Baker Academic

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hays, Goodacre, the Q Theory, and the Force of Prior Consensus—Chris Keith

I'm grateful to Baylor University Press for sending over a copy of Richard Hays's magnum opus, Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels.  I'm eagerly anticipating reading it fully and have made a start.  One of the things that struck me in the "Introduction" was his overview of his working assumption about the sources for the Evangelists.  Here it is:

"I share the consensus position of the majority of New Testament scholars that the Gospel of Mark is the earliest of the four canonical Gospels and that both Matthew and Luke drew upon Mark as a source.  I do not, however, place any weight on the hypothesis that Matthew and Luke independently made use of a hypothetical common source, designated as 'Q.'  There is no extant manuscript of such a source, nor is there any reference to it in the surviving documents of earliest Christianity.  It seems to be equally probable--indeed more probable--that Luke knew Matthew and that the verbal agreements between these two Gospels can be explained in this fashion rather than through positing a hypothetical Q source."  (Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels, 13)

Hays's opinion on Q, especially as reflected in the italicized portion, is actually just about mine.  I don't feel that I have a dog in this fight, really, but address the matter briefly in my current book project.  I'm agnostic on Q, leaning toward Q atheism.  If there is a Q, that's fine.  But we don't have any real evidence of one.  (Yes, yes, I know.  Q supporters will point to Matthew and Luke as evidence, but for me, this is somewhat assuming the argument.)  There's no manuscript evidence, and no testimony among the post-apostolic and patristic tradition.  In contrast, before we found a manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas, we knew there was one circulating in the early Church; before we found a manuscript (or something that could be a manuscript) of the Gospel of Peter, we knew there was one circulating in the early Church; and etc. etc. for the Gospel of Judas, et al.  I think this is more significant than is often thought, and in my mind is more significant than the fact that previous generations of scholars took Q as a consensus position.  I'm also convinced that Q makes the most sense on the basis of a particular theory of the transmission of the Jesus tradition, and I don't think that transmission theory is correct. 

Now I don't think those little observations are going to change anyone's opinion on Q and I'm sure Q supporters will have a ready response that might show up in the comments.  BUT, what struck me was how Hays makes these claims and supports them with a single footnote after that last sentence, where he directs readers to one book and one book only:  Mark Goodacre, The Case against Q, published originally in 2002.  Some while back I asked on this blog whether Mark Goodacre is still in the minority on Q.  I know Mark actually is not necessarily a fan of people using him to dismiss the Q theory too easily because he is afraid that it sometimes lets them off the hook from doing the actual work on the Synoptic tradition that is necessary.  But here in this major publication of Hays (Goodacre's colleague at Duke) is further evidence that Mark's position is not quite the minority position that it was when he first took up the mantle of Goulder and Farrer.  We should probably add that this is the second recent major publication on the Gospels in the early Church that has rejected the Q hypothesis, the other being Francis Watson's Gospel Writing.  I have no doubt that the Q supporters are currently typing away a response, but it's hard to deny that there's a trend moving in this direction.

20 comments:

  1. Chris Keith,

    There are a couple things one wants to keep in mind with regard to the argument that there is no evidence for Q (manuscript, Patristic testimony). While 2DH no doubt necessitates the need for Q (it’s a corollary to Matthean-Lukan independence), FH is actually is in a similar position. The ‘M’ + ‘DT’ that Matthew adds to Mark (to create “Matthew”) needs to come from somewhere. And unless one is going to take up the Goulder line that “M” and “DT” in Matthew is Matthean creation (see Derrenbacker, for instance, Ancient Compositional Practices, 177–178), one will have assume some source that Matthew utilized, for which there is definitely no manuscript evidence, and for which there may be some debatable testimony (Papias’s “Logia of Matthew”?). (It’s irrelevant whether this is an oral source or whether “M” + “DT” come together or apart.) What this is to say, is that the argument that there is no manuscript evidence or Patristic testimony becomes special pleading from advocates of FH, since they too need to posit a source (or two) to explain that additional material Matthew adds. There was, whichever way we look at, a Q-like thing out there.

