|Alan Garrow Didache|
RON HUGGINS - SBL Denver 2022
"Luke's Chronic-Fatigue Syndrome or Matthew's Quest for Order and Universal Applicability: Reading the Parable of the Talents/Minas through the Lens of the Matthean Posteriority Hypothesis" - Ronald V Huggins
Ron Huggins taught at Moody Bible Institute—Spokane, Salt Lake Theological Seminary, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a former Editor of The Midwestern Journal of Theology. His "Matthean Posteriority: A Preliminary Proposal." Novum Testamentum (1992) played a pivotal role in birthing the current resurgence of interest in the case for Matthew's use of Luke. Thirty years after the publication of that article (and many diverse projects later) Ron has returned to the Synoptic Problem. In this SBL presentation he considers a parable that has played an important role for supporters of the Farrer Hypothesis.
Abstract: This paper looks at the Parable of the Talents/Minas (Matt 25:14-30/Luke 19:12-27) from the perspective of the Matthean Posteriority Hypothesis. It argues that it makes more sense to see Matthew modifying Luke’s version than Luke modifying Matthew’s (the Farrer Hypothesis). Matthew’s version is straightforward: a man gives three servants money (talents) and later calls for an account of what they did with it. The two that did well are entrusted with “many things,” and invited to “enter into the joy of your master.” The third, who hid his money, has it taken from him and is consigned to outer darkness. The whole is, as Mark Goodacre writes, “simpler, more coherent and easier to follow” than Luke’s version, which M.D. Goulder once described as “a dreadful jumble of business and politics, and not a satisfactory unity.” At the beginning of Luke’s, ten servants are given money (minas) but by the end only three are called to give an account of what they did with it. No mention is made of the other seven. In addition, a significant sub-plot is woven into the parable. The master of the servants is going to a far country to be crowned king despite opposition at home. A delegation is sent to thwart his hopes but is unsuccessful. When the newly crowned king returns, he executes those who opposed his coronation. Defenders of the Farrer Hypothesis do not regard Luke’s relative disorder as an impediment to his having used Matthew’s version as his source. Two primary reasons are given: (1) Luke started out with ten servants instead of three because he likes the number ten, but (2) he fails to carry this through to the end because, despite the parable’s brevity, editorial fatigue sets in and he loses track of how he’d started. Other arguments are sometime ventured, including that Luke felt no compulsion to refer to all ten servants at the end of the parable because doing so would be tedious, and that, as Goulder put it, Luke was simply “not good at combining stories.” This paper argues to the contrary that a more credible account of the data sees Matthew, as was typical of him, simplifying and imposing order upon Luke’s disordered version and universalizing its application by disentangling Luke’s basic parable from its secondary political sub-plot. We will also argue that even supposing what the Farrer Hypothesists’ say about Luke is true, it really contributes nothing of substance toward either dispensing with Q or establishing Matthew in particular as his source.