4. Is there really a continuum?
Tuckett (402) writes:
Goodacre contents himself with the general point about Luke's using Matthew's additions to Mark, and/or referring to different levels of "agreements" against Mark here; he talks about a "broad spectrum" and a "sliding scale" (p. 161) or a "continuum" (p. 163) of the level of Matthew-Luke agreements against Mark. However, he never analyses any of these "overlap" passages in any detail. And in terms of any "broad spectrum", the trouble is that there is not much by way of a "continuum": there are examples at both ends of the spectrum but not much in between.Is Tuckett right? Is there really the kind of continuum of influence of Matthew on Luke that I claim? In retrospect, I should perhaps have spelled out the range of agreement between Matthew and Luke by giving examples, so I will fill in that gap here.
The two ends of the spectrum are straightforward. The presence of triple tradition passages featuring only a handful of minor agreements hardly needs mentioning. It is worth pointing out only that what I previously called "pure triple tradition" is in fact very difficult to come by, i.e. there are very few pericopae that feature no minor agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark. There are several passages, though, that have only one or two minor agreements. The other end of the spectrum, pure double tradition, where Mark is not present at all, is also straightforward. But what about all the material in between?
Let us take a look at the degree of agreement between Matthew and Luke in so-called Mark-Q overlap passages. The following figures are from E. P. Sanders (see previous post for bibliographical details, 457-8):
(1) Matt. 3.1-12 // Mark 1.1-8 // Luke 3.1-18 (John the Baptist): 94 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 345 words in Luke (27%).
(2) Matt. 3.13-17 // Mark 1.9-11 // Luke 3.21-2 (Baptism of Jesus): 3 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 43 words in Luke (7%).
(3) Matt. 4.1-11 // Mark 1.12-13 // Luke 4.1-13 (Temptation): 114 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 203 words in Luke (56%).
(4) Matt. 3.23-30 // Matt. 12.25-32 // Luke 11.17-23, 12.10 (Beelzebub): 65 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 146 words in Luke (45%).
(5) Matt. 4.30-32 // Mark 4.30-2 // Luke 13.18-19 (Mustard Seed): 11 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 40 words in Luke (28%).
So in this selection of key Mark-Q overlap passages, we have Matt-Luke agreement ranging from 7% of Luke's words in a given pericope to 56% in a given pericope, with agreement levels well spaced between that range, at 27% and 28% and 45%. If we were to sample particular sub-pericopae within the larger pericopae, we will sometimes see a remarkably high degree of agreement. In Matt. 3.12 // Luke 3.17, for example, 88% of Luke's words agree with Matthew; in Matt. 3.7-10 // Luke 3.7-9, 85% of Luke's words agree with Matthew's. To place this in context, this kind of agreement is as high as one sometimes sees in the pure double tradition material.
What, though, of the Minor Agreements? Given that there are plenty of pericopae with just a handful of Minor Agreements, clearly there are plenty of pericopae that have a percentage lower than the 7% we see in the Baptism. To take just a few examples to make the point about pericopae like this:
(6) Matt. 8.1-4 // Mark 1.40-45 // Luke 5.12-16 (Leper): 5 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 98 words in Luke (5%).
(7) Matt. 9.1-8 // Mark 2.1-12 // Luke 5.17-26 (Paralytic): 12 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 212 words in Luke (6%).
(8) Matt. 9.9-13 // Mark 2.13-17 // Luke 5.27-32 (Levi): 5 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 94 words in Luke (5%).
Given that the lowest level of agreement in a Mark-Q overlap pericope is 7%, in the Baptism, it seems that we already have evidence of a range of agreement, from low to high, across Minor Agreements, through Mark-Q overlaps, through pure double tradition. But it is worth asking whether there are any (non Mark-Q overlap) triple tradition pericopae in which the number of Matthew-Luke agreements against Mark are as great as 7% of the total Lucan words in the pericope. If so, we will be able to see that this continuum is one in which the supposedly different categories in fact overlap with one another. It is interesting to note that there are indeed such pericopae:
(9) Matt. 14.13-21 // Mark 6.30-44 // Luke 9.10-17 (Five Thousand): 15 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 164 words in Luke (9%).
(10) Matt. 21.1-9 // Mark 11.1-10 // Luke 19.28-38 (Entry into Jerusalem): 12 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 167 words in Luke (7%).
(11) Matt. 21.23-27 // Mark 11.27-33 // Luke 20.1-8 (Question About Authority): 10 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 118 words in Luke (8%).
(12) Matt. 22.34-40 // Matt. 12.28-34 // Luke 10.25-28 (Great Commandment): 18 Matt-Luke agreements against Mark out of 73 words in Luke (25%).
(13) Matt. 26.57-75 // Mark 14.53-72 // Luke 22.54-71 (Trial and Peter's Denial): 25 Matt-Mark agreements against Mark out of 263 words in Luke (9.5%).
These examples show the degree of agreement between Matthew and Luke against Mark is sometimes higher in passages with "Minor Agreements" than it is in passages that are labelled "Mark-Q overlap". In other words, it is clear that there is not only a continuum with different degrees of agreement from low (triple tradition passages with few Minor Agreements) to high (Mark-Q overlap passages with many Major Agreements), but there is also some overlapping between the degree of agreement between Matthew and Mark in passages normally designated Mark-Q overlap and passages normally designated triple tradition.
Note 1: the figures for the triple tradition passages are extrapolated from A. M. Honore, "A Statistical Study of the Synoptic Problem", NovT 10 (1968): 95-147. There are some minor differences here with the Sanders figures for Mark-Q overlap passages above (though none that affect the conclusion), and I will correlate these in due course.
Note 2: Passage (12) has sometimes been assigned to Q, and so it would be another Mark-Q overlap. Passage (2) is sometimes not assigned to Q, so it would not be a Mark-Q overlap. In order to avoid subjectivity, I have simply taken as Mark-Q overlaps triple tradition passages that are included in Q by the International Q Project. There are other Mark-Q overlap passages that I have not included here because of difficulties in pericope division and counting.