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[Synoptic-L] Re: Mattean fatigue?

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  • John Lupia
    Synoptic-L@bham.ac.uk Dear Marc Turnage & Leonard: I am pleased you mentioned the Curing of the Centurion s Slave (-boy) (Mt 8:5-13//Lk 7:1-10). However,
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 1, 2002

      Dear Marc Turnage & Leonard:

      I am pleased you mentioned the Curing of the
      Centurion's Slave (-boy) (Mt 8:5-13//Lk 7:1-10).
      However, Leonard, it does not actually perform the
      motifs you suggest in Mt, but rather, Marc Turnage is
      almost correct but still fails to see it as Mt's
      fatigue derived from changes to Lk.

      Curing of the Centurion's Slave (-boy) (Mt 8:5-13//Lk

      I. Geographic Location

      Lk 7:1 Jesus arrives in Capernaum. Jesus had been in
      Capernaum since Lk 4:31. There he entered the local
      synagogue Lk 4:33; Simon's house Lk 4:38; a deserted
      place Lk 4:42. But Jesus leaves to preach to the
      cities of Judea Lk 4:44. The fastest route is to sail
      down the Jordan, go to Jericho and the neighboring
      cities. Jesus and the disciples are on the shore of
      lake Gennesaret from Lk 5:1-6:49 where we should
      expect him to make his voyage south. In Lk 5:12 the
      trip to Judea is delayed by Jesus' compassion for the
      POLEWN" So, although Jesus was supposed to be in one
      of those cities he was delayed and the mission to
      Judea was temporarily aborted due to the pity Jesus
      took on those whom he encountered along the way.
      Apparently he did not go very far. So, since Jesus
      could not get to them they came to him Lk 5:15-17.
      Jesus taught in a local house Lk 5:18, then in the
      house of Levi Lk 5:29. He had only traveled within
      that vicinity moving to the grainfields Lk 6:1 , the
      local synagogue Lk 6:6, the mountains to pray Lk 6:12,
      the plain there Lk 6:17. Now in Lk 7:1 Jesus reenters
      Capernaum where he had been all along since Lk 4:31
      on, only traveling about the outskirts mainly along
      the shore, fields, plain, mountain and for brief
      episodes through the city.

      Mt 8:5 also has Jesus and the disciples arrive and
      reenter Capernaum. Like Luke they too had been there
      all along Mt 4:13 on. However, Mt 4:13-8:5 is very
      difficult to read regarding their location due to Mt's
      style that gets a bit frilly in Mt 4:25. In Mt 5:1 we
      wonder what mountain he is talking about? Where is he?
      This is due to his frilly summary n Mt 4:25. The
      reader needs to get past this to see it was nothing
      more than a summary of future events encapsulated here
      as an ornament that acts more like a boulder in the
      path interrupting the smooth flow of the transition of
      the text. Mt does this because he belongs to a later
      artistic period than Lk. Lk belonged to the period
      that had what is called the Fist, Second and Third
      Style painting. Whereas, Mt belonged to the Fourth
      Style painting period that first emerged in the late
      50's AD. It was characteristic to add frilly details
      deviating from the simpler, cleaner, and clearer
      images of the first three styles. The Fourth Style
      painting period was the first Baroque-like period when
      imagery became cluttered and driven by "horror vacui"
      which Mt 4:25 exemplifies here and throughout his
      Gospel as does Mk clearly demonstrating that they
      belong to this new artistic period and are later than
      both Lk and Jn. (See John A. Clarke, The Houses of
      Roman Italy. 100 B.C. --A.D. 250 (Berkeley:
      University of California Press, 1991); Roger Ling,
      Roman Painting. (Cambridge, Cambridge University
      Press, 1991); Alexander G. McKay, Houses, Villas, and
      Palaces in the Roman World. (Ithica, NY: Cornell
      University Press, 1975); Amedeo Maiuri, Roman
      Painting. (Geneva, Skira, 1953); Jerome J. Pollitt,
      The Art of Rome, 753 B.C.--A.D. 337. Rev. ed.
      (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983). For the
      parallels in literature see J. Wight Duff, A Literary
      History of Rome In the Silver Age, 3rd ed. (N. Y.,

      2. The Centurion

      Lk 7: 2 says "a centurion there" indicating he lived
      in Capernaum. Lk tells us that this centurion has a
      slave whom he cherished (ENTIMOS) and was deadly ill.
      The centurion hears about Jesus and dispatches a small
      delegation of Jewish elders to appeal to him for help
      on the slave's behalf. They convince him of the
      centurion's worthiness and goes with them to see him
      and the slave. Before Jesus arrives to the
      centurion's home a second delegation of friends greets
      Jesus with the message: "I am not worthy that you
      should come under my roof . . .But only speak the
      word, and let my servant be healed." Then, they give
      the centurion's analogy of his power to dispatch
      commands (already obvious by the 2 delegations) to
      Jesus who can do likewise.

      Mt 8:5 has the centurion also living in Capernaum
      personally come to Jesus as soon as he enters the
      city. He tells him his slave-boy is bedridden,
      paralyzed and in terrible pain. Now this is curious
      since Lk has traditionally been characterized as a
      physician (a position which I do not hold) who if he
      read Mt would surely have delighted in the physical
      diagnosis and copied it. Even if Lk is not a
      physician there is a tendency for him to relish in
      medical details. Yet, none of this appealing material
      is found in Lk which suggests he never saw it.
      Further, Mt's description of the slave-boy's illness
      is one that would have been long-term and he must have
      had this condition for some time, not so in Lk. As we
      have seen Jesus and the disciples were in the
      immediate area all along Mt 4:13-8:5// Lk 4:31-7:1.
      So, if this powerful commanding centurion could
      dispatch servants why did he not do so, and sooner?
      Instead he comes himself when convenient upon Jesus'
      reentering the city. Hence, the logic to the story
      becomes strained due to changes Mt gives to Lk's
      narrative. Moreover, Jesus is prevented from going to
      the slave-boy by the centurion who nearly quotes Lk
      "I am not worthy that you should come under my roof .
      . .But only speak the word, and let my servant be
      healed." Now the foible in Mt that shows him up with
      fatigue changing Lk is what follows in Mt 8:9 which
      makes far less sense here than in Lk. In Mt the
      centurion's protestations seem somewhat ingenuine
      since he does not exemplify the power to give commands
      as the centurion in Lk who sent 2 delegations, that
      do. Further, the ill person in Mt is a slave-boy
      (PAIS) suggesting a pederastic relationship. The
      awkwardness here is the reader's wonderment of (1) the
      centurion's intentions. Is he upset that he can no
      longer have sex with the boy because he is ill
      preventing it? (2) He shamelessly comes to Jesus
      face-to-face speaking about his unworthiness also
      suggested by the pederastic relationship, but instead
      of sending delegations as would seem appropriate here
      more so than in Lk, who has no pederastic relationship
      suggested, the centurion goes himself to be
      embarrassed and humiliated, hardly the behavior we
      would expect of a powerful commanding centurion.
      Finally, Jesus' amazement is followed by Mt 8:11 that
      brings to mind Mt 28:19 and clearly shows a late
      written account.

      Best reagrds,

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

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