Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Evidence corroborating a modified Proto-Matthean Synoptic Theory

  • Malcolm Lowe and David Flusser (a1)
Extract

In an earlier paper, one of the co-authors pointed out that the extant Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and Thomas employed a common source which contained a certain series of parables and sayings of Jesus concerning John the Baptist. The basic structure of this ‘Baptist-sequence’ is best preserved by far in Matthew's Gospel, although various details of the original wording are better preserved in Luke and Thomas. It was suggested that one way of explaining these phenomena was to suppose the existence of a Proto-Matthew, of which the extant Matthew's Gospel contains revisions made in part under the influence of Mark's Gospel.

Copyright
References
Hide All

NOTES

[1] Lowe, Malcolm, ‘From the Parable of the Vineyard to a Pre-Synoptic Source’, N.T.S. 28 (1981–1982, pp. 257–63.

[2] See now the book, Flusser, D., Die rabbinischen Gleichnisse und der Gleichniserzähler Jesus, vol. 1 (1981).Among other publications, note the series of occasional articles published in Immanuel and especially Two ‘Anti-Jewish Montages in Matthew’, Immanuel 5 (Summer 1975), pp. 3745

[3] It may be asked why the common source should be called a ‘Proto-Matthew’ rather than a ‘Proto-Luke’, since Luke's Gospel often preserves its wording more faithfully. The answer is that the extant Matthew is closer to the source both in its overall structure and in generally preserving the original context of given sayings and episodes; in these respects Luke's Gospel shows some remarkable deviations, presumably as a result of his aim of καθεζς γράψαι (Lk. 1. 3).

[4] In particular, Luke's Gospel suggests that it was based on several sources (Lk. 1. 1–4), but most Synoptic theories make do with ascribing two or three sources to Luke.

[5] Except where explicitly stated, evidence for these presuppositions has already been offered in the publications mentioned above.

[6] The nativity account does seem, however, to elaborate an earlier account in Hebrew (not merely in Mt. 1. 21, with its allusion to the Hebrew meaning of Jesus' name). See also note 9 below.

[7] This kind of revision is also suggested by Boismard, M.-E. in ‘The Two Source Theory at an Impasse’, N.T.S. 26 (1979–1980), pp. 117.

[8] Such revisions were suggested by Abel, E. L. in ‘Who Wrote Matthew?’, N.T.S. 17 (19701971), pp. 132–52.A similar suggestion was already made by Baur in the last century; see the discussion of Fuller, R. H., ‘Baur versus Hilgenfeld: A Forgotten Chapter in the Debate on the Synoptic Problem’, N.T.S. 24 (1977–1978), pp. 355–70, esp. p. 359. Indeed, Baur's view was close to that proposed here, since he subscribed to the Griesbach hypothesis, but starting from a Hebrew Matthew's Gospel of which the extant Matthew is a Greek translation with anti-Jewish additions.

[9] Even the Matthean nativity account contains an AJ-revision in Mt. 2. 3–4: ‘But hearing [this], King Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him, and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people…’ This is an expansion of the version underlying the ‘longer’ text of the Protcvangelium of James (21. 2), where only Herod shows anxiety: ‘And hearing [this], Herod was troubled and sent officers to the wise men; and he also sent for the chief priests and interrogated them…’ The expansion is notably similar (in both form and implications) to ‘And all the people answered…’ in the AJ-revision Mt. 27. 25, which itself has affinities with Ac. 5. 28 and 18. 6 (the former verse being possibly its inspiration).

[10] It will be pointed out below that Mt. 13. 14–15 (perhaps also 13. 12) is simultaneously both an M-revision and an AJ-revision, thus suggesting that indeed the same reviser was responsible. Of the peculiarly Matthean material, the ‘extra’ parables of the kingdom will be seen to be Proto-Matthean, but the interpretation of the Parable of the Tares is not.

[11] As there are theories suggesting that John's Gospel was itself composed from a number of sources by a series of editors, one cannot exclude additional influences from the extant Synoptic gospels. It may be noted, however, that there are Eusebian canons of every pair of gospels except John and Mark, and of every trio except Mark-Luke-John.

