Mt 23:1-2     1Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2"The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat."

TJ 24:1    1And Jmmanuel spoke to the people and the disciples, saying, "The scribes and Pharisees sit on the chairs of the prophets."

TJ 24:1    1Und Jmmanuel redete zu dem Volke und den Jüngern und sprach: «Auf der Propheten Stühle sitzen die Schriftgelehrten und Pharisäer.»

THE PROBLEM.  Sitting on "Moses' seat" refers to adopting a post of teaching authority (Beare, p. 448), as would be expected of the term. However, the scribes were supposed to be interpreting and teaching the Judaism as compiled from all the prophets, not just from Moses. This can be seen from Mt 2:4-6, 17:10 and 23:29. The "law and the prophets" were both considered of high value and thus sometimes lumped together, as in Mt 22:40. Why then are the prophets left out here?

SOLUTION.  Again, the writer shows his special fondness for Moses by equating all "the law and the prophets" to Moses. The likelihood that the writer of Matthew made the above change from the TJ is consistent with his great reverence for Moses, whereas there would be little if any motivation for a literary hoaxer to substitute "the prophets" for Moses. PHoax 0.45.

It may be mentioned that the scholars' preferred Greek text has "the scribes and the Pharisees" here, whereas the TJ does not have the second "the."

Mt 23:3    3"so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice."

TJ 24:2-3    2"Refrain, however, from doing and accepting anything they tell you, and also don't act in accordance with their works. 3They teach you erroneous teachings, which they and their forefathers have falsified for their own selfish interests."

TJ 24:2-3    2«Alles nun, was sie euch sagen, das tuet und haltet nicht, aber auch nach ihren Werken sollt ihr nicht tun. 3Sie lehren euch irre Lehren, die sie und ihre Vorfahren verfälschet haben, so sie daraus die Geniesser seien.»

THE PROBLEM.  Here, Beare (p. 448) noticed that the command to obey the instructions of the scribes and Pharisees is inconsistent with Jesus' teaching in Matthew's chapter 15: that the oral laws of purity no longer held. Since the Mt 15 discussions are more extensive and detailed than this single verse, the implication is that the "practice and observe" command of this verse involves the key redaction.

This conclusion is supported by the fact that Mt 16:6,12, in which Jesus admonishes his disciples to beware of the leaven/teachings of the scribes and Pharisees, also contradicts Mt 23:3. The former verses are unlikely to have been the source of the contradiction, because their meaning is irreversible, due to their extensive context. Hence 23:3 is the cause of the contradiction.

The latter conclusion is supported by an apparent contradiction between this verse and Mt 7:29, which said the scribes didn't teach with authority. Why act upon what the scribes say if they didn't have the authority to teach?

The advice of Mt 23:3 is nothing that a wisdom teacher would dispense, for which of us fully trusts a person's instructions if that person himself does not adhere to them? Jesus expected his own disciples to do good works and let them be seen by men (Mt 5:16), and to preach also (Mt 10:7). Thus he expected good deeds to be appreciated and accompanying words to be heeded; and in all probability the converse—the words accompanying wrongful deeds should not be heeded.

SOLUTION.  The first TJ verse gives consistent advice, and in so doing indicates that Mt 23:3 indeed contains a redaction. We may speculate that the compiler of Matthew, having a background as a scribe and Pharisee, was naturally incensed at this TJ passage, especially its second verse. He still wished the "law" which the Pharisees preached to be followed closely, for the most part, and so desired that what they preached be followed. But the ensuing "Woes" he would incorporate into his gospel, with which he must generally have concurred, were in opposition to the Pharisees' practices. So he retained the TJ's opposition to their practices while contradicting the TJ's advice regarding their teachings. This led to the "Do as I say but not as I do" adage.

The second TJ verse is consistent with other portions of the TJ. An example is TJ 13:19-20, with its parallels at Mt 12:11-12, which speak against the teaching of not doing any work of any sort on the sabbath, including pulling a sheep out of a pit.

The Matthean verse would not have been spoken by a wisdom teacher, but the TJ verses are consistent with just that, for a teacher who placed highest value upon the truth. A literary hoaxer would not likely consider this problem, since the "Do as I say but not as I do" adage is so well known; such a hoaxer would be less likely still to include a reason consistent with Jmmanuel's teachings for not heeding the Pharisees' words. PHoax 0.2.

Mt 23:7-10    7"and [the scribes and Pharisees love] salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. 8But you [the crowds and the disciples] are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. 9And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ."

TJ 24:8-10    8"And they [the scribes and Pharisees] like to be greeted in the marketplace and to be called master by the people. 9But don't let anyone call you [the people and the disciples] master until you have become cognizant of the wisdom of knowledge. 10And don't let anyone call you teacher until you follow the laws of Creation yourselves,"

TJ 24:8-10    8«Und sie haben es gerne, dass sie gegrüsst werden auf dem Markt und dass sie von den Menschen Meister genannt werden. 9Aber ihr sollt euch nicht Meister nennen lassen, ehe ihr nicht die Weisheit des Wissens erkennet habt. 10Und ihr sollt euch nicht Lehrer nennen lassen, ehe ihr nicht die Gesetze der Schöpfung befolgt.»

