Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:20 pm

rakovsky wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:32 pm
...the ancient Israelite Patriarch Levi, who was not the forefather of a separate tribe.
What does this mean?
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by rakovsky » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:23 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:56 pm
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.
You made a good point that I did not think of. The Gospel According to the Hebrews was considered written in Hebrew (maybe actually Aramaic), so in that language Matthew the publican would be rendered in its Hebrew form that looks like Matthai. The Greek readers could interpret that as Matthai or Matthew, so we have a discrepancy between the interpretations by Didymus and Jerome, with Didymus reading Matthai and Jerome reading "Matthew."

Anyway, it looks like Levi was Matthew's original name and Matthew was his Christian name. The reasons for this are that:
(A) If you look at a chronological harmony of the gospels, Matthew's calling shows up where Levi's should be.
(B) Having Christian names as second names was common.
(C) In Matthew 9:9, Matthew refers to "a man called Matthew" instead of just saying "Matthew the publican".

I get the theory that Matthew was rewriting Mark and switching himself in for Levi. But at least if you take the gospels at face value, Levi simply is Matthew. I also understand what you said earlier about how Levi and Matthew are both Semitic names and it's weird to have two Semitic names. But Matthew is a Hellenized version of the Hebrew "Mattiyahu", and Matthai appears to be a closer translation. Besides that, Matthew was directing his gospel at a specifically Jewish audience according to many scholars. Further, does a "Christian" name have to be a Greek one? Some of the Christians seemed to be in the habit of getting second names, and while Simon Peter's Christian name was Cephas (Greek for rock), maybe he could have had the Aramaic "Kepa" (rock) as another version of Cephas.

I think that argument (C) above is not explicit, but it seems like a possible allusion in Matthew 9 to Matthew having two names.

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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by rakovsky » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:25 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:20 pm
rakovsky wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:32 pm
...the ancient Israelite Patriarch Levi, who was not the forefather of a separate tribe.
What does this mean?
I was just speculating on possible ideological reasons for Levi not to be one of the 12 apostles, and I thought of how the 12 apostles were based on the fact that there were 12 Patriarchs of Israel.
There was a Tribe of Levi, the Kohanem, but it was not a landed tribe.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Levi

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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:35 pm

rakovsky wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:23 pm
Anyway, it looks like Levi was Matthew's original name and Matthew was his Christian name. The reasons for this are that:
(A) If you look at a chronological harmony of the gospels, Matthew's calling shows up where Levi's should be.
(B) Having Christian names as second names was common.
(C) In Matthew 9:9, Matthew refers to "a man called Matthew" instead of just saying "Matthew the publican".
What does a "Christian name" mean in this context? Besides:

From Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, chapter 5:

I have argued that the identification of Thaddaeus and Judas the son of James as the same man is a very plausible harmonization, in the light of plentiful onomastic evidence. But the identification of Matthew with Levi the son of Alphaeus — a traditional case of harmonizing the Gospels in view of the parallel passages Matt 9:9 (about Matthew) and Mark 2:14 (about Levi) — must, on the same grounds of the onomastic evidence available to us, be judged implausible.

Mark tells the story of the call of Levi son of Alphaeus to be a disciple of Jesus in 2:14 (followed by Luke 5:27, where the man is called simply Levi) and lists Matthew, with no further qualification, in his list of the Twelve. It is clear that Mark did not himself consider these two the same person. In view of the other details Mark does include in his list of the Twelve, he would surely have pointed out Matthew’s identity with Levi there had he known it. However, this may not be entirely decisive, since Mark may have drawn his story about Levi and his list of the Twelve from different sources and not known that Levi and Matthew were the same person.

Secondly, however, 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. Among Palestinian Jews of this period the only possibly comparable examples of the same individual having two Semitic names appear to be these: (1) on an ostracon from Masada, Simon (in Hebrew script Sîmô) with the additional name Benaiah; (2) on a legal document in the Babatha archive, Joseph with the additional name Zaboud (in Greek script Zaboudou); (3) from Epiphanius (Panarion 42), a leader of a Jewish sect called Judah with the additional name Addan or Annan; (4) a temple official in a list of officials in the Mishna (Sheqalim 5:1), called Petahiah and said to be also Mordecai; and (5) Tehina son of Perisha, identified in Sifre Deuteronomy 240 as the same person as Eleazar ben Dinai. About these examples we may first observe that all except one of these individuals bear one very common Semitic name (Simon, Joseph, Judah, or Eleazar) along with a relatively unusual one (unless we prefer Annan to Addan in the third case). This is what we should expect if this phenomenon occurred at all: the unusual second name would help to distinguish the individual from others bearing his common name. In this respect, they are not really comparable with the case of a person bearing the two common names Matthew and Levi.

