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Re: [GTh] Part IV ofThe Synoptic Gospel Problem and Thomas

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  • fmmccoy
    (Note: This is the fourth in a series of five posts) IV UNIT 2--MT 11:10//LK 10:27//MK 1:2 A. The Texts Let us now turn to an analysis of unit two, Mt
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2005
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      (Note: This is the fourth in a series of five posts)

      IV UNIT 2--MT 11:10//LK 10:27//MK 1:2

      A. The Texts

      Let us now turn to an analysis of unit two, Mt 11:10//Lk 7:27//Mk 2:1. Here
      are the texts for this unit

      Line 1
      Mt 11:10a This is about whom it has been written,
      Mk 1:2a Just as it has been written in Isaiah the prophet,
      Lk 7:27a This is about whom it has been written
      Line 2
      Mt 11:10b Behold I send my messenger before your face,
      Mk 1:2b, Behold! I send my messenger before your face,
      Lk 7:27b Behold! I send my messenger before your face,
      Line 3
      Mt 11:10c who will prepare your way in front of you.
      Mk 1:2c, who will prepare your way.
      Lk 7:27b who will prepare your way in front of you.

      B This Presents Problems for the 2DH

      1. A Basic Problem for the 2DH

      In line 1, note that Mk 1:2 is quite unlike Mt 11:10a//Lk 7:27a. Indeed,
      its Matthean and Lukan parallels occur in Lk 3:4a//Mt 3:3a:
      Lk 3:4a As it has been written in the book of the words of Isaiah the
      prophet,
      Mt 3:3a For this is the one spoken [of] through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
      Mk 1:2a Just as it has been written in Isaiah the prophet,

      In marked contrast. in line 1, note that Mt 11:10a and Lk 7:27a are, in the
      Greek, identical ("Houtos estin peri hou
      gegraptai").

      Thus, while Mk 1:2a is from the Markan tradition, Mt 11:10a//Lk 7:27a come
      from a completely different and, hence, non-Markan, tradition.

      Indeed, according to the classic definition of Q, which is that it consists
      of
      non-Markan material common to Lk and Mt, Mt 11:10a and Lk 7:27a come from Q,
      i.e., from Q 7:27a.

      In lines 2 and 3, all three passages are very close to each other. For
      example, let us look at the original Greek of line 3:
      Mk 1:2c hos kataskeuasei ten hodon sou.
      Mt 11:10c hos kataskeuasei ten hodon sou emprosthen sou
      Lk 7:27c hos kataskeuasei ten hodon sou emprosthen sou
      As can be seen, the first five words for each one is identical.

      According to the classic definition of Q, this triple tradition material is
      based on Mk rather than Q.

      So, according to the classic definition of Q::
      1. the introduction to the quotation in Mt 10a//Lk 7:27a comes from Q
      but:
      2. the quotation itself in Mt 10b-c//Lk 7:27b-c comes from Mk.

      This presents a major problem for the 2DH. It is implausible to think that
      Matthew and Luke would independently choose the same passage from Q to
      immediately precede a passage from Mk that, in Mk, occurs in a quite
      different context. Yet, it is a basic premise of the 2DH that Matthew and
      Luke acted indepentely of each other.

      2. The Proposed Solution

      The IQP solution is that, despite failing to meet the classic definition of
      Q, Mt 11:10b-c//Lk 7:27b-c does come from Q. What we have in Mk 1:2b-c//Mt
      11:10b-c//Lk 7:27b-c, then, is a Mk-Q overlap. As a result, in Mt
      11:10//Lk 7:27, both the introduction to the quote and the quote itself come
      from Q, thereby solving the problem.

      Presumably, although I don't know this for a fact, they chose this solution
      for two reasons.

      First, Mt 11:10c//Lk 7:27c share a phrase (i.e., emprosthen sou) which is
      absent from Mk 1:2c. In this case, the argument is that, as (1) this phrase
      fits the classic definition of Q, and as (2) it is integral to the version
      of the quotation found in Mt 11:10b-c and Lk 7:27b-c, it is the case that
      (3) Mt 11:10b-c//Lk 7:27b-c apparently comes from Q.


