September 20th, 1995, Serial No. 00286

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New Testament Class

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We've been through Paul and Mark looking for a sapiential or wisdom interpretation of the New Testament, and there's one little handout there, in there. And now we want to look at Matthew and Luke. Remember in Paul we found that simple structure of the before and the after, the big change that happens with the death and resurrection of Jesus. He's not much interested in the life of Jesus, and he doesn't say a great deal about the teaching of Jesus, not in detail. What he's interested in is the death and resurrection, the kind of whatever seismic change happened when Jesus rose and gave the Spirit. And consequently, the wisdom or unitive interpretation in Paul precisely sees this movement from multiplicity to unity by being incorporated into the body of Christ, or simply in Christ.


All of that language that we looked at, the language with the prepositions and especially the image of the body of Christ which is dominant even when it's not used explicitly. The very idea, the very expression in Christ somehow has that image of the body behind it, the new body of Christ. Then in Mark we found a number of things. We found a concentric structure which lent itself to a unitive interpretation. Then we found that Mark's Gospel, at least I've proposed this, is written in preparation for baptism at the Easter Vigil. Therefore the whole thing is flowing into an experience. It's like you have two things, and one of them is invisible and one of them is visible. What's visible is the text, what's visible or audible is the Gospel of Mark, the narrative itself. What's invisible and implicit is the experience which it leads up to, which is a baptismal experience, which in turn becomes the light in which one leads the Gospel and understands the Gospel and understands it in oneself and in the life in which one participates.


That which is going on around oneself. So the Gospel then would interpret the experience of the Holy Spirit, the experience of baptism, and that experience would interpret the Gospel. And here you have an interplay of word and spirit as it were, which we find often when we're talking about the New Testament in general. We'll find it also in a different form when we talk about Matthew and Luke together. Also in Mark we found Jesus identified with divine wisdom, and the implication of the women, which is not drawn out or developed, but is very strong towards the end of the life of Jesus. Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus is surrounded by these women figures, often connected with an anointing too, with some kind of perfume, fragrance. So we still have to do Matthew and Luke and John, and then together with John, the first letter of John, which is very important. We run into this issue of the synoptic problem. Remember, I think I just mentioned that last time.


How are the three synoptic Gospels, Mark, Matthew and Luke, related? There have been different theories about it. In fact, there have been different theories about the order of the Gospels. I'd recommend that article in the New Rome Biblical Commentary if you want to go into this with any thoroughness. There's an article, a chapter on the synoptic problem, chapter 40. The Augustinian hypothesis, as they called it, assumed that the order of composition was Matthew, Mark and Luke. Remember, Mark was supposed to be an abbreviator of the Gospel of Matthew. So Matthew has an enormous authority there, being not only the first Gospel, but maybe the fullest Gospel in a sense of teaching for the Church. And Matthew is written, as it were, as a lectionary for the Church, involved with issues of morality, of relationships in the community, all kinds of ecclesial issues, and with a more distinct notion of the Church also, and with its fullness. It's got a lot in it. And then there was the so-called Griesbeck hypothesis of Matthew, Luke and Mark.


Everything in the book, everything possible has been tried. I suppose someone has also proposed that John was the first Gospel. But the one that has the most support now is the so-called two-source hypothesis. Remember we talked about three traditions. The triple tradition, in which Matthew, Mark and Luke have the same text, have the same passage. We're always talking about, say, one sample passage, say a parable. Mark has the parable, and then Matthew has the parable, and Luke has the parable too. They may have different forms of the parable, but they've all got it. They may introduce it differently, they may put it in a different context, but they've all got it. That's the so-called triple tradition. And the assumption there is that Matthew and Luke got it from Mark. Then you have a double tradition. The way that works is that it's in Matthew and Luke and not in Mark. So Matthew and Luke share it, even in somewhat different forms, but it's not in Mark. Now, it's striking that you find that much more often than you find something that's in Mark and Matthew, let's say, and not in Luke, even though you find that sometimes.


So for that double tradition, in Matthew and Mark and not in Luke, they propose another source, which is called Q. For Quellet in German, which simply means source. It's a nice letter, so it's to that. That was proposed a long while ago, but it's only recently that it's been very much solidified with evidence and so on. So it's very strong now. And then there are things, so-called single traditions of Matthew and Luke, where Luke has it and nobody else has it. And they contribute that to Luke's own source. They call that L. And Matthew's own source, which they call M. So there you have it. And of course, that's a little artificial. Maybe it wasn't one source. But anyway, it's a convenient way of labeling it. So you have, talking about the relation between Matthew and Luke and Mark, we have this triple tradition.


Then we have a double tradition, which is attributed to another source, Q. And then finally, we have the single traditions, which are attributed to L and D. And one of these more recent schools of historical criticism becomes especially important for us there, and that's redaction criticism. Some of the schools of criticism have been more atomizing. They've tended to divide the text into small units in an effort to lose the integrity of the text or to obscure it. Whereas this one tends to put it back together again. It puts it back together again in terms of the point of view and the theology and the vision of each of the writers of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which is very useful. It begins to be helpful to us, again, directly. Because a redaction critical work is likely to come up with a theory about the vision of Matthew, let us say, the theology of Matthew,


what the gospel of Matthew is essentially trying to say in contrast to the gospel of Luke. That's very helpful to us. Even though it's usually coming from another point of view from the one we're going to take. And here, you can take this from two sides. The normal way to do this is to say that Matthew has a particular community that he's writing from and writing for, and they have particular things that are operating there, which is very true. And that Luke has a different community, and therefore, the differences between the two gospels come from that. The difference between the two visions come from that. And that's true. And that's very helpful. We're proposing something else also. We're proposing that in addition to that, there's a kind of essential shape to the Christ mystery, which is asserting itself in all of these gospels. Which seems incredible, but I believe that it's true. So that somehow it has to work out in this way. Irenaeus would say, well, you've got to have four gospels. I don't know that I'd say that, but in some way, this form has to be manifested.


