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Re: [Synoptic-L] Lk 14:23

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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 1 of 8 , Jan 26, 2004

      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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