Mt 5:3 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
TJ 5:3 3"Blessed are those who are rich in consciousness and recognize the truth, for life is theirs."
TJ 5:3 3«Selig sind die, die bewusstseinsmässig reich sind und die Wahrheit erkennen, denn das Leben ist ihrer.»
THE PROBLEM. The Matthean verse has always required interpretation; one such is that "poor in spirit" somehow refers to physical poverty (Beare, p. 128). But why should those who are so poor that they scarcely know where their next meal is coming from be considered blessed, or fortunate, or worthy of adoration? Elsewhere in Matthew it is acknowledged as a matter of course that it is good to share in wealth, as in the parable of the sower where the seeds sowed on good ground bring forth a rich harvest, which is of course considered a good result, not a bad result; or in other parables where it is quite alright that a man should possess the means with which to purchase a field or a pearl of great value. These passages contradict the tenor of this verse.
Another interpretation stems from a verse from Isaiah:
Is 66:2 ...But this is the man to whom I [the LORD] look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit...
The presence of the phrase "humble... in spirit" here may then give rise to another interpretation for "poor in spirit"—that it means to be humble. However, being spiritually contrite or penitent is a far cry from being spiritually poor.
A further interpretation stems from the fact that the phrase "poor in spirit" was known within certain circles of the Essenes, as it is to be found in the "War Scroll" (14:7) of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In that context "poor in spirit" contrasts with "hard-hearted," at least according to scholar Frank Cross, who noted that the latter takes on the meaning, in the Bible, of being skeptical or unreceptive to religious teachings. Hence Matthew's "poor in spirit" may have referred to those who are open to religious teachings, if the writer of Matthew was aware of this aspect of Essene thinking.
Or, one might interpret "poor in spirit" to mean its dictionary equivalent, that is, a condition of being dispirited, dejected, down in the dumps—a feeling that life is hopeless and not worth living. But why would a teacher of wisdom acclaim such a poor state of mental health to be blessed and a condition to be desired in order to gain access to heaven? The Christian then could wonder if heaven would consist of more of the same.
That Jesus was a man of wisdom is attested to in Mt 11:19b and in Mt 13:54b. Hence, teachings purportedly from him that lack meaning or are nonsensical may well be questioned as having come from a man of wisdom. The likely alternative is that they instead came from the writer of Matthew, who was no teacher of wisdom.
Beare (p. 128) admitted that it is a difficult phrase. He had to argue that these are they who suffer at the hands of the wealthy but are faithful and place their hope in the Lord. Yet, he felt that Matthew's meaning is that Jesus spoke of a spiritual condition, not of material poverty.
But why should anyone be particularly blessed who is in a poor spiritual condition? And if he were so blessed, would that not change his spiritual condition to rich, rather than poor? But then he would no longer be blessed, according to Matthew. This is a "vicious circle." In any event, it should be apparent that "rich in spirit" is the condition to be desired, and, in fact, that phrase does occur in a favorable context in chapter 19 of the Epistle of Barnabas.
SOLUTION. Earlier TJ versions use the word "spirit" instead of "consciousness," and in the German also. The editor's (Meier's) alteration here reflects his belief that "consciousness" is closer to the meaning of the original Aramaic text. Here I assume that the original Aramaic had a meaning close to that of "spirit," and was interpreted as that by the writer of Matthew. In that case, the redactor's substitution of "poor" for "rich" was suggested because "poor in spirit" implied a meaning that was acceptable to the writer of Matthew, who, however, did not give his editorial alteration enough thought. "Rich in spirit" could not be countenanced, because in its TJ context it focused attention upon the human spirit and its importance, and does not have any religious overtones, while the "spirit" that had been of most interest to early Christianity, since the preachings of Paul, was the Holy Spirit of God. Whichever of the possible interpretations of "poor in spirit" the writer of Matthew had most in mind, it would seem to serve the aims of the church: those who were not hard-hearted would make good candidates for conversion to the faith, the faithful would not leave the church, and neither the lowly and humble nor the dispirited would have the audacity to question the truth of church teachings. It seems quite possible, also, that the compiler of Matthew kept some verses from Lamentations that he liked in the back of his mind:
Lam 3:19-20 19Remember my affliction and my bitterness, the wormwood and the gall! 20My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.To have one's soul be bowed down within oneself well expresses the most common meaning of being "poor in spirit."
Within the TJ context, "rich in spirit" and "recognizing the truth" together mean being aware of the existence and power of one's spirit, and its evolution, so that life takes on its real meaning. Such thoughts could not be condoned within early Christianity, and so would have had to be altered, if only by changing one word.
This TJ verse is consistent with Mt 6:22-23, which has TJ parallels (TJ 6:30-33) whose meaning was conveyed quite faithfully. That is, from Mt 6:22 we have, "The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound [or clear], your whole body will be full of light." The straightforward interpretation of this given by Davies and Allison is: "a good eye is evidence of inner light; when there is a good eye, this is because there is light within; to have a good eye is to be full of light, for the condition of the former is the existence of the latter." To be "full of light" is just another way of saying to be "rich in spirit." The writer of Matthew overlooked the fact that his alteration of this TJ verse would be inconsistent with allowing Mt 6:22-23 to follow their TJ source essentially unaltered. Hence this verse along with 6:22 constitute an example of Matthean "fatigue."
In Lk 12:21 one finds the phrase "rich toward God," which just might constitute that writer's use of "rich in spirit" from the TJ after altering it into something acceptable for early Christianity.
All of this points to Matthew's "poor in spirit" being a redaction, if the original Aramaic word for "spirit" could also be interpreted as "consciousness." We then find the odds to be small that any literary hoaxer could have invented "rich in spirit" along with the rest of the inspiring TJ verse, but quite high that the writer of Matthew made the change from "rich" to "poor." PHoax ≈ 0.4.
TJ 5:4 4"Blessed are those who endure hardship, for they shall thus recognize truth and be comforted."
TJ 5:4 4«Selig sind die, die da Leid tragen, denn daraus erkennen sie die Wahrheit und sollen getröstet werden.»
THE PROBLEM. If a person is to be blessed for mourning over some sorrow or misery, the reason for the blessing must consist of something more than just being comforted. Is the dedicated Christian supposed to go out of his way to look for occasions to mourn, so that he may be comforted by someone and thereby be blessed? There needs to be more to this beatitude for a teacher of wisdom to have spoken it. One may then suspect that the lack of substance here resulted from the writer of Matthew having altered his source for some reason.
SOLUTION. In the TJ, the German word "Leid" is here translated as "hardship," although it may also be translated as "mourning." From the TJ verse we see that the blessing consists mainly of the experiencer or mourner having learned some important truth from whatever event caused his or her travail. For example, if one mourns over the death of a friend or family member, one may learn from it that death is an essential part of life in general, and that the wonders of life are to be appreciated while we possess it. Or one might learn that death is just a step into the beyond in a journey of innumerable steps for one's spirit. Learning such a truth at a deep level is then what brings the comfort. Those who have researched people's past lives generally recognize that it is frequently through the undergoing of tough experiences that one learns lessons that promote spiritual evolution.
