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[Synoptic-L] Re: Q needed even if Lk knew Mt

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  • Ron Price
    Mark Goodacre has replied to my arguments that even if Luke knew and used Matthew (as I strongly believe), there is a need to postulate Q. Mark, It s not clear
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 2, 1999
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      Mark Goodacre has replied to my arguments that even if Luke knew and
      used Matthew (as I strongly believe), there is a need to postulate Q.

      Mark,
      It's not clear to me whether you have thought out the general
      question: "Under what circumstances is it acceptable to invoke oral
      tradition to explain phenomena in Matthew and Luke?" For in some of your
      answers you seemed happy to invoke it, and yet in "FAQ on Mark without
      Q" you deemed it unacceptable for e.g. "striking" minor agreements.

      With regard to my arguments:
      (1) Some 'Q' Sayings are apparently more authentic in Luke
      I await your _Case against Q_ with interest.
      (2) Doublets in Matthew
      Tuckett's suggestion that these can be explained as "things Matthew
      wants to emphasize" appears to me to be a very weak argument, especially
      as I cannot find examples in the doublets of Matthew's known
      characteristic interests. It is also worth noting that all of this
      duplicated material is relatively authentic. It shows no trace of
      Pauline influence. This is understandable if most of it comes from a
      document produced by a Christian Jewish community ca. 60CE. But it is
      surprising if it comes from general oral tradition ca. 80CE.
      To me the doublets constitute the strongest argument for the existence
      of Q.
      (3) IEROUSALHM
      The idea that Matthew used this form of "Jerusalem" in 23:37 because
      he was using direct speech is undoubtedly possible. But my explanation
      that it was copied from Q surely seems more likely, if only because it
      merely invokes a written source which has other grounds for support.
      (4) Luke 11:41
      Even the best modern British English translation (REB) baffles me. Am
      I alone in this? Would not Luke's 1st. century Greek readers also have
      been baffled? Luke's wording is more understandable if he felt
      constrained by a written source such as Q, but surely he wouldn't have
      **composed** a saying knowing that it might well confuse his readers.
      The other point concerns probabilities. Isn't it an extraordinary
      co-incidence that here, just where we find a difficult saying, the
      difference between "cleanse" (Matthew) and "give alms" (Luke) in Aramaic
      happens to correspond (so I understand) to a difference of one letter?
      A similar confusion based on the Aramaic is arguably behind Matt 7:6,
      where "what is holy" might have been "a ring" (_Peake's Commentary on
      the Bible_, Nelson, 1962, p.738).
      (5) Luke's problem finding and shuffling dozens of sayings in Matthew
      You invoke Luke's memory to ease the task. But it is widely agreed
      that the wording of the Q material is so close that a **written** source
      is necessary. You seem to be assuming Luke had a very good memory for
      the exact wording of perhaps dozens of sayings. It's possible, of
      course, but one can reasonably argue that a written source is more
      likely.
      (6) Kingdom of heaven
      But I think I can work out why you might exclaim "heavens", but not
      "God". No-one on the list has yet given a satisfactory explanation as to
      why Luke might have objected to "kingdom of heaven".
      (7) Cases where Matthew is more authentic than Mark in the Mark/Q
      overlap
      In general, oral traditions change faster than written traditions.
      Therefore a written source ca. 60CE is more likely to have preserved an
      authentic variant than an oral source ca. 80CE. Also I suspect that an
      author would require a good motive to allow an oral source to override a
      written source.
      OK, so it's not a strong argument. But perhaps an older written source
      is mildly more probable as an explanation of these cases.

      Ron Price

      ron.price@...

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK
    • Mark Goodacre
      ... This is an important question and one that I have thought through. My general position would be that it is often worth invoking oral tradition if by
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 6, 1999
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        On 2 Aug 99, at 19:25, Ron Price wrote:

        > It's not clear to me whether you have thought out the general
        > question: "Under what circumstances is it acceptable to invoke oral
        > tradition to explain phenomena in Matthew and Luke?" For in some of your
        > answers you seemed happy to invoke it, and yet in "FAQ on Mark without Q"
        > you deemed it unacceptable for e.g. "striking" minor agreements.

        This is an important question and one that I have thought through. My
        general position would be that it is often worth "invoking oral tradition"
        if by that one means paying careful attention to the role that oral
        traditions might have played in gospel origins and inter-relationships. I
        think that this needs to be balanced, however, by the realisation that
        some data will only properly admit of an explanation that involves
        literary dependence. Matters like the verbatim agreement between
        Matthew and Luke against Mark in identical contexts (e.g. in the MA
        at Mark 14.65) is one such case.

