Mt 6:1 1"Beware practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."
TJ 6:1-2 1"Be mindful of your piety, that you practice it before the people with correct words, lest you be accused of lying and thereby find no reward from them. 2Choose your words using natural logic, and draw upon the knowledge and behavior of nature."
TJ 6:1-2 1«Habt acht auf eure Frömmigkeit, dass ihr sie mit richtigen Worten übet vor den Leuten, auf dass ihr nicht von ihnen der Lüge beschimpfet werdet, dadurch ihr keinen Lohn bei ihnen findet. 2Wählet eure Worte in natürlicher Logik und berufet euch auf das Wissen und Handeln der Natur.»
THE PROBLEM. The Matthean verse advises one to practice piety or righteousness for the purpose, essentially, of receiving a reward from one's Father who is in heaven. Without being too critical that Jesus does not teach anything about what that reward may consist of, we may nonetheless observe that this verse merely replaces a possible reward from men with a reward from God.
Further, if one helps someone by doing them a good deed out of a sense of piety, one realizes at the same time that the person being helped, and others around him, may well be appreciative of your help or kindness and that it cannot go unnoticed. Obviously, this should be no cause for deciding in advance not to act piously, as in not following the Golden Rule, for example. The expectation of receiving possible appreciation often cannot be divorced from an act of piety, since one does not usually offer assistance if one has reason to suspect that the recipient would not appreciate it. Thus this verse seems not to have been spoken by a teacher of wisdom.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse has a different thrust to its meaning, being concerned that one's words, which may accompany the practice of one's piety, are correct or knowledgeable. A persistent theme throughout the TJ is the importance of speaking truth and not imparting false teachings. Here the reward for speaking with truth and accuracy would seem to be the satisfaction of seeing positive results emerge from the teachings that accompanied one's piety. It seems very likely that this TJ verse received strong alteration by the writer of Matthew because he did not wish the reader to question the truth or accuracy of what the adherents of the church spoke when acting piously.
We see that the TJ is here amplifying upon one of its themesspeaking truth through knowledgein a manner uniquely expressed, while Matthew continues to exhibit indications and motivations for having altered the TJ verse rather than the reverse. The chance that the TJ verse came from a literary hoaxer thus seems rather small. PHoax ≈ 0.3.
Mt 6:2 2"Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward."
TJ 6:3 3"When you give alms, do not let it be trumpeted, as do the hypocrites in the synagogues and on the streets, that they may be praised by the people; truly, I say to you, they have lost their reward, because their alms serve only their selfishness."
TJ 6:3 3«Wenn du nun Almosen gibst, sollst du nicht lassen von dir posaunen, wie die Heuchler tun in den Synagogen und auf den Gassen, auf dass sie von den Leuten gepriesen werden; wahrlich, ich sage euch: Sie haben ihren Lohn dahin, denn ihr Almosen gilt nur der Selbstsucht.»
THE PROBLEM. The Matthean verse fails to let the listener know that this reward the hypocrites receive, of social prestige, is not a worthy reward. The listener is supposed to immediately grasp that the second sentence constitutes sarcastic irony. However, since it starts out with "Truly," which is inconsistent with sarcasm, this would confuse the listener to the Sermon on the Mount.
In the previous verse Jesus had said that such behavior would bring no reward from their "Father who is in heaven;" but here he says they truly will receive a reward. Aren't rewards from the Father supposed to be good and God given? Thus the sarcastic tone is unmistakable.
SOLUTION. In the TJ verse Jmmanuel's listeners immediately understood what he was talking aboutthe true reward had been lost, and only the unworthy reward of self-gratification remained. The true, worthy reward is in following your conscience and gaining the satisfaction of knowing that your gifts or alms were helpful, whether or not your helpful giving had been observed by others. Jmmanuel was not being sarcastic. See also under Mt 6:16.
It seems likely that the writer of Matthew omitted the last clause of the TJ verse so as not to imply too strongly that givers-of-alms give only out of egoism. He had to omit "lost" since in verse 6:4 he would be implying a future secret reward that is not received at the time of candid alms-giving, and so could not be lost then.
