Joe Alward wrote:
>In his article, "Fatigue in the Synoptics" in New Testament
> Goodacre advances the argument that Matthew's gospelcontains "fatigue,"
> owing to its dependence on Mark. I earlier argued(3/27) that his
> case(Matthew 8:1-4) was
> against Matthew's cleansing of the leper
> insupportable,clearly present evident in Mark (Mark 1:28-
> because the crowds were
> 44), too,admonished the leper to remain silent.
> when Jesus
This argument presumes that Jesus going through Galilee, proclaiming
the message in the synagogues and casting out demons (Mk. 1.39)
attracted crowds. This presumption has verisimilitude in its favor,
but does not appear to be what the evangelist has in mind. Mark says
nothing about crowds of people having converged on Jesus at the time
of the leper's cleansing, and seems to imply they did not. He tells
us that people came to Jesus from every quarter as a result of the
leper's big mouth, which would seem to imply that they had not done so
Also, Mk. 1.39-45 appears to repeat the pattern in Mk. 1.21-1.34, where
Jesus preaches in the synagogue and casts out demons (1.21-28),
performs a healing on a single person (Mk. 1.29-31), and then attracts
crowds (1.32-34; though the word "crowd" [OCLOJ] doesn't show up until
2.4). The crowd comes after the healing, not after the preaching and exorcisms.
Thus, the case for an implied crowd in Mk. 2.1-12 seems weak to me.
> In this post I argue that his case against Matthew'sDeath of John
> theclaims that there is a
> Baptist is similarly badly flawed. Goodacre
> strongtale, but I will argue here that
> example of "fatigue" in Matthew's
> that istrue.
> simply not
> In Mark 6:14-29, Herod is afraid of John, but protected
> tohonor his oath and behead
> listen to him (6:19-20), so when he has to
> John, he(p. 47) believes that Matthew inexplicably
> expresses grief. Goodacre
> expresses grief (Matthew14:9) at having to behead John: "It makes
> no senseMatthew had told us, after all, that 'Herod wanted to put
> at all.
> him todeath.'"
> However, what doesn't make sense to me is the apparent
> disregard ofHerod wanted John dead, he
> Matthew's implication in 14:5 that while
> didn'tthe people might do. It seems
> DARE kill him for fear of what
> sensible, then, for Herod tofeel grief at being forced because of
> his oaththing he was afraid to do
> to do the very
The word "grieve" (LUPEW), as opposed to, maybe, fear, would seem a
strange choice here in that case. Grief fits Mark's story, where
Herod considered John a righteous and holy man, protected him, and
liked to listen to him, much better than it does Matthew's.
> Goodacre also notes that Mark always calls Herod "king,"(four
> evenMatthew calls
> though he was only a "tetrarch." Because
> Herod "tetrarch"believes this is evidence that
> once, then "king" later, Goodacre
> wasthat Matthew clumsily "betrays his knowledge
> Matthew's source, and
> Mark"retaining the "king" title from Mark.
>too, fails. Why should we believe from
> I believe this argument,
> thisMark, and not Matthew, who was the source? At
> evidence that it was
> leastright once, while Mark was wrong all four times. Why
> Matthew was
> couldn'tMark have edited Matthew's tale while overlooking Matthew's one
> tetrarch, seen his reference to "king," and added the titlethree
> more times?KO:
Matthew gets Herod's title right once, but I'm not clear on how this is an argument for his priority to Mark.
Goodacre's hypothesis is that "In telling the same story as his
predecessor, a writer makes changes in the early stages which he is
unable to sustain throughout". Matthew's change from "tetrarch" to
"king" here would fit the hypothesis if Matthew was using Mark as a
source. There are alternative explanations for this example, and for
all of Goodacre's other examples. It is always possible to explain
individual cases differently. But for me, the strength of Goodacre's
hypothesis is that it works in a number of cases across the synoptics
and (I know I'm going to get in trouble for saying this) no one has
yet come up with good examples where the phenomena of "fatigue" shows
up in the other direction (i.e., Mt. becoming "fatigued" with Lk., or
Mk. becoming fatigued with Mt. or Lk.). It seems to me that either
there are such cases that Mark Goodacre hasn't found, or he's stumbled
upon an extremely fortuitous accident, or he's right.*
A third argument for Markan priority in the Death of John the Baptist
pericope is given by G. M. Styler ("The Priority of Mark", in C. F. D.
Moule, _The Birth of the New Testament_ 1962, pp. 223-32; reprinted in
A. Bellinzoni, _The Two-Source Hypothesis: A Critical Appraisal_,
1985, pp. 62-75). Mark's version of the story is clearly a flashback
and is the central story in an intercalation, sandwiched between the
sending and the return of the apostles. Matthew's version of the
story is introduced as a flashback, but Matthew seems to have
forgotten that by the end. This appears to me to be something of a
stretch for the theory of Matthean priority, or at least for the
Griesbach hypothesis. That Luke, who omits Matthew's story of John's
death, unintentionally provided Mark with the material (i.e., the
sending/return from Luke 9.1-6,10) needed to "fix" Matthew's
incomplete flashback seems, again, overly fortuitous. It seems easier
to believe that Mark composed both the frame and the
flashback, parts of which were taken over by Matthew and Luke, rather
than to believe that Matthew composed an incomplete flashback,
Luke left out the flashback but created an intercalation which
unintentionally provided a frame for it, and Mark then realized the
potential of combining the flashback with the intercalation.
> Thus, I find the first couple of pages of "Fatigue inthe Synoptics"
> extremely problematic. The evidence purporting to showthat Matthew
> dependedopinion. In fact, the evidence
> on Mark is simply not there, in my
> presentedwhat Goodacre says it does: It slightly favors
> does the opposite of
> Marcanon Matthew. If I've misinterpreted Goodacre's argument,
> I hopesomeone will be quick to point this out so that I might apologize.
You have shown that each of Goodacre's examples of "fatigue" in these
two pericopes could be explained differently. I don't find your
explanations on any of these points stronger, or even as strong, as
his. Others may.
Kenneth A. Olson
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department of History
2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything - T.H.
*As a methodological point, however, I would like to have seen Goodacre's
paper examine Matthew and Luke for fatigue in relation to each
other in triple tradition passages as well as double tradition passages.