Mt 27:1-12 1When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; 2and they bound him and led him away and delivered him to Pilate the governor. 3When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself." 5And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. 6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver,... 7...bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. 8Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver....."
11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus said to him, "You have said so." 12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer.
TJ 29:1-17 1Juda Iharioth, the betrayer of Jmmanuel, was among the councilors who wanted to kill Jmmanuel. 2But when he saw what appalling injustice and torture Jmmanuel was undergoing, and that his face was bloody, he felt repentant. Suddenly great distress and misery was within him. 3At odds with himself, he took his money bag, tossed it before the chief priests and council elders and said, 4"I have done evil to this person because I was thinking only of gold and silver and goods and wealth. 5I repent that I have betrayed innocent blood because his teachings do not seem evil to me." 6But the chief priests and elders replied, "Of what concern is that to us? 7Behold, it is up to you what you want to do to live in peace with yourself." 8And Juda Iharioth wept and fled from there, and soon he hanged himself from a tree branch in the field of the potter beyond the walls of the city. 9The chief priests, however, took the pieces of silver and said, "It is useless to put them into the collection box, because this is blood money. What shall we do with it?" 10Then one of the sons of the elders came forth and said, "I followed Juda Iharioth and he has hanged himself from a tree branch in the field of the potter." 11Thereupon Caiaphas, the high priest, said, "Well then, give this blood money to the potter and buy his field with it for the burial of strangers." 12At dawn the following day the business matter was settled, and Juda Iharioth, the betrayer of Jmmanuel, was the first to be buried in the field. 13But the chief priests and elders of the council spread the news among the people that Judas Iscarioth, the disciple of Jmmanuel, had hanged himself as Jmmanuel's betrayer and was hurriedly buried in the field of the potter. 14The people believed this talk, and they said, "He betrayed his friend for pieces of silver, and it serves him right that he hanged himself. 15He has taken a blood-guilt upon himself and so from now on the field of the potter shall be known as the Field of Blood."
16Jmmanuel, however, was brought before Pilatus, the governor, who asked him, "Are you Jmmanuel, whom they call the King of Wisdom?" 17He said, "As you say. This is what the people call me."
TJ 29:1-17 1Juda Iharioth, der Verräter an Jmmanuel, war unter dem Rat, der Jmmanuel töten wollte. 2So er nun aber sah, wie Jmmanuel boses Unrecht und Folter widerfuhr und dessen Angesicht blutend war, gereute es ihn und in ihm war jäh grosse Not und Elend. 3Uneins mit sich, griff er seinen Beutel und warf ihn vor die Hohenpriester und die Ältesten des Rates und sprach: 4«Ich habe Übel getan an diesem Menschen, weil mein Sinn nur nach Gold und Silber und nach Gütern und Reichtum war. 5Ich gereue, dass ich unschuldig Blut verraten habe, denn seine Lehre scheinet mir nicht übel.» 6Die Hohenpriester und Ältesten aber sprachen: «Was gehet uns das an? 7Siehe, es ist dein Tun, was du unternehmen mögest, so du mit dir zurecht kommest.» 8Juda Iharioth aber weinte und floh von dannen, und alsbald erhängte er sich an einem Ast eines Baumes hinter der Stadtmauer im Töpfersacker. 9Die Hohenpriester aber nahmen die Silberlinge und sprachen: «Es tauget nicht, dass wir sie in den Gotteskasten legen, denn es ist Blutgeld; was sollen wir damit tun?» 10Da kam aber der Ältesten Söhne einer und sprach: «Ich bin gefolget Juda Iharioth, und er hat sich erhänget am Ast des Baumes im Töpfersacker.» 11Da sprach Kaiphas, der Hohepriester: «Wohl denn, so soll das Blutgeld dem Töpfer gegeben werden, so er uns verkaufe den Töpfersacker dafür zum Begräbnis für die Fremden.» 12Und als kam der neue Tag, war das Geschäft getan, und als erster war begraben in dem Acker Juda Iharioth, der Verräter an Jmmanuel. 13Die Hohenpriester aber und die Ältesten im Rat verbreiteten im Volke die Kunde, Judas Ischarioth, des Jmmanuels Jünger, habe sich als Verräter Jmmanuels erhänget und sei im Töpfersacker zum Begräbnis verscharret. 14So das Volk dem Gerede glaubte, sprach es: «Verraten hat er seinen Freund um der Silberlinge willen und recht ist ihm geschehen also, so er sich erhänget hat. 15Eine Blutschuld hat er auf sich genommen, und so soll fortan sein genennet der Töpfersacker als Blutacker also.» 16Jmmanuel aber war gebracht vor den Landpfleger Pilatus, und der fragte ihn und sprach: «Bist du Jmmanuel, den man nennt den Weisheitskönig?» 17Er sprach: «Du sagst es, so bin ich genannt im Munde des Volkes.»
THE PROBLEMS. (a) Beare (p. 527) noted that the proceedings held by the chief priests and elders in the early morning (Mt 27:1) are described only with "great vagueness." Was this supposed to have been a second meeting of the Sanhedrin, held in the early morning so soon after the late night session? Why would the nighttime Sanhedrin meeting be described in detail but the final meeting the next morning be no more than mentioned, unless the latter was an editorial insertion?
(b) And Beare (p. 525) commented upon the fact that the suicide story is clumsily placed into the narrative of Jesus' presentation before Pilate, as may be seen from the condensed version above; or, one may say that the first two Matthean verses are placed eight verses too early. This is a common sign of inattentive editorial action.
(c) There is another problem with this sandwiched material, in combination with the last verse, which Beare noted (p. 525). The priests and elders are said to have delivered Jesus to the governor, and at the end we read that they accused him in Pilate's hall of judgment. In between, they are instead pictured as gathered somewhere in the temple where Judas can locate them to return the money he had received for betraying Jesus. Something is wrong here.
(d) Judas would not have seen that Jesus was condemned by the Sanhedrin, but instead would only have heard of it. The writer of Matthew otherwise maintained the distinction between seeing and hearing, as in Mt 11:4, "tell John what you hear and see." There are about 33 other usages of "saw" in Matthew, and they all involve what a witness observed for himself, not what he only heard from others.
(e) A minor but twinfold problem is that Judas is said to have returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. Yet only after the exchange of words is he said in Mt 27:5 to have given up the silver to them by throwing the pieces down. First he returns the pieces of silver to the chief priests, then he throws them down? The other part of the problem is that the priests simply take the money without having to pick it up off the floor of the temple; or, if the pieces of silver had been tossed into the temple treasury, as in Zec 11:13, the chief priests would have needed to fish them out in order to obtain them. Yet, there is no mention of any of this in the text, nor any mention that Judas had told them how many pieces of silver he threw down. The problems concerning where Judas threw the money are discussed by Carson.
(f) Referring next to the chief priests having bought the potter's field, the reader may verify from the full text that it was never stated in Matthew where the betrayer was buried; this has to be inferred by the reader to be the potter's field. It should have been mentioned near Mt 27:5 if the writer of Matthew had been writing the story from his own recollections.
(g) The phrase "to this day" (in Mt 27:8) was obviously written in by someone with a vantage point many years, if not decades, later than Jesus' ministry, and is thus under suspicion of being a redaction.
(h) The verses supposedly giving the quote from Jeremiah were noted by Beare (pp. 526-527) and others to contain only two stray phrases at best from Jeremiah—Jer 32:9 and 18:2. However, the former mentions 17 pieces of silver, not 30, and the latter refers to a potter's house, not a field. Beare had to conclude that these Old Testament references are totally irrelevant, and, as inappropriate as some of the other Old Testament citations in Matthew are, this one is even more so. The 30 pieces of silver, rather than 17, seem to have been drawn from Zechariah, because Mt 27:5 mentions the throwing of the 30 pieces as in the verse below:
Zec 11:13 So I took the thirty shekels of silver and cast them into the treasury in the house of the LORD.
(i) In Mt 27:11, it is improbable that Pilate just would have asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews, because anyone could claim or deny any title for himself, which wouldn't prove anything whatsoever. He would more likely first ask him if he was the man from Nazareth called such-and-such, to establish his identity.
(j) On the last Matthean verse above, Beare (p. 527) commented upon the fact that the accusations against Jesus had finally been made, but no specific charges had been listed. Why did the compiler of Matthew fail to mention any specific charge?
(k) A further objection is why the governor would even have thought the people called Jesus the "King of the Jews." One must assume that some chief priest or Pharisee maliciously told Pilate that Jesus was called by that title. Yet there is no mention of this despite there being later mention of Pilate's considerable knowledge—that Pilate knew Jesus had been delivered up out of envy (Mt 27:18). When Jesus had entered Jerusalem the people knew him as Son of David and the prophet from Nazareth, and not as "King of the Jews." It was the writer of Matthew who inserted the verse from Zechariah (Mt 21:5) that mentions "king." The people themselves are never said to have called him "King of the Jews," an omission that has not gone unnoticed. Thus it doesn't make sense that the historical Jesus would have accepted this title from Pilate.
SOLUTION. Beare's first criticism, (a) above, does not apply to the TJ, where no second meeting of the chief priests and elders occurs, concerning the disposition of Jmmanuel. Instead, shortly after dawn Jmmanuel was simply brought before Pilate (TJ 29:16), since he had already been pronounced deserving of death the night before. The writer of Matthew apparently drew from the pre-dawn meeting of chief priests and elders in TJ 29:9-13, in his mention of a second meeting in Mt 27:1 and for its early morning placement in time. This meeting included Caiphas and culminated in the decision to substitute Judas Iscariot's name for Juda's.
His second criticism, (b), does not apply to the TJ either, where the story about the repentance and suicide of Juda Ihariot follows immediately after the story of Peter's denial. Only after the suicide story is the bringing of Jmmanuel before Pilate described. From the TJ one infers that the compiler of Matthew felt obliged to edit the TJ's verses about Juda being among the councilors who wanted to kill Jmmanuel, because he had already altered Juda into Judas, and Judas was not associated with the councilors. The compiler then took up the theme of the council and edited its business into Mt 27:1, and invented 27:2 for additional substance. This last step caused the suicide story to be out of place. The TJ has no cognate to Mt 27:2 and so is not open to this criticism.
Criticism (c) does not apply to the TJ, because there is no sandwiching of the suicide story there.
Concerning (d), in the TJ text, Juda repented only after seeing with his own eyes, not hearing about, the brutal treatment Jmmanuel had received, leaving him bleeding. Juda had been among the councilors during the time Jmmanuel was before the high council (TJ 29:1). The writer of Matthew failed to alter the TJ's "saw" to "heard" to go along with his earlier major change of substituting Judas for Juda. This is another example of "Matthean fatigue" on the part of the writer of Matthew. With hindsight we can recognize that Juda's viewing of the injustice of this hearing, and his sight of Jmmanuel being pummeled and bloodied up, was a much stronger cause for the betrayer to repent than only hearing about it from others would be.
Regarding (e), the TJ just mentions that Juda threw his moneybag in front of the chief priests. He didn't first give the silver coins to them, and then throw the coins into the shrine. The writer of Matthew apparently wished to mention the temple so as to better bring about an analogy with Zec 11:13. This problem constitutes further Matthean fatigue. The writer inserted the line about Judas throwing down the silver; then he resumed following the TJ's course of events, where the priests took the money. He failed to revise his text so as to have the priests pick up the money from the floor or retrieve it from the treasury.
