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[Synoptic-L] Luke's relocation of Matthew's additions

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  • John C. Poirier
    According to Stephen Carlson’s reports on the meeting that took place in Baltimore, John Kloppenborg objected to the idea that Luke used Matthew (partly)
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 13, 2000
      According to Stephen Carlson’s reports on the meeting that took place in
      Baltimore, John Kloppenborg objected to the idea that Luke used Matthew
      (partly) because he finds no reason for Luke to extract Matthean
      material from its Markan contexts, and put it in new locations
      throughout the Markan storyline. This seems to be one of the main
      criticisms aimed against the idea that Luke knew Matthew. Let me offer
      the following suggestion, as an answer that I believe to be both
      compositionally and historically credible.

      If I am right in viewing Peter’s outburst at the Transfiguration as a
      chronological indicator, which dates the beginning of Jesus’ journey to
      Jerusalem to shortly before Sukkoth (see my post from 2/4/00), then Luke
      may have been faced with a glaring chronological difficulty. He had to
      explain why the journey to Jerusalem begins shortly before Sukkoth
      (according to the pre-Markan chronology, preserved in the
      Transfiguration), but Jesus didn’t arrive there until the week of
      Passover (according to Mark’s creation of a Passion Week chronology).
      Luke, attempting to render a more ordered account than his predecessors,
      solves the difficulty by turning the journey to Jerusalem into a Travel
      Narrative, lasting several months rather than a few days. Luke
      fashioned the Travel Narrative from the material Matthew added to Mark’s
      outline (probably realizing that Matthew didn’t know where the material
      really belonged anyway).

      I think that it would have been obvious to many readers who knew about
      Sukkoth that Peter’s words at the Transfiguration constituted a
      chronological marker. The reason modern scholars have not hit upon this
      understanding seems to owe to the way in which they sometimes read all
      the theophanic features of the Transfiguration as Sukkoth imagery
      (wrongly seeing allusions to Sukkoth theology in the cloud, etc.),
      making Peter’s words appear to contribute to the story on this imagistic
      level, rather than on a realworld level connected with the larger
      storyline of the gospel.


      John C. Poirier
      Middletown, Ohio
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