Why does Matthew have 'called Christ' and not 'called king of the Jews' ?

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Giuseppe
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Why does Matthew have 'called Christ' and not 'called king of the Jews' ?

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:32 am

Bernard Muller pointed out the difference between:

“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

(Mark 15:12)

...and Matthew 27:17:

So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Christ?

Under the assumption that here 'King of the Jews" = "Christ'' , the difference would be absolutely nothing: there would be no need of starting this thread.

But in another thread, I have pointed which is probably the marcionite meaning of the Barabbas episode:


if A -----> B then not B -----> not A

So if Jesus 'called king of the Jews' is really the 'king of the Jews', then 'Jesus Barabbas' is really the marcionite 'Jesus the Son of Father'.

But Jesus Barabbas is not really the marcionite 'Jesus the Son of Father'.

Therefore Jesus 'called king of the Jews' is not really the 'king of the Jews'.


Now, if Mark is separationist, Jesus couldn't be called 'Christ' in a Gospel where he is not really the (Jewish) Christ. Even if Jesus is really possessed by "Christ". There is the difference here between the Christ who is possessing the man Jesus (this Christ is not the Jewish Christ) and the title 'Christ' for the Jewish 'king of the Jews'.


My suspicion is that Matthew changed the markan 'called king of the Jews' in 15:12 into the his 'called Christ' in 27:17, in order to make clear and explicit that the man Jesus is stricto sensu the (Jewish) Christ, without no clue of separationism at work. Even more so: without the risk that 'Christ' served to name an entity different from the 'king of the Jews'.

So in Mark, "Jesus" is really possessed by "Christ", but neither "Jesus" nor "Christ" is really the 'king of the Jews', the Jewish Messiah.

In this way, Matthew could neutralize in advance the marcionite point behind the Barabbas episode and continue to preserve it in the his gospel: the important thing for him is the identity Jesus = Christ. Once assured that identity, the Jewishness of the 'Christ' in question is merely a collateral effect.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
Posts: 4502
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: Why does Matthew have 'called Christ' and not 'called king of the Jews' ?

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:53 am

The difference between Mark and Matthew occurs again here:

Let this Christ, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

(Mark 15:32)

Here Mark is placing the identical meaning for ''Christ'' and ''King of Israel'' but only on the lips of the Jewish passers. But he didn't mean the same thing in the his use of 'king of the Jews' in Mark 15:12 (because otherwise there would be no need by Matthew of cast it directly in the more theologically sure 'Christ').

At contrary, Matthew introduces the (implicit) identity between the 'Son of God' and the 'king of Israel':
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

(Matthew 27:39-43)
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
Posts: 4502
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: Why does Matthew have 'called Christ' and not 'called king of the Jews' ?

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:07 am

At this point it becomes more intelligible the marcionite nature of proto-Luke :

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

(Luke 23:35-41)

We are said that the verse 40-41 served to make Jesus distant from any accusation of Zealot connection with seditious men (as the two crucified robbers were). This was also evidence of the relative lateness of Luke.

But I think that the verse 40-41 were added in a previous version of Luke where these verses were missing to make the precise point that Jesus is not the Christ, if for 'Christ' is meant the 'King of the Jews':

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

(proto-Luke?)

The marcionite meaning is evident: if Jesus doesn't save himself just 'while he is at it', then he is not the Jewish Christ. Jesus doesn't save himself on the cross. Therefore he is really not the Jewish Christ.

To neutralize the point, the verse 40-41 serve to specify that God ''has to be feared'' (surely not the Good God of Marcion!) even when the paradox happens that his Son is on the cross. So there is no doubt that the legend of the ''good robber'' served to neutralize the Good God of Marcion!
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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