And it manifests itself in different texts, which is surprising enough. So it's almost like you can have an extrinsic causality, or you can have an intrinsic causality for this, what do you say, this pattern that appears among the gospels. And the intrinsic causality is not so much causality, but expression, but manifestation. In other words, the mystery manifesting itself, expressing itself. So it's causality, which is a more external and kind of dualistic push-pull type of thing. Historical influences and things that force the community in a particular position, and therefore into particular statements, affirmations, against the Jewish law or for the Jewish law, for instance, more or less. Or you have the notion of something inside the text itself and the texts themselves, something inside all of them, something inside the New Testament as a whole,


which is giving the New Testament itself a kind of organic form. An organic form which is expressive of the Christ mystery itself. And we propose that that is expressed in this mandalic form, it's expressed in this cross-formal quaternary, which comes up again and again in various ways, even in the structure of some of the writings. And that would be our chief sapiential approach which pulls everything else into order. About the document Q, I put a copy of the text of Q. Remember, there's no manuscript of Q. It's calculated from what you find in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It's guesswork, and yet there's pretty good agreement now, agreement in guessing as to what it is, because you simply derive it from what you find in common in Matthew and Luke and what it's not in. In fact, they've even arrived naturally at different levels of Q. So there's a Q1, a Q2, and a Q3 at least. Some people would say that there are four different levels of evolution of a text which has never been seen.


And then pretty soon I'll tell you who Q's grandmother was. Thanks for the dissertation. That's right. No dissertations are necessary. This book is the one that I got that text of Q from. This is Burton Mack, The Lost Gospel. Now to say The Lost Gospel is already stretching things a bit, because Q is not a gospel. Q is a collection of sayings. A gospel is basically a narrative, isn't it? And Q is distinctly not a narrative. It's got a couple of pieces of narrative in it, strangely enough. But the final edition of Q has the temptations of Jesus in it, and has the story of the centurion, and I think another healing or two in it. But that's all, the rest of it is sayings of Jesus. So it doesn't qualify for a gospel. And in calling it a gospel, and of course that's how to sell books, say you've discovered the real Christianity and you've got a sure market. And of course everybody does that, and in a sense we have to because that's what we're after. But there's a question of modesty. So this is The Lost Gospel, the book of Q and Christian origins.


So what he's, the ax that he's got to grind eventually is to say, well until Q was discovered we didn't really know what Christianity was, but now we know. So there's a slant in the book. The handout that you have there is just copied from Mack's book. And what I've done is put together those Luke citations in the right hand column just for your usefulness. That means you can look up and basically you can find the whole of Q in the Bible in your intestine just by looking up the Luke in equivalence there. Which are close to Q, they say, closer than the Matthew versions usually, by and large. So there you have it. Now what does Q have in it? Well it's sayings of Jesus. It has a wisdom orientation. It's often a practical wisdom. Sometimes a more mystical looking wisdom. There are a couple of pretty direct wisdom allusions to the Old Testament. Or at least resonances with the wisdom that are shared.


And they both have to do with Jerusalem or with Israel. The unfaithful Israel. Remember Jerusalem? Jerusalem, how often would I have, how was I gathered it together? As a hand gathered it should come to her wings. Remember? But you would not. Or Jerusalem. Jerusalem stuns the prophets and so on. It's that kind of thing. So you find two poles as it were. Two ends of the spectrum in Q. One is wisdom and the other is eschatological judgment. The judgment that's coming. You're going to find both of these very strong in Matthew as well. And there's the idea that the prophets were all rejected. And the idea also that wisdom has been rejected. And those two traditions are brought together. The old tradition of the rejection of the prophets and the rejection of wisdom. Until it turns out that it looks like the prophets are sent by wisdom. Remember we had that in Matthew. Essentially the prophets and so on. A saying of Jesus. There's a lot of urgency in these sayings in Q.


Part of it seems to come from the situation of an embattled persecuted community. But the larger part of it is connected with this final judgment. Those two things are not separate. Because if you are a persecuted community you're likely to think in terms of a final vindication. At the second coming of the Lord. And maybe before long. There's a pretty helpful article on Q also in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. The new four volume of Bible work that we have in the library. Any questions about that whole situation before we go on? We're saying very little about that because it's not our business to get into it. But those relations between the three Gospels, the three synoptic Gospels.


What about the situations of the communities of Matthew and Luke? What I'm saying now comes from Laberdier's book on Luke. I find him especially clear and helpful. Also writing about Mark. This is his proposal. Now the time for both of them is about the 80s. At least he says distinctly it's in the 9th decade of the 1st century for Luke. Not far from that really. And he proposes that the communities both of Matthew and of Luke are around Antioch in Syria. But the Lukan community is largely a Gentile, principally a Gentile community. And it derives from the missions of Paul earlier on. Which gives it particular style. So he says that it's a community which is founded in mission and inclined towards mission. Not moving out. That's certainly evident in Luke. That is the dynamic of his Gospel in the back. He theorizes therefore that the people in Matthew's community are of Jewish origin.


And so they have particular problems. They're getting a larger inflow of Gentile people. They're in a Gentile environment. They have a problem of keeping continuity with their past. With their experience in the synagogue. With their whole framework. And therefore the interpretation of Christianity in terms of the law of the Torah. Law in the larger sense of course. Which means history and everything. And therefore they're in a diaspora situation. Whereas the Gentile people in Luke's community would be more at home in a city like Antioch. And in all of that commerce and travel and that world at the time. The people in Matthew's community perhaps recently expelled from the synagogue. Now a few things about, a few little structures about Matthew and Luke. It may seem barbarous to treat the two together like this. Maybe we'll accent Matthew more this time and talk more about Luke next time. I'm more excited about Luke than about Matthew.


