the predictive value of a theory
- The ability of a scientific hypothesis to predict results is thought to
confirm its validity. I am currently studying the passion accounts in the
Synoptic Gospels, and have the following discovery to report, illustrating how
my hypothesis regarding the way in which Luke used the Gospel of Matthew,
alluded to in recent posts, is able to predict results.
The person who draws and wields his sword at the time of Jesus arrest in the
garden is referred to in Matt as one of those with Jesus (HEIS TOON META
IEESOU: Matt 26:51). I noted for the first time today that a similar phrase,
partially identical in fact, occurs as the identifying predicate of Peter in
the scene of the denials in Matt: you too were with Jesus of Galilee (..META
IEESOU..: Matt 26:69, and in v. 71, a similar predicate, including the phrase
META IEESOU is again found). This could qualify as a structural element in
the text of Matt which has the effect of linking these two passages together
and perhaps suggesting that Peter was the one in the garden who drew his sword
in defence of Jesus (John, at least, seems to have interpreted the evidence in
this way: Jn 18:10). In any case, my hypothesis about the way Luke used Matt
should at this point enable me to predict the following:
1. that Luke would have noticed this structural element in Matt (even though
most modern interpreters, including myself till today, have missed it!);
2. that Luke would not have literally reproduced this structure;
3. that Luke would, however, have linked the two passages through the use of a
device analogous, but not identical, to that employed by Matthew.
Mirabile dictu! Luke comes through for me again.
In the final denial by Peter in Matt, a different phrase is used as a
predicate of Peter to suggest his association with Jesus: KAI SU EX AUTOON EI.
So Peter is not only one of those with Jesus, but he is also one of them.
Is it possible that Luke will employ this latter expression to make the
connection between the two gospel incidents that Matt has made by the use of
the expression with Jesus?
We go now to Lk to see how he will formulate the subject of the violent action
taken in Jesus defence in the garden. (In Matthew, remember, the subject here
was one of those with Jesus.) Sure enough, we find the phrase HEIS TIS EX
AUTOON in Lk 22:50 as the subject of this misguided action. Immediately, this
refers back to the phrase in the previous verse HOI PERI AUTON, but
nonetheless, it corresponds exactly to what we predicted, establishing as it
does a link in Lukes text to the story of the denials, through the use, not
of an identical phrase to the one used for this purpose by Matthew, but an
analogous one, taken also from the text of Matthew itself. Indeed, the central
denial of Peter in Luke is a response to a charge formulated in a phrase taken
verbatim from Matthews final denial scene: KAI SU EX AUTOON EI (and this
phrase is not found in Mark!). So Luke has no problem about literally
reproducing words (matter) from Matt, but never will he literally duplicate a
structural device (form). Instead he will resort to an analogous device to
achieve the same ends.
In sum, Matt connects the two scenes of the assault with the sword and the
denial of Peter through the phrase [one of those] with Jesus. Luke achieves
the same purpose by the use of the single other expression that is used as a
predicate for Peter in the words that trigger his denials [one] of them
(heis... ex auton). Since Matthew connects the first text with TWO denials of
Peter (the first two), Luke makes the connection only with ONE, but places
that one in the center of the three to highlight it. All of this is very
typical (and therefore predictable) of the way Luke uses Matt.