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[Synoptic-L] Towards the Rehabilitation of Q

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  • Ken Olson
    What follows is abstracted from a draft of my master s thesis comparing the Farrer and 2D hypotheses. It addresses F. G. Downing s oft-quoted contention that,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2001

      What follows is abstracted from a draft of my master's thesis comparing the Farrer and 2D hypotheses. It addresses F. G. Downing's oft-quoted contention that, on the Farrer hypothesis, Luke must have deliberately disentangled Markan material from Matthew in order to reproduce Matthew's additions to Mark by themselves (and that such a procedure is incomprehensible and rendered the Farrer theory unlikely; see "Towards the Rehabilitation of Q," NTS 11, 169-191; reprinted in A. Bellinzoni, _The Two-Source Hypothesis_, 269-285).

      Downing provides a synopsis of the Beelzebul pericope which includes Mk. 3.20-30; Mt. 12.22-32, 43; and Lk. 11.14-24, 12.10. He divides Matthew's text into A material, where Matthew is very like Mark; B material, where Matthew is fairly similar; and C material, where Matthew is quite different (see Table 1). He then observes that if Luke has Matthew and Mark before him, he is clearly using only Matthew. Luke has no significant independent parallels with Mark.

      Downing then questions whether Luke is using Matthew. Luke uses none of the A material, a lot of the B material, and reproduces the C material almost entire. Downing observes that Luke is using Matthew's extra material without Matthew's obviously Markan additions. He concludes:

      >>Matthew's extra material without the Markan additions is not

      Matthew's Gospel; it is Matthew's other source(s). For convenience, we shall call it Q + M. This seems to the only intelligible solution to the problem of "the Lukan omissions of pure Mark from his rendering of material similar to that which Matthew has conflated with Mark.<<

      I offer three criticisms of Downing's analysis:

      1. Downing misidentifies the Matthean parallel to Lk. 11.14-15 as Mt. 12.22-24. On the hypothesis that Luke was using Matthew, he was clearly following the doublet at Mt. 9.32-34. This includes seven consecutive words in Mt. 9.34 where Matthew is identical to Mk. 3.22. This is the longest sequence of verbatim agreement between Mark and Matthew in the material under consideration, and Luke takes it over entire at 11.15. On the Farrer hypothesis, this would clearly be a case of Luke using "pure Mark" when following Matthew.
      2. Downing partitions Mt. 12.31 oddly. 12.31a is Markan; nine of eleven words are paralleled in Mark. 12.31b is entirely non-Markan without a single word out of seven in agreement with Mark. Luke omits the entire verse rather than just eliminating the Markan part. His objection is clearly to the verse as a whole. Mt. 12.31 and 12.32 form a doublet. In keeping with his usual habit, Luke omits one half and retains the other, more colorful, half.
      3. Downing's argument concerning the saying about the strong man (Mk. 3.27/Mt. 12.29/Lk. 11.21-22) would appear to require that Luke is following Q closely here, unlike Matthew who is following Mark. This opinion is not widely held by exegetes working on the basis of the 2DH. Some deny that the saying about the strong man stood in Q at all and that Luke is rewriting Mark here (so Jacobson, _The First Gospel_, 154-55). Probably more hold that some version of the strong one saying was in Q but that Luke has rewritten it extensively (so Danker, Fitzmyer, Luz, and Nolland, in their respective commentaries). If it can be accepted on the 2DH that Luke extensively rewrote his source here for reasons unrelated to whether or not Matthew happened to parallel Mark closely, but were entirely coincidental, then such ought to be plausible on the Farrer hypothesis as well.

      Downing provides three additional examples of cases where he believes Farrer's Luke would have had to be deliberately removing Markan material from his use of Matthew. These are the Baptism, the Sending Out of the Twelve, and the Apocalyptic Discourse. I shall have to reserve comment on the Apocalyptic Discourse for the moment (though I think it is one of the best test cases for the merits of the Farrer hypothesis against the 2DH). This leaves:

      1. The Baptism. Downing observes that Luke has omitted Mt. 3.4, 5a, 6, where Matthew closely parallels Mark. He sees this as a problem for the Farrer theory, for Luke must intentionally be omitting material where Matthew is following Mark closely. Yet, on the 2DH, Luke is following Mark here, and omits the same material. That Luke should omit Matthean material where it is paralleled by Mark would seem to be no more or less coincidental than that Luke should omit Markan material where it is paralleled by Matthew. If it can be accepted (as it is on the 2DH) that Luke's reasons for omitting Markan material where Mark parallels Matthew are entirely coincidental, then it ought to acceptable on the Farrer theory that Luke's omission of Matthean material where Matthew parallels Mark are coincidental. Some exegetes have suggested that Luke is deliberately downplaying John's similarity to Elijah here; others have denied this.
      2. The Sending Out of the Twelve. Here Luke omits the passage describing Jesus compassion for the multitude, who were "like sheep without a shepherd." Mt. 9.36 is closely parallel to Mk. 6.34. Downing contends that this verse is especially "Luke-pleasing" and finds it inexplicable that, on the Farrer hypothesis, Luke should have omitted it. This seems an odd argument. On the 2DH, Luke's two versions of The Sending Out are explained as coming from Mark (Lk. 9.1-6, 10-17; paralleled at Mk. 6.6b-13; 30-44) and Q (Lk. 10.1-16; paralleled in Mt. 9.35-10.16). That Luke should have omitted this verse if following Matthew in Lk. 10.1-16 would seem no more improbable than that he should omit it in the middle of Lk. 9.11 when following Mark. If Luke objected to the verse in Mark, why should he have liked it any better when Matthew repeated it? On the 2DH, it has been suggested that Luke omitted Mark 6.34 as part of a tendency to omit references to Jesus' human emotions (so Cadbury, _The Style and Literary Method of Luke_, 91). That explanation ought to serve the Farrer theory as well.

      I conclude that in at least three of the four passages Downing considers, he has not provided any convincing evidence that, on the Farrer theory, Luke must have been intentionally disentangling Markan material from Matthew and reproducing Matthew's additions alone.

      Comments are welcome; comments concerning the relative merits of the Farrer theory and the 2DH in the passages under consideration would be especially useful to me.



      Kenneth A. Olson
      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. Huxley

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