[12] In this connexion see the closing pages of Ott, H., ‘Urn die Muttersprache Jesu’, N.T. 9 (1967), pp. 125,and above all Grintz, J. M., ‘Hebrew as the Spoken and Written Language in the Last Days of the Second Temple’, J.B.L. 79 (1960), pp. 3247.Grintz pointed to a series of expressions in Matthew's Gospel which are Hebraisms and not Aramaisms (more could be added); he also showed that Josephus regularly meant Hebrew (and not Aramaic) when he spoke of ‘Hebrew’.Recently Grelot, P., ‘La Quatéieme Demande du ‘Pater’ ct son arriére-plan sèmitique’, N.T.S. 25 (19781979), pp. 299314, has suggested that the difference between ‘today’ (Matthew) and ‘every day’ (Luke) in the quatriéme demande is due to alternative translations of Aramaic BYWMH. But other verses of the Pater differ so markedly as not to be thus explicable, but only as changes introduced by Luke on literary or theological grounds (e.g. the elimination of the mentions of ‘heaven’ as elsewhere in Luke's Gospel). Similarly, the change from ‘today’ to ‘every day’ has the same motivation as Luke's omission of ‘take no thought for the morrow’ (Mt. 6. 34): both changes reflect ignorance that the Matthean formulations are based on the Hillelist prohibition against praying for future benefits (derived from Ex. 16. 19–20). Luke's motivations were thus strong enough to alter a Vorlage in any language (even Greek). On the other hand, the Matthean fifth demande reflects a play on words possible in Hebrew but not in Aramaic.

[13] The possibility of a Proto-Matthew, subsequently revised under various influences including the canonical Luke and Mark, is also conceded in the undogmatic discussion of Robinson, J. A. T., Redaling the New Testament (1976), ch. 4. Robinson suggests (with reference to Harnack) that ‘Matthew could therefore in a real sense turn out to be both the earliest and latest of the synoptists’ (p. 102). Robinson still finds a place for the putative documents P, Q, L, M; we have not had need for those hypotheses, which of course does not mean that no such documents can have existed.

[14] An amusing example of both tendencies is Luke 14. 1–24, where various sayings connected with eating and drinking are collected and presented as having been uttered by Jesus during an actual repast. Unfortunately, Luke forgot to extricate Jesus from the house concerned, so that in Lk. 14. 25 he is suddenly in the midst of great crowds who have apparently burst into the dining room (and indeed prevented him from eating a single mouthful). ‘Jesus invited to eat by a Pharisee’ is a theme peculiar to Luke (Lk. 7. 36 and 11. 37 as well as 14. 1; see note 39 below).

[15] This gives a more complete explanation than Markan priority does for the coincidences and divergences in the Synoptic pcricope orders. It was noticed long ago by Jameson that the old argument from order for Markan priority is fallacious; see Farmer, W. R., The Synoptic Problem (1964), pp. 288–90. Another attempt to show this was made by Butler, B. C., The Originality of St Matthew (1951), pp. 62–71, and a much more thorough one by H. H. Stoldt, Geschichte und Kritik der Markushypothese (1977), pp. 125–44. These authors, however, argued that other hypotheses explain the phenomena as well as Markan priority does, whereas Markan ‘posteriority’ actually explains them better.For a full clarification, using methods of modern logic, see Lowe, M., ‘The Demise of Arguments from Order for Markan Priority’, N.T. 24 (1982), pp. 2736.

[16] The M-revisions were conceivably made under the impression of Mark's Petrine authority, if the latter tradition had already arisen. (The testimony of Papias implies that the tradition already existed by the late first century.) On the problematic character of this tradition, see Niederwimmer, K., ‘Johannes Markus und die Frage nach dem Verfasser des zweiten Evangeliums’, Z.N.W. 58 (1967), pp. 172–88. The Matthean reviser, however, by no means accepted all of Mark's innovations, especially the more extravagant of them (see below on the Markan account of the death of John the Baptist). For examples of Mark's literary models, see the book by D. Flusser already mentioned.

[17] See the ample discussion in Stoldt, op. cit. Some proponents of the Q hypothesis have consequently felt obliged to concede that Q contained narrative passages and even overlapped extensively with Mark. We would urge them to recognize that their Q is in effect a Proto-Matthew.

