Scribes in Matthew and in the rest of the NT.

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Ben C. Smith
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Scribes in Matthew and in the rest of the NT.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:49 am

It is sometimes thought that the author of the gospel of Matthew might be referencing his or her life situation at one point in the text:

Matthew 13.52: 52 And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

Either the author or at least some in the community, or both, might be scribes who have become disciples. Talbert is fairly typical in this regard:

Charles H. Talbert, ΠΑΙΔΕΙΑ Commentary on Matthew, page 174: Scribes appear throughout the First Gospel, sometimes portrayed neutrally (e.g., 2:4; 17:10) but more often unfavorably (e.g., 5:20; 7:28–29; 9:3; 12:38; 23:2–3, 13, 23, 25, 27, 29; 26:57; 27:41) and only rarely favorably (e.g., 8:19[?]; 13:52; 23:34). The reference to scribes in 13:52 and 23:34 has usually been interpreted to mean that the Matthean community had scribes within its membership. Matthew 13:52 has sometimes been taken to mean that Matthean apocalyptic scribes shaped the scriptural and dominical traditions, including the First Gospel, to meet the community’s needs....

There is an intriguing rabbinical parallel (noted by Talbert) to Matthew 13.52:

Talmud, Eiruvin 21b: 21b .... R. Hisda asked one of the young Rabbis who was reciting aggadoth in his presence in a certain order: "Did you hear what [was the purport of the expression,] 'New and old?' "The former," the other replied, "are the minor, and the latter are the major commandments." "Was then the Torah," the former asked, "given on two different occasions? But the latter [are those derived] from the words of the Torah while the former are those derived from the words of the scribes." ....

The possibility that Matthew might be implying a scribal presence in his community has prompted me to run through the instances of the term "scribe" in the New Testament (to be clear, these are instances of the Greek word γραμματεύς, but all passages are given in English).

First, the raw list:

Matthew 2.4: 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

Matthew 5.20: 20 "For I say to you that, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 7.28-29: 28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Matthew 8.19-20: 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Matthew 9.3: 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, "This fellow blasphemes."

Matthew 12.38: 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."

Matthew 13.52: 52 And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

Matthew 15.1-2: 1 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."

Matthew 16.21: 21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.

Matthew 17.10: 10 And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Matthew 20.18: 18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death....

Matthew 21.15: 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant.

Matthew 23.1-2: 1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses."

Matthew 23.13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29-30: 13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." .... 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." .... 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence." .... 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." .... 29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'"

Matthew 23.34-36: 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation."

Matthew 26.57: 57 Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.

Matthew 27.41: 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him."

Mark 1.22: 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 2.6-7: 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Mark 2.16: 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?"

Mark 3.22: 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and, "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons."

Mark 7.1-2, 5: 1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. .... 5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?"

Mark 8.31: 31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 9.11: 11 They asked Him, saying, "Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Mark 9.14: 14 When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them.

Mark 10.32-33: 32 They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33 saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles."

Mark 11.18: 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.

Mark 11.27-28: 27 They came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, 28 and began saying to Him, "By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?"

Mark 12.28: 28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"

Mark 12.32: 32 The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him."

Mark 12.35: 35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?"

Mark 12.38: 38 In His teaching He was saying: "Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places."

Mark 14.1: 1 Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away; and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him.

Mark 14.43: 43 Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

Mark 14.53: 53 They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together.

Mark 15.1: 1 Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate.

Mark 15.31: 31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself."

Luke 5.21: 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

Luke 5.30: 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?"

Luke 6.7: 7 The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him.

Luke 9.21-22: 21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day."

Luke 11.53: 53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects.

Luke 15.2: 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."

Luke 19.47: 47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him.

Luke 20.1: 1 On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, 2 and they spoke, saying to Him, "Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?"

Luke 20.19: 19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them.

Luke 20.39: 39 Some of the scribes answered and said, "Teacher, You have spoken well."

Luke 20.46: 46 "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets."

Luke 22.2: 2 The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people.

Luke 22.66: 66 When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, 67 "If You are the Christ, tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe."

Luke 23.10: 10 And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.

John 8.3: 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.

Acts 4.5: 5 On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem.

Acts 6.12: 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.

Acts 19.35: 35 After quieting the crowd, the scribe ["town clerk," RSV & NAS] said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven?"

Acts 23.9: 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, "We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him!"

1 Corinthians 1.20: 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Second, the list with parallels sorted (M = Matthew; K = Mark; L = Luke):

M

Matthew 2.4: 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

Matthew 5.20: 20 "For I say to you that, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 8.19-20: 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." [The parallel at Luke 9.57-58 has "a man" instead of "a scribe."]

Matthew 12.38: 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." [The possible parallel at Luke 11.16 has "others" instead of "some of the scribes and Pharisees."]

Matthew 13.52: 52 And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

Matthew 21.15: 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant.

Matthew 23.13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29-30: 13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." .... 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." .... 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence." .... 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." .... 29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'" [The parallels at Luke 11.42-44, 47, 52 lack mention of the scribes.]

Matthew 23.34-36: 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation." [The parallel at Luke 11.49-51 has "prophets and apostles" instead of "prophets and wise men and scribes."]

K

Mark 3.22: 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and, "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." [The parallels at Matthew 9.34; 12.24 and Luke 11.15 lack mention of the scribes.]

Mark 9.14: 14 When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. [The parallels at Matthew 17.14 and Luke 9.37 lack mention of the scribes.]

Mark 12.28, 32: 28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" .... 32 The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him." [The parallel at Matthew 22.34-35 has "the Pharisees" and "one of them, a lawyer," while the parallel at Luke 10.25 has "a lawyer."]

Mark 12.35: 35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?" [The parallels at Matthew 22.41 and Luke 20.41 lack mention of the scribes.]

Mark 14.43: 43 Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. [The parallel at Matthew 26.47 has "a large crowd" from "the chief priests and elders of the people," while that at Luke 22.47 has simply "a crowd."]

L

Luke 6.7: 7 The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. [The parallels at Matthew 12.10 and Mark 3.2 lack mention of the scribes.]

Luke 11.53: 53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects.

Luke 15.2: 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."

Luke 20.19: 19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. [The parallels at Matthew 21.45-46 and Mark 12.12 lack mention of the scribes; however, the implied pronoun "they" in Mark 12.12 seems to refer to a group which would include the scribes as of Mark 11.27.]

Luke 20.39: 39 Some of the scribes answered and said, "Teacher, You have spoken well."

Luke 23.10: 10 And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.

M + K

Matthew 7.28-29: 28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Mark 1.22: 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Matthew 15.1-2: 1 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."

Mark 7.1-2, 5: 1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. .... 5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?"

Matthew 17.10: 10 And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Mark 9.11: 11 They asked Him, saying, "Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Matthew 20.18: 18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death...." [The parallel at Luke 18.31 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 10.32-33: 32 They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33 saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles." [The parallel at Luke 18.31 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Matthew 26.57: 57 Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. [The parallel at Luke 22.54 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 14.53: 53 They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together. [The parallel at Luke 22.54 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Matthew 27.41: 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him." [The parallel at Luke 23.36-37 has "the soldiers" instead of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.]

Mark 15.31: 31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself." [The parallel at Luke 23.36-37 has "the soldiers" instead of the chief priests and the scribes.]

K + L

Mark 2.16: 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?" [The parallel at Matthew 9.11 has "the Pharisees" instead of "the scribes of the Pharisees."]

Luke 5.30: 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" [The parallel at Matthew 9.11 has "the Pharisees" instead of "the Pharisees and their scribes."]

Mark 11.18: 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.

Luke 19.47: 47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him.

Mark 11.27-28: 27 They came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, 28 and began saying to Him, "By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?" [The parallel at Matthew 21.23 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Luke 20.1: 1 On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, 2 and they spoke, saying to Him, "Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?" [The parallel at Matthew 21.23 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 14.1: 1 Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away; and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him. [The parallel at Matthew 26.1-4 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Luke 22.1-2: 1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. 2 The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. [The parallel at Matthew 26.1-4 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 15.1: 1 Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. [The parallel at Matthew 27.1 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Luke 22.66: 66 When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, 67 "If You are the Christ, tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe." [The parallel at Matthew 27.1 lacks mention of the scribes.]

M + K + L

Matthew 9.3: 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, "This fellow blasphemes."

Mark 2.6-7: 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Luke 5.21: 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

Matthew 16.21: 21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.

Mark 8.31: 31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Luke 9.21-22: 21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day."

Matthew 23.1-2: 1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses."

Mark 12.38: 38 In His teaching He was saying: "Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places."

Luke 20.46: 46 "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets."

Miscellaneous

John 8.3: 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.

Acts 4.5: 5 On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem.

Acts 6.12: 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.

Acts 19.35: 35 After quieting the crowd, the scribe ["town clerk," RSV & NAS] said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven?"

Acts 23.9: 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, "We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him!"

1 Corinthians 1.20: 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Third, my own assessment of these passages according to whether the scribes are portrayed positively, neutrally, or negatively. Positive usually means that the scribe is on the side of or agreeing with Jesus, while negative usually means that the scribe is opposing Jesus in some way. Neutral can mean that the situation is mixed:

Positive

Matthew 13.52: 52 And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

Matthew 23.34-36: 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation." [The parallel at Luke 11.49-51 has "prophets and apostles" instead of "prophets and wise men and scribes."]

Mark 12.28, 32: 28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" .... 32 The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him." [The parallel at Matthew 22.34-35 has "the Pharisees" and "one of them, a lawyer," while the parallel at Luke 10.25 has "a lawyer."]

Luke 20.39: 39 Some of the scribes answered and said, "Teacher, You have spoken well."

Acts 23.9: 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, "We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him!"

Neutral/Mixed

Matthew 2.4: 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

Matthew 5.20: 20 "For I say to you that, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 8.19-20: 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." [The parallel at Luke 9.57-58 has "a man" instead of "a scribe."]

Matthew 17.10: 10 And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Mark 9.11: 11 They asked Him, saying, "Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Mark 12.35: 35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?" [The parallels at Matthew 22.41 and Luke 20.41 lack mention of the scribes.]

Acts 19.35: 35 After quieting the crowd, the scribe ["town clerk," RSV & NAS] said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven?"

Negative

Matthew 7.28-29: 28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Matthew 9.3: 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, "This fellow blasphemes."

Matthew 12.38: 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." [The possible parallel at Luke 11.16 has "others" instead of "some of the scribes and Pharisees."]

Matthew 15.1-2: 1 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."

Matthew 16.21: 21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.

Matthew 20.18: 18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death...." [The parallel at Luke 18.31 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Matthew 21.15: 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant.

Matthew 23.1-2: 1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses."

Matthew 23.13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29-30: 13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." .... 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." .... 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence." .... 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." .... 29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'" [The parallels at Luke 11.42-44, 47, 52 lack mention of the scribes.]

Matthew 26.57: 57 Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. [The parallel at Luke 22.54 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Matthew 27.41: 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him." [The parallel at Luke 23.36-37 has "the soldiers" instead of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.]

Mark 1.22: 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 2.6-7: 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Mark 2.16: 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?" [The parallel at Matthew 9.11 has "the Pharisees" instead of "the scribes of the Pharisees."]

Mark 3.22: 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and, "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." [The parallels at Matthew 9.34; 12.24 and Luke 11.15 lack mention of the scribes.]

Mark 7.1-2, 5: 1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. .... 5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?"

Mark 8.31: 31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 9.14: 14 When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. [The parallels at Matthew 17.14 and Luke 9.37 lack mention of the scribes.]

Mark 10.32-33: 32 They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33 saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles." [The parallel at Luke 18.31 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 11.18: 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.

Mark 11.27-28: 27 They came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, 28 and began saying to Him, "By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?" [The parallel at Matthew 21.23 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 12.38: 38 In His teaching He was saying: "Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places."

Mark 14.1: 1 Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away; and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him. [The parallel at Matthew 26.1-4 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 14.43: 43 Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. [The parallel at Matthew 26.47 has "a large crowd" from "the chief priests and elders of the people," while that at Luke 22.47 has simply "a crowd."]

Mark 14.53: 53 They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together. [The parallel at Luke 22.54 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 15.1: 1 Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. [The parallel at Matthew 27.1 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Mark 15.31: 31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself." [The parallel at Luke 23.36-37 has "the soldiers" instead of the chief priests and the scribes.]

Luke 5.21: 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

Luke 5.30: 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" [The parallel at Matthew 9.11 has "the Pharisees" instead of "the Pharisees and their scribes."]

Luke 6.7: 7 The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. [The parallels at Matthew 12.10 and Mark 3.2 lack mention of the scribes.]

Luke 9.21-22: 21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day."

Luke 11.53: 53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects.

Luke 15.2: 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."

Luke 19.47: 47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him.

Luke 20.1: 1 On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, 2 and they spoke, saying to Him, "Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?" [The parallel at Matthew 21.23 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Luke 20.19: 19 The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, and they feared the people; for they understood that He spoke this parable against them. [The parallels at Matthew 21.45-46 and Mark 12.12 lack mention of the scribes; however, the implied pronoun "they" in Mark 12.12 seems to refer to a group which would include the scribes as of Mark 11.27.]

Luke 20.46: 46 "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets."

Luke 22.1-2: 1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. 2 The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. [The parallel at Matthew 26.1-4 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Luke 22.66: 66 When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, 67 "If You are the Christ, tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe." [The parallel at Matthew 27.1 lacks mention of the scribes.]

Luke 23.10: 10 And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.

John 8.3: 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.

Acts 4.5: 5 On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem.

Acts 6.12: 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.

1 Corinthians 1.20: 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

One might quibble with my categorizations; obviously, there is hefty degree of subjectivity involved. But it is certain that there are far more negative references to "the scribes" in the New Testament than there are positive or neutral. Let us take a closer look at the five passages I have identified as positive:

Matthew 13.52: 52 And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

Matthew 23.34-36: 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation." [The parallel at Luke 11.49-51 has "prophets and apostles" instead of "prophets and wise men and scribes."]

Mark 12.28, 32: 28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" .... 32 The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him." [The parallel at Matthew 22.34-35 has "the Pharisees" and "one of them, a lawyer," while the parallel at Luke 10.25 has "a lawyer."]

Luke 20.39: 39 Some of the scribes answered and said, "Teacher, You have spoken well."

Acts 23.9: 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, "We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him!"

There is something different about the Matthean references. In Mark and Luke the scribes are agreeing with Jesus' points or arguments, but there is no suggestion that they are now disciples. In Acts the scribes of the party of the Pharisees are taking Paul's side in a dispute; again, however, there is no suggestion that they are now Christians. But in Matthew the scribes in question are either disciples or sent by the Lord himself alongside prophets and wise men.

Matthew can certainly badmouth "the scribes" with the best of them, but perhaps, in light of these two anomalous passages, there may be something to the notion that Matthew has a special relationship to the scribal profession or knows scribes among his fellow believers.

What do you think? Any other angles to be taken on this? Also, that Talmudic parallel is pretty striking to my eye; moreover, I think I can see a theme of "old and new" running through the gospel of Matthew in a way distinct from what I find in the other gospels. Could the author be conscious of the text as a scribal endeavor to get the "new" in writing like the "old" (= Hebrew scripture) already is?

Ben.
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scribes in Matthew and in the rest of the NT.

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:17 am

Very useful for me in my latest project. Reminds me of a line from the Asitar. "New things will appear from scripture." Or something to that effect
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Scribes in Matthew and in the rest of the NT.

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:19 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:49 am
What do you think? Any other angles to be taken on this?
There are several "Level One" Symbolisms in the various Passages that are taken to be literal Truths but which are more properly telling of the Rise of the Priest against the Herodians. See: "The Woman Bent Over for 18 Years".

Mark 3: 1 - 6 (RSV):

[1] Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
[2] And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
[3] And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here."
[4] And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.
[5] And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
[6] The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero'di-ans against him, how to destroy him.

"Isn't this simply a Miracle Story of Jesus?"

"Then why verse 4?":
[4] And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.

This is "looking back". What does "...to save life or to kill..." have to do with healing a man with a withered hand? Pair this with Matthew 23: 15:

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

You are half-way to seeing that there are two Stories here. In the first, the Scribes and Pharisees prevented certain people from entering the "Realm of Heaven" (Matthew, as translated in Moffatt). In the second, the Scribes are given permission to write about what they saw and, in some cases, participated in.

CW

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Re: Scribes in Matthew and in the rest of the NT.

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:54 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:49 am
Matthew can certainly badmouth "the scribes" with the best of them, but perhaps, in light of these two anomalous passages, there may be something to the notion that Matthew has a special relationship to the scribal profession or knows scribes among his fellow believers.

What do you think? Any other angles to be taken on this? Also, that Talmudic parallel is pretty striking to my eye; moreover, I think I can see a theme of "old and new" running through the gospel of Matthew in a way distinct from what I find in the other gospels. Could the author be conscious of the text as a scribal endeavor to get the "new" in writing like the "old" (= Hebrew scripture) already is?
Agreed.
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:02 am
in "How the evangelists understood the nature of their gospels"
.
(based on our canonical gospels)
...
2) We do not know this for Matthew, but it seems to me that the best possibility could be Matthew 13:52

Matthew – a gift of a good scribe, trained for the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 13:52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”


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Re: Scribes in Matthew and in the rest of the NT.

Post by Stuart » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:42 pm

Ben,

I think we are not looking at anything Jewish with Scribes and Pharisees and Chief Priests such. Rather we are looking at Christian equivalents anachronistically cast back into the first century Palestine as Jews.

When I look at Luke, trying to use Marcionite eyes (or Pauline Heterodox more generally), I notice Scribes are associated with Pharisees. And Luke 5:30 (not paralleled in Matthew) the Scribes are specifically said to belong to the Pharisees, giving away the authors perspective about what camp they are in.

In Luke and especially John (first editions of both) the Chief Priests seem to correspond to proto-Orthodox Christian Bishops; the Pharisees to Deacons and priests; the elders not to tribal or town elders as in Palestine, but rather the Christian ecclesiastical position of that title, i.e., a respected non-priest member of the particular church. Theses are literary stand ins. Also Jews are "Jewish Christians" in teh sense that they are supporters of including the Hebrew bible as part of the Christian "canon" before there was such.

In Matthew, Jews are the Jews, or sort of. The Pharisees and Scribes are seen much more positive (e.g., Matthew 5:20), in parallel with his commitment to including the Jewish books as part of the Christian (5:17). He betrays that he knows exactly the game the Marcionite (Luke) and Johannine writers are up too, and gives his counter argument. We see also he replaces the Marcionite young man (Luke 9:57) with an eager scribe (Matthew 8:19) who wants to follow Jesus. Matthew 9:3 and Mark 2:6 hedge saying "some of the Scribes" say to themselves Jesus is blaspheming, while Luke (Marcion) 5:21 has the Pharisees and Scribes saying Jesus is speaking blasphemy. (IMO it's probably the other way around, the Marcionite author of Luke's first edition is the one who changed it to imply all the Orthodox priest and Scribes think the true Christ is blaspheming.)

There are a lot of other examples, where looking at the different light in which each gospel presents these Scribes, as well as the Pharisees, to suggest that a game is afoot, these are in fact stand ins. We are looking at a (SciFi/Space) Western, where modern social problems are projected on a period piece of literature, where characters dressed to look like they are from the era are nothing more than thinly disguised characters playing the roles of their contemporary counterparts.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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