THE PROBLEMS.  Beare (p. 450) pointed out that at the time of Jesus, "rabbi" was scarcely yet a title and would not have been applied to Pharisees in general. (The word itself, meaning "teacher," was known earlier, however.) There was no chance that the disciples would be addressed by this title. Hence Mt 23:7-8 must have been written many years later than when the words were supposedly spoken. By this later time the title of rabbi was applied to great teachers.

Also with respect to Mt 23:8, Davies & Allison discuss how the use of "rabbi" indicates "it is a Christian reaction to a late first-century development in Judaism."[1] Furthermore, there is no logic underlying the instruction in this verse, for whether or not one or more of the disciples was worthy of being called "rabbi" or "great one" has no bearing on whether they had been taught by one teacher, two teachers or no teacher, or whether the disciples remained a brotherly group. If anything, their having been taught by just one teacher, Jesus himself, should have been the highest qualification to be called "rabbi" among Jewish followers of Jesus. The illogic thus strongly suggests that a wisdom teacher would not have spoken these words, while a text editor could well have written them in the process of rather carelessly substituting for unacceptable text within his source.

Regarding Mt 23:9, a similar problem of illogic exists, if a disciple is not to be allowed to speak of his biological father as "father." Even if, however, the meaning of "father" here is supposed to refer to a title for a synagogue leader, this would scarcely apply to the disciples; would they need to be instructed not to go into a synagogue and call its leader "father?" If the word is supposed to refer to a title for an early Christian church leader, this even more quickly discloses it is a redaction.[2] The verse moreover breaks the train of thought of the verses on each side, as to what the disciples are not to let others call them, by abruptly speaking on what the disciples are not to call someone else.

Concerning Mt 23:10, if a disciple had been called "master," this would not have infringed upon the exaltation of Jesus himself, who could be called by his own name or by a title such as "great teacher," "seed of David," or "great prophet," etc. And would the humble Jesus have cared if his disciples might someday be addressed by a title that should have been reserved for him? The writer of Matthew, however, seems to have had this concern in mind.

Regarding the title "the Christ" as used here, J. P. Brown is one scholar who has deduced that it was a later title inserted into the mouth of Jesus by the writer of Matthew.[3] When the writer of Matthew, as narrator, speaks of "the Christ," he can be excused. But when he puts that later title on the lips of Jesus or someone else, before the crucifixion and its aftermath, the anachronism becomes evident.

SOLUTION.  The parallel TJ verses, which do not suffer from these criticisms, seem self-explanatory as to why the compiler of Matthew had to edit out what he did, thus giving rise to problems when he substituted for parts of TJ text. During this editing, he took the sentence of TJ 24:10, regarding being called "teacher," somewhat out of order, due apparently to his mention of "rabbi" in the verse just before. The TJ does not mention the word "rabbi," which the underlying Greek of Matthew does.

The TJ's "wisdom of knowledge" phrase must refer to the fact that knowledge itself is not enough; one must understand how this knowledge fits into a broad context of related experiential knowledge in order to be able to apply it in any given situation to produce optimal consequences. Then it becomes wisdom.

That the parallel TJ passage could avoid all of the four or five above Matthean criticisms speaks strongly in its favor as being genuine and Matthew being dependent upon the TJ. If we consider four of these criticisms to be independent and each disfavoring the hoax hypothesis by a probability of 0.4, say (or 0.393), their accumulation produces PHoax 0.15.

Mt 23:11-12     11"He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; 12whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

TJ 24:11-12    11"because those who allow themselves to be called master and teacher but do not possess the wisdom of knowledge will be denounced as liars. 12For those who unjustly exalt themselves will be abased, and those who unjustly abase themselves will be disdained."

TJ 24:11-12    11«Denn wer sich Meister und Lehrer nennen lässt und besitzet die Weisheit des Wissens nicht, der wird der Lüge angeklagt werden. 12Denn wer sich selbst zu unrecht erhöht, der wird erniedrigt; und wer sich selbst zu unrecht erniedrigt, der wird missachtet.»

THE PROBLEM.  The first of these two Matthean verses is but a repeat of Mt 20:26b, which was found to be a redaction.

The second verse, on how to view oneself, is an example of the first-is-last type of illogicality already discussed under Mt 19:30. That is, if the exalted become humbled, then after being humbled the verse indicates they will become exalted again, and so on. A verse in Job 22 could well have suggested it to the redactor:

29For God abases the proud, but he saves the lowly.