However, it is by no means clear that any of the five examples just given are valid. (3) and (5) are from late and unreliable sources. While the Mishnaic list of temple officials from which (4) comes is probably reliable, the information that Petahiah was also called Mordecai is an added note, and this note itself explains the (very unusual) name Petahiah as a nickname. Not much confidence can be placed in this example. In example (2), the name Zaboud, while certainly Semitic and occurring in the Bible (Ezra 8:8), was popular with other Semitic peoples and found in Palmyran, Nabatean, Idumean, and Egyptian use. In this instance, as the second name of Babatha’s first husband’s grandfather, it may well be treated as a Nabatean and non-Jewish name, which a Jew living in Nabatea might adopt in the same way as other Jews adopted a Greek or Latin second name. Finally, in (1) bny may be not the name Benaiah but a nickname given Simon because of his occupation: “the builder.” Alternatively, since it was the name of David’s famous general, it might be a nickname.

We must conclude that the evidence makes it very unlikely indeed that a disciple of Jesus was called both Matthew and Levi the son of Alphaeus.

I get the theory that Matthew was rewriting Mark and switching himself in for Levi. But at least if you take the gospels at face value....
Which I do not. Why would someone take them at face value?
...Levi simply is Matthew. I also understand what you said earlier about how Levi and Matthew are both Semitic names and it's weird to have two Semitic names. But Matthew is a Hellenized version of the Hebrew "Mattiyahu", and Matthai appears to be a closer translation.
This is not correct. "Matthew" is an Anglicized version of the Hebrew name. Matthaios and Matthias are both Greek transliterations of the Hebrew name, just as Levi is a Greek transliteration of a Hebrew name. And this is exactly what Bauckham argues is practically unheard of: two common Hebrew names for the same individual.
Further, does a "Christian" name have to be a Greek one?
No, of course not. But that is not the issue.
Some of the Christians seemed to be in the habit of getting second names, and while Simon Peter's Christian name was Cephas (Greek for rock)....
This is not correct. Cephas is not Greek for anything.
rakovsky wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:25 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:20 pm
rakovsky wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:32 pm
...the ancient Israelite Patriarch Levi, who was not the forefather of a separate tribe.
What does this mean?
I was just speculating on possible ideological reasons for Levi not to be one of the 12 apostles, and I thought of how the 12 apostles were based on the fact that there were 12 Patriarchs of Israel.
There was a Tribe of Levi, the Kohanem, but it was not a landed tribe.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Levi
Okay, I was not sure what you meant by "a separate tribe." You evidently meant "a landed tribe." I am not sure what that has to do with anything, but carry on.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Martin Klatt » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:33 am

...
Last edited by Martin Klatt on Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:52 am

Martin Klatt wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:33 am
The key here is Alpheus which both Luke and Matthew leave out, because it is actually Ἀλφαίος and that is a Greek word meaning yield or produce usually from agriculture.
Can you please link to or cite a relevant and authoritative source (such as a lexicon) confirming that the name or word Ἀλφαῖος (not the incorrectly accented Ἀλφαίος) means "yield" or "produce" in Greek?
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by rakovsky » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:49 am

Ben,
I thought Cephas must have been Peter's Greek name because Bauckham wrote that a Palestinian Jew wouldn't have two Semitic names. But in the case of Peter, it turns out that he did have two Semitic names, Simon and Cephas, with Cephas, Peter, being his Christian or spiritual name or nickname used in the Church.

Bauckham rules out that Matthew was a nickname. But it seems that it could have been, since Matthew 9 says in the story of Matthew's calling that he was "called Matthew", which reminds me of how Pilate said Jesus was "called the Messiah". Mark describes the calling of the publican Levi, but after narrating the calling, Levi isnt mentioned again. So it seems he could actually be mentioned again, but under his new nickname after his calling.

Bauckham also theorizes that Levi can't be Matthew because Matthew is listed in Mark's list of the 12 apostles and Mark never says they are the same person. I dont know if each of the gospels that use both the names Simon and Peter explain that they are the same person, but anyway it seems like sometimes one of the gospels leaves questions unanswered that a comparison with a different gospel might clear up. For example, you could ask why if Jesus made Levi the son of Alphaeus a follower did Mark not list him as an apostle. And you could theorize that Mark actually did list him under the names of an apostle like Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, or Thaddaeus.

I dont think I have proved this 100% because Mark and Luke never state that Levi is Matthew. It just looks that way because the harmonizations line up, they are both publicans, and a few other factors.

