Re: [Synoptic-L] creative?
- In a message dated 8/3/1999 4:16:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< Leonard Maluf wrote-
>You are still refusing to see a significant difference, even within a
>given synoptic theory, in how an evangelist is conceived as having
>viewed his project. And I would continue to opine that there is such a
>difference, and that this weakens parts of the argument you make
>against the Griesbach and other Synoptic theories.
My understanding of what you write is that you consider that
(GH1) Luke knew and made use of the text of Matthew when freely
composing his gospel
as opposed to
(GH2) Luke produced an edition of Matthew by extensive editing of the
text he was copying.
You seem to be saying that even if GH2 may be ruled out by my arguments,
GH1 is not.
If I have not understood reasonably correctly here, then please do tell
You have understood correctly, thank you.
<<It seems to me that in places Luke agrees with Matthew so closely that
the observable agreement could be described as virtually verbatim. For
example Mt 3.7-10 // Lk 3. 7-9 and Mt 8.8(b)-10 // Lk 7.6(b)-9.>>
Note, however, and I'm sure you have, that this kind of extended verbal
agreement occurs only in sayings material. Now this phenomenon is interpreted
by some as an argument that ALk did not know Matt but did know a hypothetical
document called Q, containing sayings of Jesus. I interpret the evidence
differently, namely, that Luke knew Matt well enough to distinguish carefully
between matter and form in that document. The sayings are material preserved
from the Jesus era and attributed to Jesus (in Luke's thinking) and are
therefore much less subject to manipulation, at least materially, i.e., as to
their wording. The "form", what Matt himself introduced in shaping his
document (and this includes major and minor structuring devices within the
longer discourses of Jesus in Matt as well) is precisely what a "second"
writer in a Hellenistic setting would be trained to studiously avoid
reproducing. As an author he would be expected to introduce new (though often
analogous) formal structures through which earlier material would be
effectively communicated to a new audience, in a new time. My understanding
of the overall phenomenon (as opposed to the view that sees the evidence as
an argument for Q) is remarkably confirmed, I think, by a study of the
relationship of Acts 7 to the OT stories there reproduced. The only extended
verbal agreement there is with "sayings material" in the OT stories used.
Otherwise the stories are quite significantly restructured by Luke, using
Stephen as a mouthpiece.
<< Furthermore, in many places throughout Matthew there is material which
is not only to some extent similar in wording but also is in the same
order as material in Luke. These similarities, whether virtually
verbatim or less close but in the same order, are so significant that it
is beyond reasonable doubt that either Matthew used Luke, or Luke used
Matthew, or both are descendants of a common documentary ancestor. The
relationship is basically documentary.>>
I agree with all the above, including your conclusion. I would just point out
that there are also numerous significant differences in order of material
between Matt and Luke in the arrangement of materials. I only stress this
with a Marcan priority advocate in view, since the overall phenomenon of
order in Luke with respect to Mark contains significantly fewer differences.
I of course attribute this significant difference in closeness of order to a
different author, i.e., to AMk who follows Luke (and, exactly analogously,
Matt) with a more slavish copying policy than Luke had with respect to Matt.
<<On the assumption of GH1/2, this conclusion follows whether or not Luke
was freely composing in any sense. Even if in places in his gospel he
was freely composing, he did so in such a way that in other places he
reproduces very significant agreements of wording and order of material
OK, so far I can agree. But remember, your only "conclusion" above was that
there is a documentary relationship between the two gospels of Matt and Lk.
<< In this respect, on the GH1/2, Luke was not typical of
writers of his day. Generally, writers did not take a book and do what
Luke did, if he made use of Matthew.>>
Yes, I will admit that this degree of closeness is rare. However, I am not
sure it is substantially different from what Josephus, e.g., does with OT
stories in his Antiquities. Though admittedly Josephus takes greater
liberties in reformulating even sayings material in his sources. On the other
hand, ALk is notably LESS literal in his use of Matt than is, e.g., the
author of Chronicles in the OT with respect to parts of the Books of Samuel
and Kings. This again places Luke in the middle of two worlds, Jewish and
Greek, and showing the influence of both.
<< The similarities are astonishing.>>
Not if you think ALk knew Matt, or even a common source.
<< So even if Luke was in some sense freely composing as he used Matthew,
it still needs to be explained why Luke is so astonishingly similar in
wording and order of material to Matthew.>>
I'm really not certain that the term "astonishingly" is appropriate here.