      Second, the adjacent material on both sides of Mt 11:10//Lk 7:27, at least
      in the range from Mt 11:2//Lk 7:18 to Mt 11:11//Lk 7:28, are both (1)
      strongly parallel and (2) fit the classic definition of Q. So, it would
      appear, Mt 11:2-11//Lk 7:18-28 are based on a Q passage, i.e., Q 7:18-28.
      Therefore, it would appear, Mt 11:10//Lk 7:27 are two versions of a verse
      that is an integral part of a Q passage.

      3. However, This Solution Raises More Problems

      a. How Does One Explain the Literary Dependency?

      However, this solution, in turn, raises three major problems for the 2DH.

      First, the three versions of the quotation are so close that literary
      dependency appears to be necessitated.

      Possibly, the author Q and Mk utilized a common written source. However,
      for line 3, there is no known passage in the LXX or in any other known
      Jewish work circulating in the first century CE with the five identical
      Greek words shared by Mk, Mt, and Lk. So, this explanation lacks
      plausibility.

      Possibly, the author of Q used Mk as a source However, then Q is later than
      Mk--which is contrary to the judgment call (of most advocates of the 2DH)
      that Q was written before Mk. Further, this shrinks the time between the
      writing of Q and the writing of Mt, perhaps to the vanishing point. So,
      this doesn't appear to be a good solution either.

      If Mark used Q as a source, these two problems disappear.

      Perhaps for this reason, this is the solution chosen by Burton Mack. So, in
      The Lost Gospel (p. 179), he states, "And, as scholars know, there are a
      myriad of interesting points at which the so-called overlaps between Mark
      and Q show Mark's use of Q material for his own narrative design."

      But, is this a good explanation for the situation as respects Mt 11:10//Lk
      7:27//Mk 1:2?

      A little later (p. 242), Mack states, "Mark used the Malachi citation (Mal.
      3:1) in combination with a forceful prediction from Isaiah about a voice
      crying in the wilderness (Isa. 40:3) to introduce John at the very beginning
      of his story. Matthew and Luke undid this combination, using the Isianic
      prediction to introduce John at the appropriate point toward the beginning
      of their stories, while reserving the Malachi prediction for its proper
      annunciation by Jesus, just as Q had it (Matt. 11:10; Luke 7:27)."

      So, this is the proposed scenario:
      1. the author of Q made the Malachi citation in Q 7:27
      2. Mark moved it to the beginning of his gospel, where he linked it with a
      citation of Isaiah 40:3.
      3. Matthew and Luke saw what Mark did and independently agreed that Mark was
      correct in citing Isaiah 40:3 where he did, but that he shouldn't have
      moved the Malachi citation from its Q context to the Markan context for the
      citing of Isaiah 40:3
      4. Therefore, each one of them independently left the citing of Isaiah 40:3
      in its Markan context, but moved the Malachi citation back to its Q context.

      This is all possible. However, it is a rather complicated scenario which
      requires Matthew and Luke to independently go through the same sequence of
      thoughts and actions. So, its plausibility is rather suspect.

      In addition, even on a generic level, the explanation that Mark used Q as a
      source has enough problems for many scholars to doubt its validity. For
      example, in Excavating Q (p. 80), John Kloppenborg-Verbin states, "But
      scholars are very much divided on the question of whether Mark knows the
      final form of Q or merely shares some tradition with Q. That latter view
      seems preferable, for Mark does not show any signs of knowing what is
      distinctive of Q's redaction."

      So, the 2DH apparently does not have a good explanation for the
      apparent literary dependency between Mk 1:2c and Mt 11:10c//Lk 7:27c.

      b. This is Opening a Pandora's Box

      If the explanation of a Mk-Q overlap is correct, then it necessitates that Q
      had been bigger than as posited under the classic definition of Q.

      This creates a second major problem for the 2DH. That is, once it is
      admitted that Q had been bigger than as posited under the classic definition
      of Q, then almost any passage in Mt and Lk becomes a candidate for having Q
      as a source. For example, if a passage is found only in Lk, it still might
      come from Q--for it might be that the Lukan passage is based on a Q passage
      that was utilized by Luke, but omitted by Matthew.

      The bottom line: in taking this step, the proponents of the 2DH have opened
      a Pandora's box and there seems to be no way for them to get it re-closed or
      even, to manage to keep the lid just slightly ajar.

      3. A Common Omission--and More!

      Under the proposed solution, Matthew and Luke each saw the quotation in two
      spots, i.e., Mk 1:2 and Q:7-27. Further, each chose to omit the Markan
      location for it (for, if they had chosen that location, they would have
      placed the quote in Mt 3:3//Lk 3:4) and to use it in its Q location.