[18] It is not a great a priori objection to this heuristic that the Vorlage may have been a composition in Aramaic, since the two languages are much more readily translatable into each other than is either into Hellenistic Greek. What are commonly cited as Aramaisms indeed turn out almost invariably to be also Hebraisms, especially when due attention is given to the evidence about firstcentury Hebrew from the Mishnah, the Dead Sea writings and other Jewish literature. (Hellenistic Greek is, however, nearer to the two Semitic languages in some respects than is Classical Greek, e.g. the pleonastic use of possessive pronouns.) A posteriori, the heuristic justifies itself in that one so often finds a clear contrast between passages in ‘Hebrew’ Greek and ones in ‘Greek’ Greek.

[19] The few Aramaic phrases used by Mark are of no significance as compared with the chronic non-Hebraicity of his gospel; they do not even show that he himself knew more than a smattering of the language. See, however, note 44 below.

[20] Similarly, when all three Synoptic authors have the same order, it is in principle conceivable that Luke has changed a Proto-Matthean order and been followed by Mark who in turn was followed by the author of the extant Matthew. Conversely, when Luke and Mark agree in order against Matthew, there is some likelihood that the latter alone has retained the Proto-Matthean order. In general, however, inferences from pure order have little weight if unsupported by evidence of any other kind.

[21] Lindsey, R., ‘A Modified Two-Document Theory of the Synoptic Dependence and Interdependence’, N.T. 6 (1963), pp. 239–63;also the introductions to his A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark (2nd ed., 1973).

[22] The outsider tends not to present his findings in a style familiar to insiders and not to be fully aware of the history of his field. Lindsey (as he relates in introducing his translation) was for long unaware of the variety of Synoptic theories current in an earlier period. The pioneer tends not to be able to free himself wholeheartedly from traditional views. A famous example in modern physics is Max Planck and Einstein, who were the original founders of quantum mechanics, but who were never happy with the susequent development of the theory (which involved the abandonment of certain fundamental assumptions of nineteenth-century physics). Lindsey similarly found it difficult wholly to cast aside the two source theory and start afresh; his work also sometimes gives the impression that he enthrones Luke in place of Mark. The greatest weakness of Butler's pioneering study (op. cit.) was similar: he took the assumption that Luke used Mark to be so certain that he could employ it without offering any proof whatsoever.

[23] While all parts of the paper contain something from both co-authors, M.L. has been chiefly responsible for the introduction and the first specific analysis, D.F. for the next two analyses, and the concluding section is entirely a joint product.

[24] In the following, references are given to Aland's Synopsis (9th ed.), but for reasons of interpretation, etc., different names are sometimes given to the pericopes concerned.

[25] Boismard, M.-E. and Benoit, P., Synopse des quatre évangiles, vol. 2 (1972), ad loc.

[26] The Hebrew na'ar in biblical usage especially signifies the personal servant of a king or warrior.

[27] Delitzsch in fact used na'ar and śar me 'a in his Hebrew translation of the NT.

[28] Luke explicitly says that Jews interceded for the gentile (Lk. 7. 3–5). This is one of the few places in the gospels where the term 'Ιονδαîοι unquestionably denotes Jews as opposed to gentiles; see Lowe, M., ‘Who Were the 'Ιουδαīοι?’, N.T. 18 (1976), pp. 101–30, esp. pp. 126–8. It is also one of only two occurrences in Luke's Gospel other than in the phrase βασιλεύς τν Ιουδαίων.

[29] The verse Mt. 8. 10 (unlike its Lukan parallel, which has also penetrated into most mss. of Matthew) need not signify a gentile: ‘…with no one in Israel have I found such faith’. Already Lachmann noted that this was the preferable reading in Matthew (indeed even the words ‘in Israel’ may be a penetration from Luke's version, since they are absent from Mt. 8. 10 in f1).

[30] As already pointed out in Flusser, ‘Two Anti-Jewish Montages’ (op. cit.).

[31] The pilgrimage of the gentiles to Zion, however, is also a possible interpretation. See Jeremias, J., Jesu Verheissung für die Völker (2nd ed., 1959), where OT parallels are cited (pp. 47 ff.). Jeremias makes no distinction in priority between the two versions of the saying, though noting that Luke's has peculiarities suggesting translation from Aramaic (p. 47, n. 185; compare Delitzsch's Hebrew translation of Lk. 13. 28–29).

[32] It is especially interesting to notice that the language of the narration seeks to be biblical, while the quoted statements of the officer are much more mishnaic (the ‘spoken language’ of the period). The words quoted from Jesus are too few for a judgement in this respect; however, his statement before healing the man with the withered hand (see the next section) is strongly mishnaic in idiom. This and the subsequent translations are given unvocalised, but with modern punctuation and a generous use of vowel letters.

