Q’s Narrative Sequence?

by James Dowden

Once again, I’ve been reading articles. This time it’s Kloppenborg responding to Goodacre way back in 2003. The bit I’d like to draw out is on p231: Kloppenborg attributes the Nazara/Nazareth then Capernaum order to Q. This would make it anterior to the third evangelist’s work.

What Kloppenborg is trying to offer an explanation for here is why the pericopes Luke 4.16-30 and 5.1-11 occur in their own places in Luke, rather than inverted (which would be Mark’s order). The contention that this is Q’s order seems an obvious one.

The issues caused by Luke 4.16-30 and 5.1-11 are two-fold. Firstly, 4.23 refers to Jesus’ acts in Capernaum, a city that is not arrived at until 4.31. And secondly, 5.3 introduces Simon (Peter), whose mother-in-law has already been healed at 4.38-39.

The second of these cases may well be explained as a mere gaffe, but the first is more problematic. The Lucan version of the Rejection at Nazareth (4.16-30=Mt13.53-58=Mk6.1-6a) is particularly expansive. It is in a lengthy block of material introduced by the third evangelist that the reference to Capernaum occurs. There are three basic redactional scenarios:

  1. that the expansion of the Rejection at Nazareth pericope post-dates the Nazareth-Capernaum re-ordering (e.g. if Luke took Q’s presumed order, but expanded this pericope on the basis of Mark’s order — the presumed mindset of Luke on this basis is really so far beyond mechanistic as to be perverse);
  2. that the expansion and re-ordering belong to the same author/redactor (e.g. that the expansion and re-ordering are both Q; or that they are both Luke — once again, it makes the writer concerned seem somewhat eccentric); or:
  3. that the expansion pre-dates the re-ordering.

As far as I can make out, Kloppenborg’s position appears to be the first of these three. No doubt those who favor a layered Q could switch to the third and have Qn expansion, followed by Qn+1 re-ordering, but this seems rather heavy on the hypothetical documents. Furthermore, there seems to be nothing more than a hope that we have Q’s order driving the attribution of the re-ordering to the Q phase, rather than to a later phase.

Indeed, the schematic geographical re-ordering seems to pertain to that of Luke and Acts as a pair of works, the former with movement by Jesus from his family and hometown toward Jerusalem, and the latter with movement away from Jerusalem by the Apostles. (Perhaps I should mention in passing that Acts too shows some evidence of re-ordering: most famously, 8.4 and 11.19 look as if they should be continuous.)

The language of the expansion — although I haven’t gone on a word-fishing expedition — also sounds Lucan. The lengthy quote from Isaiah is reminiscent of similar expansiveness at 3.4-6. Some of the expansion also seems to anticipate the Widow of Nain pericope (7.11-17), a passage unique to Luke.

So I am inclined to think it more likely that the expansion belongs originally to Luke, whilst the rather clumsy re-ordering is secondary, done by the redactor of Luke-Acts.