The writer of Matthew evidently did not want self-recognition of truth on the part of the individual to be a feature of the religion his gospel would espouse. In editing the TJ verse, he apparently utilized the last portion of Is 61:2, "to comfort all who mourn." On the other hand, the TJ verse would again require an undue amount of creative, enlightened thought for a hoaxer to have invented. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
TJ 5:5 5"Blessed are those balanced in consciousness, for they shall possess knowledge."
TJ 5:5 5«Selig sind die bewusstseinsmässig Ausgeglichenen, denn sie werden das Wissen besitzen.»
THE PROBLEM. As suspected by Floyd Filson, for example, this verse appears to be a redaction mostly because it is essentially a copy of a verse from a psalm:
Ps 37:11 But the meek shall possess the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
And from a logical viewpoint we find the Matthean verse to be false, in that in 2,000 years of history we see no evidence that it is primarily the meek who inherit land.
SOLUTION. Some Bible versions actually use the phrase "inherit the earth" in the first line of the verse from the psalm, which causes the unattributed borrowing of the verse by the compiler of Matthew to be even more apparent. His approval of the meek may have been due in part to his great respect for Moses, who is said to have been very meek (Nm 12:3).
This TJ verse is deduced to be the parallel to the Matthean verse only by virtue of the obvious parallel verses on either side. It supports the correctness of Filson's analysis. Its advice suggests that gaining important knowledge is accompanied by awareness of a proper balance between options or extremes. This could well be a truism, unlike the Matthean verse. PHoax ≈ 0.1.
TJ 5:6 6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for truth and knowledge, for they shall be satisfied."
TJ 5:6 6 «Selig sind die, die da hungern und dürsten nach Wahrheit und Wissen, denn sie sollen satt werden.»
THE PROBLEM. On logical grounds, Matthew's verse may be criticized for not being a truism, whether it be today or two thousand years ago. Many who have hungered for righteousness have died for that reason, or lingered in concentration camps or in mental hospitals—they did not receive righteousness. If this verse and the other beatitudes are instead interpreted to mean that the satisfaction or reward will come after death, then there would have been no point in Jesus speaking them; he could merely have said: "Don't be concerned with the way things are, everything will be OK after you get to heaven."
SOLUTION. The TJ verse, on the other hand, stands a much better chance of being a truism, in that only those who ask questions find answers, and the satisfaction comes from learning the answers. As before, the alteration would come naturally to the writer of Matthew, or to any early Christian of Jewish background, since truth and knowledge were supposed to be in the custodianship of the priests and scribes. "Righteousness" would have been an obvious substitution for him to make since, as Beare (p. 131) has noted, righteousness was an ideal of the Old Testament and of late Jewish religious thought. This is not to say that the TJ downplays the virtue of righteousness—it speaks highly of it, as in TJ 5:10 below.
The Matthean verse by itself constitutes another example of "editorial fatigue." The writer altered the first half of the TJ verse, but failed to alter the second half, thus causing the problem. For example, if he had altered the second half to read, in effect, "for they shall be rewarded in heaven," then self-consistency would have been achieved. PHoax ≈ 0.3.
TJ 5:7 7"Blessed are those who live according to the laws of nature, for they live according to the plan of Creation."
TJ 5:7 7«Selig sind die, die den Naturgesetzen nachleben, denn sie leben nach dem Schöpfungsplan.»
THE PROBLEM. This Matthean verse also lacks the ring of truth, since the dispensers of mercy are often persons in authority who do not need mercy, and hence do not receive mercy. Conversely, persons in need of mercy are often those who have not been in any position to dispense it to others.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse is a cognate only by virtue of its first two or three words, and because of the one-to-one correspondence between the adjacent "Blessed are..." verses of both texts. It could well have been the original, as it appears to be a truism within the TJ framework: the laws of nature are part of Creation's laws, whose obedience then furthers the plan of Creation (the Universal Consciousness or Great Spirit). The verse would again be heretical or not understood by a compiler of Jewish background, and the substitution "mercy" would only be natural, when logic is disregarded, since, as Beare (p. 131) noted, the Jewish sentiment of mercy is also an expression of Jewish piety. The concept of mercy has many parallels in ancient writings and in the sayings of rabbis.
Regarding the TJ's mention of "nature" here and elsewhere, it may at first seem out of place since the word is not present in the Gospels. However, the concept and word for it were present in the Aramaic language (Tiv'a), just as they were within the Greek world at that time (φυσις). Even Paul mentions nature in the context of learning from it (1 Cor 11:14). A Gnostic writing called "The Treatise on the Resurrection" mentions "the Law of Nature."
Again, the TJ verse is quite creative and inspirational, and thus unlikely to have been the work of a literary hoaxer, while the Matthean verse is not the saying of a truth-speaking wisdom teacher. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
TJ 5:8 8"Blessed are those who have a clear conscience, for they need not fear."
TJ 5:8 8«Selig sind die, die reinen Gewissens sind, denn sie brauchen sich nicht zu fürchten.»
THE PROBLEM. Here, Beare (p. 132) mentioned something generally overlooked—that no one was supposed to be able to see God and live. Beare's interpretation is that to "see" God really meant to be in his presence without seeing him, which is an obvious contradiction.
SOLUTION. This kind of interpretation of the New Testament is actually surprisingly frequent: that what is meant is opposite to what is said.
DISCUSSION. With the TJ verse some interpretation is also called for inasmuch as fear sometimes serves a useful purpose. "Need not fear" is probably to be interpreted here in the sense of having no fear of having done the wrong thing, since the verse relates to conscience. Upon recognizing that the TJ verse was indeed redacted into the Matthean verse, one then sees how natural it was for "pure in heart" to be selected as the substitution for "clear conscience," since "having a pure heart" appears in Psalms 24 as a requisite for being blessed:
Ps 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,.... will receive blessing from the LORD.
Otherwise, to be "pure of heart" meant essentially the same thing as having a good conscience, as in 1 Tm 1:5. Thus the main change made by the redactor was only in the last half of the verse. With this difference, however, we again see that the TJ verse is not just an echo of the Scriptures, nor is it any known piece of New Age literature. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
TJ 5:9 9"Blessed are those who know about Creation, for they are not enslaved by erroneous teachings."
TJ 5:9 9«Selig sind die Schöpfungswissenden, denn sie frönen nicht einer irren Lehre.»
THE PROBLEM. We may compare this Matthean verse with Mt 10:34, where Jesus says he came not to bring peace, but a sword. There is a strong contradiction between the two, which only an inordinate amount of interpretation can alleviate. Of the two verses, here we object to this one because Jesus' actions so often were of a nature to provoke. However much one may wish that Jesus had been a peacemaker, his words directed against the scribes, Pharisees and chief priests, his action in "cleansing" the temple, etc., all belie this characterization. Would the Son of God himself bless peacemakers if he himself were not one?