It might be argued that a hoaxer improved an ambiguous Matthean verse here, and this could conceivably counterbalance the fact that the TJ verse is the one more likely spoken by a sincere wisdom teacher. The translation of the German word "dahin" can also be a bit misleading, in "Sie haben ihren Lohn dahin" (they have their reward "lost"), in that "dahin" can mean "there" as well as "past." Interestingly, the German Bible's wording of these five words is the same as in the TJ, yet Greek bibles and their English translations give no hint of a meaning of "lost." Yet, the "lost" meaning that "dahin" gives this verse is affirmed by experts of German language. PHoax ≈ 0.5.
Mt 6:3-4 3"But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEMS. Beare (p. 166) noted that Matthew's saying cannot be taken literally—"the left hand cannot be ignorant of what the right hand is doing." His reconstruction (and that of other scholars) of the true meaning is to give donations quietly, without seeking publicity. However, with this meaning, Mt 6:3-4 simply repeats the meaning of Mt 6:1-2 before it, and hence is a likely candidate to be a redaction.
Further, even if the alms giver does not know what he is doing, or does not know the amount of his gift, the recipient and perhaps others near him would know or would find out. Hence the gift would not be a secret after all. And again, no hint is given as to what the Father's reward may be.
SOLUTION. We see that the writer of Matthew took the thought of TJ 6:3 and, after shaping it to his liking, went to an extreme in these two verses. In so doing the problems arose. He dared not try to spell out what the heavenly reward would be, since other verses to come would deal with who gets to heaven and who does not, and since it would require too much invented fabrication to specify the existence of different levels of heaven to account for different levels of alms giving.
These problems are of a more obvious nature and might be anticipated by a literary hoaxer. But again, they might not be. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. It was obvious to Beare (p. 168) that this verse cannot mean what it says. He presented examples wherein Jesus himself did not pray alone, and within a closed room. Key instances are contained in Mt 11:25 and 26:36-44.
SOLUTION. This is yet another example of the problem an editor/plagiarist runs into when inventing multitudinous substitutions to replace unacceptable material in his source text. The TJ states no such requirement that one should be alone when praying.
The possibilities are that (a) the TJ is genuine (and Matthew a fabrication due to its lack of believability), (b) a literary hoaxer would not have omitted this verse, and (c) a literary hoaxer would have omitted this verse. Although (b) may be somewhat less probable than (c), upon taking (a) into consideration the probability for a hoax becomes less than 0.5. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
What were the unacceptable TJ verses in this instance, one may ask, that prompted the writer of Matthew to make the substitution? They appear to have been TJ 6:5-8:
5"When you pray, you shall call upon the almightiness of the spirit and not babble misleading nonsense like the idol worshippers, the ignorant and the selfish, because they think they are heard when they use many words. 6The Creation-spirit part of the human has no need for many words, however humans need the knowledge of how powerful it is. 7Pray therefore to the almightiness of the spirit, in the knowledge that its greatness and power are infinite. 8If you do not know how to pray directly to the almighty power of the spirit, make use of something sacred by which you can reach the consciousness."Obviously the writer of Matthew did not want to include anything about praying to one's spirit or consciousness, since the praying was to be to god or the Father. So he omitted these verses and substituted Mt 6:6.
5«Und wenn ihr betet, sollt ihr die Allmacht des Geistes anrufen, und ihr sollt nicht irres Zeug plappern wie die Götzenanbeter, Unverständigen und Selbstsüchtigen, denn sie meinen, sie werden erhöret, wenn sie viele Worte machen. 6Des Menschen Schöpfungs-Geist-Teil bedarf nicht vieler Worte, jedoch des Wissens darum, dass er machtvoll ist. 7Betet darum im Wissen zur Allmacht des Geistes, dass seine Grösse und Kraft unendlich ist. 8Verstehet ihr nicht direkt zur Allmacht des Geistes zu beten, dann behelfet euch mit einem Heiligtum, über das ihr in den Geist gelanget.»
