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[Synoptic-L] Luke 1:1 In Retrospect

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic-L Cc: WSW [where discussions of philological method are currently taking place] On: Luke 1:1 in Retrospect From: Bruce Some time ago on this list
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 11, 2003
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      To: Synoptic-L
      Cc: WSW [where discussions of philological method are currently taking
      place]
      On: Luke 1:1 in Retrospect
      From: Bruce

      Some time ago on this list it was proposed to reconsider Synoptic ideas by
      starting with the implications of Luke 1:1, which seems to make statements
      about, or at minimum to imply, previous versions of a Gospel narrative. A
      reasonable thought, and several including myself responded, though the
      discussion quickly petered out. What seems interesting in methodological
      retrospect is that nobody challenged the choice of beginning point along the
      following lines:

      (1) The probity and even the meaning of Luke 1:1 cannot be fully assessed
      without considering in parallel Acts 1:1, which refers to it, and reasserts
      the same authorial position. (2) Acts 1:1 cannot be fully judged, as
      introducing a continuation of the story told in GLk, without considering the
      claims of Acts as a whole to be that continuation. (3) Whereas ALk, however
      numerous his sources, seems to have achieved a literarily homogeneous
      narrative, the Acts narrative incorporates, grammatically unharmonized, the
      famous "I-narrative." This implies a different literary procedure, or a
      different sort of literary skill, and to that extent tends to challenge the
      assumption that Acts and GLk were written not only by the same person, but
      in a single authorial impulse at essentially the same time.

      Such considerations might lead to the suggestion that the various 20c
      efforts to test the stylistic compatibility of GLk and the several
      (internally defined) segments of Acts might now be reviewed, as background
      for the Luke 1:1 question. Would any knowledgeable person here present care
      to undertake such a review?

      I was reminded of these considerations by the recent occurrence of Alan
      Turing Day (2nd Tuesday in December; this year, 9 Dec), which in my part of
      the world is celebrated as part of the Festival Calendar of Philology, in
      recognition of the important if still not fully realized contribution to
      literary studies which was made by Turing and other wizards of Bletchley
      Park.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      http://www.umass.edu/wsp


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/12/2003 1:41:55 AM Eastern Standard Time, brooks@asianlan.umass.edu writes:
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 12, 2003
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        In a message dated 12/12/2003 1:41:55 AM Eastern Standard Time, brooks@... writes:

        << (1) The probity and even the meaning of Luke 1:1 cannot be fully assessed without considering in parallel Acts 1:1, which refers to it...>>

        Actually, what Acts 1:1 refers to is Lk 1:3 -- not Lk 1:1, a causal and subordinate clause, which does not yet express the main idea of the author.


        <<, and reasserts the same authorial position.>>

        I'm not sure exactly what this means. Do you just mean that Acts 1:1 implies the author is the same for the two volumes, or are you saying more than this, and if so, what?

        <<(2) Acts 1:1 cannot be fully judged, as introducing a continuation of the story told in GLk, without considering the
        claims of Acts as a whole to be that continuation.>>

        I'm not sure what this means either. Are you speaking of claims implicit in the narrative, claims elsewhere expressed? And in what sense do you mean that Acts 1:1 "cannot be fully judged" without this further consideration?

        <<(3) Whereas ALk, however numerous his sources, seems to have achieved a literarily homogeneous narrative, the Acts narrative incorporates, grammatically unharmonized, the
        famous "I-narrative.">>

        How do you mean "grammatically unharmonized"? With what? And it should also be noted that Luke does not speak in 1:1-4 of sources, as such. One can presume that ALk made literary use of the referenced earlier efforts to compose a narrative of things "brought to fulfillment among us", but he does not say so. He states only that he, like these earlier authors (or because these authors were many), will write -- (in his case) to Theophilus, with the purpose of assuring him of the soundness of the message to which he has been exposed, either by rumor, or by more formal catechetical instruction.

        <<This implies a different literary procedure, or a
        different sort of literary skill, and to that extent tends to challenge the assumption that Acts and GLk were written not only by the same person, but in a single authorial impulse at essentially the same time.>>

        I'm not sure this is a very strong argument for divorcing the closeness in time and authorial intent between the two volumes of Luke and Acts. You seem to be attempting to argue the same case that was made a few years ago by Pervo (and Michael Parsons was it?). Although this short book raised some interesting questions, and made some valuable points, I don't think it has garnered much of a following. Thus far, I think the counter arguments (namely, for a closer unity between the two works), are stronger.

        Leonard Maluf
        Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
        Weston, MA

        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • Stephen C. Carlson
        ... William Strange, THE PROBLEM OF THE TEXT OF ACTS (1992), believes, based on the manuscript evidence of Acts, that the author of Acts died before completing
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 12, 2003
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          At 01:41 AM 12/12/03 -0500, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
          >(1) The probity and even the meaning of Luke 1:1 cannot be fully assessed
          >without considering in parallel Acts 1:1, which refers to it, and reasserts
          >the same authorial position. (2) Acts 1:1 cannot be fully judged, as
          >introducing a continuation of the story told in GLk, without considering the
          >claims of Acts as a whole to be that continuation. (3) Whereas ALk, however
          >numerous his sources, seems to have achieved a literarily homogeneous
          >narrative, the Acts narrative incorporates, grammatically unharmonized, the
          >famous "I-narrative." This implies a different literary procedure, or a
          >different sort of literary skill, and to that extent tends to challenge the
          >assumption that Acts and GLk were written not only by the same person, but
          >in a single authorial impulse at essentially the same time.

          William Strange, THE PROBLEM OF THE TEXT OF ACTS (1992), believes, based
          on the manuscript evidence of Acts, that the author of Acts died before
          completing his revision of Acts' first draft and that Acts was later
          published posthumously. If Strange's idea is correct, then that may
          be an alternative explanation for the non-homogeneity of Acts compared
          with Luke.

          >Such considerations might lead to the suggestion that the various 20c
          >efforts to test the stylistic compatibility of GLk and the several
          >(internally defined) segments of Acts might now be reviewed, as background
          >for the Luke 1:1 question. Would any knowledgeable person here present care
          >to undertake such a review?

          Hawkins, HORAE SYNOPTICAE (1899; 2d ed. 1909), addressed this issue on
          philological grounds as have several others, mostly in the early 20th
          century. A good commentary on Luke or Acts should reference the discussion.

          >I was reminded of these considerations by the recent occurrence of Alan
          >Turing Day (2nd Tuesday in December; this year, 9 Dec), which in my part of
          >the world is celebrated as part of the Festival Calendar of Philology, in
          >recognition of the important if still not fully realized contribution to
          >literary studies which was made by Turing and other wizards of Bletchley
          >Park.

          I'm familiar with Turing's contributions to computer science. What did
          he do for philology?

          Stephen Carlson
          --
          Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
          Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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