Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [GT] Mk 3:28-29//Mt 12:31-32//Lk 12:10//Th 44 and Two Theories

Expand Messages
  • fmmccoy
    INTRODUCTION At the current time, the Two Source Theory is the dominant theory regarding the literary relationships between the three Synoptic gospels of Mt,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      INTRODUCTION

      At the current time, the Two Source Theory is the dominant theory regarding the literary relationships between the three Synoptic gospels of Mt, Mk, and Lk. According to this theory, Matthew and Luke independently used two gospels as sources. The first is Mk. The second is a postulated gospel which has been named Q. Q, it is hypothesised, consists of the nearly 200 non-Markan verses shared by Lk and Mt.

      A rival theory, growing in popularity, is the Mark Without Q Theory. It shares, with the Two Source Theory, the idea that both Matthew and Luke used Mk as a source. However, while the Two Source Theory accounts for the nearly 200 non-Markan verses shared by Lk and Mt by hypothesising Q, the Mark Without Q Theory takes a radically different approach. In particular, it accounts for the nearly 200 non-Markan verses shared by Lk and Mt by hypothesising that Luke not only used Mk as a source, but Mt as well.

      I propose a variation on the Mark Without Q Theory--a theory can be called the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory. In this theory, as with the other two, both Matthew and Luke used Mk as a source. In this theory, as in the Mark Without Q Theory, Luke also used Mt as a source. What is new in this theory is that, it postulates, in addition, both Matthew and Luke used Th as a source.

      In this post, we shall examine how the Two Source Theory and the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory relate to four gospel passages that share a common theme of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit being an unforgivable sin.
      They are Mk 3:28-29//Mt 12:31-32//Lk 12:10//Th 44

      It will be concluded that, as respects these four passages, the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory they both appear to be consistent with the evidence--or, at least, are not disproven by the evidence. Still, in some situations, the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory appears to have more explanatory power than the Two Source Theory.

      THE LARGER CONTEXT

      What is the larger context for Mk 3:28-29//Mt 12:31-32//Lk 12:10//Th 44? More importantly, how does it relate to question of which theory is more likely to be correct--the Two Source Theory or the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory?

      Well, In Mk, Mk 3:28-29 occurs in the larger context of Mk 3:20-35--which relates what takes place at or near the home of Jesus in Capernaum. It is preceded by the appointment of the Twelve on a mountain (Mk 3:13-19). It is followed by a discourse on parables near the shore-line of the Sea of Galilee (Mk 4:1-34).

      Mk 3:20-35 is divisible into three sub-incidents. In the first, Mk 3:20-21, some of Jesus' relations think he is loony. In the second, Mk 3:22-30, scribes from Jerusalem accuse Jesus of casting out demons through Beelzebul. It is in this second sub-incident that we find Mk 3:28-29. In the third, Mk 3:31-35, Jesus declares that those who do the will of God are his mother and sister and brother.

      Here is the schema for Mk 3:20-35 and relevant sections of Mt, Lk and Th

      Mk Mt Lk Th
      1. 3:20-21
      2. 12:22-23 11:14
      3. 3:22 12:24 11:15
      4. 11:16
      5. 3:23-26 12:25-26 11:17-18a
      6. 12:27-28 11:18b-20
      7. 3:27 12:29 11:21-22 35
      8. 12:30 11:23
      9. 3:28-29 12:31
      10. 3:30
      11. 12:32 12:10 44
      12. 12:33-35 * 45
      13. 12:36-37
      14. 12:38-42 11:29-32
      15. 12:43-45 11:24-26
      16. 3:31-35 12:46-50 8:19-21 99
      (* Possibly Lk 6:43-45 should be listed as a parallel to Mt 12:33-35. However. IMO, it is, rather, a parallel to Mt 7:16-20. We have this sequence: Lk 6:41//Mt 7:3-5, Lk 6:43-45//Mt 7:16-20, and Lk 6:46//Mt 7:21. In this sequence, IMO, either both Matthew and Luke are following the Q order (the Two Source Theory) or Luke is following the Matthean order (the Mark Without Q Theory). In either case, the Matthean parallel to Lk 6:43-45 is indicated to be Mt 7:16-20 rather than Mt 12:33-35)

      First, note that Matthew 12:22-50 contains parallels to all of Mk 3:20-35 except for Mk 3:20-21 and Mk 3:30. Further, the parallels between them occur in the same order of sequence.

      Both the Two Source Theory and the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory can have the same explanation for this situation: Matthew used Mk as one of his sources. Further, Matthew utilized all of Mk 3:20-35, except for 3:20-21 and 3:30, in writing Mt 12:22-50. Finally, when writing Mt 12:22-50, Matthew utilized Mk 3:20-35 in sequential order.

