2011-02-01

Earl Doherty Responds

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by Neil Godfrey

Earl Doherty has begun his detailed response to GakuseiDon’s review of Earl Doherty’s new book. His responses are being posted on the Freeratio discussion board here, and when complete will appear on his own Jesus Puzzle website:

Doherty’s Response to GDon’s Review of Jesus: Neither God Nor Man

 

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49 Comments

  • 2011-02-01 11:42:26 GMT+0000 - 11:42 | Permalink

    BTW, Carrier sticks up for Doherty in this Pale Blue Dot interview:

    http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10150

    Maybe if a certain theologian-blogger heard Carrier’s explanation of the “Demons of the Air” theory he’d finally get it.

  • BillWarrant
    2011-02-01 20:05:11 GMT+0000 - 20:05 | Permalink

    It is hard for me to take Doherty serious given his awful arguments in support of Q.

  • NateP
    2011-02-02 18:08:32 GMT+0000 - 18:08 | Permalink

    Bill, I’m not arguing for or against the Jesus Puzzle when I say this…but the concept of Q is as close to an air-tight source theory as text/source criticism might ever get. certainly it’s the best source theory out their right now, with no formidable rivals in over a century. So argue back in forth about Markan priority and Q and Griesbach all you want, but don’t base your a priori impressions of Doherty on the fact that he supports the same theory that the majority of NT scholars support. It’s just no grounds for dismissal…plain and simple.

    • BillWarrant
      2011-02-02 19:20:47 GMT+0000 - 19:20 | Permalink

      I’m not basing my a priori impressions of Doherty on his support for Q. I’ve read his work and base my judgment on the fallacies in his arguments. The synoptic problem and the literary relations between early Christian writings is what I have studied most, so when I see the level of his argumentation in this area it does not lead me to expect much of the rest of his work. Is your support for Q based on your own rigorous analyses of a greek synopsis or are you just relying on the arguments of others? Do you find Doherty’s own arguments for Q convincing?

      • 2011-02-02 21:00:20 GMT+0000 - 21:00 | Permalink

        What do you see as “fallacies” in his arguments for Q? I have discussed Q several times in the past with Doherty and my own position has not always been one-sided. I have raised my reasons for disagreeing this some of his arguments for Q on FRDB, but I would not call his argument “fallacious”. I see alternative explanations as a simpler option for the points he raises, but not fallacies.

        I am not speaking for Nate, but there is a mild irony in your wondering if those who accept Q do so because of a Mike Wilson methodology of counting scholarly heads to decide what is the truth of a matter. Burton Mack (and Doherty) have complained that they feel many who are ditching Q are doing so because of some fadism without ever having really read the detailed arguments such as found in Mack’s and Kloppenborg’s volumes.

        • BillWarrant
          2011-02-03 00:38:02 GMT+0000 - 00:38 | Permalink

          Obviously I can’t review Doherty’s chapter on the nature and existence of Q (chapter 22 of his self-published [don’t you just love it when critics point out that his book was self-published] book Jesus neither man or God, but I can point out a few of the things that disturbed me.

          Before we get to Q in that chapter he says on p. 309 “The strongest weapon in the arsenal of those who reject the priority of Mark is the so-called “minor agreements” between Matthew and Luke.” This is an error that Doherty has obviously gotten from somewhere as I’ve read it quite often. No, the minor agreements say nothing about Markan priority, because the Farrer hypothesis which also has Markan priority accounts for the minor agreements by asuming that Luke knew Matthew in addition to Mark. The minor agreements are often seen as an argument against Q (but not by me), but cannot be an argument against Markan priority.

          On page 314 Doherty writes “One general principle is that the common material – otherwise assigned to Q – never appears in the same context in Luke as it does in Matthew.” This is false, because the baptism-temptation bits from Q are in the both context in Luke and Matthew. Apart from this it shows a lack of understanding of the Farrer hypothesis, because Luke tends to use one source at a time in separate blocks. When Luke is following his Markan source and switches to Matthew at 6:17 he has already gone further in Mark than Matthew did, so when he decides to take over part of Matthew’s sermon on the mount it is inevitably in a different Markan context. This is all quite natural when following one source at a time. Moreover, a lot of Luke’s double tradition material is not even in a Markan context as Goodacre has argued. Much of it is in his long travel narrative. Doherty mentions nothing of this. He also does not engage in the neccesary narrative criticism to try to understand why Luke composed his narrative in this particular way. Ignoring all the obvious counterarguments shows a lack of scholarly integrity.

          Even worse is that Doherty writes on page 315: “Luke seems ignorant of Matthew’s modifications (‘redactional changes’) to Mark. There are two huge problems with this. 1) There is a huge overlap between Mark and the double tradition material. On the Farrer hypothesis this is of course because Matthew changes Mark and Luke takes this material over. Everything that is typically called Mark-Q overlap can be seen as Luke taking over Matthew’s modifications to Mark on the Farrer hypothesis. 2) Obviously Luke is following his Markan source for much of his Gospel and does not have his eye on the Matthean text. Of course he doesn’t take most of the additions of Matthew to his Markan source if Luke is likewise following his Markan source for those bits (which is indeed the case for the triple tradition material). Some of the minor agreements are examples where Luke is following Mark and remembers something from his Matthean source.

          I think I’ll leave it at this for now. I think all of Doherty’s other arguments for Q are poor as well, but if you want to bring up any of them i’ll definately try to respond.

          Doherty of course is no source critic and people like Kloppenborg and Tuckett have better insights into the synoptic problem, so I suppose I should cut him some slack. Still, he keeps on making poor decisions whenever he talks about literary relationships.

          By the way, you find my question concerning relying on arguments of others ironic, but I know from experience that Q is taught as one of the received truths of scholarly wisdom (along with the 7 core Pauline epistles being from the 50s, a historical Jesus and Gospel dates of 70-100). Instead of teaching rigorous methods and letting students think about things for themselves, they are being built as mainstream clones.

          • 2011-02-03 02:53:48 GMT+0000 - 02:53 | Permalink

            Bill: “The minor agreements are often seen as an argument against Q (but not by me), but cannot be an argument against Markan priority.”

            When Doherty talks about “those who reject the priority of Mark” he’s talking about proponents of the Griesbach Hypothesis. Their target has been the 2DH (naturally) since it’s the dominant paradigm.

            Quoting E.P. Sanders: “The two-document hypothesis is dependent on the statement that Matthew and Luke do not agree together against Mark, and the holders of that hypothesis are forced to explain away the existence of the actual agreements.”

            So in the sentence you quoted Doherty is not in error, at least insofar as the idea that GH adherents use the minor agreements argument against the 2DH. Whether that’s their best argument (or even a “good” argument) is open to debate. C.M. Tuckett has a whole chapter on it in The Revival of the Griesbach Hypothesis, showing pretty clearly that the GH doesn’t explain the minor agreements any better than the 2DH.

            That said, on the subject of Q as a “received truth” that needs to be questioned, we’re in full agreement.

            • BillWarrant
              2011-02-03 03:36:43 GMT+0000 - 03:36 | Permalink

              Tim, I disagree with you here. When Doherty writes that the minor agreements are the strongest weapon of those who reject markan priority (indeed with Griesbachians in mind) he is making an error because it simply is NOT an argument against Markan priority. Sanders, in your quote, is talking about the two-document hypothesis, not markan priority. Doherty could have avoided this error if he wrote “weapon against the two-source” theory, but he clearly did not mean this as the whole context concerns markan priority.

              • 2011-02-03 04:23:56 GMT+0000 - 04:23 | Permalink

                Griesbachians argue not only for Matthean priority but for Markan posteriority. They believe that the problem of minor agreements is best explained by the author of Mark writing last, editing Matthew and Luke. And whether they’re correct about its strength as an argument, they think it’s a good reason to reject Markan priority; this isn’t just a knock against Q.