      This raises questions about whether Matthew and Luke were (as required in
      the 2DH) acting independently.

      Kloppenborg-Verbin (Ibid., p. 34)addresses this problem, stating,
      "In most cases, common omissions do not require the supposition of
      collaboration between Matthew and Luke but arise instead from similar
      responses to the text of Mark. For example, in Mark 1:1-6, Matthew and Luke
      both omit Mark 1:2b ( = Mal 3:1), a quotation that Mark erroneously ascribed
      to Isaiah, perhaps because of Mark's error or because Matthew and Luke had
      the Malachi quotation on Jesus' lips in Q (Q 7:27). The omission of Mark
      1:2b, however, must be seen in the fuller context of the treatment of Mark
      by Matthew and Luke: Matthew also omits Mark's 'baptism of repentence for
      the forgiveness of sins' (which Luke retains). Luke omits the description
      of John's dress and food (which Matthew retains). In other words, to focus
      only on Matthew's and Luke's joint omission of Mark 1:2b is to distort the
      evidence. It is not a case of Matthew and Luke always agreeing in omitting
      the same Markan material; here, both omit various materials from Mark and
      they coincide in *one* of those omissions."

      However, "in Mark 1:1-6", Mark 1:2b is not the only common omission by
      Matthew and Luke--for each also omits Mk 1:1.

      Further, we have these six steps taken by each of them:
      1. omitting Mk 1:1
      2. replacing it with his version of Mk 1:4 (see Mt 3:1-2//Lk 3:2-3)
      3. writing his version of Mk 1:2a (see Mt 3:3a//Lk 3:4a)
      4. writing his version of Mk 1:2b somewhere else in his gospel (see Mt
      11:10b-c//Lk 7:27b-c)
      5. prefacing his writing of Mk 1:2b somewhere else in his gospel with the
      words, "Houtos estin peri hou gegraptai" (see Mt 11:10a//Lk 7:27a)
      6. writing his version of Mk 1:3 (see Mt 3:3b//Lk 3:4b-6)

      This is readily explicable under the FH. First, Matthew took these six
      steps. Second, Luke saw what Matthew did and approved of it and, so, took
      these same six steps himself.

      For any one of these steps, the 2DH can come up with an explanation:
      1. Mk 1:1 is the introduction to Mark's gospel and, since Luke and Matthew
      started their gospels earlier with infancy narratives, each decided that he
      did not need to use Mk 1:1
      2. However, Mk 1:2-3 does need something to introduce it, and Mk 1:4
      actually acts as a good introduction, so each decided to replace Mk 1:1 with
      Mk 1:4.
      3. Each is just following Mk
      4. there was another version of the quotation in Q and Luke and Matthew each
      decided to use it in its Q context
      5. the preface, with its identical wording, comes from Q and each decided to
      use it without a single variation
      6. Each is just following Mk.

      However, that Matthew and Luke act in concert for all six steps brings into
      *serious* question one of the basic premises upon which the 2DH is based,
      i.e., the premise that Matthew and Luke acted independently of each other.

      B Analysis of the Quotation

      Let us now turn to an analysis of the quotation: which is found in Mt 11:10,
      Lk 7:27 and Mk 1:2. Above, Crossan, Burton, and Kloppenborg-Verbin all
      speak of it is a quotation of Mal 3:1. However, for reasons given below, I
      think it more likely that it is a quotation of Ex 23:20.

      Here is the first part of the quotation and parallels in Mal and Ex:
      Mk 1:2b Idou apostellw ton aggelon mou pro proswpou sou
      Mt 11:10b Idou egw apostellw ton aggelon mou pro proswpou sou
      Lk 7:27b Idou apostellw ton aggelon mou pro proswpou sou
      Ex 23:20a (LXX) Kai idou egw apostellw ton aggelon mou pro porswpou sou
      Ex 23:20a (Philo) Idou apostellw ton aggelon mou pro proswpou sou
      Mal 3:1a (LXX) Idou ezapostellw ton aggelon mou

      Point 1: Mk 1:2b, Lk 7:27b, and the Philonic version of Ex 23:20a (which is
      found in Mig. 174) are identical.

      Point 2: Mt 11:10 is identical to Mk 1:2b and Lk 7:27, except that it has
      the added word of "egw"--which word is also found in the LXX version of Ex
      23:20a.