      Second, note that Lk 11:14-22 contains parallels to all of Mk 3:20-27 except for Mk 3:20-21. Further, the parallels between them occur in the same order of sequence.

      Both the Two Source Theory and the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory can have the same explanation for this situation: Luke used Mk as one of his sources. Further, Luke utilized all of of Mk 3:20-27, except for 3:20-21, in writing Lk 11:14-22. Finally, when writing Lk 11:14-22, Luke utilized Mk 3:20-27 in sequential order.

      Third, note that Lk 11:14-23 contains parallels to all of Mt 12:22-30. Further, the parallels between them occur in the same order of sequence.

      According to the Two Source Theory, both Matthew and Luke used Q as a source. Matthew used a Q passage as a source for Mt 12:22-30 and utilized it in sequential order. Luke used the same Q passage as a source for Lk 11:14-23 and utilized it in sequential order.

      According to the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, Luke used Mt as one of his sources. He used Mt 12:22-30 as a source for Lk 11:14-23. When writing Lk 11:14-23, he used it in sequential order.

      While the two theories differ here as to how to explain this situation, each gives an adequate explanation. As a result, they appear, here, to be roughly comparable in their explanatory powers.

      Fourth, note that Th 33-99 has four passages with parallels in Mt 12:22-50 Further, these four parallels between Th 33-99 and Mt 12:22-50 occur in the same order of sequence.

      While this situation presents no particular problem to the Two Source Theory, it, yet, is the case that the Two Source Theory has no ready explanation for this situation either.

      However, the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, does have a ready explanation for this situation. According to it, Matthew used Thomas as one of his sources. He used Th 33-99 as a source for Mt 12:22-50. When writing Mt 12:22-50, he used it in sequential order, although with two big gaps (i.e., between 33 and 44 and between 45 and 99).

      Fifth, note that Mt 12:32-50 has four parallel Lukan passages and these Lukan passages are in reverse order (12:10, 11:29-32, 11:24-26, and 8:19-21).

      In the Two Source Theory, the explanation is that both Luke and Matthew are utilizing Q, but that Matthew utilizes the passages within the Q unit in their reverse order. (Note: Almost all who hold to the Two Source Theory also hold that Luke follows the Q order much closer than does Matthew. As a result, as the Matthean and Lukan passages are in reverse order, the one reversing the Q order is presumably Matthew rather than Luke).

      In the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, the explanation is that Luke is utilizing Mt 12:32-50 in reverse order: using Mt 12:32 as the basis for Lk 12:10, using Mt 12:38-42 as the basis for Lk 11:29-32, using Mt 12:43 as the basis for Lk 11:24-26, and using Mt 12:46-50 as the basis for Lk 8:19-21.

      Here, I think that the Mark Without Q Theory has a clear advantage.

      This is because there is a very striking common characteristic to the four Lukan passages which have parallels in Mt 12:32-50.

      That is, all of them are to be found in three Lukan units sharing this generic structure:
      A. A center that is a parallel to a Th passage
      B. An passage on each side of the center, each of which is a parallel to one of two Matthean passages in reversed order.

      Here are the three Lukan units, with each of the four Lukan passages which have parallels in Mt 12:32-50 being preceded by an asterisk (*):
      1. Lk 12:2-9//Mt 10:26-33
      2. *Lk 12:10//Mt 12:32//Th 45
      3. Lk 12:11-12//Mt 10:19-20
      (Here, the center Th parallel is 45 and the two Matthean parallels in reverse order are 10:26-33 and 10:19-20.)

      4. *Lk 11:24-26//Mt 12:43-45
      5. Lk 11:27-28//Th 79
      6. *Lk 11:29/32//Mt 12:38-42
      (Here, the center Th parallel is 79 and the two Matthean parallels in reverse order are 12:43-45 and 12:38-42)

      7. Lk 8:18//Mt 13:12//Mk 4:24-25
      8. *Lk 8:19-21//Mt 12:46-50//Mk 3:31-35//Th 99
      9. Lk 8:22-25//Mt 8:23-27//Mk 4:35-41
      (Here, the center Th parallel is 99 and the two Matthean parallels in reverse order are 13:12 and 8:23-27)

      Note that the four Lukan passages with parallels in Mt 12:32-50 are numbers 2, 4, 6, and 8, meaning that, in this cycle of three similar type units, they form a mirror symmetrical pattern with its mirror plane at 5 (i.e., Lk 11:27//Th 79).

      To the best of my knowledge, the Two Source Theory has no explanation for this situation.