[33] This is the one phrase in the account which does not have an obvious Hebrew counterpart; it is thus likely to be an addition or modification in the Greek.

[34] It would make for better Hebrew if this word were omitted (as in Nestle-Aland, 25th ed.).

[35] Similar examples of Luke's half-understanding a Jewish religious prescription will be pointed out in the next section.

[36] The imprisonment of the Baptist is mentioned already in Mt. 4. 12 and again in Mt. 11. 2, yet these references are missing in the parallels Lk. 4. 14 and 7. 18 and thus may not be Proto-Matthean (while Lk. 3. 19–20 are not specific about when the Baptist's imprisonment took place and have anyway probably been transposed from a later pericope - see below). On the other hand, the words ἔργα τοū Χριωτοū in Mt. 11. 2 need not be a sign of late redaction, since in Hebrew ma'aśe mašiah can mean simply ‘messianic acts’. Indeed this makes good sense, as Mt. 11. 2–3 can then be rendered: ‘Now when John heard in prison about the messianic acts [being performed by Jesus], he sent word … and said to him, “Are you he who is to come …?”’ Jesus' reply cites (Mt. 11. 5) precisely phenomena of the kind expected in the messianic age.

[37] Shabbat 128b, see Billerbeck ad Mt. 12. 11. The problem was not a peculiarly Jewish one: according to Macrobius, Saturnalia I, 16, 11, the Roman pontifex maximus Mucius Scaevola (d. 82 B.C.E.) was asked to rule on whether it was permitted on holidays to help an ox to get out of a ditch (specus). See van der Horst, P. W., ‘Macrobius and the New Testament’, N.T. 15 (1973), pp. 220–32.

[38] Such is the implication of the text. But it cannot be excluded that Jesus' original intention (distorted or disguised in the tradition) was a deeper one: to point out to his critics that they would show more concern for a beast than for a man on the sabbath. Relevantly, the advocates of the more lenient ruling in Shabbat 128b argued that it followed from the biblical principle of sa'ar ba'ale hayim (preventing cruelty to animals), whereas the stricter ruling derived only from a rabbinic precept (over which a biblical principle takes preference).

[39] Whereas in Mt. 15. 2 and Mk. 7. 5 the disciples are criticized by Pharisees for not washing their hands before eating, in Lk. 11. 37–38 Jesus is invited to lunch by a Pharisee who then criticizes him τι ού πρτον έβαπτíσθη πρό τοū άρíοτον. Here Luke has fallen victim to a confusion which may have one of two sources. Either he has heard something about Jews who bathe before the first meal of the day (a possible meaning of ἄριστον), namely, the hemerobaptists or tobele šaharit, or he has heard of the Essene custom of bathing before both morning and evening meals (Josephus, J. War II, 129–32). In either case, he has wrongly ascribed to the Pharisees the practice of another group.

[40] These three words may be another M-revision.

[41] Following D Θ 33 al f k q; most mss. have both this and the next verb in the future, while D pc have both in the present. These would seem to be attempts at harmonisation starting from two verbs originally in different tenses. The tense-order present-future is both favoured by the ms. evidence and reflects the natural way of formulating the statement in Hebrew.

[42] Since in the Greek πρόβατον ἕν may be an assimilation to the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Mt. 18. 10–14), the original may have had either behema as in Shabbat 128b (see note 37 above) or at least kibśa ahal as in the parable with which Nathan rebuked David (2 Sm. 12. 1 ff.).

[43] Here too, Jesus refuted his critics as hypocrites: ‘all his adversaries were put to shame and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him’ (Lk. 13. 17). On this occasion Jesus laid his hands upon the woman, but even this was permissible on the sabbath provided that he did not perform any massage, or make and apply clay, etc.

