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Re: [Synoptic-L] Lk 14:23

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  • R. Steven Notley
    Jim A brief comment from one of those few Leonard notes who remain unconvinced of Luke s reliance upon or knowledge of Mark (or Matthew). First, a point of
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 24, 2004
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      Jim

      A brief comment from one of those "few" Leonard notes who remain unconvinced of Luke's reliance upon or knowledge of Mark (or Matthew).

      First, a point of clarification about our terminology in the "priority" discussions.  I frequently remind my students that in fact the position of historical priority is not the most important criterion for assessing historical witnesses.  Instead, source critical discussions should speak in terms of lines of "dependency."

      This approach has long been accepted among text critics.   A "late" document (or manuscript) may prove to be a comparably superior witness to other manuscripts that were penned/copied before it.  If this late manuscript is dependent upon an independent, better (more primitive) literary source than the others (which have suffered corruption, editorializing, etc.), it may preserve a superior reading.

      I personally think Matthew is historically posterior to Mark and Luke, but because he has access to a (primitive) non-canonical source, he at times preserves the best text of the three.

      Having said that, on this occasion I agree with Leonard that the absence of a Markan parallel makes irrelevant any discussion of the Markan-Lukan literary relationship.

      I part company with Leonard, however, regarding his comments on the Matthean-Lukan relationship.  Leonard brings no evidence that "compels us" (to borrow Lukan language at hand!) to follow his assumption in this pericope that Luke has used Matthew.

      On the other hand, not a few scholars have recognized that the form of Luke's parable here is more primitive than Matthew's.  For the record, I believe there is clear indication that both Matthew and Luke have edited to varying degrees the form of the parable they received.

      We are on firmer ground to speak of Matthew and Luke's witness (edited as it is) to an earlier stage of the parable, rather than to attempt to demonstrate literary dependency between Matthew and Luke, or even less historical priority.

      I struggle with Leonard's conclusions drawn upon Matthew's use (and Luke's lack of use) of SUNHGAGON.  The term's appearance here has no theological significance.  It is a verb that Matthew uses with much greater frequency than the other Evangelists (Mt: 1.13/1000 words; Mk .38 and Lk .27).

      Likewise, there is no intended theological message in Luke's use of ANAGKASON.  Certainly, there is no reason to impose a "Christian" reading of Luke's parable to signal Paul and the Gentile mission.

      Parable studies in the last few decades thankfully have reemphasized the need to read the parables (first) in light of their cultural and religious context.  Flusser, Safrai, Stern et al have reminded us that story parables of the type employed by Jesus belong to the stream of Jewish piety best exemplified by rabbinic Judaism.

      As an aside, in spite of the numerous volumes by Christian scholars in the 20th century which attempted to reconstruct Jesus' parables in Aramaic, Jewish parables are routinely preserved in Hebrew (even if appearing in otherwise Aramaic literary material, i.e. Gemara, Targums, etc.).  Of course, this brings to the table the question of the linguistic environment of first century Judea, which was not your point.  However, I only mention it to underscore how NT scholarship's study of even the simple issues of which language Jesus likely employed in the telling of his parables has overlooked the vast amounts of incontrovertible evidence which undermines their basic assumptions.  Do they even take a moment to realize that there are no Aramaic parables?  No, they move forward on false assumptions.

      Jeremias (Parables of Jesus) and others have already drawn attention to the fact that our parable shares much in common with well-known rabbinic story parables where the failure of invited guests is followed with an urgent invitation to all who are willing to come.  The urgency underscores issues of honor and shame, as well as emphasizing God's great mercy to the undeserving (i.e. any who will come).

      We would do better to read the "urgency" in Luke's parable in light of contemporary Jewish motifs rather than later Christian concerns.

      Shalom from snowy NY,
      R. Steven Notley
      Professor of Biblical Studies
      Nyack College NYC
       
       
       
       
       

    • Richard H. Anderson
      Paraphasing Frederick Borsch and perhaps also Kenneth Bailey, eating together was an important social function in 1st century Palestine and served as a way of
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 24, 2004
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        Paraphasing Frederick Borsch and perhaps also Kenneth Bailey, eating
        together was an important social function in 1st century Palestine and
        served as a way of establishing community demonstrating hospitality and
        building trust and friendship and in that society invitations and acceptance
        of invitiations was full of significance. We should read Luke's "compel" as
        a way of demonstrating sincerity of the person extending the invitation, not
        a threat of violence. Matthew, not Luke, has the senseless killings of the
        servant extending the invitation to the wedding banquet. "This apparently
        motiveless killing is one of the signs that a historical allegorical
        interest has superseded a concern with realism in the narrative." Frederick
        Houk Borsch, Many Things in Parables, (Philadelphia, 1988), 48. It is also
        an indication that Luke is closer to the original core story. In this
        instance Luke's parable and saying 64 of the Gospel of Thomas are very
        similar.