SOLUTION.  The first of the two TJ verses, which is not a cognate, needed to be replaced because of its stress upon the wisdom of knowledge. So the writer of Matthew replaced it with a saying he had used previously. The second is a fresh statement well worth contemplation, after which the reader may agree it generally accords with experience. However, it needed redaction because it did not accord with the writer of Matthew's philosophy of promoting humbleness; in so doing, the verse of Job 22:29, which contained some of the same elements as the TJ verse (in its sentence structure and "abasement"), likely came to his mind.

Since the TJ verses read like wisdom teachings while the Matthean ones do not, and since it is a good deal more difficult to construct wisdom teachings out of foolishness than to do the reverse, one must here assign PHoax 0.2, if not less.

Mt 23:13    13"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in."

TJ 24:15-16    15"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you deceivers, hypocrites and swindlers who block the development of people's spirits and consciousness with your lies and false teachings. 16You will not achieve advancement easily, and through your erroneous teachings you deprive those who wish to advance from doing so."

TJ 24:15-16    15«Wehe euch, Schriftgelehrte und Pharisäer, ihr Betrüger, Heuchler und Schwindler, die ihr den Menschen den geistigen und bewusstseinsmässigen Fortschritt verschliesset mit euren Lügen und Falschlehren. 16Ihr werdet den Fortschritt so leicht nicht erringen, und die ihn erringen wollen, haltet ihr durch eure irren Lehren davon ab.»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (pp. 452-453), like most other Christian scholars, did not appreciate this and the other "Woes," considering them to be vituperation best blamed on the compiler of Matthew. But here he objected to this one's difficulty of interpretation. No clues are given as to the means by which scribes and Pharisees "shut" the kingdom of heaven from others; this would have bewildered Jesus' listeners. This may be contrasted with other Woes in which the meaning is apparent, such as Mt 23:23, where "mint and dill and cummin," and "justice and mercy and faith" are spelled out.

SOLUTION.  The TJ verse, however, makes instant sense if the scribes and Pharisees were guilty of false teachings as charged by Jmmanuel. Teachings of resurrection, for example, can block out interest in the evolution of one's spirit.

It may certainly be questioned, from the TJ viewpoint of much first-round editing by the compiler of Matthew who was of Jewish background, why he left any of the Woe passages in. Doubtless he had been a Pharisee himself some decades earlier, but after converting to Messianic Judaism (i.e., early Christianity) no longer felt much sympathy towards the Pharisees, and so left most of the verses in, while softening their harshest aspects. At the time of the compilation of Matthew the church is usually believed to have still been undergoing the split away from Judaism.

The compiler seems to have been trying to delete or replace the minimum amount of TJ text necessary to remove heresy and offensive statements, as discussed earlier (see under the Mt 10:23 segment), and so allowed unpleasantries to remain in if they did not seriously oppose Jewish teachings that he felt Christianity could retain. However, two of the 10 TJ Woes do not appear in Matthew, and a third appears in a considerably different form as Mt 23:14, a verse usually displayed only as a footnote.[4] Of the two omitted TJ Woe passages, one deals with scribes and Pharisees being blind leaders of a hoard of blind. The other, which immediately follows the Woe about hypocrites building tombs for the prophets, concerns the folly of their calling upon the dead for advice.

It is practically out of the question that a literary hoaxer could have foreseen Francis Beare's (1981) objection here and then construct the TJ's explanation as to how the scribes and Pharisees "shut the kingdom... against men." PHoax 0.1.

Mt 23:14     14"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation."

TJ 24:17     17"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you deceivers, hypocrites and swindlers, who devour the homes of widows and engage in long prayers for the sake of appearance; therefore, you shall live in piercing darkness all the longer."

TJ 24:17     17«Wehe euch, Schriftgelehrte und Pharisüer, ihr Betrüger, Heuchler und Schwindler, die ihr der Witwen Häuser fresset und verrichtet zum Schein lange Gebete, ihr werdet dafür desto länger in gellender Finsternis leben.»

THE PROBLEM.  This verse is usually relegated to a footnote and not considered part of Matthew proper, because it is absent from the manuscripts that text critics value most highly. However, because of its condemnatory nature, it was quite conceivably omitted early in the manuscript transmission process by a theologically committed scribe, and need not represent a Matthean acquisition from Mark. It seems that most Christian adherents have had problems with the Woe passages and wish that they had not been written. The logical problem with this one is that "the greater condemnation" lacks meaning, since the question immediately arises "greater than what?" or perhaps "the greatest among which?" If the writer of Matthew had adapted this from Mk 12:40, which has the same phrasing and raises the same question, he should be expected to have improved upon Mark's ambiguousness.

SOLUTION.  This TJ verse is what the writer of Matthew utilized. He altered its last part, in which "deep darkness" represents ignorance and lack of enlightenment, because of its karmic aspect; i.e., the scribes and Pharisees would live in deep darkness in one or more future lives also, due to their not having learned how to behave better in their present lives. In trying to retain an equivalent to "all the longer," the writer substituted "greater," which caused the problem.

