Marcion's Gospel

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:16 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:00 pm
to Ben,
The highlighted part does not work for me. Luke 3-24 was not composed in continuation of Luke 1-2, because Luke 3.24 has its own excellent introduction (3.1-2), introduces John by his patronymic as if he had not been introduced before in the narrative, and seems to be ignorant of the relationship between Jesus and John from chapters 1-2. Thus, Luke 3-24 originally stood without Luke 1-2; the evidence is not bidirectional.
Frankly, I don't see what you are trying to express. Are you sure Lk 3:24 is the correct verse for your point? or are you talking about Lk 3:3-24? I will assume you meant Lk 3:3-24 from now on.
No, I mean chapters 3-24 of Luke. (Not every single verse, obviously: I am just excluding chapters 1-2 in a general way from the main body.)
I also made the point that Luke 1-2 was composed in total ignorance of Luke's gospel which was written afterwards.
That is probably also true. Chapters 1-2 and chapters 3-24 probably hail from the same area, but neither used the other as it was being composed. They are independent.
Why would Lk 3:3-24 mention the relationship (again!) between Jesus and John as per Lk 1-2?
What I am saying is that chapters 3-24 appear to be ignorant that they are cousins and that John actually recognized Jesus even in the womb. Luke 7.19, for example, comes as a bit of a surprise.
And John being mentioned by his patronymic (as son of Zacharias) in Lk 3:2 was the simplest way to identify that "John" as the same one as the one in Lk 1, one full chapter before, as a reminder.
John is not named with a patronymic like that even in Luke 5.33, two full chapters after Luke 3, and with John the apostle intervening as another man with whom he could be confused! Introducing him afresh in 3.2 is simply unnecessary and strange.
Again, I don't see why Lk 3:3-24 was ignorant of Lk 1. As a matter of fact, Lk 3:3-24 has John as the son of Zacharias, as in Lk 1. That's not ignorance.
Same tradition or area of influence. People probably knew John's patronymic and used it at will. It is the sort of information that would most naturally be readily available in a culture in which patronymics were the single most common means of identification.
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Bernard Muller
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by Bernard Muller » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:19 am

to Ben,
No, I mean chapters 3-24 of Luke. (Not every single verse, obviously: I am just excluding chapters 1-2 in a general way from the main body.)
My bad.
That is probably also true. Chapters 1-2 and chapters 3-24 probably hail from the same area, but neither used the other as it was being composed. They are independent.
I think the author of gLuke knew about Lk 1-2, because of "son of Zechariah" in Lk 1 and Lk 3.
What I am saying is that chapters 3-24 appear to be ignorant that they are cousins and that John actually recognized Jesus even in the womb. Luke 7.19, for example, comes as a bit of a surprise.
I do not see why Lk 3-24 should remind that John the Baptist and Jesus are cousins: That's done in Lk 1. Once is enough.
As for Lk 7:18-19, "John" has disciples, which is understandable for John the baptizer because of his great popularity. That "John" is not John the fisherman, one of the twelve, who was very unlikely to have disciples. Furthermore, John the fisherman is close to Jesus & would not need others to ask his questions. However, with John the baptizer in jail, intermediaries would be needed.
I do not see why Lk 7:18-19 should remind the readers/listeners that Jesus and John the baptizer are cousins. For me, that reminder would be a bit of a surprise because of unnecessary.
John is not named with a patronymic like that even in Luke 5.33, two full chapters after Luke 3, and with John the apostle intervening as another man with whom he could be confused! Introducing him afresh in 3.2 is simply unnecessary and strange.

So far, only two "John" are mentioned. John the fisherman is very unlikely to have disciples, but John the baptizer, because of his huge popularity, would have followers.
I think you expect the author of gLuke to be as accurate, precise and systematically consistent as, let's say, the scientist writing a paper on his discovery or a lawyer writing a pre-nuptial document. Well, gospel authors were not like this. You should know about that.
As for 3:2, I expressed myself already on that. I want to add, that the author of Lk 3:2 wanted to make sure that "John" was the same as the one in Lk 1. So, I do not think that reminder is unnecessary and strange.
Same tradition or area of influence. People probably knew John's patronymic and used it at will. It is the sort of information that would most naturally be readily available in a culture in which patronymics were the single most common means of identification.
After Lk 3, John, the son of Zacharias, would be known as the baptizer & a very popular preacher, and very likely to have followers, and therefore identified as such. No need to remind the readers he is a cousin of Jesus and/or son of Zecharias.
BTW, I do not see in the gospel, the author reminding the readers/listeners that Jesus is the son of Joseph, or that John the fisherman, who will become a member of the twelve, is the son of Zebedee.