                From Farmer’s The Synoptic Problem, p. 215:

                The minor agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark constitute a second category of literary phenomena which is more readily explicable on a hypothesis where Mark is regarded as third with Matthew and Luke before him than on any alternative hypothesis.

                http://books.google.com/books?id=hdQqF-9hZ00C&lpg=PP1&ots=hrfWcTcWN2&dq=the%20synoptic%20problem%20farmer&pg=PA215#v=onepage&q=minor%20agreements&f=false

              • BillWarrant
                2011-02-03 05:09:38 GMT+0000 - 05:09 | Permalink

                Of course I know what Griesbachians believe. Farmer wrote his book at a time when the Farrer hypothesis wasn’t considered a serious alternative, so he can be excused for this error. Doherty should be aware that the Farrer hypothesis is now considered one of the major alternatives so I cannot excuse him for this error. It is Doherty who writes that it is a weapon against markan priority. Maybe Farmer thought it was an error way back and maybe you could find some recent Griesbachians who think this, but it is still an error. Hopefully Griesbachians today are more careful and realize that they stand together on the minor agreements with the Farrer hypothesis against the two-source theory. If you disagree, so be it.

              • 2011-02-03 08:54:38 GMT+0000 - 08:54 | Permalink

                Well, let’s consider the “Prophesy!” minor agreement. Jesus is blindfolded by the council’s guards. They slap him and say, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?”

                It is generally agreed that Q had no Passion narrative, so this is just a case of three authors and who redacted whom.

                GH says:

                1. Matthew wrote: “Prophesy! Who is is that struck you?”
                2. Luke pretty much copied Matthew.
                3. Mark edited out “Who is it that struck you?”

                MP w/o Q says:

                1. Mark wrote: “Prophesy!”
                2. Matthew added: “Who is it that struck you?”
                3. Luke pretty much copied Matthew.

                See? There’s no Q material involved at all, yet the GH camp thinks they have the better argument. Neither GH nor MP w/o Q buy into the 2DH argument that somehow Matthew and Luke independently embellished Mark exactly the same way.

                Who really has the better argument? Eh. I still can’t make up my mind. I have to admit to me all the explanations feel contrived.

              • BillWarrant
                2011-02-03 19:15:08 GMT+0000 - 19:15 | Permalink

                Tim,

                You are correct that the minor agreements (not just this one) occur in triple tradition material. It is thought to be a weapon against the two-source theory and thus Q because they suggest that Luke used Matthew (or vice versa if you want to be silly). The whole premise behind Q is that Luke and Matthew are independent. This is why it’s a seen as a weapon against the two-souce theory and thus against Q.

                Having said that, there’s a minority who support Q and then later decide that Luke actually does know Matthew and start to argue that Luke knew Mark, Q and Matthew. I think that’s very weak and nothing more than a fudge factor in their theory.

                Anyway, you say Griesbachians think they have the better argument here. As far as I can tell the two-source hypothesis has been the only alternative on their radar and they are not even thinking about the Farrer hypothesis when discussing the minor agreements. Perhaps things have changed since Farmer, but I’d like to ask you if you can quote me a Griesbachian who actually addresses the minor agreements while arguing that their hypothesis explains the data better than the Farrer hypothesis. I’d be surprised if you could find this.

  • mcduff
    2011-02-03 02:44:47 GMT+0000 - 02:44 | Permalink

    Hmm.

    I guess this is primarily,addressed to Bill Warrant.

    I reckon you write a lot of sense in the comment above.
    However agreeing with most of what you say there does not stop me from taking Doherty very seriously.
    Possibly the writer that explains the origin of Christianity best …in my opinion.
    But I disagree with him re Q.

    Aint nobody who is perfect, me included.

    I really would like to discuss Q.
    Slowly, point by point, exhaustively, politely.
    But that would require a lot of time and information.

    I have read Goulder, Goldacre {I have his book “Questioning Q” which I rate as er, um, …”OK”], Farrer, Drury [in whose book on “Luke” is found the phrase “I found I had no need for that hypothesis” when referring to Q] but only a few articles by Kloppenberg [I need to read more of his stuff, he seems to be the doyen of Qists].

    Perhaps the single most interesting article I have read on Q is that by Ken Olsen [there is an abridged version in Goldacre’s book] which, as far as I can tell, completely demolishes the pro-Q assertion that “Luke’s” treatment of maretial could not have been only based on “Mark” and ‘Matthew” or material would have been ordered differently in “Luke”.
    Olsen shows that “Luke’s” treatment of such material is exactly how ancient writers used dual source material and as such is a strong blow against Qism.
    Here is a link to Olsen’s blog, you will find his article there.

    http://kaimoi.blogspot.com/

    There is more I could write about the broad topic of Q but suffice it to say that I can both find Doherty’s writing very significant whilst still disagreeing with his pro-Q stance.

    • 2011-02-03 10:20:19 GMT+0000 - 10:20 | Permalink

      Possibly the writer that explains the origin of Christianity best …in my opinion.
      But I disagree with him re Q.

      Aint nobody who is perfect

      Reminds me of the paradoxes of Noam Chomsky. Few will say that his views of the nature of language should not be taken seriously, but this same brilliant mind has a module that says language could not have evolved (at least in any sense of evolution that is currently understood). His knowledge of the political system in the U.S., and of Central America and the Middle East is unsurpassed, but it can completely go goofball when he speaks of other places like Australia.

  • Evan
    2011-02-03 03:09:43 GMT+0000 - 03:09 | Permalink

    I disagree with Doherty on Paul being the author of the “Pauline” epistles, he makes no real attempt to prove this in his work and at the moment I am convinced by the arguments of Detering that place them all in the 2nd century. But this really is irrelevant to their role as supplying an alternate explanation of the origins of the Passion narrative.

    In the same way, his use of Q, which I am currently skeptical of, doesn’t really impact the central hypothesis of his work except to show an alternate story of the “prophetic” phase of Jesus’ ministry.

    Doherty has always been most convincing to me in his use of material from the 2nd century apologists and I believe that these works and the analysis he gives of the content of the epistles are the meat of his theory which for me establishes firmly that there was a Christianity that did not believe in Jesus of Nazareth in the 2nd century.

    I feel that most writers would appreciate people of education approaching their works critically and agreeing with some of their material and disagreeing with other parts of it. This is how we move forward as a species.

    • BillWarrant
      2011-02-03 03:56:21 GMT+0000 - 03:56 | Permalink

      Evan, I think those disagreements you mention are very important and have the potential to lead to a completely different Jesus myth theory compared to Doherty’s. That is, if there was no Q and the letters attributed to Paul are 2nd century, then the possibility that Christianity has a post-70 origin becomes very significant. Christianity as a theological response to the suffering during the revolt, the defeat of the Jews and the loss of the sacrificial system could be an interesting alternative to Doherty. So you see, I do not find these differences with Doherty inconsequential.

  • Evan
    2011-02-03 07:23:45 GMT+0000 - 07:23 | Permalink

    Bill, I suppose it all depends on what you find of consequence. For me, what is consequential is that it appears that the majority of scholarship is making mistakes, and pointing out where they are mistaken is the most important part of that. Doherty does an admirable job of this, specifically, showing why one should reject the hypothesis of a HJ.

    If there are better evidences for a post-70 CE Christianity those will come out when the HJ is rejected as a hypothesis. Doherty does a very good job of showing why to reject the HJ — even if we assume the scholarly consensus on things like the Pauline authorship and Q, which I don’t assume.

