|Alan Garrow Didache|
the problem page
In yesterday’s post I tried to explain the basis for Gerald Downing’s claim that Matt3rd is ‘impossible’.
Downing’s contention, in essence, is that: if Matthew knew Mark and Luke, then, when Mark and Luke agree verbatim for 30+ letters, Matthew ought to mimic this double attestation exactly. Here is his point in his own words:
Mt3rd appears to have refused to include such further common matter [which Downing calls ‘UCVSTs’ (Unconventional Verbatim Shared Texts) by which he means passages that are not: words addressed to Jesus, words of Jesus, challenges to Jesus, words of the Baptist, or words of God] as it stands, or, on occasion, even refused to paraphrase it, all alongside often accepting extensive single witness verbatim. … To repeat, apart from one thirty-letter instance, no full-length triple UCVSTs appears in Matt, despite the numerous double UCVSTs in Mark-with-Luke waiting to be accepted. This puzzles me, and perhaps will or should in due course puzzle the reader. (p. 320)
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it is important to understand precisely what Downing means by ‘refuse’ or ‘avoid’ or, ‘assiduously avoid’. What he does not mean is ‘completely omit’, what he does mean is ‘fail to copy exactly’. To provide a more precise understanding of this point, here are the first ten instances (out of a total of forty-two) where Downing spots strings of 30+ letters in Mark and Luke which, he claims, Mt3rd assiduously avoids (with the exception of Example 6, where Downing detects a single example of Mt3rd behaving as he would expect).
Mark 1.4//Luke 3.3:
κηρύσσω βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν
[preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins].
Matthew: omits entirely.
Mark 1.7//Luke 3.16:
ἔρχεται [δὲ] ὁἰσχυρότερος μου [ὀπίσω μου] οὗοὐκ εἰμι ἱκανος [κύψας] λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ
[after me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie] (Mark 1.7//Luke 3.16).
ὁδὲὀπίσω μουἐρχόμενος ἰσχυρότερος μου ἐστιν οὗοὐκ εἰμι ἱκανος τὰὑποδημάτων βαστάσαι
[but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry]
Mark 1.13//Luke 4.1: ἐν τῇἐρήμῳ[τεσσεράκοντα ἡμερας reverse order in Luke] πειραζόμενος ὑπο τοῦ...
[in the wilderness forty days tempted by ...]
Matthew 4.1-2: εἰς τὴν ἔρημον ὑπὸτοῦπνεύματος πειρασθῆναι ὑπὸδιαβόλου και νηστεύσας ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα
[into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days].
Example 4 and 5
Mark 1.23-28//Luke 4.33-37 ‘The Healing of the Demoniac in the Synagogue’ includes duplicate strings, one 114 characters long and the other 35.
Matthew omits the entire episode.
Example 6 (not numbered by Downing)
Mark 1.22//Luke 4.32: καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶτῇδιδαχῇαὐτοῦ
[And they were astonished at his teaching]
Matthew 7.28:ἐξεπλήσσοντο [οἱ ὄχλοι] ἐπὶτῇδιδαχῇαὐτοῦ
[the crowds were astonished at his teaching]
Example 7 (Downing 6)
Mark 1.4b//Luke 5.14a: τῷἱερεῖκαὶπροσένεγκε περι τοῦκαθαρισμοῦσου
[… to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded you]
Matthew 8.4a: τῷἱερεῖκαὶπροσένεγκον
[ … to the priest and offer (the gift that Moses commanded)]
Example 8 (Downing 7)
Mark 4.41//Luke 8.25: πρὸς ἀλλήλους τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν ὅτι και
[… to one another: “Who then is this …].
Matthew 8.27: ποταπός ἐστιν οὗτος ὅτι και
[“What sort of man is this …].
Example 9 (Downing 8)
Mark 5.7-8//Luke 8.28-29: τί ἐμοὶκαὶσοί Ἰησοῦυἱε τοῦθεοῦτοῦὑψίστου;
[‘What you you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?’].
Matthew 8.29: τί ἡμῖν καὶσοί υἱε τοῦθεοῦ;
[‘What do you have to do with us, O Son of God?’].
Example 10 (Downing 9)
Mark 5.13/Luke 8.33: εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους καὶὥρμησεν ἡἀγέλη κατὰτοῦκρημνοῦεἰς τὴν...
[entered the swine and the herd rushed down the steep bank] (into the sea/lake). Matthew 8.32: ἀπῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους καὶἰδοὺὥρμησεν πασα ἡἀγέλη κατὰτοῦκρημνοῦεἰς τὴν θάλασσαν
[and went into the swine and behold the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea].
In the case of the first instance Downing generously notes that Matthew might possibly have chosen to omit these words so as to allow the privilege of forgiveness of sins to Jesus alone. However, he goes on to protest: '[A]re we going to have to find a lot of such ad hoc explanations for over forty more Mark/Luke common texts "happening" to displease this redactor?' (p. 322). If, however, Matthew’s redaction of these passages in Mark (under the 2DH) makes sense, then why should Matthew’s redaction of these passages make less sense simply because the passages in question happen to appear in both Mark and Luke? If Matthew had a logical reason to make a change in one case, then exactly the same logic would apply in the other.
Tomorrow I will ask what would satisfy Downing that Matthew had used Luke and Mark – while also asking if this standard could ever, in reality, be achieved.
Alan Garrow is Vicar of St Peter's Harrogate and a member of SCIBS at the University of Sheffield.