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

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:50:24 AM Eastern Standard Time, Notley@optonline.net writes:
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1 7:35 AM
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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
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • 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 2 of 9 , Apr 1 8:18 AM
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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 3 of 9 , Apr 1 1:18 PM
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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 4 of 9 , Apr 1 2:00 PM
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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 5 of 9 , Apr 1 4:53 PM
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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 6 of 9 , Apr 2 5:57 AM
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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 7 of 9 , Apr 2 7:57 PM
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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


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                  John N. Lupia
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                  Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA

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