But we need both of them to get the picture complete. And the interaction, the dialectic between the two is really fascinating. The pattern that they generate. Remember. Remember our diagram. Of the four gospels. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. The left and right have been important in political sense. Luke would be more to the left. And Matthew would be more to the right. And the whole Judaic pole of course would be on the right. The conservative side. And precisely Paul and Luke would be pushing out. And therefore on the left side. And in our other patterns we have the Gentiles or Galilee over here.


And we have the Jews and Judea and Jerusalem over here. And the law over here. And in our basic planetarium diagram of course we have the Word over here. And we have the Spirit over here. The Holy Divine. And somehow this dialectic verifies itself. To the extent that you have to be careful you don't get blinded by the patterns. We can't see anything else. Jews, Judea, and Jerusalem. Remember the movement, for instance, in Mark's gospel is from Galilee to Judea. And that's true also in Matthew and Luke. But Judea turns out to be almost entirely Judaism. Jesus goes to the temple anyway. And Judea goes on their way. The rest of the time it's more or less true in all four gospels. It seems to be more confused in John where he's moving back and forth. I think there are three journeys to Jerusalem proposed for John.


A few structures. In Matthew you have these five great sermons. And it's been proposed for a long while that Matthew is constructed around the five great sermons. The discourses are very important. Both as we move from Mark, let us say, and I believe in it. It's fairly sure now that both Matthew and Luke know Mark. That's part of our whole theory here, the whole pattern. But as you move from Mark to Matthew and Luke you get a lot more teaching of Jesus. Part of that is from the incorporation of the queue, which is the saying source. A lot more teaching of Jesus. And apparently a lot more concern for what's going on in the community. Maybe there's a longer community experience. And maybe the problems have emerged. And the life of Jesus itself, the narrative and the teachings of Jesus are beginning to be reinterpreted in terms of the situation and the crises and the problems and the needs of the community right now. It's almost as if in Mark you have... I think of Mark in terms of a breaking through, of an eruption. Not eruption, but an eruption.


Just like a tearing of the veil, just like a tearing open the heaven. It's as if the veil of history is broken through in Mark. You have it bursting out and he is left with that, the experience itself. And it's as if here you have the life of the community beginning to become the visual, the lens through which you regard the life of Jesus. And that's all this teaching that's coming out. The teaching that's being drawn forth because it's needed now. And it has to be integrated and interpreted in terms of the life of the community. And then when you get up to John, that gets eclipsed. Not entirely, but it gets eclipsed in a sense. And all the detail of it, all the detail of morality and the relationships and things, becomes eclipsed in a kind of unitive light in which everything is seen now as integrated somehow into the one reality, the participation in the one reality that's eclipsed, which is the logo of the wisdom of God. So, the differentiation here in terms of community experience and community life


has a pull between two different kinds of community experience, whether you're on the right or the left, whether you are basically inside the mental framework of Judaism and of the law, or whether you're outside it, and therefore in some way pushing against it out into the bigger space. The space of the Gentile world and ultimately of the whole world. And this tends to assert itself in terms of law or spirit, in terms of structure or dynamism. And then finally, there's Golanites, and this is something else. We don't want to idealize that too much. You couldn't do without any of these pulls. You couldn't do without the raw historical facts and personal experience of Mark. You can't do without his development of teaching. We couldn't do without the Sermon on the Mount. We certainly can't do without the revelation of the Holy Spirit, which we have in Acts and in Luke's Gospel. And so the second Sermon on the Mount doesn't include everything.


It doesn't take the place of anything else. They're all necessary. And here we're talking from, what would you call it, a somewhat idealized point of view. That is, we're trying to generalize. So in Matthew, you've got those five great sermons. The first of them is the Sermon on the Mount. The second one is the Sermon on Mission. Remember when Jesus sends out the disciples. The third one, the central one, is the Sermon of Parables of the Kingdom. That's significant. But the Sermon of the Parables is at the center of Mark's Gospel, or so we see it. That's chapter 13. Now that fits into this picture of Matthew as a wisdom gospel, as Jesus as wisdom in Matthew, because the parables are a wisdom discourse. You're speaking of mystery. You're speaking in veiled terms. You're continually moving back and forth between the seen and the unseen, between that which is explicit and that which is veiled, implicit, and can only be found by a kind of illumination. The fourth sermon is the Sermon on Relations in the Community.


The fourth discourse. If you accept this whole idea of the five sermons, they're not called sermons in Matthew's Gospel except itself. And the final one is the prediction of the judgment, the eschatological sermon, which is, I think, chapter 24. Chapter 24. So you're getting right near the end. It's a little asymmetrical because at the beginning you have several chapters of preparatory material, the infancy narratives. You have the genealogy and the infancy narratives, and then the baptism of Jesus before you get to the Ascension. In Matthew you have two phases of history, according to my authors. And this is Meyer's book on Matthew. The first phase of history is everything up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. And that's the time of the Law and the Prophets, as it were. And then you have the New Age, which begins after the death and resurrection of Jesus, where the Law and the Prophets somehow remain, and yet they're transcended in some way.


You've got this double thing, this ambivalence in Matthew between the Law, for instance, remaining until the end of time. Not a jot or not a tittle will disappear until the end of time. And yet it's being transformed, surpassed, simplified, revolutionized in some way. And we can't say that in one word. We have to go back and forth from one word to the other. But the Law is both transcended, the Mosaic Law is transcended, and yet at the same time it's brought to its fulfillment. Or it's conserved by being perfected, you might put it that way. And the thing about the time after the death and resurrection of Jesus is that the mission of saving the world is no longer limited to Israel, but moves out into the world, to all nations. As in that final commission at the end of Matthew's Gospel, go forth and baptize all nations and teach them everything I've told you. Whereas Luke's historical chart has three phases.