Regarding the potter's field, (f), we see that the TJ does mention that Juda was buried there after committing suicide. It was presumably an oversight of editing that caused the place of Judas's burial to be left out by the compiler, until his mention of the potter's field two verses later.
Regarding (g), in the renaming of the field to the Field of Blood, the TJ's "from now on" was altered into "to this day" by the compiler, apparently because he thought he was making an improvement by adding in new information. It seems he temporarily forgot that his gospel after editing was supposed to look like it had all been written only shortly after Jesus' ministry. In the TJ, "from now on" is an appropriate expression because it is included within the quotation indicating what the people at that time had actually said.
Regarding (h), the TJ contains no cognate to the compiler's references to Jeremiah and Zechariah here, nor any scriptural verses pertaining to the subject, and is thus not subject to Beare's scathing criticism of that topic. We notice that the writer of Matthew did not mention the moneybag specified in the TJ; instead his emphasis upon the pieces of silver the bag contained seems to have been intended to more nearly liken the event to that of Zec 11:13 in which 30 shekels of silver were tossed into the temple and no moneybag is mentioned. This emphasis upon the pieces of silver caused the writer to mention them twice, bringing about problem (e).
Regarding point (i), in the TJ source from which the writer of Matthew drew in causing Pilate to simply ask Jesus if he was the king of the Jews, he instead asks him first if he is Jmmanuel. Then to his question he adds, "whom they call the 'king of wisdom'." Thus Pilate was first making sure he had the right man in front of him, and then only asking what he was called, not what he claimed to be. As he did many times before, the writer of Matthew had to alter the response, which in this case was "king of wisdom," since the Jesus of the early church was more of a savior figure than a teacher of truths. Thus he altered him into "King of the Jews." However, regarding point (k), from TJ 22:6 and the text describing Jmmanuel's entry into Jerusalem, we learn that the people at that time and place did regard him as the king of wisdom.
As for (j), the TJ is not subject to Beare's criticism about the charges not having been presented. In TJ 28:48-49 specific charges against Jmmanuel were made, and these were amplified in TJ 28:52-62 by what he said next, causing Caiaphas to tear his robe. These charges included Jmmanuel's father being a celestial son and El being like a man in appearance, who came from "the vastness of the universe" and was master over three of seven human lineages—and thus distinct from the Creator or Creation. These statements were therefore too blasphemous for the compiler to even mention in his gospel. As a result, Matthew's gospel ended up with no specific charge against Jesus being listed and nothing really blasphemous being attributed to him.
Objection (k) does not arise against the TJ, since there he is not called "King of the Jews." Concerning the TJ's "King of Wisdom" appellation, there is substantive external evidence that he was called the "wise king," which could as well be translated as the "wisdom king." The phrase occurs in the Letter of Mara, Son of Serapion, an early, straightforward letter he wrote to his son from prison without apparent prejudice or religious bias some time after A.D. 73. Mara bar Serapion was a Greek stoic philosopher living in Syria, under Roman control. The relevant paragraph is:
What are we to say, when the wise are dragged by force by the hands of tyrants, and their wisdom is deprived of its freedom by slander, and they are plundered for their superior intelligence, without the opportunity of making a defence? They are not wholly to be pitied. For what benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death, seeing that they received as retribution for it famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, seeing that in one hour the whole of their country was covered with sand? Or the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them? For with justice did God grant a recompense to the wisdom of all three of them. For the Athenians died by famine; and the people of Samos were covered by the sea without remedy; and the Jews, brought to desolation and expelled from their kingdom, are driven away into every land. Nay, Socrates did "not" die, because of Plato; nor yet Pythagoras, because of the statue of Hera; nor yet the Wise King, because of the new laws which he enacted.
The "new laws which he enacted" would refer to Immanuel's teachings of Creation's laws, awareness of which must have come from oral tradition, before the Gospel of Matthew appeared and supplanted that tradition. Hence Mara's letter was probably written before A.D. 120. His placing of the blame for Immanuel's execution upon the Jews is entirely consistent with both the TJ account and that of Matthew, since Pontius Pilate acquiesced to the Jews on this matter after the Jews arrested Jesus. Mara's lack of mention of the name "Jesus" is also consistent with the TJ account, while absence of the name "Immanuel" is consistent with there having been controversy in the last half of the first century over Paul's insistence upon calling the man "Jesus" instead of "Immanuel."
The Matthean problems are seen to be numerous, with seven of them (a), (c), (d), (f), (i), (j) and (k), being quite obscure, while the TJ's straightforward text is immune to the problems. This indicates there is scarcely any chance that the TJ depends upon Matthew here. Rather, the Matthean passage must have been derived from the TJ. PHoax ≈ 0.05. This value would be attained if each of the 11 elements, (a)-(k), were estimated to have individual probabilities for hoax of 0.435.
DISCUSSION. A question may arise concerning the potter's field being designated a burial place for strangers. Since Juda Ihariot was not a stranger, would Caiaphas have so designated it? The TJ indicates that the plot to call Judas Iscariot the betrayer, rather than Juda Ihariot, was hatched the day before, as Jmmanuel had "remotely sensed" the sinister plotting as it was occurring (TJ 27:27-33). Hence at the time Caiaphas and the chief priests learned that Juda had committed suicide, they already knew that they would be blaming Judas, not Juda, for having betraying Jmmanuel. So little further cleverness was needed for Caiphas to decide on the spot that they would bury Juda in the potter's field but tell others that they had buried Judas there. Judas had apparently not been a Jerusalemite, particularly if "Iscariot" held a meaning of "from Kerioth," but was a stranger to Jerusalem. So the potter's field was then designated a burial field for strangers.
Mt 27:13-14 13Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?" 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge; so that the governor wondered greatly.
TJ 29:26-37 26Thereupon Pilatus asked him, "Don't you hear how harshly they accuse you? Don't you wish to justify yourself?" 27Jmmanuel answered him, saying, "Behold, I will carry my burden as it is destined. 28But it is also true that many do oppose me and will testify falsely against me, whence I will not find justice. 29Truly, I say to you, many dogs will kill a hare, regardless of how many turns it makes..." 34Pilatus said, "Judging from the way you speak, you are very wise and I see no fault in you. 35I question the teaching you just uttered, but in this, too, I see no guilt, for everyone should find salvation according to their faith. 36But since you have nothing to say regarding your innocence that would counter the accusation of the chief priests and the elders, I see no hope for you, because their will is my command, to which I must be pliant." 37But Jmmanuel did not answer him, which surprised the governor very much.
TJ 29:26-37 26Da sprach Pilatus zu ihm: «Hörest du nicht, wie hart sie dich verklagen, willst du dazu nicht rechtfertigen dich?» 27Jmmanuel aber antwortete und sprach zu ihm: «Siehe, so mir bestimmet ist, werde ich meine Last tragen. 28Also ist es aber auch so, dass viele gegen mich stehen und falsch wider mich zeugen, woraus ich keine Gerechtigkeit finden werde. 29Wahrlich, ich sage dir: Viele Hunde sind des Hasen Tod, so er auch viele Haken schlagen mag.... 34Pilatus aber sprach: «So du sprichst, bist du sehr weise und ich seh darin kein Fehl an dir. 35Fraglich scheint mir zu sein die Lehre, die du eben vorgebracht, doch mag ich auch darin keine Schuld erkennen, denn selig werde jeder mit seinem Glauben. 36So du aber keine Worte zu deiner Unschuld hast, die dich der Verklagung der Hohenpriester und der Ältesten entheben würden, sehe ich wohl nicht gut für dich, denn ihr Wille ist Befehl, dem ich beugsam sein muss.» 37Aber Jmmanuel antwortete ihm nicht auf sein Wort, so dass sich der Landpfleger sehr verwunderte.
THE PROBLEMS. Here Beare (p. 528) questioned why Jesus' silence would cause Pilate to be so amazed, or why the writer of Matthew would find it worth mentioning in his gospel.
One may also question why Mt 27:13 refers to the "many things" that were testified against Jesus, while not presenting any of them.
SOLUTION. In the TJ, seven verses occur following Pilate's question to Jmmanuel contained in Mt 27:13 or TJ 29:26, of which Pilate approved, and which do not appear in Matthew. Thus Jmmanuel did reply. It was only Pilate's concluding sentence to which Jmmanuel did not reply, as presented above. The writer of Matthew thus knew that "many things" were involved in the denunciation of Jmmanuel by the chief priests and elders (TJ 29:21-24), but he dared not present them in his gospel.
In the TJ it is evident that Pilate was giving Jmmanuel one last chance to respond on his own behalf, and had he done so, he likely would have been exonerated. Thus his silence at that point naturally did surprise Pilate. This is not clear from Matthew because it omits both Jmmanuel's lengthy response to the previous query from Pilate, and Pilate's general approval of this response. Hence Beare's criticism on this point is justified but is not applicable to the TJ.
The usual Christian interpretation on why Jesus remained silent on his own behalf seems supported by the TJ: only by remaining silent, at least at the point when he did, could he carry out his mission as he foresaw it. In the TJ, however, this mission required his undergoing only an apparent death on the cross, allowing him later to bring his teachings to others in distant lands.
If Jmmanuel had died on the cross, his actions leading to that result would have been tantamount to suicide. In TJ 26:51-63, he teaches strongly against suicide. It is therefore noteworthy that, according to the TJ, Jmmanuel prophetically knew he would survive the crucifixion, thus preventing a contradiction with his teachings against suicide.
However, regarding the crucifixion, the TJ gives rise to as much philosophical speculation as does the New Testament. Why did Jesus/Jmmanuel have to undergo the ordeal of the cross? One speculation is that without this ordeal and apparent resurrection, Jmmanuel's teachings, however distorted, would never have gained prominence. Foreknowledge that his teachings would become distorted may have been tolerated by the ETs in charge of it all if they believed that mankind can learn only through experience, which involves learning from mistakes and wrongdoings, and if they could predict that the truth would eventually become known. Another speculation is that if Jmmanuel's opponents—scribes, Pharisees, chief priests, Saul, Roman soldiers—all thought he had died at the crucifixion, he would be freer later to resume his teaching outside of Palestine under assumed names. However, the TJ's own answer to this question is that Jmmanuel needed to learn certain unspecified things from undergoing his ordeal of the cross (TJ 28:10). One conjecture is that he had to learn to trust his own judgment and prophetic ability under even the worst of circumstances, involving great pain, suffering and threat of premature death.
The TJ verse 29:36 provides insight on the rule by the Romans over Judea by the time of the crucifixion, suggesting they supported the will of the Jewish majority on internal matters that did not threaten their rule. The verse is consistent with the other verses in both the TJ and Matthew that indicate Jmmanuel's crucifixion was brought on by certain chief priests, elders and Pharisees, and was not an act initiated by the Romans.
The TJ indicates here that Pilate was, or had become, a more reasonable person, and less evil, than NT scholars tend to assume (e.g., see Beare, pp. 530-531). This could be because Pilate's paganistic belief system (at the least, he was a Caesar worshiper) was not strongly at odds with what Jmmanuel spoke to him, which included mention of the laws of nature and of El and "celestial sons" in a context of being humanlike persons (TJ 29:21) like the gods; these are concepts that a pagan would find familiar. Or Pilate's desire not to offend the Jewish elders, if possible, could have stemmed from his having learned a few years previous of the folly of upsetting them, as suggested from historical writings of Josephus and Philo. Thus it is not surprising that Pilate would, a little further on, declare his innocence and wash his hands of the affair.