      Point 3: Indeed, Mt 11:10 is almost identical to the LXX version of Ex
      23:20a, only lacking the arguably redundant initial word of "kai (and)".

      According to the FH, first Mark wrote his version of the first part of the
      quotation, basing it on a non-LXX version of Ex 23:20a also utilized by
      Philo in Mig 174. Next, Matthew saw what Mark did. Matthew decided to make
      his version of the first part of the quotation closer to that of the LXX.
      So, in his version, he added the LXX version's word of "egw". Further,
      Matthew decided to change the context for the citing of the quotation.
      Finally, Luke saw what both Mark and Matthew did. He decided to use the
      Markan version of the first part of the quotation. However, he went along
      with Matthew in changing the context for the citing of the quotation

      According to the 2DH, there initially were two versions of the first part of
      the quotation:
      1. the Markan version, which is based on a non-LXX version of Ex 23:20a also
      utilized by Philo in Mig 174
      2. the Q version, which is based on the LXX version of Ex 23:20a, and only
      lacks the arguably redundant "kai (and)".
      Next, Matthew looked at the two versions and chose the Q version, while Luke
      also looked at the two versions and chose the Markan version. Further, both
      Matthew and Luke decided to use the Q context for the quotation rather than
      the Markan context for its location.

      Each explanation, IMO, is plausible. Further, neither explanation has an
      obvious major problem. So, ISTM, they are, basically, on even par with each
      other.

      Here is the second part of the quotation and parallels in Ex and Mal:
      Mk 1:2c hos kataskeuasei ten hodon sou.
      Mt 11:10c hos kataskeuasei ten hodon sou emprosthen sou
      Lk 7:27c hos kataskeuasei ten hodon sou emprosthen sou
      Ex 23:20b (LXX) ina phylaze se en te hodw
      Ex 23:20b (Philo) ina phylaze se en te hodw
      Mal. 3:1b (LXX) kai epiblepheta hodon pro prosopon mou

      Point 1: Mt 11:10c and Lk 7:27c are identical.

      Point 2: Mk 1:2c is identical to them except in not having their final
      phrase of "emprosthen sou".

      Point 3. None of these three Synoptic gospel passages is even close to Ex
      23:20b or Mal 3:1b. Their "hodon" matches the "hodon"in Mal 3:1b, but this
      is not remarkable. Their "ten hodon" is related to the "te hodw" of Ex
      23:20b, but this is not remarkable either.

      This second line not only isn't close to either Ex 23:20b or Mal 3:1b.
      Beyond that, to the best of my knowledge, it isn't even close to any other
      passage in the Hebrew scriptures--or, for that matter, in any known
      non-canonical Jewish text dating to the first century CE or earlier.

      This leaves us with the options:
      1. this is the citation of a passage from a now-lost Jewish text
      2. this is a syncretic blend of several passages from who knows where
      3. this is a radically altered version of Mal 3:1b
      4, this is a radically altered version of Ex 23:20b

      Since the first line is a quotation of Ex 23:20a, my judgment is that this
      second line is most likely to be a radically altered version of Ex 23:20b.

      But why would anyone make such a drastic alteration of Ex 23:20b?

      In the case of Mark, there is a ready explanation. That is, he radically
      altered Ex 23:20b so as to create a smooth transition between his
      immediately preceding citation of Exod 23:20a and his immediately following
      citation of Isaiah 40:3.

      In the case of the author of Q, there is no readily apparent explanation as
      to why (s)he would do this.

      So, it appears, the situation favors the FH here. In this case, Mark cited
      Ex 23:20a-b: closely following its first line, but radically altering its
      second line in order to create a smooth transition to his immediately
      following citing of Isaiah 40:3. Then, Matthew lifted Mark's version of Ex
      23:20a-b and moved it to a different context (i.e., Mt 11:7-11) and mildly
      edited it (adding the "ego" and the "emprosthen sou". Finally, Luke saw
      what Matthew did and approved of it except for a few details, e.g., he did
      not go along with adding "ego" to the quote. So, Lk 7:24-28 is his version
      of Mt 11:7-11.

      C. Concluding Remarks

      As respects Mt 11:10//Lk 7:27//Mk 1:2, it appears that the FH is superior to
      the 2DH in explaining the situation. Indeed, the 2DH has major problems
      that bring into question its credibility as a viable hypothesis.

      Frank McCoy
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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