The writer of Mark then copied/translated Matthew here relatively literally, and the verse stayed in his gospel, as he incorporated only a relatively few of Matthew's Woes to the scribes and Pharisees. The verse is deduced to have been removed from key early Matthean texts, as noted above, because "devouring widows' houses" is a devastatingly severe criticism—perhaps the harshest of the Woes, of which Matthew already contained far too many as far as a Christian was concerned.

The TJ contains 10 "Woe" verses as opposed to Matthew's seven (or eight if this one is included). At least one NT scholar has contended that the seven Matthean "Woe" verses correspond to the nine "Blessed are" verses in the Sermon on the Mount, of which only seven are considered to to be present within "Q" and original. A one-to-one correspondence between the two pairs of seven is then posited. However, with the TJ's 10 "Woe" verses and 9 "Blessed are" verses, we find that there was no connection between them or between subsets of them.

Since the Matthean verse need not have originated in Mark, since the TJ verse does not suffer from the Matthean problem, since the manner in which it avoids this problem would involve undue creativity on the part of a literary hoaxer to construct, and since the reason is evident as to which parts of the TJ verse needed redaction to make it acceptable for early Christianity, we assign the relatively low value of PHoax 0.2 here.

Mt 23:17-19     17"You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' 19You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?"

TJ 24:20-22     20"You fools and blind people, you are the offspring of evil; why do you let people swear, knowing that an oath is not binding and is a worthless act? 21Or you say, 'If one swears by the altar it is not valid; but if a person swears by the sacrificial offering it is binding.' 22You blind and mistaken teachers, who gave you the right to demand or take an oath since the laws of Creation state that oaths should not be taken?"

TJ 24:20-22     20«Ihr Narren und Blinden, die ihr seid eine Ausgeburt des Büsen; was lasset ihr schwören, wenn ihr doch wisset, dass ein Schwur keine Bindung hat und wertloses Tun ist! 21Oder ihr sagt: ‹Wenn einer schwört bei dem Altar, das gilt nicht; wenn aber einer schwört bei dem Opfer, das bindet›. 22Ihr blinden und irren Lehrer: Wessen ist euer Recht, einen Schwur zu fordern oder einen Schwur zu leisten, so die Gesetze der Schöpfung doch sagen, dass kein Schwur getan werden soll.»

THE PROBLEMS.  These verses immediately follow Woes that deplore the scribes and Pharisees who say that swearing by the temple or altar is of no worth, but who hold that swearing by the gold inside the temple, or gift on the altar, validates an oath. The present verses then counter this, and imply that swearing by the temple or by the altar is what validates the oath. This also contradicts the total ban against swearing of Mt 5:34.

Beare noted (p. 454) that these matters about the temple and its gold adornments are today only of antiquarian interest, and found it surprising that they could have been of interest to the contemporaries of the writer of Matthew.

Also one may note that, by calling certain scribes and Pharisees "fools" here, Jesus is sentencing himself to the hell of fire, if Mt 5:22b is believed.

SOLUTION.  Thus, according to Matthew Jesus speaks contradictorily, while the TJ does not experience this problem. The first and third of these TJ verses are identified as cognates to the respective Matthean verses only by their location and denunciation.

Interestingly, the compiler of Matthew apparently agreed with the TJ's quote that the altar is more sacred than the gift upon it. And so he copied TJ 24:21 intact into Mt 23:18.

Jmmanuel's use of "fools" in describing the scribes and Pharisees of his day would likely have incensed the compiler, who himself was apparently once a scribe, and may have been what caused him to insert Mt 5:22b concerning the seriousness of calling anyone a fool—being then "liable to the hell of fire." Certainly Matthew's Jesus was not supposed to be liable to the hell of fire. This constitutes more "editorial fatigue;" the writer inserted Mt 5:22b, but then apparently failed to notice this problem when copying the TJ's "You fools and blind people!" without significantly altering it.

In the TJ verse one may puzzle over how to substantiate the Creational law that oaths should not be taken. Elsewhere in the TJ (36:3-4) Jmmanuel mentions how change (evolution) is always occurring within the cosmos. From this he may have deduced that an oath, which commits one to a certain future action even though conditions may by then have changed, such as to render that action misguided, is inconsistent with Creation's will. Or he may have been taught this by his ET mentors during his forty-day stay with them.

Besides not being party to the inconsistencies of the Matthean verse, the TJ verse shows angry emotions even more intense than in Matthew. It is likely that these would be toned down by the writer of Matthew, but somewhat less likely that a hoaxer who wished his product to be accepted would generate them.

Mt 23:20-22    20"So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and everything on it; 21and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; 22and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it."

TJ 24:24-25    24"Therefore, those who swear by anything on Earth or in the universe swear by something fleeting, which is without permanence. 25Hence, an oath is also without permanence."

