Q possible source
- Greetings all Listers,
Pertinent to the current debate on the List on the priority and primacy of the Gospels is H.E. Edwards' biting evaluation of some currently held interpretative estimations that the writing of the Fourth Gospel post-dates the other three Gospels:
(1) If John says what the Synoptics say, then he is quoting them, (2) if what he says is out of harmony with their statements, he is correcting them, (3) if he tells us anything not found in the Synoptics, he is supplementing them. If anything, this theory (the Supplementary theory) accounts not only for all that John has written; it would account equally well for anything he might have written.
The originator of the "Q" material and/or the "unique tradition" (UT) texts (material found in one Syn. only) whether Luke or Matthew as the originator or some other source had to have considerable "ecclesiastical clout" behind him indeed for his material to act as a major source for the later Synoptist writers. It is certainly required of 'Q' and these (UT) texts that in their individual units and as a totality of texts, that they arise not from a person unknown to the primitive church authorities and the Evangelists but originally from someone with whom they or their proxy had ready contact. It is required that they arise from someone who was in an excellent position as eye and earwitness to Jesus' ministry to provide ready information about Jesus' person, sayings and actions. It is required that they arise from someone very highly accredited as an eye and earwitness, esteemed for his commitment to Jesus' cause, honoured for his modus vivendi, respected and readily contactable in that same primitive church yes! even by Paul, who according to NT Pauline experts received his 'pre-Pauline' traditions (e.g. 1 Cor 11.23-25; 15.3-7) from the Jerusalem Church -- the very domain of one Symeon of Jerusalem who was successor to James as leader of that Church.
Extra Biblicly in Eus. H.E. 3.32.4 we have this reference to Symeon of Jerusalem: "Symeon was one of the eyewitnesses and actual hearers of the Lord". Apart from the names of Jesus' closest disciples (the Apostles, the "brethren" Simon the Leper etc.) no other Gospel mentioned person carrying with him the role of eye and earwitness has come down to us. Eusebius was well aware that this Symeon of Jerusalem was not one of the Apostles yet certainly he was equal to them at least as a well-nigh constant companion of Jesus during Jesus' multi-year Public Ministry especially so when Jesus was in Jerusalem's eastern environs (see esp. below on the Ten Lepers).
In previous postings to this List I identify this man as the B.D. (I invite you to look it up in the List Archives). Let us conjecture (for the moment) that this B.D. was the constant companion of Jesus who invariably accompanied Jesus from his (Symeon's) Bethany home to the city or Temple because of open or implied threats to Jesus' life from his clerical enemies (e.g. John 11.55; Mark 14.1 par.). Let us conjecture (for the moment) that this man is the original carrier of the "Q" and UT texts. Let us finally conjecture (for the moment) that his home originally was at Bethany (Mark 14.3), his name being Simon the Leper (see Ten Lepers below). That done, we can ask what are the Bethany connections with Luke's Journey Narrative especially where "Q" material predominates? It is to be noticed that in these three conjectures I am using the presently frowned upon deductive approach. On the contrary, in my researches I have found repeatedly that such a methodology when applied to Holy Writ results often instead of the wearisome ???????? being thankfully replaced with !!!!!!!!
First, Luke 10.16; Matt 10.40; (cf. John 13.20):
This verse though brief in length as "Q" material is redolent of the Bethany-based B.D.'s literary expression, not unlike Luke 10.22 the "Bolt from the Johannine Blue" or "The Meteor from the Johannine Heaven" as it is called. Any Commentary will confirm these judgements;
Second, Luke 10.38-42:
The very mention of the Bethany siblings Martha and Mary should alert the investigator to think that Luke's Palestinian geographical scenario is askew, which will be established for certain when we note the peculiar problems in the Ten Lepers' pericope (see below). The correct locus for Luke 10.38-42 on the contrary is the B.D.'s home at Bethany near the city.
