Monday, September 25, 2006

A collection of sayings of Jesus and John?

I still don't know whether Mt seems to be a more plausible source for Luke to have used than a simple sayings collection, especially when it appears that Luke must have treated Mt simply as a sayings source for Mt-Lk double tradition on the Farrer theory. In other words, I do not know how the Farrer theory (Mk-Mt theory) compares/competes with the two-source theory (Mk-Q theory) in terms of plausibility. But one thing that makes me question the standard Q hypothesis is its anomalous beginning--sayings of John the Baptist. Why would a collection of Jesus' sayings begin with sayings of John Baptiser? I must find out who else has commented on this strange feature of Q? In fact this feature alone is almost enough to convince me of Luke's dependence on Matthew--it contains by far the highest verbal agreement and unless some explanation could be found in terms of textual history and harmonisation, then we have here a strong argument for Lk copying Mt (rather than both copying a shared source extremely accurately--but why preserve John's words more carefully than Jesus'!)

[See also an exchange between me and Carlson on plausibility]


Mark Goodacre said...

Good question, Tim. It's something that has always struck me. Throw in too that John sounds so like (Matthew's) Jesus in his Q speeches. There is an additional problem related to proposed genres of Q. If Q is a prophetic book, do we have prophetic books that feature two prophets, one succeeding another? If Q is a Sayings of the Wise, again are there clear generic parallels to the John + Jesus format of Q?

On the first couple of sentences in the post, the Farrer theory does not postulate that Matthew is simply the source of sayings that Luke decontextualizes. Rather, Matthew provides the very catalyst for Luke's plan, to fix Mark with a Birth Narrative, Resurrection stories, and lots more sayings in between. Note too the major agreements between Matthew and Luke in triple tradition, more commonly called Mark-Q overlap.

Tim Lewis said...

Thanks Mark. I'm still undecided how persuasive genre arguments are for a hypothetical document since the genre of the canonicals themselves took much debate to even get any kind of vague concensus happening. But lack of generic parallels is probably another weakness of the hypothesis.

Thanks also for clarifying the Farrer theory part. It still isn't completely clear to me how a Farrer theorist knows when or whether a particular saying's source is Mt. But I can definitely appreciate that Lk does to Mk something along the lines of what Mt did (taking his cue from Mt, so to speak).