    This notwithstanding, several observations are in order. Proponents of FH do not need to explain where this material comes from (just as on 2DH, one doesn’t have to explain where Markan material or Q material (or “M” or “L”) comes from. Explanations of these sorts belong more properly to the jurisdiction of “Gospel Origins” rather than the “Synoptic Problem” proper, which concerns really only the relationship of the Synoptic Gospels rather than where the traditions come from (or how they came about). One doesn’t need to explain how these sources enter in, only how they are utilized. 2DH needs to posit Q because they deny a Matthean-Lukan dependence, thus severing any utilization relationship between the two.

    Secondly, just because there is a Q-like thing out there (for FH, I would not use the language of “Q” at all), it doesn’t follow that 2DH is correct. We can imagine a world where Matthew made use of Mark + a “DT”/“M” source, and where Luke then made use of Mark and Matthew. The question will still be, Which is the better theory. The arguments, I think, that will have to be employed by proponents of FH will not be able to utilize the “no manuscript, no patristic testimony” argument, unless they rightly want to be pointed out as special pleaders.

    On an aside, John C. Poirier has a number of good papers on the subject. As far as books, he and Jeffery Peterson have a volume: Marcan Priority Without Q: Explorations in the Farrer Hypothesis (The Library of New Testament Studies) that came out last year. Also Eric Eve has just recently released a book, Writing the Gospels, which I suspect is the FH perspective of what Alan Kirk is doing in his forthcoming, Q in Matthew: Ancient Media, Memory, and Early Scribal Transmission of the Jesus Tradition (The Library of New Testament Studies). I haven’t read either of these last two, but they should be interesting reads.

    J. Bolton

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  2. Thanks, J. Bolton. Yes, I'm aware of those publications, as I'm the editor of the monograph series in which the Poirier/Peterson volume and the Kirk volume appear, and discussed Eric's book with him over two years ago while he was working on the one previous to that. Obviously, we disagree about whether the "no manuscript evidence" point is special pleading and also disagree about whether there, of necessity, must be a Q-like thing out there. I think that assumes that we know far more about the transmission of early Christian tradition than we actually do. But I appreciate the contribution to the blog.

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    1. As one more comment, I'd strongly caution against assuming that "Synoptic Problem" research is somehow separable from "Gospel Origins" research.

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    2. I think I should clarify then. There is a difference between Tradition Creation and early collections or presentations of those traditions. And, yes, they can be separated from thinking about the Synoptic Problem proper, which focuses on specifically the relationship between the Synoptics with respect to the types of material (TT, DT, M, L, and so on). Broadly speaking, the process of Tradition Creation in addition to its early collection and textualization, and the Synoptic Problem might all be construed under “Gospel Origins,” and so your caution is duly noted. But in the sense that I was using it, “Gospel Origins” concerned more the tradition-creation process and its early textualization, and thus about what existed for the authors of Matthew, Mark, and Luke to use. Of course, I’m not denying that these issues or subjects are unrelated (they are complicatedly related), nor am I saying, certainly temporally speaking, that there is a cut-off where the one ends and the other begins. It’s just that when you tackle something as complicated as the Synoptic Problem, it’s good to have a well circumscribed jurisdiction with which to discuss.

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    3. Also, I was and am fully aware that you are the editor of the LNTS series. I wasn't suggesting that you were unaware of the volumes I was citing. It was just to say that if your readers were interested in the topic, they too might look at these volumes.

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    4. Thanks for the clarification. Your comment read as if you were telling me about them, and I was just reflecting that I was aware, and indeed very excited to have both in the series. They will also be arguing different views, as Kirk is very much a Q supporter.