TJ 6:5 lets it be known that praying to one's spirit or consciousness by means of concentrating upon some sacred or beautiful object (TJ 6:8) is quite different from praying to an idol. This is further clarified in TJ 6:19-22. Interestingly, the use of a sacred object to aid in prayer can even be a part of Christianity. The liberal Christian, Hal Taussig, wrote, "Many Christians meditate on everything from wafers to mandalas," and he regards the praying to beautiful objects as a form of spiritual exercise.[1.1]
Mt 6:7-8 7"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEMS. These are two verses near the beginning of the Lord's Prayer. Their reference to the evil worshiping habits of the gentiles was noted by Beare (p. 168) to depart suddenly from the pattern that had just been constructed, of the hypocritical worshipers of the God of Israel who glorify idols. Hence it could well be a redaction of a compiler who disliked gentiles.
Additionally, there is a contradiction or "tension" between 6:8b and 6:9-13, which also suggests that a redaction was generated here by one who was no wisdom teacher. That is, if "your Father knows what you need before you ask him," there should be no need to pray to him.
SOLUTION. The Matthean verses appear as substitutions relative to text in TJ 6:6-10 describing the power of one's individual spirit, a theme which could not have been condoned by either early Jewish Christians or Pauline Christians.
The different indications that these Matthean verses are not genuine must again be weighed against the probabilities that a literary hoaxer would or would not have omitted the verses. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
Mt 6:9-13 9"Pray then like this: 'Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread; 12And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; 13And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.'"
TJ 6:11-17 11"Therefore pray as one who knows, and thus pray as follows: 12'My spirit (consciousness), you exist within almightiness. 13May your name be holy. 14May your world incarnate itself within me. 15May your power unfold itself within me, on Earth and in the skies. 16Give me today my daily bread, that I may recognize my wrongdoings and the truth. 17And lead me not into temptation and confusion, but deliver me from error.'"
TJ 6:11-17 11«Betet daher als Wissende, und darum sollt ihr also beten: 12‹Mein Geist (Bewusstsein), der du bist in Allmacht. 13Dein Name sei geheiligt. 14Dein Reich inkarniere sich in mir. 15Deine Kraft entfalte sich in mir, auf Erden und in den Himmeln. 16Mein tägliches Brot gib mir heute, so ich erkenne meine Schuld, und ich erkenne die Wahrheit. 17Und führe mich nicht in Versuchung und Verwirrung, sondern erlöse mich vom Irrtum.›»
THE PROBLEMS. The first verse of the Lord's Prayer, Mt 6:9, was criticized by Robert Funk, a leader in the scholar's group called the "Jesus Seminar," for its lack of logic. He noted that God's name was considered too holy to pronounce by Jews, while the title of "Father" is not at all holy. "It is difficult to conceive of circumstances under which Jesus would have referred to God as 'Father' and then turned around and said, 'May your name be sanctified.'"
Matthew's prayer is a group prayer, as seen by "Our Father," "our daily bread" and so forth. Yet, its preceding verses, Mt 6:5-6, apply to the individual, not to a group, and in Matthew they deal with praying in a room alone. Hence the collective format of the Lord's Prayer is inconsistent with these preliminary verses. Thus it was obvious to G. A. Wells, for example, that this passage can be traced to the group liturgical needs of early Christian communities. Also, Beare (p. 175) pointed out that all the clauses within verses Mt 11-13 have parallels that derive from known Jewish prayers.
In the clause "deliver us from evil" in Mt 6:13 it has been pointed out by Davies and Allison that a proper translation from the Greek is "deliver us from the evil one." And they note that "the evil one" is a favorite expression or concept of the writer of Matthew, and occurs in circumstances where it appears to be a redaction. Thus they deduce it to be a redaction here. (The RSV Bible just uses "evil," in order to make it more acceptable to modern worshipers, though they mention "evil one" in a footnote.)
SOLUTION. The TJ verses show that its prayer is actually an invocation directed to one's own spirit or consciousness. That Jmmanuel would say the name of one's own spirit should be sanctified is consistent with his indignation in the TJ against those who belittle the spirit. Thus Funk's criticism does not apply to the TJ, from which we see that this particular problem can be classed as one of editorial "fatigue." I.e., the writer altered the TJ's "spirit" into a familiar, non-sacred word for "God" (father), then copied TJ 6:13 essentially intact, thereby causing the illogic noticed by Funk.
