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[Synoptic-L] Re: No Gezerah Shavah-Leonard

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  • R. Steven Notley
    Randy/Leonard, Randy beat me to the punch. My primary objection to the use of the term gezerah shavah was that it is technical terminology related to Jewish
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1, 2002
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      Randy/Leonard,

      Randy beat me to the punch.  My primary objection to the use of the term gezerah shavah was that it is technical terminology related to Jewish hermeneutical method that is limited to interpreting Hebrew Scripture.  It is inappropriate to use the term in reference to methods of redaction by the Evangelists of their literary "non-Biblical" sources.

      I repeat that I know of no instance where gezerah shavah is a creation (!) of the Evangelists.  On these occasions I think they merely preserve what they found in their source(s).  Ultimately, I must confess that I think these are echoes of the historical Jesus at work.  But as we all know, that is difficult to "prove."  Nevertheless, I find no one on the landscape of the Early Church who handles scripture in the sophisticated manner in which Jesus is portrayed.  At times, it is sheer genius.

      Leonard, you are correct that one can witness it also in Paul's use of Scripture.  In my own estimation, however, Jesus was far more adept at it than Paul—which may indicate something regarding the comparatve quality of their formal training.  But that is a different matter.

      I will cite a similar estimation of Flusser regarding Jesus' "exploitation" of the non-pointed Hebrew text of Psalm 110:3 and 2:7.  "All those who know Jesus' way of speaking cannot deny the authenticity of the saying.  It combines the typical simplicity of the literal meaning with hiddlen allusions to the various biblical verses.  It is difficult to imagine that any member of the early Church could have invented these words." ("At the Right Hand of Power" Judaism and the Origins of Christianity, Magnes Press, Jerusalem, 1988, pp. 304-305).

      Mostly, I just want to say "Amen" to Randy's comments.

      Shalom,
      Steven Notley
      Nyack College NYC

      Randall Buth wrote:

      shalom Leonard et al.

      Leonard EGRAPSEN TW STEFANW TOU Notley:
      >
      >Are you saying here that the Gospels contains instances of gezerah shavah,

      >but that in every case these were simply taken over from earlier sources?
      If
      >so, I am skeptical of this judgment, and will be till I have seen the
      >evidence for the position and the presuppositions on which it is argued.<

      Gezera Shava is notsimply  linkage by literary motif, something common
      to literatures around the world, include the gospels.

      Gezera shava is playing with specific forms in a SCRIPTURE text. Creating
      a literary motif, as it were, out of comparable forms from different
      scriptural
      loci. Equivalent forms allowing a conjoining that otherwise would not have
      taken place.

      When that happens in underlying texts in Hebrew, then almost by definition
      it is not the gospel Greek writer that is doing it.
      Demonstrating this is not difficult
      but it is certainly aided by fluency in Hebrew to appreciate the force of
      the
      proposed gezerot shavot. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some of the
      examples of the rabbis were "well done", some were "so-so". Some are
      strong and clear, others less so but suggestive. E.g.,
      veahavta Dt 6.5 Lv 19.18 has been mentoined.
      It is a compelling example and has been recongnized
      in the literature for a long time. It was certainly not the evangelists
      doing,
      nor even Jesus', but goes to earlier roots.

      blessings

      Randall Buth

    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:50:24 AM Eastern Standard Time, Notley@optonline.net writes:
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 1, 2002
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        In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:50:24 AM Eastern Standard Time,
        Notley@... writes:

        << Randy beat me to the punch. My primary objection to the use of the term
        gezerah shavah was that it is technical terminology related to Jewish
        hermeneutical method that is limited to interpreting Hebrew Scripture. It is
        inappropriate to use the term in reference to methods of redaction by the
        Evangelists of their literary "non-Biblical" sources.>>

        I am sorry, but my mind works by analogy. And the procedure that appears to
        be used by Matthew (with respect to OT) and Luke (with respect to OT and
        Matt) is analogous to the gezerah shavah method, whether or not it is
        technically permissible to employ that terminology in connection with the
        work of the Evangelists. The fact that Luke uses the same methodology with
        respect to Matt as he does with OT may suggest that Luke already regarded
        Matt as something akin to (or analogous to) the Hebrew Scriptures. This would
        not surprise me in the least, as Matthew himself was probably attempting to
        create precisely this impression. I am almost beginning to have the
        impression that you and Randall have some kind of ideological opposition to
        analogy, akin to that of some systematic theologians of the Lutheran
        persuasion, in their sharp criticism of the principle of analogy as operative
        in Catholic theology generally.

        << I repeat that I know of no instance where gezerah shavah is a creation (!)
        of
        the Evangelists. On these occasions I think they merely preserve what they
        found in their source(s). Ultimately, I must confess that I think these are
        echoes of the historical Jesus at work. But as we all know, that is
        difficult
        to "prove." Nevertheless, I find no one on the landscape of the Early Church
        who handles scripture in the sophisticated manner in which Jesus is
        portrayed. At times, it is sheer genius.

