Lecture 6: Redaction Criticism
Course: New Testament Survey Gospels
Lecture: Redaction Criticism
Let’s have a word of prayer as we begin. Our Father, we stand amazed that you love us. Sometimes we’re so enthralled with our selves we lose sight of the fact that we are but a single person on a planet with many billions of people.
One planet around a single sun and a huge, huge galaxy, which is about one of many, many, many, many, many galaxies in the world and all of this came into being when you simply said ‘let there be.’ And that you would love us, we who are rebellious against you.
And sometimes too hard to believe, but we do accept the fact that through Jesus Christ, our sins have been forgiven because he has born a penalty that our sin demanded. And that we know the proof of this by his resurrection from the dead. We meet in his name. We ask for insight into your word so that we may better understand and know him and love him, and we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We are talking now about redaction criticism. Again, a term that because there are radical redaction critics as fallen into disfavor among many Christians. Once again, let me remind you that it is a tool a discipline and therefore is neutral. It’s the presupposition you bring with you to the use of that tool that determines whether it was radical or whether it will be an instrument in our better understanding of the Bible.
In the mid-1950s, there arose the discipline of redaction criticism. Before that people thought of the Gospels as containing two parts.
You could look at Jesus and seek to investigate it to understand what you could about Jesus, and then there was an oral period. And the form critics examined this oral period. The form critics essentially were sociologists.
They thought in terms of the movement of the church, the anonymous community, and so forth and so on.
I. FOCUSES ON THE PARTICULAR EMPHASES OF THE EVANGELIST
In the 1950s, there arose this new movement, which thought more psychologically, the individual. And they looked at the Evangelists and said these are individuals.
And now you wanted to look at the look at these Evangelists and what they were contributing to the tradition. And so the first person, Hans Conzelmann, wrote a book, and he talked about this. And then Willie Markson wrote a book on the Evangelist Mark, in which he, Markson, clarified I think, very well the fact that in the Bible, or our Gospels, you could study them for learning about Jesus, which he called a situation in life.
You can study to learn about Jesus or about what was going on in the oral period. This was the work of the form critics.
Or you could study to find out what you could about the evangelists, his situation, his theological emphases and alike.
And that is you could learn about the evangelists as well. With the understanding that Matthew and Luke used Mark, this gave insight into the idea –well, let’s investigate Matthew and Luke to see how they used Mark and if we can understand something about that particular theological emphasis.
II. LUKAN THEOLOGICAL EMPHASES
They went on also to say what we can learn about their particular community and alike and so forth. But I want to show you how understanding the priority of Mark and looking at how Luke used Mark.
The investigation of the third (situation in life) gives a real insight into the theology of Luke. Let’s look for a minute then as to how Luke emphasizes certain things and how we can see these emphases when we compare the texts together.
A. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SPIRIT
The first area that I want to look at is the importance of the Holy Spirit in Luke. Now turn with me to Luke 1:15. That would be page 2.
And notice how in the introduction of his story, his account, we have reference to the Holy Spirit. Here’s a reference in verse 15. This is a prophecy to Zechariah concerning his son. He will be great.
Line 11, “He will be great before the Lord. And he shall drink no wine or strong drink. And he will be filled with the [false start to spirit] Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”
Then verse 17, “And you will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah. So you have now referenced to the spirit, he will come upon this child, this son of Zechariah,” who we know is John the Baptist. Now we also have in that story combined with the appearance of an angel to Mary, the same angel, and we have another reference now to the Spirit on 35.
Where does Mary ask how I can have a child if I have no husband? Naïve by 20th century standards, perhaps, but thinking that she has not married. Therefore she cannot have a sexual relationship; how can she have a child? And so, in verse 35, the angel says, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” That probably is an example of what we call synonymous parallelism, where the same thought is being repeated for where the Holy Spirit comes upon you then that’s the power of the Most High overshadowing you.
And therefore the child will be born and will be called holy. Then when you go back to the story now of Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, in verse 41, that would be page three, “and when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe, her child leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Now I have an ‘L’ next to all these. What do I mean by that? Where does this come from?
The unique Luke material. Maybe it always had this, these references to the Holy Spirit in them. We don’t know. But they are uniquely Luke, and they are found without any parallel.
In 167, page 4, “And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.” Saying, another reference to being filled with the Spirit.
