Thursday, September 10, 2009

Apocryphote of the Day: 9-10-09

Jesus said, "It is impossible for a person to mount two horses and to bend two bows."

Gospel of Thomas 47.1


Mark Goodacre said...

And yet Jesus manages the first of these tasks in Matthew 21.6!

April DeConick said...


Frank McCoy said...

Wow! I've wondered for a while why Matthew, when using Thomas as a source, used 44, 45, 46 and 47.2 as source material, but inexplicably skipped using 47.1 as as source material. Now I know--he recognized that it couldn't be true! :-)

N T Wrong said...

I am so disappointed that Mark made that joke before I did.

Pintradex said...

...mount two horses and to bend two bows.

Typical of a single male. If Jesus had had children, He would've learned real quick what you can do at once.

Unknown said...


First I agree with NT Wrong. Your reaction was my first reaction too.

But on a more serious note, isn't it interesting that Matthew misses the use of repetition in Hebrew poetry?

Mark Goodacre said...

Yes, it's the most baffling kind of literalism, isn't it? It's quite amusing to watch the Visual Bible Matthew (1996) actually trying to depict this. It's possible that when Jesus sat on "them" (AUTWN), Matthew intends to refer to the clothes (plural), but that still doesn't deal with the introduction of the second animal, which is a kind of wooden literalism, yes.

N T Wrong said...

I have long been impressed with George Soares Prabhu's suggestion that Matthew deliberately uses a hermeneutic which was widely employed for interpreting prophecy - one which could be compared with the pesher method at Qumran, which is always seeking hidden meanings which go counter to the plain meaning (in this case clear synonymous parallelism) of the text.

I quote:

"It is better, then, to suppose that Mt's version of the quotation is a deliberate, ad hoc, targumizing translation, in which Mt has intentionally and according to approved rabbinic techniques interpreted the w'al of the Hebrew as copulative, in order to read two animals into Zechariah's text. This is not without parallel in the NT itself. The fulfilment quotation of Jn 19,24 refers... Ps22,19, which in the Psalm are two parallel ways of saying the same thing, to two distinct actions: the partitioning of the garments(himatia) of Jesus, and the casting of lots upon his tunic (chiton). Read in this disjunctive way, the Psalm become an astonishingly literal prediction o the events at the Cross!"
- Formula Quotations (1976)

In other words, Matthew's interpretation of prophecy is not is weird when you realize that almost everybody else were also reading such verses in weird ways.