Friday, December 11, 2009

Thesis Topic - Matthew in Aramaic?

I'm beginning the process of determining a topic for my master's thesis. While a thesis isn't required for my degree program, it's recommended for those who place to go beyond the master's degree. One of the topics I find interesting is the synoptic problem—the question of which gospel acount came for first and which borrowed from it. One of the more popular theories from the source criticism is the Two Source hypothesis, which posits that Mark and some lost source designated Q where the two orginal source from which Matthew and Luke were drawn. The problem I have with this scenario (and I'm not alone) is that it flies in the face of Sacred Tradition, which holds that Matthew was written first. However, to be creditable as scripture scholarship, there needs to be some justification within the existing source to make the claim. The testimony of Sacred Tradition is not, strictly speaking, relevant in source criticism. Now, I personally believe Sacred Tradition accounts is quite important as a witness, but to vindicate tradition, one needs to use the tools of its opponents. So, I want to use source criticism to demonstrate the legitimacy of the testomony of Sacred Tradition. How does that sound?

Anyway, my hope is to focus on Matthew and to demonstrate the Semitic influences that recommend a source in a Semitic language—figurative language that otherwise doesn't convey the proper meaning, word choices that might be due to norms in one culture (Jewish Palestine) versus another (the Diaspora).

I'd be grateful for any suggestions you might have and any source material you could recommend (particularly a certain someone in Trumau whom I know also has an interest in this subject).
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