Date: Wed Oct 02 2002 - 23:46:59 EDT
But the only aspect of that really germane to the
> present question is that Mt
> used Mk as one source, & I think it's very hard to argue
> against that.
Adrian: I would have to disagree, at this point anyway. I haven't read any
Markan source argument that cannot also be explained differently and
more in line with the traditional claims.
Paul: I spent considerable time years ago studying the art of NT textual
criticism; and when I went through the gospels verse by verse, I applied the
principles of texutal criticism to the synoptic question, i.e, which came
first? At the end of my verse by verse study there was no question in my mind
whatsoever that in the great majority of cases it was evident that Mark was
the original and Matthew was the editor.
Davies and Allison in their intro to their commentary on Matt (ICC, vol 1,
1988, 98) wrote, "When we began work on the present commentary both of us
were intrigued by the flurry of renewed activity on the synoptic problem.
Although we had taken for granted the truth of the two document hypothesis
(Matthew and Luke used Mark and Q), we did wonder whether that hypothesis
might not be less certain and more susceptible to criticism than many had
conceded." They then examined the various arguments being propounded by
those who questioned the priority of Mark and concluded, "Even while
admitting that no one solution of the synoptic problem will ever commend
itself to all (the data are too ambiguous for that), we are now more than
ever firmly persuaded of the priority of Mark, and more than ever puzzled by
the followers of Griesbach." They then give a very scholarly analysis of the
Adrian: << On linguistic grounds, most people (including many theologians and
course, myself) do not have the required mastery over the ancient
languages to evaluate the scholarly arguments. However, I have heard
a presentation recently by a scholar fluent in both Hebrew and Greek,
who had spent time going over some of the extant manuscripts and
claimed to have found evidence of "Hebraism" (phrases that make sense
only in Hebrew) in Matthew's gospel. Again, it is nearly impossible
for me to evaluate such a claim. However, what I can appreciate is
that any person living in closer temporal proximity to the events in
question is more likely to understand those events that those living
further away in time. Simply counting the number of scholars falling
on one side or the other is not a convincing argument.
Davies and Allison also discuss the Hebraisms or Semitisms in Matthew's
gospel (pp. 80 ff). They note that just as in Mark and Luke, both of which
also have Semitisms, that they may arise from various sources (not just from
a translating a Semitic original.)
On the tradition of the authorship of Matthew's gospel they take the
patristic evidence very seriously and argue against various arguments that
dismiss it too quickly. Although they do not conclude the apostle Matthew
wrote the gospel, they do conclude that the author was a Jew.
The discussion of all these points in Allison and Davies is worth reading for
anyone interested, as they are thorough and completely scholarly.
My own take on the evidence is the same as a number of NT scholars (e.g.
Plummer, Manson) that the patristic statements go back originally to a
tradition about Q, or a collection of the sayings of Christ, rather than to
the entire gospel of Matthew as we have it today.
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