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

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    In a message dated 4/1/2002 5:01:57 PM Eastern Standard Time, jlupia2@yahoo.com writes:
    Message 1 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

      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 2 of 9 , Apr 2, 2002
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        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

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