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repetition in Matthew

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Ulrich wrote - ... Also - ... Thank you, again, Ulrich for your accurate observation of some of the repetition in Matthew. I think that such repetition,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 1998
      Ulrich wrote -
      >Mt 8:12; 13:42; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30 all giv(e) the following
      >nine words (or six, if you want to remove the articles) in exactly the
      >same order: "ekei estai ho klauqmos kai ho brugmos twn odontwn".
      >Moreover, 8:12; 22:13; 25:30 additionally give the following words in
      >the same order: "ekbal- (auton) eis to skotos to ekswteron".
      Also -
      >What do you think of the sixfold repetition of the woes in Mt
      >23:13.15.23.25.27.29, again six words long (you can even include the
      >hoti)? What about the threefold parable introductions Mt 13:24.31.33
      >(allen parabolen...autois...homoi- estin he basileia twn ouranwn)?
      >
      Thank you, again, Ulrich for your accurate observation of some of the
      repetition in Matthew. I think that such repetition, whether of one or
      two words, or of nine or ten, and however frequent, is consistent with
      just about every attempted solution to the synoptic problem which we
      meet.

      It is consistent, for instance, with the Jerusalem School Hypothesis
      which affirms that Luke was copied by Mark (sic), and Mark was copied by
      Matthew (sic), all three synoptists also copying from the same "Greek
      Translation" documentary source. On this hypothesis, the repetition
      could either have from the "Greek Translation" source, and been reduced
      and/or omitted by Luke and/or Mark, or it could have been the editorial
      action of Matthew who so much liked the odd phrase from the source
      common to all three synoptists that he used the phrase many times.

      Equally, repetition of phrases in Matthew is consistent with the Two
      Document Hypothesis under which the repetition either occurred in 'Q'
      but was not copied by Luke, or is the result of Matthew liking a
      particular phrase, possibly occurring only once in his source material
      ('Q', or Mark), and choosing to repeat the phrase frequently.

      It is also consistent with the Two Notebook Hypothesis, under which the
      repetition either occurred in the Notebooks and was taken from them by
      Matthew, or is the result of a phrase possibly occurring only once in
      the Notebooks and Matthew then choosing to use the phrase often.

      It would seem very likely that the repetition in Matthew can be shown to
      be consistent with any other hypothesis of the links between the
      synoptic gospels that has been put forward.

      It is hardly possible to infer a solution to the synoptic problem from
      just one pattern of similarities or differences observed in the synoptic
      gospels. By itself, a pattern may be consistent with infinitely many
      hypotheses of how the synoptic gospels came to be so similar, and yet
      different.

      It seems to me that the synoptic problem is to describe carefully the
      patterns of similarities and differences observed in the synoptic
      gospels, and then to put forward a hypothesis which can be shown to be
      compatible with all, without exception, of these observed patterns.

      Infinitely many hypotheses which fit one piece of data are not a
      solution. A solution is one hypothesis which fits all the data.

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON
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