      As to your earlier point, again, I think we just disagree here. I think the way that you have "circumscribed" the "jurisdiction" is inherently a product of the conclusions that you affirm, the model for transmission that you espouse, or both, and not strictly something that emerges directly out of the ancient evidence. You clearly think otherwise, and that's fine too. I wish you the best in your studies.

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  3. Thanks for the post, Chris, which I (of course) found very gratifying! One minor comment: I don't think we knew about Gospel of Mary before the the manuscript discoveries, did we?

    On the manuscript issue, I have tended not to make much of this. The context in which I discuss it in Case Against Q is in cautioning against the ever-increasing tangibility of Q, with its own text, referencing system and so on, i.e. it's a reminder about the nature of Q as a hypothetical text based on source-critical deductions. When I was writing in 2002, Q had reached a kind of exalted status, and I regularly found that students were baffled to read about this apparently concrete text only to discover that it was a scholarly hypothesis. So in my own work, it was a question of context, and only an element in the "First Impressions" (Chapter 1) and not part of the argument proper (Chapters 3-9).

    Others may, of course, value the point about lack of manuscript attestation more than I do. But most of those arguing from the Farrer theory perspective (Goulder, Drury, Green, Sanders, the Poirier-Peterson volume referenced above etc. -- it just doesn't generally figure in the argument). So I would resist J. Bolton's idea above that there is special pleading here.

    In response to J. Bolton's interesting comments about the lack of a manuscript, I don't think there is any need for Q sceptics to postulate a written source for Matthew's non-Marcan material (likewise Luke's non-Marcan and non-Matthean material). Maybe there was; maybe there wasn't. But it's not required by the theory in the way that a documentary Q source is required by the 2ST. I actually don't accept the postulation that "there was a Q-like thing out there". That's the point at issue.

    Many thanks for the engagement!

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    1. Mark, I thought off the top of my head that we did have patristic references to GosMary but I'm happy to stand corrected if I was wrong there. I think my general point stands anyway. With regard to that point about manuscripts, what I was trying to indicate was that it was significant precisely with regard to the nature of the consensus position and whether it must be accepted as the default position. In other words, it's not going to prove anything one way or another in a *definitive* sense, but it should give us pause in the midst of constructing whole theologies of the Q community, etc.

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    2. Thanks for the comments, Dr. Goodacre.

      The point at issue with regard to there not being a “Q-like thing out there” (certainly in the case that you have made, so far as I have understood you) seems to me to be that there isn’t a Q-like thing on the grounds that 2DH has given it, i.e., through Matthean-Lukan independence. It’s not that there isn’t or couldn’t have been one on completely other grounds. That there is a Q-like thing out there (on a different ground) would appear to be necessitated by Matthew’s introduction of M + DT material to Mark on FH. It’s not a part of Mark, thus whence does it come? Presumably, Matthew gets it from somewhere, right?—unless you want to say that it is made up or created, such as Goulder has proposed. If you are not going to say that, then your options will be that it’s an oral source or sources or a written source or sources (or maybe the more complex variant, a combination of the two). I’m not sure I can conceive of an alternative that isn’t one of these. Whichever route you take you have a Q-like thing (either an oral Q-like thing, or written Q-like thing). As I said, I prefer not to label this thing, whatsoever it might be, using “Q” at all, since it may give the wrong impression that 2DH is true (something that I’m not trying to espouse). But as I said Matthew has—there is no other way about it—to get his non-Markan material from somewhere. Perhaps, one will want to say that it’s combination of these things (the oral and the written), but then the question becomes a) how one knows it’s a combination and b) why it is a better proposal than one that conceives it either as merely oral or as merely written. As it should, parsimony comes into play. The more complex you make this thing, the more you have provide evidence; and where there isn’t any or much evidence, simpler proposals will have to do, until we have adequate reason to suppose a more complex scenario. The very fact that we presuppose in the SP that authors utilize written texts lends support to the fact that the DT + M tradition (or an overwhelming majority of it) is written. It by no means guarantees it, but it does support it. If the Mark that Matthew uses is written, and the Matthew and Mark that Luke uses are written, then the M + DT material Matthew uses is . . . ? Surely oral is a possibility, but if we want to say “oral” we better have good reason for it.

