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Re: [Synoptic-L] Rethinking the Synoptic Problem?

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  • Emmanuel Fritsch
    ... If this were a valid argument, the Synoptic Problem would have been solved for a long. a+ manu Synoptic-L Homepage:
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 5, 2002
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      Ron Price wrote:
      >
      > Bill,
      > Any attempt to show that in Lk 3:1-9:50 Luke was not making use of
      > parallel material in Matthew would, in my opinion, fail, so your
      > scenario would never be reached.
      > It seems to me highly probable that, for instance, Lk 4:1-13 was
      > derived from Mt 4:1-11. The argument is essentially as follows:
      >
      > (a) The wording is so close as to demand a literary relationship.
      > (b) Lk 1:1 indicates that Mark and Matthew were already in existence
      > when Luke was written. So Lk 4:1-13 was not the source for Mt 4:1-11.

      If this were a valid argument, the Synoptic Problem
      would have been solved for a long.

      a+
      manu

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    • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
      ... Is there, in Luke 1:1-3, anything that clearly indicates that the author of this gospel is dissatisfied with the earlier accounts with which he was
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 6, 2002
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        At 08:01 AM 12/6/2002 +0000, Ron Price wrote:
        >I wrote:
        >
        > ><< Surely in order to show that Luke did not indicate a knowledge of
        > >Matthew here, we would have to show that for each of the Lukan pericopae
        > >where there is a parallel with Matthew, Luke did not make use of that
        > >parallel. >>
        >
        >Bill Foley replied:
        >
        > >But Luke does write a gospel, showing that he is dissatisfied with those
        > that
        > >he knew of, and thought he could do it better. The fact that he may not
        > make
        > >use of a parallel may be that he disvalued this source for a better one, or
        > >thought he had info the other missed.

        Is there, in Luke 1:1-3, anything that clearly indicates that the author of
        this
        gospel is dissatisfied with the earlier accounts with which he was familiar?
        This seems to me a very improbable statement. Were the author of Luke
        dissatisfied with the earlier gospels or accounts, how would one understand
        his close, and I would say respectful, use of his sources? That he wishes
        to write a new account for (or dedicated to) Theophilus does not mean that
        he is dissatisfied with earlier accounts. Many people preach, or write
        expositions or commentaries, on biblical texts, not because they are
        dissatisfied with them but rather because they wish to set them in a new or
        particular context or relate them to a new situation to which they seem
        applicable. It is entirely reasonable to suppose, I think, that Luke wanted to
        organize materials differently, to set them in a different context, or to apply
        them to new situations. Rather than looking on the earlier accounts with
        dissatisfaction, he might well have found them valuable resources for the
        historical account that he wanted to present.

        One argument which seems to me fallacious, but which will not go away,
        is based on the presupposition that later authors always wrote to replace the
        works that they used as sources. Thus people often ask, rhetorically as
        though the question settles the issue, why Mark, were he a later gospel,
        would omit the Lord's Prayer, the Sermon on the Mount, etc. The answer
        might simply be that if Mark were later, he wrote to supplement the earlier
        gospels or to set the materials in a new context (giving them a new
        application). He might well have known that churches would not simply
        discard earlier gospels, that they would continue to be read, and used
        in churches, and therefore there is no fear that the Lord's Prayer or
        Sermon on the Mount would be lost. If the later author writes with what
        seems to me a reasonable expectation that earlier gospels would not be
        discarded, then there is no pressure to include everything in the later
        work.

        Similarly here. That Luke undertakes to write a gospel narrative when
        he knows that there are already such documents in existence, does not,
        or so it seems to me, indicate that he is dissatisfied with the earlier
        narratives. It may mean no more than that he has a different purpose in
        mind or a different perspective to bring to the material. Those of us
        who have been privileged to contribute to the new series from Sheffield
        Academic Press, A Feminist Companion to...., do not wish to throw
        away generations of scholarship, dissatisfied with what others have
        written, but rather wish to supplement that scholarship (thus the name of
        the series "A Feminist Companion") by taking note of elements in the
        biblical narratives that scholars less aware of gender-related issues
        might not have mentioned.

        In short, there are a plurality of reasons why an author will again
        address a topic about which others have written. There is no reason
        to suppose that the later authors always (or even usually) intended that
        their work would replace the earlier ones and that those earlier documents
        will soon disappear. Tatian, writing the Diatessaron, might have had such
        an intent, but if so we can see that it was a colossal failure. There is even
        less reason to believe that later authors always exhibit dissatisfaction with
        the earlier documents known to them.

        Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff
        Crawford Family Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus
        Colby College



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