The TJ's saying about the dogs versus the hare is interesting, and is hitherto unknown. Could a literary hoaxer have invented it? Could he have solved the problems that Matthew exhibits without producing text that would look like it was invented just for that purpose? PHoax ≈ 0.15. Of course, the serious investigator would need to study the entire TJ, and the TJ verses omitted here in order to not violate the publisher's rights, before trying to answer such questions.
Mt 27:15 15Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.
TJ 29:38 38At the time of the Passover feast, Governor Pilatus customarily released to the people whichever prisoner they most wanted, except for those guilty of murder or of causing death.
TJ 29:38 38Auf das Passahfest aber hatte der Landpfleger Pilatus die Gewohnheit, dem Volke einen und stets jenen Gefangenen freizugeben, welchen sie wollten, ausser, wenn einer des Mordes oder des Todes schuldig war.
THE PROBLEM. This custom is not known, outside of the Gospels (Beare, p. 529). One would expect that if the policy was so magnanimous as to allow even murderers to be let loose, such amnesty would have been better known.
SOLUTION. From the TJ verse we see that the policy did not extend to murderers, and thus perhaps for that reason was not considered consequential enough to have been recorded in any other known literature of that era. As to the probable reason why the writer of Matthew omitted the clause, see under the discussion of Mt 27:43-44.
Regarding the hoax hypothesis, how would a literary hoaxer have had motivation for making the change from Matthew that we see here in the TJ? I did not come across any discussion of the possibility of releasing a non-murderous criminal but not a murderous one, in connection with crucifixions during the Roman era, until noticing a brief discussion in the small print of Davies and Allison. They were able to locate one rather similar instance, recorded in Josephus' Antiquities 20.208-215. PHoax ≈ 0.3.
Mt 27:17-20,22 17So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you, Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?" 18For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream." 20Now the chief priests and elders persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus...22Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?"
TJ 29:40-43,47 40And when the people were gathered, Pilatus asked them, "Which one do you want me to release, Barabbas, the criminal, or Jmmanuel, who is said to be a king of wisdom and the son of an angel?" 41But he well knew that the chief priests and elders had bribed the people by giving them copper, gold and silver, so they would plead for the release of Barabbas and the death of Jmmanuel. 42For he well knew that they had turned him over out of envy and hatred, since his teachings appealed to the people. 43His wife had also implored Pilatus by saying, "Have nothing to do with this righteous man, for today I suffered greatly in my dreams because of him, and I find that his teachings are good." Therefore, he was favorably inclined towards Jmmanuel....47And Pilatus asked them, "Thus it shall be, but what shall I do with him who is said to be Jmmanuel, a king of wisdom?"
TJ 29:40-43,47 40Und da das Volk versammelt war, sprach Pilatus zu ihnen: «Welchen wollt ihr, dass ich euch freigebe, Barabbas den Verbrecher oder Jmmanuel, von dem gesagt wird, er sei ein Weisheitskönig und der Sohn eines Engels?» 41Er wusste aber wohl, dass die Hohenpriester und die Ältesten überredeten das Volk und ihnen Kupfer, Gold und Silber gaben, dass sie um Barabbas bitten sollten und Jmmanuel umbrächten. 42Denn er wusste wohl, dass sie ihn aus Neid und aus Hass überantwortet hatten, da seine Lehre Gefallen fand bei dem Volke. 43Und so auch sein Weib Pilatus beschworen hatte: «Habe du nichts zu schaffen mit diesem Gerechten, denn ich habe heute viel gelitten im Traume seinetwegen und finde, dass seine Lehre gut ist,» so war er guten Sinnes für Jmmanuel.... 47Pilatus aber fragte sie und sprach: «So soll es sein, doch was soll ich machen mit dem hier, von dem gesaget ist, er sei Jmmanuel, ein Weisheitskönig!»
THE PROBLEMS. Beare (p. 530) could think of no plausible reason why the religious leaders of Israel would be envious of Jesus, though he thought they might be afraid that he would make trouble for Israel with the Romans; but this would not constitute the envy mentioned in 27:18. Also, Matthew leaves it unclear just how the people had been persuaded to condemn Jesus, an omission that Beare found important enough to mention.
It is also to be mentioned that in Mt 27:17,22 Pilate would not have known that Jesus was already at that time supposedly called by the title of "Christ" or "Messiah." Recall that only in Mt 16 did Jesus' own disciples learn that he was supposedly "the Christ," and they were instructed not to tell anyone. Even on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem he was just called "Son of David" and "Jesus." In reality, he would not be known as Christ, or the one called "Christ," until years later when Paul made it so. Hence the title as used here is anachronistic.
Another problem: How would anyone know, except Pilate himself, that he was aware it was out of envy that the people had turned Jesus over to him for execution? How would the writer of Matthew learn of Pilate's private thoughts?
SOLUTION. The first and last of the TJ verses shown above let us know that Jmmanuel was known at the time for what he really was. The second explains how the people had been persuaded to speak out against him. The third spells out why the religious leaders were envious of Jmmanuel, with hatred also being mentioned in the TJ account. That is, his teachings appealed to the people, and the writer of Matthew evidently felt it wouldn't be acceptable to mention this, since the same teachings had not appealed to the Jewish clergy, who upheld the Torah, as did the writer for the most part.
At Mt 9:4 and TJ 9:4 we learn that Jmmanuel/Jesus could, at times at least, read other persons' thoughts. The TJ even makes mention of at least one more instance of this than does Matthew (TJ 9:39-41), not mentioned in Matthew because the TJ indicates the Pharisees were greatly upset over Jmmanuel possessing much greater wisdom and knowledge than they. Here in Mt 27:18 we see an instance in which, from the TJ viewpoint, such mind reading again occurred. Only within the TJ's context would Jmmanuel be alive later to tell all this to his writer, Judas, who took it down in writing. Within the Matthean context, its writer would have had no way of knowing if Jesus had read Pilate's mind on this or not.
If the TJ were written by a literary hoaxer, its different verses would not likely escape from these criticisms. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
It is of interest to notice that Matthew contains the clause, "while he [Pilate] was sitting on the judgment seat," which the TJ lacks. A TJ hoaxer would have no apparent reason for removing the clause, while it is conjectured here that the writer of Matthew (or possibly its later translator into Greek) added the clause in order to allow the possibility that the wife's wishes were made public at that time, rather than being conveyed privately to Pilate earlier in the day. Otherwise, there would be no way that any of the disciples would learn of this message from pilate's wife to write about it later, since Jesus, even if he had intuited the information, was in no position to tell any of the disciples about it later, having died at the crucifixion. This "witness problem" does not occur, of course, with the TJ, since Jmmanuel did not die at the crucifixion. We have already seen that the writer of Matthew was apparently aware of the witness problem under discussion of Mt 26:58.
Mt 27:24-25 24So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather tha a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." 25And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"
TJ 29:52-56 52When Pilatus realized there was great unrest and turmoil and that he could do nothing against the will of these people, who had been bribed, he took a pitcher of water and washed his hands before the people, saying, 53"You decide what should be done with him. 54He is the prisoner of the elders and chief priests, so let them judge him. I will have nothing to do with this just man. I am innocent of doing anything to him and wash my hands before you in innocence." 56But the people milled about, shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
TJ 29:52-56 52Da aber Pilatus sah, dass er wider das überredete Volk nichts ausrichtete, sondern eine grosse Unruhe entstand und ein Getümmel, nahm er einen Krug mit Wasser und wusch die Hände vor dem Volke und sprach: 53«Sehet ihr zu, was ihr mit ihm machet. 54Er ist der Gefangene der Ältesten und der Hohenpriester, so sie über ihn urteilen mögen. 55Ich habe mit diesem Gerechten nichts zu schaffen, denn ich bin unschuldig an ihm und wasche meine Hände vor euch in Unschuld.» 56Da aber tümmelte das Volk und schrie: «Er soll gekreuzigt werden, er soll gekreuzigt werden!»
THE PROBLEM. With Mt 27:25, we wonder why a group of people would wish to inflict a curse upon themselves and their own descendants. Hence Beare (p. 531) concluded that it is obvious this verse is a "hostile invention." A mob never spontaneously shouts curses against itself.
Also, we would not expect that a crowd that had been yelling "Let him be crucified" would spontaneously switch to a different, unpopular outcry.
Another point, made by Marcus Borg, involves the second word in the above Matthean verse: "all." He notes that this appears to be part of the redaction, designed to "save the early Christians from the [Roman] charge of being a seditious group within the Roman empire." That is, by heavily blaming all the Jews, perhaps the Christians could make the Romans feel that the new religion was on their side, so they would not persecute the Christians.
SOLUTION. One might wonder why the compiler, if of Jewish birth and background, as generally supposed, would have invented the phrase "His blood be on us and on our children." B. J. Hubbard's answer is that "converts are sometimes capable of virulent attacks on their former coreligionists." Hubbard, like so many other scholars, felt that the compiler of Matthew was an ex-Pharisee converted to Christianity, and the TJ supports his deductions here.
In the TJ's parallel verse one sees only realism, in that the phrase the people had been shouting remained the same.
Regarding Borg's criticism, we do note that it does appear that the compiler added "all." However, in keeping with the rest of the Matthean verse, the compiler's purpose appears to have been to chastise Judaism as a whole for its failure to transform itself into Christianity, or into a Messianic form of Judaism with Jesus as Messiah, up to the time of his writing. This must have been a very deep disappointment to him. (The TJ verse 29:56 in this instance cannot be considered a cognate except perhaps for its first three words, but it is the verse that Mt 27:25 appears as a substitute for.) Although a literary hoaxer very likely would not retain this Matthean verse as is, it's not unlikely that he would alter it into something more acceptable yet different from what the people had been shouting. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
An interesting little difference between the TJ and Matthew in Mt 27:24 is that the TJ has "I will have nothing to do with this just man, while the Matthean verse just speaks of this man. However, a paper recently written by R. Wettlaufer has addressed the fact that many of the best ancient manuscripts do speak of "this righteous man" at this point in Mt 27:24.[6.1] The TJ then suggests the following scenario. The adjective "righteous" or "just" was included by the writer of Matthew and its later translater, but some subsequent copyists felt that this couldn't be, since in the very following Matthean verse Pilate orders that Jesus be scourged—a terrible punishment. So in some manuscripts "righteous" was removed. Modern scholars then sided with the "harsher" reading that did not contain "righteous," since they could envision some copyists having reverentially added the adjective. However, in the TJ (29:57-58; see next segment) Pilate turns Immanuel over to the chief priests and elders, who were the ones to have him scourged. Thus the TJ is consistent with the present explanation. We can easily suppose that the writer of Matthew did not wish to accuse the chief priests and elders of an act as evil as scourging, and so altered the verse to have the blame be placed upon Pilate.
From the TJ's verses, as well as Matthew, one sees that Pilate was not unfavorably disposed towards Jmmanuel/Jesus, whereas modern scholasticism prefers to think that the Gospel writers whitewashed the negative role of the Romans, and especially Pilate, in the whole matter of the crucifixion. However, Paul Maier has convincingly argued that this is not the case.