The first phase is the time of the Law and the Prophets, and that concludes with John of Athens, who is the great prophet, as it were, before Jesus. And you've got the time of Jesus, and then you've got the time of the Church. Now notice that in both of these schemes, Matthew's scheme and Luke's scheme, the center is obviously in Jesus. In Matthew's scheme it's placed more precisely in the Paschal Mystery, in the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Luke's scheme it seems a little offset, because it's the whole time of Jesus, the life of Jesus on earth that's the center, and of course the death and resurrection of Jesus are at the end of that. And that's the boundary between the second phase and the third phase. And then Luke has a geographical scheme too, which is very simple. It moves between three cities. The Gospel of Luke begins and ends in Jerusalem, doesn't it? And quite specifically in the Temple.


Remember the announcement to Zechariah, and that at the end of Luke they return to Jerusalem, and they continue in the Temple, remember, praising God. And then you begin in Jerusalem, the Acts of the Apostles, but then you move to Antioch, and then finally you end up in Rome. And Rome stands for, as it were, the end of the world, the whole world. So it's from Jerusalem to Antioch to Rome. But the real progression only happens in the Acts of the Apostles, which is a continuation of Luke's Gospel, Volume 2 as it were. But it's as if Luke's historical pattern is dominated by the Holy Spirit in some way, so that the life of Jesus somehow even becomes enclosed within a larger history, which is the history of the Holy Spirit. Both before and after the life of Jesus. So before, especially, you've got the prophets, and then afterwards you've got the Spirit acting in the Church.


But I was talking about historical phases, and talking about the geographical thing, the three cities, and mixing them up accordingly. I'm going to give you a kind of summary before looking at some of these texts. This is an attempt at outlining it. A summary of the difference between Matthew and Luke. Matthew conceives Christianity and the Church as a fulfillment of Judaism and Israel. That word fulfillment is extremely important for Matthew. You've got a whole bunch of texts in Matthew where he quotes the Old Testament, and something happens, that Jesus has done something. And then he'll say, well this happened so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. And then he'll give you an Old Testament quotation to support it. He does that ten or twelve times. And hardly anybody else does it. Nobody else does it in the way that he does it in the New Testament. John does it a little more vaguely, more generally. This is a fulfillment which is also a radical transformation, an apparent revolution.


If you look at those antitheses in the Sermon on the Mount, remember, you have heard it said, but I tell you. But you've heard it said is very often not the law itself, but the interpretation, the understanding of the law. And Jesus gives the proper, the deeper, the ultimate understanding of the law. You know, thou shalt not kill and so on. It goes a lot deeper than the literal sense. Yet which remains within the fundamental perspective of the Torah. The Torah is carried to its perfection and its simple unity in Jesus and in the double law of love. See, Jesus is the divine wisdom who in himself carries the law of the Torah to its perfection, to its fulfillment. And so to do the will of God, which is the essential thing in Matthew, is to imitate Jesus, is to live as he lived. Which means especially humility and obedience and things like that in Matthew. The other point of unity is the whole law is summed up in the double commandment of love.


Love of God and love of your neighbor. So those are the two great simplicities with which Matthew brings the law and prophets to their fulfillment. And yet he's still thinking in terms of law. That double commandment is still a commandment. He's still thinking in those terms. Whereas Luke is thinking in a different way. He doesn't have that basic mental framework of Torah to start with. He's not still within the mental container, the consciousness container of Israel and of Judaism. In Matthew, the church is to remain in this world until the end and Jesus Christ will remain present with it. Remember that emphasis on the continuing, abiding presence of Jesus once again at the end of Matthew. And how does he say, I shall be with you until the end of time. Now in Luke you've got a very different pattern. It's really quite fascinating. Luke conceives Christianity as a continuation of the salvation history of Israel.


But history here is a much more dynamic thing. It's a flow, impelled by a new and powerful infusion of the Holy Spirit. Christianity is seen in essentially dynamic terms as an expression of the imminent energy of the Spirit and as a historical wave which pushes outward towards the ends of the earth, the fullness of humanity. Jesus himself is seen in terms of the Spirit. He's often called a prophet in Luke's Gospel. And is experienced in this energy and movement of the Spirit, whether within the individual or in the flow of salvation history, onward and outward. It seems that Matthew sees the unitive mediation between God and humanity. This is our attempting to find our sapiential, our wisdom focus, our unitive focus for these two Gospels. Matthew sees the unitive mediation between God and humanity as being principally Jesus himself, the embodied divine wisdom. Through listening to the word of Jesus and living it, and ultimately through the imitation of Jesus, the disciple does the will of God and is saved. Remember where Jesus says in Matthew,


those who hear the will of God, hear the word of God, or do the will of God are like other sisters and brothers. Luke, on the other hand, sees the unitive mediation between God and humanity more as the Holy Spirit, present within the disciple and the community, and impelling the word forward towards its fulfillment in the whole world. In Matthew you get the idea that everything has been leading up to the coming of Jesus. To the manifestation of his love, of the perfect revelation. And when he comes, and when that happens, and when he's risen, it stops, as it were. I'm exaggerating, but it's as if it stops. And there, it's all there. It's all fulfilled. The whole revelation has been made. The power, the authority of Jesus has been given to the Church, given to the apostles. And remember particularly the commission to Peter in Matthew 16? You are rock, and upon this rock I shall build my church, and I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. That's very, very strong. The idea of something being established. The word institution, you see, is a natural translation of this vision of Matthew.


That the Church abides here, and the Church is the sphere of God's rule, of God's kingdom in this world until the end of time, when Jesus comes again. But you don't get the idea of a development there, of a motion. Which is exactly what you do get in Luke. The word for the Church in Luke, for Christianity, would not be institution, it would be movement. And the mediation is more the Holy Spirit than it is Jesus as Divine Wisdom. As far as I can see, Luke doesn't seem to identify Jesus with the Divine Wisdom itself, with Sophia itself. I think he'd be more likely to identify Sophia with the Holy Spirit, but he doesn't do that explicitly either. It may be implicit, especially in the way he presents the women. But in Luke, I suspect that Sophia is coming into her own more than she is in Matthew. Where Sophia is identified with Jesus, the masculine imager of God. It's as if it's a movement from Matthew to Luke, if we can talk about a movement from Matthew to Luke.