      I’ll defer to you at this point, Dr. Goodacre, but if you disagree I truly wonder if you can tell us where (on FH) Matthew gets his DT + M material from? And what is it’s nature? Oral? Written? A combination of the two? And what evidence is there that it’s this? (oral, written, a combination of the two). There can only be a limited number of options, of course, thus “I don’t know” would not seem to be an adequate answer. It’s got to be something. If you are going to rule out that it’s a written text, which is what I assume you are saying when you say “I actually don’t accept the postulation that there is ‘Q-like thing out there’” then I’m going to assume you think it’s an oral tradition or a set of oral traditions. But then first I’d like to know why an oral source can’t be a Q-like thing, and b) how supposing it as an oral source will actually be a better proposal than a written one? And as always, parsimony must drive our decision-making here.

      ***(There are a lot of points and questions here, and I’m not actually asking you or anyone to answer any or all of these. I propose this merely as food for thought.) :)

      I too appreciate the engagement. :)

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  4. Gene Stecher
    Chambersburg, Pa.

    Very much appreciate the perspectives offered. A couple things:

    (1) Given how Matthew and Luke use Mark, has anyone considered, if we didn’t have Mark, what would the argument for the existence of Mark look like?

    (2) I’ve looked at Doublets again as a supporting argument for “Q”, considering the context in which the material occurs. Consistently, in the first part of the doublet Luke uses the same context as Mark, and in the second part of the doublet he uses a different context than that used by Matt. Here are the verses for those who might want to check out this assertion:

    (A) Greatness:
    Mark 9:35, Matt 18:4, Luke 9:48d
    Mark 10:43, Matt 20:26, Luke 22:26
    (B) Sending out disciples:
    Mark 6:7-13, 30; Matt 10:1-16, Luke 9:2-5, 10
    Luke 10:12, 3; Matt 10:15-16
    (C) On Temptations:
    Mark 9:42-47, Matt 18:6-9, Luke 17:1-2
    Matt 5:29-30 (cf. 5:18, 27)
    (D) On Divorce:
    Mark 10:11, Matt 19:9a, Matt 5:32a, Luke 16:18a
    Matt 5:32b, Luke 16:18b
    (E) Having and Taking Away
    Mark 4:25, Matt 13:12, Luke 8:18
    Matt 25:29, Luke 19:26
    (F) Taking up the cross:
    Mark 8:34-35, Matt 16:24-25, Luke 9:23-24
    Matt 10:38-39, Luke 14:27
    (G) On Saving and Losing Life:
    Mark 8:35, Matt 16:25, Luke 9:24
    Matt 10:39, Luke 17:33
    (H) Eschatological Shame and Retaliation:
    Mark 8:38, Matt 16:27, Luke 9:26
    Matt 10:32-33, Luke 12:8-9
    (I) Handed over, hated, given words to speak:
    Mark 13:9-13, Matt 24:9, Luke 21:12-19
    Matt 10:17-25, Luke 12:11-12
    (J) Shame and Acknowledgement
    Mark 8:38-9:1, Matt 16:27-28, Luke 9:26
    Matt 10:32, Luke 12:8

    DOUBLET AND DOUBLE TRADITION:
    (K) Beelzebul and House Divided:
    Mark 3:22-30, Mt 12:24-37, Luke 11:21-22 (?)
    Matt 12:22-23a, 25b, 27, 30; Luke 11:14, 17b, 19-20, (21-22?), 23

    PARALLELS:
    L. Kingdom of God is like…
    Mustard Seed: Mark 4:30-32, Matt 13:31-32, Luke 13:18-19
    Leaven: (cf. Mark 6:30-44, 8:1-10, Mark 8:14-21), Matt 13:33, Luke 13:20-21