      Conversely, the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory has a ready explanation for this situation. Luke used both Mt and Th as sources. Further, he created these three units through the utilization of Mt 12:32-50 in reverse order and the utilization of Th.

      So, here, the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory has greater explanatory capabilities than the Two Source Theory, giving it an advantage over the Two Source Theory.

      A LINE SCHEMA

      Turning now to the four passages of Mt 12:31-32, Mk 3:28-29, Lk 12:10, and Th 44, let us look at a line schema that is engendered by:
      (1) dividing them into discrete units to be referred to as "lines"
      and then:
      (2) putting these lines in sequential order,

      This is the line schema, which consists of two line sequences:

      The First Line Sequence
      Line 1 Forgivable--Part A
      Mt 12:31a Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men,
      Mk 3:28a Amen. I say to you that everything will be forgiven the sons of men:
      Line 2 Forgivable--Part B
      Mk 3:28b the sins and the blasphemies they may blaspheme.
      Line 3 Not Forgivable
      Mt 12:31b but blasphemy (against) the Spirit will not be forgiven.
      Mk 3:29a But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit does not have forgiveness into the (final) age,
      Line 4 The Absoluteness of the Unforgivability
      Mk 3:29b but is guilty of an eternal sin.


      The Second Line Sequence
      Line 5 Forgivable--Part A
      Th 44:1 Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven,
      Line 6 Forgivable--Part B
      Mt 12:32a And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it will be forgiven him
      Th 44:2 and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven
      Lk 12:10a And everyone who will say a word against the Son of Man it will be
      forgiven him
      Line 7 What is Not Forgivable
      Mt 12:32b but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him
      Th 44:3a but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
      Lk 12:10b But the one having blasphemed against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
      Line 8 The Absoluteness of the Unforgivability
      Mt 12:32c neither in this age nor in the coming one.
      Th 44:3b either on earth or in heaven


      Since:
      (1) Mt 12:31 belongs to the first line sequence (which also includes Mk 3:28-29),
      while:
      (2) Mt 12:32 belongs to the second line sequence (which also includes Lk 12:10 and Th 44),
      it appears that:
      (3) in Mt 12:31-32, Matthew brings together and combines two versions of this saying known to him. The first, which is the basis for Mt 12:31, is Mk 3:28-29. The second, which is the basis for Mt 12:32, is either Lk 12:10 or else Th 44.

      As a result, it would appear, either we have:
      1. Mk 3:28-29 ----> Mt 12:31
      Lk 12:10 ---> Mt 12:32
      or else we have:
      2. Mk 3:28-29 ---> Mt 12:31
      Th 44 ---> Mt 12:32.

      According to the Two Source Theory, the first option is the correct one. Mt 12:31 is based on Mk 3:28-29. Mt 12:32 is based on a Q passage which is accurately rendered by Luke in Lk 12:10.

      So, in the History of the Synoptic Tradition (p. 131), Rudolph Bultmann states, "Mark has the relatively most original form: every sin can be forgiven the sons of men (originally the son of man, i.e., men) save blasphemy against the Spirit. I agree with Wellhausen about the form in Q, which Matthew has joined to Mark. It arose from a a misunderstanding: any word spoken against the Son of Man (i.e., against Jesus) can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit cannot."

      Schematically, then, this is what is postulated in the Two Source Theory:
      Mk 3:28-29 ---> Mt 12:31
      Q ( = Lk 12:10) ---> Mt 12:32.
      (Note: Some Two Source Theory proponents see an influence from the last part of Mk 3:28-29 in the last part of Mt 12:32, but this does not alter the situation of, in this theory, Mt 12:31 being basically based on Mk 3:28-29 and Mt 12:32 being basically based on a Q passage. It's just that, in this case, Matthew is somewhat influenced by Mk 3:28-29 in how he goes about giving his own version of the Q passage in Mt 12:32 Such a "smear" effect is perhaps only to be expected since, according to theTwo Source Theory, Matthew was aware of Mk 3:28-29)

      Conversely, according to the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, Matthew used both Mk and Th as sources. As a result, it is consistent with the second option of::
      Mk 3:28-29 ---> Mt 12:31
      Th 44 ---> Mt 12:32.

      As a result, we have a testable difference between the Two Source Theory and the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory. According to the Two Source Theory, we have:
      Mk 3:28-29 ---> Mt 12:31
      Q ( = Lk 12:10) ---> Mt 12:32.
      According to the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, we have:
      Mk 3:28-29 ---> Mt 12:31
      Th 44 ---> Mt 12:32.

      Which, then, is the more likely to be correct?

      A clue arises from the first line sequence: where, in using Mk 3:28-29 as a source for Mt 12:31, Matthew reduces it by two lines.

