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Lost sheep.

Independent versions of the parable. See the commentary.







Independent written sources. Or Luke may have been influenced by Matthew. See note on Mt 1815.


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See note.

IO 25-27


1411 1814. 1152


2327. 2329-81


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II 39-41

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2423. 26-28

Not from a common written source.

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End of world.

See note on Mt 231.


1723. 24. 37


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1726. 27. 30

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From independent sources.

Perhaps from a common written source.

Independent versions of the parable.

It will be seen that the material tabulated above falls into two

groups. A. A few narrative sections:

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Mt 1288

To which may be added

Mt 37-12

B. Sayings of Christ.

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Request for a sign.
1025-27 The great commandment.

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Some of these are isolated sayings or small groups of sayings which occur in different contexts in the two Gospels; eg.:

*Mt 518


Lk 1484.

518 525-26



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1114. 1283-34 II 34-85 1618 1222-81

I 19-13 1324. 1326-27 1328-30




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1411 1814.




In the passages marked there is, besides the difference of setting, considerable verbal variation. Note, however, in Mt 69-13 Lk 1114 the remarkable agreement in movσios. In the passages marked † there is very close verbal agreement, with occasional variation.


So far as these passages go, the divergence in setting, combined with the differences of language, are adverse to the theory of a common Greek source, unless that were a collection of detached sayings or groups of sayings. The few passages marked † might

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be explained by the view that Luke was acquainted with Matthew, and was sometimes influenced by his language, or by the view that the different sources used by the two Evangelists contained these sections, the agreement in language being due to derivation from a document lying behind the sources of our two Gospels.

Other passages, however, present more difficulty, since the agreement is greater in extent; e.g. :


(1) The Sermon on the Mount,
(2) The charge to the Twelve,
(3) The discourse about the Baptist,
(4) The discourse about Beelzeboul,
(5) The denunciation of the Pharisees,
(6) The discourse about the last things,

Mt 5-7 = Lk 6.

ΙΟ =

II =

12 =

23 =



9. 10.
7. 10.



In the Sermon on the Mount there is very substantial agreement combined with, as, e.g., in the Beatitudes, remarkable divergThe charge to the Twelve is remarkable, because Mt. has expanded and enlarged Mk.'s short charge. Lk. in the parallel to Mt. borrows Mk., but has one or two agreements with Mt. against Mk. But in the next chapter he gives a charge to the Seventy which agrees in many respects with Mt.'s expansion of Mk.

In the discourse about the Baptist there is great verbal agreement. In the sayings of denunciation of the Pharisees the context is different, but there is great verbal agreement. The discourse about Beelzeboul has remarkable features. If Lk. were nonexistent, it might be supposed that Mt. had expanded Mk., adding a further section dealing with the request for a sign. But Lk., who omits Mk.'s discourse from its proper place in his Gospel, inserts later a discourse similar to that of Mt.'s, but places at the beginning of it both the charge of casting out devils by the aid of Beelzeboul and the request for a sign, thus weaving Mt.'s two consecutive discourses into one. The discourse about the last things in Mt 24 contains several sayings which Lk. has in a different context but in similar language in ch. 17.

We may now take into consideration the whole of the sayings common to the two Gospels.

The following theories have been put forward to account for their agreement:

(1) "Both Evangelists drew from a common written source." This is a natural way of explaining the fact that the two Gospels have so many sayings in common; and if they contained these sayings and no others, the conclusion that they drew from a common written source would be almost irresistible. But the fact that in both Gospels there are found many sayings not preserved elsewhere, considerably weakens the argument. For the fact that they both record many similar or identical sayings may be

equally well explained by the probability that these were the best known and most widely current sayings of Christ in the early Church. Against this theory of a common written source may be urged the following objections:

(a) It is almost impossible to reconstruct any sort of written document out of the common material unless indeed it were a series of isolated and detached sayings, or short groups of sayings. If the two Evangelists had before them a common written source containing discourses and parables connected with incidents, how is it that they differ so widely in the general order in which they record these sayings, and very often in the context or occasion to which they assign them? In following S. Mark the editor of the first Gospel rarely transfers sayings from one context to another.

(b) If, however, it be supposed that the alleged source was a collection of detached sayings, the variation in language is still to be accounted for. However, it is true that in following S. Mark the editor of the first Gospel not infrequently alters the words of Christ's sayings. Cf. e.g.:

Μι 84 τὸ δῶρον.

94 ἐνθυμεῖσθε.

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Mk 144 περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ σου.

28 διαλογίζεσθε.

211 κραβαττόν.

219 νηστεύειν.

221 ἐπιράπτει.

432 ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ.

And it might be urged that he (and perhaps S. Luke also) has sometimes departed from the phraseology of the alleged source. But, taken as a whole, the variation in language in these sayings common to Mt. and Lk. suggest rather independent sources than revision of a common source, and in some cases the former alternative is necessary if Wellhausen is right in explaining the variations which occur in them as due to translation from an Aramaic original. For his suggestion that the two Evangelists had access not only to a Greek translation of the supposed common written source, but also to the Aramaic original, is a clumsy theory. It is simpler to suppose that the two Evangelists drew from different Greek sources.2

(2) "Both Evangelists drew from oral tradition." There is a great deal to be said in favour of this, for it will be remembered that we are dealing with groups of sayings, parables, or discourses which would be easily retained in the memory. And amongst the Jews, as to-day amongst the Chinese, the current educational methods 1 Einleitung, p. 36.

2 I welcome a tendency in Germany to speak doubtfully about the material to be assigned to the alleged common source. Cf. Harnack: "ich zweifle nicht das Manches, was Matth. und Luk. gemeinsam ist und daher aus dieser Quelle stammen könnte, nicht auf sie zurückgeht, sondern einen anderen Ursprung hat," Lukas der Arzt, p. 108, Anm. 1.

trained the memory to retain masses of teaching. When Josephus (c. Apion. ii. 19) says that "if anybody ask any one of our people about our laws, he will more readily tell them all than he will tell his own name," he may have generalised too far, but there is every probability that Christian converts in the early Church knew by heart sayings and parables which had been taught to them as traditional sayings of the Master.

However, there is little need to force the oral tradition theory to cover all the facts presented by the agreement between Mt. and Lk., because there is reason to think that both writers used written


(3) "The two Evangelists drew from independent written sources." It is quite unlikely that when these editors drew up their Gospels, S. Mark's writing was the only written source before them. So far as S. Luke is concerned, he distinctly implies that there were many evangelic writings. And, indeed, nothing is in itself more probable than that sayings, parables, and discourses of Christ should have been committed to writing at a very early period. Not, of course, necessarily for wide publication, but for private use, or for communication by letter, or for the use of Christian teachers and preachers. The assertions frequently made, that the Christian eschatological doctrine would have acted as a prejudice against writing down the words of Christ, and that the Jewish scruple about committing the oral law or the targums to writing would have transferred itself to the early Christian community and the teaching of their Master, are purely conjectural, and without foundation. We are dealing with a society in which, as the letters of the New Testament show, writing was well known and in common use.1 In every Christian community there would probably be found individuals who possessed in writing some of the words of Christ.

(4) S. Luke was acquainted with the first Gospel. This is at present a view very much out of favour amongst critical writers. But there is much to be said for it. S. Luke may well have read the first Gospel and been influenced by its phraseology, and here and there by its arrangement of sayings. On the other hand, its Jewish-Christian colouring, its anti-Jewish polemic, its artificial grouping of Christ's sayings, may well have seemed to S. Luke to be features in it which it was undesirable to imitate. The popular supposition, that if he had been acquainted with it he could not have omitted from his Gospel anything that the editor of the first Gospel had recorded, is an entirely conjectural and unnecessary fiction. There is no reason to suppose that he intended, any more than the author of the Fourth Gospel, to record everything that tradition handed down of the sayings and acts of Christ. On 1 In Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 1-4, there are about twenty-eight private letters of the first cent.; in Fayûm Towns about twenty.

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