Dunn's Oral Gospel Tradition
James Dunn has another new book forthcoming defending his source theory. It should be well worth a read and worth purchasing.
There's a brief introduction to it on the Eerdmans blog
Friday, August 30, 2013
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Gospel Writing and Canon
An interesting new book Francis Watson, Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective apparently deals with numerous issues including Gospel sources:
- Part One: The Eclipse of the Fourfold Gospel
- 1. Augustine’s Ambitious Legacy
- 2. Dismantling the Canon: Lessing/Reimarus
- Part Two: Reframing Gospel Origins
- 3. The Coincidences of Q
- 4. Luke the Interpreter
- 5. Thomas versus Q
- 6. Interpreting a Johannine Source (Jn, GEger)
- 7. Reinterpreting in Parallel (Jn, GTh, GPet)
- Part Three: The Canonical Construct
- 8. The East: Limiting Plurality
- 9. The West: Towards Consensus
- 10. Origen: Canonical Hermeneutics
- 11. Image, Symbol, Liturgy
- In lieu of a Conclusion: Seven Theses on Jesus and the Canonical Gospel
Friday, July 26, 2013
Pericope Adulterae Originally From 'L' Source
I notice a new article out related to 'L' (see previous post re: Streeter's source theory). It is Kyle R. Hughes, "The Lukan Special Material and the Tradition History of the Pericope Adulterae" Novum Testamentum 55.3 (2013): 232–251.
Abstract:This theory builds on that proposed by Bart D. Ehrman, “Jesus and the Adulteress,” New Testament Studies 34 (1988): 24–44.
For nearly a century, scholars have wrestled with the presence of Lukanisms in the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) even as the manuscript evidence clearly indicates this account was not originally part of the Third Gospel. A comparison of the version of this pericope found in Papias and the Didascalia with the pericopae associated with the Lukan special material (or "L source") reveals remarkable similarities in style, form, and content. In light of these discoveries, we conclude that Papias and the Didascalia preserve a primitive form of the Pericope Adulterae that was originally part of the L source behind Luke's Gospel, shedding light on the tradition history of this pericope as well as the nature of L.
Hughes' article has been made available at the author's website.
Or for those wanting only a summary see here.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Streeter's Four Document Hypothesis
(CORRECTED Nov 8) Students will find various online resources and many downloadable ones at BiblicalStudies.org.uk including pdfs of Streeter's famous The Four Gospels: A Study of Origins treating of The Manuscript Tradition, Sources, Authorship, & Dates.
It's funny that I never got around to reading Streeter's book (though I feel I have indirectly through others) so I haven't previously discussed Streeter's source theory here.
Streeter's influential take on a solution to the Synoptic Problem (first published 1924) is found in chapters 7–12. Much of the 20th century (in the English-speaking "West") was either based on an acceptance or rejection of Streeter's "four-document" solution. I say influential, but his four-document solution is also often misrepresented as though Luke used a Q document.
The first thing that strikes me in looking through the book is that it looks like Streeter's Luke doesn't have a copy of Q. In Streeter's chart (p.150) Luke only knows Q through his copy of "proto-Luke" (whereby Q and L are already combined).
I'm sure I have been misled by others' reading of Streeter's source theory. When Streeter talks about a "four-document" hypothesis he has two documents in mind used by Luke (proto-Luke & Mark) and three documents used by Matthew (Q, Mark and M) thus four source documents (plus other non-documented traditions) in total underlying both of these Gospels (namely: Q, Mark, M, proto-Luke) as diagrammed on his page 150.
However, I remember being taught that Streeter's "four-documents" consisted of Q, Mark, M & L even though L is not a document known or used by Luke.
According to Streeter's diagram one would not think that Streeter's Luke used Q directly (rather than only via his proto-Luke) but on page 218 he says “this same Luke some years afterwards expanded his own early work by prefixing the stories of the Infancy and by inserting extracts from Mark no doubt at the same time making certain minor alterations and additions” so it seems Streeter's own diagram misrepresents his own theory (unless we are to assume "this same Luke" lost his copy of Q?
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
And in contrast to the previous two posts relaying Sim's Matthew’s Use of Mark: Did Matthew Intend to Supplement or to Replace His Primary Source? a new book on Matthew's relation to Mark by J. Andrew Doole apparently gives different answers to these questions, namely 'yes' to supplement and 'no' to replace:
J. Andrew Doole examines Matthew's sources, which the evangelist used to compile and compose his own story of Jesus. Doole suggests that Matthew was not disputing the Gospel of Mark, rather developing its tradition in a conventional manner to reinforce its authoritative position in the growing Christian movement.I'm hoping Doole is in close dialogue with Sim's 2011 NTS article. The question remains interesting and I don't believe it is easy to answer completely one way or the other.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Matthew’s Use of Mark: Did Matthew Intend to Supplement or to Replace His Primary Source?
It's been awhile but I finally got to reading Sim's article. And according to Sim the answer is 'no' to supplement and 'yes' to replace. Here is Sim's view on this point:
Whatever value Matthew placed on Mark, he still viewed it as an inadequate presentation of Jesus’ story that required correction, improvement and expansion, and which needed to be updated to meet the needs of his intended readership. Once we acknowledge and understand the extent of Matthew’s dissatisfaction with Mark on a wide variety of issues, the common view that the former largely embraced and affirmed the outlook of the latter looks decidedly shaky.Sim claims that Bauckham's view also sees Matthew intended to replace Mark. He points out that the Gospel of Mark did almost vanish in the second century. Thus:
...That Mark sits within the New Testament amidst the other Gospels and right next to the Gospel of Matthew is, in view of the argument presented in this study, more than a touch ironic.
