|Alan Garrow Didache|
the problem page
Chakrita Saulina, a native of Jakarta, Indonesia, is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (New Testament) at Seattle Pacific University. She holds degrees from the University of Indonesia (B.Eng, 2006); Acadia Divinity College (M.Div, 2013); Yale University (S.T.M., 2016) and the University of Cambridge (PhD, 2021). Her doctoral dissertation, supervised by Prof Judith Lieu, was entitled: “The Narrative Function(s) of Evil Spirits in the Gospel of Luke”. Chakrita is a member of the steering group for “The Interrelations of the Gospels Consultation” at SBL, and will be presenting a paper in this section in Denver on Sunday 20th November, 2022. Here she describes the steps that caused her to suspect that Matthew used Luke:
“I first encountered the Synoptic Problem about 11 years ago when, in my first New Testament class, Craig Evans explained Markan Priority and the concept of Q. For many years I never questioned what I’d been taught. Then I started teaching and working on my PhD.
In my doctoral studies I examined the narrative function(s) of evil spirits in Luke. I was drawn to this topic because Luke highlights these malevolent characters more than any other gospel and I wanted to find out why. While studying the relevant stories as individual units and within the broad sweep of the gospel, I considered Luke’s distinctive voice when compared with parallel episodes in Mark and Matthew. This caused me to appreciate for the first time how closely Matthew and Luke agree at certain points in the Double Tradition. Particularly, I was drawn by the verbatim agreements in the Temptations and Beelzebul Controversy. In the latter, the word-for-word parallels are particularly striking in the two accounts of the return of the evil spirit (Luke 11:24-26//Matt 12:42-45).
Besides these similarities, the differences between Luke and the other two Synoptics are also apparent, particularly in the travel narrative. There is a huge spectrum between the similarities and differences in terms of order and wording of the synoptics: they can be very similar, and they can also be very different. It means that each evangelist has some degree of freedom both at the micro-level (the wording used for a particular part) or macro-level (order of passages with the whole) in departing from or following their sources.
Given this freedom, if Luke and Matthew independently used Q, it is hugely coincidental that they both wrote virtually identical passages in similar contexts. This coincidence is even more extraordinary if we consider that Luke and Matthew may have had two or more sources. How then did they come to the same decision in writing a very similar passage in a very similar context independently? As Mark Goodacre puts it, this is surely, ‘Too Good to be Q’. I remember my own experience as a teacher several years ago, when I noticed that two students had very similar answers to the same question. I was certain that one was influenced by the other, which was indeed the case. I wondered at that moment: besides having Mark as one of their primary sources, could it be that Luke “plagiarized” Matthew or vice versa? I also recalled that Luke’s Double Tradition was closer to Q. So, was it really necessary for Q to be a separate tradition independently consulted by Luke and Matthew? Why couldn’t Luke have influenced Matthew or vice versa? Could it be that the “Q” used by Matthew was actually Luke?
While looking for Luke’s distinct voice, his overall plot and the role of evil spirits in it, I came across other reasons to suspect that Luke may have been one of Matthew’s sources. Given Luke’s generally extensive use of synonyms, his range of names for evil spirits is surprisingly limited. This is particularly surprising if Luke used Matthew since Matthew has a relatively rich list of names denoting Satan.
In many ways, Luke is much more similar to Mark in this naming issue, which may also signify an older tradition than what we find in Matthew. Worth noting, for instance, Mark only uses Σατανᾶς in describing the archenemy of God throughout his gospel. The use of this term might not appear surprising unless we consider how it comes to be the most common name for the chief of demons in the New Testament. Luke’s use of the terms σατανᾶς and διάβολος convey a new development of the meaning of these two terms in the Jewish tradition, which refers to the archenemy of God.
