Re: Matthew had a copy of Luke?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Oct 15 1995 - 09:20:05 EDT

At 8:12 PM 10/14/95, wrote:
>I suppose this is a very "unscholarly" view, but none-the-less:
>Is it possible that at least some of the apparant descrepancies between the
>synoptics could be due to different occasions of very similar events? I
>think we know from common experience, that we often have to repeat ourselves,
>and it seldom comes out the same twice, at least it doesn't for me.
>Aren't three authors going to present three different views even of the same

I would think (to state the obvious!) this would have to be judged, at
least partly, in terms of degree of similarity in sequence and details. A
question of this sort can certainly be raised, say, about the two feeding
narratives in Mark and Matthew. It would appear that Mark understands the
first feeding of 5,000 as a "Jewish" feeding with 12 baskets of crumbs left
over, the second feedingof 4,000 as a "Gentile" feeding with 7 baskets of
crums left over. Matthew (a la 2SH) retains the Marcan pattern, but Luke
omits the first feeding--my unprovable suspicion being for reasons of
verisimilitude: he thinks that there must have been only one feeding and
that the story was told twice with different variations. However, if this
was Luke's reason for omitting the first feeding (and he surely had knew
the text of Mark and (perhaps) also that of Matthew, that doesn't mean that
there were not in fact two (or more) feedings.

On the other hand, I find myself very suspicious about the similarity
between the parable of the barren fig tree reported ONLY in Luke (13:6-9)
and the cursing of the fig tree by Jesus in the Synoptic passion-week
narrative (Mk 11 and parallels. This may be altogether unfounded, but in
view of the parable of the fig tree applied in the Synoptic Apocalypse (Mk
13 par.), I really wonder whether at some point in the oral tradition a
parable of Jesus may have become historicized as the story of Jesus looking
for fruit on a fig tree, finding none, and cursing it with the result that
it withered. To me the symbolism of proleptic judgment on Israel in the
context and framing sequence in Mark makes it appear that the story is not
historical but has been created purely for its symbolic value. It wouldn't
surprise me if some form-critic has already suggested this, but I don't
recall having seen this explanation.

In sum then, I see no reason why the Bezdek suggestion may not be valid.

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

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