Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

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Ben C. Smith
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Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:56 pm

Time again for another conjectural romp through our extant gospel materials. One of those words is chosen rather deliberately: I mentally compare these excursions to the conjectural emendations that textual critics sometimes take it upon themselves to offer. Essentially, a conjectural emendation is a suggested original form for a word or phrase in a text which is not one of the options from the manuscript tradition for that text. If all the extant manuscripts say "olive ewe," but the textual critic suspects that this is a scribal mistake for "I love you," then "I love you" is a conjectural emendation.

For those of us who think that there are probably lost texts and traditions behind all of our extant gospel materials, trying to figure out what those lost texts and traditions might have looked like can prove an irresistable temptation. By definition, we do not possess the purported lost materials, and it is not impossible that we are mistaken about their very existence, so by necessity we are relying mainly upon internal evidence rather than external. That is just the nature of the sport. It is a matter of coming up with informed and cohesive conjectures.

My current playing field involves the gospel characters known as Levi, Matthew, and Matthias. A couple of other characters will have to be brought in off the bench, as well, in due time. I will divide my efforts into sections, each section bearing a title which either equates two characters or refutes the equation.

For reference, I use the English name Matthew for the Greek names Μαθθαῖος, Ματθαῖος, and Μάθθεος (and their equivalents), but the Anglicized name Matthias for the Greek names Μαθθίας and Ματθίας (and their equivalents).

Levi is not Matthew.

It eventually became something of a commonplace among the church fathers that Matthew and Levi are alternate names for the same apostle. The basic reason for this is that the calling of Matthew (in the gospel of Matthew) and the calling of Levi (in the gospels of Mark and Luke) are virtually identical:

Matthew 9.9: 9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the publican's booth [ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον]; and He says to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him.

Mark 2.13-14: 13 And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He says to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him.

Luke 5.27-28: 27 After that He went out and noticed a publican named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow Me." 28 And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him.

But it seems unlikely that a Palestinian man would bear these two names. Richard Bauckham is well known for his work with Palestinian names; his conclusions can be controversial, but his analysis and data are very valuable. He writes in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses that "if Matthew and Levi were the same person, we should be confronted with the virtually unparalleled phenomenon of a Palestinian Jew bearing two common Semitic personal names (Matthew: ninth most popular, 62 occurrences; Levi: seventeenth most common, 25 occurrences). This is a quite different case from that of an individual having both a Semitic and a Greek or Latin name, as well as from that of an individual having a Semitic name and also a nickname or family name."

I regard it, therefore, as more likely that Levi and Matthew are two different people, and that one has been switched out for the other for some reason in one or two of the gospels.

Of the two men, Matthew is by far the more notable. As I mentioned, most of the church fathers thought of Levi and Matthew as the same person, but they used the name Matthew far more often than they used the name Levi. For example:

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.4: 4 «Εἰ δέ που καὶ παρηκολουθηκώς τις τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἔλθοι, τοὺς τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀνέκρινον λόγους, τί Ἀνδρέας ἢ τί Πέτρος εἶπεν ἢ τί Φίλιππος ἢ τί Θωμᾶς ἢ Ἰάκωβος ἢ τί Ἰωάννης ἢ Ματθαῖος ἤτις ἕτερος τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν, ἅ τε Ἀριστίων καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἰωάννης, [οἱ] τοῦ κυρίου μαθηταὶ, λέγουσιν. Οὐ γὰρ τὰ ἐκ τῶν βιβλίων τοσοῦτόν με ὠφελεῖν ὑπελάμβανον ὅσον τὰ παρὰ ζώσης φωνῆς καὶ μενούσης». / 4 And if anyone chanced to come along who had followed the elders, I inquired as to the words of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord had said, which things both Aristion and the elder John, [the] disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I did not suppose that things from books would profit me as much as things from a living and remaining voice.

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.16: 16 περὶ δὲ τοῦ Ματθαίου ταῦτ' εἴρηται· «Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο, ἡρμήνευσεν δ' αὐτὰ ὡς ἦν δυνατὸς ἕκαστος». / 16 These things therefore are recorded by Papias about Mark. But about Matthew he says these: "Matthew therefore in the Hebrew dialect ordered together the oracles, and each one interpreted them as he was able."

Matthew, of course, came to be universally regarded as the author of the first canonical gospel. His rank among both the Twelve Apostles and the Four Evangelists secured him everlasting fame in Christendom.

Levi, on the other hand, is rarely mentioned by name. There are only rare occasions when he does not find himself being folded into Matthew, or where he is at least being called by his given name. But it does happen:

Peter 14.60: 60 Ἐγὼ δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος καὶ Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφός μου λαβόντες ἡμῶν τὰ λίνα ἀπήλθαμεν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν· καὶ ἦν σὺν ἡμῖν Λευεὶς ὁ τοῦ Ἀλφαίου, ὃν Κύριος.... / 60 But I, Simon Peter, and my brother Andrew, having taken our nets, went off to the sea. And there was with us Leveis of Alphaeus whom the Lord....

Mary 18: 18 Then [M]ary wept and said to Peter, "My brother Peter, what are you imagining? Do you think that I have thought up these things by myself in my heart or that I am telling lies about the Savior?" Levi [Λευε(ὶ)ς, papyrus Rylands 463, verso] answered, speaking to Peter, "Peter, you have always been a wrathful person. Now I see you contending against the woman like the Adversaries. For if the Savior made her worthy, who are you then for your part to reject her? Assuredly the Savior's knowledge of her is completely reliable. That is why he loved her more than us. Rather we should be ashamed. We should clothe ourselves with the perfect Human, acquire it for ourselves as he commanded us, and announce the good news, not laying down any other rule or law that differs from what the Savior said. After 19 [he had said these] things, they [in the Greek, Levi] started going out [to] teach and to preach.

Didascalia: He suffered, then, at the sixth hour on Friday. And these hours wherein our Lord was crucified were reckoned a day. And afterwards, again, there was darkness for three hours; and it was reckoned a night. And again, from the ninth hour until evening, three hours, (reckoned) a day. And afterwards again, (there was) the night of the Sabbath of the Passion. But in the Gospel of Matthew it is thus written: At even on the sabbath, when the first day of the week drew on, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the tomb. And there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down and rolled away the stone. And again (there was) the day of the Sabbath; and then three hours of the night after the Sabbath, wherein our Lord slept. And that was fulfilled which He said: The Son of man must pass three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, as it is written in the Gospel. And again it is written in David: Behold, thou hast set my days in measure. Now because those days and nights came short, it was so written. In the night, therefore, when the first day of the week drew on, He appeared to Mary Magdalene and to Mary the daughter of James; and in the morning of the first day of the week He went in to (the house of) Levi [compare Peter 14.60 above]; and then He appeared also to us ourselves. [Link: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... calia.html.]