  • GakuseiDon
    2011-02-03 08:24:22 GMT+0000 - 08:24 | Permalink

    Doherty has always been most convincing to me in his use of material from the 2nd century apologists…

    Hi Evan, I address Doherty’s use of the Second Century apologists over a number of web pages. These can be found on my Reviews page, here:
    http://members.optusnet.com.au/gakuseidon/reviews.html

    I also look into the silence in early Christian writings — including the Second Century apologists — on page 2 of my review of Doherty’s book. I imagine he will be addressing my page 2 shortly on the FRDB link that Neil gave.

  • 2011-02-15 05:31:59 GMT+0000 - 05:31 | Permalink

    Bill Warrant (all paragraphs in italics): It is hard for me to take Doherty seriously given his awful arguments in support of Q….
    Before we get to Q in that chapter he says on p. 309 “The strongest weapon in the arsenal of those who reject the priority of Mark is the so-called “minor agreements” between Matthew and Luke.” This is an error that Doherty has obviously gotten from somewhere as I’ve read it quite often. No, the minor agreements say nothing about Markan priority, because the Farrer hypothesis which also has Markan priority accounts for the minor agreements by asuming that Luke knew Matthew in addition to Mark. The minor agreements are often seen as an argument against Q (but not by me), but cannot be an argument against Markan priority.

    This sounds like a case of begging the question. If you’ve read it quite often (as have I), there must be something more behind it than can be solved simply by “assuming” Luke used Matthew. Anyway, the Markan priority question is a secondary issue here and I won’t spend space on it. We’re here about Q.

    On page 314 Doherty writes: “One general principle is that the common material – otherwise assigned to Q – never appears in the same context in Luke as it does in Matthew.” This is false, because the baptism-temptation bits from Q are in the both context in Luke and Matthew.

    From what I have seen, most Q scholars do not include any baptism scene in Q, and those who do point out the uncertainty of it. And naturally the context is going to be the same for the Temptation story. Both Matthew and Luke have taken it from Q and placed it to enlarge on Mark’s remark (1:12) that Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. There wouldn’t have been any other place each one of them would have put it, and this is the only example of such a commonality. My point was that, except for a couple of extended anecdotes (which I stated) such as the Temptation story and the Dialogue between Jesus and John which need to be treated separately, the bare sayings taken from Q had no contexts attached to them in Q. (Even the other extended anecdotes are not located in Luke in the same context as in Matthew.) So in offering this one counter-example (explainable by the positioning determined by Mark) you have misrepresented me.

    Apart from this it shows a lack of understanding of the Farrer hypothesis, because Luke tends to use one source at a time in separate blocks. When Luke is following his Markan source and switches to Matthew at 6:17 he has already gone further in Mark than Matthew did, so when he decides to take over part of Matthew’s sermon on the mount it is inevitably in a different Markan context. This is all quite natural when following one source at a time. Moreover, a lot of Luke’s double tradition material is not even in a Markan context as Goodacre has argued. Much of it is in his long travel narrative. Doherty mentions nothing of this. He also does not engage in the neccesary narrative criticism to try to understand why Luke composed his narrative in this particular way. Ignoring all the obvious counterarguments shows a lack of scholarly integrity.

    Some of this is confusingly stated. The issue is not whether Luke uses ‘Q’ material in a different Markan context (although Matthew tends to be similar to Mark). It is that Luke, supposedly taking the material from Matthew, uses it in a different context of his own from that of Matthew. The point is, this failure to take Matthew’s context becomes unusual, not necessarily in one single instance, but because it is always the case. I am well aware that Goodacre comes up with all sorts of reasoning and interpretation of Luke as a writer to dismiss this as explainable, but the fact nevertheless remains that in using Matthew, Luke takes over nothing of any Matthean context (outside of the Temptation, as I said), and this has legitimately to be seen as puzzling. In every case, Luke has supposedly excised a Matthean saying and divorced it from its surrounding context, supplying a completely different one of his own. This is a legitimate argument for questioning Luke’s use of Matthew, alleged explanations notwithstanding.

    Yes, Luke does have his own narrative interests. And to some extent, these determine how he uses some of his Q material—or, in the non-Q position, why he would divorce it from Matthew’s context. But this explanation cannot apply universally. There are other narrative settings where such interests would not require him to pass up or change every Matthean context. And it is not just considerations of simple context. As Bill then says:

    Even worse is that Doherty writes on page 315: “Luke seems ignorant of Matthew’s modifications (‘redactional changes’) to Mark. There are two huge problems with this. 1) There is a huge overlap between Mark and the double tradition material. On the Farrer hypothesis this is of course because Matthew changes Mark and Luke takes this material over. Everything that is typically called Mark-Q overlap can be seen as Luke taking over Matthew’s modifications to Mark on the Farrer hypothesis.

    But this is what Luke does not do in so many instances. Yes, the Farrer hypothesis sees Luke’s commonality with Matthew and differentiation from Mark in this way (as in Lk.12:8-9 vs. Mark 8:38). But this is simply an alternate explanation offered to that of the Q hypothesis. It does not in itself prove that Farrer is preferable to Q, let alone answers the issue. For a problem still remains, in that we are still left with many instances in which Luke has not taken over a Matthean modification, with no apparent reason why not. One of the best examples (and I gave it right after the “redactional changes” reference Bill quotes) is the failure by Luke to include Matthew’s addition to Mark’s 4:10f scene in which Jesus pronounces Peter to be the rock on which the church shall be built, and giving Peter dramatic powers in heaven. Goodacre’s explanation for this is lame: this addition by Matthew didn’t “please” Luke, who had to have some kind of prejudice against Peter, something essentially unsupportable by his Gospel as a whole.

    2) Obviously Luke is following his Markan source for much of his Gospel and does not have his eye on the Matthean text. Of course he doesn’t take most of the additions of Matthew to his Markan source if Luke is likewise following his Markan source for those bits (which is indeed the case for the triple tradition material). Some of the minor agreements are examples where Luke is following Mark and remembers something from his Matthean source.

    This, too, strikes me as lame. Luke is going to compose a Gospel using both Mark and Matthew, and he doesn’t familiarize himself with what is in Matthew before picking up his pen? He doesn’t make a point of noting what Matthew has done to improve on Mark in order to properly integrate the two into his own version? If he was that slipshod, he doesn’t early on realize that by running ahead of Matthew as he is reworking Mark that he is missing out on a lot of desirable improvements by Matthew and decides to correct his procedure? Or if not, he can’t go back later and insert something he finds in Matthew into what he has already drafted in his reworking of Mark? All of this is close to nonsensical, and is typical of the kinds of reasoning which the no-Qers have to indulge in to explain all the problems raised by the supporters of Q which the latter find in the no-Q position.

    Earl Doherty

    • Mike Wilson
      2011-02-16 01:26:47 GMT+0000 - 01:26 | Permalink

      Your clear and level headed defence of Q has convinced me to buy your book, thank you Earl D.

    • C.J. O'Brien
      2011-02-16 04:40:33 GMT+0000 - 04:40 | Permalink

      Bill’s argument is similar to a line of reasoning followed in Ancient Compositional Practices and the Synoptic problem by R. A. Derrenbacker, a book I recently read on Bill’s recommendation here. The idea is not that Luke isn’t familiar enough with Matthew and the ways in which he used Markan material, it is that, given the material constraints of ancient manuscript production (use of scrolls, no writing desks), while Luke is using a scroll of Mark as his source for the order and most of the wording, he (if he’s also incorporating Matthean material) has to trust his memory for the bits of Matthew he wants to insert, as opposed to switching back and forth between two written sources for verbatim copying of both in the same passage, which Derrenbacker regards as unlikely on his study of other Greco-Roman texts composed with the aid of multiple sources.

      • 2011-02-16 14:57:24 GMT+0000 - 14:57 | Permalink

        How does Derrenbacker explain Tatian’s Diatesseron?