There is in Lk striking similarity of wording and order of material to
Matthew. The enthusiasm of your concession about Luke's free creativity,
however, comes across to me as somewhat exiguous. But I realize that you do
need to downplay this aspect in order to secure the logic of your overall
<< Explaining the apparent
creativity of Luke is easy. Explaining why such an apparently talented
writer followed so closely the wording and order of Matthew, if he used
Matthew, is very hard.>>
Again, I think you exaggerate in your emphasis on the closeness. It is not
surprising that the material wording of what are mostly sayings of Jesus in
Matt were regarded with special privilege. Even here, however, there is
remarkable creativity in the way that Luke almost consistently gives these
sayings a new literary setting, often making them say something quite
different in their new context from what they convey in Matt.
<< I make no apologies, therefore, for focussing on similarities in the
synoptic gospels. The similarities are the Synoptic Problem.>>
I would hope to make you somewhat more apologetic in this regard. It is an
exaggeration to say that "the similarities are the Synoptic Problem."
<<As regards GH1 as distinct from GH2 above, it seems to me that GH1 does
not fit well observed synoptic patterns such as (1) "story dualities",
(2) "non-parallel words"....>>
Why not? With the best of effort, I do not understand. Do you find it
problematical for ALk's knowledge and use of Matt, e.g., that Luke never
reproduces the term SPLAGXNIZOMAI where it occurs in Matt, but that his
Gospel contains 3 or 4 very striking uses of this verb and its cognates in
his own authored material? I do not. This example shows, however, that much
more subtlety may be involved in understanding the selection of vocabulary by
a gospel writer than simply consideration of the likes and dislikes of
certain words on the part of a given Evangelist.
<< , (3) Mattheanisms and Lukanisms, (4) the
absence from each synoptic gospel of the use of the first person to
refer to the writer of the gospel - Lk 1.1-4 being regarded here as a
dedication of the book proper, Lk 1.5ff, which follows, and (5) the
absence of a clear outline to any synoptic gospel.>>
We don't seem to be getting very far here, but I also don't see why these
features are serious problems for GH1.
<< The argument here is
not that it is utterly impossible that an explanation might be found for
these patterns on the basis of GH1, but that it is difficult to do so,
whereas the Greek Notes Hypothesis fits well patterns such as these,
with no difficulty.>>
I just think the whole thing is less difficult than you imagine, if one can
advance beyond a material consideration of similarities between gospels, and
by the historical probability argument (that Luke, writing a number of years
after Matt had come out, would have made a [successful] effort to get hold of
a copy of Matt) the scales are tipped in favor of direct dependency. (Though
I also believe that some internal evidence in favor of this position, though
complex to follow, is also absolutely trenchant). I conclude, Brian, by
thanking you for your close engagement with my position.
- Brian Wilson wrote to Mark Goodacre -
>Jim Deardorff commented -
>I am afraid you have not explained why, on the Farrer Hypothesis,
>no synoptic gospel is usually the middle term on the level of wording.
>Do I take it that the Farrer Hypothesis cannot explain this, in fact?
>If so, is that not pretty damaging to the Farrer Hypothesis? Are you
>really stuck on this one?
>It seems you are now moving to the idea that "there is simply no doubt
>that Mark is usually the middle term" in the order of triple tradition
>material (previously you were talking in terms of "SUBSTANTIAL
>agreements of wording", or "MINOR agreements of wording", of two
>synoptic gospels against the third.) I am not at all clear what you now
>mean, I must confess.
>Are you saying that the Gospel of Mark is the middle term as regards
>order of pericopes in a way in which neither Matthew nor Luke are the
>middle term? If this is the case, could you please say in just what
>way Mark is the middle term as regards order in which Matthew and Luke
>There is the well known agreement in order between Matthew & Mark from
>Mt 12 or 13 on and Mk 6 or so on. Then there is the general agreement
>in order between Luke and Mark from Lk 4:31 and Mk 1:21 on to Lk 9:17
>and Mk 6:43. Aside from the triple tradition commencing around Lk 18,
>there is then very little agreement in order between Matthew and Luke.
>Hence Mark is the middle term here.
Your posting was in two parts. I here answer the first part (shown
above), since this keeps to the point I was making. I am answering the
second part in a different posting (and under a different subject
heading), since it goes on to a quite separate matter concerning the
Greek Notes Hypothesis and the distribution of the "double tradition" in
the synoptic gospels.
I agree with your above description of the general agreement in order
of pericopes of Mark and Matthew in the "second half" of Mark, and of
Mark and Luke in the "first half" of Mark. My question is, given these
observations, what makes Mark the "middle term" with regard to order of
pericopes in a way in which Matthew is NOT the middle term, and in which
Luke is NOT the middle term?
In other words, even if Mark is the middle term with regard to the order
of pericopes, how do you know that neither Matthew nor Luke is the
middle term also in this respect?
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