SOLUTION. Though this and the previous two TJ verses are not cognates of Mt 5:7-9, the ones before and after are, and the intervening three Matthean beatitudes match the TJ ones in number. Hence I have paired them one-to-one here, as it appears that the writer of Matthew at this point had decided to substitute his own thought entirely for each of these TJ verses, which were too unacceptable to repeat anything past "blessed are they." These TJ verses, and TJ 5:9 in particular, are very consistent with the heart of Jmmanuel's teachings. The compiler could not here retain this verse because Creation was a different word and concept than Yahweh, and because the rest of the verse implies that the scribes and Pharisees dispense falsehoods, a charge that Jmmanuel makes elsewhere in the TJ. The compiler himself appears to have had an earlier background as a scribe and Pharisee; hence it is likely that he still adhered to most Pharisaic teachings and could not tolerate Jmmanuel's charges against these teachings.
The TJ is not subject to the criticism despite peace being a prime part of New Age rubric. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
TJ 5:10 10"Blessed are the righteous, for nature is subject to them."
TJ 5:10 10«Selig sind die Gerechten, denn ihnen ist die Natur untertan.»
THE PROBLEM. This beatitude of Matthew has been suspected of being a creation of the compiler, rather than a saying of Jesus, since each beatitude seems intended to treat a different topic, while the subsequent beatitude (Mt 5:11) breaks the logic and deals again with persecution. Since verses 11 and 12 deal with persecution in greater detail, it is this verse, Mt 5:10, that is most suspect of being a redaction, in raising the persecution theme prematurely.
The fact that its latter half, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," competes with the very same wording in Mt 5:3 further detracts from its authenticity. I.e., does the kingdom of heaven belong to the poor or to the persecuted?
SOLUTION. In this TJ verse we read nothing about persecution, which caused the scholar's criticism. It appears that the TJ's use of "righteous," and the presence of the persecution theme in its following verse, caused the compiler of Matthew to think of the persecution theme and use it and the term "righteousness" here in Mt 5:10. (Thus TJ 5:10 can be called a faint cognate of Mt 5:10. The TJ's following verse on persecution is strongly correlated with Mt 5:11, as it did not contain anything unacceptable to the compiler.) In the TJ, each beatitude does deal with a different topic.
In the TJ verse we find a statement about being able to control nature, which, if understood by the writer of Matthew, would have been deemed heretical since only God or Jesus himself was supposed to have such power. If not understood, it would still have needed some other word substitutions to make it understandable. The interpretation, in the light of the TJ as a whole, seems to be that the highly evolved spirit or soul can wield power over nature (as in "walking on water"), but hopefully only when it is sufficiently evolved and knowledgeable that the person acts sensibly as well as righteously. This interpretation is somewhat tentative, however, since in modern times the unrighteous can wield a good deal of undesirable control over nature, such as wiping out biological species.
Because of the indications that the Matthean verse is a redaction, which the TJ verse does not reproduce, and because the implication of the TJ verse is consistent with its theme of spiritual power developed later therein, the hoax hypothesis cannot receive much support here. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 5:11 11"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account."
TJ 5:11 11"Blessed are you if, on my account and because of our teachings, people defame and persecute you and speak all manner of evil against you; thus they lie about the teachings."
TJ 5:11 11«Selig seid ihr, wenn euch die Menschen um meinetwillen und um unserer Lehre willen schmähen und verfolgen und reden allerlei Übles wider euch, so sie daran lügen.»
COMMENT. Here we see Jmmanuel's emphasis upon the importance of his teachings, and the downgrading of the same by the writer of Matthew through his omission of that subject. As far as he was concerned, the teachings of importance were already contained within the Torah.
TJ 5:12 12"Be of good cheer and take comfort; this life and the next life will reward you. For so have the defamers of the truth persecuted the prophets who were before you, and so will they also persecute you."
TJ 5:12 12«Seid fröhlich und getrost; das Leben und das Wiederleben wird es euch wohl lohnen; denn also haben die Wahrheitsschmähenden verfolgt die Propheten, die vor euch gewesen sind, und also werden sie auch euch verfolgen.»
THE PROBLEM. The Matthean verse, if it does not imply that martyrdom should be eagerly sought in order to get to heaven quickly, at least implies a greater reward in heaven for those who have been persecuted than for others. It is those that have been unrighteously persecuted who will receive much reward. However, Jesus never taught what the different levels of reward or pleasure in heaven are, if any. Yet the opportunity for such a teaching within Matthew does arise at Mt 18:1 when he is asked: "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
SOLUTION. In the TJ verse the reward mentioned is a fulfilling life either for the rest of the disciple's existing life, assuming he is able to escape death by persecution, or in his next reincarnation; thus this verse may incorporate the topic of karma. The TJ verse is less subject to the criticism that it promotes martyrdom and suicide, since it mentions "this life" as well as "the next life," and since later in the TJ it preaches strongly against suicide.
Although the editorial substitution of "heaven" for "next life" was an obvious choice for the redactor to make, it did generate this little known problem, which falls into the category of "Matthean fatigue." The writer continues on with the TJ's train of thought without explaining here or later anything about what the great rewards will be for those who are persecuted. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 5:14 14"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid."
TJ 5:14 14"You are the light of the world, and consider: The city that lies on top of a mountain cannot be hidden."
TJ 5:14 14«Ihr seid das Licht der Welt und bedenket: Es kann die Stadt, die auf einem Berge liegt, nicht verborgen sein.»
COMMENT. The two verses, though nearly identical, are displayed here because of the TJ's use of the word "consider," not in Matthew. Jmmanuel was not averse to asking his listeners to think on what he was saying. The context, of course, continues on through the next two verses.
Mt 5:16 16"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
TJ 5:16 16"Likewise your light shall shine before the people, so they see your good deeds and recognize the truth of your knowledge."
TJ 5:16 16«So soll euer Licht leuchten vor den Leuten, dass sie eure guten Werke sehen und die Wahrheit eures Wissens erkennen.»
THE PROBLEMS. If some men watch a couple disciples doing some good deed, or perhaps even curing an infirmed person, they would likely want to thank them for it and/or ask them how they did it. Or, in some instances, they might consider the disciples to be harboring demons. They would be unlikely, however, to treat them as sons of God who can evoke the power of the "Father in heaven," since they could not begin to match Jesus in their abilities, judging from the fact that it was Jesus who attracted the crowds, not the disciples.
And why would they let their light shine before men instead of before people of both genders? Although the Gospel of Matthew offers other examples of the prevalent male chauvinistic attitude then, it inconsistently offers examples of the opposite, also.
SOLUTION. If and when people saw or heard that the disciples themselves could accomplish some deeds bordering on the miraculous, their questions to them about it would afford the disciples the opportunity to offer Jmmanuel's teachings on it. This would then be an expression of the truth of their knowledge. The writer of Matthew was not interested in propagating or persuing knowledge, except for knowledge of the Jewish scriptures and knowledge of Jesus as a savior figure and Messiah. Hence he made the above substitution for it.