[44] See Pines, S., ‘The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity According to a New Source’, Proc. of the Israel Academy 2 (1966), p. 63;Flusser, D., Jesus in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten (1968), p. 44.The last verse of this pericope (Mt. 12. 8, Mk. 2. 28, Lk. 6. 5) should be translated ‘Man is lord of the sabbath’ (not ‘the son of man’ as in the RSV, etc.). Already Grotius (ad Mt. 12. 8 in his Adnotationes) realized that ό νíός το άνθρώπον here represents simply ben ha-adam and that Jesus was invoking the rabbinic assertion that ‘the sabbath is given over to man and not man to the sabbath’. See Mekhilta to Ex. 31. 13, e.g. in the edition of Horovitz, H. S. and Rabin, I. A. (1960), p. 341. Also Flusser, Jesus (op. cit.), p. 47. Indeed, Mk. 2. 27 contains a version of the rabbinic assertion and may be a rare case of Mark alone preserving something from the Proto-Matthew, since the extant Matthew has instead in Mt. 12. 5–7 a passage that belongs thematically (‘something greater than the temple is here’) together with Mt. 12. 41–42 (‘greater than Jonah’, ‘greater than Solomon’). A forthcoming article by D. Flusser will discuss the many mentions of the tria munera (king, priest, prophet) in Second Temple literature (starting with 1 Mace. 14. 41).

[45] The healings of Jn. 5. l–9a and 9. 1–8 involve actions forbidden on the sabbath, yet it is only in 5. 9b and 9. 14 that the reader learns that the healings took place on that day, suggesting that the author of John's Gospel is expanding upon an earlier tradition in which (as in Mark‘s Gospel) such healings were never performed on the sabbath by Jesus (in Luke's Gospel there are no healings by mechanical methods at all).According to Fortna, R. T., The Gospel of Signs (1970), p. 52, the first to recognize Jn. 5. 9b as a ‘postscript’ was M. Goguel, Introduction au Nouveau Testament, vol. II (1923), pp. 399 ff.

[46] The point of the elaboration is to create a link with the ‘Herod Antipas and Jesus’ theme found exclusively in Luke (Lk. 13. 31–32, 23. 6–12).

[47] Probably the reading ‘he said’ should be preferred here. Not only has it overwhelming ms. support, but it is also the more difficult reading in that it makes the passage more confused. It is explainable, however, as having been taken over from the Proto-Matthew (cf. Mt. 14. 1–2 as above) without change. By contrast, the justification for ‘they said’ in Metzger, B. M., A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (1971), ad loc, is rather weak. But then, Metzger makes Markan priority a basic assumption of his commentary (p. xxviii).

[48] Here there is a double uncertainty in reconstructing the exact Hebrew original. In rabbinic literature the name Herod is usually represented as Hordos, but this is probably due to the same scribal confusion of yod and waw that led to Athens becoming A tuna. As for the title of Herod, since Mark wrongly styles him ‘king’ the Hebrew original presumably did not have a transliteration of τετραάρχης but šar is only one of several possibilities.

[49] Although we know of no occurrence of the exact phrase kam min ham-metim in rabbinic or Dead Sea literature, the phrases kam li-tehiyya and tehiyyat ham-metim are well attested.

[50] Also in Ps. 20. 7 geburot (Sept. δυναοτεíαι) occurs with a similar meaning. In the singular δύναμς can represent gebura in the sense of God's might, which can become virtually a synonym for God (as also in Mt. 26. 64 έκ δεξιν τς δυνάμεως, while in Lk. 22. 69 an explanatory το θεο has been added). See further ch. 5 of E. E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs (2nd ed 1979).

[51] καί ἤκουσεν ό βαοιλεύς Ηρῴδης, φανερόν γάρ έγένετο τό νομα αύτο καí ἔλεγεν [or: ἔλεγον] ὅτι 'Ιωάννης ό βαπτίζων έγήγερται έκ νεκρν καí διά τοτο ένεργοοω αι δυνάμεις έν αύτῴ. Compare with the Greek of Mt. 14. 1–2 as given above.

[52] In view of the intertranslatability of Latin and Greek, it would make no difference were one to accept the ingenious theory of D. B. Gain, according to which Mark's Gospel was originally written in Latin. For instance, the rabbinic nissim u-geburot also appears as prodigia et virtutes in a quotation from Hystaspes (see note 59 below) and in 2 Esd. 9. 6 (also virtutes in Pseudo-Philo, Ant. Bib. XXVI, 6).

[53] Only the opening statement is employed in Lk. 3. 19–20.

[54] According to Josephus, , J. Ant. 18, 116–19, he desired to get rid of John because he feared that the latter's popularity might lead to an uprising against himself. Thus Josephus' account, although attributing no role to Herodias, approximates to Matthew's version in its description of Herod's attitude to John.

