Mt 14:1-4a 1At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; 2and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him." 3For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; 4because John said to him...
TJ 16:1-4a 1At the time when Jmmanuel was staying in Nazareth, news about him reached Herodes. 2And he spoke to his people, "Surely this is Johannes the Baptist, who has arisen from the dead and who therefore possesses such mighty powers." 3For Herod had seized Johannes, bound him and put him into prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philippus, and had him beheaded. 4However it had come to pass previously that Johannes reprimanded Herod, saying,...
TJ 16:1-4a 1Zu der Zeit, als Jmmanuel in Nazareth weilte, drang die Kunde über ihn vor zu Herodes. 2Und er sprach zu seinen Leuten: «Das ist sicher Johannes der Täufer; der ist von den Toten auferstanden, deshalb wirken in ihm solche Kräfte.» 3Denn Herodes hatte Johannes gegriffen, gebunden und in das Gefangnis gelegt wegen der Herodias, der Frau seines Bruders Philippus, und hatte ihm den Kopf abschlagen lassen. 4Es begab sich zuvor aber so, dass Johannes ihn rugte und sprach:...
THE PROBLEM. In the opening verse to the episode of Herod the tetrarch and the beheading of John the Baptist, "At that time" is unnecessarily vague. It must refer to the time frame of the preceding Matthean verse or later, and so it refers to the end of Jesus' visit to Nazareth, or to some time afterwards. The preceding verse, Mt 13:58, states that Jesus "did not do many mighty works there," which indicates that his visit to Nazareth was then over. In either case, the events of the following 12 verses do not appear to be a flashback, which they otherwise may seem to be. That is, there would not have been sufficient time for these events, including the burying of John's body by his disciples and their seeking out of Jesus, to have taken place after Jesus left Nazareth. At least,this seems to have been the reasoning of W. G. Kümmel, who criticized the compiler of Matthew for not noticing that the beheading episode, plus the actions taken by John's disciples, were a flashback, and not allowing for it in his editing. Similarly, it is concluded by D. A. Carson that either verses 3-12 are an excursus (an addition as an afterthought) or else the chronology of that section is wrong.
SOLUTION. With TJ 16:1, the time referred to is clearly during Jmmanuel's stay in Nazareth. The TJ's use of the words "was staying" (or alternatively "dwelled" ("weilte")) suggests he was there several days or perhaps weeks, and not just passing through. It was during this time, then, that Herod heard of Jmmanuel and the miracles he had wrought earlier. TJ 16:3-17a constitutes the actual flashback, which is clearly initiated with the words, "However it had come to pass previously...", and so Kümmel's criticism does not apply to the TJ. Herod evidently thought that the spirit of the dead John might be inhabiting the body of Jmmanuel. The end of the minor flashback brings the reader back to the existent time, through the time required for John's disciples to bury the body and then locate and travel to Jmmanuel in Nazareth.
The writer of Matthew omitted the anticipatory mention of Herod having John beheaded in TJ 16:3, probably for the reasons expressed under the discussion of Mt 14:9; this gospel writer did not wish to denigrate Herod Antipas any more than necessary.
In the earlier discussion of Mt 13:54 we noted the attention paid by Beare (p. 319) to the peculiar lack of mention of Nazareth. Mt 14:1 above is another example of the compiler's avoidance of the word, and explains his motivation for the redaction. That is, he was "punishing" Nazareth for its inhabitants' unbelief in Jesus' healing powers by omitting mention of the town's name in this section of Matthew. However, his avoidance of it at Mt 14:1 compounded Matthew's flashback problem.
In considering the TJ-hoax hypothesis, one can only wonder how a hoaxer would have been perceptive and creative enough to realize that omission of "Nazareth," along with omission of the anticipatory mention of John's beheading, caused the flashback problem. Only with hindsight does this become apparent. Indeed, a New Age hoaxer would not likely even have been aware of the flashback problem. On top of this, we find reasonable cause why the writer of Matthew did not wish to write down the name "Nazareth" at this point in his gospel. PHoax ≈ 0.1.
Mt 14:9 9And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it [the head of John the Baptist] to be given.