And we see that the TJ used "people" where the writer of Matthew used "men." Here, "people" came from the German word "Leute" and appears to have stemmed from the non-gender Aramaic equivalent for "people" ("am") rather than being a non-genderized form of "men" fed in by the TJ's translator. These arguments in favor of the TJ can probably be turned around almost as well; hence we set PHoax ≈ 0.5.
TJ 5:17-18 17"Do not think that I have come to do away with the law or the prophets; I have come not to undo, but to fulfill and to reveal the knowledge. 18Truly I say to you, Until the skies and the Earth vanish, neither a letter nor a dot of the laws of Creation and the laws of nature will vanish, until all is fulfilled."
TJ 5:17-18 17«Ihr sollt nicht wähnen, dass ich gekommen bin, das Gesetz oder die Propheten aufzulösen; ich bin nicht gekommen aufzulösen, sondern zu erfüllen und das Wissen zu offenbaren. 18Denn wahrlich, ich sage euch: Bis dass Himmel und Erde vergehen, wird nicht vergehen der kleinste Buchstabe noch ein Tüpfelchen vom Gesetze der Schöpfung und den Gesetzen der Natur, bis dass es alles geschehe.»
THE PROBLEMS. One may wonder just what the clause "I have come..." means, and so his listeners must have been equally puzzled. Jesus didn't explain it, either before or after this point in Matthew. The Christian interpretation is that God sent part of Himself, or of the Trinity, to be born as a man. But Jesus never mentioned or discussed anything like this.
Beare (pp. 139-141) noted the common belief that the second Matthean verse could well have been framed within the Palestinian party of Jewish Christians who were determined to preserve their rite of circumcision, and not have been original with Jesus. He pointed out that early Christians knew that heaven and earth had not passed away, but few of them felt that the Jewish law was still binding for them down to the last detail.
SOLUTION. The first of the two TJ verses is seen to be essentially identical to that in Matthew, up to its last few words. However, in the context of Jmmanuel's teachings in the TJ, the meaning of "I have come..." is readily apparent. Jmmanuel taught reincarnation, in which we all "come" into our bodies upon birth, in each reincarnation. And so also did Jmmanuel. However, Jmmanuel had a purpose to his life that he was well aware of. His father, Gabriel, and associated ETs educated him on this purpose, especially during the forty days and nights he spent with them after his baptism by John. The clause "I have come (to do or not do this or that)" does imply a known purpose by the speaker. In the TJ this purpose is made clear; in Matthew it is not. In Matthew, only confusion reigns, since here the purpose is given of fulfilling the laws of the Torah, while later in Matthew some of these laws are negated, such as allowing defilement by disobeying rules in the Torah on what to eat (Dt 14, Mt 15:11).
In a sense, the contributor to the Expositor's Bible Commentary on Matthew allowed a correct meaning of the "I have come" verses: "The words 'I have come' do not necessarily prove Jesus' consciousness of his preexistence... in the light of Matthew's prologue [the 'coming' language] is probably meant to attest to Jesus' divine origins. At the very least it shows Jesus was sent on a mission." If the meaning of "divine" refers to "god" or "godly," then, in view of Jmmanuel's father being an ET, this statement comes close to the TJ's truth.
There may seem to be an apparent minor difference in wording between Matthew's "the law and the prophets" and the TJ's "the law or the prophets." However, the Greek text from which Matthew was translated by the RSV Bible editors reads as does the TJ (and also the German bible), in that "or" is used rather than "and." In TJ 5:17 "the law or the prophets" must be understood to be the unadultered laws of Creation according to Jmmanuel's knowledge of them, expressed by the prophets before they had been distorted by scribes and false prophets (e.g., see TJ 13:8,12,19; 15:74, 16:54, 18:57 and 24:33).
Upon encountering the second TJ verse, the writer of Matthew was evidently intent upon editing out "the laws of nature." A characteristic thing to substitute for it, for a scribe of strong Jewish background, would be the law of the Torah. In so doing, however, the second problem above arose. The problem does not exist with the TJ verse, since the laws of nature and of Creation are by definition all encompassing and unchanging. No one is going to come and abolish or alter them. Presumably, the time scale Jmmanuel had in mind before all would be fulfilled was cosmic in scope.
As previously noted, in the Gnostic-Christian writing from the Nag Hammadi collection, called "The Treatise on the Resurrection," one of the verses (its 11th sentence) says that Jesus spoke about the Law of Nature. This, along with 2nd-century Gnostic teachings about "two gods" and about reincarnation, could well have stemmed from the TJ. One does not know the extent to which the transcription of the TJ may have circulated around, thereby invigorating the Gnostic movement, before ending up in the hands of the writer of Matthew.
Because of the above criticisms of Matthew that don't apply to the TJ, and because of the TJ's self-consistency, the hoax hypothesis is in trouble here. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
TJ 5:19-20 19"Whosoever violates one of the smallest of the laws or commandments and teaches the people falsely, will be called the smallest; but whosoever spreads the teachings truthfully will be called great and will receive the reward of the spirit. 20I tell you, if your righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not receive the reward of the conscousness and of life."
TJ 5:19-20 19«Wer eines der kleinsten Gesetze oder Gebote auflöst und die Leute die Lehre irrig lehrt, der wird der Kleinste heissen; wer die Lehre aber wahrlich verbreitet, der wird gross heissen und den Dank des Geistes erhalten. 20Denn ich sage euch: Es sei, wenn eure Gerechtigkeit nicht besser ist als die der Schriftgelehrten und Pharisäer, so werdet ihr nicht den Dank des Bewussteins und des Lebens erhalten.»
THE PROBLEM. The scribes and Pharisees were the very groups who tried the most strenuously to uphold and obey the laws of the Torah, down to the last detail. Clearly, in view of Mt 5:18, the meaning of righteousness here in Matthew is that connected with the Pharisees' understanding of it, as in Dt 6:25,
25And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.
How then, Beare wondered (pp. 142-143), could the disciples be expected to outdo the Pharisees in righteousness?
And what's this about persons in heaven being called among the least or among the greatest? Do people in their afterlives in heaven vie for positions of privilege, prestige, and dignity, or look down their noses upon others in heaven? Or does/will God himself go around stirring up jealousy within his kingdom by proclaiming which resurrected bodies are most worthy and which least worthy?
SOLUTION. As noted in TJ 5:18, Jmmanuel had been speaking of the laws of Creation, the laws of nature. Thus, the righteousness he had in mind as the goal for the disciples was the teaching of, and obedience to, those laws, not necessarily the Torah's laws.
TJ 5:20 implies that the Torah contains some false or unnecessary rules or laws, while omitting or distorting some of Creation's laws (see also Mt 16:11-12, where the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees are not to be blindly followed). Hence Jmmanuel implies that even when following the Torah's teachings, the Pharisees may not be truly righteous. In trying to follow Creation's laws, then, and not the Pharisees' teachings, the disciples would be more righteous than the Pharisees.