Third, the Lazarus Parable:
I hope the Listers will find this analysis among others in this posting worthy of their assent:
The Parable and Lazarus
Because Jesus used the shortened name of 'Lazarus' in the Parable of Dives and Lazarus instead of the proper name, 'Eliezer' ('Eliazar'), and since he used the same shortened name of him who was restored to life in John 11, that latter person was obviously fresh in Jesus' mind as personally known from the prior miracle at 'Bethany' when he delivered the Parable. Of course, Jesus may have used the same shortened name for every person he knew named Eliezer, but etiquette in any culture requires that shortened first names are normally reserved for occasions when the 'namer' personally knows the person so named. Jesus thus used that marvel at 'Bethany' as an effective didactic model in the later Parable to press home his point.
If Luke was the composer of the Parable, not Jesus, as often claimed, we have the same situation. Etiquette would demand that Luke refrain from using a nickame for someone he had probably never met - Luke being a second generation Christian and 'Lazarus' in the parable being a fictional person. That is, since Luke used the shortened name of 'Lazarus', and unless he called all men named Eliezer by the same shortened form of 'Lazarus' (highly unlikely), he must have used the prior historical event of Lazarus' restoration to life, which multitudes of people must have known about for literally decades - hence its omission in the Syn's -- as a model for the Parable.
No matter whether Jesus or Luke uttered the Parable, it is clear that the historic event preceded its use as Parable. That is, it establishes the Parable as based on the prior historic event rather than the Parable being the catalyst in 'John' later manufacturing a fictional scenario of Lazarus' restoration from death to life, as is commonly asserted. If the 'Bethany' event is an elaborately worked out theological invention based on the alleged earlier Parable, as again is far too often hastily claimed, Jesus would hardly have used a shortened name of 'Lazarus' in the Parable. If Jesus uttered the Parable, Luke received it as part of the tradition but faced with a Markan one year ministry with events chronologically and geographically forced, knew not where to place it nor how to time it accurately. Significantly, he has placed the Parable in his Journey Narrative or 'Q' or UT material where other 'Bethany' original traditions reside.
With these observations in mind, the Parable as event definitely belongs to a time after the 'Bethany' miracle and that quite close in time to the Passion itself. Again, it is clear that since the Lazarus miracle occurred on the property of the B.D., and the report of it came from his house, the original transmitter of that report was he. He and his eye and earwitnessed reports not Luke nor his report has priority.
The Ten Lepers and Simon the Leper (Luke 17.11-19):
It is well known that Luke is quite vague at times regarding Palestinian geographical locations. Only if a 'Bethany' connection warrants it (and we have that warrant from the following) we transfer the location of the dramatis personae to the immediate environs of Jerusalem. In so doing, we meet with the companion of Jesus -- with the original eyewitness Symeon of Jerusalem/Simon the Leper/B.D. of the Lukan report.
In this Lukan passage I claim, surprisingly, that eleven lepers are involved. This should alert the investigator to the distinct possibility that the 'Bethany' based Simon the Leper, may be the source and eye and earwitness of Luke's UT account. Simon the Leper had a very close affinity with the Ten Lepers in their experiencing the same or similar terrible malady but at different times. Simon would have been hypersensitive thereby and saw fit to pass on the report of the actual event to Luke or his proxy who as we shall see below got the geography wrong! Simon was probably cured by Jesus when he cured Mary Magdalen of seven devils, a medical malady that was understood as a spiritual malady and described and treated as such. The Ten Lepers exercise as presented here is an outstanding example of the truth of the claim above regarding extremely vague Lukan distances and locations.
With a Location placed somewhere on the border of Galilee and Samaria:
Nine Lepers were Jews; the other Leper was a Samaritan. No Jew, leper or not, was allowed to go in the vicinity of the Samaritan Temple at Mt. Gerizim even in its then ruined state and situated seemingly relatively nearby for the Samaritan priest to confirm his cure from his dreaded disease (cf. Lev 14.1-31), nor would he dare approach a Samaritan priest at all: his very life would be in danger. Likewise for the Samaritan: he was not allowed to go near the Jerusalem Temple, seemingly far away, about ninety to a hundred kilometres away for the Jewish priest to confirm his cure (Lev idem). Again as for the Jew, his very life would be in danger if he did so. Both the Samaritan and the Jewish Lepers for confirmation of their healing had to go to their respective Temples and priests.
