Mt 8:4 4And Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to the people."
TJ 8:4-5 4And Jmmanuel spoke to him, "See to it that you tell no one. Instead, go and present yourself to the priest. 5You were healed through the power of the consciousness and the wisdom of knowledge."
TJ 8:4-5 4Und Jmmanuel sprach zu ihm: «Siehe zu, sage es niemand, sondern gehe hin und zeige dich dem Priester. 5Du wurdest geheilt durch die Kraft des Bewusstseins und durch die Weisheit des Wissens.»
THE PROBLEM. This verse is in the pericope about the leper Jesus healed. In the first half of the verse, the cured leper is told not to talk about it to anyone except the priest. In the second half he is told the reason for showing himself to the priest is so that his cure would be known to the people (actually, to "them" in the Greek; "people" is just inferred). This contradiction is scarcely believable as having been spoken by a teacher of wisdom, but could easily have arisen from editorial activity on the part of a writer who deeply wished Jesus' miraculous deeds to become known to all. Even if the reason for the "proof before the people" had been to prove that Jesus preached the keeping of the law, as in Mt 5:17-18, making the secret known to the people would nevertheless contradict Jesus' expressed desire in the same sentence to keep the matter secret except to the priest.
If, on the other hand, "to them" is interpreted as meaning "to the priests [plural]", that would still allow the supposed secret to spread much more than is implied by 8:4a. Moreover, Lv 14 indicates that the leper is to be shown to "the priest" (singular), and goes on to tell of all the requirements to be carried out by the leper and "the priest." Because of Matthew's emphasis upon adhering to the law, it is then most plausible that Matthew's "to them" referred to the people, not to a group of priests.
SOLUTION. The TJ verse indicates that the problem lay with the writer of Matthew's illogical addition to his source: "for a proof to them [or to the people]." We also see that Jmmanuel did not even mention Moses here, but that the writer of Matthew could not fail to fill in the name of the patriarch who instituted the rituals of Lv 13-14. The TJ verse 8:5 is no cognate to the Matthean verse, and was omitted from Matthew for evident reasons: both earlier and later within the TJ it was clear that power of the spirit or consciousness refers to the individual human spirit, not the spirit of God; and the Christian follower was supposed to be worshiping Jesus, not learning that he had taught knowledge about the human spirit.
It seems evident that Jmmanuel realized his curing of the leper was no secret, and that the priest might not keep it confidential either. However, his warning must have served to keep the matter hushed up considerably more than if he had advised the opposite, as implied in Mt 8:4b. It thus appears that early in his ministry Jmmanuel wished the fame of his healing powers to be minimized to the extent possible, so that his clerical adversaries would not become too upset before he had had more time to preach and teach. At the same time, he knew that the ex-leper needed to show himself to the priest according to tradition in order that he be officially recognized as "clean."
In the unlikely event that a literary hoaxer would notice this little-known problem with Matthew, he would likely have altered Matthew by omitting only "for a proof to the people," and not have added another sentence. PHoax ≈ 0.3.
It might be thought that Mark has an advantage over Matthew here, since in its parallel verses (Mk 1:39-40) there is no explicit mention of "great crowds," present in Mt 8:1, allowing the possibility that Jesus had been alone when speaking to the leper. This difference might be explained by the writer of Mark having noticed the contradiction within Matthew and so trying to eliminate it. However, it seems more likely that Mark's omission of Matthew's "great crowds" was a consequence of the writer of Mark having omitted practically all of the lengthy Sermon on the Mount, which immediately precedes the story of the leper's healing. (The TJ in its verse 8:1 uses "many people.") Many of the people in Matthew's "great crowds," occurring just after the end of the Sermon, had come down from the hill where the Sermon had been preached, and so were omitted by the writer of Mark since he had omitted the Sermon. In any event, the verse of Mk 1:39 suggests that many people had been present at the leper's healing in Mark, too, which includes the contradictory "for a proof to them" of Matthew.
Mt 8:10 10When Jesus heard him [the centurion], he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
TJ 8:12 12When Jmmanuel heard this [from the centurion], he marveled and spoke to those who followed him: "Truly, I say to you, such trust I have found in no one in Israel."
TJ 8:12 12Da das Jmmanuel hörte, verwunderte er sich und sprach zu denen, die ihm nachfolgten: «Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Solches Vertrauen habe ich in Israel bei keinem gefunden.»
THE PROBLEM. This is spoken as if Jesus had already traversed many lands outside of Israel. The preferred Greek text translates more correctly as: "from no one in Israel" instead of "not even in Israel," indicating that the editors of the RSV Bible wished to soften its anti-Judaic inference. If Jesus had not found such faith in lands outside of the land of Israel, he would likely have just said, in effect, "Never before have I found such faith." Thus, either translation implies some experience on the part of Jesus of people's faiths in other lands. However, nothing in Matthew directly indicates that he had traveled significantly outside of Israel.
