Luke's editorial procedure (was: Did overlaps affect Luke's decision to omit material?)
Ken Olson wrote:
> Lukes True Blessedness and Matthews True Relatives have obvious thematic
>parallels. I suspect that Luke, having already used a version of True
>Relatives, in one of his Markan blocks at Lk. 8.19-21, then "substituted"
>True Blessedness for it the second time it occurred in his sources to avoid
>using the same language twice.
This raises the interesting question of which came first, Mark's version or Luke's version.
As I see it, Lk 11:27-28 was derived from an sQ saying which Mark transformed into Mk 3:31-35.
The essential primitivity of Lk 11:27-28 seems to be indicated by the use of FULASSW in the sense of 'to observe a matter of injunction or duty' (as my lexicon describes it). Elsewhere Luke uses this word for observance of the Jewish law (Lk 18:21; Ac 7:53) or of the Jewish law as interpreted by James et al. (Ac 16:4; 21:24,25) but never of simple Christian obedience to God. It is difficult to imagine Luke composing (as opposed to preserving from a respected source) a saying which has Jesus commend the keeping of the Jewish law.
> The point is that something can be a
>"doublet" at the level of sources, location, and theme and still not be a
>doublet at the level of verbal agreements.
>We may have to agree to disagree, but Id like to clarify where that
>1) You think Luke could have gone through Matthew and extracted the
>material he wanted to use from it, while (with a single exception) avoiding
>taking material that overlapped with material he was using from one of his
He took 8 Matthean pericopae (as delineated on my Web site) which have no overlap with sQ or Mark. He took 2 which have a potential overlap with Mark (Mt 3:7-12; 4:1-11) but which didn't lead to any duplication because Luke had decided to follow Matthew rather than Mark for the early narratives. Also for the first edition he took Mt 12:22-32. Most of the potential overlap with Mark was avoided by omitting the block Mk 3:19b-35. However in Lk 11:23 he failed to avoid an overlap with Lk 9:50 derived from Mark (apologies for not mentioning this before), thus creating a doublet. It could have been worse, for he did at least avoid creating a triplet in this case.
In his second edition, Luke's birth stories utilized only one of his three sources, i.e. Matthew. But his adaptation of Matthew's 'Talents', as I indicated before, led to a triplet in Lk 12:48 (derived from sQ) // 8:18 (derived from Mark) // 25:29 (derived from Matthew).
>2) You think Luke and/or Matthew could have rearranged the order of much of
>their common non-Markan material and combined it with other material (i.e.,
>as your Luke and/or Matthew do with sQ).
>3) You think it unlikely that Luke could have BOTH gone through Matthew and
>extracted the material he wanted to use AND rearranged its order and
>combined it with other material.
Yes. The use of a large source is not a problem in itself. Nor is the rearrangement of many pericopae necessarily a problem in itself. But the combination of a large source and the rearrangement of many pericopae widely scattered in that source, would create a problem in my opinion.
>I disagree with you on point 3, because I think that if our evangelists are
>capable of extracting material from a source, and of reordering material
>from a source, they ought to be capable of doing both in combination (i.e.,
>of extracting material from a source and reordering that material).
Either the material to be reordered was bookmarked, or it was copied.
> My thinking here is that Luke knew what Matthean material he wanted to use
>because he had annotated the margins of Matthew at an earlier stage when he
>compared Matthew and Mark. He would not necessarily have needed to recopy
>the Matthean material he wanted to use into another document prior to
>writing his rough drafts.
My argument is that bookmarking 60+ sayings in a large source would have been impracticable.
> This procedure of doing rough drafts is recommended by Quintilian
>(Institutio Oratoria 10.3-4) who also advises leaving space in ones tablets
>for additions and "thoughts which occur to the writer out of due order"
>(10.3.33; trans. Butler, LCL).
>If Luke is using the procedure Quintilian recommends, he could be sorting
>the Matthean material he wants to use and composing his own versions of it
>in the same stage. He would "check off" each passage in Matthew as "used"
>(to avoid repetition) once he had composed his own version of it, which he
>would place in his notebooks near other passages he considered to be
You appear to be suggesting that Luke's Matthean material was put into the rough draft whilst carrying out a single sequential search through Matthew. To do this Luke would have had to make detailed redactional decisions about each pericope taken from Matthew *before* being sure of its context. This doesn't appear to me to be a sensible procedure.
> He could then revise his versions and smooth out the
>transitions between passages in his notebooks before they were recopied
>into his scroll or codex.
This procedure is possible, but it would surely result in a clumsy final text. A much more consistent text would result from creating a detailed plan, then composing the whole in sequence from beginning to end, a procedure which would be difficult to carry out on the FH.
>I dont think that such a procedure would have been prohibitively complex.
>The Matthean material in Lukes first two non-Markan blocks keeps fairly
>close to its Matthean order with a few insertions and inversions as
I agree with regard to the first non-Markan block. The Sermon on the Plain would not have been quite so easy. On the FH, in addition to the Sermon on the Mount Luke used Mt 15:14; 10:24a,25a; 12:34b-35. Besides the arguable awkwardness of finding these scattered fragments, the procedure looks odd. Luke clearly intended a considerable condensation of the Sermon on the Mount. So it is somewhat surprising that he didn't simply use a subset of it. The overall theme of the Sermon is not sufficiently clear cut that it demands the inclusion of these three sayings in particular, and not, for instance, the sayings about Salt, Divorce or Two gates which are within Matthew's sermon.
> Lukes central section would have required a good bit more
Yes, this would have been the main problem.
> ... but if the organizational principle hes using is (to borrow
>your idiom) a "rough and ready" topical or thematic one rather than a
>"meticulous" calendrical, Deuteronomistic, or chiastic one, Luke has a
>great deal of leeway with which to work.
My argument was that the presence of doublets shows that Luke was not meticulous in checking what to leave out. But having decided what to include, Luke did (in my opinion) arrange his material with great care. The gospel's structure, as I've determined it from frames ("inclusions"), parallels etc., is superb. Its planning was therefore meticulous. If and when I get it published you'll be able to judge for yourself. (I've just sent an email complete with abstract to another publisher, but I'm beginning to wonder whether some publishers ignore emails on principle!)
In assessing the feasibility of the FH, we need also to look at the early phase of Luke's planning.
Mark Goodacre made the excellent point that, given the most widely accepted synoptic publication dates, Luke would have come to treasure Mark for many years before he acquired a copy of Matthew, and that this could help to explain Luke's choice of Mark rather than Matthew as the basis of his narrative. But this point works better with the 3DH. For here Luke treasures Mark because of its familiarity, respects the Aramaic sQ because of its evident antiquity, and doesn't think much of the upstart Matthew, taking from it only a dozen or so pericopae (the precise number depending on how we delineate them). The case for choosing Mark as a basis is strong.
On the FH, Luke cannot be said to think so little of Matthew, as he takes from it 60+ pericopae. He would have to balance his relatively reduced liking for Mark against the fact that virtually all his source material is contained in some form within a single source, i.e. Matthew. The decision would not have been so easy. Would a single factor - his liking for Mark - outweigh the easier editing task which would result from sticking to one source? Sadly, we will never know. ;-)
Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK
Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm