Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mark-Q Overlaps III: Minor Agreements between Mark and Luke

This is now the third post in the current series on Mark-Q Overlaps, in which I would like to respond to comments from Christopher Tuckett in a review of my book.

3. Major Agreements between Matthew and Luke; Minor Agreements between Mark and Luke

Christopher Tuckett (Review of The Case Against Q, NovT 46 (2004): 401-403) acknowledges my points concerning Mark-Q overlap passages summarized in the previous post and comments:
In these passages [viz. Mark-Q overlaps], one can indeed refer to Luke’s use of Matthew’s additions to Mark, and/or to extensive non-trivial Matthew-Luke agreements. However, any non-Q theory has to explain Luke’s apparently almost pathological refusal in some of these texts to use any Markan material at all (e.g. the Beelzebul controversy, or the Mustard Seed). As Gerald Downing argued many years ago, Luke’s procedure on the Farrer-Goulder-Goodacre model appears totally at odds with his procedure elsewhere (where, according to Goodacre and others, Luke knows Mark far better than Matthew and uses Mark in preference to Matthew). In these passages, Luke must have studiously avoided all the points where Matthew and Mark agree and reproduced only Matthew’s additions to Mark. (402).
The description of the data here is inaccurate. It is not the case that Luke lacks Marcan material in these passages. Both of the specific examples given by Tuckett, the Beelzebub pericope (Matt. 12.25-32 // Mark 3.23-30 // Luke 11.17-23, 12.10) and the Mustard seed (Matt. 13.31-2 // Mark 4.30-32 // Luke 13.18-19), feature several triple agreements, as well as minor agreements between Mark and Luke. On Sanders's count (E. P. Sanders, "Mark-Q Overlaps and the Synoptic Problem", NTS (1973): 453-65, 458), the Beelzebub Controversy features 31 triple agreements, 35 Matthew-Mark agreements, 5 Mark-Luke agreements and 65 Matthew-Luke agreements. Similarly, the Mustard Seed, on Sanders's count, features 14 triple agreements, 11 Matthew-Mark agreements, 6 Mark-Luke agreements and 11 Matthew-Luke agreements. There is no "almost pathological refusal" to include Marcan material here. It is true, of course, that there is a substantial degree of agreement between Matthew and Luke against Mark in these passages, and it is this that forces Q theorists to view these as "Mark-Q overlap"; there are far too many Matthew-Luke agreements for these to be the result of independent redaction.

Let us be clear about how the situation is explained on the Farrer Theory. It is quite straightforward. On occasions like this, where Matthew is the middle term among the Synoptics, Luke is working with Matthew as his primary source and not Mark. The usual triple tradition situation, where there are major agreements with Mark and minor agreements with Matthew, is reversed and, instead, there are major agreements with Matthew and minor agreements with Mark. If Luke is working with both Matthew and Mark, it is not surprising that on occasions Luke turns to Matthew as his primary source, even in triple tradition material. It is interesting to see how often this happens where Matthew has a fuller account than Mark, in the John the Baptist material, the Temptations, Beelzebub, the Mission discourse.

The article to which Tuckett refers, by F. Gerald Downing, has now been answered persuasively by Ken Olson, "Unpicking on the Farrer Theory" in Mark Goodacre and Nicholas Perrin (eds.), Questioning Q (London: SPCK, 2004): 127-50.

4 comments:

Jim Deardorff said...

I think you've properly corrected Tuckett here. Still, there is a lot of truth to his "In these passages, Luke must have studiously avoided all the points where Matthew and Mark agree and reproduced only Matthew’s additions to Mark." The modified Augustinian hypothesis (MAH ) easily explains this.

With the writers of Mark and Luke totally at odds with Matthew's portrayal of gentiles as unworthy of discipleship, how could the latter in his gospel therefore support Mark over Matthew, and only reluctantly include necessary Matthean material ("Q") omitted in Mark? He could agree with Mark where Mark deviates from Matthew's order and/or text, while tending to avoid points where Mark and Matthew agree. Where the MAH would revise the last part of Tuckett's sentence quoted above is to say that the writer of Luke grudgingly reproduced many of Mark's omissions from Matthew.

This MA hypothesis works best with a Hebraic Matthew having preceded Mark. It may be surprising to learn of all the instances in which Mark shows "fatigue" relative to Matthew.

Frank McCoy said...

I have problems with having the Beelzebul Controversy defined as Matt. 12.25-32 // Mark 3.22-30 // Luke 11.17-23, 12.10.

For openers, why bring in Luke 12:10, but not Th 44 as well?