Book of the Bee 48: Matthew the Evangelist was from Nazareth, of the tribe of Issachar. He preached in Palestine, Tyre, and Sidon, and went as far as Gabbûlâ. He died and was buried in Antioch, a city of Pisidia. .... Levi was slain by Charmus while he was teaching in Paneas.
[Link: https://archive.org/stream/Budge1886The ... 1/mode/2up. This text also distinguishes between Simon (Peter) and Cephas; refer to viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2767&p=61756#p61756.]

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 4.9: 9 Τοῦτον ἐξηγούμενος τὸν τόπον Ἡρακλέων ὁ τῆς Οὐαλεντίνου σχολῆς δοκιμώτατος κατὰ λέξιν φησὶν ὁμολογίαν εἶναι τὴν μὲν ἐν πίστει καὶ πολιτείᾳ, τὴν δὲ ἐν φωνῇ. «ἡ μὲν οὖν ἐν φωνῇ ὁμολογία καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἐξουσιῶν γίνεται, ἣν μόνην, φησίν, ὁμολογίαν ἡγοῦνται εἶναι οἱ πολλοὶ οὐχ ὑγιῶς, δύνανται δὲ ταύτην τὴν ὁμολογίαν καὶ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ ὁμολογεῖν. ἀλλ' οὐδ' εὑρεθήσεται οὗτος ὁ λόγος καθολικῶς εἰρημένος· οὐ γὰρ πάντες οἱ σῳζόμενοι ὡμολόγησαν τὴν διὰ τῆς φωνῆς ὁμολογίαν καὶ ἐξῆλθον, ἐξ ὧν Ματθαῖος, Φίλιππος, Θωμᾶς, Λευῒς καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοί. καὶ ἔστιν ἡ διὰ τῆς φωνῆς ὁμολογία οὐ καθολική, ἀλλὰ μερική. καθολικὴ δὲ ἣν νῦν λέγει, ἡ ἐν ἔργοις καὶ πράξεσι καταλλήλοις τῆς εἰς αὐτὸν πίστεως. ἕπεται δὲ ταύτῃ τῇ ὁμολογίᾳ καὶ ἡ μερικὴ ἡ ἐπὶ τῶν ἐξουσιῶν, ἐὰν δέῃ καὶ ὁ λόγος αἱρῇ. ὁμολογήσει γὰρ οὗτος καὶ τῇ φωνῇ, ὀρθῶς προομολογήσας πρότερον τῇ διαθέσει. καὶ καλῶς ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν ὁμολογούντων «ἐν ἐμοὶ» εἶπεν, ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν ἀρνουμένων τὸ «ἐμὲ» προσέθηκεν. οὗτοι γάρ, κἂν τῇ φωνῇ ὁμολογήσωσιν αὐτόν, ἀρνοῦνται αὐτόν, τῇ πράξει μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες. μόνοι δ' ἐν αὐτῷ ὁμολογοῦσιν οἱ ἐν τῇ κατ' αὐτὸν πολιτείᾳ καὶ πράξει βιοῦντες, ἐν οἷς καὶ αὐτὸς ὁμολογεῖ ἐνειλημμένος αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐχόμενος ὑπὸ τούτων. διόπερ ἀρνήσασθαι αὐτὸν οὐδέποτε δύνανται· ἀρνοῦνται δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ μὴ ὄντες ἐν αὐτῷ. οὐ γὰρ εἶπεν «ὃς ἀρνήσηται ἐν ἐμοί», ἀλλ' «ἐμέ»· οὐδεὶς γάρ ποτε ὢν ἐν αὐτῷ ἀρνεῖται αὐτόν. τὸ δὲ «ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων,» καὶ τῶν σῳζομένων καὶ τῶν ἐθνικῶν δὲ ὁμοίως παρ' οἷς μὲν καὶ τῇ πολιτείᾳ, παρ' οἷς δὲ καὶ τῇ φωνῇ. [διόπερ ἀρνήσασθαι αὐτὸν οὐδέποτε δύνανται· ἀρνοῦνται δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ μὴ ὄντες ἐν αὐτῷ.]» Ταῦτα μὲν ὁ Ἡρακλέων. / 9 .... In explanation of this passage [Luke 12.11-12], Heracleon, the most distinguished of the school of Valentinians, says expressly, that "there is a confession by faith and conduct, and one with the voice. The confession that is made with the voice, and before the authorities, is what the most reckon the only confession. Not soundly: and hypocrites also can confess with this confession. But neither will this utterance be found to be spoken universally; for all the saved have confessed with the confession made by the voice, and departed, of whom are Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levis, and many others. And confession by the lip is not universal, but partial. But that which He specifies now is universal, that which is by deeds and actions corresponding to faith in Him. This confession is followed by that which is partial, that before the authorities, if necessary, and reason dictate. For he will confess rightly with his voice who has first confessed by his disposition. And he has well used, with regard to those who confess, the expression 'in Me,' and applied to those who deny the expression 'Me.' For those, though they confess Him with the voice, yet deny Him, not confessing Him in their conduct. But those alone confess 'in Him,' who live in the confession and conduct according to Him, in which He also confesses, who is contained in them and held by them. Wherefore 'He never can deny Himself.' And those deny Him who are not in Him. For He said not, 'Whosoever shall deny' in Me, but 'Me.' For no one who is in Him will ever deny Him. And the expression 'before men?' applies both to the saved and the heathen similarly by conduct before the one, and by voice before the other. Wherefore they never can deny Him. But those deny Him who are not in Him." So far Heracleon.