        Leonard, you are correct that one can witness it also in Paul's use of
        Scripture. In my own estimation, however, Jesus was far more adept at it
        than
        Paul -- which may indicate something regarding the comparative quality of
        their
        formal training. But that is a different matter.>>

        I want to state this delicately, but these paragraphs seem to reveal an
        agenda. In any case, though you affirm this with great vigor, you have said
        nothing to persuade a "non-believer" that the examples of gezerah shavah
        found in the Gospels go back to Jesus (as opposed to Matt, e.g.). It seems
        clearer to me that Matthew himself is a product of scribal training than that
        Jesus was. But I admit that opinions on this question are related to very
        general principles regarding the proper interpretation of Gospel texts. And I
        am less than certain that my own are necessarily valid.

        Leonard Maluf


        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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      • R. Steven Notley
        ... I have no clue what your reference to an ideological opposition to analogy is in reference to. I am only asking that we be careful in our terminology.
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 1, 2002
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          Maluflen@... wrote:

          In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:50:24 AM Eastern Standard Time,
          Notley@... writes:

          << Randy beat me to the punch.  My primary objection to the use of the term
           gezerah shavah was that it is technical terminology related to Jewish
           hermeneutical method that is limited to interpreting Hebrew Scripture.  It is
           inappropriate to use the term in reference to methods of redaction by the
           Evangelists of their literary "non-Biblical" sources.>>

          I am sorry, but my mind works by analogy. And the procedure that appears to
          be used by Matthew (with respect to OT) and Luke (with respect to OT and
          Matt) is analogous to the gezerah shavah method, whether or not it is
          technically permissible to employ that terminology in connection with the
          work of the Evangelists. The fact that Luke uses the same methodology with
          respect to Matt as he does with OT may suggest that Luke already regarded
          Matt as something akin to (or analogous to) the Hebrew Scriptures. This would
          not surprise me in the least, as Matthew himself was probably attempting to
          create precisely this impression. I am almost beginning to have the
          impression that you and Randall have some kind of ideological opposition to
          analogy, akin to that of some systematic theologians of the Lutheran
          persuasion, in their sharp criticism of the principle of analogy as operative
          in Catholic theology generally.

          I have no clue what your reference to "an ideological opposition" to analogy is in reference to.  I am only asking that we be careful in our terminology.  My fear/concern about the improper use of gezerah shavah was precisely the next step that you took—suggesting that Matthew was regarded by Luke as "akin to the Hebrew Scriptures."  I know of no basis for such a quantum leap.  Can you give me a single occasion where we have a clear CITATION of Matthew akin to his CITATIONS of the Hebrew Scripture—that would suggest that Luke understood both to be Scripture.
           

          << I repeat that I know of no instance where gezerah shavah is a creation (!)
          of
           the Evangelists.  On these occasions I think they merely preserve what they
           found in their source(s).  Ultimately, I must confess that I think these are
           echoes of the historical Jesus at work.  But as we all know, that is
          difficult
           to "prove."  Nevertheless, I find no one on the landscape of the Early Church
           who handles scripture in the sophisticated manner in which Jesus is
           portrayed.  At times, it is sheer genius.

           Leonard, you are correct that one can witness it also in Paul's use of
           Scripture.  In my own estimation, however, Jesus was far more adept at it
          than
           Paul -- which may indicate something regarding the comparative quality of
          their
           formal training.  But that is a different matter.>>

          I want to state this delicately, but these paragraphs seem to reveal an
          agenda. In any case, though you affirm this with great vigor, you have said
          nothing to persuade a "non-believer" that the examples of gezerah shavah
          found in the Gospels go back to Jesus (as opposed to Matt, e.g.). It seems
          clearer to me that Matthew himself is a product of scribal training than that
          Jesus was. But I admit that opinions on this question are related to very
          general principles regarding the proper interpretation of Gospel texts. And I
          am less than certain that my own are necessarily valid.

          What agenda?  It is nothing more nor less than an evaluation of the linguisitic make-up and quality of the hermeneutical examples that are reported on the lips of Jesus and the pen of Paul.  I am not sure what you are suggesting by the use of "non-believer" but I reiterate that the assessment that the genius in the example of gezerah shavah in Luke 22:69 was not a creation of the Early Church—is that of a "non-Christian" namely David Flusser who was an orthodox Jew.

          As for the scribal ability of Matthew, I find his a mixed report card.  I do not think he was as nearly capable of "creating" these examples as you assume.  Moreover, I am faced with examples where the gezerah shavah is better preserved in Luke than in Matthew [e.g. Luke 10:27 and parr.] (whom you suggest created these and from whom supposedly Luke derived them).  How is this to be explained if these are Matthean creations?  I find this line of reasoning untenable and inconsistent with the data.