In 225 to 27, that would be page 9, line 6, verse 25, “now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon and this man was righteous and devout and looked for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit, he came into the temple and met Jesus there.”
All of this is uniquely Lukan; with it in the material and traditions, Luke had-really very hard to know at this point. But there are a lot of other references, which will help us.
In 316, another reference to the Spirit. And here we have this reference to John baptizing with water, “but he who’s mightier than I is coming to the thong of whose sandals I’m not worthy to untie.”
Line 13 in Luke, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” That looks like it’s a saying that may come from ‘Q’ because Matthew has the same kind of wording, exactly, but the reference to the Holy Spirit and with fire doesn’t happen, Luke didn’t create this, this is simply part of the tradition.
Alright, now on 322, you have another reference here, reading Luke at the top, “now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus had also been baptized and was praying the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him”
Mark has the Spirit descending upon him, but Luke adds in bodily form like a dove. In other words, the Holy Spirit so much descends on Jesus that it’s almost like he comes in a bodily form upon Jesus.
So he intensifies material in some way.
Now-beginning now before when it becomes really clear how Luke takes his Markan source and adds to its references to the Spirit. Turn to Luke 4:1, page 19. Mark has the spirit immediately drove him into the wilderness. Are they right? Luke has “And Jesus full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan and was lead by the spirit for 40 days in the wilderness” and so forth.
Now, Luke adds full of the Spirit, by looking at how he uses Mark, you begin to say I wonder if Luke has a particular emphasis on the role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus and maybe in the life of the church.
It makes you also begin to think that this expression full of the spirit, which Luke adds here in 4:1, we have that same expression in some of these other passages, which we have no parallel to. It makes you wonder if, maybe, Luke has added some of those at that place, but we don’t know.
When we get to 4:14 we have another addition to the Lukan, -Markan narrative. But to find that, we have to find page 29, 28. Mark, Matthew, and Luke have a parallel here.
Mark reads, “now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee.”
Okay, Luke has, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.” Right after the baptism, Luke wants to emphasize that Jesus is filled with the spirit as he returns to Galilee. Clear Lukan addition.
In 4:18, page 31, we have an account that’s L material in Luke it reads, “and he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and he went to the synagogue as his custom was on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read, and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written; the spirit of the Lord is upon me. Because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”
This is the first account that Luke can add to the traditions he has in front of him concerning Jesus. After his baptism, his temptation, now he comes to the temple to the synagogue in the city of Nazareth, where he was raised. And the first opening words of Jesus after all of this, as he now begins his ministry, the spirit of the Lord is upon me.
Where this material came from, hard to know. I’ve just listed it as L, but it does reveal something of his emphasis.
Now let’s go on and continue looking at his use of Mark 5:17, that would be page 40.
Mark has that when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home and many people were gathered together so that there was no longer room for them not even out the door and were preaching the word to them.
Luke has “on one of those days as he was teaching there were Pharisees in teachers of the law sitting by who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.”
Now Luke has added the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Well, that doesn’t refer to the spirit. Still, we’ve had very close ties between the power of the Lord and the Spirit already in the first chapter where they are essentially synonymous. Then if we know that Luke has written Acts 1:8, “you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
You see this intimate tie. And for Luke it could-almost, you could almost say the spirit of the Lord was with him to heal, so close.
10:21, alright, that would be page 168, 168. Here is a Q material. Matthew has at that time, Jesus declared, “I thank the father, Lord of heaven and earth that thou has hidden these things from the wise and understanding and reveal them to babes.”
Luke has “in that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said I thank thee Father of heaven and earth that thou has hidden these things form the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes.” So now we have this other material, this Q material, whatever that is like, but Luke seems to have added here that Jesus is rejoicing in the Holy Spirit.
172, page 172, number 187 at the top. You have a saying beginning at line 11 very much alike, both in Matthew and in Luke. “If you then, who are evil now how to give good gifts as your children, how much more will the heavenly father give,” Matthew has “good things”, Luke has – “the Holy Spirit” “to those who ask him.”
If I were to guess which was probably more authentic, more like the original words of Jesus, it probably would be Matthew here. But Luke wants to emphasize this and its readers that the best thing that the father can give is the Holy Spirit. And he emphasizes that.