SOLUTION. The TJ lets it be known that Jmmanuel had been to India and back (TJ 29:23) before his Palestinian ministry commenced. This is what was attested to in the document that Nicolas Notovitch learned about, in 1887, in the monastery of Himis near Leh, the capital of Ladakh (Little Tibet), and which Swami Abhedananda independently affirmed in 1922. The Matthean verse was thus copied correctly from the TJ in this instance, but the context of its final portion is not appropriate for the Gospel of Matthew, which of course omits the TJ's later mention that Jmmanuel had spent time in the land of India.
In the TJ verse, the trust that Jmmanuel found so remarkable was the same as in Matthew—the centurion truly believed that Jmmanuel could heal his servant even from a distance. The writer of Matthew had no need to alter this pericope, especially because the centurion, being a gentile, had said, "I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof," thereby humbling himself. The writer of Mark, then, did not use this Matthean pericope, even though the healings and other miracles formed the highlight of his gospel. To him it was evidently unacceptable for a gentile, especially a centurion, to humble himself in this manner. Presumably, it would have required too much redaction and invented discourse for the writer of Mark to have desired to alter this into a pericope in which the centurion did not humble himself and in which Jesus would go to the centurion's home to heal the servant.
Since the wording of the Matthean verse raises the problem discussed, whereas the same wording in the TJ does not raise any problem, the nod here must go to the TJ verse as being the genuine one. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 8:11-12 11"I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."
TJ 8:13-14 13"But I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, from the south and the north, and they will understand my teachings and recognize their wisdom in knowledge. 14However, the children of Israel will be expelled into darkness; there will be wailing and the chattering of teeth."
TJ 8:13-14 13«Aber ich sage euch: Viele werden kommen vom Osten und vom Westen, vom Süden und vom Norden, und sie werden meine Lehre verstehen und ihre Weisheit im Wissen erkennen. 14Die Kinder Israels aber werden ausgestossen in die Finsternis hinaus; da wird sein Heulen und Zähneklappern.»
THE PROBLEM. Beare (p. 208) recognized these Matthean verses to be non-original. However, he did not spell out the key problem with their imagery, which is: at this point the writer of Matthew confused the physical world with his image of heaven and mixed the two together. Mt 8:11 starts out with real people coming to the land of Israel, but after arriving they find themselves in heaven with the great Jewish patriarchs, feasting! If the intention was that those arriving would soon die and go to heaven, the why's and wherefore's of this are not addressed at all. In Mt 8:12 living Israelites receive the opposite treatment, ending up in one version of the writer's image of Gehenna or Hades—the "outer darkness"—his other image being the "fiery hell."
SOLUTION. The compiler of Matthew needed to edit his source in order to remove its emphasis upon the value of wisdom and seeking wisdom. In so doing, he introduced his favorite "kingdom of heaven" theme, apparently not realizing the logical problem so introduced. The TJ's "expelled into darkness" clause probably prompted this imagery by causing him to equate that to Gehenna. The two Matthean verses represent a rare instance in which the writer had something favorable to say about gentiles relative to the children of Israel. It may, however, instead better represent an instance in which the writer could vent his frustration at the children of Israel for not having yet been won over to the new Messianic form of Judaism—Christianity. Recall that the TJ implies that the Gospels were not written until well into the 2nd century, when early Christianity was already spreading rapidly within gentile lands, much more so than within the Israeli people. Likely for this reason the writer allowed the TJ verse 8:14 to stand essentially as is.
In the TJ verses, the clause "expelled into darkness" can only be interpreted to mean remaining in ignorance of the laws of Creation, with "wailing and chattering of teeth" apparently implying the suffering of unhappy consequences resulting from ignorance and belief in false teachings. The writer of Matthew took to this phrase, and used it five other times in describing his concept of the experience of hell, whereas it does not occur again in the TJ. However, regarding TJ 8:13, it is debatable if many gentiles came to Jmmanuel's various teaching sessions and recognized the value of his teachings. Although the verse applies to those who would hear him teach during his travels in post-crucifixion years as well as during his Palestinian ministry, his teachings within Palestine and Anatolia all too soon became supplanted by those of Paul.
The inferred non-genuineness connected with the Matthean verses, combined with the clear meaning of the TJ verses and motivations for the writer of Matthew to have made changes in them, suggest assigning PHoax ≈ 0.35.
Mt 8:20 20And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."