          Best regards,
          Steven Notley
          Nyack College NYC

           

          Leonard Maluf
           

        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 4/1/2002 11:18:32 AM Eastern Standard Time, Notley@optonline.net writes:
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 1, 2002
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            In a message dated 4/1/2002 11:18:32 AM Eastern Standard Time,
            Notley@... writes:

            << I have no clue what your reference to "an ideological opposition" to
            analogy is
            in reference to.>>

            It would take me too far afield from the topic of this list to explain. But
            the reference would be understood by systematic theologians. Actually, I
            doubt my comment is really pertinent to the discussion anyway, especially if
            you are unaware of the theological commonplace to which I allude.

            << I am only asking that we be careful in our terminology. My
            fear/concern about the improper use of gezerah shavah was precisely the next
            step that you tookósuggesting that Matthew was regarded by Luke as "akin to
            the Hebrew Scriptures." I know of no basis for such a quantum leap. Can you
            give me a single occasion where we have a clear CITATION of Matthew akin to
            his CITATIONS of the Hebrew Scriptureóthat would suggest that Luke understood
            both to be Scripture.>>

            This is a good point, I must concede. Luke does not cite Matthew formally as
            he, on occasion - or, more often, the characters in his story - do the
            Prophets and Writings. However, the fact remains that Luke never, to my
            knowledge, cites Torah in this way, and more often than not he cites from OT
            sources in very much the same way that he cites from Matthew (on my
            hypothesis). Look, e.g., at the way Torah is cited throughout the entire
            first part of Acts 7. Perhaps the more apt comparison would be to say that
            Luke cites Matthew very much the way he cites Torah. But I am not sure you
            will take this as much of a concession on my part.

            > I want to state this delicately, but these paragraphs seem to reveal an
            > agenda. In any case, though you affirm this with great vigor, you have said
            > nothing to persuade a "non-believer" that the examples of gezerah shavah
            > found in the Gospels go back to Jesus (as opposed to Matt, e.g.). It seems
            > clearer to me that Matthew himself is a product of scribal training than
            that
            > Jesus was. But I admit that opinions on this question are related to very
            > general principles regarding the proper interpretation of Gospel texts.
            And I
            > am less than certain that my own are necessarily valid.

            <<What agenda? It is nothing more nor less than an evaluation of the
            linguistic
            make-up and quality of the hermeneutical examples that are reported on the
            lips
            of Jesus and the pen of Paul. I am not sure what you are suggesting by the
            use
            of "non-believer" but I reiterate that the assessment that the genius in the
            example of gezerah shavah in Luke 22:69 was not a creation of the Early
            Church is that of a "non-Christian" namely David Flusser who was an
            orthodox Jew.>>

            The quotations marks surrounding "non-believer" suggest that I did not mean
            it as an allusion to a Jewish scholar like David Flusser, but rather to a
            skeptic like myself who wonder whether what Jesus is made to say in the
            Gospels of either Matthew or Luke might not sometimes rather be more properly
            the discourse of the Evangelist himself, with perhaps no more than a remote
            foundation in the teaching of Jesus. It is clear that you oppose this type of
            scepticism, but you have not successfully argued against it in my view.

            <<As for the scribal ability of Matthew, I find his a mixed report card. I
            do not
            think he was as nearly capable of "creating" these examples as you assume.>>

            I suspect you underestimate Matthew, and perhaps overestimate some of your
            teachers in this regard. But this is just a hunch (with minimal scientific
            value).

            <<Moreover, I am faced with examples where the gezerah shavah is better
            preserved in Luke than in Matthew [e.g. Luke 10:27 and parr.] (whom you
            suggest created these and from whom supposedly Luke derived them). How is
            this to be explained if these are Matthean creations? >>

            They could possibly be explained as Lukan creations that are superior to
            Matthean creations. At a macro level Luke is imitating Matthew, not copying
            him. And imitation in antiquity routinely involved the factor of emulation,
            as has been discussed at length by T. L. Brodie, among others. Moreover, your
            language "better preserved" is itself loaded in favor of a certain
            fundamental position with reference to the interpretation of Gospel texts.

            Leonard Maluf




            Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
            List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
          • John Lupia
            ... Dear Leonard & All: I do realize that at least two members of the list: you and Thomas Longstaff currently hold to Matthean priority. It would be rather
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 1, 2002
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              Maluflen@... wrote:
              > Perhaps the more apt
              > comparison would be to say that
              > Luke cites Matthew very much the way he cites Torah.

              > They could possibly be explained as Lukan creations
              > that are superior to
              > Matthean creations. At a macro level Luke is
              > imitating Matthew, not copying
              > him.

