Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

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

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 9 , Apr 1 4:53 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      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.

      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 2 of 9 , Apr 2 5:57 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        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

        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

        << 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

        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 3 of 9 , Apr 2 7:57 PM
        • 0 Attachment

          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

          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.


          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.,

          Best regards,

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

          Do You Yahoo!?
          Yahoo! Tax Center - online filing with TurboTax

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.