There's a movement from wisdom or Sophia as law, and ultimately as the law of love, which is a great law, which is the ultimate law, but still law. Whereas in Luke, it's an energy, it's an experience, it's a dynamism, it's an imminent divine energy, which in itself somehow is unitive because it's God. Which is moving and directly experienced and animating your life. And creating a history in the world. We've got a choice here. There's two ways. I can either try to give a list of qualities. There's a kind of constellation of qualities for Matthew around this pole of Matthew. And there's another constellation around Luke. It's like each of these, it's a separate thing, and then you discover after a while


that they're all orbiting around the same center. Probably because it's a person. We've got another one over here. What I'm proposing is that they all do have the same center, and that these are expressive of the divine wisdom, as it were, of that pole of thinking. And these are expressive of the Holy Spirit. So we've got a list for Matthew and a list for Luke. The alternative way is to take a text, a comparable text, and go through both. And just see how Matthew moves, say, look at something from here. And Matthew moves in this direction, and Luke moves in this direction. Maybe not in exactly opposite ways. An example is the baptism of Jesus. Luke will tell you that Jesus was praying. He was in prayer when the baptismal experience happened.


And in Matthew, he's careful to point out that John says that Noah should be baptized with you. And Jesus says, let it be so that it is appropriate that all justice be fulfilled. I'm going to focus on justice. Justice is one of this vikayasana, or righteousness. It's one of this constellation that Matthew sees around his center of wisdom for love. Wisdom has love. Whereas prayer is one of the Lukean constellations that orbits around the Holy Spirit. I've got to stay with it to verify, but I hope you can get the idea of that, actually. Another example is, remember when Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit in Luke's Gospel? And he says, I thank you, Father and Lord of heaven and earth, because you've hidden this. He rejoices in the Holy Spirit explicitly in Luke's Gospel. Both the notion of joy and the explicit mention of the Holy Spirit are part of the Lukean constellation.


Around the invisible center, which is the divine energy, the Holy Spirit itself. Whereas what Matthew does, he takes the same basic text from Hebrews. It's not from Hebrews. It's Matthew 11, 27, 28, and then he adds something else out, remember? The text from Hebrews is something like this. I thank you, Father, because you've hidden this from the world. Nobody knows it probably except for some, right? But Matthew adds something out, doesn't he? Come to me, or you who are burdened every day, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. I mean, you're going to be able to go on. I'm still thinking in terms of Torah, but carrying Torah all the way to wisdom. Because it's a wisdom quote, basically. But notice it's moving in the direction of wisdom. It's moving in the direction both of law and of wisdom. Whereas Luke is taking the Hebrew text and carrying it in the direction of the Spirit


and of that exaltation, which is the immediate experience of the Spirit. So you're continually getting resonances of the idea of law, which moves on one side towards commandment and at the other end towards wisdom. But it's the cognitive stuff. You see, it's the side of truth, and the side of structure, and the side of principle. Whereas in Luke, you're continually moving towards an energy, a dynamism, a movement, which ultimately is the Holy Spirit. Let me see if I can find any other... Just take the inaugural scenes in the two Gospels. The inauguration of Jesus' ministry in the two Gospels. Now these scenes are chosen by Matthew and Luke. They're not just historical, they're not just accidental. You remember what it is in Matthew, it's the Sermon on the Mount. I may have mentioned this before, but Jesus goes up and sits on top of that hill, which Matthew calls a mountain, and his disciples come to him and he opens his mouth and he speaks.


And that's a solemn, authoritative setting for the Sermon on the Mount. And the mountain, what does it recall? It recalls Mount Sinai of the Old Testament. Remember where Jesus, where Moses received the law? So once again, you've got this kind of action. What is it in Luke, the inaugural scene in Jesus' ministry, is when he comes into Nazareth, right? He comes into the synagogue and he reads Isaiah the prophet. Notice the reference, the allusion is rather to the prophet now than to Moses, than to the law. He reads the prophet where it says, The Spirit of the Lord is given to me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, remember? And the whole thing is a different sense. The double mention of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is upon me because the Lord has anointed me. The anointing itself carries the resonance of the Holy Spirit and then there's the explicit mention of the Holy Spirit. And just that experiential flash that you find there in Luke's Gospel,


in that scene, the way that Luke is able to make a scene itself come alive, his literary gift, which is a gift for communicating direct experience in some way. And then this message of liberation which comes forth. And then he says, this text today is fulfilled in his sight. But fulfillment in Luke is something different than it is in Nazareth. It's much more open-ended in Luke. Then the inaugural scene in the other two Gospels, remember? In Mark it's the casting out of the demon in the synagogue, remember? Luke has that, but he pushes it back and puts the Nazareth synagogue scene first. And then Luke goes on to mention the two prophets. Remember when they say, when he says to them, he'll say, Physician, heal thyself, and it begins to get nasty, begins to get nasty at that point. And Jesus begins to rebuke them.


And he says, well, there were many widows, remember, in Syria, wherever, in the time of Elijah, the prophet, in the time of Elisha, a name in the Syrian, remember? He quotes the two outsider stories from the books of Kings. Mentioning the two prophets. The prophets are the men of the Spirit. So the alignment is very strong, very clear. Let's take a look at the parables. You have a handout prior to this one, which is a list of parables from Madeline Boucher's book. The list of parables in each of the Gospels, and then the proposed sources of the parables in the second appendix there. Now, she's divided the sources of the parables.


This is starting on page 163. Did you find the handout? You got it. It's number 13, page 13. We're interested in the second appendix, the sources of the parables. Of course, this is a little speculative. It's easy to see which parables are in which Gospel, but it's a calculation to say where they came from. And it's done by means of the analysis of these three traditions, the triple, the double, and the single. Now, in Mark, you've only got these four parables, but remember, also, she divides these into similitudes and parables in the strict sense. I'm not going to get into those subtle differences, largely because all the scholars don't agree on them. Everybody seems to define the subcategories of parables in their own way. So we're talking about parables in a larger sense. And there are a couple here in Mark that you might call parables. For instance, the one of the lamp, remember, in the same chapter 4 of Mark.