        I don't think all the points require comment, so I will be selective.

        > (2) Doublets in Matthew
        > Tuckett's suggestion that these can be explained as "things Matthew
        > wants to emphasize" appears to me to be a very weak argument, especially
        > as I cannot find examples in the doublets of Matthew's known
        > characteristic interests. It is also worth noting that all of this
        > duplicated material is relatively authentic. It shows no trace of Pauline
        > influence. This is understandable if most of it comes from a document
        > produced by a Christian Jewish community ca. 60CE. But it is surprising if
        > it comes from general oral tradition ca. 80CE.

        I am not sure if "lack of Pauline influence" would be my preferred
        criterion for working out what is "authentic" material. In any case, oral
        traditions around in 80 need not necessarily all be recently generated.
        Quite the contrary.

        > (4) Luke
        > 11:41
        > Even the best modern British English translation (REB) baffles me. Am I
        > alone in this? Would not Luke's 1st. century Greek readers also have been
        > baffled? Luke's wording is more understandable if he felt constrained by a
        > written source such as Q, but surely he wouldn't have **composed** a
        > saying knowing that it might well confuse his readers.
        > The other point concerns probabilities. Isn't it an extraordinary
        > co-incidence that here, just where we find a difficult saying, the
        > difference between "cleanse" (Matthew) and "give alms" (Luke) in Aramaic
        > happens to correspond (so I understand) to a difference of one letter?

        I think we have to work with what we know about the evangelists.
        And one of the things that we know about Luke is his stress on giving
        alms, both in the Gospel as a whole and in the immediate context. It
        is not in the least bit surprising if Luke therefore redacts his source
        material in line with this well-known stress. And I disagree that it is a
        confusing saying -- "Give alms inwardly" is the kind of thing that
        sermons are still preached on.

        The greater problem here is I think yours. If Q is Aramaic, what then
        of the verbatim agreement between Matthew and Luke in Greek? Do
        Matthew and Luke have access to two documents, Aramaic and
        Greek Q, or is Luke working with Aramaic Q and Greek Matthew?

        > You invoke Luke's memory to ease the task. But it is widely agreed
        > that the wording of the Q material is so close that a **written** source
        > is necessary.

        Bear in mind that accurate memory of a literary text is a very different
        thing from knowledge of oral tradition. It is Luke's accurate memory
        of literary texts that I allude to when invoking the question of memory.
        But as I also said, I don't doubt that Luke did look up the texts
        themselves on occasion. That is why he is complaining of the tough
        work he has been involved in in 1.1-4.

        > You seem to be assuming Luke had a very good memory for the
        > exact wording of perhaps dozens of sayings. It's possible, of course, but
        > one can reasonably argue that a written source is more likely.

        One can have "a written source" orally remembered. That was the
        point of my analogy of those of us with children who have heard the
        same videos over and over again until we have them by heart, without
        any effort on our parts (indeed sometimes with some resistance!).
        Luke has spent 20 years listening to, reading, studying Mark, let's say,
        and another 10 with Matthew. My daughters have only had "Miss
        Patty Cake and the Treasure Chest Surprise" for one year and
        already I know it by heart, alas.

        The Q theory in any case requires some work for at least one of the
        evangelists in re-locating sayings, whether for Matthew and Luke,
        usually Matthew.

        > (6) Kingdom
        > of heaven
        > But I think I can work out why you might exclaim "heavens", but not
        > "God". No-one on the list has yet given a satisfactory explanation as to
        > why Luke might have objected to "kingdom of heaven".

        This is the fallacy of assuming that everything not included by a writer
        is something to which he "objected". It is common in synoptic
        criticism but should nevertheless be avoided where possible. Writers
        include and exclude expressions for a wide variety of reasons, literary,
        contextual, whimsical. As far as the kingdom of God is concerned, it
        is particularly un-surprising that Luke preferred it: it is the expression
        preferred by Mark, which he had known for longer, and it is the
        expression used by other early Christians like Paul. Matthew prefers
        "kingdom of heaven" because he likes the Semitic circumlocutory way
        of avoiding the divine name. But that he too gets drawn to the more
        natural "kingdom of God" is seen in his occasional use of that term too.

        Mark
        --------------------------------------
        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
        University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
        Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

        http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
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