As for being called the least or being called great within the TJ, this applied to one's present existence, not to an afterlife. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
TJ 5:21-22 21"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors: 'You shall not kill; but whosoever kills shall be found guilty by the courts.' 22However, I say to you, Exercise justice according to the natural laws of Creation, so that you find the judgment in logic."
TJ 5:21-22 21«Ihr habt gehört, dass zu den Alten gesagt ist: Du sollst nicht töten; wer aber tötet, der soll des Gerichts schuldig sein. 22Ich aber sage euch: Übt Gerechtigkeit nach dem Naturgesetz der Schöpfung, so ihr das Urteil in der Logik findet.»
THE PROBLEMS. Jesus himself often evinced real anger—at the scribes and Pharisees, at Peter, at the money changers in the Temple, and elsewhere; so also did John the Baptist whom Jesus extolled. Hence this would be very contradictory advice for a religious or spiritual master to give, especially within the church's view of Jesus being perfect. Instead, occasional anger, if not misdirected, is a necessary and useful emotion at times.
It is also a problem in 5:22a that "liable to judgment" means judgment by a human court. Otherwise, it wouldn't be textually and meaningfully consistent with the same phrase in the preceding verse. However, anger is not anything that can be judged by a court. Very likely, the writer of Matthew took the "do not be angry" theme from Psalm 37:
8Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
Only three verses later in this psalm one finds the thought "The meek shall possess the land," which forms the basis of Mt 5:5. Hence it rather appears that the writer of Matthew was borrowing appreciably from Psalm 37 in forming the 5th chapter of Matthew.
SOLUTION. Again, the TJ verse indicates that the writer of Matthew had to substitute something to replace Jmmanuel's unacceptable teaching about the laws of Creation rather than of the Torah. It was only natural that he would dip into the Scriptures for the material he would use. The TJ's advice on exercising justice is not restricted to any particular group or class of people. However Matthew's admonition for a man not to be angry is restricted to anger against his brother. This suggests that "brother" was thought of as "fellow Jew," as in Deuteronomy 15, so that it may have been considered OK to be angry at gentiles.
The TJ's espousal of "logic" or "reason" likely also was not anything the compiler wished to transmit, as the concept is missing from within Judaism and the Scriptures. Although the concept of logic was in use within Greek-speaking lands, the compiler of Matthew, being strongly anti-gentile in outlook, may have wished to avoid it for that additional reason. However, Jmmanuel, being a contactee taught by aliens as well as by experience, would have had good reason for appreciating the use of logic and mentioning it in his teachings. One verse of prophecy in the TJ indicates that he did have some knowledge of Greek literature or sayings:
TJ 36:25 "Thus they [humans of the future] will also lose sight of the principle of the oldest wisdom, which states that humans are the measure of all things in life, because they are, after all, a part of Creation."
TJ 36:25 «So wird ihm verlorengehen auch der Grundsatz der ältesten Weisheit; dass für das Leben ist der Mensch das Mass aller Dinge, denn er ist doch ein Teil der Schöpfung.»
This "man is the measure of all things" expression appears to derive from Plato (in Theaetetus) in the 4th century B.C. Since the TJ indicates that Jmmanuel had been to the land of India and back, before commencing his Palestinian ministry, he had ample opportunity to learn of Greek thought and the rules of logic during his travels along the Silk Road. The consistency of the TJ verses here, as opposed to the problems with Matthew, again count strongly against the hoax hypothesis. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 149) was very critical of this last part of verse 22, explaining that it may have derived from a rule of discipline for a religious community. He rightly felt that it is absurd to threaten men with the judgment of the council for one insult and with the hell of fire for another.
SOLUTION. The absence of a TJ cognate supports Beare's criticism.
This problem with Matthew is fairly obvious. A teacher of wisdom would not have spoken so irrationally. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEMS. The preceding verses deal with one's own thoughts and actions, which one is aware of and has the power to control. But here they deal with how to treat your brother's thoughts when they are directed against you, a situation that may not even be real, or which may be highly exaggerated in one's mind. Then verse 25 and subsequent verses switch back to dealing with one's own demeanor. This incongruity is suggestive of editorial action by a writer who was no teacher of wisdom.
Verse 24 is inconsistent in that in offering your gift before the altar you are to leave the gift there, then after departing and reconciling with your brother you are to offer the same gift again (if it is still there). It seems as if the key point being stressed there is to make sure one's gift is left at the altar for the priest to receive, and not taken back with you when you go. However, this advice was very impractical, since the gift may have consisted of an animal or of perishable provisions, and one would not know how many days or weeks might be required in order to resolve the problem your brother has against you before you return to finish offering your gift. Davies and Allison could not imagine someone actually doing this. Surely a wisdom teacher would not offer advice so impractical and unrealistic.
SOLUTION. The TJ's lack of cognates here speaks for itself. Its verses at this point in the text deal with seeking justice in a manner compatible with logic and the natural laws of Creation. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
TJ 5:25-26 25"Do not accommodate your adversaries if you are in the right, and the judge will probably have to decide in your favor. 26Truly, I say to you, you will attain justice only when you find it yourself and can make your fellow humans understand it."
TJ 5:25-26 25«Seid nicht willfährig euren Widersachern, wenn ihr im Recht seid und der Richter voraussichtlich zu euren Gunsten entscheiden muss. 26Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Ihr werdet nur dann Gerechtigkeit erlangen, wenn ihr sie selbst findet und euren Nächsten verständlich machen könnt.»
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 151) sensibly asked if the Matthean verses mean we are to placate our brother only for fear that he might otherwise invoke the law against us. He found this to be a "rather sordid motive" for seeking to settle a dispute with one's neighbor.
SOLUTION. A person with any authority within the church would not have liked to see these TJ verses as part of his religion. They advise the accused in court to vouch for the truth no matter who the accusers are, and to rely upon one's own awareness, not necessarily the voices of authority, in deciding where justice lies. Hence the verses were targets for redaction by the compiler.
The improbable degree of creativity needed by a literary hoaxer to have generated the TJ's verse out of Matthew's, plus the wisdom of the TJ's verses as opposed to Matthew's, suggest little chance of a hoax; PHoax ≈ 0.15.
TJ 5:28 28"But I say to you, Whosoever has sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse shall be delivered to the courts, for it is an act unworthy of humans, contemptible and an offense against the laws of nature."
TJ 5:28 28«Ich aber sage euch: Wer ausser seinem eigenen Gemahl beischläft, der oder die soll den Gerichten überantwortet werden, denn es ist menschlich unwürdig, verachtenswert und verstösst wider die Gesetze der Natur.»
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 152) noted that the Matthean verse seems like an impossible demand, arguing that it is well known that sexual impulses are often not subject to control.