Mt 27:26 26Then he [Pilate] released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
TJ 29:57-58 57Then Pilatus turned Jmmanuel over to the chief priests and elders and released Barabbas to the people. 58And the chief priests and elders had Jmmanuel whipped and handed him over to be crucified.
TJ 29:57-58 57Pilatus aber überliess Jmmanuel den Hohenpriestern und den Ältesten, und den Barabbas gab er dem Volke frei. 58Die Hohenpriester und die Ältesten aber liessen Jmmanuel geisseln und überantworteten ihn, dass er gekreuziget würde.
THE PROBLEM. Shortly before this point, Pilate had said "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it for yourselves." It is then a contradiction that he himself would proceed to have Jesus be scourged. The fact that Pilate's wife had spoken well of Jesus, and Pilate had asked, in response to shouts for crucifixion, "Why, what evil has he done?" (Mt 27:23), further supports the reality of this problem.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse indicates that Pilate had not contradicted himself, but instead turned Jmmanuel over to his accusers for them to see to it for themselves. They then had him scourged, perhaps by a Roman soldier, but not necessarily so. The TJ is not clear on that point, and Jewish law (Dt 25:3) did permit a lashing of up to 40 stripes. The above problem is not raised in any commentary on Matthew I'm aware of, and would not likely have been foreseen by a literary hoaxer. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 27:27 27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.
TJ 30:1 1The governor's soldiers agreed with the chief priests and the elders, and dragging Jmmanuel with them into the court house, they brought the entire crowd in with him.
TJ 30:1 1Und die Kriegsknechte des Landpflegers waren eins mit den Hohenpriestern und den Ältesten und schleppten Jmmanuel mit sich in das Richthaus und holten die ganze Schar zu ihm her.
THE PROBLEM. It is odd, and seems unrealistic, that a whole battalion of Roman soldiers would be ordered to observe and partake in a mocking ceremony of Jesus, when it was the chief priests, elders and people of like mind in the crowd (Mt 27:20-23) who had been shouting for his crucifixion. One would therefore think that the soldiers would be staging the mocking ceremony mainly for these people's benefit, to let them know what they, the Romans, thought of the "king of the Jews." Surely the chief priests and elders would retain an interest in what was occurring. But only the soldiers are mentioned as having been present during this mocking of Jesus. It would have required undue effort, for which motivation was lacking, for the Roman soldiers to have tried to prevent the interested Jews from following them with their captive into the praetorium.
SOLUTION. The TJ account indicates that the chief priests and elders indeed retained an interest in what was going on, and accompanied the soldiers and others from the crowd into the praetorium. It seems plausible that the writer of Matthew did not wish Jews to have been among those who witnessed Jesus being stripped, adorned and mocked, if it was not essential to the story. This is another aspect of realism within the TJ's story that does not support the hoax hypothesis. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 27:29 29and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
TJ 30:3-4 3They made a wreath of thorns, placed it on his head, put a reed into his right hand and, bending their knees before him, said, 4"We greet you, O great King of Wisdom of the Jews."
TJ 30:3-4 3Und flochten eine Dornenkrone und setzten sie auf sein Haupt und gaben ihm ein Rohr in seine rechte Hand und beugten die Knie vor ihm und sprachen: 4«Gegrüsset seist du, oh grosser Weisheitskönig der Juden.»
THE PROBLEM. As discussed under Mt 27:1-12, we have no evidence that the people called Jesus "King of the Jews." The Roman soldiers would not likely have invented a label for him that the people did not call him by.
SOLUTION. The TJ indicates he had been called the "King of Wisdom" of the Jews. (See also under Mt 2:2.) The soldiers could side with the chief priests and elders in mocking him and his title of "King of Wisdom." The writer of Matthew consistently omitted "of wisdom," again because his idea of Jesus as Messiah was as a king in its most glorious sense of wielding the power of divinity, not as a king of wisdom who wished to empower the people spiritually.
Mt 27:32 32As they were marching out, they came upon a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross.
TJ 30:19-22 19Upon his right shoulder they placed a heavy wooden cross, so that he himself would have to carry this great burden to the place of his own death. 20But the cross was heavy, and Jmmanuel groaned under the burden. His blood combined with his sweat into a vile mixture. 21Jmmanuel collapsed under the heavy burden because his strength left him. 22But when a stranger came along by the name of Simon of Cyrene, they forced him to help carry the cross.
TJ 30:19-22 19Sie aber luden ihm auf die rechte Schulter ein schweres Kreuz aus Holz, so er es selbst trage zu seiner Todesstätte als grosse Last. 20Das Kreuz aber war schwer, und Jmmanuel stöhnte unter der Last; und sein Blut vermischte sich mit Schweiss und war eine üble Masse. 21Jmmanuel aber brach zusammen unter der schweren Last, denn seine Kraft verliess ihn. 22Als aber des Weges kam ein Fremder, namens Simon von Kyrene, zwangen sie ihn, dass er ihm sein Kreuz tragen helfe.
THE PROBLEMS. Here the writer of Matthew failed to mention that Jesus had been forced to carry the cross, or crossbar, right from the start. This should have been mentioned, because otherwise the reader would wonder if the usual procedure of the prisoner being forced to carry his own patibulum was waived in this case, and if so, why. Failure to do this led to a second problem.
In the phrase "his cross," the "his" would grammatically refer to Simon of Cyrene. One must refer back a verse to find that "his" must by context refer to Jesus. Although this might merely be considered clumsy wording for whatever reason by the writer of Matthew, one must keep in mind the possibility that editorial action on his part caused the clumsy sentence structure.
SOLUTION. From the TJ verse one sees that the writer of Matthew omitted the description of Jmmanuel being forced from the start to carry the cross but groaning and collapsing under its burden. This omission is understandable, as it avoids portraying Jesus in his most helpless, weakened state.
In the TJ verse, the cross is first mentioned as being "a heavy wooden cross;" hence when it is mentioned a second time in connection with Simon of Cyrene, it is referred to as "the cross." With Matthew's omission of the first mention of the cross, its writer could not very well refer to it the first time as "the cross," and so called it "his cross," which caused the minor problem in wording.
The motivations are clear why the writer of Matthew made the alterations from the TJ text, while a literary hoaxer would not be at all likely to foresee the above Matthean problems. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
It is noteworthy that there is no mention of the cross having been carried in two parts—the upright and the crossbar. It need not have been a dismantled cross that was carried, and we do not even know its precise shape. Added later: in an explanatory note in the TJ's 5th edition (2012) the cross is described as a Y-shaped tree trunk -- all one piece.
Mt 27:33 33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull)...
TJ 30:23 23Soon they arrived at the place called Golgotha.
TJ 30:23 23Alsbald kamen sie an die Stätte, die da heisst Golgatha.
DISCUSSION. There is no problem here, but the explanation in parenthesis was long ago placed there for readers who did not understand the Aramaic language. Thus according to the tradition of Matthew having been written in Hebrew or Aramaic and preceding Mark, the writer of Mark added this parenthetical remark to his gospel when forming it in Greek out of Semitic Matthew. Later, the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek is postulated to have done the same, since he had Greek Mark on hand to remind him to add the clause, and since his expected Greek readers could also use the explanation. The fact that the clause is not in the TJ is consistent with that text having been written in Aramaic in the first place, with its original papyrus rolls, hidden away until discovered in 1963, not having received any translation until then, as its co-discoverer claims. If a literary hoaxer had created the TJ, however, he could easily have overlooked this detail and copied the Matthean clause. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
Mt 27:34 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.
TJ 30:25-26 25They gave him wine to drink, mixed with bile from animals. 26When he tasted it, he did not want to drink it, and so they beat him to make him drink it.
TJ 30:25-26 25Und sie gaben ihm Wein zu trinken, vermischt mit Galle von Tieren. 26Da er’s aber schmeckte, wollte er’s nicht trinken, und also schlugen sie ihn, dass er’s trinke.
COMMENT. It is understandable that the writer of Matthew would omit this additional humiliation and sign of helplessness on the part of Jmmanuel.
Mt 27:35 35And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.
TJ 30:27-28 27Then they forced him down on the cross while beating him, and nailed his hands and feet onto the wood. This was done for the first time and contrary to custom, because until then the crucified were tied to the cross. 28After they had nailed him upon the cross and erected it, they divided his clothing among themselves by casting lots.
TJ 30:27-28 27Dann aber zwangen sie ihn unter Hieben auf das Kreuz nieder, und nagelten ihm die Hände und die Füsse auf das Holz, so sie es erstmals taten wie es nicht der Brauch war, denn bis anhin waren die Gekreuzigten festgebunden worden. 28So sie ihn aber genagelt hatten und das Kreuz aufstellten, teilten sie seine Kleider und warfen das Los darum.
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 533) commented upon how this part of the story was more of a "series of graphic touches" than a connected story, with the primary clause telling of the soldiers throwing dice for his clothes, while the act of placing Jesus upon the cross is mentioned only in a secondary clause. The implication is that this crucial part of Christianity should have had more text devoted to it.
SOLUTION. As we see in the TJ's text, it did devote a couple more sentences to what happened, gruesome as it was. It would appear that the writer of Matthew did not wish to portray details of Jmmanuel's helplessness, and so omitted them.
The surprise in the TJ text is the statement that nails had not been used in crucifixion previously, referring presumably to the Jerusalem area. Now NT scholars usually assume that the nails must have been driven through the upper hands,[10.5] or wrists, since otherwise the weight of a body suspended by spiked hands would gradually cause the nails to rip through the hands. However, this consideration does not apply if the body was also supported by the feet and legs, which is the condition that occurred here. Also, it is not known whether or not a support was present at the crotch level, which was provided on some crucifixes. Additionally, if this was the first-time use of nails in a crucifixion in the Jerusalem area, the soldiers would not likely have known better than to allow the nails to pierce the hands and not the wrists. Available literature on the topic seems inconclusive; one only knows that a crucifixion nail was found in a first-century Jerusalem tomb embedded in a heel bone, which explains why it had not been removed, but confirms that the legs supported the body as well as the arms. The lack of evidence for nails being used there before this time is consistent with the TJ account.
Although the portion about "dividing his garments among them by casting lots" occurs in a similar form in Ps 22:18 of David, we see it was present in the TJ. The writer of Matthew did not have to insert it. This suggests that some of David's prophecies were relevant to the crucifixion scene of Jmmanuel, and supports a conjecture made in the discussion of Mt 22:43-46.
The fact that the Matthean problem is not present in the TJ account, which, furthermore, offers new information a literary hoaxer is not likely to have invented, favors the TJ's genuineness over Matthew here. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 27:37 37And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEMS. As noted in the preceding discussion of Mt 27:12, no specific charge had been leveled against Jesus. Although in Mt 27:11 Pilate asks him if he is the King of the Jews, this was only a question, to which Jesus had replied nebulously "You have said so." Thus this supposed charge was not any specific charge put to Pilate by those who had wished him to be arrested and crucified. Hence Beare's (p. 527) criticism of Mt 27:12 carries over to this verse: "Jesus the King of the Jews" was a Matthean taunt, not a charge specified within the text.
