Mt 15:1-4,10-11    1Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2"Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." 3He answered them, "And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die.'"... 10And he called the people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand: 11not what goes into the mouth defiles a man..."

TJ 17:1-5    1Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem came to Jmmanuel, saying, 2"Why do your disciples disregard the guiding rules of the elders?" 3He answered, saying to them: "Why do you violate the laws of Creation by following your guiding rules? 4Moses said, according to the laws of mankind: 'You must honor your father and mother; but those who unjustly dishonor their father and mother shall die.' 5The teaching of the laws of Creation is this: You shall honor your father and mother, but whosoever does not honor their father and mother shall be expelled from the family and from the society of the righteous."

TJ 17:1-5    1Da kamen zu Jmmanuel Pharisäer und Schriftgelehrte von Jerusalem und sprachen: 2«Warum missachten deine Jünger die Satzungen der Ältesten?» 3Er antwortete und sprach zu ihnen: «Warum übertretet denn ihr die Gesetze der Schöpfung um eurer Satzungen willen? 4Mose hat nach den Gesetzen der Menschen gesagt: ‹Du musst Vater und Mutter ehren; wer aber Vater und Mutter zu Unrecht unehrt, der soll des Todes sterben›. 5Die Lehre der Schöpfungsgesetze ist also die: Du sollst Vater und Mutter ehren; wer aber Vater und Mutter nicht ehrt, der soll ausgestossen sein aus der Familie und aus der Gesellschaft der Rechtschaffenen.»

THE PROBLEMS.   Jesus' reply here does not relate to cleanliness before eating, but rather only to the more general part of the question.[1] One must proceed nine verses further before his reply reverts to that topic, but then the reply is to the people (Mt 15:10), after he had called them to him, and not to the scribes and Pharisees who had asked the question (unless they stayed there the necessary length of time waiting for his reply). It is as if the writer of Matthew wished to divert the discussion to this cleanliness topic, and so inserted the clause, "for they do not wash their hands when they eat." Furthermore, there is considerable question whether or not hand-washing was a requirement for the Jewish people before about A.D. 100.[2]

A minor question, commented upon by Beare (p. 336), is that the word order of "Pharisees and scribes" in Mt 15:1 occurs nowhere else in Matthew, being the reverse of the usual "scribes and Pharisees," which occurs many times. It might then be thought that this particular phrase was derived from the parallel verse of Mk 7:1, which mentions Pharisees and scribes in that order.

SOLUTION.   The writer of Matthew indeed wished to insert the topic of unwashed hands and defilement into this discussion within his source document, and so added the clause that tends to disrupt the flow of thought. The TJ does not deal with this particular aspect of "the law" at all. After Jmmanuel finishes his reply to the scribes and Pharisees, he calls the people to him and then warns them of the untruthfulness of the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. Would a literary hoaxer have noticed that this Matthean disruption needed fixing?

The insertion of Mt 15:2, along with 15:10-11, may constitute an instance of Matthean "fatigue." The writer of Matthew failed to realize that his return to the topic of his insertion, at Mt 15:10-11, should have occurred much closer to the insertion itself. Instead, he continued to follow TJ text for the next eight sentences, with minor alterations, before returning to the topic of his insertion with a substitution (Mt 15:11).

From the TJ one sees that the writer of Matthew simply utilized its order of "Pharisees and scribes" when copying from the TJ verse. Although the author of the TJ preferred the order "scribes and Pharisees," whence the writer of Matthew did also, he did use the reverse order one other time, in the following verse:

TJ 18:49    49"Truly, I say to you, the teachings of the chief priests, Pharisees and scribes are erroneous and false when they tell you that a mistake would be punished by El or by Creation, when the mistake serves the recognition and knowledge, and hence the progress, of the spirit/consciousness."

TJ 18:49    49«Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Irrig und falsch sind die Lehren der Hohenpriester und Pharisäer und Schriftgelehrten, wenn sie euch sagen, ein Fehl werde durch Gott oder durch die Schöpfung bestraft, wenn das Fehl der Erkennung und dem Wissen und also dem Fortschritt des Geistes/Bewusstseins dient.»

The writer of Matthew of course did not wish to reproduce this TJ verse, but if he had, in altered form, it would have been a second example wherein "scribes and Pharisees" appear in opposite order. In that case it would not be considered so unusual that he used the order "Pharisees and scribes" here in Mt 15:1.