SOLUTION. With the TJ, Beare's criticism does not apply, since there is a great difference between a fleeting sexual impulse and the actual act of adultery. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
In the TJ, the translation "sexual intercourse" comes from the German "beischlafen," which means to "sleep with" or "lie with." The latter expression is the manner in which sexual intercourse is often expressed in the Old Testament.
It is not clear here, however, if the TJ's advice would apply to cohabitation between unmarried adults, as is frequent in today's society, since the previous verse (TJ 5:27) makes it clear that the discussion pertains to adultery. However, elsewhere in the TJ, Jmmanuel speaks strongly against male homosexuality.
This latter discourse occurs in the TJ's 12th chapter, of which Matthew contains no parallels. For this reason the present Mt-TJ verse comparison is lacking in entries from it. In that chapter Jmmanuel speaks out regarding marriage and cohabitation, and against adultery and fornication. In eleven of its verses the translation, in TJ editions up through 2001, apparently specified castration and/or sterilization for fornicators, as the punishment or penalty for the offense.
An example of one such verse is:
TJ 12:11 (3rd and earlier editions) Whosoever indulges in fornication for the sake of pay or pleasure shall be castrated or sterilized, expelled and banished before the people.
TJ 12:11 (3rd and earlier editions) Welcher Mensch aber Hurerei treibet um des Lohnes oder der Freude willen, der soll entmannt oder entweibt werden und ausgestossen und verbannt vor dem Volke.
The German word behind "sterilized" is "entweibt," which can mean "de-womanized." As far as is known, there was no man-made means of causing a woman to become non-child bearing two millennia ago, though castration for men was of course known; only in the modern era has sterilization for women through surgery become realized. Hence, this collection of TJ verses will weigh heavily against the TJ's genuineness in the minds of those who choose to ignore the possibility of mistake in translation.
In an opinion of Eduard Meier reached some time after the 3rd edition of the TJ appeared in print, both "castrated" (entmannt) and "sterilized" (entweibt) in these verses represent mistranslations of the original Aramaic. He now believes that originally the Aramaic had utilized a brief phrase that meant for the guilty person simply to "be removed or cut off (from the community)". This then involved the guilty man or woman being expelled and banished from the community.
Meier's opinion receives some support from the TJ's first verse that introduces this penalty. It is:
TJ 12:4 (3rd and earlier editions) "It is written, however, 'Whosoever commits adultery and fornication shall be punished, because the fallible are unworthy of life and its laws; thus they shall be castrated or sterilized'."
TJ 12:4 «Es stehet aber geschrieben also: ‹Wer Ehebruch und Hurerei treibet, soll bestraft werden, denn die Fehlbaren sind des Lebens und dessen Gesetzen unwürdig, so sie entmannt und entweibt werden sollen.› »
The writing this must refer to is in Leviticus. We see from Lv 18:20-29, however, that the penalty for such sexual offenses was for the guilty persons to "be cut off from among their people" (emphasis added):
Lv 18:29 For whoever shall do any of these abominations, the persons that do them shall be cut off from among their people.There is no mention of castration. So my conjecture is that the translator, Isa Rashid, thinking within the context of a male fornicator while not rereading Leviticus, wrongly interpreted an Aramaic verb meaning "cut off," to mean "castrated." Then, for completeness and consistency, he had to introduce a similar phrase for women fornicators, who were to be cut off (from the community), causing him to write "sterilization" for their case. The Leviticus penalty must have been well known in Old Testament days and commonly applied, so that the TJ's writer, Judas, might not in every instance have bothered to add "from the community" after "cut off." Alternatively, the phrase "from the community" at TJ 12:4 might have been among the various pieces of the TJ's papyrus rolls that Meier reported were illegible and decayed. This latter possibility has not been invoked elsewhwere in this analysis of the TJ.
This solution to the TJ problem is consistent with the fact that in its later verse concerning persons who have been made unsuited for marriage (TJ 20:14) it does not mention eunuchs, while the Matthean parallel, Mt 19:12, does. It is also consistent with TJ 5:28 above, which does not mention anything about castration as a penalty for adultery. Accordingly, the 4th edition of the English TJ now reads,
TJ 12:11 Whosoever indulges in fornication for the sake of pay or pleasure shall be cut off from the community.
It is a priori unlikely that a literary hoaxer would add a modern concept like sterilization into his fabrication in a purposeful, non-accidental manner. Further, Meier's explanation does not seem implausible. However, since this explanation came only after the matter was brought to Meier's attention in 2002, the skeptics' view will remain that, taken by themselves, these TJ 12 verses suggest that PHoax be given a large "smoking gun" value like 0.99. This value is assigned to them here, and is accumulated here along with the other probabilities, since TJ 12 has no Matthean chapter in parallel to receive discussion.
The writer of Matthew would not likely have included these particular verses, indeed any of the TJ's 12th chapter, because the Torah, specifically the book of Leviticus as noted, already contains an extensive code of personal behavior, and because prophecies about the distant future (TJ 12:19-25) were not wanted, since they didn't make sense relative to his belief in an imminent Second Coming.
TJ 5:30 30"If a thought causes you annoyance, eradicate it and ban it from your brain. It is better to destroy a thought that incites annoyance than to bring the whole world of thought into an uproar."
TJ 5:30 30«Wenn dir ein Gedanke Ärgernis schafft, dann vernichte ihn und verbanne ihn aus deinem Hirn, denn es ist besser einen ärgerniserregenden Gedanken zu verderben und nicht die ganze Gedankenwelt in Aufruhr zu bringen.»
THE PROBLEM. The whole last half of the Matthean verse merely repeats, practically word for word, the last half of the verse before (Mt 5:29). This is often the indication that it is a redaction in which the editor could not think of anything more original to say.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse has only a portion of its second half the same as in its preceding verse. Yet it seems to be continuing the theme of how to deal with lust, as a lustful thought going against one's conscience can be called "an annoyance," and Jmmanuel's advice here is to banish such a thought, just as one tries to banish thoughts during quiet meditation. The writer of Matthew seems to have understood this meaning of the TJ verse as dealing with masturbation, but offered a less practical solution, perhaps so as to perfect the parallelism between it and the preceding verse.
This TJ verse is also displayed here because it may exhibit an indication that it derived from an Aramaic original. If a hoaxer had constructed the TJ verse, he quite possibly would have used the German word for "than" (als) instead of "and not" (und nicht). The latter, more awkward translation may have been retained accidentally by the translator, Isa Rashid, or perhaps purposely to provide some evidence that it derived from the Aramaic, because the Aramaic language possessed no comparative form of speech of this type. The Aramaism was innocently edited out of the English version, showing how easily evidence of originality can be lost through translation, in this instance from German into English. On the other hand, the German Bible also uses "und nicht" in its verses Mt 5:29-30, so that this particular suggestion of TJ originality is not compelling.
