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Synoptic Problem (Stein & Wallace), Part 2

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  • Jim Deardorff
    In my previous post I covered the first three summary points presented in Dan Wallace s web site on the Synoptic Problem. This commences with the fourth point.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 1998
      In my previous post I covered the first three summary points presented in
      Dan Wallace's web site on the Synoptic Problem. This commences with the
      fourth point.

      (4) The argument from verbal agreement. Wallace wrote: "There are fewer
      Matthew-Luke verbal agreements than any other two-gospel verbal agreements.
      This is difficult to explain on the Griebach hypothesis, much easier on the
      Lachmann/Streeter hypothesis." The basis for this stemmed from a pre-belief
      in Markan priority, leading to statements that can just as easily be stated
      in favor of the Augustinian hypothesis, as I show below.

      Wallace wrote:
      1) "Why at times Matthew and Mark agree against Luke -- Luke diverges from
      his Markan source whereas Matthew does not."

      This can however be explained by: ALk diverged more from his Markan source,
      and much more from his Matthean source, than AMk diverged from the Matthean

      2) "Why at times Mark and Luke agree against Matthew -- Matthew diverges
      from his Markan source whereas Luke does not."

      This is well explained by ALk having much preferred the pro-gentile Gospel
      of Mark over the anti-gentile Gospel of Matthew; therefore he preferentially
      agreed with Mark at those places where Mark *disagrees* with Matthew. This
      led to agreements between Mark and Luke against Matthew at points where AMk
      diverged from his Matthean source.

      3) "Why Matthew and Luke seldom agree against Mark -- this would require a
      coincidental change on the part of Matthew and Luke of their Markan source
      in exactly the same manner."

      Instead, this is also explained following 2) above, and no pattern of
      coincidences is required. ALk expressed his distaste for Matthew's
      anti-gentile stance by agreeing preferentially with Mark where Mark diverges
      from Matthew. Where Mark agrees with Matthew ALk typically diverged
      considerably from both. There is no point in calling ALk a "crank" if he had
      behaved in such a manner, as Streeter did; instead we should be considering
      the intensity of motivation that led ALk to such a course of editorial action.

      (5) The argument from agreement in order. "Not only do Luke and Matthew
      never agree with each other when they depart from Mark's order, but the
      reasons for this on the assumption of Markan priority are readily available
      while on Matthean priority they are not."

      On the contrary, the summary explanation folowing 2) above easily explains
      this also. A key way ALk could express his distaste for anti-gentile Matthew
      was to follow Mark's order wherever it departs from Matthew's order. This
      left Luke's order disagreeing with Matthew's in those places. It was in
      other places where Mark's order agrees with Matthew's that ALk often went
      his own way, feeding in his own pericopes; by so doing he again was in no
      way supporting Matthew. The same explanation accounts for ALk's
      disrespectful use of Matthean material omitted from Mark -- placing it in
      improper contexts. (This also explains Wallace's question of why ALk would
      break up the Sermon on the Mount, leaving out several pericopae, and why he
      made use of a different birth narrative.)

      The inability to consider ALk in human terms, having very human emotions,
      seems responsible for Stein & Wallace having overlooked this obvious
      solution. This in turn derives from the theological commitment of scholars
      of the past two centuries, I contend, that led to the prominence of the
      two-source hypothesis. Eusebius spoke of the Gospel writers as if they were
      practically divine, but we should be under no such compulsion.

      (6) The argument from literary agreements. "Very close to the redactional
      argument [which is {7}], this point stresses that on literary analysis, it
      is easier to see Matthew's use of Mark than vice versa." Earlier in his
      summary, Wallace also states on this, "There exist in the synoptic Gospels a
      number of literary agreements that can best be explained on the basis of a
      Markan priority. These involve certain omissions and wordings that make much
      more sense on the basis of Matthew and/or Luke having changed their Markan
      source than vice versa."

      These would need to be discussed one by one, and requires having Stein's
      book (pp. 70-76) on hand. I suspect that some of Stein's examples fall under
      the explanation already presented previously for Markan omissions, in
      discussion of "The argument from length." Some others likely are explainable
      by virtue of the translator of Matthew into Greek having had Mark on hand.

      Part 3 will contain further responses to Wallace/Stein.

      Jim Deardorff
      Corvallis, Oregon
      E-mail: deardorj@...
      Home page: http://www.proaxis.com/~deardorj/index.htm
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