This is of no small import because Matthew is in lock-step with Mk 3:28-29a in 12:31:
Mt 12:31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, the sins and the blasphemies they may blaspheme, but blasphemy (against) the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Mk 3:28-29a Amen. I say to you that everything will be forgiven the sons of men, the sins and the blasphemies they may blaspheme. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit does not have forgiveness into the (final) age,
Yet, he is in lock-step with Th 44:2-3 in 12:32:
Mt 12:32a And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it will be forgiven him
Th 44:2 and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven
Mt 12:32b but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him
Th 44:3a but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
Mt 12:32c neither in this age nor in the coming one.
Th 44:3b either on earth or in heaven.
What I suggest: Matthew used both Mk and Th as sources, basing 12:31 on Mk 3:28-29a and 12:32 on Th 44:2-3 and deliberately not having parallels to the Mk 3:29b and Th 44:1 so that an effective suture could be made between the two sources.

What I further suggest is that Luke knew about this little game played by Matthew and decided to play his own little game in Lk 12:10. So, he decided to make the first part of Lk 12:10 more closely resemble Mt 12:32a than Th 44:2:
Lk 12:10a And everyone who will say a word against the Son of Man it will be forgiven him
Mt 12:32a And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it will be forgiven him
Th 44:2 and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven
But, then, he decided to have the second part of Lk 12:10 more closely resemble Th 44:3a than Mat 12:32b:
Lk 12:10b But the one having blasphemed against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Th 44:3a but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven
Mt 12:32b but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him.

Also why end the Matthean version of the Beelzebul Controversy at 12:32 rather than 12:37 when Jesus makes an uninterrupted speech from 12:25 to 12:37? The Q crowd does this because the postulated Q version of the Beelzebul Contorversy ends at Mt 12:32. So, are you not playing the game by their rules when you agree with them to chop-off Jesus' speech at mid-stream in 12:32?

Further, thusly truncating Jesus' speech of Mt 12:25-37 at Mt 12:32 leads one to fail to notice a very important feature of this speech. That is:
1. In 12:25-31, Matthew successively has a parallel to Mk 3:22-26 in 12:24-26, a parallel to Mk 3:27 in 12:29 and a parallel to Mk 3:28-29a in 12:31. Thus, he appears to be using Mk as a source and using it in sequential order. Further, he uses Mark as his sole source, so that there is no apparent influence of Th 35 on Mt 12:29.
2. In 12:32-37, Matthew successively has a parallel to Th 44:2-3 in 12:31 and a parallel to Th 45 in 12:34b-35. Thus, he appears to be using Th as his source and using it in sequential order. Further, he uses Th as his sole source, so there is no parallel in to Mk 2:29-30 or any other Markan passage.

Luke knew all this. So, he decided to keep the material he based on Mt 12:25-31//Mk 3:22-29a intact as an integral unit in Lk 11:15-23. But, he decided to strew the material he based on Mt 12:32-37//Th 44:2-45. So, his parallel to Mt 12:32a-b is in Lk 12:10 and his parallel to Mt 12:33-35 is in Lk 6:43-45.

Also, note that he does not base anything on Mt 12:31 (for Lk 12:10 is based on 12:32a-b), the tail end of Mt 12:25-31, nor on Mt 12:36-37, the tail end of Mt 12:32-37. IMO, there is a deliberate pattern here.

Finally, note that Luke radically changes Mt 12:29, which is Matthew's second parallel to Mark in this pericope, in Lk 11:21 and also radically changes Mt 12:33-35, which is Matthew's second parallel to Th in this pericople, in Lk 6:43-45. IMO, there is a deliberate pattern here.

So, once one refuses to follow the Q crowd's rules of the game, I think one gains a better understanding of how Luke operated.

steph said...

I don't think Thomas is early any more. Thomas is arguably much later if the theological term 'the Son' reflects later Christian doctrine. Blasphemy against the Father being forgivable in the first line is also remarkable. Replacement of 'son of man' by 'the Son' shows the saying is dependent on later Christian doctrine of Trinity. Also the Jewish expression about the coming age in Matthew is replaced with earth and heaven in Thomas, and it is not Luke that he is dependent on. Finally it has lost its context o the false accusation made by Jesus' most serious opponents during the historic ministry.

The extent of the Beelzebul controversy varies according to the individual "Q" reconstructions, generally beginning at Luke 11.14 and not always including 11.21-22. And "Q" scholars most(?) often label Matt 12.31-32 as a conflation of Q and Mark, preferring Luke's position of the saying in Luke 12.10 for "Q"

steph said...

In The Case Against Q, you kinda explained all that already: p. 52 "On all of these occasions [John the Baptist, Temptation, Beelzebul, Mustard Seed], the parallels between Matthew and Luke are more extensive than those between Mark and Luke. Indeed the early parts of each Gospel are particularly rich in examples of Luke apparently following Matthew's modified versions of the shorter Markan pericopae." Implicit: the modified versions contain triple tradition. Implication confirmed when checked with synopsis. Even Sanders and Davies have printed Beelzebul synoptically with the triple tradition exposed clearly