Jewish authorities and early Christian leaders would not have wished their teachings to go unheeded whenever their followers found them to be annoying. This TJ verse on one's thoughts would thus probably have been deemed unacceptable and hence not included within Matthew. The originality and wisdom of the TJ verse also point strongly to its genuineness. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
TJ 5:34-35 34"However, I say to you that you should not swear at all; do not swear by the skies, because they are infinite and immeasurable. 35Neither swear by the Earth, because it is impermanent, nor swear by Jerusalem, because it is an impermanent city built by human hands."
TJ 5:34-35 34«Ich aber sage euch, dass ihr überhaupt nicht schwören sollt; so schwört nicht beim Himmel, denn er ist unendlich und unmessbar. 35Und schwört nicht bei der Erde, denn sie ist vergänglich; auch schwört nicht bei Jerusalem, denn sie ist eine vergängliche Stadt, erbaut von Menschenhand.»
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 454) noted that this set of Matthean verses gives a flat prohibition against swearing, while a second set at Mt 23:21-22 appears to say that one's oath is binding if one swears by the temple or by heaven. Evidently one set, at least, is incorrect and is thus a likely redaction. More to the point here, no reason is given why one cannot swear even by heaven, the throne of God, etc. By this omission, and by the respect the compiler implies here for God, for his footstool, and for the city of the great King, he seems actually to be listing emblems by which he feels it should be acceptable to swear. Reference to Jerusalem as the city of the great King is usually presumed to have derived from Psalms 48:2.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse suffers from no such contradiction. It moreover supplies a reason for not swearing—there is no point in basing an oath upon something that has no absolute permanence and thus represents no everlasting truth, or upon something that is too infinite to be tangible. Whether the latter is sensible or not may be debatable, but it provides some sort of explanation.
The OT source from which the writer of Matthew drew in making most of his substitutions here seems evident: Is 66:1. It specifies heaven as the throne of God and the Earth as his footstool.
Regarding the TJ's discussion about the impermanence of the universe, we accept that as scientifically true today but only on a time scale of tens of billions of years. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
TJ 5:40 40"But I say to you, exercise justice according to the natural laws of Creation, so that you find the verdict in logic."
TJ 5:40 40«Ich aber sage euch: Übet Gerechtigkeit nach dem Naturgesetz der Schöpfung, so ihr das Urteil in der Logik findet.»
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 158) found that Matthew's thought goes beyond mere pacifism. Jesus is here instructing us to accept, or even invite, a further blow on the cheek.
We note that this also goes against everyday common-sense logic—why tempt someone into taking further evil actions? "Turning the other cheek" is asking for evil to be inflicted upon yourself.
Most importantly, the Matthean advice violates the spirit of the Golden Rule—you should not inflict evil upon someone since you would not wish such evil upon yourself. If people generally desired or invited evil to be inflicted upon themselves, the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) would break down.
The writer of Matthew may have been prompted to write the first half of the verse—to not resist evil or not resist one who is evil—from Prv 24:29, which, by itself, is not bad advice:
29Do not say, "I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done."For the last half of his verse the writer of Matthew very likely drew from Lamentations (Lam 3:30):
30let him [a man] give his cheek to the smiter and be filled with insults.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse, in contrast to Matthew, reads like enlightened common sense. However, its references to the natural law of Creation, and to logic, again were unacceptable, causing the compiler of Matthew to make a couple of substitutions. I would speculate that he found the TJ verse and its recommended use of logic in applying justice so very unacceptable that he turned to an opposite extreme of accepting injustice, a theme of which he was aware from the Scriptures. Because the TJ verse reads like it came from a teacher of wisdom, while the Matthean verse certainly does not, I estimate PHoax ≈ 0.25 for this verse comparison.
TJ 5:41 41"Offer your love where it is warranted, and punish wherever the law of nature demands punishment."
TJ 5:41 41«Entbiete deine Liebe rundum da, da sie gerechtfertigt ist, und strafe allda, da das Naturgesetz Strafe fordert.»
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 159) observed that, taken literally, the words of Mt 5:40 could mean you would end up naked. At best, the verse seems to be a gross exaggeration. This is indeed an example of why so much of the Gospels cannot be taken literally by those doing their best to make sense out of Jesus' teachings as written there.
SOLUTION. Although the TJ verse in this case is too uncorrelated to be called a cognate, Mt 5:40-41 appears to have been a substitution for it, made because "law of nature" appears in the TJ verse, while the law the compiler wished to uphold was that of the Scriptures, or Torah. Also, the writer of Matthew apparently wished acts of love to be extended on all occasions, not just when warranted. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. This continues the theme of "turning the other cheek," and is equally poor advice if one has the choice of not going the second mile against one's better judgment. The saying referred to the right of a Roman soldier to demand that a Jew carry his gear for a mile.
SOLUTION. The compiler of Matthew was continuing to set forth examples of an extreme nature that would counteract the offending verses he found in the TJ concerning the use of logic in deciding what is just and unjust. Because the odds are substantial that a literary hoaxer would have retained and rephrased this verse despite its lack of wisdom, the hoax hypothesis cannot be favored here. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
TJ 5:42 42"Give to them who ask of you, if they make their requests in honesty, and turn away from them who want to borrow from you in a dishonest way."
TJ 5:42 42«Gebe dem, der dich bittet, wenn er in Ehrlichkeit seine Bitte darbringt, und wende dich von dem, der dir in Unehrlichkeit abborgen will.»
THE PROBLEM. It is obvious that the Matthean admonition is obeyed scarcely at all in society, because it is too impractical. Banks do not lend to people who they think would not be able to repay the loan. Many people do not give to beggars who they think would waste the money on drugs or alcohol. Thus, J. A. Broadus interprets the verse as allowing the exception of not giving to those who "ask amiss," since God himself does not answer our prayers that he finds improper.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse is simply common sense, and does not suffer from the criticism. It indicates that the suggestion of Broadus was on the right track. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
TJ 5:43-45 43"You have heard it said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44However, I say to you, Practice love and understanding according to the natural laws of Creation, so that through logic you find the right action and perception. 45Offer your love where it is warranted, and despise where the law of nature demands it."
TJ 5:43-45 43«Ihr habt gehört, dass gesagt ist: Du sollst deinen Nächsten lieben und deinen Feind hassen. 44Ich aber sage euch: Übet Liebe und Verständnis nach dem Naturgesetz der Schöpfung, so ihr das richtige Handeln und Empfinden in der Logik findet. 45Entbiete deine Liebe rundum da, da sie gerechtfertigt ist, und verachte allda, da das Naturgesetz es fordert.»
THE PROBLEMS. The first part of Matthew's verse 5:43 stems from Lv 19:18. It is presumed by Beare (p. 161), and by Broadus, that the last part—hate your enemy—stems from Jewish teachings that love was restricted to one's neighbor (one's own people), since in Leviticus love was to be withheld from one's enemy. Also, hatred of enemies is advised in one of the Psalms:
Ps 139:21-22 21Do I not hate them that hate thee, O LORD? And do I not loathe them that rise up against thee? 22I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.Verse 5:43 is not a problem. However, regarding 5:44, a reason for that verse not to have been spoken by Jesus has been given by O.J.F. Seitz. The verse contains the words "enemies" and "persecute," and so does a verse from Deuteronomy:
Dt 30:7 And the LORD your God will put all these curses upon your foes and enemies who persecuted you.