In TJ 6:11, "Therefore pray as one who knows," or as "one who is knowledgeable," refers to the preceding five sentences. There it is emphasized how great and powerful one's spirit actually is and how to pray to its mighty power.
The TJ prayer would have been heretical to the writer of Matthew for being directed to the spirit within instead of to the external Judeo-Christian God. In his editing to remove these heresies he likely borrowed a bit from Jewish prayers, as suggested by Beare, and perhaps for the reason suggested by Wells. That is, the liturgical reason of needing a prayer for the Christian church evidently prompted the compiler to make use of the TJ prayer by editing it into the collective format suitable for group use. The above Prayer-to-One's-Spirit in the TJ applies to the individual and does not suffer from the inconsistency mentioned above for the collective Lord's Prayer.
In TJ 6:17 the one who prays asks his spirit to deliver him from error, not from the devil. Thus the objection of Davies and Allison does not apply to it. Avoiding error is often synonymous with making the proper decision, which is a challenging task, worthy of the help of prayer. When one fails at this, as we all do at times, the TJ indicates elsewhere (TJ 18:47-53) that we are meant to learn from our mistakes.
In the TJ Prayer there is one point where there may be difficulty in following its meaning: What is the connection between receiving your daily bread and recognizing your wrongdoings? The interpretation that Eduard Meier received from his alien contactor, Semjase, is that receiving your daily bread refers to becoming aware each day of the spiritual power within, and to nourishing your spiritual knowledge after you have discerned your wrongdoings and overcome your faults that would stand in the way of recognizing truth. It is interesting that Christianity stresses God's forgiveness of your sins, while the TJ stresses recognizing what your wrongdoings are, so that you will learn from them and learn not to repeat them.
The reader will notice that the usual conclusion to the Lord's Prayer is not present in the main text of Matthew, though it occurs within certain older Bible versions, for example, in the King James version:
"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."
This conclusion to the prayer is distrusted as genuine by most scholars, for one reason because of its close similarity to text in the Old Testament book of 1 Chronicles:
1 Chr 29:11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty.
Hence, the same scholars would conclude that the parallel TJ verse (6:18) is non-genuine:
TJ 6:18 'For yours is the world within me and the power and the knowledge forever. Amen.'
TJ 6:18 ‹Denn dein ist das Reich in mir und die Kraft und das Wissen in Ewigkeit. Amen›.
However, the Lord's Prayer Conclusion does exist in some ancient Matthean manuscripts and thus occurs as a footnote in the RSV Bible. Moreover, it dates back to a rather early second-century text called the Didache, which may indicate that the earliest form of Matthew's gospel did contain this Conclusion. It, in turn, would have been suggested to the compiler of Matthew by the TJ text. The appearance of "world (or kingdom)" and "power" within the latter would have suggested the 1 Chronicles verse to him, from which he borrowed "glory" with which to replace the unwanted "knowledge" occurring in the TJ verse.
The uniqueness of this prayer to one's spirit along with its compatibility with the rest of the entire TJ, plus the problems with Matthew that the TJ does not suffer, plus the plausibility that the last TJ verse ending in "Amen" prompted the long ending of the Lord's Prayer, suggest to me that PHoax is relatively small, i.e., ≈ 0.2.
Since the TJ indicates that the writer of Luke had some access to the TJ, while implying that the original order of the Gospels was Mt-Mk-Lk, as in the Augustinian tradition, it may be asked why that writer did not include the prayer's Conclusion, assumed here to have been present in the early form of Matthew, in his own version of the Lord's Prayer (Lk 11:4). One plausible answer is that he was not fully in agreement with the prayer's theology; e.g., he felt that all power and glory should be shared between the Son of God and God, and not just restricted to God. The translator of Hebraic Matthew into Greek may, in fact, have felt the same way, and thus omitted it, leaving the Conclusion to have been added back in later to only a very few surviving manuscripts.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. These verses are suspect of not having come from a teacher of wisdom because they lack meaning. No explanation is supplied as to what it means to have your sins forgiven by the heavenly Father or not forgiven. Does it matter either way? Either way, the sinner may commit the same sin again. The verses also introduce the thought that one should forgive others of their sins, to the extent such forgiveness has meaning, just for the purpose of having one's own sins forgiven by God. Although this interpretation is unacceptable theologically, the text invites the thought without mentioning it is unacceptable.
SOLUTION. The verses were not present in the source document, but were imposed by the writer of Matthew. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
TJ 6:23-24 23"When you fast do not look sour like the hypocrites, for they put on pretentious faces, in order to shine with their fasting before the people. 24Truly, I say to you, they have lost their reward, because they fast only out of their self-seeking desire for recognition."
TJ 6:23-24 23«Wenn ihr fastet, sollt ihr nicht sauer sehen wie die Heuchler, denn sie verstellen ihr Angesicht, auf dass sie vor den Leuten scheinen mit ihrem Fasten. 24Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Sie haben ihren Lohn dahin, denn sie fasten nur um ihres selbstsüchtigen Ansehens willen.»
THE PROBLEM. As with Mt 6:2, the punch line is spoken with sarcasm, since practicing fasting for the purpose of being seen by men is not a worthy reward. Yet, the introductory "Truly" is not consistent with such sarcasm.
SOLUTION. The following two TJ verses explain the reward to be gained by appropriate fasting (it can benefit your health and expand your consciousness, spirit and knowledge). Thus, Jmmanuel was speaking sincerely when saying "Truly... they have lost their reward," and there is no discrepancy between his use of "Truly" and the reward.
TJ 6:27 27"Neither should you amass great treasures on Earth, where moths and rust consume them..."
TJ 6:27 27«Ihr sollt euch auch nicht grosse Schätze sammeln auf Erden, wo sie die Motten und der Rost fressen....»
THE PROBLEM. Here, Beare (p. 182) asked if we are to take this verse seriously, as meaning that followers of Jesus are not to set aside any savings at all. If so, he noted that we should have to regard the advice as totally impractical. Moreover, in Mt 13:52 those who were trained for the kingdom of heaven are likened to a householder who does possess some treasures, Thus, in other Gospel verses Jesus was known as being a teacher of wisdom, while such impractical and inconsistent advice as rendered in Mt 6:19 cannot be considered as wisdom.
SOLUTION. Substitution of "lay up treasures" for "amass great treasures" was sufficient to make impractical a statement that had been practical. The compiler of Matthew undoubtedly knew the "money is power" maxim, and may not have wished to encourage followers of the new religion to accumulate more money and power than the church officials themselves possessed. In any event, he at this point extolled utter poverty as being a virtue, as he would do elsewhere in his gospel (e.g., at Mt 16:24 and 19:23).
Concerning the hoax hypothesis, it is not likely that a literary hoaxer intent upon converting a whole gospel into a text on spiritual teachings would have perceived a need to make such a small alteration. PHoax ≈ 0.3.
Mt 6:20-21 20"but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
TJ 6:28-29 28"But collect treasures in the spirit and in consciousness, where neither moths nor rust consumes them and where thieves neither break in nor steal. 29For where your treasure is, there your heart is also; and the true treasure is wisdom and knowledge."
TJ 6:28-29 28«Sammelt euch aber Schätze im Geiste und im Bewusstsein, wo sie weder von Motten noch von Rost gefressen werden, und wo die Diebe nicht nachgraben noch stehlen. 29Denn wo euer Schatz ist, da ist auch euer Herz; und der wahre Schatz ist die Weisheit und das Wissen.»