TJ 16:10-11 10The king was pleased that Herodias had persuaded her daughter to demand the head of Johannes the Baptist, because this way he was not guilty in the eyes of the people, inasmuch as he had taken an oath. 11But Herodias' daughter did not know that Herodes and her mother had agreed, even before the dance, to demand the head of Johannes the Baptist through her.
TJ 16:10-11 10Und der König war froh, dass Herodias ihre Tochter überredet hatte, das Haupt des Täufers zu fordern, denn so traf ihn vor dem Volk keine Schuld, da er ja den Eid geleistet hatte. 11Herodias’ Tochter aber wusste nicht, dass Herodes und ihre Mutter schon vor dem Tanze eins waren, durch sie das Haupt des Täufers zu fordern.
THE PROBLEMS. As expressed by Beare (p. 324), it is surprising that Herod would be distressed by the request, because he was earlier reported as already inclined to execute John and was looking for an excuse to get it done. John had essentially charged Herod with adultery, and this could not have been graciously accepted by Herod. Davies & Allison agree: "the reference to Herod grieving makes sense only in Mark."
And why is "oaths," the plural, used? Only one oath is mentioned. Mark has it the same way (Mk 6:26), indicating, with the assumption of Markan dependence upon Matthew, that Matthew indeed had it in the plural.
SOLUTION. In the TJ (16:10) version the "king" is indeed glad, not distressed, and Beare's criticism does not apply to it. However, Beare's opinion is not generally expressed; those favoring biblical inerrancy wherever possible assume that Mark's version of the event is to be implied, in which Herod is said to have liked John and kept him "safe" in prison (Mk 6:20).
But the writer of Matthew may have held a relatively favorable view of Herod Antipas, in comparison with his abhorrence of Herod the Great, and presumed hatred of his brother Archelaus, who in 4 BC had instigated the slaughter of 3,000 Jews but had been opposed by Antipas. A favorable view of Antipas may also have been due to the fact that he is known to have celebrated Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. It might also be due in part to a verse the writer of Matthew had read earlier within the nativity section of the TJ:
TJ 2:24 24When Herodes Antipas realized that he had nothing to fear from the young boy [Jmmanuel], who was credited only with great wisdom and knowledge, he felt safe in his realm. Thus, he promised the delegate of the celestial son Gabriel he would no longer pursue Maria, Joseph and Jmmanuel.
TJ 2:24 24Da Herodes Antipas nun sah, dass er von dem Knäblein nichts zu befürchten hatte und dass ihm nur grosse Weisheit und Wissen zugeredet war, fühlte er sich ungefährdet in seinem Reich, so er dem Abgesandten des Himmelssohnes Gabriel zusagte, Maria und Joseph und Jmmanuel nicht weiter zu verfolgen.
Thus the writer of Matthew may well have held Herod Antipas in a much more favorable light than he held King Herod.
TJ 16:11 is included along with 16:10, as it informs us that Herod and Herodias had agreed before the birthday celebration dance to induce her daughter to ask for the Baptist's head. The writer of Matthew may have thought of this prior agreement as akin to an oath, and therefore mentioned "oaths" (plural) in his verse. He did not, however, include this TJ verse here, because of his relatively favorable view of Herod Antipas. He was thus interested in placing all the blame for the beheading on Herodias.
Now consider another topic: the incorrect use of "king" in Mt 14:9 and TJ 16:10 as a title for Herod Antipas. It could easily just represent loose usage of the term by the writer of the TJ, since the correct title is given upon first mention. Josephus, for example, loosely used the title "king" for the ethnarch Archelaus a couple of times. The writer of Mark, in his parallel verses of Mk 6:14-28, then made the wrong choice in thinking either that "king" was correct and "tetrarch" incorrect or that "tetrarch" was not very understandable to gentiles, and so he utilized "king" throughout.
