B Tradition Sequences

Another questionable assumption which has dominated the discussion since the early form critics is that in the initial stage of the traditioning process the tradition consisted of individual units.291 That may indeed have been the case for the

288. It is not necessary to assume that the 'Hellenists' emerged only after Easter; there may have been Greek-speaking disciples during Jesus' Galilean and Jerusalem missions (cf. Mark 7.26; John 12.20-22) and traditions already being transposed into Greek. The only formal difference in the traditioning process itself seems to have been the emergence of the recognized role of teacher (§8. lb), with the implication of a more structured ordering of the tradition as indicated in below.

289. A repeated emphasis of Horsley and Draper, Whoever; see also G. Theissen, Lokalkolorit undZeitgeschichteindenEvangelien: EinBeitragzurGeschichtedersynoptischen Tradition (NTOA 8; Freiburg, Schweiz: Universitätsverlag, 1989), who, as the subtitle implies, explores the issue as a way of illuminating the period of oral tradition (1-16, and ch. 1); see also below §9.7.

290. See again Schürmann, 'vorösterlichen Anfänge'.

291. Kloppenborg, following in the train of successive form-critical analyses, perceives the composition process as 'the juxtaposition of originally independent units' (Formation 98). Similarly E. P. Sanders takes it for granted that in the beginning 'preachers and teachers used a small unit of material' (The Historical Figure of Jesus [London: Penguin, 1993] 59). Funk as very beginning of the process, and the Gospel of Thomas gives it some credibility for the continuing tradition. But editorial fingerprints on collections of Jesus tradition in the present Synoptics do not constitute sufficient evidence that each of the collections was first composed by those who thus handled them. There is also good evidence of sayings being grouped and stories linked from what may have been a very early stage of the transmission process — even, in some cases, that Jesus may have taught in connected sequences which have been preserved. To group similar teachings and episodes would be an obvious mnemonic and didactic device for both teachers and taught, storytellers and regular hearers, more or less from the beginning.292

We may think, for example, of the sequence of beatitudes brought together in oral tradition or Q (Matt. 5.3, 4, 6, 11, 12/Luke6.20b, 21b, 21a, 22, 23), and elaborated differently by Matthew and Luke (Matt. 5.3-12, Luke 6.20b-26). Or Jesus' responses to would-be disciples (Matt. 8.19-22/Luke 9.57-62).293 Or the sequence of mini-parables (the wedding guests, new and old cloth, new and old wineskins) in Mark 2.18-22 (followed by Matt. 9.14-17 and Luke 5.33-39). Or the sequence of teaching on the cost of discipleship and danger of loss (Mark 8.34-38; again followed by Matt. 16.24-27 and Luke 9.23-26), where Q/oral tradition has also preserved the sayings separately.294 Similarly with the sequence of sayings about light and judgment in Mark 4.21-25 (followed by Luke 8.1618), with equivalents scattered in Q and the Gospel of Thomas,295

We will have occasion to analyse some of the most fascinating of the sequences later on: the 'parables of crisis' in Matt. 24.42-25.13 pars. (§12.4g), Jesus and the Baptist in Matt. 11.2-19 par. (§12.5c), and Jesus' teaching on his ex sumes that 'the imprint of orality' is evident only in 'short, provocative, memorable, oft-repeated phrases, sentences, and stories' — 'a sixth pillar of modern gospel scholarship' (Five Gospels 4); 'only sayings that were short, pithy, and memorable were likely to survive' (Honest 40, 127-29; similarly Acts of Jesus 26). This assumption predetermines that 'the Jesus whom historians seek' will be found only in such brief sayings and stories. He lists 101 words (and deeds) judged to be 'authentic' in his Honest 326-35.

292. Here again I should perhaps stress that I am thinking not just of the more formal occasions of retelling and reteaching in 'cult narrative' and catechism, well indicated by Moul e, Birth, and H. Koester, 'Written Gospels or Oral Tradition?', JBL 113 (1994) 293-97 (here 293-94).

293. Or indeed any of the six clusters identified by Kloppenborg as belonging to Q1, which I have already suggested are better understood as different traditional materials grouped by teachers for purposes of more effective and coherent teaching than as a single 'stratum' (above §7.4c and n. 83).

294. Matt. 10.38/Luke 14.27; Matt. 10.39/Luke 17.33; Matt. 10.33/Luke 12.9.

295. Matt. 5.15/Luke 1 1.33/GTTi 33.2; Matt. 10.26/Luke \2.2IGTh 5.2, 6.4; Matt. 7.2/ Luke 6.38b; Matt. 25.29/Luke 19.26/GTh41. See further below chapter 13; also Crossan, Fragments ch. 5; M. Ebner, Jesus — ein Weisheitslehrer? Synoptische Weisheitslogien im Traditionsprozess (Freiburg: Herder, 1998) ch. 1.

orcisms in Matt. 12.24-45 pars. (§12.5d). Even more fascinating, but almost impossible to set out in tabular form, is the tradition of the sending out of the disciples on mission, where it is evident from Mark 6.7-13 and the parallels in Matt. 9.37-10.1, 7-16 and Luke 9.1-6; 10.1-12 that there were at least two variations, one used by Mark and another oral (Q?) version.296 The variations make it probable that the material was used and re-used, probably beginning with Jesus' own instructions for mission, but developed and elaborated in terms of subsequent experience of early Christian mission.297

As for Q itself, we may recall the earlier observation that it is almost impossible to devise a secure method for distinguishing redaction from (initial) composition in a hypothetically reconstructed document (above The point can be pushed further by arguing that Q was itself composed as a sequence of discourses.298 But Kloppenborg's finding that Q's sayings have been gathered into 'coherent or topical groupings' is also to the And the composition of Mark itself can be understood as setting in sequence a number of groupings already familiar in the oral traditioning process:300

24 hours in the ministry of Jesus Mark 1.21-38

Jesus in controversy (in Galilee) Mark 2.1-3.6

Parables of Jesus Mark 4.2-33

Miracles of Jesus round the lake Mark 4.35-5.43; 6.32-52

Marriage, children, and discipleship Mark 10.2-31

Jesus in controversy (in Jerusalem) Mark 12.13-37

The little apocalypse Mark 13.1-32

The passion narrative Mark 14.1-15.47

Of course most of this is unavoidably speculative, even more so if we were to guess at whether and how passages like Mark 4.2-33 (parables of Jesus) and Mark 13.1-32 (the little apocalypse) grew by a process of aggregation from ear

296. See particularly Schröter, Erinnerung 211, 236-37. On the possibility that Paul knew a form of the missionary discourse related to Q 10.2-16 see especially Allison, Jesus Tradition in Q105-11.

297. See above §7.4d at nn. 96-97, but also the qualification in Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q 183; also M. Hengel, The Charismatic Leader and His Followers (Edinburgh: Clark, 1981) 74-76. Does the fact that Thomas has only two disjoint parallels (GTh 14.2/Luke 10.8-9; GTh 73/Matt.9.37-38/Luke 10.2) imply a fading of a compulsion to mission?

298. See above chapter 7 n. 80.

299. Formation 90-92; Excavating Q 168-69, 206-209.

300. Cf. particularly, H. W. Kuhn, Ältere Sammlungen im Markusevangelium (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1971). Worthy of note is Lord's observation that 'Oral traditional composers think in terms of blocks and series of blocks of tradition' ('Gospels' in Walker, ed., Relationship 59).

lier, smaller groupings. The point is that we should not assume that such compositional procedures came into the process only at a later stage of the process or only when the tradition was written down.

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