    • BillWarrant
      2011-02-16 06:19:07 GMT+0000 - 06:19 | Permalink

      Doherty: “My point was that, except for a couple of extended anecdotes (which I stated) such as the Temptation story and the Dialogue between Jesus and John which need to be treated separately, the bare sayings taken from Q had no contexts attached to them in Q. (Even the other extended anecdotes are not located in Luke in the same context as in Matthew.) So in offering this one counter-example (explainable by the positioning determined by Mark) you have misrepresented me…..The point is, this failure to take Matthew’s context becomes unusual, not necessarily in one single instance, but because it is always the case….but the fact nevertheless remains that in using Matthew, Luke takes over nothing of any Matthean context (outside of the Temptation, as I said), and this has legitimately to be seen as puzzling.”

      Bill: This is incredibly deceptive and disappointing. This is the wider context of my citation from Doherty (p. 314 of Jesus: neither God nor man):

      “One general principle is that the common material – otherwise assigned to Q – never appears in the same context in Luke as it does in Matthew.” As noted earlier, the vast majority of this common material constitutes simple sayings. Luke never inserts these in a context also drawn from Matthew; nor does he ever introduce them with lead-ins similar to Matthew’s. in a handful of more extended anecdotes (such as the Dialogue between Jesus and John), which in the Q hypothesis are indicative of a layer of Q redaction, the body of each anecdote is similar, but again, the setting into which they are placed is different. If Luke is copying all these elements from Matthew, it is strange that he never once borrow’s any feature of Matthew’s contexts as well.”

      Bill: In Doherty’s response here he acts as if he dealt with the (baptism +) temptation major agreement in his book, but it is nowhere to be found. My critique is not concerned with his explanation for this, it is his neglect of this exception. Of course, his erroneous repetition of “never” is part of his rhetorical strategy, but it is an error nevertheless. In this section he mentions the dialogue between Jesus and John instead of the Temptation story because it indeed does have a different context.

      Naturally the explanation for why Luke and Matthew agree in their context of the temptation story (and I include the baptism here as well because the IQP decides that it is in Q – and as an international collaborative project set-up to reconstruct Q this has more meaning for me than Doherty’s subjective head count) is not hard, because it is a very natural place for this story. However, it is precisely the flexibility with which sayings can be adopted and placed in different contexts, which makes Luke’s use of the Matthean sayings possible.

      A similar pattern emerges in Doherty’s response to my critique of his statement “Luke seems ignorant of Matthew’s modifications (‘redactional changes’) to Mark.” The problem here is that he gives no qualification at all to this statement. The reader is left with the impression that Luke has no agreements at all with Matthew against Mark. Nowhere does he note that on the Farrer hypothesis Luke actually has quite a few of Matthew’s modifications to Mark. In his response here he completely ignores this and states:

      “But this is what Luke does not do in so many instances. Yes, the Farrer hypothesis sees Luke’s commonality with Matthew and differentiation from Mark in this way (as in Lk.12:8-9 vs. Mark 8:38). But this is simply an alternate explanation offered to that of the Q hypothesis. It does not in itself prove that Farrer is preferable to Q, let alone answers the issue. For a problem still remains, in that we are still left with many instances in which Luke has not taken over a Matthean modification, with no apparent reason why not.”

      Bill: Great, so now we have gone from Matthew being ignorant of Matthew’s modifications to Mark to a Luke who sometimes takes over the modifications and sometimes does not. I guess we are on the way to a slightly more accurate depiction of the data. It would have been nice if his book also went someway in this direction. In fact, there are places in his book where the misrepresentation of the data is truly appalling:

      “But in that material which is common only to themselves (Matthew and Luke), they never agree in its sequence.” (p. 315)

      Bill: This is so far from a fair representation of the data that I lose all faith in his ability. If you take the common material that is not in Mark (the double tradition material) then you actually find a significant agreement in order. In fact, for Kloppenborg this was one of the two main reasons to argue for the textual nature of Q (the other being strong verbatim agreements). That is, the agreements in order are so strong that Kloppenborg argues it is highly unlikely that Q is a collection of oral traditions. Such strong agreements in order can only come from a written source. Just for fun, go through the sermon on the mount/plain and see how many sayings are in the same order. It is especially in Luke’s travel narrative that the order is mixed up, but to say that they never agree in order is very deceptive again.

  • C.J. O'Brien
    2011-02-16 04:52:04 GMT+0000 - 04:52 | Permalink

    Also instructive in the afore-mentioned book was the reminder that the various solutions to the Synoptic problem are hermeneutics, theoretical constructs to aid the practice of form or redaction criticism, not historical reconstructions. Too often, I think, arguments for Luke’s use of Matthew are treated as synonymous with arguments against the existence of a sayings source like Q and its being used in common by Matthew and Luke (and vice versa, where an argument for Luke’s independence from Matthew is a proxy for an argument for a specific reconstruction of Q). But it need not be. Historically, there is no contradiction between Luke having access to or at least familiarity with Matthew while also making use of a source he shares in common with it.

    • BillWarrant
      2011-02-16 06:29:25 GMT+0000 - 06:29 | Permalink

      This is true, but the common source would then be nothing like the supposed Q document. I’m glad you found Derrenbacker’s book helpful. I also liked his thoughts on the possibility that early Christians made use of some sort of notebook. That is precisely what I suspect Luke used (a notebook containing many of Matthew’s sayings) when composing his long central section. Outside of this central section Luke pretty much sticks to Matthew’s order and I suspect he is there copying directly from his Matthew scroll.

  • 2011-02-16 14:19:33 GMT+0000 - 14:19 | Permalink

    First, a comment on post by C. J. O’Brien:

    The idea is not that Luke isn’t familiar enough with Matthew and the ways in which he used Markan material, it is that, given the material constraints of ancient manuscript production (use of scrolls, no writing desks), while Luke is using a scroll of Mark as his source for the order and most of the wording, he (if he’s also incorporating Matthean material) has to trust his memory for the bits of Matthew he wants to insert, as opposed to switching back and forth between two written sources for verbatim copying of both in the same passage, which Derrenbacker regards as unlikely on his study of other Greco-Roman texts composed with the aid of multiple sources.

    Well, I haven’t read Derrenbacker, but I find this conclusion absolutely incredible. Nothing to write on? Did they have no tables? What did they do their work on? Whatever it was, they couldn’t find enough space to spread out two scrolls, which Luke supposedly possessed at the same time? However they did it, I can’t imagine that accomplished writers in the ancient world (whether Josephus, Plutarch, Tacitus) were utterly incapable of using multiple sources efficiently. The ‘excuse’ put forward by Bill that Luke could overlook important and useful emendations by Matthew to Mark in composing his own Gospel is ludicrous. Is that why he left out “upon this rock”? And when he later encountered it (clearly, he didn’t remember it from any previous reading) in Matthew’s reworking of Mark’s periscope he had no way of inserting it, no matter how valuable he might have thought it to be? He wouldn’t have been capable of going through Matthew and making a list of notes about what he wanted to be sure to include? He knew he was working with multiple sources—what, he couldn’t devise any kind of system whereby he could be sure he would get in all the valuable Matthean “bits” he had presumably read ahead of time? Was Luke so incompetent? Why would he undertake such a task as creating his own Gospel from multiple sources if he couldn’t set up a system to ensure he did an adequate job of it? Goodacre is always praising him to the skies as a reliable, sophisticated writer. Doesn’t sound like it if we believe Bill. These are straws, grasped at by the no-Qers who are drowning in all the problems inherent in Luke using Matthew.

    Earl Doherty

  • 2011-02-16 14:31:04 GMT+0000 - 14:31 | Permalink

    I will preface my response to Bill Warrant with an observation. It hardly needs to be said that over the years I have taken a lot of crap and personal attack from people who don’t like the conclusion that there was no Jesus, that the Western world was ‘had’ to that extent for two millenia. Maybe that’s understandable, though I find that the deepest crap tends to come from those who claim they are agnostics or even atheists. I’m still trying to figure out that one.