              Dear Leonard & All:

              I do realize that at least two members of the list:
              you and Thomas Longstaff currently hold to Matthean
              priority. It would be rather nice to see Thomas take
              more of an active role in discussions. It might be
              very helpful and useful to carry on discussions along
              the thesis of Matthean priority. The same would go
              for Markan prioritists to discuss the "so-called solid
              foundation for it" they claim, but cannot
              demonstrate. To discuss both Matthean and Markan
              priority using pericopae as examples is a very helpful
              and useful form of discussion.

              Having done so for many years it has led me to
              seriously doubt either and conclude that Lukan
              priority has merit far more than that of both Matthew
              or Mark. This is not empty rhetoric on my part since
              I always back it up with evidence of the texts. I
              have already posted several postings over the past
              year that have refuted Mark Goodacre's "Fatigue"
              thesis and have shown Lukan priority over that of
              Matthew and Mark. I realize it is something very new
              to all to see such demonstrations., and it will
              probably take some time for it to sink in. I only
              hope everyone keeps an open mind, an essential quality
              for an academic.

              Discussions can help all of us to clarify our thoughts
              and use solid scholarship rather than tossing around
              empty rhetoric: "Luke copies, or, perhaps, rather,
              imitates Matthew"; "Many believe in the priority of
              Mark but few are able to give a good reason for it.",
              "the Marcan priority theory has been honoured by time;
              it provides a sound basis for convincing
              redaction-critical readings of Matthew and Luke" "We
              are fairly certain that Mark was first"; "two
              centuries of Markan priority shows it has merit." None
              of these rhetorical statements is ever helpful, but
              indicate an emotional and personal bias that fails to
              demonstrate and support such claims. Scholarly
              discussions are drawn from the texts and their careful
              analysis. So, the list should be very welcome and open
              to such discussions, which is one of the essential
              characters of a list called Synoptic-L.

              With best regards,
              John

              =====
              John N. Lupia
              501 North Avenue B-1
              Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA

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            • R. Steven Notley
              Thanks Leonard! I only have a few comments: ... Let me just clarify a point and say that I am not suggesting a fundamentalist attitude to the text. I have no
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 1, 2002
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                Thanks Leonard!

                I only have a few comments:

                Maluflen@... wrote:
                 

                 (snip) ...a skeptic like myself who wonder whether what Jesus is made to say in the
                Gospels of either Matthew or Luke might not sometimes rather be more properly
                the discourse of the Evangelist himself, with perhaps no more than a remote
                foundation in the teaching of Jesus. It is clear that you oppose this type of
                scepticism, but you have not successfully argued against it in my view.
                Let me just clarify a point and say that I am not suggesting a fundamentalist attitude to the text.  I have no problem with critical analysis of the material and identifying the "discourse of the Evangelist himself" as distinct from more primitive material (if it exists) that may (historical certainty is always elusive) originate from the historical Jesus.  I will confess that I have been influenced by my study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem—where there was on the whole a more positive attitude regarding the historical material we have.  Again, this is not a simplistic naïveté, it is just that Descartes' influence is not as great there as in the west.

                My approach is fundamentally philological.  My statements about the primitive nature of the examples of gezerah shavah are based primarily upon the fact that they are a Hebrew language environment—a language I find little evidence the Evangelists themselves knew (e.g. all of the Evangelists fail to get the play on "summer" [QYZ] in the Parable of the Fig Tree).  Thus, my difficulty assuming that the Evangelists themselves were responsible for what are sophisticated linguistic plays in Hebrew.

                In our Cartesian world there will never be a place for historical certainty regarding the Gospel material—and whether it originates with Jesus.  My years of study in Jerusalem have brought me to the conclusion (and I think this is the best we can hope for) that there is primitive material in the Gospels that has retained (against the flow of linguistic and cultural currents) unmistakable Hebraisms and reflect  well known trends of developing thought that was current at the time of Jesus.   Neither the linguistic traits nor the concerns reflected in this material do I find attributable to the Evangelists.  Taken together I find it difficult to conclude that the Gospels are a compilation of late creations by the Evangelists well removed from the historical Jesus himself.

                I think the examples of gezerah shavah are a good example of primitive material that has survived.

                 
                <<Moreover, I am faced with examples where the gezerah shavah is better
                preserved in Luke than in Matthew [e.g. Luke 10:27 and parr.] (whom you
                suggest created these and from whom supposedly Luke derived them).  How is
                this to be explained if these are Matthean creations? >>

                They could possibly be explained as Lukan creations that are superior to
                Matthean creations. At a macro level Luke is imitating Matthew, not copying
                him. And imitation in antiquity routinely involved the factor of emulation,
                as has been discussed at length by T. L. Brodie, among others. Moreover, your
                language "better preserved" is itself loaded in favor of a certain
                fundamental position with reference to the interpretation of Gospel texts.

                Luke's "imitation" of Matthew as you claim in the matter of examples of gezerah shavah are consistently more Hebraic and Jewish.  I have sat in countless situations with Jewish scholars who were examining this material with always the same conclusion.  Luke's material is more primitive, and Mark and Matthew represent poor secondary forms (linguistically and culturally) of the saying.

