Re: Q and Papias

  On Thu Oct 27, 1994 David wrote:

>Does no one have a problem with the "birth story" tacked on to the>
>beginning of Matthew?  The "core" text of Matthew begins exactly where
>Mark begins--with the appearance of John the Baptist.  Whatever one's view of
>the nature of Q, the lack of such a birth story in Mark would seem further
>evidence of Mark's priority--as is, possibly, the lack of a genuine>
>"resurrection" postscript in Mark.

   I don't have a problem because I don't view the birth story as tacked on
and I don't view it, as someone else suggested, as mythic.  I have no
convincing reason to reject 1) that Matthew intended the birth naarative as
an integral starting point; 2) that Mark may be the one who removed another
gospel's birth narrative; 3) that the birth narrative is intended to be
what it most naturrally presents itself as:  a record of the events surrounding 
the birth of Jesus which point toward Matthew's view that Jesus is the 
promised Messiah.  One does not have to agree that Jesus is the Messiah to
be able to accept that Matthew thought he was, and the birth story is an
important first steo towards establishing it.  Also, the birth narrative
prepares us for how Matthew handles the OT, finding passages that relate to
the activity of the Messiah (as Matthew viewed it, whether we agree or not),
or seeing in passages that we might not call messianic additional layers of
meaning we might not see (as I suggested earlier, when Matthew quotes Isa
7:14, he reads the text as saying a virgin will give birth, which is the ONLY
way I can see to read that text which makes it any kind of sign, since young
women have children all the time and that is hardly oracular -- but
that's another subject).  What I see here is trouble with the birth
narrative for some so there is an effort made to divorce this troubling
mateial from the rest.  I don't see any reason to do that at all,
Raymond Brown notwithstanding.

Ken Litwak