The love theme is in the preceding verse of Deuteronomy, and the persecution theme was already in the Sermon on the Mount earlier; thus Seitz indicates that the ingredients were all present to have prompted the compiler into having formed Mt 5:44, putting the words into Jesus' mouth.
An additional problem with Mt 5:44 is the apparent contradiction between Jesus' call to love one's enemies and his behavior at times when confronting his enemies, the scribes and Pharisees. During his vituperation of them in Mt 23 he expressed his anger at them, and in cleansing the Temple he expressed his anger at the money changers and traders there. Can one be angry and lovable at the same time? The writer of Matthew did not seem to think so, since he specified anger as a sin that warranted going before a court (Mt 5:22). Hence it would have been hypocritical of Jesus to have spoken the way Matthew has it here.
Alternatively according to Borg, 5:44 may have been written with Roman enemies in mind. It would then have been anachronistically intended primarily to keep the followers of the new religion on better terms with the Roman occupiers.
Regarding verse 5:45, Davies & Allison believe it includes the results of editorial activity, for one reason because the stark contrast between "evil" and "good" appears to be a Matthean redaction elsewhere. They note that the writer of Matthew has no use for an intermediate category of just ordinary people neither exclusively evil nor good.
And as a matter of simple logic, would love not lose much of its meaning if one loved everyone equally, no matter how despicably they might behave?
In 5:45 we may also notice that even one's enemies must be sons of the Father, since the Father sees that they, too, enjoy having the sun rise on them, and receive rain. Thus the reward for loving one's enemies is no special reward at all, since one's enemies are also sons of the Father.
SOLUTION. Although the first verse of each segment above is the same, the next two are quite different. The TJ verses, which are only very distant parallels, do not involve a contradiction as does the Matthean verse, Mt 5:44. They allow that the proper action to take may at times involve despising the despicable, as Jmmanuel did.
We see that the TJ verses would have incited the compiler of Matthew to remove any mention of the unacceptable topics: natural law, Creation and reason or logic. Hence we feel that Seitz's solution, above, carries the greater weight, with the love theme in the TJ verses being what prompted the compiler to recall the Deuteronomy verse cited and add an inapposite justification for it. However, Borg's proposed solution might explain a part of the compiler's thinking.
In Mt 5:45 for the saying of God sending his sun and rain upon all, the compiler of Matthew could easily have drawn from Dt 4:19 and Ps 147:8 or Is 55:10.
The presence of several problems in Matthew here, combined with the uniqueness and wisdom of the TJ verses (5:44-45), give little hope for the hoax hypothesis. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. Here Jesus treats the taxpayers as if they were scum, whereas in Mt 9:10-11 he treated them favorably, eating with them and not bad-mouthing them. E. P. Sanders noticed this contradiction, and concluded that the latter verses are the more genuine and the present ones are not.
It has been pointed out that Mt 5:43-46 implies that God will reward the one who loves his enemies. But from Proverbs 25 one wonders if this reward will be the heaping of coals upon the enemy's head:
Prv 25:21-22 21If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
SOLUTION. The TJ agrees with Sanders' conclusion, and indicates that the demeaning words about both taxpayers and gentiles are to be attributed to the writer of Matthew. What this also indicates is that this writer was not the disciple Matthew, who had been a tax collector (Mt 9:9, 10:3). Scarcely anyone demeans his own occupation in this manner. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
TJ 5:46 46"You shall be wise and acquire knowledge, because you shall become perfect in consciousness as the Creation which created you."
TJ 5:46 46«Ihr sollt weise sein und das Wissen lernen, denn ihr sollt vollkommen werden im Bewusstsein wie die Schöpfung, die euch erschuf.»
THE PROBLEM. Here, Jesus is still addressing the people who had joined his disciples to hear his Sermon on the Mount. The Matthean statement is illogical for two reasons. To be perfect at every turn is an impossibility; to attempt to become perfect through learning and experience is another, more reasonable, goal. Second, within the Christian context of all people being sinners, this statement is a contradiction. To make the statement be reasonable, it is usually interpreted as meaning that total, whole-hearted measures are needed in trying to be perfect.
The German scholar Georg Strecker found this verse to be largely redactional because of its use of certain typically Matthean words and phrases, such as "therefore" and "heavenly." This kind of reasoning must be used with great caution, however, since a redactor may utilize frequently occurring words and phrases from his source within his redactions, to make them sound more credible.
SOLUTION. Within the TJ context, it is clear that becoming perfect in spirit requires much time—in future reincarnations as well as in the present life—and that progress toward that goal is tied to learning and accrual of wisdom. The alterations the compiler needed to make here involved substitutions that would come easily to mind; e.g., Dt 32:4 speaks of God's work being perfect.
The odds are inherently greater here that a redactor abbreviated and altered the TJ verse than the opposite, which would require greater ingenuity on the part of a hoaxer. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
When the individual odds for and against the hoax hypothesis from the verse comparisons of this chapter (TJ 5 versus Mt 5), plus from TJ 12, are accumulated, one finds the probability for hoax to be only 0.6x10-8—very, very small indeed. The "smoking gun" from TJ 12 is vastly outweighed by the many "smoking guns" of the opposite sense within Matthew.
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1. Cross, Frank M., "The scrolls and the New Testament," Christian Century 72 (1955), pp. 968-971.
2. Davies, W. D. and Allison, Dale C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (Edinburgh, Scotland: T. & T. Clark Ltd., 1988), vol. 1, p. 638.
3. Filson, Floyd V., "Broken patterns in the Gospel of Matthew," JBL 75 (1956), pp. 227-231; see p. 228.
4. Ibid., p. 229.
5. This reference is to a paper on the Matthean verses that imply Jesus had reincarnation in mind.
6. Carson, D. A. "Matthew," in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1984), p. 142. See also Gathercole, Simon, "On the alleged Aramaic idiom behind the synoptic 'I have come' sayings," JSNT 55, (April, 2004), pp. 84-91.
7. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 512.
8. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 518.
9. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 525-526.
10. Broadus, J. A., Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1886), pp. 120-121.
11. Broadus, Commentary on Matthew, p. 121.
12. Seitz, O.J.F., "Love your enemies," NTS 16 (1969), pp. 39-54; see p. 52.
13. Borg, Marcus, Conflict, Holiness and Politics in the Teachings of Jesus (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1984), pp. 130, 234.
14. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 554-555.
15. Sanders, E. P., Jesus and Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), p. 229.
16. Broadus, Commentary on Matthew, p.122.
17. Strecker, Georg, The Sermon on the Mount, O. C. Dean, Jr., transl. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1988), p. 92.