Varied patterns of verbal
parallels in the four versions of each of these two sayings further complicate
the picture of the relationship of these synoptic pericopes to each other.
Mark's version of the lamp aphorism is in the
form of a rhetorical question. Matthew's & Luke's are
The only words common to all versions [red
text] affirm that the proper place for a lamp is on
a stand. To emphasize this point all versions
preface it by noting the absurdity of putting a lamp under
something. But there is considerable variation between these texts in
identifying the places that are inappropriate for a lamp.
- Mark & both of Luke's versions reject a
pair of locations; Matthew, only one.
- Matthew, Mark & Luke's second version
which is not parallel to Mark agree [blue text] that lamps
are not put under a bushel.
- Mark & its Lukan parallel agree [teal
text] that lamps are not put under a bed.
Luke's two versions of this saying reject
different pairs of locations (vessel/bed;
cellar/bushel). But both frame the
proclamation about the proper setting for a lamp with the same
rhetorical formula [purple text] that is not used
by either Matthew or Mark: "No
one after lighting a lamp...that those who enter may see...."
The second aphorism is a balanced couplet which
uses parallelism to reinforce its claim that the public disclosure of secrets
is inevitable. But there is wide variation in phrasing & terminology.
The only word common to all four versions of this saying [red
text] is: hidden [κρύπτον]. And even the
position of this word varies. In Mark & its Lukan
equivalent it is used in the first stich, while in both Matthew and the
parallel version in Luke it occurs in the second.
Given such varied performances, it is not
surprising to find verbal differences between Mark's version of this
saying & the aphorism at the same point in Luke. It is all the more
noteworthy, then, to find that Luke's second version of this
aphorism is virtually identical with Matthew's, even though they
are not set in the same narrative context. Such verbal agreement is
even more striking, if one notes that Luke's version of the saying
concerning rooftop proclamations, which he --
like Matthew -- appends to the aphorism about revealed secrets differs from
Matthew's text not only in narrative setting but phrasing & logic.
While such rhetorical variation does not
measurably alter the meaning of these sayings, it needs to be taken into
account by any source theory that claims to explain the relationship of the synoptic gospels.