TJ 8:25 25Jmmanuel spoke to him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but I have no fixed place where I can lay my head."
TJ 8:25 25Jmmanuel sprach zu ihm: «Die Füchse haben Höhlen, und die Vögel unter dem Himmel haben Nester, ich aber habe nichts Festes, da ich mein Haupt hinlege.»
THE PROBLEMS. One problem is that the scribe to whom Jesus was replying would not have known whom he was referring to when saying "Son of man." This is the first point within Matthew where the phrase is used. Jesus never explains what he means by it, even to his disciples.
A second, minor problem of logic is that, just like a fox can bed down in a hollow at any suitable spot, Jesus and his disciples could bed down along the roadside or in a town wherever they found themselves at nightfall. So with this analogy Jesus did always have some place to lay his head.
SOLUTION. As will be seen in discussion of Mt 9:6, the alteration the redactor made upon its parallel TJ verse seems to be what prompted him to start using the "Son of man" nomenclature. So he slipped in this one additional usage of the phrase beforehand here and 29 more afterwards. It is quite likely he did this in order to bestow the Messianic "son of man" image from Daniel 7:13-14 onto Jesus, but to do so somewhat subtly, thus without explaining what it meant. Naturally, the TJ never uses the phrase.
The TJ's utilization of "no fixed place" to lay his head, though Jmmanuel had the use of several different houses at different times, improves the analogy with the foxes' dens and birds' nests. However, the very minor difference between Matthew and the TJ here might only reflect an improved translation by Isa Rashid when rendering the Aramaic TJ into German rather than any alteration by the writer of Matthew. PHoax ≈ 0.45.
Mt 8:21-22 21Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 22But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
TJ 8:27-28 27And another, one of his disciples, said to him, "Master, permit me to go and bury my father who just died." 28But Jmmanuel said to him, "Follow me and let the dead bury their dead."
TJ 8:27-28 27Und ein anderer, einer seiner Jünger, sprach zu ihm: «Herr, erlaube mir, dass ich hingehe und meinen verstorbenen Vater begrabe.» 28Jmmanuel aber sprach zu ihm: «Folge mir nach und lass die Toten ihre Toten begraben.»
THE PROBLEMS. Jesus' previous conversation had been with a scribe, who of course was not a disciple. So why would the scribe be inferred to be a disciple of Jesus? This is what "another of the disciples" implies.
And why is "let the dead bury their own dead" left unexplained? Beare (p. 214) thought it means something like "Let the matter take care of itself," whereas Broadus implies that it means: "Let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead."
SOLUTION. From the TJ verse we see that it was one of his disciples who asked permission to go bury his father, not another disciple. This may not be a translation problem, as it is possible that the writer of Matthew, having been a Jewish scribe himself, wished to infer that the scribe of Mt 8:19//TJ 8:24 had decided to become a disciple, and so considered him to be a disciple then and there, even before he could demonstrate it by following Jesus/Jmmanuel. He would then consider the man of Mt 8:21//TJ 8:27 to be another disciple. The writer of Mark omitted this enigmatic episode, while the writer of Luke, though using the word "another," did not imply that he was one of the disciples; thus he corrected Matthew's little problem (see Lk 9:59-60).
We also see that the rather enigmatic "Let the dead bury the dead" had the TJ as its source. However, from the TJ's main theme of spirituality, the meaning is quite evidently as Broadus suggested, not Beare. Within the TJ framework, the need for an explanation from Jmmanuel is strongly diminished.
The TJ does not exhibit Matthew's first problem; it also suffers less from the second. On the other hand, the hoax advocate would claim the first problem to be an instance in which a hoaxer improved upon Matthew, and the second to be where he lucked out. The two viewpoints are seen here as cancelling each other: PHoax ≈ 0.5.
Mt 8:23-27 23And when he [Jesus] got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea... 26...Then he [Jesus] rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27And the men marveled...
TJ [No cognate]
THE PROBLEMS. This is the miracle of the stilling of the sea, and even its introductory verse, 8:23, provides a problem. Five verses earlier, Jesus had given orders to his disciples to take him over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Presumably most of them had already stepped into the boat to prepare it for departure while Jesus was still talking with the scribe and the one disciple who had come up and asked him questions. Thus, it does not make sense that at the slightly later time frame of this verse his disciples would all be following him into the boat.
Regarding the miracle itself, Beare (p. 216) noted an extra aspect of incredulity. Even if the wind had suddenly died down, the water should not have become calm until some time later.