Additionally, there is the question of whether the Roman soldiers themselves would have been so motivated against Jesus as to go to the effort of obtaining some sort of placard upon which they could pen the 7-word sentence (in Greek or Latin; or both plus Hebrew according to the Gospel of John) and then tie or nail it up high onto the cross after it had been erected with Jesus on it. They had earlier emplaced the wreath of thorns on his head, which took little effort because that was before he was mounted on the cross; it seems very unlikely they would later have gone to the much greater bother of acquiring, inscribing and emplacing a placard well above Jesus' head on the cross. Just to get a sponge with vinegar up to his mouth required placing it at the end of a reed or pole (Mt 27:48). This latter was mentioned, but there is no mention of some soldier getting a ladder, placing it against the cross and then emplacing the supposed placard. "They" in Mt 27:37 does refer to the Romans who crucified Jesus.
And once again, as noted under discussion of Mt 27:1-12, there is no indication that Jesus had been known by the title "King of the Jews."
SOLUTION. The consistent solution is that this verse was a Matthean insertion. Its writer acquired the "King of the Jews" taunt from Jmmanuel's admission in the TJ of being "king of wisdom of the Jews" (TJ 20:22, 22:6, 30:8). He merely edited out the "wisdom" thought, as noted before, leaving "King of the Jews,". As will be seen in discussion of Mt 27:39,43, the compiler of Matthew very much had Psalms 22 (Ps 22:7-8) in mind at this point of his gospel, and here, in particular, with the sentence "All who see me mock at me." With "wisdom" edited out, his "King of the Jews" expression then became a satisfactory one he could employ as a taunt in support of the mockery theme portrayed in both the psalm and the TJ.
Interestingly, Mark's parallel to this verse reads, "And the inscription of the charge against him read,... ." There had been no previous mention within Mark of any inscription, yet here we read "the inscription." This suggests that the writer of Mark had foreknowledge of Matthew's verse, again implying Matthean priority over Mark; otherwise the Markan verse would have read "an inscription," or to that effect in the Greek, not using the article "the." There is no other known writing predating Matthew that mentions this inscription, and which could give cause to believe it was any part of known oral tradition that the writer of Mark had borrowed from. All this is consistent with the inscription having been only a Matthean redaction, invented to add historical importance to the crucifixion.
This problem with Matthew is too serious and yet too unknown to lend credence to the hoax hypothesis. A literary hoaxer would be all too likely to include the verse, as he would probably not have any particular reason to omit it. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 27:39-40 39And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
TJ 30:31-33 31Those all around him defamed, mocked and ridiculed him. 32They shouted, "Since you are the King of Wisdom, help yourself! 33And since you are the son of a celestial son and possess great power, get down from the cross!"
TJ 30:31-33 31Die aber rundherum waren, lästerten ihn und lachten über ihn und spotteten ihn. 32Und sie schrien und sprachen: «Der du doch ein Weisheitskönig bist, so hilf dir selber. 33Und der du ein Sohn eines Himmelssohnes bist und du grosse Kraft besitzest, so steig herab vom Kreuze.»
THE PROBLEMS. The phrase "wagging their heads" comes from Psalms 22:
Ps 22:7-8 All who see me mock at me, they make mouths at me, they wag their heads; he committed his cause to the LORD; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!
This identification with the Psalms verse is especially apparent when both verses, Mt 27:39 and 27:43, are considered together.
Additionally, it was noted in discussion of Mt 26:61 that the meaning behind the saying that Jesus would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days did not evolve until the early church evolved. Hence Mt 27:40 repeats the anachronism. It may also be noted that the saying was supposedly spoken by "those who passed by," who were distinguished from the chief priests, scribes and elders in Mt 27:41. In all probability, then, these passersby would not know anything about a "destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days" saying, as they were probably not members of the council.
Further, in Matthew Jesus never calls himself the son of God. The closest he comes is in Mt 26:63-64, when Caiaphas asks Jesus to tell him if he is the Son of God, and Jesus is said to respond with "You have said so," which is not a particularly strong affirmative, and is quite different from Jesus himself having claimed the title. However, it was one of the passersby who mentioned this Son of God title in Mt 27:40 above, and he also would not have attended Caiaphas's council meeting.
SOLUTION. It is easily seen how the TJ verses would have given the writer of Matthew the thought of utilizing the verse of the psalm in his editing, and of drawing from his earlier verse for some substance with which to replace the unacceptable TJ material. It was he who placed the Son of God title upon Jesus at this point, in accordance with the belief of the early church ever since the days of Paul. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 27:41-42 41So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42"He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him."
TJ 30:34-37 34The scribes, Pharisees, chief priests and elders of the people likewise mocked him, saying, 35"You helped others, but you cannot help yourself. 36Since you are a king of wisdom, get down from the cross and help yourself. 37If you do that, we will believe in you and your teachings."
TJ 30:34-37 34Desgleichen spotteten auch die Schriftgelehrten und Pharisäer und die Hohenpriester und Ältesten des Volkes und sprachen: 35«Andern hast du geholfen und kannst dir selber nicht helfen. 36So du ein Weisheitskonig bist, so steige nun vom Kreuze und helfe dir selbst. 37So du es tuest, wollen wir an dich und deine Lehre glauben.»
THE PROBLEMS. Again the "King of Israel" phrase, just as "King of the Jews" (see under the discussion of Mt 27:1-12), betrays the presence of a redaction.
And one may question the meaning of "He saved others" in the present context. The context of saving others refers, with few exceptions, to Jesus' saving the sick and ailing from further suffering of their afflictions, rather than saving their lives. The Greek word used in "save" here, "sozo," is the same as that which indicates salvation or saving from sin, as in Mt 1:21. This concept is not at all appropriate here, where the context indicates a meaning of saving from being crucified.
In Mt 27:41 one may again question why Pharisees are not mentioned here. They were generally of like mind with the chief priests, scribes and elders, and some of them were very likely present. The Woes against the scribes and Pharisees of Mt 23 were spoken in the presence of Pharisees as well as being spoken to "the crowds," judging from Mt 22:41-23:1. Hence many Pharisees in Jerusalem would have had cause to be especially upset with Jesus, who had called them hypocrites, blind guides and blind fools, filled with iniquity.
SOLUTION. It is interesting that the TJ does not suffer from these Matthean problems, which appear too minor and too unknown within scholarship for any literary hoaxer to have noticed and corrected. The alteration of the last TJ verse into the end of the Matthean verse indicates the redactor's Christian way of thinking that it is belief in Jesus that is of paramount importance, not belief in his teachings. For a literary hoaxer to have edited Matthew in the other direction is less probable. This and the Matthean problem not incurred by the TJ's close parallel suggest PHoax ≈ 0.3.
We note that the first TJ verse, though a close parallel to Mt 27:41, does include the Pharisees in its list. This again suggests that the writer of Matthew did not wish to include the Pharisees as being among those who would speak so dastardly as to taunt his Savior as he was apparently dying on the cross. Consistent with this, the taunt is softened slightly by alteration of the TJ's second person "you" into the third person "he." However, it is possible that the writer of Matthew did not omit the pharisees after all, because the Pharisees are included here in certain NT manuscripts (those known as D, W, 1424, and a few others). At least as likely, though, is that one or more biblical transcribers later inserted "and Pharisees" at this point, surmising that it belonged.
Mt 27:43-44 43"He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" 44And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
TJ 30:38-40 38"He trusted in his wisdom and in his being the son of the angel Gabriel. 39Thus, let his wisdom or the angel Gabriel save him now if he so desires." 40Likewise, the murderers crucified to his right and left mocked and reviled him.
TJ 30:38-40 38«Er hat auf seine Weisheit vertrauet und darauf, dass er des Engel Gabriels Sohn sei. 39So erlöse ihn nun seine Weisheit oder der Engel Gabriel, so er Lust zu ihm hat.» 40Desgleichen spotteten und schmähten ihn aber auch die Mörder, die gekreuzigt waren zu seiner Rechten und zu seiner Linken.
THE PROBLEMS. Beare (p. 534) explained that the first verse, spoken by the chief priests, scribes and elders, all but cites Ps 22:8, with other verses in that psalm being loosely drawn upon elsewhere, as we have just seen. Hence, one may logically conclude that this Matthean verse is not a genuine quotation coming from unrehearsed mouths.
As noted in the discussion of Mt 27:39-40, Jesus never called himself the son of God, saying "I am the Son of God."
An important but more obscure problem is the implausibility that a robber suspended on the cross would revile a fellow victim of crucifixion. A robber, since he does not take the life of others, at least respects life. A robber undergoing crucifixion then would be totally devastated that he was receiving that fate, rather than a more just, lesser punishment appropriate to the crime, as in "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" (Ex 21:24), and so would not likely revile another who had not even committed a crime. For two robbers facing certain death to have so reviled Jesus is more improbable still. Further, according to Carson, robbery, even violent robbery, was not a capital offense. So what were robbers doing up on crosses? The same criticism applies to Mt 27:38.
SOLUTION. Mt 27:43 most clearly of all demonstrates the compiler's use of the psalm (22:7-8), which was quoted above. It is again seen how the TJ verse prompted the compiler to substitute the verse from Psalms 22 in order to convert the heresy of Jmmanuel being the son of Gabriel into the later orthodoxy of Jesus being the Son of God.
In the TJ, we see that it was two murderers, not robbers, who were crucified alongside Jmmanuel. This is consistent with only Barabbas and Jmmanuel having been among those considered for release, since murderers were excluded from such amnesty, judging from TJ 29:38. (Barabbas had evidently not been a murderer.) This explains why only Barabbas and Jmmanuel, and not the two "robbers," too, were candidates from which one would be chosen for release. Since murderers have no regard for life, it is not implausible that they were reconciled to their own fate of death and had no regard for Jmmanuel's. They could turn their attention from their own impending doom and side with those who were reviling Jmmanuel. In that case, this constitutes another instance of Matthean "fatigue." The writer's substitution of "robbers" for "murderers," followed by his retention of the TJ's revilement of Jmmanuel by the two other crucified men, generated this problem.
The same redaction occurs in Mt 27:38, in which Matthew gives "robbers" while the TJ parallel (TJ 30:30) again gives "murderers."
As to why the writer of Matthew substituted robbers for murderers, it could be because it is less demeaning for the Son of God to be crucified in the company of robbers than of murderers. An additional possibility, however, is that he wished to show an analogy with Jer 48:27,
Was not Israel [Jacob] a derision to you? Was he found among thieves, that whenever you spoke of him you wagged your head?
The derision described in a preceding TJ verse, which had called up the "wagging heads" of Mt 27:39, may then have brought the derision and wagging head of this verse into mind, along with its allusion to Israel being found among thieves, not among murderers.
It can be noticed that Mark, whose writer has previously been deduced to be unaware of the TJ, in copying from Matthew utilizes the same term, "robbers." The writers of Luke and John, who have been deduced to have had access to the TJ before writing or finishing their gospels, corrected Matthew by generalizing "robber" into "criminals" (Lk 23:32-33) and "others" (Jn 19:18).
It is the TJ verse that shows consistency with its earlier text while the Matthean verse exhibits the "Son of God" inconsistency, and it is the TJ verse that is more historically plausible (given an awareness of the reality of the UFO phenomenon, in which human-appearing aliens could be called "angels") and does not borrow from the psalm. And the TJ verse is consistent with Roman law while Matthew is not. Therefore the hoax hypothesis continues to lose ground here. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 27:45 45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
TJ 30:41-42 41Then the sky clouded over, the sun became dark, and a great storm spread across the land, which was rare at that time of year but happened now and then. 42The terrible storm raged for three hours before the sun again broke through the clouds.