Origen, Against Celsus 1.62: 62 Μετὰ ταῦτα δ' ἐπεὶ μηδὲ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἀποστόλων ἐπιστάμενος δέκα εἶπεν ἢ ἕνδεκά τινας ἐξαρτησάμενον τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἑαυτῷ ἐπιρρήτους ἀνθρώπους, τελώνας καὶ ναύτας τοὺς πονηροτάτους, μετὰ τούτων τῇδε κἀκεῖσε αὐτὸν ἀποδεδρακέναι, αἰσχρῶς καὶ γλίσχρως τροφὰς συνάγοντα⌋, φέρε καὶ περὶ τούτων κατὰ τὸ δυνατὸν διαλάβωμεν. Φανερὸν δέ ἐστι τοῖς ἐντυγχάνουσιν εὐαγγελικοῖς λόγοις, οὓς ⌊οὐδ' ἀνεγνωκέναι ὁ Κέλσος φαίνεται, ὅτι δώδεκα ἀποστόλους ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐπελέξατο, τελώνην μὲν τὸν Ματθαῖον, οὓς δ' εἶπε συγκεχυμένως ναύτας τάχα τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ τὸν Ἰωάννην φησίν, ἐπεὶ καταλιπόντες τὸ πλοῖον καὶ «τὸν πατέρα αὐτῶν Ζεβεδαῖον» ἠκολούθησαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ. Τὸν γὰρ Πέτρον καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ Ἀνδρέαν, ἀμφιβλήστρῳ χρωμένους διὰ τὰς ἀναγκαίας τροφάς, οὐκ ἐν ναύταις ἀλλ' ὡς ἀνέγραψεν ἡ γραφή, ἐν ἁλιεῦσιν ἀριθμητέον. Ἔστω δὲ καὶ ὁ Λευὴς τελώνης ἀκολουθήσας τῷ Ἰησοῦ· ἀλλ' οὔτι γε τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ τῶν ἀποστόλων αὐτοῦ ἦν εἰ μὴ κατά τινα τῶν ἀντιγράφων τοῦ κατὰ Μάρκον εὐαγγελίου. Τῶν δὲ λοιπῶν οὐ μεμαθήκαμεν τὰ ἔργα, ὅθεν πρὸ τῆς μαθητείας τοῦ Ἰησοῦ περιεποίουν ἑαυτοῖς τὰς τροφάς. / 62 And after such statements, showing his ignorance even of the number of the apostles, he proceeds thus: "Jesus having gathered around him ten or eleven persons of notorious character, the very wickedest of publicans and sailors, fled in company with them from place to place, and obtained his living in a shameful and importunate manner." Let us to the best of our power see what truth there is in such a statement. It is manifest to us all who possess the Gospel narratives, which Celsus does not appear even to have read, that Jesus selected twelve apostles, and that of these Matthew alone was a publican; that when he calls them indiscriminately sailors, he probably means James and John, because they left their ship and their father Zebedee, and followed Jesus; for Peter and his brother Andrew, who employed a net to gain their necessary subsistence, must be classed not as sailors, but as the Scripture describes them, as fishermen. And Leves also, who was a follower of Jesus, may have been a publican; but he was not of the number of the apostles, except according to a statement in one of the copies of Mark's Gospel. And we have not ascertained the employments of the remaining disciples, by which they earned their livelihood before becoming disciples of Jesus.

That last passage, the one from Origen, is of interest for several reasons.

First, Origen upbraids Celsus for saying that Jesus gathered "ten or eleven" persons to himself, instead of specifying twelve. What I wonder, I suppose, is whether the apostolic lists and mentions of the Twelve might not be among the last parts of the gospel narratives to have been added. What if Celsus used gospel proto-texts which did not have Twelve official disciples? Collecting just speaking or acting parts from our four canonical gospels, one can conjure a list of around 10 or 11, more or less: Levi, Matthew, James, John, Andrew, Peter, Judas, Philip, Thomas, Nathanael, and Nicodemus? Of course, this list comes from our extant canonical gospels; if proto-gospels existed, it would not be easy to be sure which disciples were named as having roles in the narrative. In a post which is going to indulge in more than its fair share of conjecture already, this particular notion is even further afield than the rest will be. But I do wonder why Celsus would not specify 12, assuming he is being cited fairly.

Second, Celsus seems to have written about publicans (plural) among Jesus' followers. Origen again upbraids him for this, conceding that both Matthew and Levi may have been publicans, but then averring that only the former was an apostle, thus robbing Celsus of Levi as a possible referent for the plural noun. Origen seems to assume that the ten or eleven worthless fellows which Celsus mentions must rank as apostles or not count at all, but on what basis ought we to follow him in this judgment, given that it seems to rather unfairly import a concept into Celsus' thinking which may not have been there? In our extant texts, Jesus tells Levi to follow him, and Levi does so. If that does not count as Jesus gathering Levi to himself, what would? Rather, if we let Celsus' statement stand, and if we take it seriously (pressing the plural for its literal meaning), there is no reason for him not to have meant precisely Matthew and Levi as the publicans and James and John as the sailors (since they seem to own a boat).

Third, Origen states that he knew a copy of Mark in which Levi was an apostle! I will return to this matter below.

One more patristic notice which separates Levi from Matthew: in his Commentary on the Diatessaron Ephraem Syrus writes that Matthew evangelized amongst the Indians and in Judea, but that Levi (later down the list of names) evangelized below Pontus (Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum, page 560).

To get back to the issue of Matthew and Levi, however, my guess would be that Levi held his place first in the gospel narrative of his calling, before Matthew took over his story in Matthew 9.9. If Matthew had been there first, why would Levi have been ushered in to replace him? I can think of one reason, especially in the case of someone like Marcion: Matthew may have been viewed as a rival evangelist. So I would not say it is impossible for Matthew to have been the converted publican before Levi, but I do think it is less likely. Once Matthew had found a place in the gospel narrative, it seems unlikely that he should have been displaced for the much less illustrious Levi.

Levi may be Lebbaeus.

The spelling of the name Levi evinces some variation. The gospels have Λευί or Λευίς. Clement has the latter. A certain kind of phonetic overlap can yield Λευείς. Origen has Λευὴς.

The pronunciation of this name can start to tilt a bit toward the pronunciation of another name, one which appears only in certain gospel manuscripts. I refer to Lebbaeus:

Matthew 10.2-4: 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus [D Λεββέος, 1141 καὶ Λεββαῖος ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς Θαδδαῖος]; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.

Mark 3.16-19: 16 And He appointed the twelve; and to Simon he gave the name Peter, 17 and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons of Thunder"); 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus [D Λεββαῖον], and Simon the Zealot; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.

Luke 6.13-16: 13 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15 and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Acts 1.13: 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.

Apostolic Constitutions 6.14: 14 On whose account also we, who are now assembled in one place — Peter and Andrew; James and John, sons of Zebedee; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus [Λεββαῖος, codex h Λευαῖος] who is surnamed Thaddaeus; and Simon the Canaanite, and Matthias, who instead of Judas was numbered with us; and James the brother of the Lord and bishop of Jerusalem, and Paul the teacher of the Gentiles, the chosen vessel, having all met together — have written to you this Catholic doctrine for the confirmation of you, to whom the oversight of the universal Church is committed....

Apostolic Constitutions 8.25: 25 And I, Lebbaeus [Λεββαῖος, codex d Λεβαῖος], surnamed Thaddaeus [Θαδδαῖος, codex a Θαδαῖος], make this constitution in regard to widows....

Where Luke and Acts have Jude/Judas of James, and where most manuscripts of Matthew and Mark have Thaddaeus, certain manuscripts of Matthew and Mark (notably Bezae) have Lebbaeus instead. Some of them equate Thaddaeus with Lebbaeus. The Apostolic Constitutions make this same equation; the spelling of Lebbaeus in codex h of 6.14, Λευαῖος, comes very close to looking and sounding something like Λευείς. It has accordingly been suggested by several scholars that Lebbaeus is an attempt to draw Levi into the circle of the twelve, seeing as how his calling by Jesus was given such a specialized treatment in all three synoptics.

I have to admit that it has long bothered me that Levi of Alphaeus does not appear in the apostolic lists, especially in Mark (yet a certain James of Alphaeus does make the list). He is one of only five disciples (alongside Peter, Andrew, James, and John) whose personal calling is narrated; he obeys the summons; why is he not an apostle? Why was his calling narrated instead of, say, that of Simon the Zealot or Philip or Thomas?

My thoughts on this point go in different directions.