Does anybody take a lamp and put it under a bushel or under a bed, or do you put it on a lamp stand? But that's not called a parable here, because it's not a narrative, I suppose. It's only, what would you call it, a metaphor, or a similitude at most. A simile. Okay, what can we find in common about Mark's parables? If you remember the parable of the wicked tenants, who are they? They're vineyard keepers, aren't they? That's the bitter parable against the Jewish officials that Jesus tells when he's in Jerusalem and it's towards the end of his life, shortly before his passion. They're all agricultural parables, and they have a kind of symmetry about them. If you wanted to, you could make one parable out of all four. You could make one story out of all four. You've got the sower who goes out to sow the seed, and the seed falling into the buried soil, the story of the growing seed and how it grows by itself, and then the mustard seed, which is a story of the flourishing


of one kind of seed to fulfill a whole space. And then finally the question of the harvest, okay? So there's a kind of symmetry between the sower and the harvester. I won't insist on that because I don't imagine that Mark was even thinking in those terms. But his parables tend to fall into that one metaphor of the growing thing, from the time that it's sown to the time that it's harvested, and focusing particularly on its hiddenness, the hiddenness in the ground. There's a double hiddenness here, which goes along with the hiddenness of parables themselves. There's a hiddenness in the parable and in the seed. The seed is an invisible bounty. It's got a hidden energy inside itself. It's got a totally concealed potential because it looks like nothing. That's accented in the parable of the mustard seed. And yet out of it is going to come this marvelous abundance. And then the fact that the seed has to fall into the ground, the seed has to disappear.


And so its increase is taking place largely in secret, in hiddenness. Remember that's especially in the parable of the growing seed, but it's also in the parable of the sower. And that there is this resonance also of the seed and Jesus himself. Remember that the seed in the parable there is called the logos. The seed is the word. That's in the interpretation that comes after it. Scholars fight about whether that was put there by Jesus or by the evangelists. But there is an interpretation in all three Gospels of the parable. So it's as if you have the Christ mystery there expressed in a very compact form, which then is differentiated in the other Gospels. That parable is carried along in each of the other two. In Matthew and in Luke. Now the parables of Q. There are certain ones that have a strong wisdom flavor to them.


I would say the mustard seed, which is also in Mark. I don't know how they calculated that it's in Q as well as Mark. And the leaven. The leaven which acts in hiding, which multiplies in secret, as does the mustard seed in the ground. And they're nicely paired. In the mustard seed a man goes out, and so the mustard seed is caught in the leaven. And in the parable of the leaven it's the woman who does. So a pair of parables which forms a nice sapiential set, as it were. Both metaphors for the same thing. Then there are parables that have an emphasis on mercy, especially the lost sheep. Also the great feast, where they go out at the end, remember? What were we saying, feast of Hososuk? No, yeah, that's a parable. Where they go out at the end and bring them in.


That emphasis is there. The third emphasis there is the two ways of the judgment. In several of these parables there's a differentiation between whether you make out okay or you don't. That's evident with the two builders, the one who builds on sand and the one who builds on rock. It's evident in the great feast. Remember the ones who rejected invitation and are excluded? It's very evident in the faithful or unfaithful servant who will be rewarded or punished in the end, okay? So it's like you've got a wisdom here in the queue which may be rejected. And so you've got two ways. There's the way of accepting the wisdom, in which case it becomes a flourishing thing, like the mustard seed. And you've got the way of rejecting wisdom, in which case it comes back to you as judgment at the end. Now we're going to find all three of those themes carry along in Matthew in particular, not so much in Luke.


So the M parables on page 164 are the ones that are attributed to Matthew himself, or to Matthew's source, as they call it, whatever that was. Now remember that these are in addition to the Mark and Q parables, because I think Matthew's probably got all of those Mark parables, the four of them, and he's certainly got all of the Q parables, doesn't he? So these are in addition. If you look back in Appendix 1, you'll find the whole list of parables in Matthew. And there's a Mark, let's say that. Okay, the weeds among the wheat. Remember, that's a parable with two sides to it. One side is forbearance, is patience. The other side is judgment. But notice it starts out on this motif of the two ways. There's the good seed and the bad seed. They're essentially not confused, but they dwell together. This idea of the church that is not sorted out,


the judgment isn't until the end, but it's there. And then we have a couple of really sapiential parables, I believe, the treasure and the pearl, which, since they come from Matthew, give you a very strong idea of Matthew's wisdom point of view. The idea of a hidden mystery, of something which is essentially concealed, but found with delight and which costs everything. And then remember, it's hidden again. The fellow finds the treasure and he buries it again, goes and buys a field. It's a beautiful parable. And the pearl, of course, is an almost universal wisdom symbol, I believe. The thing that's brought up, the sparkling, luminous, mysterious, beautiful, spherical thing that's brought up from the depths of the waters is often associated with baptism, of course. There's a Gnostic hymn of the pearl, which is quite beautiful. And Saint Ephraim has a long poem on the pearl. The pearl has the Christ mystery. And the fishnet, which is a judgment poem, isn't it?