                This analysis does not support your contention that these are "Matthean creations" that are imitated by Luke.

                Shalom,
                Steven Notley
                Nyack College NYC
                 
                 

                 

                Leonard Maluf
                 
                 

              • Maluflen@aol.com
                In a message dated 4/1/2002 5:01:57 PM Eastern Standard Time, jlupia2@yahoo.com writes:
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 2, 2002
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                  In a message dated 4/1/2002 5:01:57 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                  jlupia2@... writes:

                  << Dear Leonard & All:

                  I do realize that at least two members of the list:
                  you and Thomas Longstaff currently hold to Matthean
                  priority. It would be rather nice to see Thomas take
                  more of an active role in discussions. It might be
                  very helpful and useful to carry on discussions along
                  the thesis of Matthean priority.>>

                  I would certainly like to see this too.


                  << Discussions can help all of us to clarify our thoughts
                  and use solid scholarship rather than tossing around
                  empty rhetoric: "Luke copies, or, perhaps, rather,
                  imitates Matthew"; >>

                  John, you could argue that the statement in quotation marks (my statement, I
                  believe) is empty rhetoric, and you would be right if that were the only kind
                  of writing I did on this list. If, on the other hand, the statement
                  represents merely a quick reminder or summary of a position which I
                  frequently illustrate with detailed analyses of texts on this and other
                  scholarly lists, then your qualification is a bit unfair. I don't know if you
                  follow the Johannine list-discussions, but I posted there this morning the
                  following continuation of a discussion with Professor Hofrichter. Perhaps you
                  could begin by explaining how you think this series of Synoptic parallels
                  (Matt 18:1-5 pars.) is better seen as exhibiting Lukan priority. I would find
                  this difficult to fathom, and I think I make a good case (though you would
                  have to read my published article on the topic for a detailed argument) for a
                  development here going from Matthew, through Luke, to Mark. Here follows what
                  I wrote earlier today for the Johannine list, but which is really more
                  pertinent to the topic of this list:


                  In a message dated 4/2/2002 5:16:50 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                  Peter.Hofrichter@... writes:

                  << You agree that Jn 13,20 is more primitive than Mk 9,37. But you think
                  that John has taken his idea from Mt or Lk.>>

                  What I suggested is that Jn took the idea from Matt 10:40.

                  << But in Mt 18,1-5 there is
                  nothing at all said concerning the disciples or being sent, and Lk
                  9,46-48 has in shorter form all essentials common with Mk.>>

                  Why does it matter (for this discussion) what Matt 18:1-5 has? In my article
                  on Lk 9:46-48 I of course show clearly how Lk uses and rewrites this text,
                  removing entirely the theme of a child's humility and introducing the theme
                  of the small one (Paulus) who is accepted by some communities as Jesus
                  Christ, and ultimately as a messenger of God himself (cf. Gal 4:14b). The
                  combination of the fact that Luke has his echo of Matt 10:40 at this point in
                  his narrative, and the fact that he has no parallel of it during the sending
                  out of the 12 at the beginning of his chapter 9 (but cf. 10:16!) suggests to
                  me that Luke writes at a time and place where receiving the 12 as messengers
                  of God was no longer an issue, but receiving Paul and his fellow missionaries
                  was. Thus the entire hybrid of the issue of the child and the reception of a
                  missionary did not exist when Matt wrote (that is why there is no trace of it
                  in Matt 18), but was originally an invention of Luke, with a clearly
                  intelligible motive (to legitimate the Pauline mission). A late Mark shows
                  evidence of the Lukan tradition, but because he is trying to conflate with
                  the pre-Lukan Matthean text, Mk's text becomes even more confused, and it
                  actually speaks of receiving children (generically) in terms that originally
                  belong to the Sitz im Leben of receiving the messengers of Jesus (the 12 in
                  Matt, Paul by allusion in Lk). So this sequence of Gospel composition (Matt
                  -> Lk -> Mk) illuminates precisely the data you present in your statement.

                  << So I think
                  it is more verisimilar that Mt was fascinated by the issue of
                  children brought in by Mark and skipped all the strive among the
                  apostles and the sending-motive which does no longer fit in this
                  context.>>

                  It is very difficult to believe that Matt 18:1-5 is secondary to all the mess
                  we find in the Markan parallel. It is of complete lucidity in itself, and
                  does not involve at all the issue of an originally apostolic messenger
                  statement applied to a child. Mark's text, on the contrary, looks like an
                  attempt to conflate the perspectives of Matt and Lk's rather different
                  parallels.

                  << Luke being the last one tries as he does often to shorten
                  and harmormonize but to keep the essentials of his predecessors. Why
                  should Luke have introduced here the sending-motive by his own, which
                  then would have been further developped by late John?>>

                  I hope you understand now why Luke's text works better here as Die Mitte der
                  Schriften.