Anyway I have to get back to other matters today, namely thesis writing.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Monday, July 20, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Conjectural Date of Gospels
Recent discussion over at the Synoptic List has again got me wondering at how Matthew, Mark and Luke are presumed to have been written decades apart. That any of them were written even a decade apart is really only a conjecture, based on a hypothesis of literary dependence which does not really require such a conjecture. Actually the two notions are a bit circular since literary dependence is also based on the notion that the Gospels are written decades apart!
The three synoptics may all have been composed within one year of the other two. It is strange that scholars often give dates for Matthew and/or Luke that are a decade or two after Mark, when what they really want to say is merely that, say, Matthew evidences some knowledge of Mark. Perhaps I should add it as another myth to the eight myths/misassumptions previously mentioned (later converted to eight positive assertions here). To convert this ninth myth into a positive assertion would be to say that Matthew, Mark and Luke likely derive from roughly the same time period. It is difficult to determine whether noticeable editorial changes or detectable differences can be put down to different dates of composition (rather than to editing/retelling styles and/or different paths of 'traditioning' and/or different locales).
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Published Introductions to the Synoptic Problem
David Stark's New Testament Interpretation blog has a series of posts reproducing the diagrams of synoptic problem solutions given in Kümmel's NT intro. The 'Synoptic Problem' tag will bring up the set of diagrams so far. Kümmel's presentation of the Synoptic Problem was one of the six I evaluated in my undergrad essay "Solving the Synoptic Problem for Students?"
My essay was written back in 2001 or 2002 (a few years before I had internet access at home) and 'Part A' evaluated six printed/published presentations on the Synoptic Problem, namely:
(1) Joseph A. Fitzmyer, "The Priority of Mark and The 'Q' Source in Luke," (1970);
(2) Werner George Kümmel from his, Introduction to the New Testament (trans. 1975), 38-80;
(3) Robert Stein's classic book from 1987, The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction;
(4) Christopher M. Tuckett's entry for the Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol 6, 1992), 263-270;
(5) David L. Dungan's book, A History of the Synoptic Problem (Anchor Bible Reference Library, 1999);
(6) and two chapters from John S. Kloppenborg, Excavating Q (chapter 1 and chapter 6).
Kümmel's presentation received a 27% rating according to my criteria drawn from a 'student perspective'. Kloppenborg's presentation (in Excavating Q) faired best with 47% but should have been rated higher than that because I had only based my evaluation on 2 of 3 relevant chapters in Excavating Q (I later realized!)
Would be good to know if other students have similarly evaluated other published presentations on the synoptic problem. I guess nowadays students instead go online for introductions to the Synoptic Problem which might explain why there are still not very many introductions/presentations published (compare my 'top ten recommended books for students' to the right).
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Neville's Review of Burkett
David Neville has reviewed Delbert Burkett's Rethinking the Gospel Sources: From Proto-Mark to Mark in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 84/1 (2008) 135-173. Neville helpfully provides some history and context for previous Urmarkus theories before addressing Burkett's arguments against direct literary dependence between any of the synoptic Gospels.
I was wondering whether to summarise some of it here. I think for now I will just say that Neville is as usual good with assessing arguments.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The Problem Never Completely Resolves
We cannot say much about what exactly the sources looked like that preceded the synoptic Gospels, only that that direct dependence does play a large part in the end result. Even if we do conclude that Mark is the earlier written Gospel it seems that Mark is still somewhat secondary to earlier sources. Mk 13 for instance looks to be older material very unlikely to have been freshly penned by the Gospel author. Also I have previously indicated my own theorizing that most of the healing stories apparently predate our written Gospels, although in these cases they would likely have existed only in oral form. So Mark is not necessarily the oldest 'source' of shared material.
So students should be aware that hypothesizing a chronology for dating Matthew, Mark and Luke still does not completely (re)solve the problem of Gospel sources. It merely gives us a simplified ‘working hypothesis’ for supposing how a particular Gospel author may have put their own stamp on the material which we suppose to have been already available to the author (and in many cases material likely already known by the audience).
I'm perpetually agnostic concerning 'Q.' How is it that the material in Matthew and Luke concerning John the Baptizer is written virtually word-for-word? This would be the result of someone copying slavishly from a written source. So if the text in Matthew is not being copied here into Luke (or theoretically from Luke into Matthew) whether by a secondary Gospel author (or inserted by a scribe within the first hundred years of copying) we must suppose that both have here accessed the same written source concerning John the Baptizer. Yet the other shared material in Matthew and Luke (and not found in Mark) is less likely to be from the same shared written source since everywhere else the doubly-shared material in Mt-Lk is phrased independently by both authors making it impossible to know much about the immediate source of such traditions or whether these traditions originated from the very same source as the John-Baptizer material. How can we conclude the same way (all stems from a singular written source?) with this differing evidence?
So the precise sources of all the triply and doubly shared traditions are still largely unknown even after having ‘solved’ the problem of the likely order the Gospels were published. There will always remain the problem of whether an earlier version of Mark, or Matthew or Luke was known or accessed by any of the other Gospel authors (aurally or in written form) on top of the problem of other pre-Gospel traditions.