On the one hand, as I intimated above, perhaps the apostolic lists were among the last elements added to the gospels, and by the time they were inserted Matthew was already thought to be another name for Levi; hence Levi's absence in favor of the preferred name of Matthew. Mark's apostolic list is embedded in a patch of text which is simply swarming with textual variants, and the list itself begins with possibly the worst example of anacoluthon in the entire gospel. Perhaps both the anacoluthon and the textual variants are the result of the list having been artificially inserted and then possibly tinkered with.

On the other hand, perhaps Levi was on the original list, and Origen still had a copy of Mark in which this was so; at this early stage Levi and Matthew were not yet conflated, so Levi enjoyed his own listing. Once the two men were thought to be one, there was nothing to tie Levi's name to the Levi who was called in Mark 2.13-14 anymore, since that man was thought to be Matthew and Matthew was already on the list, and Levi eventually morphed into Lebbaeus, perhaps under the influence of confusion with Thaddaeus.

I will return to this matter once I have had a chance to lay out some more information about Matthew.

In the meantime, Thaddaeus is not the only apostle equated with Lebbaeus. Pseudo-Hippolytus equates Lebbaeus with Jude/Judas. Luke's apostolic list (along with the list in Acts) lists neither Thaddaeus nor Lebbaeus, but rather Jude/Judas of James. Therefore it must have been a tremendous temptation to equate Jude/Judas with Thaddaeus/Lebbaeus. I imagine this move was made later rather than sooner, however, in the spirit of harmonizing the various gospel accounts.

Matthew is Matthias.

Matthew makes every list of the twelve apostles known to me. Matthias, however, joins the gang only in Acts 1.21-26, after the defection of Judas Iscariot and in order to replace him. This passage creates apologetic work for the likes of Origen, who is left explaining how Jesus can have appeared to the twelve, as 1 Corinthians 15.5 has it, if Judas had already defected:

Origen, Against Celsus 2.65: 65 And why do I say to all? For even with His own apostles and disciples He was not perpetually present, nor did He constantly show Himself to them, because they were not able without intermission to receive His divinity. For His deity was more resplendent after He had finished the economy (of salvation): and this Peter, surnamed Cephas, the first-fruits as it were of the apostles, was enabled to behold, and along with him the twelve, Matthias [τοῦ Ματθίου] having been substituted in room of Judas; and after them He appeared to the five hundred brethren at once, and then to James, and subsequently to all the others besides the twelve apostles, perhaps to the seventy also, and lastly to Paul, as to one born out of due time....

He does the best he can with what he has to work with, I suppose, but his inclusion of Matthias with the twelve during their resurrection appearance defies the chronology of Luke-Acts, which postpones Matthias' election to the apostolate until after Jesus' ascension. But it is not my purpose here to clear up those kinds of chronological discrepancies.

Matthew, of course, is known as one of the principal tradents of the Jesus tradition. Papias, on the authority of his elder John, names Matthew as the author of a collection of logia. Whether that collection is to be equated with our first canonical gospel or not, of course Matthew was named as that gospel's author, as well.

Matthias, interestingly, is also known as an important tradent of the Jesus tradition:

Origen, Homilies on Luke, prologue: For Matthew [Ματθαῖος] and Mark and John and Luke did not take in hand to write, but wrote the gospels full of the holy spirit. Many, therefore, took in hand to order a narrative of these matters which have most manifestly been made known among us. The church has four gospels, heresies very many, of which one is written according to the Egyptians, another according to the twelve apostles. Basilides also dared to write a gospel and to entitle it by his own name. Many, therefore, took in hand to order a narrative of these matters which have most manifestly been made known among us. The church has four gospels, heresies very many, of which one is written according to the Egyptians, another according to the twelve apostles. Basilides also dared to write a gospel and to entitle it by his own name. Many have taken in hand to write, but four gospels only are approved, from which the dogmas about the person of our Lord and savior are to be derived. I know a certain gospel which is called according to Thomas, and one according to Matthias [κατὰ Ματθίαν], and many others we read, lest we should be seen as ignorant on account of those who suppose they know something if they have knowledge of those.

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.25.6: 6 But we have nevertheless felt compelled to give a catalogue of these also, distinguishing those works which according to ecclesiastical tradition are true and genuine and commonly accepted, from those others which, although not canonical but disputed, are yet at the same time known to most ecclesiastical writers — we have felt compelled to give this catalogue in order that we might be able to know both these works and those that are cited by the heretics under the name of the apostles, including, for instance, such books as the Gospels of Peter, of Thomas, of Matthias, or of any others besides them [ὡς Πέτρου καὶ Θωμᾶ καὶ Ματθία ἢ καί τινων παρὰ τούτους ἄλλων εὐαγγέλια περιεχούσας], and the Acts of Andrew and John and the other apostles, which no one belonging to the succession of ecclesiastical writers has deemed worthy of mention in his writings.

The "gospel according to Matthew" is still extant, of course, but there was, according to Origen, also a "gospel according to Matthias." One cannot be sure whether Origen was thinking of the same text which Clement calls the "traditions of Matthias," but it is clear that Matthias was viewed as a fountainhead of dominical traditions:

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 2.9: 9 .... But the beginning is to marvel at matters, as Plato says in the Theaetetus and Matthias [Ματθίας] in the traditions, exhorting: "Marvel at things present, placing this down as the first degree of the knowledge of the beyond," which also is written in the gospel according to the Hebrews: "He who marveled shall reign, and he who reigned shall rest." ....

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 3.4, writing of the gnostics: 4 .... They say that Matthias [τὸν Ματθίαν] also taught thus: "To fight against the flesh and misuse it, in no way giving in to it for unchastised pleasure, and to increase the soul through faith and knowledge." ....

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 7.13: 13 .... And they say that Matthias the apostle in the traditions [Ματθίαν τὸν ἀπόστολον ἐν ταῖς Παραδόσεσι] says at every turn, "If the neighbor of an elect one sins, the elect one sins. For, if he had led himself as the word dictates, the neighbor would have been ashamed of his life so as not to sin."

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 7.17: 17 .... But some of the heresies are addressed by the name [of the founder], as that of Valentinus and that of Marcion and that of Basilides, and they boast that the glory of Matthias [Ματθίου] is attached to them. For, just as the teaching of all the apostles is one, so also the tradition. ....

Matthias seems to have been especially important for gnostics like Basilides:

Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 7.8: 8 Basilides, then, and Isidore the legitimate child and disciple of Basilides say that Matthias [Ματθίαν] spoke to them apocryphal words which he had heard from the savior, having been taught in private. We see, therefore, how said Basilides together with Isidore and their entire chorus make a liar, not simply of Matthias [Ματθίου] alone, but even also of his savior. .... They, in the first instance, laying hold on this borrowed and furtively derived tenet from the Peripatetic (sage), play upon the folly of those who herd together with them. For Aristotle, born many generations before Basilides, first lays down a system in The Categories concerning homonymous words. And these heretics bring this (system) to light as if it were peculiarly their own, and as if it were some novel (doctrine), and some secret disclosure from the discourses of Matthias [καὶ τῶν Ματθίου λόγων κρυφίων τινῶν ἕν<α> διασαφοῦσιν].

The book of Thomas the Contender opens with the following: "The secret words that the savior spoke to Judas Thomas which I, even I, Mathaias, wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with one another." Here Matthias is associated with Thomas, reminding me of how Origen in his homily on Luke (the quotation of which I gave above) mentioned the spurious gospels of Thomas and Matthias in the same breath. Recall also that Eusebius (as quoted above) mentioned the spurious gospels of Peter, of Thomas, and of Matthias in the same breath. So Matthias can find himself paired either with Thomas or with both Thomas and Peter as key tradents for what the orthodox church fathers would consider spurious tradition from and about Jesus.

It is notable, then, that in all three of the synoptic apostolic lists Matthew is listed side by side with Thomas (the same is true of the list given in the Apostolic Constitutions). And it is notable that the gospel of Thomas links Matthias both with Peter and with Thomas:

Thomas 13: 13 Jesus said to His disciples, "Compare me to someone and tell Me whom I am like." Simon Peter said to Him, "You are like a righteous angel." Matthew said to Him, "You are like a wise philosopher." Thomas said to Him, "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom You are like." Jesus said, "I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated by the bubbling spring which I have measured out." And He took him and withdrew and told him three things. When Thomas returned to his companions, they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?" Thomas said to them, "If I tell you one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up."

And it is notable that Matthew and Matthias are actually just Greek variants of the same Hebrew name!

A. F. J. Klijn, Jewish-Christian Gospel Tradition, page 78: Both the name Matthew and Matthias are translations of the Hebrew מתתיה. However, this name is also rendered in Greek by words like ματθαθίας, ματθίας, ματταθίας, ματταθία, μαθθίας, μαθθαθίας, μαθθανίας and ματθιας. From this it appears that the name Matthias was known among Greek-speaking Jews. If Hebrew- or Aramaic-speaking Jewish-Christian circles knew an apostle by the name מתתיה, it is easy to explain how that this name was translated as Matthias by some Greek-speaking Christians and as Matthew by others. The occurrence of two or even more different renderings of the same Hebrew name is quite normal. The result of all this is that Matthias in this context seems to be no one other than Matthew.*

* This is not the place to look at the problem related to Acts 1,12-26, but we wonder whether this story and the identification of Levi and Matthew in the Gospel of Matthew are not two independent efforts to legitimize a certain "Matthew" who was only known from the traditional lists of the apostles.

"Matthias in this context seems to be no one other than Matthew." Didymus the Blind reports of the gospel of the Hebrews:

Gospel of the Hebrews 3: 3 [Οὔχ ὁ Μαθθαῖος ἀλλὰ] Μαθθίας [καὶ ὁ̣ Λ̣ε̣υ̣ὶς εἷς διώνυμοί εἰσιν.] .... / 3 [Not Matthew but rather] Matthias [and Levi are one person with a double name.] ....

It is not clear to me whether this Jewish-Christian gospel actually made a point of identifying Matthias with Levi instead of Matthew or whether it merely used the Greek form Matthias and Didymus assumed that it was the Matthias of Acts 1.21-26 instead of the apostle Matthew. At any rate, both Matthew and Matthias were valued as tradents of Christian tradition, both were said to have written texts that could be called gospels, both were associated with Peter and especially with Thomas in their capacity as tradents, and both share the same Hebrew name. I am inclined to agree with Klijn and suppose that Matthew and Matthias are both shadows of the same original figure. And even more evidence for their identity will be given later in altogether a different context.

If Matthew and Matthias are originally the same person, however, what is to explain Matthias taking over Judas' vacant seat among the apostles while Matthew makes every single list from the beginning? My suggested answer to this question involves taking a very close look at the apostolic lists.

I start with Judas. As evidenced by the traditional material in 1 Corinthians 15.3-11, Judas was not originally conceived of as one of the twelve:

1 Corinthians 15.3-11: 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Judas' name must have been elbowed into the lists somehow. But notice that, if we remove Judas' name from the synoptic lists, there are actually still twelve names to account for in the Eastern text tradition, the result of Matthew and Mark naming Thaddaeus where Luke-Acts names Jude of James:

Matthew: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot.

Mark: Simon Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot.

Luke: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Jude of James, and Judas Iscariot.

Acts: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Jude of James.

All the rest of the names line up perfectly (cananaean [קַנָאַן] being the Aramaic term for a zealot). What I think has happened is that, when Judas' name was added to the list of twelve (in order to ramp up the degree of betrayal when he turns Jesus over to the authorities), in one line of the tradition Jude/Judas of James was nudged out (probably because he and Judas unfortunately shared a name) while in another line it was Thaddaeus who was nudged out. So now we have the following hypothetical list of apostles from before the time when Judas was given the rank:

List: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean/Zealot, Jude/Judas of James.

Given what we have learned so far with regard to Levi, however, I think we can go further. Recall that the Western text tradition had Lebbaeus for Thaddaeus. Recall also Klijn's suggestion that Matthew (figuratively) taking over Levi's tax booth in Matthew 9.9 and Matthias (literally) taking over Judas' apostolic commission in Acts 1.21-26 were independent efforts to legitimize Matthew. Well, if we include the name Lebbaeus (= Levi?) as one to be accounted for, we still have one too many for our apostolic list. But, granting the basic identity of Matthew and Matthias, we have evidence that this Matthew/Matthias was not originally one of the twelve, do we not?

Acts 1.21-26: 21 "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us — 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us — one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." 23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

So, if we remove Matthew/Matthias from the list, we now finally have 12 names, including Levi/Lebbaeus:

List: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Levi/Lebbaeus, James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Jude/Judas of James, Simon the Cananaean/Zealot.

The overall progress of these replacements would look something like this:

Stage 1: The/an original list is formed.

Simon/Peter, Andrew, James, John;
Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Levi/Lebbaeus;
James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Jude of James, Simon the Cananaean.

Stage 2a: Matthew takes Levi/Lebbaeus' spot on the list.

Simon/Peter, Andrew, James, John;
Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew;
James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Jude of James, Simon the Cananaean.

Stage 2b: Matthew takes a spot on the list, and Lebbaeus moves over to replace Thaddaeus.

Simon Peter, James, John, Andrew;
Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas;
James of Alphaeus, Lebbaeus, Jude of James, Simon the Cananaean.

Stage 3a: Judas takes Jude/Judas of James' spot on the list.

Matthew
Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John;
Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew;
James, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean, Judas Iscariot.

Mark
Simon Peter, James, John, Andrew;
Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas;
James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean, Judas Iscariot.

Stage 3b: Judas takes Thaddaeus' spot on the list.

Luke
Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John;
Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas;
James of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Jude of James, Judas Iscariot.

Acts
Peter, John, James, Andrew;
Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew;
James of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Jude of James. [Judas noted as having defected.]