[55] Here πολλά ήπόρει may be inspired by Mark's noticing διηπόρει in Lk. 9. 7 (see above). Metzger, op. cit., ad loc, rightly rejects the suggestion that ήπόρει could be a scribal alteration (the majority reading is έποíει) prompted by the Lukan verse.

[56] Esther is also the only book in the Hebrew Bible of which nothing has yet been found among the Dead Sea scrolls.

[57] See note 48 above. Also much or all of Mt. 14. 9, which could be omitted without loss of continuity from the Matthean account, may be another M-revision derived from the verbally very similar Mk. 6. 26, since here both gospels refer to Herod as ‘the king’.

[58] In Mt. 17. 11 Jesus acknowledges a doctrine that Elijah will ‘come and restore all things’. The two rabbinic passages contain various detailed suggestions about what Elijah will do when he returns. AU these suggestions can be construed as attempts to spell out what is meant by ‘restoring all things’, although neither passage explicitly states this doctrine but rather both presuppose it. This is a remarkable case of the NT and rabbinic literature explaining each other.

[59] While the notion of the return of Elijah derives from 2 Kgs. 2. 11, the idea of an Elijah-like figure (or figures) who will return in the last days, suffer martyrdom and rise from the dead has no Jewish scriptural basis, but derives rather from later literature. Besides Re. 11. 1–14, the idea occurs in Lactantius, Div. Inst. VII, 17, as part of the passage taken from Hystaspes (note also prodigia et virtutes in VII, 17, 2; compare note 52 above). See D. Flusser, ‘Hystaspes and John of Patmos’, to appear.

[60] The book of Flusser mentioned at the outset.

[61] The manner in which the Parable of the Lamp is brought to this conclusion, and thus paired with the Parable of the Sower, is rather artificial. The pericope in Luke appears to have been pasted together out of three distinct sayings (in Mark four) which are found in different parts of Matthew. In Lk. 11. 33 a variant of the parable occurs, paired now with a homily about the ‘lamp of the body’ (the eye, Lk. 11. 34–36). The apt remark of B. C. Butler, op. cit., p. 17, n. 1, is applicable here too: ‘In general it may be said that Matthew's Q passages belong to their contexts by intrinsic right, Luke's by editorial collocation, the link in the latter case being often not a developing idea, but a verbal association.’ (Butler concluded that Q was in fact simply Matthew's Gospel.)

[62] The Structure of Matthew XIII’, N.T.S. 25 (19781979), pp. 516–22.

[63] Ibid., p. 518.

[64] The original of the Parable of the Sower is less well preserved in Matthew than in Luke, owing to M-revisions. For instance, Luke may be correct as against Mark and Matthew in the statement that the seed bore fruit έκατονταπλασίονα (Lk. 8. 8), which could well represent the biblical me'a še'arim (as Delitzsch translated). The latter is a hapax legomenon in Gn. 26. 12 (Sept. έκατοστεύουσαν) and denotes there the hundredfold harvest of a sowing. Mark's ἓν (or έν) τριάκοντα … (Mk. 4. 8) appears to be a non-Hebraic (though conceivably Aramaic) expansion which the extant Matthew has adopted (with further modifications, Mt. 13. 8). Thomas has ‘sixty-fold and one hundred and twenty-fold’.

[65] The starting point of Dodd, C. H. (following Jülicher) in The Parables of the Kingdom (rev. ed., Fontana, , 1961), p. 14, was precisely the rejection of the interpretation of the Sower, together with Mark's version of the purpose of the parables, as uncomprehending additions of the evangelist. Mark's statement of the purpose, as Dodd pointed out, does contain so many unusual words and expressions as to be clearly secondary. Below it will be shown, however, that the Hebraic original of the purpose of the parables can be easily reconstructed from Matthew and Luke. But no Hebraic original can be discerned for the interpretation of the Sower, nor for the beginning of the interpretation of the Tares (the closing verses partly repeat the subsequent interpretation of the Net and aie to that extent Hebraic: see the next footnote).