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:03 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:19 am
I do not see why Lk 3-24 should remind that John the Baptist and Jesus are cousins: That's done in Lk 1. Once is enough.
Not a reminder. Just some natural consequence of that fact.
As for Lk 7:18-19, "John" has disciples, which is understandable for John the baptizer because of his great popularity. That "John" is not John the fisherman, one of the twelve, who was very unlikely to have disciples. Furthermore, John the fisherman is close to Jesus & would not need others to ask his questions. However, with John the baptizer in jail, intermediaries would be needed.
You are giving reasons here for not needing a patronymic for John; yet there is an awesome reason not to give him a patronymic in 3.2, since he is thus far the only John mentioned.

It is not that your arguments are bad; it is that they are inconsistent. You accept lesser arguments against using a patronymic but then ignore the best reason of all against using a patronymic.
I think you expect the author of gLuke to be as accurate, precise and systematically consistent as, let's say, the scientist writing a paper on his discovery or a lawyer writing a pre-nuptial document.
What I expect is a natural form of writing, not a precise or systematic form of writing. Also, writers have habits and tendencies we can judge.
After Lk 3, John, the son of Zacharias, would be known as the baptizer & a very popular preacher, and very likely to have followers, and therefore identified as such. No need to remind the readers he is a cousin of Jesus and/or son of Zecharias.
You missed my point here. My point was that Luke 3.2 calling John the "son of Zacharias" does not require knowledge of Luke 1-2. What I am saying is that people in that culture would generally not need a text to tell them a man's patronymic.
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:36 am

Bernard, you seem to be (unintentionally, I presume) mistaking the nature of the argument I am making (which is essentially the same as that given, say, by Raymond Brown, among many others). The argument is cumulative, for one thing, and each of its separate elements relies upon a slight mismatch between what we might expect if Luke 3-24 was written with awareness of Luke 1-2 and what we actually find in our text. To recap accordingly:
  1. Luke 3.1-2 looks like the beginning of a text, and if we were to have found it at the beginning of some old papyrus in a garbage heap in Oxyrhynchus, nobody would have expected that any text ever preceded it. Contrast this completely fresh start with the first words of Matthew 3.1: "in those days," written with evident awareness of Matthew 1-2.
  2. Luke 3.23-38 is not the most expected place for Jesus' genealogy; genealogies are more commonly given in connection with the person's birth or upbringing. It is as if whoever put the genealogy here did not have an infancy narrative to insert it into instead.
  3. Luke 3.2 introduces John with a patronymic, as if he had not yet been introduced in the narrative. Contrast Luke 4.38, which introduces Simon with no patronymic or fanfare whatsoever, despite this being his first mention in the gospel. This lack of introduction is understandable because both "Luke" and his readers already know Simon from the gospel of Mark, at least, as well as from general Christian tradition. John, however, is introduced as if Luke 1-2 did not even exist.
  4. Luke 1-2 tells us that John and Jesus were cousins, and that the former even recognized the latter in the womb. Luke 3-24 betrays no awareness of this relationship; John and Jesus may as well be strangers, and John has to ask (via envoys) whether Jesus really is "the one." This is an argument from silence, to be sure, but it stands among other arguments as a support. Similarly, Luke 1-2 gives Jesus a virgin birth; Luke 3-24 betrays no evidence of such a miracle.
  5. Both the Marcionite gospel and the gospel of the Ebionites begin at the equivalent of Luke 3.1-2.
The only possible sign of any knowledge of Luke 1-2 on the part of Luke 3-24 is the naming of Zacharias as John's father. But this knowledge could just have easily gone in the other direction, with Luke 3.1-2 naming John's father (in the form of a patronymic, the most common ancient method of identifying a person without a surname) and then Luke 1-2 composing a story about him; this process would be exactly parallel to Mark 6.3 naming Jesus' mother and then later gospels composing stories about her. The evidentiary value, therefore, of the name of Zacharias as an indicator that the information flowed from chapters 1-2 into chapters 3-24 is exactly zero. There is no such presumption, logically speaking, and that information could have easily flowed from chapters 3-24 into chapters 1-2 or, more likely, from a general Christian and cultural awareness of John's patronymic into both compositions.

Each of the above points on the list can be refuted individually; the point, however, is the overall picture: why do all the valid expectations go in a single direction? And that is how cumulative arguments work.
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