An alternate reconstruction might have the lists being composed only after both Matthew/Matthias and Judas Iscariot were thought to have been members of the twelve (maybe even composed by the evangelists themselves), with the name variations (Thaddaeus, Lebbaeus, Jude of James) coming into being for unrelated reasons. My reconstruction has the advantage of explaining the different names at the same time as it explains why Matthew and Matthias are so similar and why 1 Corinthians 15.5 does not seem to know that Judas had betrayed Jesus and was no longer around to receive an appearance with the rest of the twelve. It also explains why Levi is not on the list: by the time the list surfaces in our extant gospels, he had already been identified either with Matthew (stage 2a) or with Thaddaeus (stage 2b, to make room for Matthew).

To be continued in the next post....
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:01 pm

Continued from the previous post....

Matthias is not Zacchaeus.

Among our extant gospels, only Luke tells us about Zacchaeus:

Luke 19.1-10: 1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zacchaeus [Ζακχαῖος]; he was a chief publican [ἀρχιτελώνης] and he was rich. 3 Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." 8 Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

(There is a lot going on in this pericope that does not directly affect my points on this thread. Kunigunde, for example, has some good observations about Zacchaeus and the "early watchmen" elsewhere on this forum.)

The name Zacchaeus is not a Lucan invention:

2 Maccabees 10.19: 19 Maccabeus left Simon and Joseph, and also Zacchaeus [Ζακχαῖον] and his men, a force sufficient to besiege them; and he himself set off for places where he was more urgently needed.

But its meaning does have something to do with purity in Hebrew (זָכָה, zakah, to be pure), often in connection with economic justice:

Proverbs 20.9-10: 9 Who can say, "I have purified [זִכִּ֣יתִי, ἁγνὴν ἔχειν] my heart, I am pure from my sin?" 10 Differing weights and differing measures, both of them are abominable to Yahweh.

Isaiah 1.16-17: 16 "Wash yourselves; purify yourselves [הִזַּכּ֔וּ, καθαροὶ γένεσθε]; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil; 17 learn to do good; seek justice; reprove the ruthless; defend the orphan; plead for the widow."

Micah 6.11: 11 "Can I purify [הַאֶזְכֶּ֖ה, δικαιωθήσεται] wicked scales and a bag of deceptive weights?"

It stands to reason, then, that the name Zacchaeus was chosen here precisely because of his decision to leave his obviously corruptible post as a publican (= tax collector).

In my view, however, Zacchaeus was also given this name as a replacement for another name: that of Levi. The stories of Zacchaeus and Levi form a doublet. Both men are publicans (Zacchaeus being a chief publican); both are called from their tax booths. Both host a dinner for Jesus. In both Jesus is accused of dining with the wrong sorts of people. Obviously, any doublet involving Zacchaeus and Levi can potentially also rope in Matthew; Clement of Alexandria writes in chapter 13 of Who Is the Rich Man Who Is Being Saved? that Jesus "bids Zacchaeus and Matthew, the rich publicans, entertain Him hospitably." So what is happening here?

I think that, as Matthew/Matthias began to infiltrate the Jesus stories (in an obvious bid to make the author of Jesus' logia an apostle), he began both to displace Levi and to create story doublets.

We ought to note, first of all, that some in the early church identified Matthias with Zacchaeus!

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 4.6: 6 .... It is said, therefore, that Zacchaeus [Ζακχαῖον], or, according to some, Matthias [Ματθίαν], the chief of the publicans, on hearing that the Lord had deigned to come to him, said, Lord, and if I have taken anything by false accusation, I restore him fourfold; on which the Savior said, "The Son of man, on coming today, has found that which was lost." ....

And why not? Matthew is a publican, and Matthew is the same as Matthias, and Zacchaeus is a publican, and their stories (ripped off from poor Levi) are very similar, after all.

It can sometimes even be hard to tell who is being identified with whom:

The Gospel of Bartholomew (the Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ): The Father, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, laid His hand on the head of Peter. All that is bound or loosed by him on earth shall be so in heaven; none who is not ordained by him shall be accepted. Each of the apostles was separately blessed. Andrew, James, John, Philip (the cross will precede him wherever he goes), Thomas, Bartholomew (he will be the depositary of the mysteries of the Son), Matthew (his shadow will heal the sick) James son of Alphaeus, Simon Zelotes, Judas of James, Thaddeus, Matthias who was rich and left all to follow Jesus). [Link: http://gnosis.org/library/gosbart.htm.]

Budge's edition, page 204: And [thou,] Matthias, the blessed Apostle, the sweet odour of thee shall go about through all the world, and through all heaven. For thou wast a rich man as this world goeth, and thou didst forsake everything for the sake of My Son Jesus, [the companion of] My side, and the spring.... of My heart, and the [string] of My tongue. In peace. Amen.

In this text, Matthew and Matthias are different apostles. But Matthias leaves all to follow Jesus. In Luke, Zacchaeus leaves all; in both Luke and Mark, Levi leaves his booth and follows Jesus; and in Matthew, it is Matthew who leaves his booth and follows Jesus. So is Matthias here being equated with Levi? Or with Matthew, despite receiving a listing separate from him? It is not clear to me; but this only goes to show how tightly connected these stories of Matthew, Levi, and Zacchaeus actually are. (I think that the canonical story of Jesus and the rich man is connected here, as well, but I have not done enough in that direction to present anything here and now about it.)

My suggestion is as follows. Levi came first; if Matthias had come first, it is hard to imagine swaths of the tradition replacing him with the less well known name of Levi; and, if Zacchaeus had come first, it is hard to imagine why Levi would have so thoroughly replaced him as to leave him only the one little doublet in Luke. Besides, if one were replacing either Matthew/Matthias or Levi with a different name (for reasons to be adduced shortly), Zacchaeus seems quite the fitting choice, given its etymology. (I readily admit, once again, that it is not impossible that, say, Matthew came first and was replaced by authors or editors for whom Matthew was actually a rival tradent; but I have to make a choice here, so I am choosing what I think is the more likely option.)

At some point, Levi was replaced by Matthew/Matthias. This explains Matthew 9.9. However, we still have to consider the story doublet involving Zacchaeus, since the gospel of Luke contains both stories: that of Levi and that of Zacchaeus. It is time to look at both stories more carefully.

The story of Levi takes place by the shore near Capernaum (Mark 2.1, 13), a village (at best) on Lake Tiberius (the Sea of Galilee) in Galilee:

Mark 2.14-17: 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi [Λευίν Vaticanus & Washingtonianus, Λευί Alexandrinus, Λευεί Sinaiticus, Ἰάκωβον Bezae] the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He says to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him. 15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house [καὶ γίνεται κατακεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτου], and many publicans and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and publicans, they said to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with publicans and sinners?" 17 And hearing this, Jesus says to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Matthew 9.9-13: 9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the publican's booth; and He says to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him. 10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the publicans and sinners?" 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Luke 5.27-32: 27 After that He went out and noticed a publican named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow Me." 28 And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. 29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of publicans and other people who were reclining at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

It seems to me to be a bit unrealistic that Capernaum should have "many" publicans who might dine with Jesus after he had called Levi (or Matthew, for that matter). Capernaum is scarcely mentioned at all outside the gospels. Josephus says (Life 72 §403) that after falling from his horse at one point he was taken to a village (κώμην) called Kepharnokos (Κεφαρνωκὸν, as per Niese, but I am given to understand that Κεφαρνωμών is present in some copies). Elsewhere he mentions (Wars 3.10.8 §519) a fountain or spring known as Capharnaum (Καφαρναούμ), spelled exactly as we find it in many early manuscripts of the gospels, though the Byzantine tradition prefers Capernaum (Καπερναούμ), which is what gives us the modern English transliteration. It is uncertain whether these two different place names refer to the same location. In his Onomasticon Eusebius gives us no more information than can be found on the pages of the gospels.