      The expectation, then, is that, in writing Mt 12:32, Matthew shortened his source for it.

      In this regard, it is noteworthy that, in the second line sequence:
      1. Lk 12:10 has two lines
      2. Mt 12:32 has three lines
      3. Th 44 has four lines.

      The conclusion: Since the expectation is that Matthew shortens his source when writing Mt 12:31, and since Th 44 has more lines than Mt 12:31 while Lk 12:10 has less lines than Mt 12:31, it appears that Matthew's source for Mt 12:31 is more likelyh to be Th 44 than to be Q (= Lk 12:10).

      In support of this conclusion is the suture line between the two line segments:

      Line 3 of First Sequence: Mk line 3 and last line of Mt 12:31
      Line 4 of First Sequence: Mk line 4, but no Matthean line
      ----------------------------------suture line-------------------------------------------------
      Line 1 of Second Sequence: Th line 1, but no Matthean line
      Line 2 of Second Sequence: Th Line 2 and first line of Mt 12:32

      This situation is most easily explained, ISTM, by the hypothesis that Matthew is bringing Mk 3:28-29 and Th 44 together in Mt 12:31-32, with he, to facilitate their merger, deleting line 4 of Mk 3:28-29 and line 1 of Th 44.

      IS TH 44 LATER THAN MT 12:32?

      Another way to test the Two Document Theory and the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory is to try to determine whether Th 44 is later than Mt. 12:32.

      If it is earlier, then either theory might be correct.

      This is because:
      1. The Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory has Th 44 being the source for Mt 12:32 So, it has:
      Th ---> Mt
      2. The Q Theory is consistent with the hypothesis that Th 44 is earlier than Mt. 12:32 In this case, we either have:
      a. Q ---> Th ----> Mt
      or:
      b. Th---> Q ----> Mt.

      However, if Th 44 is later than Mt 12:32, then only the Two Source Theory can be correct.

      This is because:
      1. Having Th 44 be later than Mt 12:32 contradicts the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, which has Th 44 being the source for Mt 12:32
      2.However, the Two Source Theory is consistent with the hypothesis that Th 44 is later than Mt 12:32. In this case, we have:
      Q ---> Mt ----> Th.

      As a result, if Mt 12:32 is earlier than Th 44, then the Two Source Theory could be correct, but the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory cannot be correct.

      Indeed, an argument can be made that not only is the Two SourceTheory correct, but that Th 44 is later than Mt 12:32 as well.

      This is done, for example, by John Dominic Crossan in his major work, The Historical Jesus.

      Here (p. 258), he states, "Thus generic 'sons of men' (in Mark 3:28) became titular 'Son of Man' in the Sayings Gospel Q at Luke 12:10. And Matthew combined both sources by translating the 'sons of man' from Mark 3:28 into 'men' in Matthew 12:31 but then accepting the Sayings Gospel Q's confusion with 'Son of Man' in Matthew 12:32. The result, even if somehow
      explicable, was surely a most unfortunate distinction of forgivable sins against Jesus as Son of Man but unforgivable sins against the Holy Spirit. And Gospel of Thomas 44 compounded and consummated the entire muddle by enlarging it into a Trinitarian formula of forgivable sons (sic!--s/b sins) against Father and Son but not against the Holy Spirit."


      Here, Crossan portrays Th 44 as being the latest version of the saying.

      If I understand Crossan correctly, he gives us two major reasons for deeming Th 44 to be the latest version of this saying.

      First, it is the culmination of a sequence beginning with "sons of men" in Mark 3:28-29, next proceeding to "Son of Man" in Q and Mt 12:32, and ending with "Son" in Th 44.

      Second, it represents the fuller development of the Binitarian formula of Son of Man/Holy Spirit in Q and Mt 12:32 into the Trinitarian formula of Father/Son/Holy Spirit.

      Let us now turn to Crossan's postulated sequence:
      sons of men (Mk) ----> Son of Man (Q and Mt) ---> Son (Th).

      The first thing to notice is that, as it has the Markan phrase pre-dating the Q phrase, it apparently contradicts Crossan's thesis that Q was written before Mark. So, elsewhere (Ibid. pp. 427-30), Crossan places Q in the First Stratum of 30-60 CE, but places Mark in the Second Stratum of 60-80 CE.


      This is not fatal to Crossan's postulated sequence. He might be incorrect in thinking that Mark was written later than Q. Also, the Markan community might have been very conservative or very isolated and, so, have continued holding on to an early oral version of the saying even after the Q community had accepted a later oral version of the saying and written it down. As a result, when Mark wrote down the saying as it existed in the oral traditions of his community, he wrote down an earlier version of it than is found in Q, even though he wrote his gospel later than Q.