TJ 30:41-42 41Es geschah aber, dass sich der Himmel bedeckte und sich die Sonne verdunkelte und grosser Sturm das Land ergriff, was nicht oft, doch dann und wann war zu dieser Zeit. 42Also herrschte das Unwetter drei Stunden, ehe die Sonne wieder durch die Wolken kam.
THE PROBLEM. Here Beare (p. 535) commented upon the great improbability of darkness occurring over the whole land or earth for three hours. Although he acknowledged that the compiler of Matthew might have meant just "over all the land of Israel," he felt it more likely that a cosmic event was being imagined and thus invented by the compiler.
SOLUTION. The TJ does not require any supernatural event here, and does not specify the storm to have occurred over all the land. Five verses later it is confirmed that the storm was a large thunderstorm. The writer of Matthew indeed exaggerated here in portraying God's reaction to Jesus' (apparent) death.
TJ 30:41-42 makes more sense weather-wise than Matthew's fiction, and is thus more likely the genuine account. A thunderstorm during or shortly after a cold-frontal passage could well occur there in early spring, and this would not be inconsistent with the mention in TJ 27:41 that the preceding day had been cold and rainy—the type of weather preceding passage of a cold front traveling slowly over the sea. All the thunderstorms in Israel occur in the winter rainy season, starting in October and ending in April. There are no thunderstorms there in June, July, or August. Thus with Passover occurring in late March or April, a thunderstorm would have been a bit more rare than usual. Three hours' duration is not atypical for a violent thunderstorm's duration of heavy cloudiness.
The TJ's language of "the sun became dark" is characteristic of the terminology in that day, as in Joel's "The sun and the moon are darkened" due to clouds (Jl 2:2,10). A more literal translation of the TJ's German: "the sun again broke through the clouds," is "the sun again came through the clouds."
The writer of Matthew is surmised to have omitted mention of the thunderstorm because of a desire to have the event be a really unusual act of God, as in a verse of Amos with which he was probably well acquainted:
Am 8:9 "And on that day," says the Lord GOD, "I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight."
It is very likely, then, that the writer of Matthew took the three-hour period of darkness from the TJ and had it commence at noon (the sixth hour) because of this verse in Amos. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 27:46-47 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli lama sabach-thani?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" 47And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "This man is calling Elijah."
TJ 30:43 43At that time Jmmanuel cried out, "I'm thirsty! Give me something to drink."
TJ 30:43 43Zu der Zeit schrie Jmmanuel und sprach: «Ich dürste, gebet mir zu trinken.»
THE PROBLEMS. As noted by Beare and others, the "Eli" quote comes straight from Psalm 22 again:
Ps 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
since "El" means "God". It is then very doubtful of coming from the lips of Jesus. That is, if he had known and prophesied that he would die and then be resurrected, then he would know that he had not yet, anyhow, been forsaken, and would not have quoted from a psalm while undergoing the agony of the cross. The meaning intended for these words is furthermore uncertain, according to Beare (p. 535). They might represent a cry of despair, as is generally assumed; or since Jesus was supposedly quoting so much from the psalm here, Beare wondered if the writer of Matthew might have had the entire psalm in mind, in which case the words he fed in could signal a triumph of faith over hopelessness as in the last half of the psalm.
Why should Jesus have cried out that he was being forsaken by God? He had done everything God wanted, and it was all going according to the plan that Jesus knew had to be fulfilled. He knew he would be resurrected (Mt 26:32). This is a serious question, for which no theologically satisfactory answer was known, according to Broadus. However, the most obvious answer is that the writer of Matthew found Ps 22:1 to be too relevant to pass up.
Regarding the second of the two verses, Beare could see no way the Hebrew "Eli," or Aramaic "Eloi," could get mistaken for "Elijah." Yet Mt 27:47b indicates he had Elijah in mind. Thus, this appears to be an insertion by the compiler designed to gain mention of his favorite scriptural personage, second only to Moses, and promote the idea that Elijah could come again if properly called upon (see also Mt 27:49, where the idea is inserted that Elijah might come to save Jesus).
SOLUTION. In the TJ cognate to the first Matthean verse the reason for this immediate action is clear, however: Jmmanuel was desperately thirsty. There is no TJ cognate to the second of these Matthean verses. Together, these explain why the above objections do not apply to the TJ. Jmmanuel's terrible thirst may have been seen as a needless sign of weakness by the compiler of Matthew, causing him to omit it, though the writer of John did not mind including it in his gospel (Jn 19:28). It is also significant and realistic that the words "with a loud voice" do not occur in the TJ version, since they must have been written into Matthew to promote a view of strength even with apparent death impending.
A firm reason has been supplied by Cope to explain why the compiler drew so heavily from the 22nd psalm in this section of his gospel. It is because "The crucifixion of Jesus was one of the major barriers to Jewish acceptance of Jesus as Messiah." By quoting from the sacred Jewish writings and showing how they anticipated Jesus' suffering, the compiler was attempting to overcome the Jewish objection that it was shameful to die suspended on a tree or cross. Then his gospel would be a more useful instrument for attracting converts from Judaism to Christianity.
Jmmanuel knew that calling out to El or to Gabriel would be of no avail, as the gruesome plan was proceeding as expected. He trusted his own foreknowledge, even while enduring unbearable pain.
The Matthean problems indicate that its verses can hardly be true historically, while the TJ verse is historically and psychologically plausible. However, a literary hoaxer would have been strongly tempted to have Jmmanuel cry out to Gabriel for help. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
Mt 27:48-49 48And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him."
TJ 30:44-45 44And right away one of the chief priests ran, took a sponge, soaked it in vinegar and stuck it on a lance for him to drink. 45But when the others saw that, they scolded the man, saying, "Stop! Do not give him any more to drink. Let us see how long he can bear this."
TJ 30:44-45 44Und alsbald lief einer von den Hohenpriestern, nahm einen Schwamm und füllte ihn mit Essig und steckte ihn auf eine Lanze und tränkte ihn. 45Da aber die andern das sahen, beschimpften sie den Mann und sprachen: «Halt, tränke ihn nicht weiter, lasse uns eher sehen, wie lange er es macht.»
THE PROBLEMS. Immediately after Jesus' cry, this strange action occurs of one of the bystanders running to get a sponge, filling it with vinegar, and putting it on the end of a long reed (or lance), to let Jesus drink from it. It is totally unknown from Matthew why this action was so suddenly taken at this time.
Since the verse about Jesus calling for Elijah was found to be non-genuine, it follows that Mt 27:49, the follow-up to this line involving Elijah again, must also be non-genuine. This is additionally suggested by the fact that giving Jesus vinegar to sip would have no bearing on whether or not Elijah would come to save him. If Elijah wanted to come and save Jesus, he could do so whether or not Jesus took a sip of vinegar, since the vinegar was not going to save him. And this action of rushing to give Jesus a sip occurred too promptly after Jesus' outcry for any devious plotter to have reasoned that drinking the vinegar would speed up death by suffocation, and so cause Elijah to come sooner to save him. Thus this verse has no sensible connection to its preceding verse.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse indicates why the reviling onlookers did not wish to see anything done that would in any way ease Jmmanuel's torture. It was the writer of Matthew's fixation upon Elijah, as one who would come yet again, that caused him to invent the Elijah sub-plot, which does not hold up. It may be questioned why the writer did not mention that it was a chief priest who offered the vinegar. This may be because the "others" looking on presumably still consisted mainly of scribes, Pharisees, chief priests and elders, and the writer of Matthew did not wish to remind the reader more than necessary of their primary role in the crucifixion and mockery. Again, the Matthean verses can hardly be historical. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 27:50 50And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
TJ 30:47-48 47Amid the tremendous thunder, Jmmanuel again cried out, but nobody understood him, because his speech was confused. 48Then his head fell forward, he slipped into a state of apparent death, and they presumed he was dead.
TJ 30:47-48 47Allso mit dem gewaltigen Donner schrie Jmmanuel ein andermal, doch keiner verstand ihn, denn seine Rede war wirr. 48Danach aber fiel sein Haupt vornüber und er versank im Halbtode, so sie dachten er wäre tot.
THE PROBLEM. It is not to be expected that Jesus would have died (yielded up his spirit) right then and there if he had been able to cry out with a loud voice. As noted by Davies and Allison, "People do not usually die with a shout, much less those who have been beaten and tortured." Moreover, death from crucifixion usually required a day or more to occur, not just a few hours—six hours according to Mark.
And if his own prophecies were to come true, his "sign of Jonah" statement would mean that he would survive the crucifixion just as Jonah had survived three days and nights in the "big fish."
A further indication within Matthew that is consistent with Jesus knowing he would survive the crucifixion is found in his Gethsemane prayer. There he is said to have prayed "let this cup pass from me." In all the Old Testament's unfavorable usages of having to drink from the cup (e.g., Pss 11:6;75:8; Isa 51:17,22; Jer 25:15-18;49:12; Lam 4:21; Ez 23:32-34, etc.), the clause meant "to be inflicted with suffering or punishment." None of them referred to death. Thus if Jesus had thought he would die at the crucifixion, he quite likely would not have used the cup metaphor.
SOLUTION. It is self-explanatory that none of these objections apply to the TJ verse. This state of "apparent death" or "near death" was likely one of either clinical death or samadhi, the deepest level of trance, which Jmmanuel could have learned from the Hindu and Buddhist masters during the years he was in India. It may also have been accompanied by an extended out-of-body experience. If so, the Matthean phrase "yielded up his spirit" ironically comes close to the truth; he (his spirit) then left his body, though returning some time within three days.
There is no good reason to believe that the TJ account is any less credible here than the Matthean account, as it is fully consistent with Jmmanuel's background experience, his uniqueness, the relatively short time he was on the cross, and our modern knowledge on the reality of clinical death, near-death experiences and out-of-body travel. It is known that clinical death can be prolonged when the body is cold, and being hung mostly naked on a cross when it was rainy and thus cold (TJ 30:41-42) would ensure hypothermia. But he may not have been on the cross as long as six hours, since the TJ account does not keep track of the crucifixion timing, and Matthew similarly does not state at what hour the crucifixion commenced. PHoax ≈ 0.5.
Mt 27:51 51And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. As noted by Beare (p. 536), this curtain was not even visible from outside the temple, so he could deduce that this was not an actual occurrence. And even if the verse referred to the temple's outer veil rather than inner veil, it would not have been beheld from the site of the crucifixion, because, according to Matthew, there was darkness over all the land then.
SOLUTION. The criticism is well founded. The compiler of Matthew fed this in as another response of God to Jesus' apparent death. Had a literary hoaxer been involved, he may well not have perceived the problem and allowed the Matthean verse to stand as is or only somewhat altered. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
Mt 27:52-53 52the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEMS. Scholar Francis Beare did not bother to discuss these verses, other than mentioning that they are peculiar to Matthew. But these two verses have caused various theologians to wonder what happened to the raised bodies of these many saints "who had fallen asleep." Did they later sneak back into their graves? A former Anglican priest, Tom Harpur, comments that "Surely an event of such stupendous dimensions, had it actually occurred, would have not only found its way into the Gospels and letters in the New Testament, but would also have been recorded in some other Jewish or Roman historical source. Yet the record is silent."
