Mark Goodacre has things to say about Brandon Wason’s synoptic problem poll, and so does April DeConick, suggesting that Mark and others “get real” about what the poll results tell us. I once did a poll about the shifts in thought between Galatians and Romans, and found the results to be congruent with where I sensed the academy was leaning. So I agree with Mark that these biblioblog polls, while unscientific, can give a certain “feel” to movements in the academy — provided most of the blog-readers (voters) are academically-oriented. One sometimes wonders. With April I’m surprised at the high number of votes that came in for the Augustinian hypothesis.
On a more specific track, I’d like to comment about those like Steve Walton who remain “completely unconvinced that Luke used Matthew” on account of huge differences between the Sermon on the Mount and Sermon on the Plain.
“The comment ‘unscrambling the egg with a vengeance’ applies so powerfully to Luke’s treatment of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, scattering it in bits all over Luke’s Gospel – I can’t imagine why someone would do that.” (Walton)
Mark dealt with this objection in his treatise against Q, and one of his especially persuasive (though unorthodox) arguments — to me as both a film buff and novelist — was in the chapter on “The Celluloid Christ”. Matthew’s version of the sermon actually begs for unscrambling, and I think everyone knows it, whether or not they know they know it. In his survey of Jesus-films, Goodacre shows how filmmakers have gone out of their way to chop, dice, and reorganize Matthew’s sermon. They don’t care for his early placement of it; they shorten it — even Pasolini, whose film slavishly follows Matthew, shortens it by more than half — they restructure it; and enhance it with other elements (see The Case Against Q, pp 124-129). Just like Luke did. However consciously they’re aware of it, they know Mt 5-7 is a cumbersome wreck crying out for decimation.
The Sermon on the Mount isn’t the literary gem Q-adherents often imply that it is, just because of its “artistic” placement within the 5-block “Torah” units. Matthew’s artistry actually leaves a lot to be desired. I suppose reading Mt 5-7 is a lot like reading parts of the Torah: ethically sharp, literarily onerous. If I had nothing but the gospel of Matthew in front of me, and had to write a new and improved gospel, my sermon would end up looking very different. But then, like Luke, I was always a bit too ambitious and sure of myself.