TJ 24:24-25    24«Darum: Wer da schwört bei irgend etwas auf der Erde oder dem Universum, der schwört bei etwas Vergänglichem, das keinen Bestand hat. 25Also hat auch ein Schwur keinen Bestand.»

THE PROBLEM.  Here, Beare (p. 454) did make note of the contradiction in Matthew of implying at this point that it is appropriate to swear, while stating the opposite in Mt 5:34.

SOLUTION.  Again the TJ is consistent on the futility of swearing on anything. It is understandable that an editor of a lengthy text who makes huge numbers of alterations in his source text may occasionally make an alteration at one point that contradicts an earlier sentence he failed to alter sufficiently. Lumping these two verses and the previous three together, we estimate PHoax 0.35.

Mt 23:23    23"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others."

TJ 24:28    28"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites who tithe mint, meramie, dill and caraway seeds but neglect the most important things in the law, namely, justice, freedom of knowledge, and the truth of Creation. Thus you ignore the law of love and the laws of logic and justice."

TJ 24:28    28«Wehe euch, Schriftgelehrte und Pharisäer, ihr Heuchler, die ihr verzehntet Minze, Meramie, Dill und Kümmel und lasset dahinten das Wichtigste im Gesetz, nämlich das Recht, die Freiheit des Wissens und die Wahrheit der Schöpfung; und das Gesetz der Liebe und das Gesetz der Logik und der Gerechtigkeit lasset ihr unbeachtet also.»

THE PROBLEM.  According to Marcus Borg, most scholars refuse to credit these words of Matthew to Jesus.[5] The last clause, at least, appears to have been tacked on, as "done" awkwardly has to mean "not neglected."

SOLUTION.  One sees that the writer of Matthew modified the TJ's first sentence slightly so as to omit mention of Creation, while modifying its second sentence more, so as to avoid mention of laws that were not known to be laws per se from the Torah, and avoid mention of logic. In so doing, the final clause of Mt 23:23 turned out awkward. Whether "these" refers to the weightier matters or to the tithes, we see that the writer of Matthew wished to emphasize that tithing not be neglected.

In the TJ verse, the word "meramie" perplexed me for many years, as I could find no reference to it within the botanical and herbal literature. Finally, a Brazilian researcher, Jose Barreto Silva, became interested in the problem and queried personnel of the Israel Plant Information Center, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A staff member's reply was that Meramie is the German transliteration for "Maramiyya," the Arabic word for the shrub whose species name in Latin is "salvia fruticosa," known in English as the "three-lobed sage" and as "Greek sage." It is a common type of sage shrub in the eastern Mediterranean area, with a sunny habitat of dry, rocky hillsides. It has long been used as a medicine or medicinal tea. Its leaves, or the oil therefrom, is used internally for the treatment of digestive and respiratory complaints, menstrual and infertility problems, high blood pressure, depression and nervousness. The connection between "meramie" and "salvia fruticosa" is also pinned down on the web.

The "mara" root of the word means "bitter" in Hebrew, and the name of the plant in Hebrew is "Marva." "Maramiyya" is a bitter astringent, strongly suggesting that the meaning 'bitter" lies at the root of the word. At some point in the early Christian era a tradition grew that the "Maram" part of the word referred to the "Virgin" Mary, or Miriam. It seems likely that when Isa Rashid translated the word he gave it the name it is still known by in the Palestinian region: "Maramiyya," or "Meramie" in German.

I would speculate that the writer of Matthew omitted mention of this plant because it was known to be of important medicinal value. Thus it would likely have grated against his Scriptural, leave-it-to-God theology concerning one's health: Let God take care of you; don't take matters into your own hands or rely on therapeutic herbs. This would be consistent with alterations he made regarding TJ 6:26 (omitting its fasting for the sake of health) and TJ 6:36-39 (see under Mt 6:24b-25).

Regarding the phrase "freedom of knowledge," it may seem unusual or modern. I am not aware that it occurs in the Torah or "the law." However, it seems consistent with the teachings or proverbs of Solomon, which emphasize the value of possessing knowledge. In particular, Prv 11:9 (" knowledge the righteous are delivered") tends to connect knowledge with righteousness, and if one is free to seek righteousness, one should be free to seek knowledge. It is not a phrase that leaders of the early church would condone, since it implies the freedom to seek knowledge for oneself rather than only accepting statements from the Scriptures, the church and its clergy, and scribes as being valid as knowledge.

The TJ verse is the one with most meaning and thus most likely to have been spoken by a teacher of wisdom. It seems more plausible that the writer of Matthew omitted the meramie seeds, because use of therapeutic herbs went against his theology, than that a New Age hoaxer knew of this medicinal sage and thought of inserting it here. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 23:26    26"You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean."

TJ 24:33    33"You blind ones, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites and distorters of the truth, first clean what is inside the cup so that the outside may become pure and light up with its brilliance."