SOLUTION AND DISCUSSION. The probable reason why these verses were added by the compiler is to give some substance to the church's teaching that Jesus was the "first fruits of those who have fallen asleep," as in 1 Cor 15:20. As input for this editing he evidently made use of verses from Ezekiel:
Ez 37:12-13 ....Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people...."
We shall see in discussing Matthew's following verse, however, that "after his resurrection" in 27:53 is inappropriately placed and appears to be a somewhat later addition.
There seems no end to the number of instances in which the compiler of Matthew plagiarized scripture. By my reckoning, the compiler inserted 28 segments of writing from Old Testament books or, in a few cases, from rabbinical texts, into what he extracted from the TJ (in addition to those he found and utilized in the TJ). These do not include some allusions in which he was inserting words or ideas based upon these writings but not definitely quoting directly from them. Fifteen of these 28 insertions are totally unattributed citations.
The TJ, by the same reckoning, contains 17 references to Old Testament material, though often in a form suggesting the latter had undergone some redactions. All of these, in one form or another, were made use of by the compiler of Matthew. All but two of these TJ references are attributed to prophetic sources, the two exceptions having Mt 10:35-36 and Mt 19:5 as their cognates.
Many scholars of Matthew, noting its numerous unattributed citations that appear to be editorial inserts, have dismissed all of its Old Testament references, as if Jesus had little knowledge of the ancient writings. The TJ instead indicates that Jmmanuel had a very extensive knowledge of these writings, at least in what he understood to be their original versions, which he passed on to Judas.
Although a literary hoaxer would not likely have made use of these two Matthean verses, there is a definite possibility he would have. This, along with their lack of historicity supports the TJ's genuineness. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 27:54 54When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, "Truly this was a son of God."
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. The phrase "what took place" refers primarily to the bodies of the many saints that came out of their graves and wandered around Jerusalem. However, in Mt 27:53 we see the phrase "after his resurrection," which refers to a time of up to three days after Jesus' entombment. Hence, this key part of what the centurion supposedly saw could not have taken place while he and the others were keeping watch over Jesus on the cross. Yet this is when it is said to have taken place—immediately after the earthquake that opened up the tombs, which supposedly occurred when Jesus yielded up his spirit.
It might seem that a way out for the theologically committed is to assume that the tombs were opened up during the earthquake, but the bodies of the saints didn't come out until about three days later. The centurion then was perhaps commenting upon just the earthquake. However, if the centurion saw the earthquake, this had to include its splitting open of tombs; everything else that he supposedly saw can only mean the risen bodies of the saints. But does any of this make sense, if a resurrected body is supposed to be able to walk through closed doors? No earthquake would be necessary.
SOLUTION. This verse was designed to emphasize the divine nature of Jesus. However, the phrase "after his resurrection" in 27:53 appears as an afterthought added to ensure that Jesus had been the first person resurrected. It would not be good theology to have all these saints appear in what could be construed as a resurrected form before Jesus himself was resurrected as the "first fruits." The addition of "after the resurrection" to the previous verse then caused the anachronism in this verse. Again the evidence of Matthean redaction here supports the TJ. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
Mt 27:55-56 55There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; 56among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
TJ 30:54-55 54Among them were also many women and others who watched from a distance, because they were followers of Jmmanuel; they had served him and followed him from Galilee. 55Among them were Jmmanuel's mother, Maria, and Maria (Mary) Magdalena, and others.
TJ 30:54-55 54Unter ihnen waren aber auch viele Frauen und sonstige, die von Ferne zusahen, da sie waren Anhänger des Jmmanuel und hatten ihm gedient und waren ihm nachgefolgt aus Galiläa. 55Unter ihnen waren auch Maria, die Mutter Jmmanuels, und Maria Magdalena und andere.
THE PROBLEM. In Mt 27:56, just who is Mary the mother of James and Joseph? If she had been the mother of Jesus, would she not have been identified as such, and listed first? The suggestion that she was Jesus' mother does arise, because two of her sons were named James and Joseph (see Mt 13:53, where they are the first two listed, and in the same order), and of all women she had greatest incentive to be there. If she were not Jesus' mother, on the other hand, one wonders why still another Mary would be introduced and identified only in terms of two unknown sons.
SOLUTION. We see from the TJ that this Mary was indeed the mother of Jmmanuel. The writer of Matthew avoided identifying her explicitly for the reason stated in the discussion of Mt 28:1.
In TJ 30:54, the words "and others" may have prompted the writer of Matthew to wonder if he could add a name or two to bolster his version of the story. Since he had invented the scene about the mother of the two sons of Zebedee, who had followed Jesus down from Galilee according to his story (Mt 20:20-28), he added her name in here. The TJ is consistent in not mentioning that name here.
We defer assignment of PHoax here until Mt 28:1.
Mt 27:57 57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus.
TJ 30:57 57Also among them [the many women and others who watched the crucifixion from a distance], however, was Joseph of Arimathea, a follower of Jmmanuel.
TJ 30:57 57Unter ihnen aber war auch Joseph von Arimathia, welcher war ein Anhänger von Jmmanuel.
THE PROBLEM. The people looking in on the crucifixion from afar (Mt 27:55) were followers of Jesus. Surely Joseph of Arimathea, if he was also a disciple of Jesus, would have been there then, too. He would not just come strolling onto the scene several hours late; instead, the fact he was carrying a linen shroud with him suggests he had known about the impending crucifixion earlier.
SOLUTION. As the TJ states, Joseph of Arimathea had indeed been among the followers of Jmmanuel who watched the crucifixion from a distance. Matthew's "when it was evening" can thus be seen to be a redaction, invented likely so that readers would not suspect that his body had been removed so soon that he might not have been dead after all. The TJ (30:58) indicates that only "a little while" elapsed between the time Jmmanuel appeared as if dead and the time that Joseph noticed he was not dead.
The motivation for the writer to have made the redaction is apparent, while if a literary hoaxer had been involved, it is not at all clear that he would know that an alteration of Matthew at this point would be helpful. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
It is interesting that the TJ (including its German text) correctly identifies this Joseph as being a follower of Jmmanuel, not a disciple. The latter word is reserved, in the TJ, for any one of the twelve. Interesting also is that Matthew's "rich" is not in the TJ text. It may have been inserted out of a surmise that Joseph was rich, due to owning his own tomb and having come provided with a shroud, but was just as likely inserted to show an analogy with Is 53:9,
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death...
Of further interest, neither the Gospel of Luke nor John mentions an evening hour for Joseph's arrival on the scene, and both those gospel writers had had access to the TJ. Mark, on the other hand, follows Matthew in mentioning the evening hour, consistent with all other indications that its writer did not have any access to the TJ.
Mt 27:59-61 59And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and departed. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre.
TJ 30:61-64 61And many people went with him and they removed Jmmanuel from the cross. Joseph wrapped the body in pure linen, which he had previously coated so as to form an image of Jmmanuel. 62Joseph of Arimathea then carried the body of Jmmanuel all the way as far as Jerusalem and placed it outside the city into his own tomb, which he had arranged to be cut into a rock for his future burial. 63And he rolled a large stone in front of the door of the tomb and went to obtain medicine so he could take care of Jmmanuel. 64The entrance of the tomb was guarded so no one could enter and steal the body.
TJ 30:61-64 61Und es ging mit ihm viel Volk und sie nahmen Jmmanuel vom Kreuz, und Joseph wickelte den Leib in reine Leinwand, die er zuvor bestrichen hatte, so es ein Abbild von Jmmanuel gebe. 62Joseph von Arimathia aber trug den Leib Jmmanuels den weiten Weg bis nach Jerusalem, und legte ihn ausserhalb der Stadt in sein eigenes Grab, welches er in einen Felsen hatte hauen lassen für sich, so er einmal tot sei. 63Und er wälzte einen grossen Stein vor die Tür des Grabes und ging davon, dass er Heilmittel besorge, um Jmmanuel zu pflegen. 64Der Eingang des Grabes aber war bewacht von Kriegsknechten und der Mutter Jmmanuels, so niemand zu ihm hineingehe oder den Leichnam stehle.
THE PROBLEMS. First, one just didn't "take" a body from the scene of a crucifixion, but rather first had to remove it from the cross. This was not a simple task, when large nails held it to the cross. Second, the body first had to be carried to the tomb before being laid in it. This tomb would likely have been some distance from Golgotha, but there is no mention of it being carried some distance. Third, why is the Greek word for "body" (σωμα) used here and in the preceding verse, and not the word for "corpse" (πτωμα)? Jesus is supposed to have died. The Greek word for corpse was used when referring to the dead body of John the Baptist (Mt 14:12, Greek version). In examining other biblical uses of "body" and "corpse," one finds that "body" referred to a live body unless expressed as "dead body" or "corpse." Although in Mt 27:53 the bodies of the raised saints were referred to as σωματα, these were supposedly resurrected bodies, but Jesus hadn't yet been resurrected. Last, why are the two Mary's mentioned as being there, without any reason being given?
SOLUTION. From the TJ account one sees that Joseph received help from some people in taking Jmmanuel off the cross. Why did the writer of Matthew omit this from the TJ? Perhaps it was because the Matthean timing placed the event after sundown on Friday, which is early on the Sabbath, when Jews would not be traveling about. However, the TJ's timing of events is earlier, the crucifixion being on Thursday, as discussed herein under Mt 27:62.
In the TJ account Joseph does carry Jmmanuel's limp body, or perhaps has help from the people with him in carrying it, "all the way as far as Jerusalem" and outside the city. This suggests a distance from Golgotha on the north side of the city to a tomb site on the south side, which is indeed a substantial walk, of about 1.5 miles. It accords with the general placement of the tomb site indicated by Michael Hesemann and Eduard Meier, the TJ's co-discoverer in 1963.
Since Jmmanuel was not dead, the Aramaic word used in the TJ papyrus rolls must have been the word for "body," not "corpse." Like Greek, the Aramaic/Hebraic language also had different words for "body" (besar) and "corpse" (nebelah). The writer of Matthew evidently again suffered an incidence of "editorial fatigue." Ten verses back he had altered the TJ so as to have Jesus die, but here he forgot to alter the TJ's Aramaic word for "body" into that for "corpse" for consistency. The later translator of Matthew into Greek, and still later Christian scribes kept it as they found it: "body" (σωμα), perhaps because "corpse" or "cadaver" implies a carcass no longer useful or viable for a resurrected entity to occupy.
It is interesting that the TJ does not contain the description of Joseph being rich. Presumably the writer of Matthew assumed this from the fact that Joseph had his own tomb already cut out, had purchased a linen cloth and had it painted in some special way, and was able to influence Pilate. It is a reasonable assumption.
As to the image on the shroud, the writer of Matthew would not likely have known anything about that, or may have thought the image might indicate Jmmanuel was still alive at the time, and so omitted mentioning it for such a reason. The shroud itself is not believed by Eduard Meier to be the shroud of Turin, because the image on that shroud does not look similar enough to a sketch of Jmmanuel that Meier received from one of his ET contactors.
