Matt. 22.1-14

Luke 14.15-24

1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet'. 5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm.

another to his business,

6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.

7 The king was angered. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.

8 Then he said to his 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet'.

10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad;

so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of 14 For many are called, but few are chosen".

15 One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, "Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" 16 Then Jesus said to him, "A certain person gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited,'Come; for it is now ready'. 18 But they all alike began to make excuses.

The first said to him, 'I have bought a and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets'. 19 Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets'. 20 Another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come'. 21 So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his

'Go out at once into the roads and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame'. 22 And the slave said, 'Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room'. 23 Then the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be full. 24 For 1 tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner'".

In each of the above cases we clearly have the same theme. But the agreement and overlap in wording between the Matthean/Lukan parallels is so modest, even minimal, that it becomes implausible to argue that the one was derived from the other or from a single common source at the literary level. The hypothesis that Matthew and Luke drew directly from Q (= Luke?)256 simply does not make enough sense of the data, whereas the similarity of theme and point being made fits well with the flexibility and adaptability of oral retelling.257 In each case the Evangelist seems to have expressed and/or elaborated the common theme in his own way: Matt. 10.37-38 (worthiness); Luke 14.26-27 (discipleship); Matt. 18.15, 21-22 (church discipline); Matt. 22.7, 11-14 (destruction of Jerusalem, lack of wedding robe), Luke 14.21-22, 23 (the church's twofold mission). But such retellings are well within the parameters of orally passed on teaching.258 We can conclude without strain that Jesus was remembered as warning about the challenge of discipleship and the family divisions which would likely ensue, as encouraging generous and uncalculating forgiveness, and as telling a story (or several stories) about a feast whose guests refused to come (the variation in reasons given is typical of story-telling) and who were replaced by people from the


256. See again, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, and Kloppenborg, QParallels, adloc.;Catchpole, Quest 323-24. The parable of the talents/pounds (Matt. 25.14-29/Luke 19.11-27) could also have been cited, where the difficulty in reconstructing Q is again clear (Robinson/Hoffmann/ Kloppenborg, Critical Edition 524-57; A. Denaux, 'The Parable of the Talents/Pounds [Q 19,12-27]: A Reconstruction of the Q Text', in Lindemann, ed., Sayings Source Q 429-60).

257. The Gospel of Thomas has variant traditions of the first and last of the three examples above (Matt. 10.34-36/Luke 12.51-53/<577i 16; Matt. 10.37-38/Luke 14.26-27/GrA 55, 101 [but with typical Thomas embellishment]; Matt. 22.1-14/Luke 14.15-24/G7% 64 [but the thrust slightly redirected — see below §12.4 n. 203); Mark 8.34 also knows a variant version of Matt. 10.38/Luke \4.27/GTh 55.2b, which Matt. 16.24 and Luke 9.23 follow. Whereas in the second example Didache again seems to know Matthew (Did. 15.3; Matt. 18.15-35), as probably does Gos. Naz. 15 (Matt. 18.21-22).

258. Gerhardsson, 'Illuminating the Kingdom', who concludes that the differences between the parables (narrative demonstrate 'deliberate alterations of rather firm texts' though the assumption of the literary paradigm should also be noted.

259. The judgments rendered by the Jesus Seminar on these passages well illustrate the highly dubious criteria and tendentious reasoning by which they reached their conclusions, including: a rather naive idea of consistency (Matt. 10.34-36 seems to 'contradict' Jesus' teaching on unqualified love; see further chapter 14 n. 242 below); Jesus was less likely to echo Scripture than the Christian community (reason unexplained); use made of material indicates its originating purpose (Luke 17.3-4 as the reflection of 'a more mature community than is likely to have been the case with Jesus' followers during his lifetime'); the fallacy of 'the original form' (the rationale of the procrustean bed of the literary paradigm) (Funk, Five Gospels 174, 216-17, 362, 234-35). But to discuss 'authenticity' by reference simply to such considerations as precise wording, tensions with other sayings and appropriateness to later contexts, totally

To sum up, our findings in regard to the traditions of Jesus' teaching accord well with those regarding the narrative traditions. I have no to deny the existence of a Q document, any more than to deny the priority of Mark.260 But again and again in the case of 'q'/'Q' material we are confronted with traditions within different Synoptics which are clearly related (the same basic teaching), and which were evidently remembered and valued as teaching of Jesus. At the same time, in the cases examined above the relation is not obviously literary, each version derived by editing some written predecessor. The relation is more obviously to be conceived as happening at the oral level. That could mean that these traditions were known to the Evangelists not (or not only) in a written form, but in the living tradition of liturgy or communal celebration of the remembered Jesus. Or it could mean that they knew the tradition from Q, but regarded Q as a form of oral retelling (that is, they had heard Q material being read/performed), so that their own retelling retained the oral characteristics of the traditioning process. The two alternatives are not mutually exclusive, of course, but it can hardly be denied that the consequences for the definition of the scope and content of the Q document are considerable. It is important that future Q research should take such considerations on board.261

As with the narrative tradition, the sample of teaching tradition examined above seems to confirm the implications drawn from the oral character of its formulation. (1) There was teaching of Jesus which had made such an impact on his first hearers that it was recalled, its key emphases crystallized in the overall theme and/or in particular words and phrases, which remained constant in the process of rehearsing and passing on that teaching in disciple gatherings and churches.262 All of the teaching reviewed would have been important to their fails to consider the implications of oral transmission: a saying, like a story, could retain its identity by constancy of theme and particular words or phrases, while at the same time being adapted and reapplied to developing situations in the ongoing life of the earliest churches.

260. See above §8.4 conclusion.

261. It should not be assumed that the publication of The Critical Edition ofQ (Robinson/Hoffmann/ Kloppenborg) has settled the content or scope of the Q document. And it should certainly not be concluded that Q material existed solely in written or documentary form.

262. Cf. Crossan: 'the basic unit of transmission is never the ipsissima verba of an aphoristic saying but, at best and at most, the ipsissimastructura of an aphoristic core'; 'In oral sensibility one speaks or writes an aphoristic saying, but one remembers and recalls an aphoristic core' {Fragments 40, 67). Cf. also the concept of an 'originating structure' of a parable in B. B. Scott, Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables ofJesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989): 'It is futile to seek the original words of a parable. The efforts of those who preserved the parables should not be viewed as the efforts of librarians, archivists, or scribes preserving the past, but of storytellers performing a parable's structure. We must distinguish between performance, which exists at the level of parole, actual spoken or written language, and structure, which exists at the level of langue, an abstract theoretical construction' (18-19).

identity as disciples and communities of disciples and for the character of their shared life. Such teaching would no doubt have been treasured and meditated upon in the communal gatherings, much as Bailey has suggested.

(2) The variations in the reteaching indicate a readiness to group material differently, to adapt or develop it, and to draw further lessons from it, consistent with the tradition of initial impact made by Jesus himself and in the light of the developing circumstances of the churches which treasured the teaching. Once again the point is that the tradition was living tradition, celebrated in the communal gatherings of the earliest churches. There was no concern to recall all the exact words of Jesus; in many cases the precise circumstances in which the teaching was given were irrelevant to its continuing value. But neither is there any indication in the material reviewed that these were sayings interjected into the tradition by prophets or free (literary) creation, or that the development of particular teachings subverted their original impact.263 These were remembered as teaching given by Jesus while he was still with his disciples, and treasured both as such and because of its continuing importance for their own community life and witness.

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