In “Luke’s Naming of Evil Spirits and The Three Layers of Interpretation”, a paper presented at SBL 2019, I argued: 1) The use of either διάβολος or σατανᾶς in each scene where they appear in Luke is intentional and not merely for the sake of literary variety; and 2) The historical Jesus may have been the reason for σατανᾶς, an adaptation of aramaic term סָטָנָא, becoming the most popular term referring to the chief of demons. In the second temple period, the term ‘satan’ is not the most popular word used to denote the leader of demons. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, we find ‘Mastema’ (18 times) and ‘Belial’ (88 times) appear more frequently than ‘Satan’. Several other references to the ruler of the demons in the second-temple apocalyptic texts include Semyaz and Azazel as chiefs of the fallen angels in 1 Enoch 9; Sammael (1:8, 11:2:1), Beliar (1:8f; 2:4; 3:11), and Satan (2:2,7; 5:16) in the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah. Contrary to this ‘reservoir’ of names for the leaders in the demonic world, it is striking that in Luke and the NT in general, an unpopular term like σατανᾶς gains popularity. The historical Jesus may have used this term and it became common within his circles of disciples. This is also supported by Foerster who argues, “Study[sic] of the Synopt. and Ac. suggest that Σατανᾶς is closer to Palestinian usage…”
Hence, in my PhD dissertation I claim that Luke’s use of Σατανᾶς may represent an earlier tradition (which may include Markan influence) that Luke follows closely. Luke uses σατανᾶς five times in his gospel: 10:18, 11:18, 13:16, 22:3, 31, and noticeably most of these are unique (except 11:18). Moreover, in this gospel, σατανᾶς appears almost exclusively in Jesus’s speech (10:18, 11:18, 13:16, 22:31, except, 22:3). A similar pattern can also be found in Mark (except, 4:15) and Matthew. Also, Breytenbach and P.L. Day (in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (DDD)) argue that prior and contemporary to the gospel, there is no datum of σατανᾶς among Greek writings associated with non-Jewish or non-Christian writers. The meaning of the root word śāṭān itself can only be developed from its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, since there is no other occurrence of this term prior or contemporary to the Scripture. However, Luke’s use of διάβολος comes from his adaptation of the Septuagint. This term may have been used because it was more familiar to the readers; the word διάβολος is found in both Hellenistic and Jewish literature. Among Greek texts that were written between the 4th century BCE and the1st century CE, διάβολος appears significantly more often than σατανᾶς.
If Luke had access to Matthew, Matthew’s effect on Luke’s vocabulary seems to be very minimal. In the temptation of Jesus (in which the two evangelists present many close parallels), Luke employs the term διάβολος four times. Luke could have changed one of these to another term such as σατανᾶς or ὁ ἐχθρός (which he uses in 10:10), similar to what we can observe in Matthew’s version of the temptation where Matthew refers to Satan once as ὁ πειράζων (4:3). Luke, however, applies an unvarying title throughout the passage. The absence of ὁ πειράζων and ὁ πονηρός in Luke is striking if he had access to Matthew since these titles fit well with Luke’s theological agenda. Luke underlines the role of the Devil as the tempter in at least in three places: Jesus’s temptation scene, the parable of the sower, and Jesus’s passion. It seems more probable, therefore, that it is Matthew who has developed Luke’s limited vocabulary, rather than the reverse.
There are two other issues that also lead me to suspect Luke’s influence over Matthew. First, Luke’s central section (the travel narrative) has many parallels to Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. Many Lukan scholars would agree that the travel narrative is the crux in Luke’s Gospel; many have pondered how Luke may have ordered his material in this section. If Luke had access to Matthew, the way Luke dispersed or scattered many passages in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount is difficult to explain and runs against the grain of ancient compositional practices. However, if Matthew had access to Luke, the former may have decided to gather Luke’s “scattered” material, much as other ancient authors coordinated parallel sources to create a more comprehensive whole.
Second, examining Luke’s plot, I observed how Isaiah has an important role in Luke’s Promise-Fulfillment framework. Luke highlights how Jesus’s life and ministry fulfills Isaiah’s exodus motif (often known as Isaiah’s new exodus). If Luke had access to Matthew, it is surprising how Luke reduces the space that Isaiah gains in Matthew’s Gospel. Luke only incorporates a small number of direct citations from Isaiah (fewer than Matthew). Even more surprising is the omissions of some direct mentions of Isaiah’s name; Matthew mentions Isaiah’s name in: 3:3, 4:14, 8:17, 12:17, 13:14: 15:7. It makes more sense to suppose that Matthew’s adaptation of Isaiah was influenced by Luke, rather than the other way around.
At one point in my dissertation research, I took a bit of a “detour” into the Synoptic Problem. Reading Mark Goodacre (who thinks Luke used Matthew) and Rob MacEwen (who thinks Matthew used Luke) I certainly agreed more with Rob. At some point during my time in Cambridge, I also got the chance to talk with Richard Bauckham. I forget how the conversation started, but I remember vividly that he also supports the idea that Matthew used Luke rather than the other way around. During that period, I also heard Alan Garrow’s presentation ‘Why not Matthew’s use of Luke?’ at the Graduate Seminar. Alan’s presentation of the macrostructure of Matthew’s indebtedness to Luke was really persuasive.
Each of these factors has contributed to my growing interest in the case for Matthew’s use of Luke. I look forward to participating in this rapidly developing debate."
Chakrita will be presenting at SBL Denver, 2022
Session 20-128: November 20th 9.00-11.30am.
“Competitive Traditions: Luke’s and Matthew’s (Con)textualization of the Beelzebul Controversy”.
An expanded version of this paper is also due for publication in:
The Synoptic Problem 2022: Proceedings of the Loyola University Conference, O. Andrejevs, Simon J. Joseph, Edmondo Lupieri, Joseph Verheyden (eds.) (Leuven: Peeters, forthcoming)
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Alan Garrow is Vicar of St Peter's Harrogate and a member of SCIBS at the University of Sheffield.