    But a close second for the topic which gains me an almost equal amount of crap and personal, emotional attack, is the existence of Q. This is more than a simple historical question for some, it seems. You’d think I’d raped their grandmothers. And that one, too, I’m still trying to figure out.

    Bill comes across as angry. He also misrepresents me, and he goes overboard in his criticisms. Well, let’s see what he had to say about my earlier rebuttal posting.

    Even if it weren’t erroneous (which it is), he treats the following as though I am guilty of some transgression so major it turns me into an ignorant charlatan.

    Bill: In Doherty’s response here he acts as if he dealt with the (baptism +) temptation major agreement in his book, but it is nowhere to be found. My critique is not concerned with his explanation for this, it is his neglect of this exception. Of course, his erroneous repetition of “never” is part of his rhetorical strategy, but it is an error nevertheless.

    First of all, he brought up the baptism as being present in Q. I pointed out that most Q scholars do not see it so. The fact is, I included a paragraph about that very thing in The Jesus Puzzle (p.187 and n.79), but I chose not to bother with it in Jesus: Neither God Nor Man because it was not generally included in Q. And let’s keep in mind that neither book is primarily about Q. I was not going to try to include everything that could possibly be said about the subject of its existence, pro and con. That’s highly unrealistic in an 800-page tome, so it became a pick-and-choose matter, while trying to get in at least a statement and some argument about each of the major problems in the Luke-used-Matthew proposal.

    The issue here has to do with the context into which the Temptation was inserted. (It is not about “major agreements” as such.) As I tried to point out in my earlier post, that context is not in Q. There is nothing in the Temptation pericope itself (taken by both Matthew and Luke from Q, as I and others see it) which constitutes a context which Luke could be claimed to have taken from Matthew. All of it seems to have been in Q. The “context” into which both placed it can be clearly seen as Mark’s context. Luke 4:1-2 is not taken from Matthew, but from Mark 1:12. So my statement that Luke never takes over a Matthean context can still stand, because no such take-over can be identified in the Temptation story. The “never” is not rhetorical. It is not an exaggeration. There is no “error.” Bill is so anxious to find some discrediting fault with me, he makes an unfounded accusation here. It is hardly “incredibly deceptive and disappointing,” especially not when I have been misunderstood and misrepresented.

    At one point he says:

    Bill: Great, so now we have gone from Matthew [here he must mean Luke] being ignorant of Matthew’s modifications to Mark to a Luke who sometimes takes over the modifications and sometimes does not.

    No, we have not. In response to him appealing to Farrer, I gave an example in which I compared Luke 12:8-9 with Matthew 10:32-3 as differentiated from a simpler version in Mark 8:38. The Farrer hypothesis would prefer to see this as Matthew enlarging on Mark, and Luke copying from Matthew. I prefer to see it differently: Mark shares (on an oral basis) sayings in common with Q some traditions, Q has a more developed form than Mark’s oral recall, and that developed form has been taken over from Q by both Matthew and Luke. Bill, as I quoted above, has turned this into a question-begging “Luke sometimes takes over the modifications and sometimes does not.” This may be the way he, and Farrer, and Goodacre, would like to see it, but he is not allowed to present it as though that is the way I need to see it, and further make me out as somehow guilty of neglecting to admit or present it that way. (Bill: “I guess we are on the way to a slightly more accurate depiction of the data. It would have been nice if his book also went someway in this direction.”)

    Incidentally, if Luke 12:8-9 is supposed to have copied Matthew 10:32-3, why would Luke have changed “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father…” to “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge…”? Why change the first person self-reference of Jesus to “Son of Man”? And considering that in comparing it to Mark’s more primitive version in 8:38, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words…the Son of Man will be ashamed of him…”, we can judge the “Son of Man” as the more primitive element, why would Luke, when copying Matthew, revert to it?…Oh, I forgot. Luke was charging ahead in Mark and got ahead of Matthew’s more natural improvement. I guess his memory failed him, nor did he think of doing it himself. But wait…doesn’t he do the same sort of thing in 11:49, when he changes a Jesus saying in Matthew to one put into the mouth of personified Wisdom? I wonder why he did that, especially when he didn’t have a Markan precedent in this case to lead him astray before he investigated Matthew. Puzzles within conundrums.

    “But in that material which is common only to themselves (Matthew and Luke), they never agree in its sequence.” (p. 315)

    Bill: This is so far from a fair representation of the data that I lose all faith in his ability. If you take the common material that is not in Mark (the double tradition material) then you actually find a significant agreement in order. In fact, for Kloppenborg this was one of the two main reasons to argue for the textual nature of Q (the other being strong verbatim agreements). That is, the agreements in order are so strong that Kloppenborg argues it is highly unlikely that Q is a collection of oral traditions. Such strong agreements in order can only come from a written source. Just for fun, go through the sermon on the mount/plain and see how many sayings are in the same order…

    First of all, Bill neglects to quote from a few sentences earlier where the principle is more clearly laid out: “When Luke copies the material from Mark, he carefully maintains the order of his source, but when he is presumably copying the extra sayings material from Matthew he radically mixes up its order.” This is true. And considering that it is quite evident to any scholar that Matthew has imposed his own unique structuring of the sayings of Jesus throughout his Gospel (the famous five blocks—whether of his own invention or from Q) we have the further question as to why Luke has taken none of that structure, no residue of it survives, from Matthew. Now, Goodacre may well be able to come up with his own reasons for that, but it remains that we are yet again deprived of a clear indication that Luke copied Matthew.

    Now, we will notice that Bill comes up with a counter-example (his only one): he urges us to have fun comparing Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount with Luke’s Sermon on the Plain to find lots of sayings in the same order. Is that it? Well of course there are going to be sayings groups which are common between the two, because Q itself would have contained such groupings, particularly in the Sermon sections. (Q scholarship, while it can vary, envisions such groupings.) It’s called catchword and thematic linkage. Within Luke’s Sermon, 6:20-49, let’s trace the corresponding order in Matthew (quoting only chapter numbers): 5-7-12-15-10-7-12-7. Are we having fun yet? This is preserving the same order? The commonalities in blocks within the Sermon, especially in its early part, can be seen to be largely linked through catchword associations. (Finding those is more fun.) When those become weaker, the order breaks down.

    Kloppenborg’s point can only apply to such groups of close-knit sayings. By having several similar or near-identical sayings as an unbroken group within both Matthew and Luke, this spells a written source common to both of them. A common sequence whose parts (especially when they are small parts) are widely separated in different chapters can hardly prove the same thing, and when there are isolated common sequences between the two, they are more often than not widely separated. Let’s look at the sequence of Q pericopes in Matthew corresponding to those following Luke’s Sermon: 8-11-8-9-11-10-11-6-7-12…well, you get the idea.

    Perhaps the quote about the “never agree” should have been better nuanced, but I hardly think that Bill’s accusation of “deceptive” is justified. But perhaps that’s all he could come up with. And if he doesn’t come up with anything better, I may not waste any more time on him.

    Earl Doherty

    • BillWarrant
      2011-02-16 19:37:36 GMT+0000 - 19:37 | Permalink

      Doherty said:

      ““But in that material which is common only to themselves (Matthew and Luke), they never agree in its sequence.” (p. 315)”

      According to Kloppenborg Matthew and Luke agree in plaing 27 out of 67 pericopae in the same relative sequence. (Excavating Q, p. 67). Doherty remarks that the sermon on the mount/plain is my only counter-example. I’m sure he is able to see that I was only giving that as an example as there are plenty of others.

      He now says that maybe “never” should have been a bit more nuanced. So this is just lacking in nuance instead of misrepresenting the data?