        I believe that this parable is the third in Matthew's series and they need
        to be read together.

        Drury located a rabbinic parallel to the Parable of the Wedding in the
        Midrash Rabbah on Ecclesiastes 9.8, 'Let your garments be always white; let
        not oil be lacking on your head':

        To what may the matter be likened? To a king who made a banquet to which he
        invited guests. He said to them, Go wash yourselves, brush up your clothes,
        anoint yourselves with oil, wash your garments and prepare for the banquet.
        But he fixed no time when they were to come to it. The wise among them
        walked about by the entrance of the palace, saying, Does the king lack
        anything? The foolish among them paid no regard or attention to the king's
        command. They said, we will in due course notice when the king's banquet is
        to take place, for can there be a banquet without labor and company? So the
        plasterer went to his plaster, the potter to his clay, the smith to his
        charcoal, the washer to his laundry. Suddenly the king ordered, Let them
        come to the banquet. They hurried the guests so that some came in their
        splendid attire and others came in their dirty clothes. The king was pleased
        with the wise ones who had obeyed his command, and also because they had
        shown honor to his palace. The king said, Let those who have prepared for
        the banquet come and eat of the king's meal, but those who have not prepared
        themselves shall not partake of it. You might suppose that the latter were
        simply to depart, but the king continued, No, but the former shall recline
        and eat and drink, while these shall remain standing, be punished and look
        on and be grieved.

        As Drury notes: 'The two versions are close to one another in content as
        well as time, most strikingly in the unworthy guests returning to their
        ordinary business after being invited.' Drury comments as follow: 'The most
        significant contrast between the two versions is in their similar but
        different patterns of sacred history.' The parable defines for the Matthean
        community the question of who are the wedding guests who declined the
        invitation. They are the Jewish people.

        Not only is the Lucan Parable of the Wedding Guests located earlier, the
        emphasis is decidedly and significantly different. When the invited guests
        declined the invitation, it is extended to the outcasts and poor for whom
        the gospel is especially intended.

        [footnotes throughout omitted]

        Richard H. Anderson



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      • Maluflen@aol.com
        In a message dated 1/24/04 2:24:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... This formulation is very problematic to me. It perpetuates the conception of Evangelists as
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 25, 2004
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          In a message dated 1/24/04 2:24:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, notley@... writes:


          I personally think Matthew is historically posterior to Mark and Luke, but because he has access to a (primitive) non-canonical source, he at times preserves the best text of the three.



          This formulation is very problematic to me. It perpetuates the conception of Evangelists as (no more than) editors of a primitive narrative, or worse still, as copyists (on the model of text-criticism) of an original manuscript-text. I realize that your entire project has some very interesting linguistic observations as its underlying support, but I have never found convincing what you seem to deduce from these observations in terms of the order and interdependency of the Synoptic Gospels. Certainly there are other, and other kinds of conclusions that could be drawn from the same linguistic facts. On the other hand, you seem to ignore the multiple evidence that exists for Luke's knowledge of Matthew. Let me put it this way: It is entirely possible that Luke's banquet parable is closer to what Jesus actually said, if any of this indeed goes back to something Jesus said, than Matthew's, and that Luke nevertheless is later than, knew, and used Matthew. If there was an original parable of Jesus about a banquet, it is reasonable (but totally undemonstrable) to argue that Matthew may have added to the original parable the part about the king sending out his armies to destroy the murderers. Without necessarily having had access to any source earlier than Matt, Luke may very reasonably be thought to have removed that motif from this parable (where it is a clear misfit in any case) and placed it, e.g., in his parable of the pounds (cf. Lk 19:27). I therefore do not need to have special evidence, within this pericope itself, that Luke knew and used Matthew. I know you will have plenty to say about all this, and that as usual I will learn a lot from your response.

          Leonard Maluf
          Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
          Weston, MA
        • John Lupia
          ... I am curious about your question(s) since Lk s account is about a large banquet (deipnon mega) having no synoptic parallel to find it lacking in. What
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 26, 2004
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            --- Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:
            > Luke 14:23 contains the little phrase, "compel them
            > to come in..." This
            > phrase is absent from the synoptic parallels.