TJ 24:33    33«Ihr Blinden, ihr Schriftgelehrten und Pharisäer, ihr Heuchler und Verdreher der Wahrheit, reinigt zuerst, was inwendig im Becher ist, auf dass auch das Auswendige rein werde und in seinem Glanze erstrahle.»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare noted (p. 456) that cleaning the inside of a cup doesn't necessarily make the outside clean. The connection there to scribes and Pharisees looking good on the outside but being full of extortion and rapacity on the inside (Mt 23:25,27) thus breaks down, since elimination of these inner vices would not of itself cause their appearance and clothing to look nice.

In addition, awkwardness exists in that this Woe is strangely addressed to a Pharisee (singular), rather than to Pharisees (plural) as are the other Woes. Additional awkwardness would occur with inclusion of the plate in the simile, since it may be too flat to speak of its inside versus outside. However, the preferred Greek text (Nestle-Aland, 27th ed.) omits the plate, although it is included within the two most trusted old manuscripts and hence occurs in the above verse from the RSV bible.

SOLUTION.  The TJ verse contains a final clause that had been omitted by the writer of Matthew. With it included, one may see that the analogy to humans was already in mind here, with the "lighting up" being reminiscent of "Let your light so shine before men..." of Mt 5:16 (=TJ 5:16). It is also reminiscent of: "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" of Mt 7:7 (=TJ 7:6). Then it is clearer that Jmmanuel had in mind here that a person cannot truly shine outwardly before others if inwardly he is full of extortion and rapacity, or rapacity and greed. Presumably this outward "shining," though perhaps to be seen within a person's eyes (the lamp of the body), is evidenced mostly through his attitude and actions.

It would appear that the writer of Matthew took offense here to the TJ's "distorters of the truth," especially as applied to scribes, and so omitted both it and the mention of scribes. As to why the writer omitted the TJ's reference to lighting up in brilliance, it is conjectured to be because the verse implies that ordinary people have the capability of "shining" in this manner, whereas he would reserve this for Jesus, as in the transfiguration (Mt 17:2) where his face supposedly shone like the sun. PHoax 0.4.

Mt 23:31    31"Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets."

TJ 24:41    41"Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who killed the prophets and falsified their teachings."

TJ 24:41    41«So gebet ihr euch selbst Zeugnis, dass ihr Kinder seid derer, die die Propheten getötet haben und die ihre Lehre verfälschten.»

THE PROBLEM.  As Beare pointed out (pp. 457-458), it doesn't follow that the admitted descendants of murderers would themselves necessarily behave or think in similar manner.

SOLUTION.  According to the TJ, these descendants who are scribes and Pharisees are guilty of false teachings. In this one chapter alone, Jmmanuel charges them with this offense five times prior to this point, with all of these particular accusations having been edited out by the writer of Matthew. Consistent with this conviction, then, Jmmanuel identifies the current scribes and Pharisees with those who opposed the earlier prophets and falsified their teachings. By omitting "and falsified their teachings," the writer of Matthew cut out the key part of the argument that gives it a reasonable meaning. That is, though the scribes and Pharisees being addressed may not have been murderers, they were considered to be guilty of falsifying the true teachings of the prophets, as had their forefathers.

This meaning is broadened if one accepts the TJ's implications that Jmmanuel could remember his past lives of having been a prophet; this could include Jeremiah and Isaiah, for example. Then he would have retained his own past knowledge of original prophetic teachings having been falsified and some of the prophets having been killed. Alternatively, he may have acquired some or all of this information during the forty days of instruction given him by his contacting ETs (see earlier discussion under Mt 4:1-11). This argument is strengthened by the likelihood that the scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem who wished to have the prophet of that day, Jmmanuel, be arrested and put to death (e.g., Mt 21:45-46) were among those he had in mind during his vituperative discourse of TJ 24 and Mt 23.

This vituperation was retained for the most part by the writer of Matthew evidently because the Pharisees of his day had not accepted Jesus as messiah and savior, as he had. But he was careful to edit out the TJ's accusations of false teachings, present and past, since he still believed strongly in the validity of the "law" as set forth in the Hebrew Scriptures, with perhaps a few minor modifications.

Mt 23:32    32"Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers [their murderous crimes]."

TJ 24:42    42"Well then, fill up the measure of your forefathers and fathers; thus you will end your lives without understanding and will have difficulty learning until the distant future."

TJ 24:42    42«Wohlan, erfüllet auch ihr das Mass eurer Vorväter und Väter, so ihr mit Unverstand sollt beenden euer Leben, und Mühe haben zu lernen, bis inferne Zukunft.»

THE PROBLEM.  The Matthean verse is rather obscure, even after interpreting it in the light of the meanings of adjacent verses. For example, the Cambridge theologian, Douglas Hare, thought it means that final judgment won't fall upon Israel until its apostasy reaches full measure,[6] whereas Beare (p. 458) thought it means that judgment will be delayed until the amount of blood shed by martyrs is complete.