                  Leonard Maluf

                  Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                  List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                • John Lupia
                  Synoptic-L@bham.ac.uk Leonard wrote: Why does it matter (for this discussion) what Matt 18:1-5 has? In my article on Lk 9:46-48 [snip] Thank you Leonard for
                  Message 8 of 9 , Apr 2, 2002
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                    Synoptic-L@...

                    Leonard wrote:
                    Why does it matter (for this discussion) what Matt
                    18:1-5 has? In my article on Lk 9:46-48 [snip]

                    Thank you Leonard for drawing attention to this
                    particular parallel. I think a good discussion on it
                    should be very helpful and quite useful for those who
                    hold to different positions regarding Gospel priority.


                    Who is the Greatest? (Mt 18:1-5//Mk 9:33-37//Lk
                    9:46-48) [Mohammed Ali's question to the magic-mirror
                    on the wall]

                    1. The Setting

                    Lk 9:46-48 Jesus and the disciples are still in the
                    vicinity outside of Bethsaida, north on the Sea of
                    Galilee, on the east bank in Herod-Philip's territory.
                    It is their tenth day there (Lk 9:28 + 37) and they
                    have just descended the mountain after the
                    transfiguration. Immediately preceding this narrative
                    of Lk 9:46-48 Jesus cast out a demon of a sick boy
                    which the disciples could not do on the father's
                    request. Jesus rebukes both the demon in the boy to
                    expel it, and the disciples for their lack of faith.
                    Jesus predicts that he will be betrayed (Mt
                    17:22-23//Mk 9:30-32//Lk 9:43b-45), but the disciples
                    do not understand what he is saying in this regard.
                    Then Lk describes a quarrel among the disciples as to
                    which among them is greatest. (Note: Joseph Fitzmyer,
                    The Gospel According to Luke I-IX (AB 28; Doubleday,
                    N.Y., 1979):815-18 is clearly dated especially
                    regarding the analysis of the geography and of little
                    or no use.)

                    Mt 18:1-5 takes place at Capernaum. What is
                    interesting is the previous itinerary: they had left
                    Galilee (Mt 14:34) to go to Tyre and Sidon (Mt 15:21)
                    then moved on to some unidentified place to a mountain
                    there (Mt 15:29); then they went to Magadan (Mt
                    16:39) a place unidentifiable somewhere perhaps along
                    the Golanian Bethsaida plain on the western bank of
                    the Sea of Galilee, and not identifiable with either
                    Megiddo too far to the SW, nor with Magdala on the
                    west bank side in Galilee. In Mt 16:5 they cross over
                    to the other side apparently still on foot and go to
                    Caesarea-Philippi (Mt 16:13//Mk 8:27). However,
                    Magadan might have been a scribal corruption in MS
                    transmission of Magdala in Galilee and Mt 16:5
                    crossing over would then signify going back to the
                    east bank where they arrive in Caesarea-Philippi (Mt
                    16:13). In Mt 17:22 they are in Galilee and reach
                    Capernaum (Mt 17:24). No text is given regarding the
                    sojourn from the east to the west bank of the Sea of
                    Galilee. We must assume it and extrapolate it from
                    the Matthean text. Once at Capernaum the question
                    arises of the temple tax and Peter's miraculous catch
                    of the fish with a coin for the tax payment takes
                    place (Mt 17:24-27). Then there is a question posed
                    to Jesus by the disciples about who is greatest in
                    heaven.

                    Mt's itinerary starts (1) on the west Galilean shore
                    and then (2) goes north to the Sidonian region then
                    (3) SE to some unidentified place (4) to Magadan, (5)
                    to Caesarea-Philippi, (6) return to Galilee, (7) to
                    enter Capernaum.

                    Mk 9:33-37 Jesus and the disciples pass from
                    Caesarea-Philippi (Mk 8:27) then go into Galilee (Mk
                    9:30) and arrive in Capernaum. In Galilee, Jesus'
                    prediction of his betrayal, death and resurrection (Mt
                    17:22-23//Mk 9:30-32//Lk 9:43b-45), which they could
                    not understand, precedes their arrival into Capernaum.
                    Mk 2:1 states that Jesus lived in a house there (EN
                    OIKWN ESTIN) which signifies in Mk 9:33 (EN TH OIKIA
                    GENOMENOS) that they were in Jesus' house in
                    Capernaum. Jesus asks them what they were arguing
                    about on their way to his home.


                    SYNOPSIS OF SETTING

                    The Synoptics disagree where the "Who is the
                    Greatest?" question takes place. It is near
                    Julias-Bethsaida in Luke and at Capernaum in Galilee
                    in Mt and Mk.

