Matthew Chapter 10:1-15
We’ll start Chapter 10. There aren’t a lot of natural breaks, and somehow these always seem to run longer than I expect.
1 Καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς δώδεκα μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν αὐτὰ καὶ θεραπεύειν πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν.
And calling together the twelve disciples he gave to them authority of unclean spirits so as to cast them out and to heal all diseases and maladies.
This is lifted right from Mark. It’s the wonder-worker theme, complete with unclean spirits. The most significant difference is that Matthew omits the two-by-two part. Note that we are told that the Twelve are called together, even though this is actually the first time we’ve heard of the Twelve. IMO this is another really clear indication of Markan priority. [I should probably give that up as having been proven at this point; I’m not sure that it’s really seriously doubted by anyone. But perhaps I’m wrong on that; I’m not completely expert on the literature. However, IMO, there really is no doubt about this. ]
1 Et convocatis Duodecim discipulis suis, dedit illis pote statem spirituum immundorum, ut eicerent eos et curarent omnem languorem et omnem infirmitatem.
2 Τῶν δὲ δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τὰ ὀνόματά ἐστιν ταῦτα: πρῶτος Σίμων ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος καὶ Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάννης ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ,
3 Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος, Θωμᾶς καὶ Μαθθαῖος ὁ τελώνης, Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἁλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖος,
4 Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης ὁ καὶ παραδοὺς αὐτόν.
(2) And the twelve names of those having been sent out were these: Simon, being called Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James son of Zebedee and John his brother. (3) Philip and Bartholomew, and Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector, James son of Alphaios and Thaddeus, (4) Simon the Cannanaean, and Judas the Iscariot, who was also the one who handed him over.
OK. First, to get this out of the way, the names on the list match those of Mark. We are missing Mark’s designation of the sons of Zebedee also being called the Sons of Thunder–which appellation I woefully neglected to pursue and explain–but in place we get Matthew the tax-collector. Now, it has been speculated that, after the death of Joseph, Mary married Alphaios, and had some or all of the rest of her children with him. These are the brothers named in Mark 6; and this would make this “James the Lesser” the (half-) brother of Jesus. So this would be the future James the Just. Certainly, this is possible. James was largely written out of the history of the church shortly after it became the church; so designating this James as the son of Alphaios would be a big step in this direction. However, since I don’t believe in Joseph, I have trouble with this explanation. Joseph shows up for the birth narrative and then vanishes completely. Will he turn up in Matthew’s account of Mark 6? Stay tuned. And I don’t know the answer as of this writing, so it will be a surprise to me, too.
What this tells me is that the name of Jesus’ father was not known to the earlier followers. Or, at least, it was not deemed sufficiently important to remember. Then, as time progressed, the gossip of Jesus being a bastard became sufficiently embarrassing that something had to be done, which meant coming up with a story that named Jesus’ father. That the name of Jesus’ father was not known to the early followers is completely understandable. It was not deemed important enough to remember, especially if the earliest tradition had Jesus as having been raised from the dead and so become the anointed one. Jesus’ earthly life, including the names of his parents, was of no consequence because Jesus’ significance only began when he was raised from the dead. That the name of Jesus’ father appears, miraculously, several generations after Jesus died is a pretty clear indication that it was deemed necessary to invent a father. And to give him a lineage tracing back to David, of course. Sorry, don’t buy it as historical information. Yes, it is possible that the name of Joseph was preserved in an oral tradition that bypassed Mark and reached Matthew. Yes, it’s possible, but the probability is very, very low. Especially then when this information is repeated later, by Luke. And not only does Luke repeat this story, he expands upon it. That is a clear sign of myth-making. Adding new characters as they become necessary or desirable and filling in the blanks in this manner. So what all this means is that the likelihood of James son of Alphaios being Jesus half-brother is about as likely as Jesus being the son of Joseph. Either–and both–are possible, but the probability is extremely low if you think about the chain of transmission that had to be forged in order for this information to get to Matthew and beyond.