SOLUTION.  The compiler's editing of this TJ verse had to be extensive in removing unacceptable thoughts, and this led to ambiguity. The TJ does not suffer from such uncertainty, however. It has a quite different meaning and contains a prophecy. Its text states that the scribes and Pharisees being denounced, like their fathers and forefathers before them, have not learned enough of value in their present lives to be able to do much better in their next lives. Thus they are predicted to continue committing evil in their future lives like their forefathers are said to have committed in the past. This evil is stated to include killing the prophets and falsifying their teachings (TJ 24:41).

Whether or not this is meant to imply that most of them had past lives among their own Jewish ancestors is uncertain. The studies of Ian Stevenson do suggest, however, that a human spirit tends to reincarnate within the same society of its most recent past life much more often than due to chance.[7] He would not have been able to determine and catalog nearly so many past-life identifications if many or most past lives had not tended to occur in the same culture as the present lives.

Within the TJ context, this and the preceding verse are understandable, while within the Matthean context its verse and the preceding one are not. Hence the former are more likely to have stemmed from a wisdom teacher and to be historical. PHoax 0.35.

Mt 23:33     33"You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?"

TJ 24:43    43"You brood of snakes and vipers, how can you aspire to be great in spirit and in consciousness when you don't possess any understanding yet?"

TJ 24:43    43«Ihr Schlangen und Otterngezücht, wie wollt ihr denn gross sein im Geiste und im Bewusstsein, wenn ihr doch keinen Verstand besitzt?»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (p. 457) commented that verse 23:33 is essentially the same saying as that of John the Baptist in Mt 3:7. He suggested therefore that it is a (redactive) supplement—a repetitive statement fed in by the compiler of Matthew.

The Matthean reference to hell also raises strong skepticism, as a large percentage of, if not all, the other Matthean references to hell appear non-genuine for their own reasons.

SOLUTION.  The phrase "you brood of vipers" was apparently in the vocabulary of Jmmanuel as well as of John. Jmmanuel uses it in six spots not reproduced by the writer of Matthew. Except for the "brood of snakes" phrase, however, this TJ verse is totally different from Mt 3:7 or its TJ cognate, and so Beare's criticism does not apply to it. Obviously its subject matter on the desirability of being "great in spirit" required the compiler to substitute something else for it, and his earlier verse came to mind. "You brood of snakes and vipers" in the TJ verse is what most likely brought the compiler's earlier verse to his mind.

The TJ verse gives every indication of being the source for Matthew's verse, being consistent with its own themes, giving a clear meaning, and not suffering from Matthew's redactions. PHoax 0.3.

Mt 23:34-36     34"Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation."

TJ 24:44-53     44"All the righteous blood that was shed by your doing on Earth will befall you, beginning with the first prophet your fathers and forefathers murdered, to the blood of Zacharias, the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar, as well as all the blood that will be shed in the future because of your guilt... 53Truly, truly, I say to you, all this shall be fulfilled and come upon you and upon your people long into the future, as I have told you."

TJ 24:44-53     44«All das gerechte Blut aber kommet auf euch, das vergossen ist durch euch auf Erden vom ersten Propheten an, den eure Väter und Urväter mordeten, bis auf das Blut des Zacharias, des Sohnes Barachjas, welchen ihr getötet habt zwischen Tempel und Altar, und also all das Blut der Zukunft, das in eurer Schuld vergossen wird. ... 53 Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch: Dass solches sich alles erfüllet, und also wird alles über euch kommen und über euer Geschlecht und in lange Zukunft wie ich gesagt habe.»

THE PROBLEMS.  Beare (pp. 162, 458-459) recognized Mt 23:34 to have been written for the church by the redactor. Jesus never sent prophets, wise men or scribes anywhere, according to any of the Gospels. And Beare found it strange that scribes and Pharisees should be castigated for the blood spilled by their ancestors.

The last verse, containing "this generation," appears to be another failed prophecy, since much Jewish blood, as well as the blood of others, has been shed in subsequent generations. It does not make sense to most scholars unless it was the compiler of Matthew who wrote it and had in mind the capture of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Beare, p. 460).

A further objection is that there is no evidence that Pharisees ever employed crucifixion. Hare believes the compiler of Matthew should have known this fact.[8] He certainly should have, one would think. It appears he had Jesus in mind, and so used "crucifixion" in the future tense.

Still another is the mention here of Abel, who was killed by Cain. In Mt 23:29-31, which this verse continues to build upon, the concern is over who killed the prophets. However, there is no indication that Abel had been any prophet.

SOLUTION.  The absence of a TJ cognate to the lengthy first half of the first verse lends support to its authenticity relative to Matthew.