THE PROBLEMS. The problems are several. The disciples are not told what these treasures are, or how to lay them up in heaven. Are these treasures the same thing as the rewards in heaven that are never specified? If so, would one treasure consist of a favorable position at which to sit in heaven relative to the throne of Jesus (Mt 20:21-23), or a throne to sit upon from which to rule over one of the tribes of Israel (Mt 19:28)? These ranks of high standing may not be attainable, however, since to be first you must instead be last or be a slave (Mt 20:16,27), and this might hold in heaven as well as on earth. One treasure would surely be to inherit eternal life (Mt 19:29b), but in 6:20 the writer of Matthew is instead speaking of treasures within heaven after gaining admittance. Yet 6:21 refers back to the present time: where your treasure is; also, the "heart" refers to the source of one's deeds, and thus refers to one's present personality rather than to a future personality when in heaven.
It makes no sense that Jesus would instruct his disciples and other listeners about spiritual behavior without explaining what he meant. His disciples would need to understand his teachings if they were ever to carry on the teachings properly to others.
SOLUTION. By substituting heaven for spirit, the writer of Matthew generated these problems. And from the TJ we see that Jmmanuel told his disciples, and/or other listeners, what the true treasure is: wisdom and knowledge. These are made up of many small pieces learned or recognized one at a time; each of these may be considered a treasure. These are considered treasures of the spirit, because the spirit accumulates the wisdom and knowledge gained from each lifetime. PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 6:24b-25 24"...You cannot serve God and mammon. 25Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"
TJ 6:35-37 35"You cannot serve your consciousness and mammon. 36Therefore I say to you: concern yourself about the knowledge of your conscousness, and around that, what you eat and drink and be concerned about your body and what you put on. 37For are not the spirit, life and body more important than all the treasures of the world?"
TJ 6:35-37 35«Ihr könnt nicht eurem Bewusstsein dienen und dem Mammon. 36Darum sage ich euch: Sorget euch um das Wissen eures Bewusstsein, und um das, was ihr essen und trinken werdet, und sorget euch um euren Leib, was ihr anziehen werdet. 37Denn sind nicht der Geist, das Leben und der Leib mehr als alle Schätze der Welt?»
THE PROBLEMS. Verse 25 does not follow from 24b, though it starts with "Therefore." It does not tell what to do to serve God, only what not to do in order to avoid taking care of one's body.
And Matthean verse 25 is self-contradictory, since with life being more than just food, etc., one has reason to be concerned with taking care of one's life. The verse requires considerable interpretation—adding words that are not present or implied within the context of Mt 6:25-34—before one can come to the practical conclusion (Beare, p. 186) that it means everyone, not just the destitute, should not be anxious or concerned about providing food for the table, etc. The Greek word involved here (μεριμναω) includes the meaning of being either anxious or concerned.
It is also noted that at this point in Matthew, one has not yet reached Jesus' teaching that what goes into the mouth is not what defiles a man (Mt 15:11). Instead, in Mt 5:17-18 one finds that Jesus has urged full compliance with the (Jewish) law and the prophets; this included strict measures on what to eat and what not to eat; i.e., being concerned about what to eat.
SOLUTION. In editing these TJ verses, the writer of Matthew evidently wished to negate the thought of being concerned about gaining knowledge for one's spirit to accumulate. In so doing, he negated too much, by negating concern about the body that houses one's spirit and life itself. In the TJ verses, one should notice that the means by which to take care of one's body should not be mistaken for "mammon," which means material wealth and riches in excess of one's needs. This is made clear in TJ 6:37 above.
Thus this pericope falls into the definition of Matthean "fatigue". The redactor inserted the negative particle into the TJ text he was following, then followed the remainder of the TJ verse a bit too closely. This caused the above illogicalities.
The fact that the TJ verses do not suffer from any of these problems, have a unique message, yet show parallelism with the Matthean passage altogether indicates a low probability of a hoax. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEM. Beare (pp. 186-187) noted that this verse seems out of place. The previous anxieties in Matthew had been about urgent items, such as where to find the next day's meals, not about postponing the time of one's eventual death by some small amount. And he noted how ambiguous its meaning is in any true sense, since a cubit is a measure of length, not of time.
In the scholars' preferred Greek text, the problem area instead reads like: "But who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature?" Although the units are then consistent, it makes no sense to think of a half-meter length (cubit) as being some tiny increment to add to one's height, since it would be a huge increase in height.