      Still, this points out that this postulated sequence is not solidly based and, so, has a relatively high degree of speculation to it.

      The second thing to notice is that, in this sequence, the middle term is "Son of Man".

      Crossan interprets this to mean that "Son of Man" is, temporally, the middle term--acting as a transition between an earlier "sons of men" and a later "Son".

      However, it could be the middle term in quite another sense. That is, it could be that Matthew was looking at two versions of this saying:
      (1) the version in Mark 3:28-29, which has "sons of men"
      (2) the version in Th 44, which has "Son".
      and decided that both are corruptions of an original phrase of "Son of Man". So, in writing Mt 12:32, he decided to use the term "Son of Man".

      To summarize. Crossan posits the scenario:
      sons of men (Mk) ----> Son of Man (Q and Mt) ---> Son (Th).
      Further, he takes it as evidence that Th 44 is the latest version of the saying.

      However, the scenario is rather speculative. Further, even if it is true, it could be that, Matthew understood, it should be schematized this way:
      sons of men (Mk) <---- Son of Man (Original) ---> Son (Th).
      So, at least by itself, it is too weak to establish a case for Th 44 being later than Mt 12:32,

      There still is Crossan's other point. This is that, in Th 44, we find the fuller development of the Binitarian formula of Son of Man/Holy Spirit (which is found in Q and Mt 12:32) into the Trinitarian formula of Father/Son/Holy Spirit.

      However, in Th 44, the Trinitarian formulation of Father/Son/Holy Spirit is in a nascent form, with other phrases separating the mentions of the three divine beings.

      Further, a well developed Trinitarian formulation of Father/Son/Holy Spirit is found in Mt 28:18, "You are to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."

      As a result, while there is a nascent Trinitarian formulation in Th 44, there is a well-developed Trinitarian formulation in Mt 28:18.

      This suggests that Mt 28:18 belongs to a later stage of development than Th 44. If so, then the expectation is that Matthew wrote his gospel later than Thomas wrote his gospel, making Th 44 earlier than Mt 12:32.

      The bottom line: The evidence provided by Crossan is too weak to sustain the thesis that Th 44 is later than Mt 12:32. Therefore, it fails to either disprove or else to render implausible the postulated sequence of:
      Th 44 ---> Mt 12:32 ---> Lk 12:10.
      Since this is the sequence postulated under the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, this means that this evidence fails to disprove this theory or to render it implausible..

      LUKE 12:10

      According to the Two Source Theory, in which Luke has Mk and Q as sources, Luke 12:10 is based on a Q passage.

      However, according to the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory, in which Luke has Mk, Mt and Th as sources, Lk 12:10 is based on Mt 12:32 and/or Th 44.

      Which of these two theories best explains the evidence?

      For help in answering this question, let us turn to the first line of Lk 12:10 and its Matthean and Thomas parallels:
      Lk 12:10a And everyone who will say a word against the Son of Man it will be
      forgiven him
      Mt 12:32a And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it will be forgiven him
      Th 44:2 and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven


      Here, Lk 12:10 is closer to Mt than to Th. It agrees with Mt on "Son of Man" rather than "Man". Also, ir follows Mt in referring to saying/speaking a word, while Th refers to blaspheming.

      Next, let us turn to the second line of Lk 12:10 and its Matthean and Thomas parallels:
      Lk 12:10b But the one having blasphemed against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
      Mt 12:32b but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him
      Th 44:3a but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven


      Here, Lk 12:10 appears to be closer to Th than to Mt. In particular, like Th, it refers to blaspheming, wihile Mt refers to speaking against.

      The Two Source Theory has no ready explanation as to why the first line of Lk 12:10 is closest to Mt 12:32, while the second line of Lk 12:10 is closest to Th 44.

      However, the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory has a ready explanation for this situation. In this case, Luke looked at both Mt 12:32 and Th 44. He saw that Matthew shortened Th 44 by one line to three lines, so he decided to, in turn, shorten Mt 12:32 by one line to two lines. He then modelled the first line of his version of the saying after a line from Mt 12:32. Finally, he modelled the second line of his version of the saying after a line from Th 44.

      CONCLUDING REMARKS

      In this post, we have examined how the Two Source Theory and the Mark and Thomas Without Q Theory relate to Mk 3:28-29/Mt 12:31-32//Lk 12:10//Th 44.

      It appears that both theories are consistent with the evidence. At least, neither appears to be disproven by the evidence. However, for some situations, the Thomas Without Q Theory appears to have greater explanatory powers.

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


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.