The writer of Mark did improve upon Matthew by adding, in Mk 6:20, that Herod considered John to be a "righteous and holy man" and that he "kept him safe." This nearly eliminated the contradiction commented upon by Beare. However, this addition generated its own inconsistencies, since Herod would not have feared John, due to his influence with the people, and at the same time have looked kindly upon the man who wielded such power with the people and who had charged him with adultery. And Herod certainly did not "keep John safe" by having him beheaded. These explanations for the differing wordings in Mark and Matthew are every bit as plausible as the "mainstream" contention that the writer of Matthew was following Mark and failed to correct one of Mark's usages of "king" in front of Herod's name, and that the writer of Mark was merely carelessly inconsistent in having Herod treat John with respect for being holy and righteous but yet having him beheaded.
The fact that the key problem lies with Matthew and not with the TJ, combined with the absence of any anticipation of the TJ's "solution" to the problem in scholarly NT literature, suggest that the possibility of hoax here is rather slim: PHoax ≈ 0.2.
Now it may be asked of the TJ, just as of Matthew, how did either writer learn of the details of Antipas' birthday celebration, and that, for example, Herodias had prompted her daughter to ask for the head of the Baptist? With Matthew or Mark we know of no answer to this question, but with the TJ, there is one. In the TJ's chapter 4 one of the marvels that Jmmanuel was shown during the period of 40 days and nights was a facility that permitted the guardian angels to view "the entire land of Israel, alive and true, humans and animals and everything that was there," with no secret being concealed (TJ 4:15-16). They must have kept close tabs on John the Baptist, if as we have supposed, he was also a contactee of theirs, though as was usually the case, they avoided direct interference in human affairs. It is conjectured, then, that Jmmanuel learned what had transpired from one of the guardian angels, possibly from his father, Gabriel; this could have occurred while he was being transported away by the "metallic light" from Israel to Syria (i.e., after the Ascension), or subsequently. Still later, Jmmanuel's writer would then learn of the beheading event from Jmmanuel and/or have it dictated to him by Jmmanuel. It should be noted that the modern UFO phenomenon presents many instances in which UFO intelligence has disclosed its knowledge of intimate human affairs, such as the intricacies of how our underground nuclear missiles can be disarmed, and what UFO witnesses are thinking at the time of their sightings.
Mt 14:13 13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
TJ 16:18 18When Jmmanuel heard this [of the beheading event as told to Jmmanuel by John's disciples], he was overcome with fear and retreated by boat to a deserted area. However, when the people heard that, they followed him on foot from the towns.
TJ 16:18 18Und da Jmmanuel das hörte, überkam ihn Furcht und er wich von dannen auf einem Schiff in eine einsame Gegend, doch so das Volk das hörte, folgte es ihm nach zu Fuss aus den Städten.
THE PROBLEM. Here, Beare (pp. 325-326) noted that the introductory sentence was not very clear. It seemed to him that Jesus was portrayed as going away, having heard of John's beheading, as if he were seeking refuge. The problem is that Matthew does not explain why Jesus suddenly withdrew, forcing the questioning reader to wonder. The fact that Matthew's flashback or excursus of verses 14:3-12 does not seem like one, due to 14:1-2, made it seem to many scholars, e.g., Carson, that "this" in 14:13 must refer back to 14:1-2 (when Herod heard of Jesus' fame) rather than to John's beheading. It is not clear here whether or not Beare understood the flashback problem; by following Mark's version more closely than Matthew's he seems to have taken the flashback for granted.
SOLUTION. In the TJ's previous verse, it is apparent that "this" refers to the beheading event. The compiler of Matthew most certainly deleted the motivation of fear here, and Beare almost guessed that it belongs back in. Another scholar who argues similarly to Beare on this is E. Bammel. In keeping track of Jesus' movements before and after the beheading of John, Bammel finds a change at this juncture that "points to Jesus having felt himself to be in a state of danger after the beheading of his baptizer." The TJ confirms Bammel's deduction (made in 1984).
It is inherently less likely that a literary hoaxer would notice this rather obscure problem and correct it than that the writer of Matthew would omit any mention of fear on the part of Jesus. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
Mt 14:14 14As he went ashore, he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
TJ 16:19 19Jmmanuel saw the large crowd from the water, and feeling sorry for them, he went ashore and healed their sick.