      When Doherty writes in his book ” “Luke seems ignorant of Matthew’s modifications (‘redactional changes’) to Mark.” he do this as evidence against Luke’s use of Matthew. The point of my critique was of course that Doherty can not say this if there are substantial agreements (minor and major) between Matthew and Luke against Mark. You cannot presume Q in arguing against Luke’s use of Matthew.

      Doherty does not agree with my critique of his statement ““One general principle is that the common material – otherwise assigned to Q – never appears in the same context in Luke as it does in Matthew.”

      I had replied that the Temptation story is an exception to this.

      He now writes:

      The “context” into which both placed it can be clearly seen as Mark’s context. Luke 4:1-2 is not taken from Matthew, but from Mark 1:12.

      Bill: Really? Luke 4:1-2 is taken not from Matthew, but from Mark 1:12? Are you sure? Did you check this? Okay, let’s take a look. I’ll include Mark 1:13, because Luke 4:2 has parallels with that too.

      Mark 1:12-13: (12) The spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the beasts;

      Matthew 4:1-2: (1) Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (2) And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.

      Luke 4:1-2: (1) And Jesus, full of the holy spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the spirit (2) for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry.

      So Doherty thinks Luke 4:1-2 comes from Mark 1:12. Anybody agree with this?

      I have not been interested in arguing with Doherty about Q. It was his representation of the data in his book Jesus: Neither God nor Man that I was critiquing. I have kept my arguments in favor of Luke’s knowledge of Matthew to myself and have concentrated on the errors of representing the data in his book. I have read many books on Q and normally the data is presented much more objectively (Tuckett and Kloppenborg are great examples of solid Q theorists).

  • 2011-02-16 22:35:47 GMT+0000 - 22:35 | Permalink

    Bill, I don’t share your perception that Earl Doherty is misrepresenting anything or playing weasel words (my expression, not your actual words). I have exchanged differences with Earl a number of times, especially over Q, but I have never found a cause to see any kind of intellectual dishonesty in his arguments — and ditto for here, too. I sometimes rhetorically overstate a point but trust in enough goodwill to clarify any misunderstanding arising. I get the impression some of your differences with Earl are really misunderstandings that could be clarified harmoniously if there is good will.

    On the other hand I have learned to expect no mercy and to be gored savagely if someone like a McGrath or UK-based “independent scholar” ever perceives my words to be saying something that they can use to accuse me of intellectual degeneracy.

    Like Earl, I am not quite sure I really understand the personal hostility that disagreement over Q can generate among some people.

  • BillWarrant
    2011-02-17 01:35:57 GMT+0000 - 01:35 | Permalink

    Neil, do you also think I misunderstand Doherty when he writes that Luke 4:1-2 comes from Mark 1:12 and not from Matthew (or Q)? Well, maybe he just made a sloppy mistake, but I think even your nemesis McGrath would not be so sloppy.

    • 2011-02-17 06:01:56 GMT+0000 - 06:01 | Permalink

      Yes, I do. That was one of the main points I was thinking of in my previous comment.

      Doherty is stressing “context” – the place where a scene fits structually into a narrative — and you are pointing to specific wording that introduces that scene itself and is part of that scene.

      Doherty had explained the argument that Mark in places was drawing on some oral recollection of some elements found in Q while Matthew and Luke had access to Q itself in which the wording was more “advanced” than we found in Mark.

      So he does have a case.

      Others are free to disagree with it, of course. (I have questions, too.) But I’d prefer to move beyond the tone that one has come to expect from professional biblical scholars who seem to find it necessary to emulate Tertullian by discerning in chosen opponents’ arguments evidence of incorrigible character flaws.

      • BillWarrant
        2011-02-17 06:36:55 GMT+0000 - 06:36 | Permalink

        I give up. You are completely avoiding the question. Doherty is incorrect when he writes that Luke 4:1-2 is taken from Mark, which was was what I was saying. I did not misunderstand him.

        • 2011-02-18 18:06:28 GMT+0000 - 18:06 | Permalink

          (Sorry for the delay in responding. I had missed your comment earlier.) I didn’t think I was avoiding it at all. I feel bad we are not communicating.

          Perhaps I need to recall someone else’s advice here recently to first of all attempt to sum up the other’s argument and ask first if that is what they are communicating before replying.

          Who was it who offered that advice? It sounded like a great idea.

  • 2011-02-18 14:17:03 GMT+0000 - 14:17 | Permalink

    Bill: (Doherty) now writes:

    The “context” into which both placed it can be clearly seen as Mark’s context. Luke 4:1-2 is not taken from Matthew, but from Mark 1:12.

    Really? Luke 4:1-2 is taken not from Matthew, but from Mark 1:12? Are you sure? Did you check this? Okay, let’s take a look. I’ll include Mark 1:13, because Luke 4:2 has parallels with that too.

    Mark 1:12-13: (12) The spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the beasts;

    Matthew 4:1-2: (1) Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (2) And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.

    Luke 4:1-2: (1) And Jesus, full of the holy spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the spirit (2) for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry.

    So Doherty thinks Luke 4:1-2 comes from Mark 1:12. Anybody agree with this?

    You know, it might have been useful if Bill had actually taken the trouble to tell us why he doesn’t agree with me, rather than ask others to do it.

    And I certainly hope that his objection isn’t just because I said Mark 1:12, instead of Mark 1:12-13a. That would be picayune in the extreme. I wasn’t preparing a PhD dissertation, and at the time I was looking at the NEB, which has verse numbers in the margin and sometimes it’s easy to overlook where the break lies between verses. I should think Bill got my point, and it hardly negates my argument.

    I can work from his translation:

    Mark 1:12-13a: The spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan…

    What are Mark’s elements here? (1) The spirit (2) drives Jesus into the wilderness (3) for 40 days (4) where he was tempted by Satan.

    Luke 4:1-2: And Jesus, full of the holy spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry.

    Above-numbered Markan elements here (plus lettered elements not in Mark): (1) The spirit fills Jesus (x) after he returned from the Jordan (2) and drives him into the wilderness (3) for 40 days (4) where he was tempted by the devil, (y) and he fasted in those days, and at the end he was hungry.

    Let’s compare Matthew 4:1-2:

    Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.

    Elements here: (1) The Spirit (2) leads Jesus into the wilderness (4) where he was tempted by the devil; (3) for 40 days [and nights] (y) he fasted, and after he was hungry.

    In both Matthew and Luke, the basic elements 1 to 4 are taken from Mark. Those elements are the set-up which both used to introduce the Temptation story taken from Q, each making their own little wording changes. Luke has (x) “after he returned from the Jordan.” He didn’t get that from Matthew, so it’s Luke’s own addition to Mark.

    Now, what about (y), Jesus fasting and being hungry? That’s not in Mark. Either Luke could have copied it from a Matthew addition, or it was in Q. Let’s see what follows on it:

    “The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘Scripture says, ‘Man cannot live on bread alone.’

    It’s pretty clear that 4:2b, about Jesus fasting and being hungry, makes a natural lead-in line to the first temptation given to Jesus while he was hungry. (In fact, the NEB starts a new paragraph at Luke 4:2b, recognizing it as part of what follows; it does the same in the Matthew passage.) As such, it was virtually certain to have been in Q, and need in no way be taken as Matthew’s addition to Mark, picked up from him in turn by Luke.

    (Again, technically speaking, I should have spoken of Luke 4:1-2a as taken from Mark, not simply 4:1-2; I guess in the face of dissenters having nothing but minor technicalities to appeal to, I need to be more strict even in discussions like these).

    Now, the above, taken by itself, does not ‘prove’ that Q has to be the option of choice here. But it does discredit the claim (and I’ve encountered it from more than Bill) that the Temptation story is strong evidence in favor of Luke copying Matthew, or, in regard to the present discussion, that I am here proven wrong in my contention that there are no common contexts from the ‘Q’ material in Matthew and Luke.