The fact of the matter is, I have major suspicions of the whole concept of the Twelve. Note how Matthew introduces this. Jesus calls them together, but then Matthew has to tell us who they are. And not only that, he calls them “those who have been sent out” (apostolon), but this is before they have been sent out. My theory is this: Jesus may have sent out disciples at some point, but these were not the same group that was his inner circle. There is an inherent contradiction present in this: how can they be the inner circle who travel with Jesus if they have been sent out to preach, expel demons, etc? That would be a neat trick. But the truth is that I find it hard to believe that Jesus actually sent some of his disciples out to preach. Of course, they could have been sent out for limited periods, which is pretty much what Mark tells us; that, however, seems to contradict the evidence of Paul. He seems to indicate that “apostles” traveled with a retinue including wives, so that doesn’t sound like a quick jaunt. The other thing about Paul’s evidence is that Peter is the only other apostle mentioned. In fact, none of these names are mentioned outside the gospels and Acts.
Thus there is a lack of earlier evidence for any of these men, In addition, the act of sending out disciples is not entirely consonant with an itinerant preacher who has a collection of followers. Such an action makes much more sense when the group has been together for some time, years, if not a decade, after which time the group has amassed a sizable following. That’s when it makes sense to send out other preachers, in part because the group now has a pool of talent available to it. IOW, it makes much more sense for the Jesus movement to begin dispatching preachers after the Jesus movement has had time to stabilize itself under equally stable leadership. IOW, after James had been in charge for a decade or so. Think back to Galatians; Paul is pretty clear that it was James who was dispatching others, sending out others; in Greek, the word for sending out is apostelein.
More. The idea of Twelve is so obviously related to the twelve tribes of Israel that it probably doesn’t need to be pointed out. IOW, it’s the act of someone who was interested in creating–or recreating–something resembling, or replacing, or superseding the state of Israel. IOW, doesn’t this sound more like someone interested in the kingdom of David than the Kingdom of God/the heavens? Now recall how closely James was concerned with the maintaining the Jewish roots of the movement. Then consider that the apostles named here do not appear in earlier evidence, and almost completely disappear from the later stories. Most of these names are just that: names. There are later traditions about some of them, that they went to convert people in India, and some of these stories may be accurate. But that does not mean that these missionary trips were undertaken by men appointed by Jesus. It’s not impossible, but given the other pieces, it’s more likely that these trips began later. Putting all this together, it seems very likely–to me, anyway–that the Twelve does not trace back to Jesus. There is no evidence that it does, other than the late attribution by Mark. And this feels like something an organizer would do, as opposed to the action of a charismatic leader. Socrates did not found a school; Plato did.
So yes, I have my doubts about the authenticity of the Twelve.
2 Duodecim autem apostolorum nomina sunt haec: primus Simon, qui dicitur Petrus, et Andreas frater eius, et Iacobus Zebedaei et Ioannes frater eius,
3 Philippus et Bartholomaeus, Thomas et Matthaeus publicanus, Iacobus Alphaei et Thaddaeus,
4 Simon Chananaeus et Iudas Iscariotes, qui et tradidit eum.
5 Τούτους τοὺς δώδεκα ἀπέστειλεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς παραγγείλας αὐτοῖς λέγων, Εἰς ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν μὴ ἀπέλθητε, καὶ εἰς πόλιν Σαμαριτῶν μὴ εἰσέλθητε:
6 πορεύεσθε δὲ μᾶλλον πρὸς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ.
Jesus sent out these Twelve, instructing them saying, “To the road of the nations do not go, and to the city of the Samaritans do not enter. (6) Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.
This is really interesting. Jesus is giving specific instructions to exclude both pagans and Samaritans. This after he cured the servant of the centurion. And we all know that Jews and Samaritans did not get along. So, on the one hand, there is a certain air of authenticity about this. It seems like something someone Jewish might say if he were concerned about renewing, or reinvigorating, or re-awakening his co-religionists into a sharper sense of their religious identity. Nothing is better for emphasizing the “us” than by pointing out the “them”. So why wasn’t this in Mark? Why did Mark have nothing of the sort? Mark was closer in time to the more authentic Jesus, to a period when Jesus was Jewish and there was less–if any–concern with preaching to pagans. And Paul certainly had no qualms about preaching to pagans, Samaritans, Jews, or anyone. Given that, I think there is a fairly high degree of probability that Jesus did not say this. It’s like the dietary restrictions: if Jesus had actually said that there were no unclean foods, then Paul and James would not have had the dispute they did, and Peter would not have had the dream he had in Acts that gave sanction to the eating of heretofore prohibited foods.
