Side 1: Matthew and Luke used both Mark and Q.
Side 2: There was no Q: Matthew used Mark and Luke used both Matthew and Mark.
One of the arguments against #2 is that it is inconceivable that Luke would have so thoroughly revised and restructured Matthew (especially the nativity story and the Sermon on the Mount) if he were using Matthew. Opposed to this argument is the claim that such a revision is not inconceivable. I tended to favour the latter.
So on that point the two sides cannot be resolved.
As I continue to read Delbert Burkett’s Rethinking the Gospel Source: From Proto-Mark to Mark I am wondering if the scales can be tipped in favour or one side after all. And what tips the balance? Silence. Roaring silence.
Before continuing, though, I need to apologize to Delbert Burkett for leaving aside in this post the central thrust of his argument. His primary argument is that neither the Gospel of Matthew nor the Gospel of Luke was composed with any awareness of the Gospel of Mark. Rather, all three synoptic gospels were drawing upon other sources now lost.
But for now I’m only addressing the question that Luke knew and decided to change much in the Gospel of Matthew.
Here is a key element of Burkett’s point :
The Gospel of Matthew has recurring features of style that are completely or almost completely absent from . . . Luke. Entire themes and stylistic features that occur repeatedly in Matthew are lacking in [Luke]. What needs explaining, then, is not the omission of individual words and sentences, but the omission of entire themes and recurring features of Matthew’s style. Since the great majority of these are benign, i.e., not objectionable either grammatically or ideologically, they are difficult to explain as omissions by either Mark or Luke, more difficult to explain as omissions by both. They are easily explained, however, as a level of redaction in Matthew unknown to either Mark or Luke. Their absence from Mark and Luke indicates that neither gospel depended on Matthew. (p. 43)
Words recurring in Matthew but not found in parallel passages in Luke
The word “then”, τότε
Used by Matthew 90 times.
Luke parallels 40 of passages in Matthew using τότε but Luke only uses τότε 7 times in those. 33 times he has avoided using Matthew’s τότε.
Not that Luke had an aversion to the word because he uses it in other passages as well, 21 times in Acts and 8 times in places in his gospel that do not parallel Matthew.
“Come to”, “Approach”, προσέρχομαι
Matthew uses this word 52 times. Even though 27 of those passages in Matthew are paralleled in Luke, the word appears only 5 times in those 27 passages. But Luke is happy to use the word 5 times elsewhere in his gospel and 10 times in Acts.
Matthew 9:14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?
Luke 5:33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.“
Matthew uses it 16 times. Luke has 11 parallel passages to those but uses the word only once.
Not that he dislikes the word because he uses it elsewhere. It looks like he only objects to it if it is found in Matthew — if he indeed was using Matthew.
Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered (ἔφη), “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said (εἶπεν) to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
13 times in Matthew; 6 parallel passages in Luke but not one use of it in those passages. Luke does use it 4 times in other places, however.
Matthew 27:33 They came to a place called (λεγόμενον) Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).
Luke 23:33 When they came to the place called (καλούμενον) the Skull
“From there”, ἐκεῖθεν
12 times in Matthew; 7 parallel passages in Luke in which ἐκεῖθεν is used a total of one time.
Matthew 4:21 Going on from there (ἐκεῖθεν), he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.
Luke 5:10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
“Withdraw”, “Depart”, ἀναχωρέω
10 times in Matthew; 4 parallels in Luke without using ἀναχωρέω
Matthew 9:24 he said, “Go away (Ἀναχωρεῖτε). The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.
Luke 8:53 “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
“Worship”, “pay homage”, προσκυνέω
Luke also uses this word but not when he is writing material that is parallel to Matthew and where Matthew uses it.
Matthew 8:2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before (=worshipping) him . . .
Luke 5:12 A man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground (not worshipping) . . .
Leave, Depart, Pass over, μεταβαίνω
Matthew 8:34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave (μεταβῇ) their region.
Luke 8:37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them (ἀπελθεῖν), because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
Arrival, the coming, παρουσία
In the gospels this word is found only in Matthew. There are 4 parallel sections in Luke but no occurrences of the word.
Matthew 24:3 “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming (παρουσίας) and of the end of the age
Luke 21:7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
Grammatical constructions recurring in Matthew but not found in parallel passages in Luke
Not only words but grammatical constructions are avoided by Luke when he is supposedly drawing on Matthew.
Not only words but also certain grammatical constructions recur in Matthew, such as a genitive absolute followed by ἰδοὺ or καὶ ἰδοὺ.
Matthew uses this construction 11 times. 6 of these passages are paralleled in Luke.
Only once does it occur in one of these parallels, in Luke 22:47 (compare Matthew 26:47) . . . . [T]his one instance [has been taken] as evidence that Luke used Matthew, since here a unique literary characteristic of Matthew appears in Luke. However, to call this a “unique” characteristic of Matthew overstates the case, since it occurs elsewhere in Acts 1:10. . . . On the contrary, when we stop focusing on a single passage, the whole picture presented by Table 3.8 suggests just the opposite. Luke 22:47 and Acts 1:10 show that Luke had no aversion to the construction. Why then, given the theory that Luke used Matthew, did he almost always eliminate it when he found it in Matthew? (p. 53)
The table shows that Luke used Matthew’s phrase once out of the six times he paralleled Matthew’s material.
Phrases recurring in Matthew but not found in parallel passages in Luke
- Matthew 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet
- (Matthew 2:5 for this is what the prophet has written — spoken by Herod’s advisors)
- Matthew 2:15 And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet
- Matthew 2:17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled
- Matthew 2:23 So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets
- Matthew 4:14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah
- Matthew 8:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah
- Matthew 12:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah
- Matthew 13:35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet
- Matthew 21:4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet
- Matthew 26:56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled
- Matthew 27:9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled
Yet even though Luke liked the idea of fulfilled scripture he never once uses such a phrase. This failure adds support to the view that he did not know of Matthew.
- Matthew 4:23 . . . . healing every disease and sickness among the people
- Matthew 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
- Matthew 10:1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Contrast Luke where he parallels two of the above passages:
- Luke 12:1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him.
- Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases.
Not, similarly, the phrase Matthew likes to use at the end of each narrative discourse by Jesus. Luke does use the same phrase once at the end of his Sermon on the Plain where Matthew used it at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, but after that, Luke decides not to use it anymore.
Matthew 7:28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching
Luke 7:1 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum.
Matthew 11:1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
Luke 9:5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.
Luke 10:16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
Matthew 13:53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.
Luke 8:18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”
Matthew 19:1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan.
Matthew 26:1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples
Luke 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Matthew’s recurring redactional insertions not found in parallel passages in Luke
Matthew has a habit of making insertions or interpolations into his source material. Two illustrations:
Matthew 9:13 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.‘ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 12:7 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
The bolded sentence breaks the logical flow of the surrounding material. Matthew liked the idea of mercy trumping sacrifice so much he forced his way into using it twice. No-one can deny that Luke also liked the principle of mercy being more important than sacrifice (just recall his parable of the Good Samaritan) so it must be considered odd that he did not adapt Matthew’s words had he known them.
Delbert Burkett cites many other examples (over 50 in fact) to make his case.
As I think about not so much each one of the above but such thorough absence of recurring characteristics of Matthew’s style I do confess that I am feeling strongly obligated to let go of my preference for Luke making use of Matthew’s gospel.
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