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  5. Thanks, Chris. Yes, that's a strong point. I'm not sure that I've thought about it in quite those terms before but yes, given the decades long consensus about Q, it is worth drawing attention to the lack of ancient citation and lack of manuscript evidence. I'm afraid that that point is going to be too nuanced, though, for many to appreciate! :)

    Yes, I think Gospel of Mary does not have any ancient citation that we know of. Mind you, it's clearly a much, much later text than the hypothetical Q. Michael Goulder would sometimes talk about the kind of prestige that Q must have held given the way that Matthew and Luke, ex hypothesi, treat it.

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  6. Thanks, John. I appreciate your comments and understand what you are getting at. To some extent, the difficulty is that the Two-Source Theory creates the expectation of a definable, concrete pre-gospel tradition mediated through Mark (actions) and Q (sayings), and that's one of the reasons for its pedagogical appeal. I think it's one of the reasons that people are so reluctant to jettison Q -- its apparent explanatory power in the classroom makes teaching, at least while one's students are buying into it, appealing.

    But I'm not sure that raising questions about the existence of Q compels sceptics to provide a detailed, alternative scenario. It may well be that scepticism about Q also makes us sceptical about scholars' ability to reconstruct pre-gospel materials in amazing and specific detail. I count myself of one of those who simply does not trust contemporary scholars to reconstruct gospel origins to the Nth degree, with Q, M, L, Signs Source in John, Cross Gospel, etc.

    With respect to Michael Goulder, I would caution against the "all or nothing" approach. Michael's argument that the evangelists were highly creative has a huge amount going for it (as I argued in Goulder and the Gospels). The difficulty is the equation between the evangelists' creativity and no sources. Creative writers work with source material. In other words, I don't think i go for the "he must have got it from somewhere" approach of Streeter et al.

    On the nature of Matthew's sources, I am open. Of course some may have been written and of course some must have been oral (Matthew explicitly mentions oral sources in 28.15). I don't think that we need to describe Matthew's sources as "Q like". The Epistle of James and the Didache also have material paralleled in Matthew's non-Marcan material but that does not make the epistle of James or the Did. "Q-like". I don't think that it is especially helpful for us to configure the discussion using ideas and terminology from the Two-Source Theory. To do that is still to allow Q to dictate the terms of the debate.

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    1. Thanks Dr. Goodacre for the follow up. I think our ideas are actually starting to converge on the this matter, and we agree about a lot.

      P1

      I’m on board with what you say about Goulder, that “creativity” is not an all-or-nothing situation. As you well know, a lot of “M” material would be considered “redactional” rather than source-based (although there is of course the possibility of oral interference in these instances). There is a difference in the kind of M material, for instance, between, on the one hand, the story of the Sheep and the Goats and, on the other, the Matthean additions to Mark in the Plucking of Grain on the Sabbath. The former is “traditional,” the latter is likely redactional (if it is not oral interference). We could then quite well understand Matthew’s redactional additions in this latter case as “creative” (especially with regard to introductory and conclusion material in certain pericopae). Your point is thus well taken. This was, however, an issue I am well aware of. But my understanding (and of course you know better) is that Goulder conceived of Matthew’s only source as being Mark, such that everything else was midrashic creation (or something along these lines).

      I agree also that “a Q-like thing” is not the language one should use; I’ve stated this I think clearly from the beginning, because I think once people hear “Q” they immediately assume, “Oh, 2DH.” But I do think that the Matthean Logia (let us call it that instead of a ‘Q-like’ source) would still be a lot closer to “Q” than like either James or the Didache to warrant for our purposes my use of a “Q-like” thing. Both James and the Didache have material in access of DT. Moreover, the DT that the Logia of Matthew would have is in many examples in the same order as that of “Q.” Moreover, James and Didache are largely ethical or metaethical discussions where the church or James is the speaker, whereas both in “Q” and in “MtLogia” Jesus is expressly the speaker. Didache also seems to refer to a source that contains Jesus tradition—“Nor should you pray like the hypocrites. Instead, pray like this, just as the Lord commanded in his Gospel (Did. 8:2). I would not deny your claim to say that James and the Didache were ‘Q-like’ but I would point out that a source which possessed both DT and M material is far more ‘Q-like’ than either James or Didache.