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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:15 am

rakovsky wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:49 am
Ben,
I thought Cephas must have been Peter's Greek name because Bauckham wrote that a Palestinian Jew wouldn't have two Semitic names. But in the case of Peter, it turns out that he did have two Semitic names, Simon and Cephas, with Cephas, Peter, being his Christian or spiritual name or nickname used in the Church.
Yes, Cephas would be a nickname, as it is in the generally accepted version of the story.
Bauckham rules out that Matthew was a nickname. But it seems that it could have been, since Matthew 9 says in the story of Matthew's calling that he was "called Matthew", which reminds me of how Pilate said Jesus was "called the Messiah".
The term λεγόμενος is indeterminate in that sense. Was Nazareth a nickname (Matthew 2.23)? Judas (Matthew 26.14; Luke 22.47)? Gethsemane (Matthew 26.36)? Sychar (John 4.5)? Jesus (John 9.11)? You get the point.

Matthew was a common, ordinary name. So was Levi.
Bauckham also theorizes that Levi can't be Matthew because Matthew is listed in Mark's list of the 12 apostles and Mark never says they are the same person. I dont know if each of the gospels that use both the names Simon and Peter explain that they are the same person....
They do. All of them do: Matthew 4.18; Mark 3.16; Luke 6.14; John 1.42; Peter 15.60; Thomas 13.
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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Charles Wilson » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:05 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:15 am
rakovsky wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:49 am
I dont know if each of the gospels that use both the names Simon and Peter explain that they are the same person....
They do. All of them do: Matthew 4.18; Mark 3.16; Luke 6.14; John 1.42; Peter 15.60; Thomas 13.
No, that is not correct. A "Simon" is given the name "Simon Peter" but the purpose is to hide identities:

John 13: 5 - 9 (RSV):

[5] Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.
[6] He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
[7] Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand."
[8] Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me."
[9] Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"

John 18: 15 - 18, 25 (RSV):

[15] Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus,
[16] while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
[17] The maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are not you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not."
[18] Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
***
[25] Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Are not you also one of his disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not."

On the view that John "corrects" the Synoptics (Mark), John is telling us that the identities of "Peter" and "Simon Peter" have been merged for effect. We assume that "He came to Simon Peter" means that "Peter" is the same character and he then states, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Similarly, because "Simon Peter" and "Peter" are both "standing" at the fire, these are the same character at the same time. This is a mistake.

The fire and the door have special meaning. On one side of the door is the "Chamber of the Hearth" and on the other is the "Chamber of the Flames". You may sit on the side of the Chamber of the Hearth but not the Chamber of the Flames. Obviously, you may sit or stand in the Chamber of the Hearth but you must stand always in the The Chamber of the Flames. The Chamber of the Flames is for the Priesthood and select others. Peter is therefore shown to be Priestly.

There are two Stories here. Either "Peter" and "Simon Peter" are different characters or are indeed one character but at different times (LIke...12 years apart...). The "Confusion" over the Crucifixions points to the same idea. The Original Stories were compressed, telescoped and rewritten for effect.

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Re: Levi, Matthew, & Matthias.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:14 am

Charles Wilson wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:05 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:15 am
rakovsky wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:49 am
I dont know if each of the gospels that use both the names Simon and Peter explain that they are the same person....
They do. All of them do: Matthew 4.18; Mark 3.16; Luke 6.14; John 1.42; Peter 15.60; Thomas 13.
No, that is not correct. A "Simon" is given the name "Simon Peter" but the purpose is to hide identities:

John 13: 5 - 9 (RSV):

[5] Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.
[6] He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
[7] Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand."
[8] Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me."
[9] Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"

John 18: 15 - 18, 25 (RSV):

[15] Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus,
[16] while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
[17] The maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are not you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not."
[18] Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
***
[25] Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Are not you also one of his disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not."

On the view that John "corrects" the Synoptics (Mark), John is telling us that the identities of "Peter" and "Simon Peter" have been merged for effect. We assume that "He came to Simon Peter" means that "Peter" is the same character and he then states, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Similarly, because "Simon Peter" and "Peter" are both "standing" at the fire, these are the same character at the same time. This is a mistake.

The fire and the door have special meaning. On one side of the door is the "Chamber of the Hearth" and on the other is the "Chamber of the Flames". You may sit on the side of the Chamber of the Hearth but not the Chamber of the Flames. The Chamber of the Flames is for the Priesthood and select others. Peter is therefore shown to be Priestly.

There are two Stories here. Either "Peter" and "Simon Peter" are different characters or are indeed one character but at different times (LIke...12 years apart...). The "Confusion" over the Crucifixions points to the same idea. The Original Stories were compressed, telescoped and rewritten for effect.
I agree with none of this. I have done plenty of questioning of the unity of the figure whom we know as Simon Peter (= Cephas, = Symeon). But the gospel of John is part of the synthesis side of things, not part of the analysis side. I disagree that he was writing in the code that you attribute to him, a code so subtle that it took two millennia and singular mind to crack it.
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