Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lecture Outline for BN203/303

I'm likely giving a lecture next Wednesday in the "Luke" course on the difference in interpreting Lk on the Farrer theory (i.e. if Lk used Mt instead of Q). The lecture may only be for one hour. Here is the outline so far:

The Farrer theory produces two main differences for our interpretation of Lk:

(1) It makes Lk considerably more creative as an author (scholars have tended to assume that Lk preserved more of the original order and wording of Q than Mt did).

(2a) It means that Lk has treated Mt differently than he treated Mk (Lk kept Mk’s chronology and sayings largely in tact), in other words. . .

(2b) It makes Lk critical of Mt (i.e. not only does Lk not stick to the order and wording of Mt but also Lk deliberately rejects themes important to Mt’s portrait of Jesus).

The Farrer theory implies that we should not underestimate Lk’s creativity and ability to transform and omit material found in Mt (and so we should not assume that Lk is simply a compiler of ‘Q’ traditions, replicating the order and wording he already found). I.e. the bulk of overlapping material Lk shares with Mt is taken by Lk directly from (and transformed from) Mt’s Gospel. How then has the resulting material changed in the process? The first theme we will look at (supposedly rejected by Lk on the Farrer hypothesis) is Jesus (Not) a Lawgiver.

Jesus (Not) a Lawgiver. In Mt Jesus is the Lawgiver for the New Community of believers (Mt’s emphasis has Jesus providing Instruction for his Church virtually providing a Church Instruction Manual, cf. the Didache). On the Farrer theory this presentation of Jesus would be deliberately critiqued by Lk. The following three points were made by Samuel Sandmel, A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament (London: SPCK, 1974). I have slightly expanded them since Sandmel barely gave them a sentence each:-

1. Many of the same commandments given in Mt’s Sermon on Mount are relayed in Lk but not in the form of new commandments (i.e. Jesus not a lawgiver as in Mt where Jesus is giving out ‘new and improved rules on living’ i.e. Mt 5:21-43 “You are familiar with the teaching on . . . now I give you an even stricter one to abide by. . . .”) since in Mt Jesus is portrayed extending the same laws even further. Lk tones down the contrast by avoiding the notion that Jesus gave out ‘new’ commandments. There is only one noticeable contrast (in Lk 6:27 [a remnant of Mt?] “but to you who are listening I say. . . ”) which is not contrasted with older familiar teachings (as in Mt) but is simply given as an elucidation of the previously mentioned blessings and miseries (i.e. to keep on loving their overlords and slanderers from verses 6:22-23 as model behaviour).

2. The Lord’s Prayer in Mt has Jesus give as instruction. In Lk instead it is the disciples who asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. 3. Mt 22:34-40// Mk 12:28-34// Lk 10:25-28. Unlike the other accounts, when Lk comes to relaying the greatest commandment it is not Jesus who gives the commandment.

However. . . what about Lk 18:18-24 where Jesus does relay the commandments!

For a more recent attempt to explain Lk’s modification of Mt’s Sermon on the Mount, see Mark Matson, “Luke’s Rewriting of the Sermon on the Mount,” in Mark Goodacre and Nicholas Perrin (eds.) Questioning Q: A Multidimensional Critique (InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, 2004), 43-70. [or online @]

It is difficult to argue why or how one author has rejected themes present in another author. How would we know if Lk was opposed to certain aspects of Mt’s presentation of Jesus? These notes are not finalised, and I'm wondering whether to concentrate further on this theme, or introduce another theme.

No comments: