Re: Syn. Apoc. (Parable of the Fig Tree)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Sep 07 1995 - 11:25:15 EDT

At 6:48 PM 9/6/95, wrote:
>A number of people have pointed out the fact that while Luke does not have
>the cursing of the fig tree, he does hav the parable of the fig tree in
>13:6-9 that makes the same point as the cursing of the fig tree in Mark. Did
>Luke incounter the parable in the tradition and the cursing in Mark and
>decide he needed only one as he does the feeding of the multitude or did Mark
>(or someone before him) find the parable and transform it into a dramatic or
>acted parable?

Carlton, this is wonderful! I think that I know Mark pretty well, but I
readily discover that there are vast stretches of Luke and Matthew apart
from the major complexes that are like terra incognita to me! How

I really need to check out what people who have dealt with this have to
say. On the surface it looks quite possible that Luke is presenting what
may be the oldest form of the tradition, and that Mark, seeing its meanings
linked to his triumphal entry/cleansing of temple/challenge to
authorities/little apocalypse-sequence has re-shaped it as a symbolic frame
for the cleansing of the temple and combined it with that little passage on
efficacious prayer. Alternatively, of course, it's possible that Luke or an
earlier stage of oral tradition has assimilated this parable to the Parable
of the Wicked Husbandmen. But this may in fact be the earliest form of the
tradition retained in integrity in Luke's separate material. It hardly
seems likely to be a back-composition from the Marcan material in chapter
11. I'd be very interested in learning what others think about this.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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