying should
      be
      > understood to be the "poor *in spirit*"?
      >
      > Well, a clue comes in what immediately precedes Thomas 54, i.e., Thomas
      53b,
      > "Rather, the true circumcision *in spirit* has become completely
      profitable"
      > .
      > Here we have the same phrase (note: the underlying word for "spirit" in
      both
      > Thomas 53b and Matthew 5:3 is the Greek word "pneuma" (although, in
      Thomas,
      > as rendered using Coptic alphabet) so we are comparing apples to apples).
      >
      > I suggest this scenario: Matthew had a copy of Thomas. He noted that, in
      > 53b, the true circumcision is said to be the circumcision in spirit.
      Then,
      > when he read the immediately following 54, he assumed that the "poor" in
      > this passage must refer to the true poor, i.e., the poor in spirit, and,
      so,
      > when he wrote his version of Thomas 54 in Matthew 5:3, he expanded the
      > "poor" in Thomas 54 to "poor in spirit" in Matthew 5:3.
      >
      > Would this be in character for Matthew to not take the "poor" in Thomas 54
      > literally? I think so because, in Matthew 5:4 (which immediately follows
      > 5:3), he takes neither "hunger" nor "thirst" literally, "Blessed are those
      > who hunger and thirst for righteousness,... "
      >
      > Now, according to the elaborated Farrer-Goulder hypothesis, Luke knew
      Mark,
      > Thomas, and Matthew. As a result, according to it, Luke was aware of both
      > Thomas 54 and Matthew 5:3.
      >
      > Let ur re-look at the three passages:
      > Thomas 54, "Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven."
      > Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of
      > Heaven."
      > Luke 6:20, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God."
      >
      > In this case, Luke changes "the poor" of both Thomas 54 and Matthew 5:3 to
      > "you poor" in Luke 6:20. Indeed, this is what we would expect him to do
      > because, in the immediately preceding 6:20, he states, "And he lifted up
      his
      > eyes on his disciples, and said,". So, as Luke has Jesus directly
      > addressing his disiples, he changes "the poor" to "you poor"
      >
      > In this case, Luke also chooses Thomas' "yours" over Matthew's "theirs".
      > This choice is made by Luke for the same reason as the above change he
      made,
      > i.e., because he has Jesus directly addressing his disciples.
      >
      > In this case, Luke also changes "the Kingdom of Heaven" of both Thomas 54
      > and Matthew 5:3 to "the Kingdom of God." This is plausible because, while
      > Luke frequently uses "the Kingdom of God" in Luke and Acts, he almost
      never
      > (perhaps even never?) uses "the Kingdom of Heaven". So, we would expect
      him
      > to make this change.
      >
      > In this case, Luke chose Thomas' "poor" over Matthew's "poor in spirit"
      when
      > writing Luke 6:20.
      >
      > Again, this is what one would expect Luke to do because he has a
      preference
      > for the poor. As Mark Goodacre puts in The Case Against Q (p. 135), "More
      > important is a fact known by everyone who has read the most basic of
      > introductions to Luke's Gospel, that this is the Gospel of the underdog,
      the
      > outcast, the poor, the downtrodden, the marginalized. From the Magnificat
      > at one of the Gospel to the Widow's Mite at the other, Luke's is the
      Gospel
      > that consistently seems to maintain what these days might be called a
      > 'preferential option for the poor.'"
      >
      > The bottom line: The elaborated Ferrar-Goulder hypothesis can not only
      > explain the observed relationships between Thomas 54, Matthew 5:3, and
      Luke
      > 6:20, but, in addition, the proposed changes to Thomas 54 made by Matthew
      > are plausible and not unexpected and the proposed changes to Thomas 54 and
      > Matthew 5:3 by Luke are also plausible and not unexpected.
      >
      > According to the Q hypothesis, both Matthew 5:3 and Luke 6:20 come from
      > Q--with most scholars holding to the Q hypothesis thinking that Q had
      "poor"
      > and that Matthew expanded this to "poor in spirit".
      >
      > However, there is no need to invoke a hypothetical Q here for, as we have
      > seen, the evidence is consistent with both Matthew and Luke having known
      > Thomas 54. Does not Occam's razor apply here? If not, why not?
      >
      > (Note: The proposed fashion in which Matthew interpreted the "poor" of
      > Thomas 54 in a non-literal sense is a "red flag" indicating that Thomas 54
      > is perhaps not meant to be a simple declaration that those who live in
      > poverty will enter into the Kingdom. For, if Matthew interpreted the
      "poor"
      > of this passage in a non-literal fashion, might not the members of the
      > Thomas community as well?)
      >
      Hi Frank

      My problem with this is that "Kingdom of Heaven" is almost
      certainly a reverent circumlocution for "Kingdom of God" i.e.
      The earliest form of the tradition and/or Jesus himself almost
      certainly said "Kingdom of God"
      This means that in your analysis we start off with a secondary
      form in Thomas which is preserved in Matthew and converted
      back to a more original form in Luke.
      I don't find this very plausible. (possible but not likely)
      This leads on to a more general issue. Your very interesting
      analyses of the differences between Thomas and the synoptics
      leave me with a general feeling that the versions in Thomas are
      not particularly early. This is probably particularly true if we
      take the version in Mark as an example of the tradition in its
      early form and the more streamlined versions in Matthew and
      Luke as later forms of the tradition.
      To some extent this is a subjective judgment and others
      may legitimately differ, but your examples leave me feeling
      that Thomas has too many marks of lateness to be in its
      present form a source for Matthew and Luke.
      (You could of course say that "proto-Thomas" served as the
      source for Matthew and Luke not our version of Thomas.
      e.g. "proto-Thomas" had "Kingdom of God" which has later
      became "Kingdom of Heaven". Apart from the speculative/untestable
      nature of such an hypothesis, I have a suspicion that the sort of
      "proto-Thomas" that serves as a convincing source for Matthew
      and Luke will end up resembling certain versions of Q.)

      Andrew Criddle
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