            I am curious about your question(s) since Lk's account
            is about a "large banquet" (deipnon mega) having no
            synoptic parallel to find it lacking in. What criteria
            are you using to establish a parallel?

            Giovanni




            =====
            John N. Lupia, III
            Toms River New Jersey 08757 USA
            Phone: (732) 505-5325
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/
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          • John Lupia
            ... Of those who do not, many think that Luke ... Can you support or defend this assumption? You are assessing these two prarbles as parallels in the general
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 26, 2004
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              --- Maluflen@... wrote:
              > In a message dated 1/24/2004 10:28:33 AM Eastern
              > Standard Time, jwest@... writes:
              >
              > >> Luke 14:23 contains the little phrase, "compel


              Of those who do not, many think that Luke
              > knew and used Matthew. So the question should be
              > refocused to the issue of why Luke wrote what he
              > did, assuming that he had Matt 22:1-14, absent the
              > offending phrase, in front of him when he wrote?


              Can you support or defend this assumption? You are
              assessing these two prarbles as parallels in the
              general sense of the term in synoptic studies, meaning
              the same exact account, narrative, parable or text
              appearing in two or more Gospels stated by each author
              in their unique way. There are some similar aspects to
              these parables but they are clearly two different ones
              each making different points. Is there an underlying
              assumption operative in your reply that if similar
              aspects are found in two different parables they must
              not be different but the same? Is there further
              assumed also that the historical Jesus could not have
              spokem on different occasions using similar aspects in
              two different parables that strike the same chord but
              express other ideas as well.

              Having taught numerous students for over 15 years I
              have given similar talks yet each time expressing
              different and new ideas. Students who took notes could
              compare these a decade later and see similarities but
              not parallels as used in general use in synoptic
              studies. How can it be determined to any degree of
              certainty that these are the same parable being
              reworked by two authors? Rather, it is clear and
              self-evident that they are different and are two
              separate and distinct parables. A careful read of Lk
              14 and Mt 22 shows different context and nuances
              throughout--two different and distinct texts.



              =====
              John N. Lupia, III
              Toms River New Jersey 08757 USA
              Phone: (732) 505-5325
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/
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            • R. Steven Notley
              Leonard Sorry to be slow in responding. Thank you for the response. Another couple of points of clarification. I do not think that the Evangelists worked as
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 26, 2004
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                Leonard

                Sorry to be slow in responding.

                Thank you for the response.  Another couple of points of clarification.

                I do not think that the Evangelists worked as "copyists".  My reference to text criticism was brought merely as an example of the mitigating value of "historical priority."  A posterior manuscript can provide the most primitive witness, if it depends upon earlier sources that are superior to recensions that predate the manuscript in question.  My point was that the debate about "historical priority" among synoptic scholars oftentimes overlooks this phenomenon.  Simply because a document is "later" does not necessarily mean it lacks value as an historical witness.   The issue of literary dependency among the gospels should be more central to our discussion.

                As I have stated, I have yet to see any linguistic evidence that requires Luke's use of Matthew.  One may assume it and then point to characteristics that "fit a possible pattern."  Yet, the challenge is to move beyond what is possible to what is probable.  Moreover, these assumptions usually ignore data that do not "fit the pattern" (e.g. non-LXXal Hebraisms in Luke that do not appear in Matthean and Markan parallels) and that speak to Luke's knowledge of and use of independent (non-canonical) source(s).

                I have observed frequently on this list those who assume Luke's use of Matthew and then discuss Matthean-Lukan parallels without any evidence supporting their assumption.  The same data can easily be explained by Matthew's use of Luke (which I do not think to be the case) or their use of a common non-Markan source (which I think the evidence does indicate).

                Of course, those who hold the traditional two-source approach will stand up and say, "But that is the definition of Q."  What distinguishes the approach of those who work out of Jerusalem is that they find sorely deficient the old definition of Q as merely a "sayings source."  This source included narrative material also and indeed looked more like our canonical gospels.

                Markan prioritists since Streeter have maintained their balancing act of acknowledging that the data indicates a larger Q (i.e. Mark and Q "overlaps") with their need to pare down Q, so that Matthew and Luke need Mark for triple tradition material.  Otherwise, one eliminates the need for Mark as the necessary source for Matthew and Luke in triple tradition pericopes.  Their tightwire act is born out of their necessity to maintain the Mark-first paradigm.