So Capernaum seems unlikely to have required "many" publicans to service it. But, you know, maybe the evangelists just are not being realistic; that happens.

But it also seems noteworthy that Mark 2.13 does not transition into 2.14 very well:

Mark 2.13-20: 13 And He went out again by the seashore; and all the multitude were coming to Him, and He was teaching them. 14 And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he rose and followed Him. 15 And it came about that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax-gatherers and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and publicans, they began saying to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with publicans and sinners?" 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." 18 And John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they came and said to Him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" 19 And Jesus said to them, "While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom do not fast, do they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day."

Jesus goes out to the shore, is teaching by the sea, and then suddenly he is passing by. When "passing by" is used in Mark 1.16, Jesus is coming into Galilee; in John 9.1, Jesus is going out of the temple. Matthew 9.9 at least adds "from there" to give this "passing by" a point of reference.

Also, in whose house is the feast held? It is unclear whether "his house" in verse 15 is Jesus' house (refer to 2.1, where Jesus is said to be "at home," ἐν οἴκῳ) or Levi's house.

The story of Zacchaeus (above), on the other hand, takes place in Jericho, by all accounts a gorgeous city not far from Jerusalem. At this point in Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, through Jericho, this is all we find in the gospel of Mark:

Mark 10.46: 46 And they came to Jericho. And as He was going out from Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.

Jesus enters Jericho, and then Jesus exits Jericho, with nothing reported at that locale. There is nothing quite like this in the rest of the gospel. My suggestion is that the calling of Levi originally occupied this empty slot in Mark's itinerary. In this context, the journey through Jericho on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus "passing by" makes perfect sense:

Mark 2.14-17; 10.46-52 (spliced): 10.46a Then they came to Jericho. / 2.14 And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he rose and followed Him. 15 And it came about that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax-gatherers and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax-gatherers, they began saying to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with tax-gatherers and sinners?" 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." / 10.46b And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48 And many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49 And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage, arise! He is calling for you." 50 And casting aside his cloak, he jumped up, and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!" 52 And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

Also, contextually it is clear now that this is Levi's house (whereas in the story's position in Mark 2 it is unclear), since Jesus is on the road and not in his hometown; the author flippantly referring to "his house" without specifically letting the reader know which house is in view is thus more understandable. Furthermore, the theme of following Jesus in the Levi story lines up with the theme of following Jesus in the Bartimaeus story immediately after Jericho. Jesus' words about "those who are sick" made sense in Mark 2 after the healing of the paralytic (2.1-12), but they also make sense here right before the healing of blind Bartimaeus.

Furthermore, Jericho is a much more likely candidate for hosting "many" publicans. James R. Edwards writes on page 529 of The Gospel According to Luke that "Jericho was a large city on Judea's eastern frontier where customs would have been levied." Unlike Capernaum, Jericho attracts much ancient attention. Strabo mentions Jericho (Geography 2), though he focuses on its environs rather than on the city itself; both Pliny (Natural History 5.15) and Josephus (Wars 3.3.5 §55) list it as one of the (ten, or eleven if you count Jerusalem) toparchies of Judea. Josephus also relates that Jericho was fortified (Wars 4.7.5 §431-432; 4.9.1 §486; refer also to 1 Maccabees 9.50), that it was the city to which Herod retired to die (Antiquities 17.6.5 §173), as he had a palace there, and that it had an amphitheater (Antiquities 17.8.2 §194); he later lists the city of Jericho alongside the districts of Galilee and Idumea as having provided many men for the protest against Sabinus (Antiquities 17.10.2 §254). He waxes eloquent in describing the natural beauty of its physical situation (Wars 4.9.1 §459-475), mentioning its mild climate, its many palm trees, and its exotic natural products, including an expensive kind of balsam. In their compendious Encyclopaedia Biblica Cheyne and Black remark under their entry for Jericho, with respect to the story of Zacchaeus allegedly having taken place there (a story whose historicity they reject), that "not a few 'publicans' must have been needed to secure the revenues accruing from the traffic in the famous balsam...."

One might wonder why Luke places the healing of the blind beggar (Luke does not name him Bartimaeus as Mark does) before Jericho. I believe it was to put the parable of the pounds right after Zacchaeus (theme: money) and right before the triumphal entry (theme: coming of the kingdom, Luke 19.11).

The movement of this pericope from Jericho to Capernaum in the gospel of Mark is explicable in terms of the kinds of stories being told in Mark 2.1-3.6: they are controversy stories, and they have been grouped thematically as such.

So my hypothesis is that in some early gospel text the calling of Levi originally took place in Jericho, and that a later gospel text moved the calling of Levi to Capernaum. I further suggest, along the lines of Klijn's idea, that along the way some tradent changed Levi to Matthew/Matthias. I cannot yet tell whether this change was made only in Capernaum or also in Jericho; in the latter story, either Levi was changed to Zacchaeus and then Zacchaeus to Matthias or Levi was changed to Matthias and then Matthias to Zacchaeus. The changing of somebody's name to Matthew/Matthias both in Capernaum and in Jericho, apparently independently, suggests that knowledge that Matthew/Matthias was a publican was widespread and was known by both (sets of) tradents who made this name change. In either case, the changing of either Levi or Matthias to Zacchaeus was (probably/possibly) done in order to retain both the Capernaum and the Jericho versions of the story without suggesting that either Levi or Matthew/Matthias was called twice, though retaining conflicting stories like that is certainly possible; I refer the interested reader to the weird case of the Arabic Diatessaron:

Arabic Diatessaron:

6.46: And when Jesus went out of the synagogue, he saw a man sitting among the publicans, named Matthew, and he said unto him, "Come after me." And he rose, and followed him. [In Capernaum.]

7.9-10: And when he passed by, he saw Levi [ETA: actually James in the original] the son of Alphaeus sitting among the tax-gatherers; and he said unto him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. [Location unspecified.]

7.25-28: And after that, Jesus went out, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting among the publicans, and he said unto him, "Follow me." And he left everything, and rose, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house. And there was a great multitude of the publicans and others sitting with him. [Apparently in Capernaum.]

8.18-23: And when Jesus saw the multitudes, he went up to the mountain. And he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve; and they are those whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Cephas, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip and Bartholomew, and Matthew and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon which was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas the Iscariot, being he that had betrayed him.