[66] The interpretation of the Net is conceivably original at least in part, since it is translatable into Hebrew and is a brief statement attached to the parable, rather than a lengthy exposition separated from it by other material as are the other two interpretations. Dodd, op. cit., pp. 131, 140–1, rejected the originality of this interpretation along with that of the other two. By this, however, he meant that the interpretation was not due to Jesus himself, whereas the primary aim of this article is to clarify the Proto-Matthean stage of the tradition, where the interpretation may already have been included even if Jesus did not give it himself. In Thomas the parable is said to be about ‘man’ (instead of the kingdom) and there occurs the formula ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’ in place of the interpretation. Since the latter concerns the separation of the evil-doers from the righteous at the end of the world, the Gnostic author may have rejected it in accordance with his advocacy of a realized eschatology (e.g. Thomas 51); the formula ‘He who has ears…’ is followed in Thomas by the Parable of the Sower, which it concludes in Matthew, Mark and Luke (see further below).

[67] The series of parables is followed by the typical narrative formula ending long discourses in Matthew (Mt. 13. 53; compare 7. 28, 11. 1, 19. 1, 26. 1). This is an indication that the Proto-Matthew indeed contained versions of those discourses and was not merely a ‘proto-narrative’ of the kind supposed by Lindsey in his book (op. cit.).Compare Stendhal, K., The School of St. Matthew (1954), p. 25.On the other hand, Kingsbury, J. D., ‘The Structure of Matthew's Gospel and His Concept of Salvation-History’, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 35 (1973), pp. 451–74, may be correct in his claim that the extant Matthew is characterized by a division into three parts (with new beginnings at Mt. 4. 17 and 16. 21) which overrides the division suggested by the fivefold narrative formula, especially as the three-part division is associated by Kingsbury (pp. 460 f.) with the theme of the mutual rejection of Jesus and the Jews (i.e. with the anti-Jewish trend that distinguishes the extant Matthew from the Proto-Matthew).

[68] The omission of καρδíα from Mk. 4. 15 is uncertain; the analogous structures of Mt. 13. 23 and Lk. 8. 15 as against Mk. 4. 20 simply repeat similar structures earlier in the pericope.

[69] Matthew, here and elsewhere, is typified by the briefer ό ἔχων τα άκονέτω (Mt. 13. 9; 11. 15, etc.); if a reviser is involved, his omission of άκούεω was conceivably influenced by the seven-fold refrain ό ἕχων οὐς άκονσάτω … (Re. 2. 7 ff., see also Re. 13.9).

[70] Elsewhere in the gospels, of course, the formula ‘He who has ears…’ is reduced to the force of a nota bene. Of its few occurrences in Thomas, one (as already noted) is immediately before the Parable of the Sower and another is connected with a harvest in the peculiar section Thomas 21.

[71] Gerhardson, B., ‘The Seven Parables in Matthew XIII’, N.T.S. 19 (19721973), pp. 1637, argued that the parables of the kingdom answer questions arising from the fates of the different groups of seed in the Parable of the Sower. He concluded that the parables occurred together in a source common to all the Synoptic evangelists, and that Matthew's Gospel has alone preserved it intact, though with an admixture of Markan material that obscures the original structure. While regarding the interpretation of the Tares as secondary, he ascribes that of the Sower to the common source. Yet, on his own admission, the questions answered by the parables are ones disregarded by the interpretation of the Sower; thus this interpretation, too, obscures rather than elucidates the original interrelationship as he understands it.

[72] In Thomas, too, the Parable of the Lamp is attached to an admonition about hearing.

[73] The last sentence of the Markan pericope containing the Parable of the Lamp, however, was accepted into the extant Matthew in the pericope on the purpose of the parables (see below).

[74] See the discussion of this parable in the mentioned book of Flusser.

[75] The Hebrew demands this word found only in a few witnesses, but it could be a Hellenistic addition to the original translation, rather than a Hebraic survival from it.

[76] Some witnesses read in Lk. 8. 10 ιά μνστήρια ιο θεο, which must be original as representing razze el. The latter term occurs several times in the Qumran literature (see also Ethiopic Enoch 63. 3) for the divine secrets which were reserved for the members of the sect. See further in the mentioned book of Flusser.

[77] As this phrase impairs the symmetry between what precedes and follows it, possibly it is already an influence from Is. 6. 9–10; but it may alternatively represent precisely the phrase in the original which stimulated Luke to begin the process of intrusion from the Isaiah prophecy (see below).