                    Luke has it occur on the tenth day in the region of
                    Golanian Bethsaida, (not the same place as Andrew,
                    Peter and Philip's home town in Galilee in Jn 1:44;
                    12:21 nor identified with the Galilean city which
                    Jesus condemns (Mt 11:21//Lk 10:13). This region east
                    of the Jordan belonged to Herod-Philip (Josephus,
                    Antiq. 17, 189). Golanian Bethsaida was given legal
                    status as a city in AD 30, about 7 years before Lk's
                    Gospel, and also given the Gentile name Julias,
                    honoring Tiberius' mother (see Josephus, Antiq. 18,
                    2.1,28 saying correctly that it was Augustus' [and of
                    Scribonia] daughter; see also H. W. Kuhn and R. Arav,
                    "The Bethsaida Excavations: Historical and
                    Archaeological Approaches," in the Festschrift-- The
                    Future of Christianity, Essays in Honor of Helmut
                    Koester. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991). If a
                    coherence is seen between Lk and Jn on this score
                    identifying the Galilean Bethsaida then some of the
                    apostles were very familiar with the region
                    surrounding the city and would help account for the
                    prolonged stay there having some rationale and
                    practicality. However, I do not hold to this view.
                    One must keep in mind that the archaeological evidence
                    points to two Bethsaidas: Julias or the Golanian
                    Bethsaida and the Galilean Bethsaida. (See B. Pixner,
                    "Searching for the New Testament Site of Bethsaida,"
                    BA 48 (1985):207-16. However, Pixner gets the
                    applications wrong in the NT narratives. R. Arav and
                    R. Freund, eds., Bethsaida (Kirksville, MO, 1995)
                    however get it correct as modern et-Tell (208255)
                    which was first excavated in 1987). Lk 8:26 has them
                    opposite Galilee supporting that the Bethsaida
                    identified is in Herod Philip's territory on the east
                    bank of the Sea of Galilee. Lk 9:7-9 indicates that
                    the news of Jesus' activities in Herod-Philip's
                    territory had already spread in Galilee so that Herod
                    Antipas knew about what was happening there.

                    Whereas, Mt and Mk have Jesus and the disciples return
                    from the territory of Herod-Philip back to Galilee
                    where they enter the city of Capernaum. More
                    particularly, Mk 2:1;6:1; 9:33 has Jesus back in his
                    hometown, Capernaum.

                    The "deserted place" in Mk 6:31ff is apparently in
                    Galilee, on the western plain of Genneserat, whereas,
                    in Luke and Mt it is opposite Galilee (see Mt 14:34)
                    on the eastern plain of the Sea of Galilee known as
                    the plain of Golanian Bethsaida. Mk 6:45 has them
                    take a boat to Galilean Bethsaida (see Mk 6:53// Mt
                    14:34) which necessitates sailing parallel along the
                    western Galilean shoreline. Since the crowds follow
                    on foot and arrive ahead of them (Mk 6:33) he must be
                    speaking of a "deserted place" in Galilee consistent
                    with this parallel to the shore sailing. It would
                    further complicate the narrative in Mk had they
                    actually been in the right place on the Golanian
                    Bethsaida plain. Yet, Mk has them cross the lake
                    (copying from Mt) to Bethsaida in Mk 6:45 as the
                    Galilean city by that name (see Mk 6:53) giving us an
                    extraordinarily confused geography and a conundrum
                    apodictically demonstrating "fatigue" and perhaps one
                    of the best examples.

                    According to Luke, regarding the location of the
                    question "Who is the Greatest?" they had been in
                    Capernaum earlier (Lk 7:1), not now when the question
                    is posed. The confusions by the later writer Mk on
                    the geography point to his writing in the late 60's
                    and less knowledgeable about Palestine, not one like
                    Matthew who wrote a decade earlier or Luke who wrote
                    30 years earlier who like Matthew knew Palestine and
                    Judaism very well.

                    2. The Question

                    Lk 9:46-48 a discussion among them concerns who is the
                    greatest among them. Jesus could read their hearts.
                    He takes a "little child" (PAIDION) and places it at
                    his side. Then Jesus says something rather curious.
                    He says, "Whoever receives this child in my name
                    receives me, and having received me receives the one
                    who sent me. So, even the least among you is great."
                    Lk's narrative shows that greatness has nothing to do
                    with any attribute or quality any disciple might have.
                    Jesus placing the child next to himself paints the
                    picture of a canon [measure] of physical proportion.
                    This is especially apparent since the adjective of the
                    question is MEIZON the comparative degree. The height
                    of Christ is now compared to the physical height of
                    the little child to draw the analogy. Jesus is
                    obviously the one who is great. There is also an
                    obvious sense of humor being demonstrated here. A
                    deliberate pun on physical height and being great is
                    clearly made. The punchline that even the least or
                    physically smallest (or on another level of language
                    having less attributes or qualities) is irrelevant
                    since they are all great due to Jesus giving them
                    authority and dignity as his representatives. Jesus is
                    what makes them great. On a literary level one gets
                    the sense that Jesus was relieving the tension in the
                    air and mood (since he knew their hearts) by his use
                    of levity. However, on another level of language a
                    philosophical principle is being demonstrated. What
                    makes them [the disciples] great is the authority and
                    the dignity that goes with it that Jesus equally gives
                    to all of them. People will receive them because of
                    the authority of Jesus, and doing so they receive them
                    as vicars of Christ and so receive Jesus and the
                    Father who sent him. The narrative's imagery is
                    clean and clear and simple like First through Third
                    Style period painting. It is interesting that the boy
                    (PAIDA) in Lk 9:42 is contrasted to the "little child"
                    (PAIDION) in this narrative.