At the risk of seeing James, the brother of Jesus behind every bush, I wonder if the injunction against pagans and Samaritans isn’t something that came about after Jesus. And given that Paul tells us–quite emphatically–that James was much more concerned about maintaining Jewish practice, did this injunction actually originate with James? I keep coming back to the idea that the practices originated by James may not have had time to become the norm when Mark wrote; however, given another generation, Pauline/Markan/Jamesian practices had been afforded enough time to merge into something that we now call Christianity. In particular, things that James had said became normalized as things Jesus said. This is a very bold thesis. But this thesis is not nearly so bold, I think, as attributing some of these new sayings to a written source for which we have absolutely no evidence. None. And, sorry, but saying that Luke wouldn’t have changed Matthew’s order is not evidence. It’s a value judgement at best, and aesthetic opinion at worst. So hanging stuff like this on Q is truly bold. And daring. But so is crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Or the Charge of the Light Brigade. Again, let me be very clear: I have by no means proven my contention about James; but there is more evidence for my theory than there is for Q.
That’s all fine and good. But I want to stress that, so far, my belief that much of what is different between Mark and Matthew traces to James is an opinion. It may (0r may not) be an interesting opinion, but that’s all it is. I have not, by any stretch, constructed an argument worthy of the name. I plan to do so, but it has not happened. Just want to make sure we’re all clear on this.
5 Hos Duodecim misit Iesus praecipiens eis et dicens: “ In viam gentium ne abieritis et in civitates Samaritanorum ne intraveritis;
6 sed potius ite ad oves, quae perierunt domus Israel.
7 πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
8 ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετε, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε, δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε: δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε.
“And going out you must preach saying that ‘The kingdom of the heavens is come nigh’. (8) Heal those being sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. (What) you received freely, give freely”.
Mark’s version is very different, and much shorter. Jesus gives no instructions on what to preach, nor does he specify that they are to heal, cast out demons, etc. More significantly, he doesn’t instruct the disciples to preach the coming kingdom of the heavens. This is actually the third time Matthew has used the expression. Both report Jesus using it at the beginning of his public ministry (Mk 1:15; Mt 4:17). But Matthew also has the Baptist say this before Jesus, which strengthened, or emphasized the connexion between the two. Now, for good measure, Matthew has Jesus repeat it here. This is what I meant about the Baptist becoming more prominent as time passed. If it were truly an embarrassment for Jesus to be seen having begun his career as a disciple of the Baptist, this increased emphasis on the connexion between the two is certainly odd, and requires some explanation. Add to this the “brood of vipers” (sorry; love that rendering, won’t change it. Like Luke’s “sore afraid”) speech that he levels at the Pharisees, and I think you get my point. Why does Matthew go out of his way to reiterate it here?
And here is perhaps the more salient question. In Chapters 8 and especially 9, we saw Matthew consistently abridging the material he found in Mark. Here, Matthew is adding to it. Why? Which question is especially relevant since this is not part of the alleged Q material, because it’s not in Luke. As such, it’s M material, from Matthew’s special secret source. Or Matthew made it up. But that only moves the “why add this?” back another step. I think part of the reason has to be to connect more firmly with the Baptist, but I think another part is just to show us that Jesus was in charge. Mark told us what they did upon their return, which was heal, cast out demons, etc. Matthew explicitly tells us that they did these things on Jesus’ command to do so. I think that is what this is about, which explanation is consistent with Matthew’s concern to show that everything that happened with/to/by Jesus was all part of the Plan. Saying that, I just realized that I’d never quite articulated that objective until this point. But that is what Matthew is trying to do: tell us that none of this was an accident, right from the moment of Jesus’ conception. It was all God’s intent. Which to me says that this is not something Matthew got from a source; it’s something he added to make his point more effective. There is a tendency–a wish is probably more accurate, a deep-seated desire, or even a need–among Biblical scholars to attribute everything to an earlier source. Why? Why the wish? the need? Because to admit that Matthew wrote it, then maybe Jesus didn’t say it. Which is to say that, maybe, it’s not factually accurate. Which is where this confusion we have in the West of Truth with factual accuracy. We think these are synonymous. They are not. Gospels are not meant to be factually accurate; they are meant to impart Truth, which is a very different thing.
The penultimate point to make here is the command to “raise from the dead”. What? Where did that come from? That is totally sui generis with Matthew. Does it relate back to what I said about the Plan? Is Jesus instructing, or empowering the disciples to do everything that he did? And since he just raised Jairus’ daughter (filling in the name from Mark) from the dead, it’s now important that Jesus give the same authority to the disciples? I suppose one likely answer is that, OK, he raised the little girl. So Jesus has the power. Or Jesus has been entrusted to use this power by some other divine being–like God. But if Jesus has the ability to delegate this power to others, then most assuredly he is divine as well. No? It’s one thing to be the agent of the divine and use the power; that was the portrayal, more or less, given us by Mark. It’s quite another thing to have the power and be able to give it to others. That’s a guess. The thing is, think back to Mark 9, when the disciples tell about others casting out demons in Jesus’ name. But we will have to discuss that further when or if we come to that section in Matthew. Remember: Matthew is not interested in re-creating the world of Mark, the explanations of Mark. Matthew is correcting the record, setting it–and us–straight, making clear those parts of Mark that need to be clarified. One of these is that Jesus has the power on his own, and not just as an agent of God.
The final point is the part about giving freely what you received freely. This is an injunction not to charge for services rendered. They have been given the gift of healing at no charge, so they should not expect to be paid for using the free gift they have been given freely. Part of the point here is to be different from some of the other wonder-workers, who did charge for services. That was how they made their money. But a bit more on this shortly.
7 Euntes autem praedicate dicentes: “Appropinquavit regnum caelorum”.
8 Infirmos curate, mortuos suscitate, leprosos mundate, daemones eicite; gratis accepistis, gratis date.
9 Μὴ κτήσησθε χρυσὸν μηδὲ ἄργυρον μηδὲ χαλκὸν εἰς τὰς ζώνας ὑμῶν,
10 μὴ πήραν εἰς ὁδὸν μηδὲ δύο χιτῶνας μηδὲ ὑποδήματα μηδὲ ῥάβδον: ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ.
11 εἰς ἣν δ’ ἂν πόλιν ἢ κώμην εἰσέλθητε, ἐξετάσατετίς ἐν αὐτῇ ἄξιός ἐστιν: κἀκεῖ μείνατε ἕως ἂν ἐξέλθητε.
“Do not take gold, nor silver, nor bronze in your belt/wallet/purse. (10) Do not take a travel bag, nor two tunics, nor shoes/sandals (lit = “underskins“, which is to say “hypodermics”) nor a rod. For the laborer is worthy of his hire. (11) If you go into a city or a town, seek out in that (city) one who is worthy. And stay (there, with that person) until you leave.
We talked about this when we read the corresponding passage in Mark, but it probably bears repeating. Between this set of verses and those immediately preceding, we have the basis for the idea of “apostolic poverty” that became so prominent in western heretical movements starting in or around 1100 CE. The two groups especially known for this were the Waldensians and the Cathars. The founding ideal of the Waldensians was not really all that different from the impulse that motivated St Francis of Assisi: absolute poverty. The apostle should own nothing, should beg for food, or depend on the charity of others, should own no land, no property…nothing. Peter Waldo (or Valdes, if Latinised) really didn’t do anything St Francis didn’t do, but he did it a couple of generations too early. By the time of Francis, the Church (with a capital “C”) had come to understand that this impulse to poverty could not be squelched, so it had to be domesticated. To do this it recognised and organised the Franciscan order. Of course, the Franciscan impulse to poverty barely survived the founder. After the death of Francis, the order nearly split into two groups: one holding to the ideal of poverty, the other settling down and becoming a typical order of preachers. Which is to say wealthy. The ideal of poverty as expressed here was a real problem for a Church that had amassed enormous amounts of land and treasure. The thing is, this ideal of apostolic poverty as the ideal state for the Church did not vanish. It created the work ethic and the desire for a “cheap church” (église à bon marché; sounds more elegant in French) which helped create an attitude towards making money that became capitalism, which then helped spawn the Reformation. Max Weber got it backwards: capitalism created Protestants.
OK, that little digression on economics aside, let’s look at this from what it’s telling us. First, I’ve already discussed how I feel like this isn’t something that happened while Jesus was alive. Rather, this feels more like something that happened later. Then recall that this was an issue for Paul. He had a couple of passages about this, regarding apostles who expected payment, or to be supported by the community, or what they could expect as to being supported by the community. When reading this in Paul, one was rather left with the feeling that there was a certain amount of controversy about how this was all supposed to operate. Paul made a big point out of claiming that he had the right, maybe, to expect support from the community, but that he chose rather to work so as not to be a burden. He also implied that other apostles traveled with retinues that, sometimes at least, included wives. So, where does this fit in?
The question that needs to be asked to answer the ultimate question is whether any of this came from Jesus. I have said I suspect not. Part of the reason is because of what Paul has said. Once again, it sounds like there wasn’t a real consensus on this. Paul’s defensiveness, and his aggressive quasi-condemnation of the practice of others tells me that the others were not acting on a commission from Jesus. It indicates, IMO, that they were claiming this right, but that there was no really settled practice on this. So some took advantage, while Paul went passively-aggressive in the other direction. Now, having said that, there is nothing here about “two by two” as there was in Mark. Does that mean they were to go singly? Or that they could travel in a group? That’s hard to say. There isn’t a lot of internal support for either of these possibilities. Another question that poses itself is where James fits in for all of this. If James is the one for whom poverty was the ideal, it seems odd that he would have been one of those traveling in state. It would make sense that, if this was added later, it was done so as a means of giving legal basis for the practices James initiated. But even so, we have to consider Paul’s animosity to those other apostles. Was he including James? He seemed to have a problem with James in Galatians, but much of that seems to have dissipated by the time he wrote 1 Corinthians. Had he and James come to an understanding, thereby implying that the leeches on the community were other apostles. There is also the consideration that, per the evidence of Galatians, James didn’t travel much. So was Paul’s complaint about other apostles meant as a means to gain James’ sympathy? If so, then why the oblique references? Why not use James to buttress his case about those others?
The upshot on all of this is that we have many more questions than we have answers. In and of itself, this is not surprising; most periods of ancient history run into exactly this situation because the evidence is just too scant to allow satisfactory resolutions to these quandaries.
9 Nolite possidere aurum neque argentum neque pecuniam in zonis vestris,
10 non peram in via neque duas tunicas neque calceamenta neque virgam; dignus enim est operarius cibo suo.
11 In quamcumque civitatem aut castellum intraveritis, interrogate quis in ea dignus sit; et ibi manete donec exeatis.
12 εἰσερχόμενοι δὲ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν ἀσπάσασθε αὐτήν:
13 καὶ ἐὰν μὲν ᾖ ἡ οἰκία ἀξία, ἐλθάτω ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν ἐπ’ αὐτήν: ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ᾖ ἀξία, ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐπιστραφήτω.
14 καὶ ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται ὑμᾶς μηδὲ ἀκούσῃ τοὺς λόγους ὑμῶν, ἐξερχόμενοι ἔξω τῆς οἰκίας ἢ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης ἐκτινάξατε τὸν κονιορτὸν τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν.
15 ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ.
“When entering a house, greet it. (13) And if it is a worthy house, let your peace come over it. If it is not worth, let your peace towards yourselves revert. (14) And should one not honor you, nor listen to your words, coming out of those houses or those cities, shake the dust from your feet. (15) Amen I say to you, more tolerable will the the land of the Sodomites and the Gomorreans in the day of judgement than for that city.”
12 Intrantes autem in domum, salutate eam;
13 et si quidem fuerit domus digna, veniat pax vestra super eam; si autem non fuerit digna, pax vestra ad vos revertatur.
14 Et quicumque non receperit vos neque audierit sermones vestros, exeuntes foras de domo vel de civitate illa, excutite pulverem de pedibus vestris.
15 Amen dico vobis: Tolerabilius erit terrae Sodomorum et Gomorraeorum in die iudicii quam illi civitati.
This really obvious reference to the HS (Hebrew Scriptures) really gives me pause. How well know would the story of Sodom & Gomorra have been to anyone who was not Jewish? I’m really not sure how to answer that. If the answer is that this would not have been known outside Jewish circles, then the likelihood that Jesus said something like this goes way up. Or, at least, that someone said this. Now, if it was James that implemented the apostle program, it could easily have been James rather than Jesus. A reference like this is different from the quotes that the evangelists use. The quotes are more or less self-explanatory; this is an unexplained reference, which requires that the audience understand it to be effective. So it implies that the author took it for granted that the audience would get it. I’m not sure if we’ve had anything like this so far.
This passage poses a really interesting problem. When I first glanced at my compendium, it appeared that the reference to S&G was in Mark, too. Well, turns out it’s only in certain mss traditions. Which, to me, means that it was not originally in Mark, but that it was added in by later copyists who were aware of the passage in both Matthew and Luke. This makes more sense than it being dropped. The most likely reason it was dropped is because the copyist was not fully versed in the HS, so he didn’t get it, so he omitted the passage. Possible, but I think the conflation of the texts is more likely.
Now, this is in Matthew, and in Luke, but not Mark. Prima facie, this would imply it was in Q. Here is a case where that might, prima facie, make sense: it was a reference to something that a Jewish audience–such as those addressed by Jesus (or James)–would get. That would require that Matthew’s audience–and Matthew himself got the reference. If Matthew didn’t understand it, he would have omitted the passage. Another possibility is that Matthew threw this out as a means of showing off his knowledge of HS. The upshot is that something like this doesn’t help my thesis that Matthew and his audience were former pagans. If that is true, could we assume that they would get the reference, unless they were God-fearers who had done some studying of the HS.
We will circle back to this shortly because I want to mention one other thing. This is the idea that the city will be judged, which is, I think, is a clear indication of something like apocalyptic thinking. The city will be judged; it will be given a fair trial before being found guilty and destroyed. Really, these are the sorts of throwaway lines that are infuriating. They obviously point to something bigger, an idea or set of ideas, or set of beliefs beyond what is expressed in so many words. What, exactly, does it mean that the city will be judged? When will this happen? Matthew feels no compunction to tell us these things. Is that because, to him, the answers were so well-known, such common knowledge that he didn’t feel the need to elaborate further. Or, the other possibility is that, by the time he wrote, he really didn’t understand the implications any better than we do. I say this because when a question goes unanswered it’s either because the author feels no answer is necessary, or it’s because the author doesn’t know the answer either. This of course all ties in with the question of whether Jesus’ primary message was that of apocalypse. The idea of the approaching kingdom of God/the heavens certainly could be taken so. Had this idea remained strong from the time of Jesus and/or Mark, or was it starting to fade. We noted that Paul expected the Parousia daily; we got some sense of this from Mark as well. In Matthew, at least so far, some of that urgency has faded slightly.
Now, there is a possible connexion between apocalyptic thinking and S&G. After all, what was the fate of S&G if not an apocalyptic end? So is this why Matthew’s audience could be assumed to be familiar with the reference to S&G? That is an intriguing question. One possible clue is that I noticed that Matthew and Luke mention the kingdom very, very often. Paul and Mark actually don’t mention it very often, and it fades by the time we get to John’s gospel. So Matthew and Luke/Acts seem to take the idea of the kingdom fairly seriously as a major theme. Interestingly, the kingdom is mentioned a total of four times in what is supposed to be the Q material. But this could also be explained if Luke knew Matthew, and followed Matthew’s lead on the importance of the topic of the kingdom. Especially since this topic is not exactly prominent in the reconstructed Q. It’s there, sure, but it’s not really prominent. Personally, I think this is a good indication that Luke did use Q. There are more important signs of influence than the way the material is organized; being thematically similar, and showing similar degrees of interest in the same topics, I think, is excellent support for the argument that Luke used Matthew.
But anyway, this is a subject to be given a lot of further consideration.
Posted on March 24, 2015, in Chapter 10, gospel commentary, gospels, Matthew's Gospel and tagged Bible, Bible commentary, Bible scholarship, biblical scholarship, commenting, gospel commentary, gospels, Historical Jesus, Matthew's gospel, New Testament, New Testament Greek Translation, NT Greek, religion, St Mark, St Matthew, theology. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.