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    2. P2

      I do tend to agree now with you and Dr. Keith that to say it’s special pleading that arguing against Q because it has no manuscript evidence and is not testified to in the Apostolic and patristic witness is a little strong. But I still would caution against it, because it does leave one (proponents of FH) open to a similar criticism, especially given that we simply do not know that the non-Markan source material that Matthew introduces and adds to Mark isn’t from a written document. I completely agree with you that with respect to the Synoptic Problem one does not have to come to any conclusion about what the make up of the material is that’s introduced at various stages. I’ve stated this from the first. And this holds for any hypothesis. Neither 2DH nor FH, for instance, has to explain what kind of source material “L” is (whether written or oral or whatever). The M and DT material is in a similar situation with FH. Q under 2DH is a little different in that disagreement about what the best version of Q (Luz, Dunn, oral-only Qs, and so on) has . But the problem is that in arguing against other hypotheses we are no longer just involved in the description of the different proposed solutions within the SP proper, which don’t require specificity about what the various sources are. When we argue or make arguments against other hypotheses everything, however, is open, so to speak, and we have to mind everything that our hypotheses entail, not just what is acceptable within the SP proper. To say, then, there’s no manuscript evidence for Q, nor apostolic or patristic testimony, therefore it’s unlikely, when there is a possibility that, on FH, Matthew used a source (in addition to Mark) for which there is no manuscript evidence and no testimony seems . . . a little unfair. Not to mention that it’s an argument from silence—absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      Chris Keith can argue for it, so can Richard Hays, anyone really (I don’t think it’s that big of a deal), but I don’t think I could bring myself to so. And this is partly because I do think there is a written source behind M and DT. However, I understand that this will have to be demonstrated, which I have plans to do, but not until my dissertation on the SP is complete and published.

      I will argue that Q as understood by 2DH (or the best version of 2DH)—a Greek written source, of approximately 246 verses, possessing passages that over-lap with Markan traditions, in the order that Luke preserves the DT in, which was compiled in a scroll for Luke and in a codex for Matthew, which when Matthew used, he barely had any visual-contact with (I anticipate that something like this is what Kirk is going to argue)—is problematic. But these will be for reasons independent of manuscript evidence and testimony. There has to have been plenty of sources which we possess no manuscript evidence for and not referenced.

      JGB

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    3. My apologies Dr. Goodacre, there were a few editing issues in my response. I hope that you can get the gist.

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  7. On your first question, Gene, there are several studies that attempt to reconstruct Mark as if Mark did not survive -- see Eric Eve in Goodacre & Perrin (eds.), Questioning Q, and also the dissertation by Joseph Weaks (Brite). That may not quite be what you are getting at, though, in so far as you ask about arguments for the existence of Mark. I tried a thought experiment along these lines a few years ago in a piece called "A World Without Mark". I presented it at a conference on "Erasure History" in Toronto but since the papers have never been published, I am thinking about getting it published independently. I'd be happy to share a draft if you give me your email.

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  8. Gene Stecher
    Chambersburg, Pa.

    Thank you Mark for this great information. I was totally unaware of any of these resources. I sent my email back channel. If I may comment on another matter, as well. I'm quoting from your website:

    Against Q: “Fatigue: It is revealing that this phenomenon also occurs in double tradition (Q) material, and always in the same direction, in favor of Luke's use of Matthew. Take the Parable of the Talents / Pounds (Matt. 25.14-30 // Luke 19.11-27). Matthew has three servants throughout. Luke, on the other hand, has ten. But as the story progresses, we hear about 'the first' (19.16), 'the second' (19.18) and amazingly, 'the other' (Luke 19.20). Luke has inadvertently betrayed his knowledge of Matthew by drifting into the story-line of his source (see further my 'Fatigue in the Synoptics', NTS 44 (1998), pp. 45-58).”