31.15-24: And when Jesus entered and passed through Jericho, there was a man named Zacchaeus, rich, and chief of the publicans. And he desired to see Jesus who he was; and he was not able for the pressure of the crowd, because Zacchaeus was little of stature. And he hastened, and went before Jesus, and went up into an unripe fig tree to see Jesus: for he was to pass thus. And when Jesus came to that place, he saw him, and said unto him, Make haste, and come down, Zacchaeus: today I must be in thy house. And he hastened, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they all saw, they murmured, and said, He hath gone in and lodged with a man that is a sinner. So Zacchaeus stood, and said unto Jesus, My Lord, now half of my possessions I give to the poor, and what I have unjustly taken from every man I give him fourfold. Jesus said unto him, Today is salvation come to this house, because this man also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and save the thing that was lost. [In Jericho.]

Levi's calling is actually narrated twice! Matthew's calling is retained, and so is Zacchaeus'. Poor Levi still fails to make the list of twelve, however.

ETA: John2 has called my attention to a note on Levi the son of Alphaeus by F. C. Burkitt, in which he clarifies that the Arabic Diatessaron actually reads "James" and not "Levi" at 7.9-10.

Finally, I am going to post two diagrams to facilitate understanding of my proposals on this thread. The only difference between them is in which came first to replace Levi in Jericho: Zacchaeus or Matthias. The gospel designations (K1, K2; L1, L2; M1, M2) are colored blue for texts of the Matthean variety, red for texts of the Marcan variety, and green for texts of the Lucan variety. K2 is represented by our canonical Mark, whereas K1 would be a lost ur-Mark, presumably. Our canonical Luke is represented either by L1 or by L2, depending on which diagram you consult; the other Lucan text (L1 or L2) has been lost, but memories of it are preserved in Clement of Alexandria (as detailed above). The split between M1 and M2 may be completely unnecessary; the called apostle there may have been Matthew all along (and not the variant Matthias). Finally, the dotted line indicates the shared knowledge that the apostle Matthew/Matthias was a publican: one (set of) tradent(s) replaced the fellow in Capernaum with Matthew/Matthias, whereas another replaced the fellow in Jericho with him.

Ben.

ETA: I am well aware that there are loose ends here. For example, what is up with James of Alphaeus? Not only does he share a relative with Levi of Alphaeus, but codex Bezae actually has a James being called in Capernaum instead of Levi. And could there be something going on between Jude of James and James of Alphaeus? Furthermore, I mentioned above the possible connection of the rich man to the issue at hand. Also, there is overlap between the traditions of Matthias and the gospel of the Hebrews which ought to be pursued. But I was already waxing wordy (unable even to contain it all in a single OP), so this will have to do for now.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:02 pm

Diagram 1:

Levi, Matthew, & Matthias 1.png
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:03 pm

Diagram 2:

Levi, Matthew, & Matthias 2.png
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:27 am

Has anyone approached the question from the possibility that the literary Levi was replaced by the literary Matthew for an ideological/theological reason? -- The Call of Levi not to be one of the Twelve
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:23 am

For reference, from my notes for this thread, here are the bare lists of the twelve with which I was working:

Matthew: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot.

Mark: Simon Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot.

Luke: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Jude of James, and Judas Iscariot.

Acts: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Jude of James.

Epistle of the Apostles: John, Thomas, Peter, Andrew, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Nathanael, Judas Zelotes, and Cephas.

Ebionite Gospel: John, James, Simon, Andrew, <lacuna?>, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot, and Matthew ("you").

Apostolic Church Order: John, Matthew, Peter, Andrew, Philip, Simon, James, Nathanael, Thomas, Cephas, Bartholomew, and Jude of James.

Apostolic Constitutions: Peter, Andrew; James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James of Alphaeus, Lebbaeus Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, Matthias instead of Judas, James the brother of the Lord, and Paul the teacher of the Gentiles.

Papias lists seven disciples: Andrew, Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John, Matthew. John 21 lists seven, as well (assuming that his "sons of Zebedee" number two as in the synoptic gospels): Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Another loose end (one of many), as well:

Clementine Recognitions 1.60: 60 And, behold, one of the disciples of John asserted that John was the Christ, and not Jesus, inasmuch as Jesus Himself declared that John was greater than all men and all prophets. "If, then," said he, "he be greater than all, he must be held to be greater than Moses, and than Jesus himself. But if he be the greatest of all, then must he be the Christ." To this Simon the Canaanite, answering, asserted that John was indeed greater than all the prophets, and all who are born of women, yet that he is not greater than the Son of man. Accordingly Jesus is also the Christ, whereas John is only a prophet: and there is as much difference between him and Jesus, as between the forerunner and Him whose forerunner he is; or as between Him who gives the law, and him who keeps the law. Having made these and similar statements, the Canaanite also was silent. After him Barnabas, who also is called Matthias, who was substituted as an apostle in the place of Judas, began to exhort the people that they should not regard Jesus with hatred, nor speak evil of Him. For it were far more proper, even for one who might be in ignorance or in doubt concerning Jesus, to love than to hate Him. For God has affixed a reward to love, a penalty to hatred. "For the very fact," said he, "that He assumed a Jewish body, and was born among the Jews, how has not this incited us all to love Him?" When he had spoken this, and more to the same effect, he stopped.

So here Barnabas and Matthias are equated. I have not yet found this equation duplicated anywhere else.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:58 am

Didymus the blind identified Levi and Matthias
See NT Apocrypha

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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:00 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:58 am
Didymus the blind identified Levi and Matthias
See NT Apocrypha

Andrew Criddle
Yes, that is in the OP.

ETA: I did not mention my motivation in the OP, but Didymus' use of the gospel of the Hebrews in this way was one of the primary inspirations for this entire line of inquiry on my part.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:06 pm

I suspect that Epiphanius's 'filthy' sect (borborites) have something to do with a sect identifying themselves as 'pure' or 'purified' by baptism:

... Thus some actually call them “Borborians.” But others call them Koddians—“qodda” means “dish” or “bowl” in Syriac—because no one can eat with them. Food is served to them separately in their defilement, and no one can eat even bread with them because of the pollution. (7) And so, regarding them as outcastes, their fellow immigrants have named them Koddians. But in Egypt the same people are known as Stratiotics and Phibionites, as I said in part earlier. But some call them Zacchaeans, others, Barbelites ...

The name interestingly is attached to the 'Josephus' figure in the Talmud and early history of Judaism at the time of the War too.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:11 pm

Neusner says Zakkai was the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew Zaddiq https://books.google.com/books?id=sVS4Q ... me&f=false

This much is clear from the Aramaic translation of Scripture, for in Genesis 6.9, the Hebrew reads, "These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation," and the Aramaic translator used the word zakkai. It was also the name of a clan that returned from Babylon; listed among those who came back to Judah were "the sons of Zakkai, seven hundred and sixty" (Ezra 2.9, Nehemiah 7.14).
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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