The unforgiving servant, which is about forgiveness, it's also about judgment, isn't it? That is, if you judge negatively, if you are a harsh judge, and an unforgiving one, then your judgment will be the same. The workers in the vineyard, that's not the bad tenants. That's the... Remember the ones who are working all day, or are working only part of the day. They keep coming until the eleventh hour. And it's largely a parable of mercy. 21 to 16. Yeah, he went out early in the morning to hire laborers for a vineyard. And once again it's a parable of not judging, of not judging the other, of not trying to understand God's way. And of equality, of a kind of unitive gift,


which is given in the single denarius, the single reward that everybody gets, which is like the treasure in the pearl. The two sons. Now that's a judgment parable, a parable of two ways, which has a strong resonance with the Israel and the Gentiles, with the two peoples. The wedding garment, that's another judgment parable, that's tacked on to the parable of the great feast. Remember? They bring in everybody, they bring in the outside people from the streets, and yet, when you come in, if you don't put on the wedding garment, you get thrown out again, and there's a weeping in the National Feast. So it's a strange judgment parable, which becomes an appendix to the parable of mercy and coerciveness to the great feast. The ten maidens, another judgment parable, isn't it? Not all the ten virgins, but the wise and the foolish, the ones who bring oil and the ones who don't. Once again there's a beautiful sapiential flavor to it. And what is this oil, you know?


You can think about it forever. But you get the idea that in all of these parables, there's something that's being dealt with, there's some kind of material, very often. It's money, or it's a treasure, or it's a pearl, or it's fish, or here it's the oil for the lamps, or then it's going to be, it's money again in the parable of the talents. And you ask yourself, what is that? And that's the sapiential core at the heart of all of these things. Is it the divine wisdom? Is it the kingdom of God? Is it Christ? Is it God? Is it ourselves? In some way it's all of those things, okay? There's no name you can put to it. It remains hidden, it remains buried. But it is the mystery. And it is somehow a mystery which is given to you, and in which you are one with God, in which you are Christ. But in remaining unnamed, in remaining hidden in that way, it conserves its power for us, to speak from a literary point of view. And that's the revelation of all of the parables. What would you call it? Like the Buddhist enlightenment, that all of the parables are pointing towards, I believe. I say all of the parables, more or less.


Some of them have another axe to grind short of that. But the parables of the kingdom all have that at their end, and at their core, I believe. They're intended to tantalize you, and to invite you into that mystery of the kingdom, which cannot be expressed in words. Yes? I agree that what we're talking about, the Nazi idea, the big parable of the Torah, I'm asserting a totally different way from the institutionalized command of the legalistic way which we tend to load on the Jews. I was wondering, way before we started, without the questions devolving my mind, are you saying that Matthew still retains an institutional legalistic notion of Torah, and Christian answers? Or are you saying that Matthew completely rejects any notion of legalistic Torah, and reinterprets it just as he reinterprets any vital notion of Messiah?


Okay, the second option, okay? And then I would say something else after that. In other words, Matthew does not... They say that Matthew is between two parties. The antinomians over here want to say that the law is all finished, and no, it's not even free in Christ. And a Pharisaic party, or a more conservative legalistic party who would say that the law remains simply intact, okay? So Matthew is in between those, rejecting both of those, and saying that the law endures, not a bit of it will perish, and yet it endures in a radically transformed way which is simplified and unified, both infuses the divine wisdom, and in this double commandment of love, which is in the Sermon on the Mount, you know, about all of these things are just cut through and simplified utterly and revolutionized by the commandment of love. However, he's still thinking in terms of Torah, but it's a transformed Torah. That's the paradox. So he's saying, I hold to the Torah, but the Torah is nothing in life like you think it is. That's right, that's right. And so he presents Jesus as continually


just knocking over, as it were, the legalistic people, just pulling the rug out from the ground, right out from under them, while he's utterly cutting through and simplifying the law, and yet it remains a law. And I think that Matthew's still thinking in terms of Torah, but it's this radically revolutionized Torah. The problem I have then is, what you were saying earlier about how Matthew promotes and institutionalizes as distinct from the work of his co-processor, Seraphim of Nephitia. If the Torah is so radically transformed, does it really perpetuate institution? This is a matter of, what would you call it, emphasis, I think. And we might not say that about Matthew if we didn't have Luke to compare it with in some way. I think if Luke weren't over there. And I don't want to say that Matthew is in one position. I think that at times you have an acute, what you call a punitive and simplifying synthetic point of view on Matthew, as in the Sermon on the Mount, in which he seems utterly remote from an institutional point of view.


At other times, you have the vision of Jesus as establishing something, which is to remain, and which we translate in terms of institution. Or the commission to Peter in Matthew 16. You are the rock, and upon this rock I shall build my church. You get the idea of a fixed, and it's not purely metaphor, there's some kind of reality to it, of something fixed which is going to endure, and which we translate in terms of institution. But if we separate it from the rest of Matthew, and just see that aspect of being unfair to Matthew, because there's much, much more in Matthew. The whole revelation is in Matthew. Yeah, at least, of course, Peter does not end up in the rock at all. Exactly, exactly. So I guess the reading of Matthew after 2,000 years of institutional Christianity is a very different proposition from reading Matthew at the time of the trafficking. Oh, that's true. That's true, especially if you're coming out of Judaism. Especially if you're coming out of a background of Torah. Yeah, I wonder whether Matthew can impact us along the way.


Within... I'm putting him over there partly because I think he's much more of a Jewish friend than Luke is. I could generalize what I said about I don't need to make Matthew a legalist because he's far from it. He's fighting against legalism. And yet, there are certain patterns of consciousness which remain with him. Whereas Luke seems to have almost been born outside, or moved into another mindset, another consciousness. And of course, this is coming out of that pattern that I have of word and spirit. You can say that Matthew ranges over a whole spectrum from a deep and unitive wisdom which he had forged with Jesus to elements of... what would you call it? Institutional elements which are undigested interests. Which has come along with the whole legacy. Whereas Luke, being somehow free of that, conceives things differently in terms of his movement. But they go from one another because the institutional dimension is there. I'm not using institution as a bad word, necessarily. I don't want to anyway. I have to come back and support it again


because it is an element in the whole history. But we have tended to think it's the whole thing. That's the only problem. In other words, that was our one image of the Church up until Vatican II, but I think it was the institutional one. And Matthew has been, what would you call it, favored by the Church because somehow, I think for official use, liturgical use, and so on. Partly because he can be used in support of that more stationary view. It's a Matthew out of context. I agree with that. But I think for all the Matthew context, I can't see it. No, I think you're right about that. But there are things in Matthew which are in tension with one another. He's certainly not all standing in one place. And with the legacy he has, I think there's some undigested part. There are some parts that haven't been fully digested by the sapiential and by the media. The utter simplicity and revolutionary radicality of what Jesus is in practice.


