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Re: [Synoptic-L] Dunn (2003) on the Synoptic Problem

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  • Karel Hanhart
    ... From: Maluflen@aol.com To: Synoptic-L@bham.ac.uk Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 2:06 AM Subject: [Synoptic-L] Dunn (2003) on the Synoptic Problem In
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 11, 2003
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 2:06 AM
      Subject: [Synoptic-L] Dunn (2003) on the Synoptic Problem

      In "Jesus Remembered" (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids 2003), p. 144, n.13, James D. G. Dunn writes: "Farmer has won some support in North America for the 'Two Gospel (=Greisbach) hypothesis', as distinct from the 'Two-Source hypothesis', but hardly any elsewhere".
      After noting that most of the traditional arguments in favor of Markan priority, particularly as formulated by Streeter, have now been discredited, Dunn continues: "But the stunning fact continues to be the extent of the overlap of material particularly between Mark and Matthew". Dunn then correctly notes that this "overlap" in no way demonstrates directionality but only interdependence between these two gospels. Nevertheless, it is clear that the way he opened the cited sentence "But the stunning fact..." certainly suggests that he was trying to convey the impression that we are still left, thank God, with one solid argument in favor of Markan priority, which has escaped the discrediting assaults of the Griesbachians. Well, is the overlap, or isn't it a valid argument for Markan priority? In effect, Dunn tries to have it both ways in the span of two sentences.
      Response by Karel H:
      Two literary facts seem to support Markan priority:
      1. In Mt 27,83  the author makes his readers aware of the arresting Markan expression 'meta treis hemeras' in the passion predictions. They may well have received a copy of Mark. In a heavily ironic passage, Matthew makes the highpriests and the Pharisees cite Mark!  The 'impostor' had said..."after three days I will rise again"  The Matthean combination of two groups of enemies, kept separate still in Mark (3,6 and 15,1) -, request Pilate to make the tomb secure until "the third day" (this is the Matthean time indicator in the passion predictions" (Mt 16,21). Preposterous! To ask this governor to post a military guard to prevent a dead man from leaving his grave! However, one should count the days. Taking Matthew's  "untill the third day" literally, the guard was supposed to perform this function throughout Saturday, Sunday  till Monday. The angel of JHWH, however, explodes the myth that humans were able to thwart the will of God. The angel singlehandedly rolls away the stone precisely at the moment that the sabbath, Nisan 16 turns into the first day of the Pentecostal harvest, Nisan 17. For as Goulder rightly insisted 'opse de sabbaton' means "late on the Sabbath". And one may add 'tei epifoskousei eis mian sabbaton' refers to the light of the starry night, leading on to Day One. In the Bible the day begins in the evening.
      2. The guard is rendered in Latin  'custodia' (27,65) and in Greek 'hoi terountes' (28,4) but Pilate made clear that the higthpriests and Pharisees would place the guard, not Pilate. Here Matthew underlines the importance of the arresting accumulation of time indicators in Mark: 15,42 (Arimathea's going to Pilate "when evening had come. and since it was the day of preparation"), in 16,1 "when the sabbath was over" and in 16,2 "and very early on Day One of the (seven) sabbaths (i.e. the harvest feast -Shabuot). For the Greek verb 'tereo' may mean to 'guard' in a physical sense or to 'observe a liturgical day' in a spiritual sense. This hIgh priestly  'guard'  was their instrument to prevent the disciples celebrating the resurrection on the Sunday after Pesach.
      According to the Pharisees, and in the synagogue up to the present, Shabuoth should begin on Nisan 16. In Mark's story this is the Saturday of the burial. In the ecclesia the harvestfeast began on the Sunday after Pesach; in Mark this is Nisan 17.
      According to the.Mishna the Boethusian highpriests still defended the festival calendar as followed in the ecclesia, but the Pharisees opted for Nisan 16. The ancient priestly (Boethusian) calendar date was probably altered under Herod Agrippa I, when Matthias of the house of Annas was high priest. It is historically certain that the calendar was changed before 70 AD. Herod favored the Pharisees and laid "violent hands' on leaders of the ecclesia (Acts12,1ff). The most likely date of the calendar change is therefore 41 CE. Mark probably referred to this historical event in Mark 3,6, the conspiracy of Pharisees and Herodians "to destroy Jesus". This scenario would also explain (a) both Mark's and Matthew's emphasis on the precise day of the burial and the open tomb stories, (b) Paul's emphasis on the seven Sundays during Pentecost in 1 Cor 16,2. 8  and (c) the strange election of Matthias replacing Judas (Acts 1). Thus Matthew underlined the meaning of Mark's time indicators with his bitterly ironic motif of the observance of the 'divine harvest' of Jesus' ministry, and the highpriests trying to prevent them from doing so.(Cmp the harvest motifs in Mark 4, 10.11 and I Cor 15,20, "the first fruits of them that died", a term of the divine harvest).
    • Tim Reynolds
      on 10/10/03 5:06 PM, Maluflen@aol.com at Maluflen@aol.com wrote: After noting that most of the traditional arguments in favor of Markan priority, particularly
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 11, 2003
        Re: [Synoptic-L] Dunn (2003) on the Synoptic Problem on 10/10/03 5:06 PM, Maluflen@... at Maluflen@... wrote:

        After noting that most of the traditional arguments in favor of Markan priority, particularly as formulated by Streeter, have now been discredited . . .

        And yet I find to my surprise that Streeter¹s contribution, decisive if incompete, remains unaltered.

        This statement is impossible to justify on the basis of a careful comparison of the texts of Matthew and Mark, particularly in the passage on the Gerasene demoniac. What Matthew has removed from the Markan form of the story, on the Markan priority hypothesis, is not Markan redundancy, but everything in the text of Mark that would NOT come under what Fitzmyer refers to in this story as "elements of the fantastic and the grotesque" (Luke, I, 734). Why a late Matthew should have edited Mark's text in such an unlikely way is an extreme difficulty for the Markan priority hypothesis; the text is hardly one that should be trotted out in its support.

        Leonard Maluf

        For ³fantastic and grotesque² read ³unusual and memorable².  Matthew remembered the memorable bits, as he would retelling a joke, as he would if his access to Mk was not a book open in front of him but an oral venue, as described in Morton Smith's Clement letter.  That is, Matthew didn't "remove" or "edit" anything, he wrote as much as he could remember.

        Tim Reynolds
        Long Beach CA
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