    And I think it does demonstrate that, despite a bit of looseness with parts-of-verse numbers, I’m not quite as incompetent as Bill would like to present me.

    Earl Doherty

    • 2011-02-18 17:20:15 GMT+0000 - 17:20 | Permalink

      As far as I can tell Earl has it right and Bill is barking at the moon. It’s especially clear in Greek.

      When you first read Mark in Greek you probably were as taken aback by the word choice in 1:12. The spirit “drives” (ἐκβάλλει) him into the wilderness? The image of Jesus being cast out, thrown out, or even banished is disconcerting, and it appears to have bothered Matthew and Luke, too.

      Both Matthew and Luke would like to soften the phrase such that Jesus is “led into” the wilderness. Now if Luke were copying from Matthew, we might expect him to use the same vocabulary. However, where Matthew writes that Jesus was “led up/brought” (ανηχθη), Luke says he was “led away/guided” (ἤγετο) by the spirit into the wilderness.

      It’s clear that Matthew and Luke are independently paraphrasing Mark in this introduction to the Temptation. The word choice and word order differ, but the gist is the same. Jesus leaves the Jordan at the prodding of the spirit and heads toward the wilderness.

      The next verses in Matthew and Luke require them to deviate from Mark, because in Q at the start of the temptation, Jesus is hungry. In Mark, the angels minister to Jesus, so it’s pretty much an extended camping trip. In Q Jesus needs to have become so ravenous that he’s tempted to turn stones into bread.

      Once again, if Luke were copying Matthew, we’d expect similar word choice and possibly even word order. But what do we find? Matthew says that Jesus was hungry, “having fasted” (νηστεύσας) for 40 days and nights. But Luke says “he ate nothing during those days” (ἔφαγεν οὐδὲν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις έκειναις), so he was hungry. The ideas are similar, but execution on the page is much different.

      What drives the point home is the next verse, when Matthew and Luke start quoting from the same source again. Satan says:

      Matthew
      If you are the Son of God command these stones to become bread.
      εἰ υἱος εἷ τοῦ θεοῦ εἶπον ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι

      Luke
      If you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread.
      εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ εἶπε τῷ λίθῳ τούτῳ ἵνα γένηται ἄρτος

      Up to this point Matthew and Luke were paraphrasing Mark and writing their own brief transitions into the Temptation. Now they’re copying Q.

      I give full points to Earl.

  • BillWarrant
    2011-02-18 19:41:10 GMT+0000 - 19:41 | Permalink

    So let me get this straight. The agreements here are much stronger between Matthew and Luke than between Mark and Luke and even though some bits are verbatim agreements between Matthew and Luke, it is still the case that Luke has taken this from Mark. Tim cannot imagine Luke altering the wording of some of the Matthean material (while other bits are verbatim agreements), so it must have been independent editing that has led to these strong similarities. When they actually DO agree verbatim then it must be because they were using a different source. Sigh. Fortunately the International Q Project had a better understanding of source criticism and placed Luke 4:1-2/Matthew 4:1-2 in Q.

    Look, I understand that I have come across as angry and for that I apologize. I think the reason is that I am getting tired of the pro-mythicist bias on sites like this. Say something negative about the works of people like Doherty or Price then you can be sure you stand alone. Say something negative about somebody like McGrath and everybody backs you up. I guess it is to be expected, but I am started to believe the Christian scholars who argue that mythicists have some beef with Christianity. Perhaps it is no coincidence that so many mythicists are former Christians themselves.

    • BillWarrant
      2011-02-18 20:11:32 GMT+0000 - 20:11 | Permalink

      Apparently it is not just the IQP that places Matthew 4:1-2/Luke 4:1-2 in Q, but Q scholars are actually agreed on this. If you want to check for yourself you can take a look at “Documenta Q”, which gives a detailed analyses of the reconstruction of Q by scholars.

    • 2011-02-18 20:17:33 GMT+0000 - 20:17 | Permalink

      Bill, Q has nothing per se to do with “mythicism”. Only with one particular accounting for a “mythical Christ.” How does this in any way relate to former religious affiliations? You know I am a swinging voter on Q though I lean towards Luke (at least the final redactor of Luke-Acts) knowing Matthew, Mark and John. I have debated Q with Doherty in personal correspondence in the past, and not too long ago posted a critique of his views on FRDB. I really don’t understand the anger and hostility that has to come with this debate.

      • BillWarrant
        2011-02-18 20:23:19 GMT+0000 - 20:23 | Permalink

        My problem is not with opinions on Q, but it regards attitudes towards mythicists like Doherty and Price. They seem to have become idols for mythicist groupies.

        • BillWarrant
          2011-02-18 20:27:43 GMT+0000 - 20:27 | Permalink

          This Q business I really consider irrelevant, because I do not expect serious discussion on this issue here, nor have I attempted that. It just proves my point that somebody like Tim Widowfield gives “full points to Earl” when every Q scholar clearly places Matthew 4:1-2/Luke 4:1-2 in Q.

          • 2011-02-19 01:33:08 GMT+0000 - 01:33 | Permalink

            Somebody “like me”? There’s nobody like me. 😉

            Look, what we have in this case is a Mark-Q overlap. People debate over these things all the time. I gave you my reasons why I think it’s more likely that in the introductory sentences Luke is relying on Mark, and then making the transition to Q.

            According to Burton Mack’s reconstruction, which I have here in front of me, there is no baptism scene in Q. We go from John’s pronouncements to Jesus being led into the wilderness. All I’m saying is if Matthew and Luke had Mark lying open in front of them, it simply makes sense that they’d interweave Mark into Q at that point. And the fact that their paraphrases use different words in different order argues against Luke copying Matthew.

            So now you’re leaving in a huff because somebody disagrees with you? Stay and argue your points. But don’t just appeal to authority; tell me why you think I’m wrong.

            • BillWarrant
              2011-02-19 08:38:22 GMT+0000 - 08:38 | Permalink

              “Don’t just appeal to authority?” Well, when Doherty wrote that Luke 4:1-2 was taken from Mark 1:12 I rather was surprised and examined the synopsis (in Greek obviously). It seemed rather obvious to me that he had made an error and I thought laying out the parallels in English would have made it clear enough. I was stunned to find that it was not. Only then did I take a look at “Documenta Q” to see the various Q reconstructions to find whether they agreed that Luke 4:1-2/ Matthew 4:1-2 was in Q (assuming the two source hypothesis of course). Clearly Q scholars agree (are you seriously looking at Mack as your authority on Q??)

              You want to hear why I think Doherty is mistaken when he writes that Luke 4:1-2 is taken from Mark 1:12? Honestly, I don’t see the point. I tried to make it clear to you why Doherty is wrong when he writes that “the minor agreements are a weapon against Markan priority”. If I cannot even make it clear to you why the minor agreements are used as evidence against Q (or the two source hypothesis) and cannot be seen as a weapon against Markan priority then I have no hope of making you understand why it is an error to write that “Luke 4:1-2 is taken from Mark 1:12(or 1:12-13).” You gave an example of a minor agreement in which Q plays no role, to which I replied that the whole point of the minor agreements (from the perspective of the Q skeptics) is that this demonstrates Luke’s knowledge of Matthew, thereby rendering the Q document unnecessary (as it is originally based on the assumption that Luke did not use Matthew). I also tried to make it clear that Farmer thought the minor agreements were a weapon against Markan priority because the Farrer hypothesis was not a major player, so that losing Q for Farmer meant evidence for the Griesbach hypothesis (which was the only serious alternative to the two source theory at the time). Things have changed since then and with the popularity of the Farrer hypothesis it can no longer be said that evidence against Q (and the two source theory) points to the Griesbach hypothesis as there are now serious alternatives without Q, but with Markan priority (i.e. Markan priority). Like I said, if I cannot even make this simple point clear then I see no point in discussing Luke 4:1-2. It reminds me of when I was so naive that I actually tried to start a discussion with a young-earther only to be frustrated by my inability to get through to him. So, because I have no interest in starting another pointless discussion, I will try to explain why it is generally thought by Q scholars that Luke 4:1-2 /Matthew 4:1-2 is from Q, if I have managed to make it clear to you why the minor agreements are now thought to be a weapon against Q and NOT against Markan priority. So, are we there?

