[Synoptic-L] reversing the reversible
- Most agree that most arguments in favor of the originality of a particular Evangelist at a given place in the dual or triple tradition are reversible. This does not necessarily mean that the value of an argument for a particular source theory is totally neutralized in such cases. The reverse argument may in fact be weaker or stronger, as the case may be. I imagine that supporters of Markan priority argue that a late Matthew corrected the grammar of Mark 7:28, where Mark incorrectly uses a plural form verb with a neuter plural subject. A more interesting and more probable assessment of the evidence is that Matthew's text is original -- a retort by the Canaanite woman that is fresh, brief and witty, and that remains totally on the plane of the parabolic. The Markan form is influenced by a developing scholastic interpretation of the original text according to which an equation: Dog = Gentile people, men and women, has been spelled out pedantically for the neophite, such that the thought of the evangelist itself moves, within the course of a sentence, from the world of parable into that of its application. By the time Mark arrives at the verb ESQIOUSIN he is already thinking of Gentile people as the subject of the verb. The relational addition TWN PAIDIWN, also added by Mark at this later stage, confirms this perspective.
Blessed John XXIII National Seminary