From: George Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Oct 03 2002 - 07:56:47 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
> salient arguments.
> 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.
2 further comments:
The reason I said I'm dubious about the "2 document
hypothesis" is not because I
think it unlikely that Mt & Lk used Mk & Q. It is that they (Mt &
Lk) also seemed to
have other sources as well. & if one is going to talk about "special
& "special Lucan material" then one requires a 4 document hypothesis.
The objection has been raised that an actual Q document has
never been found.
Of course whether or not some ancient document has survived depends on a lot of
accidental factors, but we may indeed wonder why early Christians
didn't preserve it.
One reason may be that while it wouldn't have been explicitly
heretical like some of the
gnostic gospels, it was _implicitly_ heretical because a "gospel"
without a passion
narrative simply isn't a "gospel." I.e., the idea that the
significance of Jesus can be
conveyed adequately by a collection of Jesus' teachings alone is
basically wrong. (&
this suggests one reason - there are undoubtedly others - why the
Gospel of Thomas
wasn't canonized even though it may contain genuine sayings of Jesus.)
George L. Murphy
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