Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mark-Q Overlaps IV: Back to the Continuum

This is the fourth in my current series of posts on the Mark-Q Overlaps (so-called). In this post, I respond to a second point of critique in Tuckett's review of my Case Against Q (see previous post for bibliographical details).

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.


steph said...

I'm confused. Given that all "Q"'s are conveniently different... and Tuckett's "Q" doesn't have the Baptism but it includes the Greatest Commandment - a Mark Q overlap - isn't he complaining that the major agreements (which he claims are Mark Q overlaps) have great clumps in common between M and L but the minor agreements are "trivial" ie. just incidental cases of Luke and Matt simultaneously adding a "behold" or a "Lord" or altering the historic present and stuff? Therefore according to his reconstruction there would be no sliding scale or continuum. It's confusing with so many presupposed "Q".

steph said...

Still confused, because while Tuckett himself (and others including Klopp) don't include the baptism in "Q" the IQP has it in slippery "Q" with double angle brackets: ie text from Q only in one gospel. Therefore Tuckett would complain that baptism doesn't fit with the other "Mark Q overlaps". Then again, the Greatest Commandment is/was there in - crossed out - I'm destined for messy nightmares as soon as I fall asleep.

Mark Goodacre said...

Steph: thanks. Yes, I am the one who is claiming that there is a continuum. For Tuckett, there is no continuum and cannot be because he has different explanations for Major Agreements (Mark and Q overlapped) and for Minor Agreements (independent redaction). What I am saying is that in terms of the degree of wording, the Major Agreements and the Minor Agreements do not each fit into their particular boxes, one with low agreement, one with high. Indeed, some so-called Minor Agreements even have higher levels of agreement between Matthew and Luke than some Major Agreements. It's true that the IQP considered the Great Commandment for Q, no doubt because there are so many major agreements, but ultimately it did not go on, whereas the Baptism did. The fact that there are these uncertain pericopae in the early-mid point of the continuum is exactly what we would expect on my model.

John C. Poirier said...

On the continuum, see A. Denaux's response to T. Bergemann.


Jim Deardorff said...

It may be of interest to see what the modified Augustinian hypothesis (MAH) would say about the continuum.

At the triple-tradition end of the spectrum the MAH notices that Mark follows Matthew closely enough that the writer of Luke couldn't "reward" Mark by following it closely, since that would not display his favoritism for Mark over Matthew. So there Luke departs from both, which leaves few agreements against Mark or against Matthew.

At the double-tradition end is where the writer of Luke felt obligated to reinstate a good deal of Matthean material omitted in Mark, due perhaps to a desire to help heal a split between Jewish and gentile Christianity. So this led to major agreements against Mark.

The complication of Hebraic Matthew later being translated into Greek then led to other mechanisms for agreement against Mark:

1. The writer of Luke must not with 100% efficiency have been able to carry out his policy of favoring Mark over Matthew by siding with Mark's textual meaning over that of Herbaic Matthew, where the two were only somewhat different. This would leave behind some minor agreements against Mark, if the later translator of Hebraic Matthew favored the wording in Luke.

2. At places where Mark differed only somewhat from (Hebraic) Matthew's text in meaning, and where the writer of Luke could favor Mark by following Mark more closely than Matthew, there was another occasion for exceptions. Sometimes Mark's Greek was too poor grammatically for the writer of Luke to be able to accept it without making improvements. The later translator of Hebraic Matthew into Greek Matthew then sided with Luke's improved wording over Mark, in parallel passages, and this led to some minor agreements against Mark.

3. As discussed further here, the later translator of Hebraic Matthew wished to maintain the prominence that the gospel had established by being first. Following the appearances of Mark and Luke, then, he had to show that their texts were linked to Matthew and were not fresh original texts in their own right that could displace Matthew in importance, since Greek Matthew came after Mark and Luke. This the translator could do by borrowing Greek wording of Mark, and of Luke, in his translation, in those places where their texts had closely followed Hebraic Matthew's meaning. With respect to Luke, this borrowing need not have occurred exclusively in the "Q" passages, but could occur within Mark-Q overlaps as well by using sufficiently lengthy strings of identical words (verbal agreement) as to be noticeable.

I think that Items 1, 2 and 3 cannot help but fill out the spectrum, though this needs detailed confirmation. The complications for the synoptic problem of having another player in the field (the translator) may have contributed to the desire early last century for assuming that Matthew was written first in Greek.

steph said...

Thanks Mark: I have slept now and see clearly again (as far as that goes). I think last night I was under the impression you were trying to persuade Tuckett or something but now I'm awake I'm not so muddled... Tuckett (and the IQP) classify agreements conveniently whereas we look at agreements between Matthew and Luke as a whole, and within that whole there is a sliding scale.... That's all. Anyway I still think that as far as Q as a single written Greek document goes, the level of agreement between Matthew and Luke in the parallels to Mark 1.65,72 forces "Q" to accept those bits as "Mark Q overlaps" but instead we have all sorts of wiggling out of it - after all the "Q community" isn't interested in the death of Jesus...

Thanks Jack, I have Bergemann "Prufstand" and Deneaux's review, (the former I read with great difficulty)

steph said...

What has happened to Mark-Q overlaps V? It's only coming up as an error page.