TJ 16:19 19Und Jmmanuel sah vom Wasser aus die grosse Menge; und es jammerte ihn derselben, so er an Land ging und ihre Kranken heilte.
THE PROBLEM. The crowds evidently were following Jesus along the shore as he went in the boat. Otherwise they would not have been there when he landed. And if they could see him, he certainly would have seen many of them while still in the boat and before coming ashore. So why does Matthew imply that he didn't know the crowd was there until he went ashore?
SOLUTION. The TJ verse describes the situation as it more likely actually happened. It is possible that this minor Matthean problem, not commented upon in any literature I'm aware of, arose only from a flawed translation when Semitic Matthew was translated into Greek. This is an example, in that case, of Rashid's translation having been the more accurate one. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 14:17 17They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish."
TJ 16:22 22They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves of bread and three fish."
TJ 16:22 22Sie aber sprachen: «Wir haben hier nichts als fünf Brote und drei Fische.»
THE PROBLEM. This verse is from the feeding of the five thousand, and its criticism is one of hindsight. Is it just an improbable coincidence that the number of elements of food in a nature miracle of this sort is found to total seven, the sacred mystic number? One may suspect the embracing of the sacred to have been the reason because in the feeding of the four thousand, which appears to be a repeated, further improved version of this feeding, there are said to have been seven loaves and a few fish (Mt 15:34). There could just as well have been only one fish, or three or four or five, as two fish.
SOLUTION. The reason why the compiler of Matthew seems to have redacted three fish into two indeed appears to have been so that the sum (5+2) of the ingredients in this miracle would equal seven, the mystic number. There seems no reason whatsoever for a hoaxer to have altered the TJ verse in the opposite direction, or to have stooped to such a minor alteration. Here and in Celestial Teachings is the first time that a change of this nature has been suggested; would a hoaxer bent on pushing a New Age philosophy have been creative enough to invent it? PHoax ≈ 0.2.
Mt 14:19 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
TJ 16:24 24And telling the people to stay put, he took the five loaves of bread and the three fish, spoke secret words, broke the loaves of bread, cut up the fish and gave them to his disciples; and the disciples gave them to the people.
TJ 16:24 24Und er hiess das Volk sich lagern und nahm die fünf Brote und die drei Fische, sprach geheimnisvolle Worte und brach die Brote und die Fische und gab sie den Jüngern, und die Jünger gaben sie dem Volk.
THE PROBLEM. The idea of blessing bread, abbreviated as just "blessed," or "blessing," without stating the direct object of the blessing (the noun in the accusative casethe bread), is not present in the Old Testament scriptures. Rather, it developed within early Christianity only as the Communion rite developed. Thus it appears to be an anachronism attributed to the lips of Jesus. There is one Old Testament mention of God blessing bread (Ex 23:25), but it is not, of course, expressed in the abbreviated form that developed after the Christian Communion practice had became commonplace by the late date of the writing of Matthew. "Blessed" is expressed in the same manner in Mt 26:26, which then involves this same redaction and is strongly suspect of involving further redaction.
Another problem, though a minor one, is that although the loaves were distributed and multiplied, there is no mention that the fish were likewise distributed. This has caused R. H. Gundry to liken this feeding to the communion sacrament, which doesn't involve fish. If this were the intent, it would indicate another anachronism within the passage.
SOLUTION AND DISCUSSION. The TJ's "stay put" is a liberal translation of the Gernan "sich lagern," which could also be translated as "recline."
In the TJ verse Jmmanuel does not bless the bread, but rather speaks some mysterious words. These may or may not have been akin to a blessing or prayer of some sort, one doesn't know.
Regarding the TJ's distribution of the fish along with the loaves, its German has it, literally, as "...and broke the bread and the fish and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people." Since it was awkward for whatever Aramaic verb had been used for "broke" to refer to cutting or breaking up the fish also, the writer of Matthew had evidently let it refer just to the loaves; in so doing the fish fragments were neglected from this point on. This is an example of a detail so minor that the skeptic may wonder how any literary hoaxer of the TJ would have taken notice to correct it.