SOLUTION. There are four verses of the TJ for which Mt 6:27 appears as a substitute. They continue to mention birds and their lack of independently evolving spirits, and then mention humans with our independent consciousness and actions. In editing out these unacceptable TJ verses, the writer of Matthew decided to substitute something more about not being anxious and placing one's faith in God; however, his substitution was poorly crafted, giving rise to the questions Beare raised. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 6:30-32 30"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all."
TJ 6:48-50 48"Creation nourishes and clothes the grass in the field, which today is standing and tomorrow is thrown into the stove. Should not you then do much more for yourselves? 49The grass fulfills its mission by serving as fodder and fuel; but are you not of much greater value than grass, O you of little knowledge? 50Therefore, you shall care for the wisdom and knowledge of your consciousness, and take care that you do not suffer from lack of food, drink and clothing."
TJ 6:48-50 48«So denn die Schöpfung das Gras auf dem Felde nährt und kleidet, das doch heute steht und morgen in den Ofen geworfen wird; solltet ihr da nicht viel mehr für euch selbst tun? 49Das Gras erfüllet seine Aufgabe, indem es als Futter und zur Heizung dienet; seid ihr aber nicht viel mehr als das Gras, oh, ihr Kleinwissenden? 50Darum sollt ihr euch sorgen um die Weisheit und das Wissen eures Bewusstsein und darum, dass ihr nicht an Speis und Trank und Kleidung leidet.»
THE PROBLEMS. It just does not follow, from logic or wisdom, that if God provides for grass, which can in no sense think or take action to protect itself against adversities of its environment, to live and grow for a season, that humans then, with brains and means of caring for their own welfare, should not use their brains and not take care of their own welfare, but should instead let God do all that. (The Greek word rendered as "anxious" can also mean "concerned.") Instead, out of wisdom and common sense has arisen the proverb, "God helps those who help themselves."
For this reason Mt 6:31 cannot have derived from a teacher of wisdom. Furthermore, Jesus himself at times expected people to behave sensibly and be concerned for their own future welfare: as in building a house, and building it well to protect oneself from the elements (Mt 7:24-27); or as in seeing a physician when sick (Mt 9:12) and not just letting God take care of the problem; or as in properly patching a garment in taking care of one's clothing (Mt 9:16); or in telling his disciples to beware certain people lest they be turned over to councils and flogged (Mt 10:17). Or in advocating both the Golden Rule (Mt 7:12) and caring for the needy (Mt 25:35-36), because if you do the latter, the former implies that you would desire that others care for you when you are in need. It follows that one should take care of one's own needs as far as possible, since others may not always be available to take care of your needs, day in and day out. Of course, common sense would have told us this right away.
In Mt 6:32 the Gentiles have been singled out as the ones who improperly concern themselves with seeking after food, drink and clothing. The writer of Matthew had no need to point that out unless he was continuing his disparagement of the gentiles, which he had started in Mt 5:47 and 6:7, and which we have found to be hostile redactions.
SOLUTION. The greater value of a human than of blades of grass is argued, in the TJ verse, to mean that one should take care of one's body and consciousness/spirit, so that one's greater value can be realized and put to good use. The TJ verses appear to have come from a voice of wisdom, while the Matthean verses do not. PHoax ≈ 0.3.
A later TJ verse consistent with this -- a proverb espoused by Jmmanuel, is:
TJ 26:25 "Those who take care of a cow will always receive milk; likewise, those who nurture wisdom and apply it through the power of the conscousness bring forth rich fruit."
TJ 26:25 «Wer eine Milchkuh pflegt, erhält stets Milch; so erntet auch derjenige reiche Früchte, der die Weisheit pflegt und sie durch die Kraft des Bewusstseins anwendet.»
TJ 6:51-52 51"Truly, I say to you, if you suffer from hunger, thirst and nakedness, then wisdom and knowledge will be crowded out by worry. 52First seek the world of your spirit and its knowledge, and seek to comfort your body with food, drink and clothing."