Being cured on the way, the Jewish Lepers, if the location of this meeting with Jesus was historically placed on the border of Samaria and Galilee, had to travel ninety to a hundred kilometres to Jerusalem. Their not returning to thank Jesus is understandable considering the long distance involved but nonetheless was a selfish attitude on their part considering the great healing that had changed their lives for the better. Such ingratitude rightfully received criticism and complaint from Jesus their healer. Being cured on the way to his Temple and priest, the Samaritan Leper only needed to travel to Mt. Gerizim relatively nearby. That was no trouble at all to him compared with the Jewish Lepers' proposed journey. Yet Jesus heaps praise on the Samaritan for making what is after all a short trip back. All this lacks something in the logic of the narrative.
With a change in scenario to Jerusalem or its Temple, the Jewish Lepers would need travel only a very short journey to their Temple and priest, yet after conforming to the elaborate ritual at the Temple lasting a week (Lev 14.8) they did not bother to return to thank Jesus. Jesus must have been very much hurt at the ingratitude for he valued greatly its opposite, and needless to say he still does. He waited a week at least in vain for them to thank him. In comparison, the Samaritan leper had to make a long journey to his Temple and priest at Mt. Gerizim in Samaria of ninety to a hundred kilometres and yet he went to a great deal of trouble and personal inconvenience by setting out after a week of elaborate Temple ritual (similar to the Jewish lepers) and then returning to Jerusalem to thank Jesus. Jesus stayed around in the Jerusalem environs ('Bethany'.) for that long time not for the Jewish lepers' return -- he knew that wouldn't happen -- but for the return of the one-time but now cured Samaritan leper. Is it any wonder Jesus praised this Samaritan for his great trouble but roundly complained about the Jewish lepers' ingratitude.
A very important point emerges here: To allow travelling time in walking from the environs of Jerusalem to Mt. Gerizim and return (a distance of 180 to 200 kilometres overall) involving two nights' overnight sojourn in all at some inn on the way as well as the week long ritual at his Temple meant that Jesus (who knew about the week long elaborate ritual) must have been waiting in the Jerusalem area for well over two weeks. He waited in vain for his miraculous healing to be acknowledged with deep gratitude by the one-time Jewish lepers.
He would not have waited for the Samaritan one-time leper unless he thoroughly knew the spiritual calibre of this man. He knew he would return. Almost certainly Jesus stayed during these nights at nowhere else but his cousin's place at Bethany. Whenever in the Jerusalem area, Jesus always stayed at his cousin's Bethany home (Mark 11.1, 19 and the night before his Entry into Jerusalem. Symeon of Jerusalem was the cousin-german of Jesus because Symeon's father was Cleopas, blood-brother of Joseph, Mary's husband acc. to Eusebius. Therefore, Jesus was legally recognized as cousin-german to the B.D. with Cleopas as his legally recognized uncle!
Moreover, we have here in Luke further evidence that the Synoptic one year Public Ministry for Jesus is out and out unhistorical unless all this happened during Jesus' last few weeks before his death. If Symeon of Jerusalem/Simon the Leper is the source for Luke 17.11-19, it is quite possible that he may have also provided other if not all the 'Q' material in toto!! This could open up a completely different perspective regarding sources and priority pertinent to the Synoptic Problem!! There may well be more than one source behind the "Q" and/or the UT material. If I am wrong about the Journey Narrative with its Bethany and B.D. interconnections I invite investigators to propose an alternative that accounts satisfactorily for all the data and their relations.
Until recently I thought the B.D.'s activity was largely confined to the Jerusalem/Bethany area. If all the above is true in its substance, then his ecclesial ministrations and his eye and earwitnessed testimony has a far wider geographical scope than thought. That goes too for his effect on the earliest Christian traditions, not that he invented them but that he reported them knowing full well that they were historical facts relating to Jesus' life, identity and mission..
IMHO I see the three conjectures above as very helpful in coming to a well-weighed judgement on the priority question among the Gospels. It seems to me that in inductive investigations of the sources constituting the Synoptic Problem, we are still in the ????????? stage.
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