                Jeremias and Taylor were among those who have had to acknowledge that there is primitive material in Luke (particularly in his passion narrative) that can not be explained by Luke's use of Mark or Matthew.  Thus, the creation of proto-Luke theories or L to explain away these anomalies.  Yet, these were merely attempts to plug holes in a theory that does not address fully the linguistic data that we have in hand.  The real problem is that these "primitive anomalies" permeate the entirety of Luke's Gospel and not merely his passion narrative.

                Returning to your objection, I certainly did not mean to push the analogy of text criticism to the extent to which you seem to have understood (i.e. that the evangelists were mere copyists).  As I noted, in this instance I think there is evidence of both Matthew and Luke's creative hand at work.  Nevertheless, that does not preclude their use of pre-existing literary source(s) in their composition.  Indeed, Luke attests to just such a scenario.

                I would be curious what linguisitic evidence you read in this pericope that would compel us to conclude that Luke has used Matthew.  I see nothing distinctively "Matthean" in Luke's parable that would signal his knowledge and use of Matthew.

                Further I find no evidence for your suggestion that Luke knew Matthew's "misfit" (as you rightly describe) digression to murder and retribution.  Most scholars would attribute Matthew's inflated parable to reflect events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem.  Could Luke's omission of this historical allusion in his parable not be simply the result of the lack of familiarity with the event in his source (i.e. his source predates 70 CE)?  Why should Luke have felt compelled to duplicate Matthew's creativity, particularly if it was unknown to him?

                Luke 19:27 (which you suggest Luke has moved as some sort of compensation for truncating Matthew's ending in the present parable) has no verbal connections to Matthew 22:6-8 which Luke has supposedly omitted from his reading of Matthew.  I am not sure on what you are basing your theoretical transposition.

                In closing let me mention briefly a couple of examples from the present pericope which are difficult to reconcile with Luke's dependency upon Matthew.

                Luke describes the meal as DEIPNON MEGA.  Whereas Greek allows the adjective MEGAS to precede or follow the noun it modifies, in Hebrew the equivalent adjective GADOL must follow.  As a singular occurence here the syntactical order carries little weight, but as part of a general pattern of usage it may hint to Luke's use of source(s) that retain semitic characteristics.

                All three evangelists usually position MEGAS after the noun it modifies--again a syntactical order that is permissible in both Greek or could reflect a semiticized source (Matthew 11xx; Mark 10xx; Luke 20xx).

                It is interesting that of the evangelists Luke is the only one who in his gospel does not preserve the construction in distinctly Greek order--with MEGAS before its noun (Matthew 5:35; 28:2; Mark 13:2).  This omission can not be attributed to Lukan style, because in those portions of Acts where scholarship suggests his style is most characteristic, he preserves good Greek word order with MEGAS preceding the noun (Acts 16:28; 19:27; 19:35).  Indeed, his own stylistic predilections may have influenced his use of this order in Acts 14:10.

                I would suggest that the change in style between his gospel and Acts 16-28 is to be attributed to Luke's use of (semitic) non-canonical sources in his gospel and Acts 1-15.

                Unfortunately, NT scholarship has paid too little attention to differences in Lukan style in those writings where he likely is utilizing written sources (his gospel and Acts 1-15) and where he demonstrates a more refined Greek style (Acts 16-28).

                I readily admit that a single example of word order is not sufficient to create a synoptic theory.  Yet, it is these types of stylistic phenomena that are so often overlooked and are not addressed by scholarship.

                Note also that Luke opens his parable with ANTHROPOS TIS.  Luke alone of the evangelists presents Jesus using this phrase to open story parables (Luke 10:30; 12:16; 14:2; 14:16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:12; 20:9).    This is an uncommon Greek phrase but does represent good rabbinic style for the equivalent ISH ECHAD.  Numerous rabbinic (Hebrew!) examples could be brought with parables that begin just so.  Thus, we have Luke preserving a non-biblical Hebraism in his Greek.  He does not get it from Matthew.  It is not a LXXism.  If Luke has not received it from a semiticized Greek (non-canonical) source, where did he get it from?

                It is this type of linguistic data that I find challenging to reconcile with Luke's use of Matthew and Mark.  I think the simplest reading of the data points us in the direction of Luke's literary independence from Matthew and Mark.  The evangelists may have shared common source(s), but Luke did not know Matthew or Mark.

                Shalom from what will soon be the snowdrifts of New York!
                R. Steven Notley
                Professor of Biblical Studies
                Nyack NYC
                 
                 

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