                    Mt 18:1-5 poses a different question. The disciples
                    ask Jesus who is the greatest in the kingdom of
                    heaven? Jesus takes a "little child" (PAIDION) and
                    places it in their midst. Then Jesus says "unless you
                    become like children you will never enter the kingdom
                    of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is
                    the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever may
                    receive such a child in my name receives me. Mt has
                    Jesus place a little child in their midst as a canon
                    [measure] among them. The saying, "unless you become
                    like children you will never enter the kingdom of
                    heaven." addresses this canon of comparison, but does
                    not address the question. It is a negative answer
                    since it demonstrates "being little" or "not great" is
                    a criteria to enter heaven. In this sense the analogy
                    has disarmed the question and shows that their
                    thoughts were misdirected criticizing the form of the
                    question. Then Jesus says, Whoever becomes humble
                    like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of
                    heaven. Now, this second statement is a bit puzzling.
                    If one must be like a "little child" in order to
                    enter the kingdom of heaven then emulating the
                    humility of the child must be part of that criteria to
                    begin with. So, to single out that feature "humility"
                    makes little sense in the narrative since it is
                    implied and understood from the previous verse. The
                    third statement of Jesus, " Whoever may receive such a
                    child in my name receives me." is now even far more
                    puzzling and does not fit into the flow of the
                    narrative at all. It is a true howler showing fatigue
                    that Mt's changes to Lk slip him up and creates an
                    unsustained narrative riddled with inconsistencies.
                    The narrative's imagery is cluttered and frilly like
                    Fourth Style period painting.

                    Mk 9:33-37 after entering Capernaum and then into
                    Jesus' house there he asks the disciples: "What were
                    you arguing about along the way?" Mk says they became
                    silent since they were debating about which among them
                    was greatest. Without being told what they were
                    arguing about Jesus sits down and says, "Whoever wants
                    to be first must be last and servant of all." Then he
                    took a "little child" (PAIDION) and put it in their
                    midst. Then he picks up the child and holds it in his
                    arms and says, "Whoever receives one such as "these
                    children" in my name receives me and whoever receives
                    me receives not [only] me but [also] the one who sent
                    me. Mk 9:35 starts with a fatigue blunder where he
                    now calls the disciples "the twelve". Mk copies from
                    Lk clearly having known "Jesus could read their
                    hearts" but abbreviates the text omitting it. The
                    text reads that Jesus is never told what they were
                    discussing yet Jesus knows, clearly indicating fatigue
                    resulting from changes to Lk. (See Moses Aberbach,
                    "The Relations Between Master and Disciple in the
                    Talmudic Age" in Essays Presented to Chief Rabbi
                    Israel Brodie on the Occasion of His Seventieth
                    Birthday (London: Soncino, 1965) The first
                    development in Mk's narrative is more like a maxim or
                    adage: "Whoever wants to be first must be last and
                    servant of all." This focuses on their "humility"
                    found in Mt, and adds the service aspect where each
                    must serve the rest. Then Mk has Jesus begins to
                    exhibit odd behavior. He puts a little child in their
                    midst. He says nothing. Howler, howler, howler! Mk
                    is clearly using Mt here making very odd changes.
                    Then Jesus picks up the little child and holds it in
                    his arms and says something strange: "Whoever receives
                    one such as "these children" in my name receives me
                    and whoever receives me receives not [only] me but
                    [also] the one who sent me. It seems as though
                    placing the little child in their midst
                    ritualistically and magically made the disciples like
                    little children. Jesus picks up the "real little
                    child" and then says referring to the disciples "these
                    children". Howler!! Mk's narrative is suffering from
                    obvious fatigue resulting from changes to Lk and Mt.
                    The narrative's imagery like Mt's is also cluttered
                    and frilly like Fourth Style period painting. Mann
                    correctly staes: "Mark, following the Matthean order ,
                    severely condensed material he gathered from Matthew
                    and Luke and made of that condensation the results
                    before us." (C. S. Mann, Mark (AB 27; Doubleday, N.Y.,
                    1986):375.

                    Best regards,
                    John


                    =====
                    John N. Lupia
                    501 North Avenue B-1
                    Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA

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