Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Streeter's Four Document Hypothesis
(CORRECTED Nov 8) Students will find various online resources and many downloadable ones at 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? 

No comments: