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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.
(6) 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.: Mt 84 το δωρον.
Mk 144 περί του καθαρισμού σου. 94 ενθυμείσθε.
28 διαλογίζεσθε. 98 κλίνην.
211 κραβαττόν. 915 πενθείν.
219 νηστεύειν. 916 επιβάλλει.
221 επιράπτει. 1332 εν τοις κλάδους αυτού. 432 υπό την σκιάν αυτού. 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 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.
1 Einleitung, p. 36.
? I welcome a tendency in Germany to speak doubtfully arout 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.
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. 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
In Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 1-4, there are about twenty-eight private letters of the first cent. ; in Faynm Towns about twenty.
the other hand, the fact that he had read the first Gospel amongst many other evangelic writings would sometimes explain agreements in language and arrangement between the two Gospels in matter common to them. It would also explain another feature. In matter parallel to S. Mark, where they are presumably copying the second Gospel, they often agree in omission or in alteration of a word or phrase against S. Mark. For this there are probably several co-operating causes. In part, they may independently agree in revising the second Gospel. Again, the copies of S. Mark which lay before them may have been recensions of the second Gospel differing from that which has come down to us, but agreeing in some of those points in which Mt. and Lk. agree against Mk. Further, the second Gospel may have undergone revision since its use by the first and third Evangelists, or the agreements of Mt. and Lk. against Mk. may in part be due to textual assimilation of one of these Gospels to the other. But, lastly, some of these agreements may be due to the fact that Lk. has read the first Gospel, and was influenced by its phraseology even where he had Mk. before him, and was reproducing it.
If, now, we ask how far these hypotheses can be applied to the matter tabulated above, we shall find the theory of a single written source unsatisfactory. Variation in order, in setting, and in language all alike are evidence against the use of such a source. And what can be more uncritical than to heap together in one amorphous and conjectural document a number of sayings simply because they occur in two Gospels? Is there any more reason for supposing that they come from one document than for assigning them to a number of sources ? It is urged that, whereas other written sources are entirely conjectural, we do know of one source the writing of whicho Papias speaks. But not only does an earlier writer than Papias speak of many who had undertaken to draw up evangelical records (Luke 14), but the reconstruction of the Aramaic document mentioned by Papias out of the material common to Mt. and Lk. is an impossible task. Let us assume that the two writers had before them the same translation. Why then do they present its contents in such different methods ? Why does Mt. mass together in the Sermon on the Mount sayings which Lk. distributes over chs. 11-16? Why does Mt. give us seven beatitudes, whilst Lk. has four blessings, counterbalanced by four woes? Why does Mt. place the Lord's Prayer in the Sermon, whilst Lk. records it in quite a different connection, and in a shorter form? Or, allowing that in spite of this arbitrary treatment of their source, such a document can be reconstructed, why then do they so wilfully alter its phraseology? Upon what sort of principle did Mt. altera páktop. into impéry (Mt 525, Lk 1268), or
Translations of the second Gospel is based on an Aramaic original. * See p. lxxviii.
λεπτόν into καδράντης (Mt 526, Lk 1269), οι οικτίρμονες into τέλειοι (Mt 548, Lk 636), οι κόρακας into πετεινά του ουρανού (Mt 626, Lk 1224), or treuua åylov into åyalá (Mt 711, Lk 1118), and the like; or for what reason did Lk. make the reverse changes ? What is needed to explain the variations in order, in context, and in language between these sayings as they appear in the two Gospels, is not a single source, but a multiplicity of sources. And if Wellhausen is right in saying, e.g., that kalápLoov, Mt 2326, and Sóte édenuocúvnv, Lk 14are derived from an Aramaic original, how is it possible that in this and similar cases Mt. and Lk. had before them a Greek document as the source of this and all the other sayings which they record in common?
Shall we say, then, that the two writers drew these common sayings from oral tradition? The counter argument, that they agree in phraseology to a very remarkable extent, is no good reason against oral tradition as a source. For there is every probability that sayings and discourses would be handed down in oral tradition with just that predominant uniformity of language, varied with occasional divergence, which the Gospels present to us. Nothing, c.g., is more likely than that there might be in different parts of the Christian Church traditional forms of the Sermon on the Mount the same in general outline but differing in length and varying very often in expression. If there were any good reason for denying the existence of a multiplicity of written sources, the conception of oral tradition as a source for these sayings would be less artificial and more agreeable to the data than the hypothesis of a single written source.
In view, however, of the facts that Mt. demonstrably used one written source, viz. the second Gospel, and that Lk. professes that he was acquainted with many, out of which he certainly used one, viz. S. Mark; in view, further, of the great probability that collections of the Lord's words were committed to writing at a very early date, and of the fact that Papias speaks of one such collection as made by Matthew the Apostle, it would be arbitrary to assign all the sayings common to Mt. and Lk. to oral tradition. Wherever verbal agreement extends over several verses, it may reasonably be supposed either that Lk. had seen Mt., or that both writers had before them written sources containing, not, indeed, identical, but similar sayings. That amongst these written sources one or more may have been used by both Evangelists is, of course, possible, but can nowhere be proved with certainty so long as the possibility remains that the literary link consists in the dependence of Lk. upon Mt.
B. If we turn now to the common narrative sections tabulated on p. xliii f., it may be at once admitted that there are two possible solutions. Either the verbal agreement is due to the fact that Lk.
has been influenced by Mt., or both Evangelists drew from common sources. The agreement in language in the case of “the centurion's servant” and of "the two aspirants” is very close. And this is also the case in the narratives containing the Baptist's preaching and the Temptation. The incident of "the great commandment” is still more remarkable. Mt.'s account of it differs considerably from Mk 1228-34. Lk. has omitted Mk 1228-34, but has placed earlier in his Gospel a narrative which has some points of agreement with Mt., where Mt. differs from Mk. In all these cases it is a plausible view that the two Evangelists were using common sources. Is it possible to combine these narratives with the discourses specified on p. xlv, and possibly with all the sayings common to the two Gospels, and to reconstruct a Gospel used by both writers ? Hardly, because the few narrative sections with which we are dealing, combined with six discourses and a large number of detached sayings or groups of sayings, seem insufficient material wherewith to construct a Gospel. And even if it were done, the question why did the two Evangelists dismember this document and change the form of the Lord's words, raises itself again as an insoluble problem. Nor, indeed, is there any real need for this heaping together into one document a few narratives and discourses and many sayings, because there is more probability that Lk., if not Mt., was acquainted with several non-Marcan documents than there is that he knew of only one writing containing Gospel material. The Sermon on the Mount is really the crucial case. Both Evangelists had before them a Sermon, but not identically the same Sermon ; that is, they were borrowing from different sources. In the same way it may be supposed that their sources contained the other sayings, discourses, and narratives which are substantially common to them both, in forms varying from close agreement to very considerable variation.
57 58 59 510 5188 524