Upon examining Mark's version of this portion of the feeding, one finds that its writer exaggerated Matthew's "grass" into "green grass" (in Mk 6:39, apparently another of his changes for the sake of change), while Luke, in its parallel account of the feeding of the five thousand, does not mention "grass" (Lk 9:14). The latter might be significant, because from comparison of the TJ with Luke elsewhere we know that Luke's writer had read the TJ and made limited use of it. Hence he may have been utilizing the TJ here in this minor matter, in overriding both Mark and Matthew. On the other hand, the writer of John (Jn 6:10), though also having had some access to the TJ, expands upon the theme of grass, indicating his dependence upon Mark and/or Matthew. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 14:21 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
TJ 16:26 26And there were about five thousand who had eaten.
TJ 16:26 26Die aber gegessen hatten, waren bei fünftausend Menschen.
THE PROBLEM. Here, Beare (p. 328) noted, in comparison with Mark, that the writer of Matthew enhanced the story by an indefinite number of women and children. Although I have attempted to avoid using a conclusion from Beare if it is based just upon a distinction between Matthew and Mark, I have included this one because the Matthean "besides women and children" does have the appearance of being an editorial addition. How could anyone quickly or easily estimate the number of men present when women and children were mixed in? And surely, no actual headcount was taken. In an after-the-fact estimate, it's the total number of people that enters into the eyewitness's recollection.
SOLUTION. Beare was correct; the writer of Matthew did enhance the scale of the miracle from what his source text reported. However, this source text was the TJ, not Mark. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
It is interesting to note that in Mark's version of the event (Mk 6:44), the number who ate were 5,000 men, with no mention of women or children. Why would the writer of Mark have scaled down the miracle relative to Matthew? Elsewhere in this web site, in Celestial Teachings and in The Problems of New Testament Gospel Origins, I have pointed out how the many minor deviations of Mark relative to Matthew, aside from all its Matthean omissions, appear to be mostly changes for the sake of change. Many of these are in the form of dualisms or pleonasms—saying the same thing twice in somewhat different words. A plausible reason was noted for this editorial behavior on the part of the writer of Mark—to make his gospel look different in appearance from Matthew. This was necessary because he had to copy so much from Matthew, especially from Mt 12 on. The omission within Mark of "besides women and children" appears to be just such a "change for the sake of change." With so many persons already involved in the miracle (5,000 or more) it did not really matter whether or not women and children were included, so this was a place the writer of Mark could make a change. In so doing, however, he introduced the inconsistency that among that large a throng there must have been women and children present, and surely they must have eaten also. But Mark implies that only the men ate the loaves of bread!
Mt 14:23 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came he was there alone.
TJ 16:28 28After he had sent the people away, he climbed up a small mountain alone in order to rest and regain his depleted strength. And so he was there alone in the evening.
TJ 16:28 28Und da er das Volk von sich gelassen hatte, stieg er allein auf einen kleinen Berg, dass er sich erhole und seine erschöpfte Kraft neu sammle, und also war er am Abend allein daselbst.
THE PROBLEM. How did anyone know that Jesus had done this, to write about it? These events occurred after he had dismissed his disciples. If the Gospel of Matthew had been written by the disciple Matthew, and if Jesus had told this disciple about this, then it could have been recorded. But if, as most scholars suspect, the Gospels were not written until much later by others than those to whom they are attributed, this remains as one of the "witness" problems.
A minor point, commented upon by Beare (p. 331), is that there was no mountain close to the shore of Lake Galilee. Although the RSV translation uses the term "hills," the Greek text from which it derives uses the term "mountain."
SOLUTION. The TJ indicates that it was written by Judas Iscariot, who could have been informed of these happenings soon afterwards by Jmmanuel. If by the time Judas wrote it, however, which was at least several years after the crucifixion, he had forgotten it, Jmmanuel himself could have refreshed Judas's memory on it and on many other events of his Palestinian ministry. (See elsewhere in this web site for explanation of the false rumor depicting Judas Iscariot, rather than Juda the Pharisee, as the betrayer of Jmmanuel who then committed suicide.)