Interestingly, the TJ account does not have Mary Magdalene being there at this time. It is understandable that the writer of Matthew would have added her, because he did not wish to refer directly to Jesus' mother at this point in his text (see under Mt 28:1), and could not refer to her as "the other Mary" without a second Mary being present. On the other hand, the TJ does place a few soldiers there, who apparently came along to the tomb with Joseph of Arimathea, Mary and others, to secure the body from possible theft. A reason for Mary being there is thus given. In the TJ account, there is no mention that the posting of the guards, and sealing of the stone in front of the tomb, occurred on the next day. Instead, the implication is that this occurred on the same afternoon or evening (see under Mt 27:62-66 below), soon after Jmmanuel was entombed.
It is not very plausible that a literary hoaxer would have invented the text about the shroud, if the TJ's editor would insist in its preliminary pages that the TJ's shroud is not the Shroud of Turin. And it is not very likely that a hoaxer would have been aware of the above problems with Matthew. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
Mt 27:62-66 62The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, "Sir, we remember how that imposter said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64Therefore order the sepulchre to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last fraud will be worse than the first." 65Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." 66So they went and made the sepulchre secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
TJ 30:66-72 66The tomb was being guarded on the other side by the soldiers because the chief priests and Pharisees had gone to Pilatus and said, 67"Sir, we have considered that when this crazy man was still alive, he said to the people, 'I shall return after three days and three nights and rise, because I will only be in a state of apparent death.' 68But since it was established through a soldier that he was really dead, his tomb should be guarded so that no one can come, steal the body and say, 'Behold, he has risen from the dead after all!' 69Command therefore that the tomb be guarded up to the third day so that the last deception may not be worse than the first." 70And Pilatus said to them, "Take my soldiers as guardians. Go and guard the tomb as best you can." 71And they departed, guarded the tomb, and secured the stone in front of the door with a seal. 72However, they did not realize the secret of the grave, namely, that it had two exits or entrances. Jmmanuel's helpers, therefore, could go to him to apply healing salves and herbs without being detected. On the third day he was once again strong enough to walk.
TJ 30:66-72 66Das Grab aber war bewacht auf der andern Seite durch die , Kriegsknechteweil die Hohenpriester und die Pharisäer waren gegangen zu Pilatus und sprachen: 67«Herr, wir haben bedacht, dass dieser Irre sprach zu dem Volke, da er noch lebte: ‹Ich werde nach drei Tagen und drei Nächten wiederkommen und auferstehen also, denn ich werde nur im Halbtode sein›. 68So aber festgestellt wurde durch einen Kriegsknecht, dass er tot ist in Wirklichkeit, so möge man sein Grab bewachen, so nicht welche kommen und den Leichnam stehlen und sagen: ‹Sehet, er ist nun doch auferstanden›. 69Darum befiehl, dass man das Grab verwahre bis an den dritten Tag, so der letzte Betrug nicht schlimmer werde als der erste.» 70Pilatus aber sprach zu ihnen: «So nehmet meine Kriegsknechte als Hüter; gehet hin und verwahret es, so gut ihr’s könnt.» 71Und sie gingen hin und verwahrten das Grab und versiegelten den Stein vor der Türe. 72Nicht kannten sie aber das Geheimnis des Grabes, dass es zwei Ausgänge und Eingänge hatte, so Jmmanuels Helfer unbewachet zu ihm gingen und ihm heilende Salben und Kräuter auflegten und er am dritten Tage wieder kräftig war zu gehen.
THE PROBLEMS. As Beare (p. 539) noted, and many others before him, the day after the day of Preparation was simply the Sabbath, since the day of Preparation refers to the day before the Sabbath. They have pointed out that it is very unlikely a deputation of chief priests and Pharisees would have gone to Pilate on a Sabbath, since they were not supposed to conduct business then.
Also questioned by Beare (p. 539) was how it could be supposed that the chief priests and Pharisees would have known, and vividly remembered, that Jesus had predicted he would rise from the tomb on the third day. His prophecies of that had been made only privately to his disciples, and they had not seemed to understand it or believe it (e.g., Mt 16:21-22; 17:12-13). Although at Mt 12:40 he had supposedly told the scribes and Pharisees that he would be in the heart of the earth for three days and nights, there was no mention that he would "rise" after that time. And when Jesus was before Caiaphas with the chief priests and Sanhedrin members, two members supposedly said that he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days; however, this referred to a wild claim that could not have been taken seriously or interpreted at the time as meaning that Jesus would rise in three days.
SOLUTION. If a disciple had informed the chief priests of Jmmanuel's "rise in three days" prediction, it could only have been Judas Iscariot, by Matthew's account, at the time he supposedly went to them to offer to betray Jmmanuel, or at the time he was supposedly gathering together an arresting party. However, we have seen how overwhelming the evidence is that the TJ's account is correct—the betrayer had not been a disciple, but had been a young Pharisee.
The TJ has no cognate to Matthew's awkward "Next day... after the day of Preparation." It appears that by the reckoning of the writer of Matthew, the posting of the guards occurred on the Sabbath, and so to forestall the above objection, he avoided use of the word "Sabbath."
By the TJ's timing of the crucifixion events, however, the posting of the guards did not occur on the Sabbath. Below is a summary of my interpretation of the TJ's timing in terms of today's weekday calendar:
By the above reckoning, unlike in Matthew, the arrest and trials did not occur on Passover, when no such business would ordinarily have been conducted by Jews. Also, this reconstruction has the first day of Passover falling on Friday rather than on Thursday. The timing of the last supper in the Gospel of John agrees with that of the TJ in being a day before Passover (Jn 19:14). This is best explained by the writer of John having had access to the TJ, as has been noted previously.
The TJ's mention of "two entrances or exits" to the tomb refers but to two entrances, which were of course also exits. (In the German text, it is worded "two exits and entrances," which is the manner in which access was sometimes expressed in Hebrew/Aramaic; see Ez 43:11). The secret entrance/exit known only to Joseph of Arimathea was a smaller one located around a curve in the hillside and connected only by a small tunnel to the main tomb. The TJ does not supply any explanation of why Joseph had constructed this second entrance. Such tunneling is not unknown, however, and an example can be found in a 1st-century tomb explored by archaeologists, in which a tunnel connected one tomb to the interior of a separate, neighboring tomb that had its own entrance.
It may be noted that in TJ 30:67 the timing is expressed as "after three days," with which Mt 27:63 agrees. However, in five other spots Matthew expresses it as "on the third day" (Mt 16:21, 17:23 & 20:19) or as "in three days" (Mt 26:61 & 27:40). This has caused some exegetes to consider Mt 27:63 a spot where the writer of Matthew took exception and followed Mark, since Mark uses the expression "after three days" in three spots (Mk 8:31, 9:31 & 10:34). However, with but one exception, the TJ only uses expressions like "after three days" or "for three days," and doesn't use "in three days" or "on the third day" in describing the end of the entombment period. It has no parallel verses or words to the five Matthean usages of it. The exception, however, is its use of "up to the third day" in TJ 30:69 above, which usage is replicated by Matthew's "until the third day" in Mt 27:64. Hence, the solution to these variations between Matthew and Mark that can be deduced from the TJ is that the writer of Matthew preferred the "in three days" or "on the third day" expression for the entombment time period, and so utilized them in his redactions of the TJ, while once retaining the TJ's "after three days." The reason for this preference could be his awareness of a couple verses from Hosea he may have thought were relevent:
Hos 6:1-2 1"Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken and he will bind us up. 2After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him."The writer of Mark preferred the "after three days" expression, while retaining two of Matthew's "in three days" expressions (in Mk 14:58 & 15:29). Thus each of these two gospel writers had their own preferences for this phrasing, but was not rigidly following either type of expression to the exclusion of the other. The TJ's writer preferred the more correct "after three days" type of expression. The exception of TJ 30:69 indicates either that the chief priests and Pharisees had used the term in its less correct meaning, or that it was the TJ's writer, or Jmmanuel while dictating to him, who did so in one instance.
In the TJ, Jmmanuel did speak to the chief priests, scribes and elders when telling the parable of the vineyard. On that occasion he clearly explained that he was like the son of the administrator of the vineyard, who was killed by the vine dressers, so they thought, placed in a tomb, remained there in a state of near death for three days and nights, and then fled and returned to the lord of the vineyard. Hence the chief priests, if not some Pharisees also, heard this from Jmmanuel and would likely have remembered it, since it had caused them to conspire on how to seize him. See also under Mt 21:42. It is truly amazing that Jmmanuel could trust his own prophecies so much as to even tell this key one of them to his adversaries, and even that did not cause the prophecy to fail; instead, it caused the posting of the guards, which helped to verify the significance of the empty tomb.
Since the TJ does not suffer from Matthew's problems mentioned earlier, but is nevertheless pretty much self-consistent in its own timing of events, it evinces the greater sense of genuineness here. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
In summary of the comparison between Mt 27 and its TJ parallels, accumulation of the individual, estimated probabilities for hoax produces the very small hoax probability of 8.0 x 10-8.
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1. Carson, D.A., "Matthew," in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), p. 566.
2. Kingsbury, Jack Dean, "Reflections on the 'reader' of Matthew's gospel," NTS 34 (1988), pp. 442-460; see p. 456.
3. Broadus, John A., Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1886), p. 561.
4. Warning! Do not subject yourself to any such ordeal under the mistaken belief that Fate would deliver you from it.
5. 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. 583.
6. Maccoby, Hyam, The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco, 1987), pp. 104-105.
6.1 Wettlaufer, Ryan D., "A Second Glance at Matthew 27:24," NTS 53 (2007), pp. 344-358.
7. Borg, Marcus, Jesus: A New Vision (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987), p. 188, footnote 30.
8. Hubbard, Benjamin J., in review of The Vision of Matthew by John P. Meier, JBL 100 (1981), pp. 121-122; see p. 122.
9. Patterson, Stephen J., "The dark side of Pilate," Bible Review 19 (December 2003), p. 32.
10. Maier, Paul L., "Pilate in the Dock," Bible Review 20 (June 2004), p. 27.
10.5. Zugibe, Frederick T., The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry (New York: M. Evans & Co., 2005), pp. 71-89. This expert has found that the claim the nails were put through the wrist was unfounded and unnecessary; the upper palm of the hand can bear the weight without ripping.
11. Tzaferis, V., "Jewish tombs at and near Giv'at ha-Mivtar, Jerusalem," Israel Exploration Journal 20 (1970), pp. 18-32; see p. 31.
12. Carson, "Matthew," in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, p. 569.
13. Personal communication from Colin Price, Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University.
14. Broadus, Commentary on Matthew, p. 574.
15. Cope, Lamar, Matthew: A Scribe Trained for the Kingdom of Heaven (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1976), p. 108.
16. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 3, p. 627. Of course, Davies and Allison did believe he died at the crucifixion.
17. Harpur, Tom, For Christ's Sake (Boston: Beacon Press, 1987), p. 102.
18. This links to my file: tombsite.htm.
19. Meier, Eduard, ed., The Talmud of Jmmanuel (Mill Spring, NC: Wild Flower Press, 1996, pp. viii-ix, or 2001, pp. ix-x). A reproduction of this sketch, showing just the face, can be viewed here.
20. This also links to my file: tombsite.htm .
21. Rosenthal, E. S., "The Giv'at ha-Mivtar Inscription," Israel Exploration Journal 23 (1973), pp. 72-81; see p. 72.