In the TJ the reasoning is again clear why Jmmanuel was blaming the Pharisees for the past spilled blood of prophets. He was inferring these to be some of the same souls, through reincarnation, who had wrongfully shed the blood of prophets in generations past. Hence he was distraught that they had not learned better. Also, the TJ doesn't contain the inappropriate mention of Abel.

From the TJ, we see that the last Matthean verse does not refer to any apocalypse or war, but to harsh learning experiences (or karma) that scribes and Pharisees would have to undergo in future lives. It was clear to Jmmanuel that having falsified El's teachings transmitted by prophets before him, these scribes and Pharisees still had much to learn. Considering this, we may speculate that "this generation" in the latter Matthean verse was a redaction designed to put the prophecy of future Jewish bloodshed into the past where it would no longer be of concern and where considerations of reincarnation would not enter in. On the other hand, it may be worth noting that the Greek γενεα, from which the translation "generation" came, can also mean a "race" or a "people." In that case, the possibility presents itself that Mt 23:36 was not so different from its corresponding TJ verse after all, except that the redactor omitted "long into the future."

The TJ's verses 24:45-52 are among the additions to the 1978 version that were omitted by oversight, according to Eduard Meier, who received these verses after his ET contacts with Ptaah recommenced in 1989. They prophesy further karmic consequences for the Jews along with the possibility for peace—prophecies that appear to be in the process of being fulfilled. It will be easy to claim that these verses were then fed in by Meier with hindsight. The alternative is that Jmmanuel was unique in his ability to foretell aspects of the distant future.[9]

Nevertheless, supporters of the hoax hypothesis may be able to argue that the TJ's long-range prophecies within this section counterbalance Matthew's evidences of non-genuineness. PHoax 0.5.

Mt 23:37    37"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!"

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.  As Beare (p. 460) implies, it is a strange notion that Jerusalem was a preferred place for prophets to be killed. The Old Testament does not indicate this. Second, according to Matthew, Jesus had not been to Jerusalem on any previous occasion. The "How often" phrase here implies differently.

SOLUTION.  In its various verses, the TJ gives no hint that Jerusalem (or any other particular city) was a preferred place where prophets were killed. Instead, we see that Mt 23:37, and as noted below, its following two verses, are purely the invention of the writer of Matthew. The omitted TJ verses, mentioned in the foregoing segment, evidently prompted the writer of Matthew to substitute something in their place. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 23:38-39     38"Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.  Verse 38 is likely a redaction, due to its ambiguity. Scholars have been divided over whether "your house" refers to the temple, to Jerusalem, or to all the scattered tribes of Israel.[10] And scholars such as Barry Crawford note that verse 39 "is widely regarded as a product of the Christian community,"[11] partly because the "Blessed" phrase seems to be an unattributed citation from Psalms 118:

Ps 118:26    Blessed be he who enters in the name of the LORD!

Matthew also leaves it unclear whom Jesus is addressing. If it is Jerusalem or its people, the verse would not make sense unless it were placed two chapters earlier preceding his entry into Jerusalem. If it is his last stated audience—the crowds or his disciples—there is no indication that any of them ever intoned the "Blessed be he" phrase; yet his disciples and others certainly did see Jesus again after that point. Once more, such an ambiguity is the hallmark of a redaction.

SOLUTION.  Again, the conclusion we draw from the scholars is consistent with the TJ not possessing any parallel to the verses. PHoax 0.45.

The accumulation of individual probabilities within the above comparisons yields an overall probability for hoax in this chapter of 1 x 10-6.

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1. Davies, W. D., and Allison, Dale C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, vol. 3 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1997), p. 275.

2. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 3, pp. 276-277.

3. Brown, John Pairman, "Mark as witness to an edited form of Q," JBL 80 (1961), pp. 29-44; see p. 41.

4. It is only consistent that the TJ would contain the parallel to Mt 23:14, since it is contained in Mark and Luke, and the TJ implies that the Gospel of Matthew appeared before Mark and Luke did.

5. Borg, Marcus, Conflict, Holiness and Politics in the Teachings of Jesus (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1984), p. 101.

6. Hare, Douglas R. A., The Theme of Jewish Persecution of Christians according to the Gospel of St Matthew (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), p. 88.

7. Stevenson, Ian, Cases of the Reincarnation Type, 4 volumes (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1975-1983).

8. Hare, Theme of Jewish Persecution, pp. 80-89.

9. A possible psychic mechanism for this is that Jmmanuel could recall not only his past lives but could "recall" his future lives up to a point as well, based upon the concept of time in the spiritual world being quite different from our linear concept. If so, and if one of his future lives is being lived in our present era, his knowledge would have included ours and allowed accurate prophecies, provided, ironically, that his prophecies were not heeded in such a way as would negate them.

10. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 3, p. 322.

11. Crawford, Barry S., "Near expectation in the sayings of Jesus," JBL 101 (1982), pp. 225-244; see p. 234.

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