    I think that there may be another explanation: perhaps the "fatigue factor" is actually Luke’s thinking ahead to the Parable of the Leased Vineyard in 20:9-19 which is a relatively small number of verses beyond his use of the Parable of the Talents. Luke's Leased Vineyard also speaks of a first, second, and third slave. Comparatively, Matt uses the phrases “his slaves” and "Other slaves" in the Leased Vineyard parable (21:33-41).

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  9. Mark, could it be argued that although Francis Watson correctly follows you in rejecting the evidence for Q, his 'sayings source' hypotheses comes too close to Q, despite his efforts to distinguish them?

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  10. The Q hypothesis reminds me of the argument for the 'anonymity' of the Gospels - there is no actual manuscript evidence for either! I can understand the view that Q helps to solve the problem of the commonalities between Matthew and Luke but that is just one possibility. Although Luke mentions other writings before his record, that could refer to Mark and Matthew.

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  11. Christian MichaelJune 6, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    Interesting discussion!
    Can someone, perhaps Dr. Goodacre, point out if there has been any scholary engagement with the 'radical three source theory' by Ron Price?

    The many features of the synoptic tradition that are explained plausibly and without appearing contrived by claiming Lukes use of Matthew plus an Aramaic ordered sayings source utilized by all of the Synoptics are sumarized on Ron Prices webpages dealing with the synoptic (written) sources linked below:

    http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_meri.html
    http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_LkMt.html

    A limited sketch of the theory and some of my personal reasons for gravitating towards this seemingly unrecognized solution to the synoptic problem are as follows:

    The theory centers on the Synoptics usage of the Aramaic Logia attested by Papias (aphoristic double/tripple tradition characterized by doublets - possibly collected and ordered by Matthew the tax collector).
    It also recognizes Lukes usage of the narrative material from the Gospel according to Mathew (which is perhaps so attributed due to the Matthean logia being considered the most authoritative source for this gospel, in addition to the obvious incorporation of the majority of Marks gospel).

    It seems plausible and attractive to me as an interested layperson and as a Christian, because the theory takes quite seriously the testimonies of Papias (Hebrew dialect, each translated to the best of his ability - here I assume that translators/interpreters include Mark, an unidentified author of the Gospel we know as "according to Matthew", Luke, probably the author of James, and possibly Paul) and Luke in his prologue ("many have undertaken to draw up ...just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word..").
    Furthermore it seems to explain some evidence of Aramaic translation errors pointed out by the late Maurice Casey, the perceived varying primitivity of Lukan and Mathean versions of aphorisms, and the doublet phenomenon highlighted by Gene earlier in this discussion.

    An exclusively aphoristic Aramaic source used by all of the synoptics in addition to their literary interdepence according to the Goodacre/Farrer theory looks to me as posessing the strengths of the two source theory (primacy of Mark and Q) and the Goodacre/Farrer theory (Lukan dependence on Matthew) with the added bonus of support in the patristic writings and in the Gospel of Luke.
    I also neatly explains why Luke would see it as permissible edit the 'Sermon on the Mount': Luke knew it was a narrative vehicle for sayings material that he, like the author of Matthew, had translated from the Aramaic source.

    If the core claims of this theory has merit to them, a side effect is that the claim by Papias to Petrine influence on Mark perhaps ought to be given renewed consideration, since Papias would be essentially right on Mathew, who wrote (the highly ordered aramaic logia) before Mark wrote his gospel (other early patristic writers attest to Matthean priority).

    Looking forward to attend the conference att St.Marys in a few days!

    Kind regards, Christian Michael

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