Lamar Cope has noticed that this miracle shares the following common elements with the similar story in the first chapter of the book of Jonah: departure by boat, a violent storm at sea, a sleeping main character, badly frightened sailors, a miraculous stilling of the seas, and a marveling response by the sailors. Thus, the essence of the story was already available to the compiler of Matthew; about all he had to do was change the main character from Jonah to Jesus.
SOLUTION. It is especially difficult to find logical grounds for rejecting the authenticity of a particular miracle story if other miracle stories have been accepted as genuine. However, in this instance the obscure illogicality of the introductory verse, the extra degree of doubtfulness noted by Beare, and especially the story's extremely close similarity to the Jonah story all support the TJ's lack of cognates to this passage. Yet, a literary hoaxer, if constructing the TJ out of Matthew and including most of its miracles, could easily have been unaware of these criticisms to this miracle and have included the story within his hoax. PHoax ≈ 0.4.
Mt 8:30-31 30Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine."
TJ 8:32 32Then the evil, self-created delusional entities within the possessed asked him [Jmmanuel], "Master, if you intend to drive us out, then let us go into the herd of swine grazing just over there."
TJ 8:32 32Da aber baten ihn die bösen Geister in den Besessenen: «Herr, willst du uns austreiben, so lass uns in die Herde Säue fahren, die unweit dort drüben weidet.»
THE PROBLEM. The writer of Matthew has taken the pains to mention that the herd of swine was a large distance away. In the preferred Greek text, the herd of swine was "far distant from them." J. A. Broadus suspects that this emphasis was for the purpose of indicating that the herd was too far away to be frightened by the demoniacs, so that the consequent stampede of the herd into the lake could not have been caused by the demoniacs having frightened the herd. Thus the event would definitely have been a result of a Jesus miracle.
SOLUTION. The TJ has the same story as Matthew of the healing of the two possessed persons, with Jesus/Jmmanuel driving the "demons," at their request, into the herd of swine, and with their subsequent stampede into the waters. However, the TJ does not contain a parallel to Mt 8:30. Its only introduction of the herd of swine is in TJ 8:32, where the herd is only mentioned as being "over there." Thus, the TJ suggests that Mt 8:30 involves redaction. Besides the explanation of Broadus for this, another possibility is that the writer of Matthew wished the miracle to be located within as ideal a setting as possible (as we shall see when we compare the feeding of the four thousand (Mt 15:32-38) with the feeding of the five thousand). Since the swine represented "unclean" animals, as in Lv 11:7 and Dt 14:8, the miracle setting could be improved by placing the swine far away. Going along with this possibility is that the TJ's "herd of swine" is "herd of many swine" in Matthew, thus enhancing the magnitude of the miracle.
It would seem more probable that the writer of Matthew made the alteration to the TJ for one of the reasons suggested than that a hoaxer would have cause to deemphasize Matthew's distancing of the swine from the scene, and deemphasize the number of swine. However, in Mark (5:11) we find that the swine were present "there on the hillside," perhaps not so far away. The supporter of the hoax hypothesis might then argue that a literary hoaxer was following Mark here. Although this would be inconsistent with Matthew containing all the obvious parallels to the TJ and Mark none of them, it is still conceivable. Hence we allow these considerations to cancel out, with PHoax ≈ 0.5.
However, Mark's apparent alteration of Matthew here is a small alteration which, if not made as change for the sake of change, may have been for the purpose of emphasizing that this miracle took place in gentile territory, within the Decapolis, where it was OK to eat pork. Additionally, the TJ indicates that the writer of Mark did have available to him material from a rough equivalent of Mt 8-11, as it had been penned by the TJ's author soon after the event. This old document, misnamed "Peter's recollections," presumably contained the same event without mentioning that the swine were far away; thus the writer of Mark may have been correcting Matthew on this point.
Upon accumulating the estimated degrees of uncertainty that the TJ is a hoax from just the TJ-Mt 8 verse comparisons above, one finds a cumulative probability of PHoax = 0.077.
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1. Notovitch, Nicolas, La Vie inconnue de Jésus-Christ (Paris: M. Paul Ollendorf, 1894); The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, Transl. V. Crispe (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1895).
2. Abhedananda, Swami, Swami Abhedananda's Journey into Kashmir and Tibet, Transls. A. Dasgupta and K. B. Kundu (Calcutta: Ramakrishna Vedant Math, 1987; available from Vedanta Press, Hollywood, CA). Further discussion and references supporting this are given in Deardorff, James, Jesus in India (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994), pp. 101-134, and in this website.
3. Broadus, John A., Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Philadelphia:American Baptist Publication Society, 1886), p. 186.
4. Cope, Lamar, Matthew: A Scribe Trained for the Kingdom of Heaven (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1976) p. 96.
5. Broadus, Commentary on Matthew, p. 191.