So we have an L addition. In 12:10 we have a reference, which is also in Mark.
That would be page 180. Luke has “when anyone speaks a word against the son of man will be forgiven, but he who blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
That essentially comes from Mark, so it comes out of his Mark source.
12:12, a little down the page, Mark has, “and when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious before him. What you are to say, but say whatever’s given you in that hour.”
Luke has “and when they bring you before the synagogues, and the rules and authorities do not be anxious how or what you are to answer, or what you are to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
So you have this reference again. Then at the very end, you have this great commission saying in Luke 24 verse 49, which is unique to Luke and so it’s, therefore, L material, but Luke ends “and be a hole the promise of my Father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Then Acts 1:8 picks that up, “you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” So what we find here-then, is that by practicing, quote, redaction criticism, unquote, we find that Luke has a particular theological interest and emphasis on the importance of the spirit. Primarily in the life of Jesus, in the Gospels, but also there are some allusions to the life, to the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer, and then in the book of Acts, it’s quite clear now we have the Spirit coming upon the church. “And they are filled with the Spirit” and so forth.
So, by comparing Luke to his Markan source, and sometimes to the Q material, we find that Luke has a particular theological emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit and the importance of the spirit, both in the Ministry of Jesus and in the life of a believer.
What we’ve done is redaction criticism. I don’t see anything negative about this. I think, on the contrary; it’s something very positive.
What we’ve been able to do is see more clearly Luke’s theological emphasis. Now, if we did not have a synopsis, if we did not have Mark to compare Matt-Matthew and Luke too, or in this case, primarily Luke. Would we see Luke as an emphasis on the Holy Spirit?
I think we probably would, but not as clearly. When you do this, especially from here down, doesn’t the references to the Holy Spirit kind of jump out to you now? I want you to see that.
Alright, that’s an example of redaction criticism in Luke. It’s easy to do. Primarily because you’re comparing his use of Mark. We have his source in front of us.
B. THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
Alright, let’s look at another example. Another important area is the-in Luke is prayer. It’s an emphasis on the importance of prayer. The first one, 1:10, the whole Gospel begins with an angel visiting Zechariah, and verse 10, says, “in the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.”
When people pray things to happen, and as they were praying now God reveals what’s going to happen to Zechariah and his wife.
In 321, we now have an addition to the Markan narrative. 321, that would be page 16. Notice that Luke follows Mark here. But when we read Luke, he inserts something, that, “when all the people were baptized and when Jesus had also been baptized and was praying the heaven was opened.”
Luke adds that the baptism of Jesus and the coming of the Spirit upon Jesus qualitatively by prayer.
Everything important in the Gospels and Acts is preceded by prayer.
5:16, page 40, here we have “after the cleansing of the leper Jesus no longer could go openly into a town. But was out in the country, but people came for him from every quarter.”
But Luke has, “But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.” Not in Mark., 6:12, page 47, here we have the choice of the 12 disciples.
Luke begins the account “in those he went up, out to the mountain.”-as Mark has, he went up on the mountain-but Luke adds, “to pray and all night he continued in prayer to God.”
So that the call of the disciples is preceded by prayer, an important event in the life of Jesus was preceded by prayer.
6:28, “but I say to you love your enemies do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,” and then he adds, “pray for those who abuse you.”
Matthew has, “love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.”
This should be Q mat-a Q reference, let’s say. Matthew also has that. 9:18, 9:18, page 149, we need to discuss later in this mess. The importance of Peter’s confession in the ministry of Jesus.
That is a turning point in the ministry. Mark reads “and Jesus went up with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and on his way, he asks his disciples, ‘who do men say that I am?’” Luke has, “now it happened as he was praying alone the disciples who were with him and he asked him, ‘who do men say that I am?’” So preceding this, revelation of himself as the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus is praying.
9:28, page 153, the transfiguration. Mark, “and after six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John and led them up in a high mountain apart from themselves, and he was transfigured before them.”
Luke, “Now about 8 days after these sayings he took with him Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray and as he was praying the appearance of his contents was changed.” So that it was in prayer that the transfiguration takes place.11:01 and 02, Jesus is praying when he sees this they say teach us how to pray as John taught his disciples.
You look for the parallel in Luke, in Matthew, no reference to praying. It’s simply Jesus saying when you pray, pray this way. But Luke has he is praying, and the disciples ask him.
