- I hesitate to enter into the discussion on Matthew's structure because
Matthew is hardly my area of expertise, so please take what follows as
questions rather than as strong assertions. It is one thing to say that
Matthew "has no clear structure" (i.e. no single and universally
recognized structural principle). It is quite another to say that
Matthew is "structureless" (i.e. has no structural principles and is,
therefore, not ordered in any way by AMatt). The question I have is
this: how much structure do we need to be able to detect in any text?
Do any narratives (or many narratives) have a single, clear structure?
Brian's point is this:
> The observedWhy would one expect that? What would happen if we were to apply this
> phenomenon is that Matthew is structureless. This is a difficulty for
> synoptic hypotheses that suppose that Matthew was a free author
> creatively crafting his own book, since one would expect that a literary
> author would provide a clear structure for his work.
same standard to (and I list these texts arbitrarily, just because I'm
somewhat familiar to them): Oedipus the King, The Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Man (by Joyce, which has any number of proposed structures,
none of which can account for chapter 5), The Big Sleep (by Raymond
Chandler- which seems to work by the principle "when in doubt about
where to go in the story, send in another guy with a gun"),
Phenomenology of Spirit (by Hegel, which has sections that are
notoriously hard to explain), Being and Time (by Heidegger, which has a
section towards the end that has long puzzled scholars- it was only
recently revealed that he included it because he ran up against a
deadline and so he included a section, wholesale, he had written years
earlier), any hour long police show on television, The Aneid, The Fifth
Son (by Wiesel, which has sections towards the end which seem to make no
sense whatsoever)? Would any of those be seen as sufficiently
structured to be the work of a creative author? If we hold them to the
standard we seem to be holding Matthew to, the answer, in at least some
instances, would be "no". Yet they are all clearly written, and are all
clearly the work of an author.
I think that Leonard's point is quite astute and needs to be taken
> I think the problem for most scholars really is that there are more thanAgain I ask, isn't that the case for most texts (narrative and
> one likely structural principles involved in structuring the Gospel of Matt
otherwise)? How much structure do we expect?
As Leonard has pointed out, Matthew has a number of structural
principles that can be detect and are widely accepted. These structural
principles do not account for every moment of the text and no one of
these structural principles override the others. How is that different
from any narrative written in the ancient or modern world?
Now, back to lurking.
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