TJ 6:51-52 51«Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Wenn ihr an Hunger, Durst und Nacktheit leidet, dann werden Weisheit und Wissen durch Sorgen verdrängt. 52Trachtet am ersten nach dem Reiche eures Geistes und nach seinem Wissen, und nach der Labung eures Leibes für Speis und Trank und Kleidung.»
THE PROBLEM. In the Matthean verse, "all these things" refers back to food, drink and clothing. It clearly is not any truism that all those who seek God's kingdom and righteousness receive sufficient nourishment and shelter. Impoverished Christians in third-world countries come to mind as but one example. The strong suspicion then arises that the misstatement was not spoken by a teacher of wisdom, but rather arose from the pen of the redactor.
SOLUTION. The second TJ sentence is the cognate to the Matthean verse, the first being included above for better understanding. The TJ cognate indicates that one should seek sustenance and shelter, for the reason stated, but gives no false assurance of success. However, it gives even higher priority to seeking the realm of one's spirit and its knowledge. It is much more easily visualized how a redactor lacking in wisdom altered the TJ verse to generate a saying acceptable to early Christianity, than it is to visualize a literary hoaxer possessing the creativity to generate the TJ verse out of Matthew. PHoax ≈ 0.2.
TJ 6:53-54 53"Therefore, take care for the next day, for tomorrow will not take care of you by itself. 54It is enough that each day has its own misery, therefore you must not also be at the mercy of the need for your physical welfare."
TJ 6:53-54 53«Darum sorget für den andern Morgen, denn der morgige Tag wird nicht alleine für euch sorgen. 54Es ist genug, dass jeder Tag seine eigene Plage habe, also ihr euch nicht noch in Not des leiblichen Wohles erbarmen müsst.»
THE PROBLEM. The Matthean verse makes no sense in today's societies, and as W. D. Davies has pointed out, the saying would also strike the wiser Jewish leaders of even two millennia ago as "very much lacking in common sense." Beare (p. 188) noted that most Gospel analysts regard the verse as a Matthean addition, and he agrees.
SOLUTION. We may conjecture that the TJ verse, along with its immediate predecessors, was considered threatening to the compiler, in implying that the individual may rightfully take matters into his or her own hands and not rely just on God and church. He could make this fit his theology here simply by adding a negative and omitting the last part of the TJ verse.
It is of some interest to sample how critical scholars rationalize these Matthean verses (6:25-34) that are lacking in normal intelligence, without overly offending Christian sensitivities. Davies and Allison remark that the passage "is, obviously, not filled to overflowing with level-headed common sense. But then faith and worldly knowledge often go their separate ways." From the TJ we see, however, that Jmmanuel taught both worldly wisdom and spiritual wisdom. A true wisdom teacher does both, and is not a "flake."
It would be a huge stretch to imagine that a New Age literary hoaxer who was intent upon altering Matthew into a set of spiritual teachings, and who believed in "contemplating his navel," would instead urge a balanced approach involving both spiritual wisdom and worldly wisdom. PHoax ≈ 0.25.
Upon accumulating the estimated probabilities that the TJ is a hoax from just the TJ-Mt 6 verse comparisons above, one finds a summary probability of PHoax = 6.3 x 10-5, i.e., odds of roughly one in sixteen thousand.
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1.1 Taussig, Hal, "Disparate Presence," in When Faith Meets Reason, Charles W. Hedrick, ed. (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 2008), p. 152.
2. Funk, Robert W., "The Lord's Prayer: Does it go back to Jesus?" The Fourth R (1989) 2, p. 6.
3. Wells, G.A., Did Jesus Exist? (London: Pemberton, 1986), p. 74.
4. 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, pp. 614-615.
5. Davies and Allison, A Critical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 632.
6. Davies, W. D., The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1964), p. 300.
7. Davies and Allison, A Critical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 658. The authors go on to argue, however, that the passage must not mean that seeking adequate food and clothing is unimportant, but only that it is secondary to seeking God's kingdom. Thus their interpretation would approximate the TJ's straightforward meaning, if "God's kingdom" were to be expanded to include the human spirit, provided "God" was properly understood.