18:01, in the parable of the unjust judge, Luke introduces the parable this way, it’s L material. We don’t have the parable else were but notice how intro, it’s introduced. And he told the parable to the effect that they’re always to pray and not lose heart.
Then in 10 and 11, is another parable only found in JohannineLuke. The parable of Pharisee and the Publican. And here a Pharisee goes to the temple to pray, and he stood up and prayed with himself as follows, again about prayer, 19:46 in Luke.
Alright, this comes, follows the Mark material you, about the house being called a house of prayer for all nations. Luke has the same references. He doesn’t change that.
20:47, here he follows Mark again about a reference to widow Pharisees who devour a widow’s houses, and for a pretense make long prayers they shall receive great condemnation.
And then in 22:40 to 46, you have the Gethsemane, you have materials which involve prayer, and in verse 45 Luke adds in that particular Johanninematerial, “and when he rose from prayer, his disciples came.” Nothing particularly significant and alike there, but involved in prayer. So throughout the ministry of Jesus, we find the time and time again Jesus introduces the material by saying Jesus is praying or Jesus, as they were praying, or some reference to it.
Interestingly enough, if you take a concordance and look up Spirit in Acts or prayer in Acts, you find the whole list of references again. Everything important in Acts occurs after prayer.
Acts chapter 1, you have the election of a man by the name of Matthias to be the 12 disciples. It is preceded by prayer. You have the coming of the first Gentile, Cornelius, to faith and the role Peter plays in that. Both of them are told when they are praying Cornelius goes-bring this man Peter; he has something to say to you. Peter is told go and visit Cornelius and share with him the Gospel.
When the first missionary team is organized, it’s while the church in Antidote is praying that this takes place. And you have all these various references to prayer throughout the Gospel or, -and, the book of Acts.
What we’ve done is pretty simple, straight forward. It’s not complicated. It’s what we’re doing with this redaction criticism. Now when we talk about redaction criticism, we’re looking at the particular emphasis of Luke, Matthew, and Mark.
We are not dealing with, quote, the theology of Luke the theology of Matthew, we are looking at the particular emphasis. It doesn’t mean that they’re way out and no one else has these emphases.
Quantitatively, Luke emphasizes the role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus more. And qualitatively, he emphasizes the role of prayer more. The others have prayer, but not to the same degree. We are not saying that this is a weird theology that no one else has.
We’re just saying this is his particular theological emphasis. It doesn’t mean they have different theologies. It just means there’s a certain different emphasis.
Is the theology of Wesley’s different from the theology of Luther? Well, yeah, one has his emphasis one has, wait a minute, You put those two in the middle of a group of Buddhists and Muslims, and you’ll be amazed at how close their theology is.
In the overall theology, they agree, but they have theological emphasis and differences. They’re not contradictory; they just have a particular one. And they usually come out of the person’s particular kind of theological background and training.
Luther comes out of a background where people are thinking that they need to work and do certain things by indulgences to be saved and they emphasize justification of faith alone.
Wesley comes from a background where everybody in England is a Christian or a cow or something like that. And he wants to emphasize the necessity of being filled with the Spirit and having this experience of sanctification, which probably means the experience of conversion for the vast majority of these people; different entities different backgrounds.
The theologies are very similar. If you compare them outside of Christian circles. The theology of Luke, for instance, is not interested in the doctrine of God. It’s not interested in discussing the inspiration of the Old Testament. It’s simply assumed it’s inspired.
It’s not, so we are not talking about a theology that is only Lukan. It’s a theology that is primarily; it’s an emphasis of the Evangelist Luke, not an only kind of theology.
III. MATTHEAN THEOLOGICAL EMPHASIS — FULFILLMENT OF SCRIPTURE
Now let’s look at Matthew. One of the emphases we find in Matthew is references to the fulfillment of Scripture.
Alright, chapter 1 verse 23, and I have here M material because there is no parallel to it. Page 7, you, you have versus 22, 23, where the angel says, “Joseph, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. What is in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.”
And now you have in 22, 23, all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet. Quote “behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called Emanuel,” which means God with us.
