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Mt 26:51 (was Re: the predictive value of a theory)

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  • Jim Deardorff
    ... Leonard, There is an interesting problem connected with Mt 26:51 that your analysis did not touch upon. Its solution seems to require that the verse
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 27, 1998
      At 08:45 PM 10/26/98 EST, Maluflen@... wrote:
      >The ability of a scientific hypothesis to predict results is thought to
      >confirm its validity. I am currently studying the passion accounts in the
      >Synoptic Gospels, and have the following discovery to report, illustrating how
      >my hypothesis regarding the way in which Luke used the Gospel of Matthew,
      >alluded to in recent posts, is able to predict results.
      >The person who draws and wields his sword at the time of Jesus arrest in the
      >garden is referred to in Matt as one of those with Jesus (HEIS TOON META
      >IEESOU: Matt 26:51). I noted for the first time today that a similar phrase,
      >partially identical in fact, occurs as the identifying predicate of Peter in
      >the scene of the denials in Matt: you too were with Jesus of Galilee (..META
      >IEESOU..: Matt 26:69, and in v. 71, a similar predicate, including the phrase
      >META IEESOU is again found). This could qualify as a structural element in
      >the text of Matt which has the effect of linking these two passages together
      >and perhaps suggesting that Peter was the one in the garden who drew his sword
      >in defence of Jesus (John, at least, seems to have interpreted the evidence in
      >this way: Jn 18:10). In any case, my hypothesis about the way Luke used Matt
      >should at this point enable me to predict the following:


      There is an interesting problem connected with Mt 26:51 that your analysis
      did not touch upon. Its solution seems to require that the verse contain a
      redaction, and therefore not be entirely original, while also suggesting
      that it did not derive from Mark or Luke.

      "One of those who were with Jesus" had to be a disciple. Only the (eleven)
      disciples were with Jesus at that time. So why didn't AMt simply say it was
      a disciple? In fact, why didn't he identify the disciple who wielded the
      sword? If it had been Peter, that would have been OK for AMt to disclose,
      since he didn't mind disclosing material that portray Peter in a poor light
      before and after this point.

      One sees that AMk and following Mark, ALk, eliminated the problem by just
      saying in effect "one of those standing by" and "one of those who were about
      him." (There seems no need to state this in the Greek.) So this allows the
      possibility that the wielder of the sword had been someone who had followed
      along with the arresting party, and whose name would not be known. AJn made
      the improvement over Matthew of identifying him as Peter.

      If AMt had instead made use of Mark, would he have cut back on the vagueness
      of its statement by in effect specifying that the sword wielder was a
      disciple? That would violate what he had written in Mt 5:21-22, 5:39, 5:44,
      which the disciples should have learned, as well as the admonition occurring
      just afterward for the reason to re-sheave the sword (which John omits). So
      I think this is consistent with AMt not having used Mark. On the other hand,
      reasons why AMt made his redaction relative to his source are given in my

      >1. that Luke would have noticed this structural element in Matt (even though
      >most modern interpreters, including myself till today, have missed it!); ...

      I'm sure you have had much more time to study such a detail than ALk could
      have. He would have been concerned primarily with the text's theological
      meaning and ramifications relative to Mt and Mk, which, however, would
      include cleaning up unnecessary dualisms within Mark. However it is
      interesting that you have noticed these only 3 uses of META IHSOU in
      Matthew, and their occurrence relatively close together.

      If one keeps the tradition of Matthew's primacy together with its having
      been written first in Hebrew/Aramaic, then ALk likely did not have a Greek
      Matthew to study, at the time he wrote Luke. Then if one persued this
      further, one would have to speculate on whether the translator of Matthew
      purposely avoided Luke's preference for SUN TW IHSOU and so utilized META
      IHSOU instead. But

      I have become informed of quite a few places where Luke contradicts Matthew
      in meaning. Suppose I hypothesize that ALk did this on purpose. Then suppose
      that on my own I discover one more of these places (which most modern
      interpreters have failed to mention). Would this go very far in proving my
      hypothesis correct?

      Differences in meaning are more conclusive in this regard, I think, than
      differences in Greek word structure. The latter only signifies the writer's
      literary structural preferences. But in either case, the degree of ease with
      which the argument can be reversed is all important.

      Jim Deardorff
      Corvallis, Oregon
      E-mail: deardorj@...
      Home page: http://www.proaxis.com/~deardorj/index.htm
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