The way that authority is presented in Matthew, for instance. In Matthew, you have very often that word exousia, or authority. In Luke, often you've got the word dunamis, or power, or energy. Something's moving, rather than something... I think simply that Luke has been born outside of the mind of Torah, and therefore starts from a different point of view. I certainly don't want to... That's the trouble with this kind of thing. Luke tends to come out maybe too favorably as we look at this. We have to go back and confirm the sapiential point of vision of Matthew, and the revolutionary quality of Matthew. It's a revolutionary vision, still conceived in terms of Torah and wisdom, I believe, which tend to be pushed to the side, I think, in Luke


for the sake of something else, which is this dynamism of the Spirit. Let's see. I don't want to keep you much longer, but we only have Luke ahead of us. Let me try to... at the risk of sounding favorable towards Luke once again, and leaving Matthew behind. The talents, that's another judgment parable. But remember, it's judgment on the basis of you might almost say creativity at a certain point, on the basis of fertility. Whether the gift that you were given flowered and multiplied, or whether it remained static. So it's on the side of dynamism. So in Matthew, I tend to find there are parables of mercy and inclusiveness, but I tend to find especially the parables of wisdom and of judgment, as if those were two ends of the same thing. We talked about that already. Wisdom comes and is offered


to you, and you either accept it or you reject it. If you reject it, then you're in line for judgment at the end. Now looking at the Lukean parables, and remember, Luke has the others too. Not the end parables, but he has the Mark and the Q parables. You get a different sense in a lot of these. The first thing you notice is a kind of outpouring. An emphasis on love, and with a lot of tone of feeling. The parable of the two debtors is told by Jesus, remember, in the house of Simon the Pharisee, I believe, after the woman who had a bad reputation comes up and anoints Jesus, remember? And he says, well, there were two debtors, and one was forgiven a little, the other was forgiven a lot. Who's going to love more? Remember? So you get this strange paradoxical mathematics of abundance and outpouring. The Good Samaritan is another one in which you find an outpouring.


The Good Samaritan makes a totally what do you call it? Excessive kind of response to the situation that he sees. In the sense that he disregards himself, his own convenience, even his own safety completely, and just rushes out and fills the space. And this is given as a kind of image of the dynamism, the energy, the movement of God. The Friend at Midnight is one about persistence, remember? And it's persistence in prayer. So you're supposed to be persistent with God like the fellow who knocks on the door until his friend gets up and gives him what he wants. And somehow, in doing that, you are imaging, once again, the divine dynamism. Here, it's excess is not in terms of outpouring so much as in terms of persistence. Now, a number of these parables are in terms of poverty or non-sufficiency, like the one of the rich fool.


The parables of the tower builder and the warring king are very paradoxical because he says, well, before you build the tower, don't you sit down and see how much you've got? And if you're going to go out to war, don't you count your soldiers and see if you've got enough? But then he says, so anybody who doesn't give up all he has can't be my disciple, something like that. So it turns around and says it's not a matter of counting, you're only counting to make sure you've got nothing. It's a parable of emptiness, the parables of emptiness. Corresponding to this outpouring of God is called for a kind of emptiness on the part of the receiver, the human person. So the rich fool who says, well, I've got crops in abundance, set yourself at ease, my soul. I'm going to build more barns and just take it easy because you have a long time of prosperity ahead of you. He's full and so he's doomed. Also the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus is empty, Lazarus is in the bosom of Abraham.


The rich man is full, doesn't even see Lazarus, ends up in hell. So I see parables of the divine dynamism, this dynamism of the spirit, which is translated as love and compassion here in Luke's parables. Parables of that energy and its reproduction in the human person, the example of the good Samaritan. Parables of that energy strangely reflected in a kind of persistence, as if you have to drive back towards that gift of God with something like the energy of that gift itself, because that's already what's inside you that's driving. There's the Holy Spirit driving towards the Holy Spirit. And then parables of emptiness. You have to be utterly empty in order to receive the fullness. Some of the parables in Luke have a unique quality of emotion and feeling


of communication to them. That's true of the prodigal son and the good Samaritan. If you ask people about their favorite parable, I'm most likely to come up with one of those. If you look at the rest of those, I think they more or less tend to fit into those categories. What I'm trying to sell is that all of these expressions rotate around the center, the central invisible core, or invisible image of this divine energy, which is the Holy Spirit, expressed in an abundance in an outpour, in something excessive. Take the parable of the prodigal son, in which the father runs out, you know, and the kid has gone out and squandered half his property. He runs out and falls on his neck and brings him into the house, totally forgets what he's done, dresses him up in the best robe and the rain kills the prodigal kid. Everything is poured out. In other words, there's no stint there. And that's the image of this


spirit of God, the image of this energy of God, which doesn't know the other side, doesn't know outsideness, only knows how to go with its own drive, which is a drive outward, which is a drive of compassion, of love, a drive to fill the space of emptiness, of need, just as with the good Samaritan, and which forgets as it were the past, forgets everything else in its own abundance of flowing energy. The Pharisee and the tax collector. Remember, the Pharisee is full and the tax collector is empty. The Pharisee said, I'm glad I'm not like this other fellow. And the Republican says, Lord, I'm not worthy of my sin. So I'm sorry to be so what do you say, to butcher the variety and delicacy and depth of the


parables in this way, running through them with a theory, but I'm trying to give you something in a short time, which will help to see it all together. Next time, let's go on further with Matthew and Luke, and then perhaps one more time after that with John, if we can find the time. And then to try to look briefly at the four Gospels together. Thank you for your patience. Glory be to the Father, and to His Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.