9827Re: [Synoptic-L] documentary independence
- Sep 20 5:22 PMIn a message dated 9/19/2004 4:40:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time, j.weaks@... writes:
On Sep 19, 2004, at 6:31 AM, Maluflen@... wrote:
> ... I would never express what Mark did, except in a moment of
> carelessness, as an abbreviated version of Matthew and/or Luke.
> Conflation and abbreviation were not what Mark was "doing"; they were
> among a number of means used by him to create a Gospel drama suited
> for his relatively unsophisticated community of Roman, Gentile
> Christians. Another means he used was virtually the opposite of
> abbreviation, namely (clearly secondary) expansion and elaboration,
> which is found almost throughout Mark -- who achieved brevity, by
> comparison to Matthew and Luke, only by omitting large sections of the
> well-known teaching of Jesus, which would have slowed down his fast
> moving narrative...
Of course, this type of historical reconstruction always strikes me as
a random apology for how an author can leave out stories for the sake
of brevity, while most often expanding the individual traditions
Joe, read what you just wrote, please: "A random apology for how an author can leave out stories for the sake of brevity.." Since when is it expected that an *author* would copy stories written by someone else? If you want to refer to a late Mark as a redactor, or better still as a scribe (in the sense of a copier of manuscripts) your sentence would make good sense. But in the case of an author, if you think that's what Mark is (and I would agree), the question is not why he would have left out some parts of an existing Gospel of Matthew, but rather why he would appear, at first glance, to have copied so much of it! (Of all the early Christian writers we know, who knew the Gospel of Matthew, none of them copied those parts you want to blame a late Mark for not copying.) And to answer my own question (why Mark would have copied what he did from Matthew), the fact is that he did not just copy them, but rather worked them into a different kind of communication, a Gospel drama, designed to reach a specific (low-class, relatively unsophisticated) audience with a powerful Gospel message. The hypothesized situation is perfectly coherent, identical in kind to that which obtains today when films are made from existing books (always with major omissions in the film product). The fact that the theory is coherent does not make it true, but it cannot be dismissed out of hand as inherently implausible. Especially not "of course".
These appeals to hypothetical sociological settings in
order to refute evidence internal to the text never strike me as
My purpose, like yours, is not to refute, but rather to interpret evidence internal to the text. The Markan priority hypothesis, like the Matthean priority hypothesis, is not "evidence internal to the text" but theory that attempts to explain that evidence.
Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
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