Non-Markan Matthews

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John2
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Non-Markan Matthews

Post by John2 » Fri May 10, 2019 11:12 am

I've been on board with the idea that Papias refers to the gospel of Matthew and that it was thus originally written in Hebrew and then translated multiple times into Greek. In my view one of these translations became the canonical Matthew, which I'm thinking was combined with Mark only in that particular translation (and which took steps to "correct" Mark, like Luke later does). I've thus been wondering what canonical Matthew would look like without all the Markan verses, which isn't as easy to do as I was hoping, though Ben has suggested in would more or less be similar to what people propose to be "Q."

I've also been wondering if there are any Markan verses in the citations of the Jewish Christian gospels cited by church fathers, since I've never looked at them with that purpose in mind before. So there's another project I've set out for myself. In the meantime, I recall something that Jerome says about the (in my view original) Hebrew Matthew that I think supports the idea that it did not contain any Markan verses:
But in the gospel which is written with Hebraic letters we read, not that the veil of the temple was rent, but that the lintel of the temple, of marvelous magnitude, fell.
So here is what I'm thinking before I see how it all shakes out.

1. Matthew was originally written in Hebrew sometime prior to Papias (who I date c. 110 CE, as per Matthews) and did not have any Markan verses

2. It was translated multiple times into Greek prior to Papias

3. One of these translations was combined with (and "corrected") Mark and became the one in the NT (with orthodox Christian additions, such as the Trinity)

4. Other translations became the Greek Jewish Christian gospels cited by church fathers (which I'm suspecting were not combined with Mark and perhaps had Jewish Christian additions)

5. What Jerome says above appears to support the idea that the original Hebrew version was non-Markan

6. Perhaps the lack of Markan verses is (at least partly) why church fathers say that the Hebrew Matthew used by Jewish Christians seemed to be "mutilated"

7. Perhaps Luke used a non-Markan translation of Matthew (as per the Farrer hypothesis) and not the NT version (which would then in essence be the elusive "Q," like Ben had said).
Last edited by John2 on Fri May 10, 2019 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri May 10, 2019 12:02 pm

John2 wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 11:12 am
I've been on board with the idea that Papias refers to the gospel of Matthew and that it was thus originally written in Hebrew and then translated multiple times in Greek. In my view one of these translations became the canonical Matthew, which I'm thinking was combined with Mark only in that particular translation (and which took steps to "correct" Mark, like Luke later does). I've thus been wondering what canonical Matthew would look like with all the Markan verses, which isn't as easy to do as I was hoping, though Ben has suggested in would more or less be similar to what people propose to be "Q."
Well, Q (= close to the double tradition) + M (= the special Matthean material).

You would have to make some decisions about what counts as Matthew without Mark. Do the three temptations count, for example? On the one hand, Mark has a temptation story; on the other, Mark lacks the specific content of the temptations. Did canonical Matthew get that from Mark and expand it, or did Mark get it from Hebrew Matthew and abbreviate it?
I've also been wondering if there are any Markan verses in the citations of the Jewish Christian gospels cited by church fathers, since I've never looked at them with that purpose in mind before. So there's another project I've set out for myself.
As you know, I have these three laid out elsewhere in the forum, if that helps at all:
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by John2 » Fri May 10, 2019 12:14 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 12:02 pm

As you know, I have these three laid out elsewhere in the forum, if that helps at all:
Thanks. That's where I got the Jerome quote from and I had intended to post those links earlier but didn't have enough time, so thank you very much!
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by John2 » Fri May 10, 2019 12:47 pm

You would have to make some decisions about what counts as Matthew without Mark. Do the three temptations count, for example? On the one hand, Mark has a temptation story; on the other, Mark lacks the specific content of the temptations. Did canonical Matthew get that from Mark and expand it, or did Mark get it from Hebrew Matthew and abbreviate it?
You know, I hadn't fully awakened to the possibility of a Hebrew Matthew pre-dating (or being contemporary with) Mark. But I suppose if Mark really was a follower of Peter (as I'm already thinking), he could have had access to something like that (if it existed), whether in Hebrew (if he could read it or had it explained to him) or translated. I'll keep that in mind.
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri May 10, 2019 1:45 pm

Okay, but what I am saying is that, even quite apart from the suspected sequence, you are going to have to decide on what counts as Matthew without Mark. In the case of the temptations, a strict interpretation would remove the context but leave the three temptations themselves. A more lenient interpretation would leave the context, but then that context would overlap with Mark and not really be "Matthew without Mark" anymore.
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri May 10, 2019 1:46 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 1:45 pm
Okay, but what I am saying is that, even quite apart from the suspected sequence, you are going to have to decide on what counts as Matthew without Mark. In the case of the temptations, a strict interpretation would remove the context but leave the three temptations themselves. A more lenient interpretation would leave the context, but then that context would overlap with Mark and not really be "Matthew without Mark" anymore.
Same goes for Peter walking on the water. Jesus walking on the water parallels Mark, but Peter doing it is found only in Matthew. Is the entire pericope "Matthew without Mark," or just the bit with Peter? In this case surely Peter is an addition to the story; but you are going to have to make lots of those kinds of decisions if I am understanding your project aright.
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by John2 » Fri May 10, 2019 2:02 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 1:46 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 1:45 pm
Okay, but what I am saying is that, even quite apart from the suspected sequence, you are going to have to decide on what counts as Matthew without Mark. In the case of the temptations, a strict interpretation would remove the context but leave the three temptations themselves. A more lenient interpretation would leave the context, but then that context would overlap with Mark and not really be "Matthew without Mark" anymore.
Same goes for Peter walking on the water. Jesus walking on the water parallels Mark, but Peter doing it is found only in Matthew. Is the entire pericope "Matthew without Mark," or just the bit with Peter? In this case surely Peter is an addition to the story; but you are going to have to make lots of those kinds of decisions if I am understanding your project aright.
Well, right. I meant I will keep all ramifications in mind.
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by Charles Wilson » Fri May 10, 2019 3:43 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 1:45 pm
A more lenient interpretation would leave the context, but then that context would overlap with Mark and not really be "Matthew without Mark" anymore.
"Context", however, is everything:

Matthew 4: 1 - 11 (RSV):

[1]Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
[2] And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.
[3] And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
[4] But he answered, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

Compare this with Matthew 7: 8 - 14 (RSV):

[8] For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
[9] Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
[10] Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
[11] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
[12] So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
[13] "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
[14] For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

"Bread and Stone" are repeated Motifs in these two Passages. Note the little Joke in Matthew 7:

[9] Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
[10] Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
[11] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children...

This is part of the Herod Story. Josephus records that Herod, in the face of a blistering famine, sold everything of value in the palace and used the proceeds to buy grain from Petronius. He drops huge stones into the water at Caesarea to create a Breakwater for the constructed Safe Port and distributes the grain to all.

Josephus, Ant..., 15, 9, 2:

"...sent the money to Petronius, who had been made prefect of Egypt by Caesar; and as not a few had already fled to him under their necessities, and as he was particularly a friend to Herod, and desirous to have his subjects preserved, he gave leave to them in the first place to export corn, and assisted them every way, both in purchasing and exporting the same; so that he was the principal, if not the only person, who afforded them what help they had. And Herod taking care the people should understand that this help came from himself, did thereby not only remove the ill opinion of those that formerly hated him, but gave them the greatest demonstration possible of his good-will to them, and care of them..."

So, "...you who are evil..." refers to Herod in both the particular instance and the general here.

[5] Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple,
[6] and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,'
and `On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
[7] Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"


Josephus, Ant..., 15, 11, 1:

"AND now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build of himself the temple of God, (22) and make it larger in compass, and to raise it to a most magnificent altitude, as esteeming it to be the most glorious of all his actions, as it really was, to bring it to perfection; and that this would be sufficient for an everlasting memorial of him; but as he knew the multitude were not ready nor willing to assist him in so vast a design, he thought to prepare them first by making a speech to them, and then set about the work itself..."

The entirety of 15, 11, 1 is worth reading. Herod performs tasks that are ostensibly for God but are actually about Herod's Grandeur.

[8] Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them;
[9] and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
[10] Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.'"
[11] Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Josephus, Ant..., 15, 11, 6:

"They feasted and celebrated this rebuilding of the temple: and for the king, he sacrificed three hundred oxen to God, as did the rest every one according to his ability; the number of which sacrifices is not possible to set down, for it cannot be that we should truly relate it; for at the same time with this celebration for the work about the temple fell also the day of the king's inauguration, which he kept of an old custom as a festival, and it now coincided with the other, which coincidence of them both made the festival most illustrious..."

Compare with Luke 13: 11 - 13 (RSV):

[11] And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.
[12] And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity."
[13] And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.

This is around 10 BCE and the Matthean Passages are describing the same time as here in Luke. Herod finishes the Cloisters and opens the Temple on the same day as a Holy Day. It is the anniversary of Herods' ascension to the throne. You worship God and Herod on the same day. The Story is Pre-Transvaluation and it tells of the Priesthood fighting a Rear-Guard action against Herod.

Context here is EVERYTHING.

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CW

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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by John2 » Fri May 10, 2019 5:15 pm

It's been awhile since I've looked at citations of Jewish Christian gospels, and after looking at Ben's first link ("the gospel of the Ebionites"), a few things stand out to me.
Now in what they call a Gospel according to Matthew, though it is not the entire Gospel but is corrupt and mutilated —and they call this thing 'Hebrew'!

They call it, 'According to the Hebrews,' and it is true to say that only Matthew expounded and preached the Gospel in the Hebrew language and alphabet in the New Testament.
As their so-called Gospel says, 'I came to abolish the sacrifices, and if ye cease not from sacrifice, wrath will not cease from you.' Both these and certain things of the kind are guileful inventions which are current among them.
And his meat,' it says, 'was wild honey, whose taste was the taste of manna, as a cake in oil.' This, if you please, to turn the account of the truth into falsehood, and substitute 'a cake in honey' for 'locusts'!

M. R. James comments: These Ebionites were vegetarians and objected to the idea of eating locusts. A locust in Greek is akris, and the word they used for cake is enkris, so the change is slight. We shall meet with this tendency again.
First, I'm inclined to agree with Epiphanius here! If we go by his account, then the Ebionites were a post-70 CE offshoot of the pre-70 CE Nazarenes (my preferred spelling), and because of this, I think they "turn[ed] the account of the truth into falsehood" by changing "locusts" to "a cake in honey" and having Jesus say "I came to abolish the sacrifices" (and such) in response to the destruction of the Temple, i.e., they are "guileful inventions which are current among them."

So whatever this gospel was, I don't get the impression that it was exactly the same thing as the one that Epiphanius says
"Matthew expounded and preached ... in the Hebrew language and alphabet," and I don't think Epiphanius is saying that it was either, only that (1) they called it "According to the Hebrews" and (2) that "It is true to say that Matthew expounded and preached the Gospel [which I'm thinking maybe shouldn't be capitalized] in the Hebrew language." So the relationship between (1) and (2) seems a little tenuous to me. I'm getting the impression that the Ebionites mean "Hebrew" in the sense of it being "Jewish" and not that it was written in Hebrew or was a faithful translation of an original Hebrew Matthew.

In other words, if it does have anything to do with an original Hebrew Matthew, it seems to have "mutilated" and
"corrupted' it with "guileful inventions," like Epiphanius says (though I suppose one could say the same thing about the NT version). So while I suppose to some extent it could be a fascinating variant translation of a Hebrew Matthew, it looks like it was quite divergent (or "corrupt").
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Re: Non-Markan Matthews

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri May 10, 2019 5:44 pm

John2 wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 5:15 pm
First, I'm inclined to agree with Epiphanius here! If we go by his account, then the Ebionites were a post-70 CE offshoot of the pre-70 CE Nazarenes (my preferred spelling), and because of this, I think they "turn[ed] the account of the truth into falsehood" by changing "locusts" to "a cake in honey" and having Jesus say "I came to abolish the sacrifices" (and such) in response to the destruction of the Temple, i.e., they are "guileful inventions which are current among them."
I agree that the Ebionite gospel (twice) introduces vegetarianism where it did not originally stand (changing "locusts" to "honey cake" and rejecting the meat of the Passover), and is thus a relatively late gospel. Moreover, it is important to note that, unlike our canonical Matthew, the Ebionite gospel apparently claims a special connection with Matthew by name (since Jesus addresses Matthew in the second person, "you," in the fragment I have numbered as 4).

I think that there was an early tradition that someone named Matthew penned the Logia, and that is the sole source of Matthew's fame. I have argued elsewhere that this individual was no apostle at first, but was introduced into the gospel record as an apostle so as to provide eyewitness testimony for the Logia. Various Greek texts claimed to be (translations of) Matthew's Logia, or at least to bear some formative connection to Matthew. And Matthias, whose name is a variant of Matthew, was regarded as an important tradent of dominical tradition in some circles.
So whatever this gospel was, I don't get the impression that it was exactly the same thing as the one that Epiphanius says
"Matthew expounded and preached ... in the Hebrew language and alphabet," and I don't think Epiphanius is saying that it was either, only that (1) they called it "According to the Hebrews" and (2) that "It is true to say that Matthew expounded and preached the Gospel [which I'm thinking maybe shouldn't be capitalized] in the Hebrew language." So the relationship between (1) and (2) seems a little tenuous to me (as well as its relationship to what other church fathers call "the Gospel according to the Hebrews").
Really?? :D I would not say it was a little tenuous. I would say that there is as much certainty as can be had in such cases that this connection is gossamer. :cheers:
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