The writer of Mark then was merely following Matthew's unexpected order of "Pharisees and scribes."

In verse 4a one sees that the TJ's "Moses" was altered to "God," contrary to the tendency of the writer of Matthew to introduce or extol Moses wherever possible. Here in the TJ, however, we see that Moses is spoken of as having promulgated a law that had been modified by mankind, in including the penalty of death to those who dishonored father and mother (Ex 21:17); in its next verse (TJ 17:5, included for clarity) we see that the TJ mentions a lesser penalty for such dishonoring according to the law of Creation. So to rectify this, the writer of Matthew ignored the TJ's lesser penalty and used "God" here instead of "Moses," which would then give agreement with his use of "God" in his previous verse, Mt 15:3, and lend greatest authority to the law as he knew it.

If one examines Mark at its parallel point, Mk 7:10, one finds its writer used "Moses" here, instead of "God"! This can be attributed to change for the sake of change. It was a spot where he could safely make a little change, from "God" to Moses," while following Matthew, in order that his gospel not be a clone of Matthew.

Concerning the literary hoax hypothesis, it seems considerably more probable that the reason Matthew suffers the problems and the TJ does not is due to the TJ being genuine rather than due to a TJ-hoaxer removing Matthew's anti-defilement theme. A New Age hoaxer would probably frown upon "negative energy,"[3] and likely decide, therefore, to retain Matthew's theme against defilement. PHoax 0.4.

Mt 15:11,18    11"not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.... 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man."

TJ 17:12    12"The teachings of the scribes and Pharisees are false and untruthful, for they preach to you man-made guiding rules, which are not the laws of Creation."

TJ 17:12    12«Die Lehren der Schriftgelehrten und Pharisäer sind falsch und verlogen, denn sie predigen euch Menschensatzungen, die keine Gesetze der Schöpfung sind.»

THE PROBLEMS.   Mt 15:11, finally, is the continuation of the response to the question (in Mt 15:2) of why the disciples are allowed to transgress the traditions of the elders as it relates to not washing their hands before eating. Beare (p. 338) noticed that the second half of this response was strained, because the point the evangelist was coming to was that evil thoughts and deeds are what defile a man, and these, according to Mt 15:19, come out of the heart, not the mouth. So the writer of Matthew had to strain to connect the mouth to the heart, which he tried to do in Mt 15:18, but in so doing he lost touch with his main focus on why the disciples did not obey one of the laws of cleanliness.

Davies & Allison supply good reasons why 15:11 is not authentic. "If Jesus did in fact dispense with Scriptural food laws, the heated debates in the early church on that very issue just do not make sense.[Ref.] There is additionally the striking fact that while in the canonical gospels Jesus' opponents accuse him of much..., they do not accuse him of speaking against cultic purity or food laws. Yet if he did so, surely, given the importance of those laws for first-century Judaism,[Ref.] the inevitable violent outcry would have left some deposit in our sources."[4]

SOLUTION.   Mt 15:11 is totally different from TJ 17:12, which is presented to show the verse for which Mt 15:11 is a substitution; for the Matthean verse just before and just after it closely parallel the TJ verse just before and just after TJ 17:12. There is no TJ cognate to Mt 15:18; in fact, in the TJ, Jmmanuel doesn't say anything about the food laws, which is consistent with the reasoning presented by Davies & Allison. TJ 17:12 is a continuation of the response to the more general question of why the disciples disregard the statutes of the elders. It was the writer of Matthew who in his gospel slanted this question into one of defilement. The TJ verse answers its corresponding question without strain or alteration of subject, since the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees reflected the statutes of the elders. The chance of a literary hoax seems quite remote here, but is not addressed quantitatively because the relevant arguments are closely connected to those already expressed for neighboring verses.

The TJ verse indicates as clearly as any others that Jmmanuel was in no way Judaistic in his basic beliefs. Later in the TJ (29:23) Jmmanuel mentions to Pilate that he had been to the land of India, where for many years he absorbed much knowledge from the spiritual masters. External evidence supporting this is discussed elsewhere in this website.

Mt 15:12    12Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?"

TJ 17:13-14    13Thereupon his disciples came to him and said, "Are you aware that the scribes and Pharisees were offended by your words when they heard them? 14They went out to bear witness against you and to have you killed because of your teachings."

TJ 17:13-14    13Da traten seine Jünger zu ihm und sprachen: «Weisst du auch, dass die Schriftgelehrten und Pharisäer an deinem Wort Ärgernis nahmen, als sie es hörten? 14Sie sind hingegangen, wider dich zu zeugen und dich deiner Lehre wegen töten zu lassen.»

THE PROBLEM.   Just before this point Jesus had been telling the Pharisees and scribes to their faces that they had made void the word of God; then he called them hypocrites. Yet they were not mentioned to have taken any offense at it. Instead, after the scribes and Pharisees had apparently gone off and Jesus had called some other people around him to tell them that it's what comes out of a man's mouth that defiles him, not what goes in, then when word of this reached the Pharisees they were offended, so his disciples told him. This makes no sense, because Jesus' more vitriolic statements had been the ones he spoke directly to the Pharisees. What goes into or comes out of a man's mouth (Mt 15:11) could be proper food and words, respectively, as well as not, and does not directly accuse Pharisees of anything. If, however, Mt 15:11 had been a substitute for a much more offensive saying to Pharisees, then their taking offense when they heard of it, and not on the prior occasion, would become plausible.

By this time the disciples would have been well aware that whenever Jesus spoke to or about Pharisees, he did not have good things to say about them, but rather things that they could take offense at. And Jesus would have known it. So why would the disciples have bothered to report the Pharisees' displeasure to him this time?

SOLUTION.   As we saw in the preceding segment, what Jmmanuel told the people that caused the Pharisees to take offense had not been any general defilement statement, but the accusation that their teachings were false and untruthful. This indeed explains their having taken offense to the point of witnessing against Jmmanuel and urging his death, considering that their thoughts had previously run along similar lines (Mt 12:14). It was the fact that the Pharisees in question had translated their antagonism into initial action, then, that prompted the disciples to report this to Jmmanuel.

A probable reason why the writer of Matthew omitted this information is that a couple sentences later, Jmmanuel is quoted as saying, "Let us go away, so that the henchmen ["Schergen"] remain without booty" (see TJ 17:17, below). Upon omitting this latter statement so as to avoid the appearance of Jesus being cowardly, the writer omitted also the news that the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to have him killed. Otherwise, he would have had to explain how Jesus had escaped from being killed. Also, the compiler of Matthew here, as elsewhere, is seen to have avoided mentioning that what Jesus or Jmmanuel taught stood in opposition to what the Pharisees taught from the Torah, since this writer himself apparently still believed strongly in most of the Torah.

One notices also that Matthew does not contain the TJ's "and scribes" here. Rather than just being an oversight on the part of the writer of Matthew, it is likely he didn't wish to include scribes, which he himself quite likely was or had been, in with those who wished to kill Jmmanuel/Jesus. So, reading ahead a sentence, he omitted "and scribes" from Mt 15:12 and then decided not to include TJ 17:14 at all, which indicts the Pharisees as well of planning this most horrible deed.

The Matthean account is not historically reasonable while the TJ account is; furthermore, it is plausible that the writer of Matthew would have omitted the relevant TJ verses that were objectionable and which caused the problem. It is implausible that a literary hoaxer would have recognized this hitherto unknown problem. PHoax 0.15.

Mt 15:13-17    13He answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14Let them alone; they are the blind leading the blind. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." 15But Peter said to him, "Explain the parable to us." 16And he said, "Are you still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach...?"

TJ 17:15-25    15But he answered and spoke, "All plants that do not live according to the laws of Creation, will dry up and rot. 16Leave them be, they are blind leaders of the blind; but when a blind man leads another blind man, both will fall into the pit. 17But let us go away, so that the henchmen remain without booty." 18Then Petrus answered him saying, "Please interpret your speech about the plants and the blind men for us." 19But Jmmanuel reprimanded his disciples and said, "Are you, too, still without wisdom and therefore also ignorant and doubting in recognition, comprehension and understanding? 20You have been with me for a long time now, but you still lack the ability to think and recognize the truth. 21Truly, I say to you, you yourselves will do much towards falsifying my teachings in the future. 22In your knowledge you barely exceed the other people. 23Haven't you realized yet that all the parables and speeches have a consciousness-related meaning and are therefore about the consciousness-related life of human beings? 24O, you of little knowledge, does your understanding still not extend beyond the stupidity of the people? 25Beware, lest you see me in a false light and accuse me of an origin from which I could not have descended."

TJ 17:15-25    15Aber er antwortete und sprach: «Alle Pflanzen, die nicht nach den Gesetzen der Schöpfung leben, werden verdorren und verfaulen. 16Lasset sie, sie sind blinde Blindenleiter; wenn aber ein Blinder einen andern Blinden leitet, so fallen sie beide in die Grube. 17Doch wollen wir aber von dannen gehn, so also die Schergen ohne Beute bleiben.» 18Da antwortete Petrus und sprach zu ihm: «Deute uns deine Rede von den Pflanzen und von den Blinden.» 19Da aber rügte Jmmanuel seine Jünger und sprach: «Seid denn auch ihr noch immer unverständig und so auch unwissend und zweifelnd im Erkennen, Erfassen und Verstehen? 20Lange Zeit seid ihr nun mit mir zusammen, doch es fehlt euch noch immer am Vermögen des Denkens und an der Erkennung der Wahrheit. 21Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Ihr selbst werdet viel dazutun, meine Lehre in der Zukunft zu verfälschen. 22Mit eurem Wissen nämlich gereicht ihr nur wenig über das der anderen Menschen hinaus. 23Merket ihr denn noch nicht, dass alle Gleichnisse und Reden einen bewusstseinsmässigen Sinn haben, und sie also das bewusstseinsmässige Leben des Menschen besprechen? 24Oh, ihr Kleinwissenden, reicht euer Verstand noch nicht über die Dummheit des Volkes hinaus? 25Hütet euch, so ihr sonst mich in falschem Lichte seht und mich einer Herkunft bezichtigt, der ich nicht entstammen kann.»

THE PROBLEM.   Peter's question for an explanation of the parable is seen to follow Jesus' parable about the plants being rooted up, which in turn was followed by the "blind guides" saying. One of these two is what Jesus' response would in reality have pertained to. Instead, however, his Matthean response surprisingly harks back four verses to the saying about defilement. However, that saying was not really a parable, which Davies & Allison have reminded us is defined as "a story whose features all stand for something extrinsic to the narrative."[5] In the defilement saying of what comes out of one's mouth (words) being able to defile you, the defilement consists of wrong words, which are an intrinsic part of the defilement. This incongruity suggests careless editorial action by the writer of Matthew relative to his source document.

SOLUTION.   From the TJ's verses one sees that Peter was asking for an explanation of the plants parable, and the blind-guides saying. This is of course consistent with the defilement theme having been an invented insertion by the compiler of Matthew, who failed to perceive that he should have omitted the TJ's parable of the plants and blind men as well. His retention of those is what caused the main problem.

The saying about the plants is indeed a parable, because one must interpret what the plants stand for, which in the Matthean form of the parable is especially enigmatic. In assessing the probability of hoax here, debate is most likely to center around whether or not Mt 15:11 constitutes a parable. Though we have discussed that it is not, proponents of the hoax hypothesis may nevertheless claim it is. Thus, the odds may only slightly favor the TJ's genuineness here, except that a literary hoaxer is very unlikely to have invented the TJ verses shown above that are not in Matthew. The hypothetical hoaxer would not likely have realized that the defilement theme was not a parable, or would not have wondered about it one way or the other. The additional TJ verses, having to do with comprehension, knowledge, and spiritual understanding, plus a reprimanding of the disciples for lacking in these attributes, could not have been tolerated by the writer of Matthew.

Further, the "plant" parable fits into the TJ context well, because Jmmanuel had immediately before been preaching against the scribes and Pharisees of Israel (see TJ 17:12 above, which verse the writer of Matthew chose not to copy). And Israel has sometimes been referred to as a plant that God established (see Ps 80:8-11). PHoax 0.3.

It may be mentioned that this Matthean slip-up constitutes another instance of "fatigue" relative to the TJ. That is, the writer of Matthew inserted the out-of-the-mouth defilement theme, but then reverted back to the TJ text in mentioning the plants parable, the blind-guides saying, and Peter's question about "the parable." The latter then ends up referring to the plants parable and/or blind-guides saying, and not to the inserted defilement saying, which the writer of Matthew must have intended it to refer to.

Mt 15:19-20a    19"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a man..."

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEM.   Here Beare (p. 339) observed that the writer of Matthew had created his own catalog of sins, seven in number. In the Greek text each of these is, moreover, given in the plural. It indeed seems very improbable that a spoken sentence would have turned out in this stylistic a fashion.

SOLUTION.   The TJ's lack of a cognate supports Beare, even though Beare thought the writer of Matthew had tried to improve upon the parallel verse in Mark. The TJ further lets us know that the neighboring verses in Matthew that continue the defilement theme are also redactions.

Mt 15:21    21And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.

TJ 18:1    1Jmmanuel departed and escaped to the area of Sidon and Tyre.

TJ 18:1    1Jmmanuel aber ging von dannen und entwich in die Gegend von Sidon und Tyrus.

THE PROBLEM.   The word "withdrew" suggests a withdrawal to escape from undesired consequences. Its underlying Greek verb, αναχωρηω, indeed has a meaning of withdraw or retreat. Yet Matthew's immediately preceding verses give no reason for a withdrawal here; Jesus' listeners—Pharisees—had been offended, but are not reported as being provoked into any action against Jesus this time. They had been upset previously, at Mt 9:11 and 9:34, but those instances did not cause Jesus to withdraw. So why did he now need to withdraw; why doesn't Matthew supply a reason for it?

SOLUTION.   The TJ verse is scarcely different from that of the German Bible. However, we see from the original text—the TJ—that Jmmanuel did have need of retreating from where they had just been (at Gennesaret), since as we saw from TJ 17:14 the Pharisees had gone out to witness against him and have him killed. Sidon and Tyre were several days' travel to the northwest of Gennesaret, so this excursion was a substantial withdrawal.

The main difference between the two verses themselves is that in Matthew the order of Sidon and Tyre has been switched. This was natural for the writer of Matthew to do, since the two cities, when mentioned together in the Scriptures, are always mentioned in the order: Tyre and Sidon, and he had used this order himself previously in verses of his own invention (Mt 11:21-22).

Mt 15:22-28    22And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." 23But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." 24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25But she came and knelt before him, saying "Lord, help me." 26And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 27She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table. 28Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.

TJ    [No cognates]

THE PROBLEMS.   Beare (p. 341) noted that the title "Lord, Son of David" does not belong on the lips of one of the Canaanites, a Semitic people conquered by Israel and largely absorbed by the Israelites. He pointed out that neither the monarchy of David nor any Israeli hopes for a Messiah related to a dynasty of David could have held any meaning for the Canaanite woman.

Verse 24 merely repeats Mt 10:6, though in a form that more flagrantly denies discipleship to gentiles. The "lost sheep of the house of Israel" refers to the people of Israel, as in Jer 50:6.

In the continuation of this healing story, Beare (pp. 342-343) stressed that verse 15:26 exhibits much chauvinism and insolence. The Jews are likened to "children" of God, while gentiles are likened to dogs. This appears to have been the special slant of the writer, who placed gentiles in the same category of persons as the detested tax collectors (Mt 5:46-47).

Regarding Mt 15:27, Beare could not imagine that Jesus would actually wish to evoke from the woman her humble response and acceptance of his insult. And, one wonders, would the acceptance of a strong insult (Mt 15:27) be confused as having great faith? Further, in real life one would not know if the woman's daughter had been healed instantly or not. In the end, Beare rejected the whole story about the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:21-28), suggesting that this side trip of Jesus to Phoenicia (in a location now corresponding to southern Lebanon) was simply created as a framework within which to place the story.

SOLUTION.   The TJ's lack of cognates here generally supports Beare's overall conclusion. It appears that when the writer of Mark read this story, he could not accept it as it was but altered the woman from a Canaanite into a Greek. That writer's motive must have been to make it clear that the Christian ministry should be extended, as it already had been by the time of writing of the Gospels, to gentiles (Mk 7:25-30). In all probability he did not realize that "children" was an allusion to "children of Israel" (Israelites) and "dogs" to gentiles. Also, in his revision he deleted the reference to "Son of David" as having little meaning for the gentiles. Thus, Matthew's compiler appears to have invented this healing story in order to emphasize his theme that Jesus was a Messiah primarily for Israelites, while the writer of Mark retained but altered it in order to show Jesus as the Messiah for gentiles, too.

