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

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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