The TJ text does mention "small mountain" (kleinen Berg), indicating that the RSV interpretive translation correctly anticipated the source text here. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 14:29-31 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; 30but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord save me." 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"
TJ 16:39-44 39And Petrus stepped out of the boat, walked on the water and approached Jmmanuel. 40But when strong thunder ripped through the howling storm, he was startled and began to sink, screaming, "Jmmanuel, help me!" 41Jmmanuel quickly went to him, stretched out his hand and grabbed him, saying, "O you of little knowledge, why are you frightened, and why do you become doubtful in your fright? 42The power of your knowledge gives you the ability, as you have just witnessed. 43You trusted in my words before the thunder came, but then you were frightened and began to doubt, and so the power of knowledge left you and your ability disappeared. 44Never doubt the power of your consciousness, which is a part of Creation itself and therefore knows no limits of power."
TJ 16:39-44 39Und Petrus trat aus dem Schiff und ging auf den Wassern und ging auf Jmmanuel zu. 40Als aber ein lauter Donner das Heulen des Sturmes zerriss, erschrak er und hub an zu sinken, schrie und sprach: «Jmmanuel, hilf mir!» 41Jmmanuel aber eilte zu ihm und reckte alsbald die Hand aus und ergriff ihn und sprach: «Oh du Kleinwissender, warum erschrickst du, und warum zweifelst du im Schreck? 42Die Kraft deines Wissens gibt dir das Können, so du eben gesehen hast. 43Meinen Worten hast du vertraut ehe der Donner kam, dann aber bist du erschrocken und hast gezweifelt, so dich also die Kraft des Wissens verliess und dein Künnen dahinschwand. 44Zweifle nie an der Kraft deines Bewusstseins, der doch ein Teil der Schöpfung selbst ist und daher keine Grenzen der Macht kennt.»
THE PROBLEMS. First, a very minor problem. In this miracle of Jesus and Peter walking on water, the observer or narrator is presumably one of the disciples in the boat. From his viewpoint, Peter went toward Jesus; we should not expect the text to say, "came to Jesus," unless it is an edited version giving deference to Jesus as a figure of worship.
The gusty wind had been blowing all along, judging from the rest of the passage, so that Peter would have felt the strong wind even before he stepped out onto the water, not just some time later. Thus it does not seem plausible that the wind, or a gust of wind, would have been the factor causing Peter to panic.
When Peter panicked and started to sink, one should expect him to have instinctively cried out for help using Jesus' name, not a formal title of respect like "Lord."
It is implausible that Peter would have walked the entire distance to Jesus before becoming scared and starting to sink in the water. The odds are high that the sinking incident would have happened at some intermediate distance from Jesus rather than at an arm's length away.
Finally, it is unrealistic that Jesus would not have explained to the disciples something about how it was that he, and even Peter to some extent, too, could walk on water.
SOLUTION. Because of the TJ's emphasis on power of the consciousness or spirit, we must take this episode seriously rather than dismissing it out of hand. Upon so doing, the above criticisms come to mind, though they were all prompted by a comparison of the Matthean and TJ texts. In the TJ version, Peter went towards Jmmanuel, he was startled during the storm by a loud clap of thunder, he instinctively cried out to Jmmanuel for help, he was some distance from Jmmanuel when he began to sink, and Jmmanuel then went some distance to Peter to rescue him. It may be noted that TJ 16:29 indicates that a storm (thunderstorm) had moved over the area, and this produced the strong winds.
We speculate that the compiler of Matthew did not wish Peter's participation in the miracle to detract from Jesus' divinity, stature and authority, so he edited out the part about Jmmanuel obeying Peter's call to help him, and likewise reworded the beginning of the story so that Peter came to Jmmanuel. He further downgraded Peter's act by allowing the mere wind, not thunder, to startle him. The writer of Mark, upon copying from the Gospel of Matthew, omitted Peter's participation in this event, probably because he did not want the miraculousness of the event to be diluted by a mere disciple participating in it.
And one sees that the TJ account indicates that Jmmanuel did explain to his disciples the combination of knowledge and trust in one's spirit needed to be able to carry out such an apparently miraculous feat. It was out of the question, of course, for the writer of Matthew to have included that explanation.
One might ask, why did the writer of Matthew omit the thunder? In those days thunder and lightning, and earthquakes and such were considered by most people to be actions of God, with thunder being akin to God's loud voice. When thunder is mentioned in the OT, it either represents God's voice speaking to some person(s), or else just represents his anger directed at them. But in this incident God did not enter into the picture. It was not an occasion when God had anything to say or when he should have been angry at Jesus. Quite likely for this reason his voice (the thunder) was edited out.
The very fact that these several criticisms of Matthew come only from the hindsight of having the TJ on hand indicates the odds are very small that a literary hoaxer could have invented these historically more realistic points. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
Interestingly, literature on the modern UFO abduction phenomenon abounds with reports that the aliens engaging in the abductions are quite capable of gliding or floating across the ground in a walking-type motion but at a short distance above the surface. Often this occurs when the aliens usher the victim out of a bedroom or automobile into their UFO craft, in which case the victim may participate in the floating motion. The analogy with "walking on water" by the son of an alien is then evident.
Mt 14:33 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
TJ 16:48 48Those who were in the boat marveled and said, "You are indeed a master of the consciousness and someone who knows the laws of Creation."
TJ 16:48 48Die aber in dem Schiffe waren, wunderten sich und sprachen: «Du bist wahrlich ein Meister des Bewusstseins und ein Wissender der Schöpfungsgesetze.»
THE PROBLEM. The disciples here are making the confession of the church with the christological affirmation "Son of God." This then is an anachronistic utterance placed upon their lips. However, one wonders why the Greek text, upon which the Bible translations depend, renders it as "Truly you are a Son of God."
SOLUTION. The disciples instead speak in terms of what Jmmanuel had taught them about the human spirit and Creation.
On the one hand we see that the writer of Matthew could not have left the TJ verse intact without making it theologically acceptable to him and the early church. In so doing, altering "a master of the spirit" into "a Son of God," it seems that he forgot to replace the indefinite article, a, with "the." Later Bible editors made the minor change so that the wording would agree with "what it just had to be." On the other hand we find that the TJ verse suffers from no such problem, while being consistent with its context. It is further doubtful that a literary hoaxer could have corrected the Matthean text so well. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Regarding Mark, it is consistent with many of its verses for its writer, when utilizing this verse from Matthew (in Mk 6:51), to have omitted the "Son of God" confession so that the Jewish disciples would not look so good in Christian terms. However, when Matthew's "son of God" phrase came from the lips of a centurion (Mt 27:54), the writer of Mark used the phrase (Mk 15:39).
Upon accumulating the individual probabilities against the hoax hypothesis from the verse comparisons of Mt 14 versus TJ 16 we find the summary probability for hoax here to be but 4.1 x 10-5.
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1. Kümmel, Werner Georg, Introduction to the New Testament, transl. A. J. Mattill, 14th ed. rev. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1966), p. 76.
2. Carson, D. A., "Matthew," in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), pp. 340-341.
3. Davies, W. D. and Allison, Dale C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992), p. 474.
4. Josephus, Antiquities 17.9.1-2,4.
5. See, for example, Fowler, Raymond E., Interplanetary Visitors (San Jose: Authors Choice Press, 1974), and Haines, Richard, CE-5 Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 1998).
6. Carson, "Matthew" in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, p. 341.
7. Bammel, E., "Jesus as a political agent in a version of the Josippon." In Jesus and the Politics of his Day, E. Bammel and C.F.D. Moule, eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), p. 227.
8. Gundry, Robert H., Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman's Publishing Co., 1982), p. 294.
9. See Parker, Pierson, "The posteriority of Mark," in New Synoptic Studies, W. R. Farmer, ed. (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1983), p. 85, for the alternative or additional view that the writer of Mark was especially unfavorably disposed towards Peter.
10. E.g., see Fowler, Raymond E., The Andreasson Affair (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1979), pp. 174-175.
11. Davies and Allison, A Critical Commentary, vol. 2, p. 510.