It would appear that the small probability that this pericope of Matthew is genuine is about the same as the probability a literary hoaxer would make use of it. PHoax 0.5.

One aspect of Beare's analysis that the TJ does not support is his assumption that the introductory verse to the passage, Mt 15:21, is non-genuine. The TJ indicates that the writer of Matthew looked ahead a little in the TJ to extract this verse (from TJ 18:1) and place it earlier in his own text to form the introduction to his pericope about the Canaanite woman.

Mt 15:29-31    29And Jesus went on from there and passed along the Sea of Galilee. And he went up into the hills, and sat down there. 30And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the throng wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.   Beare (p. 346) noted how strange it is that Jesus should first ascend a hill, causing great discomfort for all the disabled who had to climb up after him to seek his aid. In real life this would not likely have been the situation, but in an invented pericope this problem could easily have been overlooked in the desire to portray Jesus as having performed miraculous healings in a setting closer to heaven, to accompany a feeding miracle immediately afterwards.

Verse 31 appears to be a redaction not only because it completes a pericope whose bulk has itself been found to be a redaction, but because "they glorified the God of Israel" is not at all realistic. In Jesus' other miraculous healings and nature miracles where the reaction of the onlookers was commented upon, they quite realistically were amazed by Jesus himself, or praised him, not God. It was his fame that spread throughout the districts, not that of the God of Israel. It was Jesus whom the Pharisees conspired to destroy, not Beelzebul. An exception is Mt 9:8 where God was given the glory, but that verse was found to be a redaction for a different reason.

SOLUTION.   As the TJ indicates, this was another of several Gospel miracle portrayals that never occurred. However, by the hoax hypothesis, a hoaxer might not have wished to include this pericope. Yet, since it contains healing miracles, such a hoaxer quite likely would overlook its non-genuine aspects and include it. PHoax 0.4.

Mt 15:32-39    32Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat;".... 34and Jesus said to them, "How many loaves have you?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish.".... 37And they all ate and were satisfied; and they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 38Those who ate and were satisfied were four thousand men, besides women and children." 39And sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.   In the feeding of the 5000, the crowd had only stayed into the evening before needing sustenance. Here in this feeding they, including women and children, are said to have stayed three days without food (and perhaps without drink either), before Jesus showed any concern. That is, it is quite improbable that they all had brought three days' supply of food and drink along, which then ran out, as Jesus' trip up into the hills had not been advertised as any three-day workshop! Hence the story is quite improbable, since parents would at least be concerned about feeding their own children if not themselves even before one full day had elapsed.

As Beare (p. 347) noted, "It is obvious that we have before us a variant version of the story of the feeding of the five thousand." It is a more concise and perfected version. It takes place on a mountain, and is preceded by many healings. There are no towns nearby where the people could obtain food, so they must rely upon Jesus. They go much longer without food, so that it is much more imperative that Jesus' miraculous powers be able to work in this situation, and they do. The number of loaves initially available equals seven, the sacred number, as does the number of baskets of broken pieces left over. There is no mention of Jesus and the disciples climbing back down from the mountain or finding the boat to embark in. The place they supposedly go to next, Magadan, is unknown to scholars, though it is sometimes thought to be a variation of "Magdala," a village on the western shore that has been speculated as being the home of Mary Magdalene.

SOLUTION.   Again the TJ confirms Beare's deductions. This feeding never took place. Yet, allowing that a literary hoaxer might not have utilized the pericope, we do not assign PHoax less than 0.4.

Upon accumulating the individual probabilities in favor of the hoax hypothesis from the verse comparisons of Mt 15 versus TJ 17, we find the summary probability to be 0.022.

Go Back to:Make Comment in: Go On to:
Verse Comparison, Introduction & Index                                   my Blog                                         Matthew 16


1. Tuckett, C. M., The Revival of the Griesbach Hypothesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 106.

2. Montefiore, C. G., The Synoptic Gospels, vol. 1 (London: 1927), pp. 133-144.

3. Peters, Ted, "Discerning the spirits of the New Age." The Christian Century 105, No. 25 (Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 1988), p. 763.

4. Davies, W.D. and Allison, Dale C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1991), p. 528.

5. Davies & Allison, A Critical Commentary, vol. 2, p. 378.