Nazoraios and Q

11 Jun
It seems to me that if Luke and Matthew were sharing the same source according to the Q hypothesis, then we would expect the odd word “Nazoraios” (Ναζωραιος) in the shared material.

Luke only uses Nazoraios once (outside of Acts of the Apostles), at Lk 18.37: “απηγγειλαν δε αυτω οτι ιησους ο ναζωραιος παρερχεται”. This is the scene where Jesus heals the blind man at Jericho.
Luke 18:

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.
36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” (ιησους ο ναζωραιος should be translated as “Jesus the Nazoraios”)
38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,
41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

This makes me realize another problem with Q. This pericope most certainly is not in Q since it is in Mark. As a matter of fact, I argue that this pericope was invented by Mark to implicitly teach his readers what the Aramaic “bar” meant so that they could understand the significance of Mark’s later character’s name: Barabba. Matthew, upon rendering this pericope, removes Mark’s “redundancy” (“the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus”) and splits Bartimaeus into two anonymous blind beggars. We can tell that this is a Matthean fingerprint because he has a tendency to render in two what Mark renders as one (i.e. two people possessed by the demon Legion instead of Mark’s one person, riding on two donkey’s upon Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem instead of Mark’s one, and so on).

Again, if Luke were using only Mark and Q as a source, he wouldn’t need to make the person anonymous. Matthew probably made the blind man anonymous so he could multiply the number of people being healed. Why would Luke make Bartimaeus anonymous? Another person whom Jesus helps – Jairus – is not made anonymous by Luke. However, if Luke is reading from Matthew (or reading from a source that used Matthew), then it would be a lot more obvious why Luke would remove Matthew’s redundant second person because Luke never knew the person’s name in the first place.

Matthew only uses Nazoraios once during the birth narrative (2.23) and once when Jesus is being tried by the high priest (26.71). This second use changes Mark’s original “you were with that Nazarene, Jesus” to “This fellow was with Jesus the Nazoraios“.

If, as I suspect, that Matthew invented the word Nazoraios at 2.23 — as a misremembering of Judges 13.5 —  then we have a clear trajectory of it being found in all gospels subsequent to Mark. The fact that Nazoraios is not in Q is also another strike against the Q hypothesis. Q doesn’t explain how all gospels subsequent to Mark have this title. Moreover, Nazoraios (as well as Barabba) is a peice of evidence that John was aware of a Synoptic gospel. When I mean “a” Synoptic gospel, I don’t just mean the canonical three. The same probably applies to Luke; the best explanation, to me, is that there was probably some sort of intermediate gospel(s) in between Luke and Matthew that Luke used and edited, not simpy a list of sayings.

Corroborating this, we know that there were more than four Christian communities (i.e. Mark, Matthew, Luke, John), and we know that each of these communities in the sea of heresy only used one gospel; more than likely one that they edited for their own community’s needs.

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Posted by on June 11, 2011 in synoptic problem


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