        • 2011-02-18 21:00:49 GMT+0000 - 21:00 | Permalink

          You will have to explain your term “mythicist groupies” and to whom it applies. I have seen so many criticisms of the views of both Price and Doherty by “mythicists” that I sometimes wonder if many “mythicists” want them cast out of the “Christ Myth” camp altogether. I have also seen many critiques of Wells. “Mythicists” stikes me as a term that covers a spectrum diverse enough to cover all those frogs someone is trying to load into a wheelbarrow, or cats someone is trying to singlehandedly herd into a gateway..

          Is everyone who agrees with Doherty on a point where you find fault with Doherty a “Doherty groupie”?

          • BillWarrant
            2011-02-18 21:29:56 GMT+0000 - 21:29 | Permalink

            You clearly know more mythicists than I do. I suppose I am basing my views on the mythicists that comment on your blog and I occasionally look at Thomas Veranna’s blog (although he doesn’t post regularly). Fortunately there is more to life than Jesus mythicism. I liked your blog, but it was really not because of the mythicism. Since there really is no way of making a good case for or against the historical Jesus there are more interesting questions out there (literary relations between texts I find far more interesting to study because we have so much actual data to work with). For me it is clearly time to move on.

            • 2011-02-18 22:04:27 GMT+0000 - 22:04 | Permalink

              Well thanks for dropping in. I have enjoyed your contributions and am disappointed you feel this way now. I certainly look forward to returning to many more posts on literary relationships (Justin and the gospels is my latest attempt to step back in that direction) and hope from time to time you can toss in your two bits then.

  • 2011-02-19 10:38:10 GMT+0000 - 10:38 | Permalink

    Bill: It just proves my point that somebody like Tim Widowfield gives “full points to Earl” when every Q scholar clearly places Matthew 4:1-2/Luke 4:1-2 in Q.

    Well, “every scholar” firmly declares that in their judgment there was an historical Jesus. Am I not allowed to come to my own conclusion about that, just as I suggest an alternate conclusion about the opening of Matthew and Luke’s Temptation scene?

    Once again, Bill has appealed to authorities to deny the validity of my argument, but with not even giving us a hint about the grounds for their position. I have in the past taken note that scholarly presentations of Q do tend to include the whole of Mt/Lk 4:1-2 as being in Q. By this time I have forgotten what explanation they had for Mark 1:12-13a, and its close resemblance to the opening sentences of Matthew and Luke, though I think I recall one suggestion that it was a later insertion into Mark ‘summarizing’ the whole of the Temptation story in Matthew and Luke. I found that pretty weak and unlikely, especially in a context of rejecting Markan priority. It might even be possible that Mark’s oral recall (his “overlap”) simply happened to produce similar wording to that of the written Q Matthew and Luke drew on. But Q does not rise or fall on a single case, let alone whether all of 4:1 in both Matthew and Luke were dependent on Q or their first part on Mark. Bill surely realized this, and he strikes me as having seized on the point simply to try to discredit me and my scholarship in general. (He did, after all, more or less say that he felt justified in rejecting my mythicist position because it was ‘tainted’ by my abysmal arguments in favor of Q.)

    As Tim says, there has been debate on the specific content of Q for a long time, and I personally find the business of Mark-Q overlaps to be a very useful element in helping understand that content and getting around the Luke-used-Matthew position, which already suffers from so many problems.

    Earl Doherty

    • 2011-02-19 16:37:50 GMT+0000 - 16:37 | Permalink

      Bill: “It just proves my point that somebody like Tim Widowfield gives “full points to Earl” when every Q scholar clearly places Matthew 4:1-2/Luke 4:1-2 in Q.”

      This would indeed be a very damaging fact to my case, if it were true. But it isn’t. I suppose it would surprise Bill to know that there are people who examine the Synoptics line by line — no, syllable by syllable — all day long. Why did Matthew pick this noun? Why did Luke use that passive verb? And the funny thing is, people disagree. They’ve been doing it for decades.

      It’s hard to imagine an entire book written about Q 4: 1-13 (The Temptation of Jesus) but that’s the sort of thing the International Q Project does for fun.

      https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Y8ZnM0bt4CEC&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

      In this volume you’ll find citations from scholars from over the the past two centuries, weighing in on the most excruciatingly minute details. For example, since this is triple-tradition material, they ask the question, “Is the framework of the story here [at Q 4:1-2 and 4:13 ] from Q or from Mark?” Specifically: “Luke and Matt = Q”? Some are pro; others, con.

      We should note that even scholars who believe that the framework is almost all Q still admit that Matthew and Luke’s awareness of Mark helped shape their narratives. Adolf von Harnack wrote, “The wide divergence at the beginning and the end is partly due to the influence of the Markan text.”

      On the motion — “Luke and Matt = Mark” (Mt & L used Mk’s framework) — one scholar on the pro side whom Bill may recognize and approve of (since he sniffed at Burton Mack) is C. S. Patton. In Sources of the Synoptic Gospels (p. 130) he writes: “The whole story of the temptation as told by Matthew and Luke includes the two verses of each Gospel which immediately precede the section here specified. These verses are not included here because they seem to the writer to be taken by Matthew and Luke from Mark and not from Q.”

      http://books.google.com/ebooks?id=7au0pdZS4PoC&dq=%22Sources+of+the+Synoptic+Gospels%22

      Schweizer wrote, “Vss. 1-2a are formulated by Luke on the basis of Mark 1:12-13; everything else follows Matthew.”

      Ulrich Luz: “Matthew has transmitted this pericope from Q pretty much without change… For the introduction (vv. 1f.) and the conclusion (v. 11) he used the form of Mark 1:12f., which probably older in the history of the tradition.”

      I’m pretty sure these are the points I was getting at in my previous posts. As I said, it’s OK to disagree; however, just calling me wrong and stamping your feet isn’t an argument.

      • Bill Warrant
        2011-02-19 23:52:39 GMT+0000 - 23:52 | Permalink

        It is unfortunate that you do not yet understand that it is an error to write that “Luke 4:1-2 is taken from Mark 1:12(+13).” As I suspected further discussion would be a waste of time for me (as my previous discussion with you on another simple issue also appears to have been a complete waste of time). If you find this topic interesting I can recommend you read “Documenta Q”, which is a very good database on Q scholarship (very amusing that you think I might not be aware that scholars study the synoptics in detail – I happen to read this scholarship quite a bit).

        • 2011-02-20 00:47:53 GMT+0000 - 00:47 | Permalink

          Oh, I should read “Documenta Q”?

          I just quoted scholars who believe that “Luke 4:1-2 is taken from Mark 1:12(+13)” from the “Documenta Q” series.

          http://books.google.com/books?id=Y8ZnM0bt4CEC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

          The complete title of the work is:

          Documenta Q: Reconstructions of Q Through Two Centuries of Gospel Research Excerpted, Sorted and Evluated: Q 4:1-13,16: the Temptations of Jesus — Nazara

          You reply by telling me I don’t understand that it’s an error (to side with Patton, Schweizer, and Luz). You don’t tell me why, but you do point me in the direction of “Documenta Q,” because it’s “a very good database on Q scholarship.”

          Uh… Yeah! That’s why I quoted from it! You’re not even paying attention. I don’t know what your game is, Bill, but I’m not playing along anymore.

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