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[Synoptic-L] Re: Matthean & Markan fatigue?

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  • 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 1 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

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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 2 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 3 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
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        • 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 4 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


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            Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA

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