Chapter 2 verse 15, that would be page 10, Here you have the massacre of the innocence, where Herod seeks to destroy the anointed that had come and that the wise men had told him about, by slaying all the children in Bethlehem two years of age or younger. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet out of Egypt have I called my son that, that’s the, involves the flight, now about the destruction of the innocence, the killing of the innocence, we have “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, a voice was heard in Ramah wailing in loud lamination. Rachel weeping for her children. She refused to be consoled because they were no more.” Now on the, there are no parallels to this, so this has to be what we would call the M material.
Now in 2:23, the childhood of Jesus, right across the page there, “and he went and dwelled in a city called Nazareth. That what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled; he shall be called a Nazarene.”
That’s one of the most difficult Old Testament quotations to try to put together with the mind of the author. Being born in Nazareth, what has that got to do with being a Nazarene? Nazarene was a child dedicated to the Lord who would not have his hair cut, would not drink wine from childhood on, or something like that, and confusing, but notice its emphases on M material.
In 4:14 to 16, that would be page 30, “And leaving Nazareth he went and dwelled in Capernaum by the sea and the turning of Zebulon and Naphtali.”
Line 18 of Matthew first, “that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali toward the sea across the Jordan Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light and for those who sit, sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
Now that would be again M material about fulfillment, but now beginning at 8:17 of Matthew we start seeing how these are inserted into the Markan narrative.
Turn with me to page 76. If Matthew is following Mark, and Luke is also as we argued for Mark in priority, after the summary Matthew has added in verse 17, line 11 and following “this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, he took our infirmity’s and bore our diseases.”
That’s an M addition to the Markan narrative. Notice it’s not in Luke Matthew has added that because that’s a theological emphasis of his.
Chapter 12 verse 17 and following that would be page 104, here we have another summary, of Jesus healing activity and then beginning of line 18 Matthew adds to that summary, and this is not found in Mark or Luke, this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “Behold my servant whom I have chosen my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased, I will put my spirit upon him,” and so forth and so on. Now it the very fact that he has in this M addition on fulfillment a reference to the spirit coming upon Jesus makes it difficult for me to think that Luke saw this and decided to omit it.
I don’t think Luke knew Matthew, otherwise, with his love for the Spirit coming upon Jesus to me he would’ve included the reference there.
In 13:14 and following we have added to page 115 the reason for Jesus speaking in parabolas in Mark at the very end.
Line 21, “with them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says you shall indeed hear but never understand, indeed see, but not perceive,” and so forth and so on. You don’t find this M addition in Luke. It’s only in Matthew here.
So in 30, 13:35, which is found in your synopsis on page 119, after the summary of Jesus teaching in parabolas, which Matthew and Mark have. Matthew adds, “this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, I will open my mouth in parabolas, I will find udder what was hidden since the foundation of the world.”
In chapter 21, verses 4 and 5, in our synopsis, that would be page 234, here you have the story of the triumphal entry. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are all following the same account order, pretty much. Then at line 20, Matthew alone has, “this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet. Saying tell the daughter of Zion to behold, your king is coming to you humbly and mounts on an ass and a colt, the foal of an ass.”
Notice that M addition is in the middle of the account. After that, which is in neither Mark nor Luke, you have the story continuing again. M addition.
26:54, alright, that would be page 300. Here you have the trail of Jesus, oh, excuse me, the arrest of Jesus.
And after Jesus tells Peter to put his, the sword away, Matthew has some material, but then in line 52, page 300, “but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so,” a reference to the fulfillment of Scripture.
And in verse 56, “but all this took place so that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled,” which is similar to what we have in Mark, so that comes out of his Mark material.
What we have then-in, another emphasis unique to, the emphases, ah, and the quantity is unique to Matthew. Luke also has references-in some of his L material to the fulfillment of Scripture.
Not with that particular formula, but to Scripture being fulfilled. So Matthew, Mark, and Luke all believe that what’s taking place is in fulfillment of the Scripture.
Matthew particularly emphasizes this and then tries to show a Bible verse that is being fulfilled, and in so doing, some Matthean, very famous fulfillment quotations from Matthew, known long before 1950, long before quote redaction criticism came on the scene.
Long before all of these people could talk in the days of Augustin in 400, about Matthew’s emphases and Luke’s emphases.
What we are doing because we see how this relationship Matthew and Luke using Mark is we see better than those emphases have been added by the evangelists because they are not in the source they used.