[78] This closing sentence is also found in Luke, but elsewhere (Lk. 10. 23–24). There βασιλετς appears instead of δίκωι; if βασιλετς represents as a corruption of , the original would have referred to prophets and angels as in 1 Pe. 1. 10–12. This suggestion is due to Michael Mach. Dodd, op. cit., p. 38 suggests that the kings are David and Solomon, since the psalms of both were given messianic interpretations.

[79] To judge by the frequency with which the Isaiah prophecy is alluded to in the NT, by the time Mark wrote it must have been familiar among Christians as a byword for Jewish opposition.

[80] Other examples are Mk. 12. 10–11 (compare Lk. 20. 17–18) and Mk. 12. 29–30 (compare Mt. 22. 37, Lk. 10. 27). On the former example, see Lowe, ‘From the Parable of the Vineyard’ (op. cit.).

[81] As a result, the crowds whom the parables are supposed to confuse are in the extant Matthew identified with the tares sown among the good seed in the Parable of the Tares, whereas in the Proto-Matthew the intention was precisely to distinguish between these two groups. According to Kingsbury, J. D., The Parables of Jesus in Matthew 13 (1969), this chapter marks the ‘great turning point’ in Matthew: Jesus, having been rejected by the Jews, now himself dismisses the Jewish crowds and devotes the remainder of his parable discourse to the disciples, who represent the Church (pp. 16, 130). This may well be an accurate assessment of the extant Matthew. But Kingsbury's further claim that only in the latter were all the parables of the kingdom first gathered together depends upon his automatic assumption of the two source theory.

[82] Mt. 13. 12 is not identical with Mk. 4. 25, but rather a hybrid of the latter with another version of the saying in Mt. 25. 29, while Mt. 13. 11c e forms a connecting link.

[83] The almost exact identity between the two passages, together with other features making this unique among Matthew's biblical quotations, led Stendahl to agree with Torrey that ‘in Matthew the quotation is an interpolation at a later stage than the properly Matthean’; see Stendahl, op. cit., p. 131.

[84] As is the general tendency in Acts (e.g. Ac. 14. 1 ff.), it is made clear that some of the Roman Jews accepted Paul's message (Ac. 28. 24). Paul, moreover, was professedly the apostle to the gentiles, so that in giving up his attempts to persuade the Jews he was not impugning the right of Peter or James to do so, but rather giving the field wholly over to them (Ga. 2. 6–10; also Ac. 21. 17–26). In the Matthean context it is Jesus, the founder of the faith, who is represented as excluding all the Jews apart from the inner circle of his followers. Even in Jn. 12. 37–43, where the Isaiah prophecy again occurs, it is interpreted in a tone less vehement than that of Acts and very far from that of the extant Matthew. It should be noted that the AJ-revisions have in general a very specific character: their almost exclusive theme is that the Jews through rejecting Jesus have ceased to be the chosen people. (Paul by contrast maintains that they will always remain the chosen people: Ro. 9. 4, 11. 29. Indeed, no NT author other than the Matthean reviser appears to deny this.) On the other hand, the extant Matthew retains the insistence on the continuing validity of the Jewish law (Mt. 5. 17–18, etc.). The reviser would thus seem to have represented a predominantly non-Jewish community that regarded itself as the true heir of both the election of Israel and the Jewish law (something like today's ‘Black Hebrews’). In this sense, the fact that the extant Matthew has not absorbed καωαριζων πάντα τά βρώματα from Mk. 7. 19, but adds that the kingdom will pass to an ἔθνει ποιοντιτούς καρπούς αύτς (Mt. 21. 43), is another indication that the M-revisions and AJ-revisions have a common origin.

[85] See the second appendix in Aland's Synopsis. Note also Pines, op. cit., pp. 14 ff., for a Jewish Christian account of the original gospel.

[86] To be precise, he must have made a very thorough collation with Mark's Gospel (probably under the impression of Mark's Petrine authority) as well as attempting to slant the whole composition in a manner that reflected his own prejudices.

[87] See Lowe, , ‘From the Parable of the Vineyard’ (op. cit.).

[88] It was common practice for the disciples of rabbis to make notes of their sayings. It is also notable that Justin Martyr repeatedly refers to the gospels as άπομνημονεύματα (τῷν άποστόλων), a technical term for memoirs (e.g. that of Xenophon on the sayings and doings of Socrates).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

New Testament Studies
  • ISSN: 0028-6885
  • EISSN: 1469-8145
  • URL: /core/journals/new-testament-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed