Matthew 28:19 - Lake, Edmunds, and Wilkinson
- F.C. Conybeare's proposal that Mt. 28:19 originally did not contain the triune baptismal formula did not go unnoticed by his contemporaries. Here are excerpts from three other writers of the early 1900's - Kirsopp Lake, J. Albert Edmunds, and J. R. Wilkinson.
LAKE: In "The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1907), p. 87, Lake wrote:
"Textually this passage gives rise to a difficult problem in verse 19. The facts may be summarized as follows. The text as given above is found in all MSS. and versions; but Eusebius of Caesarea, in his frequent quotations of this verse, frequently, if not always, used a text giving it in the form, "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations in my name" omitting all reference to baptism. The obvious suggestion is that this form was found in MSS. known to Eusebius, though no longer extant. Possibly Hermas (c. 140 A.D.), and probably Justin Martyr, show acquaintance with the same form. These facts were first pointed out by Mr Conybeare, and no other explanation has been offered, except that Eusebius may have concealed his knowledge of the text under the influence of the /Disciplina arcani,/ which forbade Christian mysteries to be made known to the heathen. This is an unsatisfactory suggestion, for Eusebius shows no signs of special respect for the /Disciplina arcani,/ and there is no reason why he should have been silent on the baptismal formula in commentaries on scripture, which were surely intended for the initiated. Thus it is probable that Eusebius used MSS. which omitted the command to baptize, and it is a question whether this is not really the original text of Matthew, and the command to baptize a later interpolation, due to the influence of ecclesiastical custom. A decision on this point must depend largely on considerations which cannot be fully discussed here. The main argument in favour of the usual text is the alleged improbability that all existing MSS. and versions should agree in a wrong reading; but against this may be set the view of many students of the text that no existing MSS. or versions do more than represent comparatively late recensions; the probability that baptismal use undoubtedly very early influenced the text; and the improbability, in view of the great importance attached to baptism, that such a form as the Eusebian text of Matt. xxviii. 19 could ever have evolved out of the ordinary text. Moreover, those who ascribe an early date to Matthew ought naturally to be inclined to prefer the Eusebian text, for they are then relieved from the well-known difficulty caused by the fact that in the Acts baptism is always in the name of Christ (or a similar expression), and never in the Trinitarian formula. The balance of argument seems to be in favor of the Eusebian text."
Lake proceeded, on pp. 88-90, to summarize cases for and against the idea that this incident is based on the (posited) lost conclusion of Mark; he concluded (though not strongly) that the best explanation is that Mark was already mutilated when it came into Matthew's hands; the closing section of Matthew "cannot be regarded as adequately representing the lost conclusion of Mark."
EDMUNDS - A decade after Lake wrote that, J. Albert Edmunds wrote a book called "The Oldest Resurrection Documents Showing that Event to Have Been a Series of Apparitions." The second text he examines (#1 is Acts 9:1-9) is ""MATTHEW" XXVIII, 16-20." Edmunds presented this in the following way:
The eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [Probably referring to the scene in Mark III, 13-19.] And when they saw him they worshipt [him]; BUT SOME DOUBTED. And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying: A;; authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and made disciples of all the nations IN MY NAME, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you; and lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.*
The asterisk is followed by a paragraph-sized note:
*NOTE. This ancient form of the text, reconstructed from the lost MSS. of Origen and Pamphilus, as used by Eusebius, omits the Trinitarian formula and the Baptismal Charge (Conybeare: Hibbert Journal, 1902.) Observe that the disciples go away into Galilee, as ordered by the young man in white in Mark xvi, 7. This priceless fragment preserved in the First Gospel is probably older than our present text of Mark, and if not taken from the original ending of the latter, represented the same Galilean tradition. This was afterwards supplanted by the snobbish assertion of the capital, which said: "It all happened here!" In the interest of this Jerusalem prepossession the account in Luke was written, Mark was mutilated and Matthew interpolated. This has been clearly shown by Kirsopp Lake and Clayton R. Bowen, in their monographs on the Resurrection in the Crown Theological Library (New York, Putnam, 1907 and 1911). The apparitional character of the phenomenon is evidence from the phrase: /Some doubted,/ that is, some saw the figure and others did not. Very different from the materialized forms of Luke and John!
Just to be thorough, I investigated Clayton Bowen's 1911 monograph, "Resurrection in the New Testament," but he doesn't add anything to the text-critical discussion. He does, though, mention a few replies to Conybeare, including one that was written by J. R. Wilkinson, and which can be found in the same issue of Hibbert Journal, beginning on p. 571.
WILKINSON - The gist of Wilkinson's answer to Conybeare is that the Eusebian form of Matthew 28:19, instead of displaying any omission of the usual baptismal triune formula, contained an insertion: the phrase "in my name" between "of all nations" and "baptizing." Wilkinson seems content to regard the phrase "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations in my name" as a phrase which was in a "the pre-Matthean gospel postulated by our St Matthew." In other words, "Make disciples of all nations in my name" was in the source-material, and Matthew (or, as Wilkinson diplomatically puts it, "the canonical evangelist" the anonymous author known as the author of the Gospel of Matthew) declined to perpetuate it alongside the triune formula, but the words crept "back into the text even without any conscious purpose on the part of a copyist who was familiar with the language of the ancient source. In this way was formed the conflate reading, for which we have the testimony of Eusebius." Wilkinson's whole article should be required reading for everyone who reads Conybeare's.
(Btw, Wilkinson provisionally favors the reading, "Do not call me good," at least in Luke 18:19.)
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
> The text as given above is found in all MSS. and versions;this
> but Eusebius of Caesarea, in his frequent quotations of
> verse, frequently, if not always, used a text giving it inthe
> form, "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all thenations
> in my name" omitting all reference to baptism. TheWhat we really, really need is an early, extensive papyrus
> obvious suggestion is that this form was found in MSS.
of Matthew, like P66.
Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany