Demands of Discipleship

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"Anyone who wants to join me but puts family ties or love of self ahead of me cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who is not prepared to die cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who does not renounce his possessions cannot possibly be my full-time disciple."

Matt. 10:37-38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:25-27, 33
(Huck 62, 171; Aland 103, 217; Crook 118, 260-261)[1]

Revised: 24-May-2018

הַבָּא אֵלַי וְאֵינוֹ שׂוֹנֵא אֶת אָבִיו וְאֶת אִמּוֹ וְאֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת יְלָדָיו וְאֶת אֶחָיו וְאֶת אַחְיוֹתָיו וְאַף אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת תַּלְמִידִי מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹשֵׂא אֶת צְלוּבוֹ וְהוֹלֵךְ אַחֲרַי אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת תַּלְמִידִי מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַנִּיחַ כָּל מַה שֶּׁיֵשׁ לוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת תַּלְמִידִי

“Anyone who wants to join me but puts family ties or love of self ahead of me cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who is not prepared to die cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who does not renounce his possessions cannot possibly be my full-time disciple.”[2]






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Story Placement

The Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident contains very little of the instruction Jesus gave in similar situations. Lindsey theorized that the Hebrew source from which the Synoptic Gospels are descended contained narrative-sayings complexes that were broken apart in the process of transmission from the Greek Translation of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua to the authors of Matthew, Mark and Luke.[3] According to Lindsey’s view, a Greek editor detached teaching sections from the description of the events that occasioned them.[4] The content of the Demands of Discipleship discourse fits one of the central themes raised in the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident: the rigorous demands of discipleship.[5]

We believe there is linguistic and literary evidence to support Lindsey’s suggestion that the Demands of Discipleship discourse and the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident originally belonged to the same narrative-sayings complex, a complex we have entitled “Cost of Entering the Kingdom of Heaven.”[6] For example, Jesus’ statement that a disciple must be willing to “say farewell to all his possessions” (L17-18; Luke 14:33) directly corresponds to the rich man’s unwillingness to part with all his possessions in order to become a disciple, as well as Peter’s exclamation, “We have left everything and followed you” (Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L96-98; Matt 19:27; Mark 10:28; cf. Luke 18:28). In addition, Jesus’ statement that a disciple must “hate” his father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters (Demands of Discipleship, L5-8; Luke 14:26; cf. Matt. 10:37) seems to be an amplification of Jesus’ response in the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L112-118 (Matt. 19:29; Mark 10:29; Luke 18:29) about “leaving house” (i.e., family) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven (i.e., in order to join Jesus’ band of disciples). Other key phrases in this pericope that fit the context of the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident include “comes to me” (L4; Luke 14:26), “comes after me” (L13; Luke 14:27) and “be my disciple” (L14; Luke 14:27). These phrases are similar to, and probably synonymous with, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι (“and come, follow me”; Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L50; Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22). The points of contact between the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident and the Demands of Discipleship discourse strongly suggest that at a pre-synoptic stage these pericopae belonged to the same literary context.

Click here to view the Map of the Conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua. __________________________________________________________________

Conjectured Stages of Transmission

LOY 48-Five AttestationsThere are five canonical attestations to parts of the Demands of Discipleship discourse that appear to reflect two pre-synoptic versions of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying.[7] The best preserved version of Jesus’ sayings are found in Luke 14:26-27, 33. The version in Matt. 10:37-38 is very similar to Luke 14:26-27 and probably stems from the same source (Anth.). Another version of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying, which stems from a different source, appears in Luke 9:23. This version of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying has a more refined Greek style and therefore probably stems from FR.[8] The Luke 9:23 version of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying was subsequently copied by the author of Mark (Mark 8:34), and Mark’s form of the saying was then copied by Matthew (Matt. 16:24).[9]

(Anthology) (First Reconstruction)
Luke 14:26-27, 33 Matt. 10:37-38 Luke 9:23 Mark 8:34 Matt. 16:24
L1 Εἴ τις ἔρχεται πρός με Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεσθαι, Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν, Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν,
L2 καὶ οὐ μεισεῖ τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα ὁ φιλῶν πατέρα μητέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ
L3 οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος
L4 καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ τὰς ἀδελφάς, καὶ ὁ φιλῶν υἱὸν ἢ θυγατέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ
L5 ἔτι τε καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ἑαυτοῦ, ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν
L6 Οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής. οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.
L7 ὅστις οὖν βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν αυτοῦ καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ
L8 καθ’ ἡμέραν,
L9 καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι. καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι. καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι.
L10 οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής. οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.
L11 οὕτως οὖν πᾶς ἐξ ὑμῶν ὃς οὐκ ἀποτάσσεται πᾶσιν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ ὑπάρχουσιν οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής.
  • Pink = Lukan-Matthean agreement in columns 1 and 2.
  • Red = Agreement in all five columns.
  • Blue = Agreement in Luke’s Anth. and FR versions.
  • Green = Agreement in columns 3-5.
  • Cranberry = Agreement between Luke’s Anth. version (column 1) and all three FR versions (columns 3-5).
  • Purple = Agreement between Matthew’s Anth. version (column 2) and all three FR versions (columns 3-5).
  • Light Blue = Agreement between the Markan and Matthean FR versions (columns 4 and 5).

The version of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying in Matt. 10:37-38 and the versions derived from FR (Luke 9:23; Mark 8:34; Matt. 16:24) are, from a linguistic and literary point of view, inferior to the version in Luke 14:26-27.[10] While this is to be expected in the case of the versions derived from FR, it is surprising in the case of Matt. 10:37-38, which, like the version in Luke 14:26-27, was derived from Anth. Extensive reworking of Anth.’s wording by the author of Matthew accounts for the inferiority of the Matt. 10:37-38 version of the Demands of Discipleship saying. Much of this rewording was done in order to fit Demands of Discipleship into the new context of Matt. 10, where Jesus gives instructions to the Twelve as he prepares them for their preaching and healing mission and predicts persecutions and hardships they will suffer.[11]

To further complicate matters, it appears that the author of Luke inserted the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes (Luke 14:28-32) between the second and third demands of discipleship. The two similes are very different in terms of style and vocabulary from the verses surrounding them (Luke 14:26-27, 33).[12] The similes also interrupt the three-part parallelism of Jesus’ demands for discipleship. Moreover, the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes do not really illustrate the demands of discipleship Jesus describes in Luke 14:26-27, 33. The Tower Builder and King Going to War similes describe a situation in which someone begins a task, but finds himself unable to complete it because he lacks the necessary resources. Within the conjectured context of the “Cost of Entering the Kingdom of Heaven” complex, having sufficient resources is not the problem. The rich man who declined Jesus’ invitation to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (i.e., to become a full-time disciple)[13] had extensive resources—resources with which he was unwilling to part. The rich man was not like the farmer who had insufficient funds to complete his building project after the foundation was laid, or like the king who lacked enough men to match his enemy in battle.[14] The rich man’s decision—whether it is worth it to give up beloved activities, relationships and belongings in order to become Jesus’ disciple—is better illustrated by the Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl parables in which a person exchanges everything he has in order to obtain something of infinitely greater value.

With the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes removed, Luke 14:26-27 and Luke 14:33 fit together smoothly and logically.[15] The three demands of discipleship Jesus describes in this pericope share the same form and they relate to key issues raised in the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident and reiterated in the Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl parables.

Crucial Issues

  1. What is the meaning of “hate” in Jesus’ saying?
  2. What is the meaning of “to carry one’s cross”?
  3. Were all disciples required to give up their possessions in order to follow Jesus?


L1-3 συνεπορεύοντο δὲ αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοί καὶ στραφεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς (Luke 14:25). This verse has been omitted from GR because it does not appear to reflect a Hebrew Ur-text. We believe that the author of Luke composed this verse in Greek to provide a setting for Jesus’ teaching in Luke 14:26-33.

L4 הַבָּא אֵלַי (HR). In LXX the verb ἔρχεσθαι (erchesthai, “to come”) was used to translate a variety of Hebrew verbs, but none so often as בָּא (bā’, “come”).[16] In addition, we find that while בָּא was translated with a number of different Greek verbs, ἔρχεσθαι was by far the most common.[17] Our reconstruction, therefore, rests on solid ground.

According to Lieberman, the verb בָּא can be used in rabbinic literature as a shortened technical term for someone coming to adopt new principles.[18] One of the examples Lieberman cites is the following passage from the Jerusalem Talmud:

תני כל הבא צריך לקבל עליו שכבר קיבל עליו משעה שישב

It was taught [in a baraita]: Whoever comes [to become a haver] must take upon himself [the obligations of haverut] since he has already [taken them upon himself] from the moment that he sat [i.e., became a haver]. (y. Dem. 2:3 [9b])

Might Luke 14:26 be an early attestation of this rabbinic usage?[19] We would then understand Jesus’ statement to mean, “If someone comes to me in order to study my halachah (i.e., my interpretation of the Torah)….”

L5 καὶ οὐ μεισεῖ τὸν πατέρα ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα (GR). Both the Lukan and the Matthean versions of Demands of Discipleship agree to mention the attitude a disciple ought to take toward his father and mother, but whereas Luke’s version has the shocking verb “hate,” Matthew’s version has softened the saying’s impact changing the language to “love me [i.e., Jesus] more.” Since the desire to tone down Jesus’ extreme saying is understandable and since Luke’s version reverts easily to Hebrew we have preferred Luke’s wording for GR.

וְאֵינוֹ שׂוֹנֵא אֶת אָבִיו וְאֶת אִמּוֹ (HR). The verb μισεῖν is the most common LXX translation of שָׂנֵא (sānē’, “hate”) in LXX.[20] Likewise, μισεῖν stands for שָׂנֵא in LXX more than any other Hebrew verb.[21] In the present context, Jesus did not employ “hate” in its absolute sense. Rather, he meant to teach his disciples that whoever did not love him more than his own family, or even his own life, could not be his disciple.[22] Observe the way the author of Matthew paraphrased Jesus’ saying: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”[23] In Hebrew “hate” can mean “love less” or “put in second place.” For example, Gen. 29:31 states that Leah was “hated,” but the context indicates that Leah was not unloved, but rather loved less than Jacob’s other wife, Rachel. Notice that the preceding verse specifically says that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.

A second illustration of this Hebraic use of the word “hate” is found in Deut. 21:15: “If a man has two wives, one loved and the other hated….” Here, too, the context shows that the “hated” wife is only second in affection, and not literally hated.[24]

Another Hebraic use of the word “hate” is “leave, give up, put aside, distance oneself from, renounce.”[25] Shmuel Safrai suggested that “hate” is used in this sense in Luke 14:26 (personal communication to David Bivin). Safrai gave two examples of this usage in rabbinic literature: “Love labor and hate mastery” (m. Avot 1:10) and “Love the ‘What if?’ and hate the ‘What of it?’” (Derech Eretz Zuta 1:11 [ed. Higger, 63]).[26]

“Hate” in the sense of “forsake” can mean “give up something one loves.” The thing a person forfeits—for example, the protective environment of home—is often more comfortable or convenient than the thing to which that person chooses to adhere; however, he or she chooses the latter in the realization that it is much more important, real or moral than the thing that is forfeited. Used in this way, “hate” does not describe a feeling, but an action. The person acts as though he or she hates the thing that is given up, even though the person’s feelings might be quite different. By leaving the thing one loves, one “hates” that which he or she has forsaken.

If in Demands of Discipleship Jesus used “hate” in the sense of “forsake,” as Safrai suggested, it is one more reason to connect this saying to the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident. In this incident, Jesus tells Peter, “There is no one who has left house…” (Luke 18:29), while in Demands of Discipleship he commands his disciples to hate “father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters [i.e., family].” Since in Hebrew “house” can mean “family,” and “hate” can be used as a synonym for “leave,” both passages appear to be dealing with the same theme of forsaking home, family, property, and means of livelihood for the sake of full-time discipleship.

The extreme demands Jesus made of prospective disciples must be seen in the context of first-century Jewish society. In that society, the disciple was his teacher’s full-time apprentice or attendant, and the disciple’s total allegiance to his teacher was expected.[27] A special relationship developed between teacher and disciple in which the teacher became like a father.[28] In fact, the teacher was more than a father, and was to be honored above the disciple’s own father, as the following passage from the Mishnah indicates:

When one is searching for the lost property both of his father and of his teacher, his teacher’s loss takes precedence over that of his father since his father brought him only into the life of this world, whereas his teacher, who taught him wisdom [i.e., Torah], has brought him into the life of the world to come.[29] But if his father is no less a scholar than his teacher, then his father’s loss takes precedence….

If his father and his teacher are in captivity, he must first ransom his teacher, and only afterwards his father—unless his father is himself a scholar, and then he must first ransom his father. (m. Bab. Metz. 2:11)

If it seems shocking that someone would ransom his teacher before his own father, it is only because we do not understand the tremendous love and respect that Jewish disciples, and the community at large, had for their teachers. Consider the words of the man who said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to my family” (Luke 9:61). Jesus’ reply shows that only those who were prepared to totally commit themselves to him would be accepted: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.”[30] The same prioritization of discipleship over family ties is emphasized in Jesus’ response to another man who offered to follow him, but only after burying his father. “Let the dead bury their dead,” Jesus told him (Luke 9:60; Matt. 8:22). Pursuing the life of a disciple was not always welcomed by the disciple’s family. According to rabbinic tradition, Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus went to study under Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai in Jerusalem against his father’s wishes. Rabbi Eliezer’s father even threatened to prohibit his son from the benefit of any of his possessions (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 6 [ed. Schechter, 31]). In the case of Rabbi Eliezer, his master, Rabban Yohanan, brought about a happy ending by reconciling Hyrcanus to his son’s decision, but the story illustrates the potential dilemma envisioned in Jesus’ saying and highlights the connection between “hating” one’s father (L5) and renouncing one’s possessions (L17-18).

The Jewish sages expected their disciples to emulate the behavior of the Levites that Moses commended:

He [Levi] said of his father and mother, ‘I have no regard for them.’ He did not recognize his brothers or acknowledge his own children, but he watched over your word and guarded your covenant. (Deut. 33:9; NIV)

In LXX the noun πατήρ (patēr, “father”) rarely represents anything other than אָב (’āv, “father”).[31] The Hebrew noun אָב, on the other hand, was frequently rendered with other Greek terms, but πατήρ remained by far its most common LXX translation.[32] There is no reason to search for a reconstruction other than אָב.

On reconstructing μήτηρ (mētēr, “mother”) with אֵם (’ēm, “mother”), see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L7.

L6 καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα (GR). We have accepted Luke’s wording for GR. Matthew’s version of Demands of Discipleship omits the reference to the disciples wife, but a wife is presupposed by the subsequent mention of children. Separation from one’s wife was a true hardship, and it seems likely that it was a part of Anth.’s version of the saying. Matthew’s emphasis on “worthiness” to be disciple as opposed to Luke’s more pragmatic focus on one’s ability to be a disciple, appears to be a secondary reworking of Jesus’ saying. In Matthew 10 ἄξιος (axios, “worthy”) is a key word, and was likely added to the Demands of Discipleship saying in order to integrate it into the Sending Discourse.[33]

וְאֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ (HR). In LXX the noun γυνή (gūnē, “woman,” “wife”) rarely represents a word in the Hebrew text other than אִשָּׁה (’ishāh, “woman,” “wife”).[34] Likewise, אִשָּׁה was almost always rendered by the LXX translators as γυνή.[35] Our selection of אִשָּׁה for HR, is, therefore, on solid ground.

In first-century Jewish society, marriage took place at a relatively early age (usually by age 18, according to m. Avot 5:21). This cultural norm posed a difficulty for would-be disciples who had to be away from home for extended periods. A disciple had to choose between a long betrothal, a lengthy separation from his wife after marriage, or the postponement of marriage altogether.[36] There was no uniform solution to this problem. We know, for example, that Peter was married at the time he became Jesus’ disciple.[37] All three options were difficult for the disciple, and if he chose a prolonged betrothal or an extended absence from his wife, his time away was a hardship for his bride, as well. On the other hand, some women took great pride in their husband’s efforts. Such was the case with Rabbi Akiva’s wife, who consented to their betrothal only on condition that he go away to study Torah prior to the consummation of their marriage (b. Ket. 62b). But even for Rabbi Akiva’s wife, the long absence of her husband was a true hardship. For this reason, the sages ruled that, if he was married, a man needed his wife’s permission to leave home for longer than thirty days to study Torah (m. Ket. 5:6).

L7 καὶ τὰ τέκνα (Luke 14:26). Rabbinic literature reports cases of disciples who did not recognize their own children as a result of being away from their families for so long (cf. b. Ket. 62b). These stories often emphasize the pride returning fathers express toward their children upon the discovery of their identity. These tales may support our interpretation of “hate” in the sense of “forego,” as well as our contention that “hate” in Jesus’ saying does not exclude feelings of love and affection.

וְאֶת יְלָדָיו (HR). On reconstructing τέκνον (teknon, “child”) with יֶלֶד (yeled, “child”), see Fathers Give Good Gifts, Comment to L14.

L8 וְאֶת אֶחָיו וְאֶת אַחְיוֹתָיו (HR). The noun אָח (’āḥ, “brother”) was almost always translated as ἀδελφός (adelfos, “brother”) in LXX.[38] Likewise, nearly all instances of ἀδελφός in LXX occur as the translation of אָח.‎[39] Similarly, אָחוֹת (’āḥōt) was consistently rendered as ἀδελφή (adelfē, “sister”) by the LXX translators,[40] and nearly every occurrence of ἀδελφή in LXX represents אָחוֹת in the underlying Hebrew text.[41] We have added pronominal suffixes to HR because these were often ignored by Greek translators.[42]

L9 ἔτι τε καὶ (Luke 14:26). Davies and Allison comment that, “With the exception of ἔτι δε [sic] καί this [version of the saying—DNB and JNT] contains nothing characteristically Lukan.[43] Mt 10.37 is probably a heavily redacted version of what appears in Luke” (Davies-Allison, 2:221).

וְאַף (HR). Although the phrase ἔτι τε καὶ does not occur in LXX, the nearly identical ἔτι δε καὶ does occur 5xx in a Hebrew context as the equivalent of אַף כִּי (Neh. 9:18); אַף (Ps. 15[16]:7, 9); וְגַם (Ps. 8:8); and גַּם (Ps. 70[71]:24). Since in dialogue we prefer a MH style, we have elected to reconstruct with וְאַף, which occurs 13xx in the Mishnah,[44] as opposed to וְגַם‎, which occurs 4xx in the Mishnah, all of which are biblical quotations.[45] For examples of וְאַף אֶת followed by a noun with a pronominal suffix, cf. Lev. 26:42 and 4Q397 6 XIII, 15.

τὴν ψυχὴν ἑαυτοῦ (Luke 14:26). The Greek noun ψυχή (psūchē), often translated “soul,” can mean either “self” or “life.”[46] Since “hate his soul” is parallel to “carry his cross” (i.e., “lay down his life”) in the next verse, we should probably interpret ψυχή here in the sense of “life.” Thus, Jesus warns that discipleship must be dearer to a disciple even than life itself.[47]

נַפְשׁוֹ (HR). In LXX the vast majority of instances of ψυχή are the translation of נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”),[48] likewise we find that although the LXX translators rendered נֶפֶשׁ in a variety of ways, none was more common than ψυχή.[49] Among the many nuances of the Hebrew noun נֶפֶשׁ are “self” (Isa. 44:20: וְלֹא־יַצִּיל אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ [“and he cannot save himself”; JPS]) and “life” (Gen. 19:17: הִמָּלֵט עַל־נַפְשֶׁךָ [“flee for your life”; JPS]; 1 Sam. 20:1: מְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת־נַפְשִׁי [“he seeks my life”; JPS]).[50] Luke’s use of ψυχή may be colored by the semantic range of נֶפֶשׁ.‎[51]

In the Mishnah there is an interpretation of Deut. 6:5 that illuminates Jesus’ demands of disciples:

וְאָהַבְתָּ אֶת יָיי אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל מְאוֹדֶיךָ בְּכָל לֶבָבְךָ בִּשְׁנֵי יְצָרֶיךָ בְּיֶצֶר טוֹב וּבְיֶצֶר רָע בְּכָל נַפְשְׁךָ אֲפִילֻּ הוּא נוֹּטֵל אֶת נַפְשֶׁךָ בְּכָל מְאוֹדֶיךָ בְּכָל מָמוֹנֶיךָ

And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. With all your heart—with your two inclinations, with the good inclination and the evil inclination. With all your soul—even if he [i.e., God—DNB and JNT] takes away your soul [i.e., life—DNB and JNT]. With all your strength—with all your wealth. (m. Ber. 9:5)

In this text, נֶפֶשׁ is equivalent to “life” (cf. y. Ber. 9:5 [67b]; b. Ber. 61b). This rabbinic tradition expresses the Jewish perception that, under the condition of foreign domination, loving God may entail risking one’s life.

Notice that the rabbinic interpretation of Deut. 6:5 includes both life and wealth among the possessions that a person must put at God’s disposal.[52] Perhaps Jesus was acquainted with an early form of this rabbinic tradition,[53] which would explain the logical flow from the renunciation of wealth in the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident to the (potential) renunciation of life in the Demands of Discipleship discourse. Jesus could make such demands of his disciples because joining his band of disciples meant participating with God in his mission to rescue Israel, humankind and the whole of creation. There could be no greater expression of love for God than joining God in his redemptive activity.

L10 οὐ δύναται εἶναί μου μαθητής (Matt. 10:37). Matthew’s “is not worthy of me” is less Hebraic than Luke’s “cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Nolland (Matthew, 441) notes that ἄξιος recurs repeatedly (7xx) in Matt. 10.

אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת תַּלְמִידִי (HR). The LXX translators rendered יָכוֹל (yāchōl, “able”) with δύνασθαι (dūnasthai, “to be able”) far more often than with any other verb.[54] Conversely, δύνασθαι in LXX almost always represents יָכוֹל‎.[55] For examples of אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל (’ēnō yāchōl, “he is not able”), see Friend in Need, Comment to L14.

On תַּלְמִיד (talmid, “disciple”) as the reconstruction of μαθητής (mathētēs, “disciple”), see Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L4.

L11-14 In these lines we not only have a Matthean parallel, we also have two forms of the saying in Luke. Such repetitions of Jesus’ sayings in Luke are known as Lukan Doublets. Lindsey suggested that Lukan Doublets are the result of Luke’s having copied parallel material from his two sources, Anth. and FR, at different spots in his Gospel.[56] Lindsey observed that often one component of a Lukan Doublet shows signs of Greek improvement, whereas the counterpart is much more Hebraic. In this instance, the counterpart in Luke 9:23 shows signs of Greek editing, whereas Luke 14:27 shows Hebraic characteristics.[57] For this reason Lindsey attributed Luke 14:27 to Anth. and Luke 9:23 to FR.

L11 ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει (GR). Although we use Codex Vaticanus as the basis for our commentary, the reading οὖν at Luke 14:27 seems to be a scribal error.[58] Our Greek reconstruction reflects this assumption.

L11-12 βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ (Luke 14:27). Bivin and Tilton disagree over the interpretation of Jesus’ imagery in this saying. In Bivin’s opinion, carrying one’s cross is a metaphor primarily for the daily hardships and deprivations of discipleship (שִׁמּוּשׁ חֲכָמִים, shimūsh ḥachāmim, “service of sages”).[59] Tilton, on the other hand, believes that the imagery of cross-bearing refers to the necessity to accept the possibility of martyrdom as a consequence of following Jesus.

Bearing one’s cross is a potent and visceral image. During the first century C.E. in the land of Israel, the cross was a chilling symbol of the Roman occupation, a warning to the empire’s conquered peoples of the lengths the empire would go to maintain its grip on power.[60] For Jews living in the land of Israel, the cross symbolized their crushed hopes for freedom and peace, and reinforced their status as a conquered people.[61] In a culture where crucifixion was a reality, and in a context where the cross already had a deafening political message, it seems to Tilton unlikely that Jesus would have spoken of cross-carrying so lightly as Bivin suggests.[62] Although giving up one’s livelihood in order to itinerate with a sage as a full-time disciple could, indeed, be difficult, the image of a tortured soul affixed to a cross seems grossly disproportionate.[63] In Tilton’s opinion, it is more likely that Jesus used the cross to symbolize the risk of martyrdom at the hands of the Roman Empire.

Why might following Jesus involve the risk of running afoul of the Roman government?[64] Probably because the people who joined Jesus’ movement believed that through following Jesus and practicing his teachings, God would miraculously liberate Israel from foreign oppression. Despite his opposition to armed insurgence against the Roman Empire, Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven carried with it an implied critique of Caesar’s reign.[65] Jesus’ depiction of God as a king who is actively bringing his reign to bear over the people of Israel cannot have escaped unfavorable comparison with Caesar’s often brutal reign. And from his prophecy of the liberation of Jerusalem after “the times of the Gentiles have been fulfilled” (Luke 21:24), we learn that, like many in Israel, Jesus held on to the hope for political redemption from foreign domination.[66] Since it was the policy of the Roman Empire to stamp out messianic movements, Jesus knew that his message of redemption through the Kingdom of Heaven was a dangerous business.[67] Jesus, who was certainly aware of the political implications of his message, warned would-be disciples of the dangers involved. In this respect, Jesus’ outlook was much more realistic than many of the false messiahs who (whether intentionally or not) deceived people into expecting a glorious military victory against Rome. Jesus knew that a military revolt would be disastrous for the people of Israel, but he believed that redemption could be achieved through other means: through repentance, acts of mercy, and universal love.


This is the folio of the Bodmer Papyrus in which Luke 14:27 is written with the staurogram.

That some early Christians understood Jesus’ saying to imply that his followers might have to endure crucifixion for the sake of discipleship is vividly illustrated in certain early Gospel manuscripts. In the Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV (P75; early third cent. C.E.), for example, the Greek word for “cross” in Luke 14:27 is written with an abbreviation that graphically represents crucifixion.[68] The abbreviation, written σ⳨ος, incorporates the monogram , a combination of the letters τ (tav) and ρ (rho) from the word σταυρός (stavros, “cross”).[69] The  monogram, which scholars refer to as a staurogram, resembles the shape of a crucified person. As Hurtado observes, “The tau is confirmed as an early symbol of the cross,[70] and the loop of the superimposed rho in the tau-rho suggested the head of a crucified figure.”[71] The ancient scribal practice of writing “cross” in Luke 14:27 and Luke 9:23 with a visual representation of a crucified person indicates that some early Christians understood Jesus’ warning about the necessity of carrying one’s cross literally.


Close up of the Bodmer Papyrus containing Luke 14:27 with the staurogram circled in red.

מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹשֵׂא אֶת צְלוּבוֹ (HR). On reconstucting βαστάζειν (bastazein, “to carry”) with נָשָׂא (nāsā’, “carry”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct on the Road, Comment to L63.[72] In our reconstruction there is a wordplay on שׂוֹנֵא (sōnē’, “hate”; L5) and נוֹשֵׂא (nōsē’, “carry”; L11). In MH, the words for cross are צְלוּב (tzelūv)[73] and צְלִיבָה (tzelivāh).[74] We have adopted the former for HR.

L13 καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου (Luke 14:27). Black (277-278) notes that the phrases ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου (Luke 14:27) and ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου (Matt. 10:38) are equivalent phrases with no difference of meaning.

וְהוֹלֵךְ אַחֲרַי (HR). Following after a sage is a classic description of the behavior of disciples in rabbinic literature,[75] and it appears that the Hebrew expression הָלַךְ אַחַר sometimes has the specific meaning of “to follow a sage as his disciple.”[76] This is how Josephus understood the phrase הָלַךְ אַחַר (hālach ’aḥar, “walk after”) in the story of Elijah’s calling of Elisha,[77] as becomes clear when we compare Josephus’ paraphrase of 1 Kgs. 19:21 to the original Hebrew verse and its LXX translation:

וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ וַיְשָׁרְתֵהוּ

…and he walked behind Elijah and served him. (1 Kgs. 19:21)

καὶ ἐπορεύθη ὀπίσω Ηλιου καὶ ἐλειτούργει αὐτῷ

…and [he] went after Eliou and ministered to him. (3 Kgdms. 19:21; NETS)

καὶ ἦν Ἠλίου τὸν ἅπαντα χρόνον τοῦ ζῆν καὶ μαθητὴς καὶ διάκονος.

…and so long as Elijah was alive he was his disciple and attendant. (Ant. 8:354; Loeb)

Josephus’ paraphrase indicates that it was natural for a first-century Jew from Jerusalem to understand הָלַךְ אַחַר in the Elijah-Elisha story as a technical term for discipleship.

The LXX translators usually rendered אַחַר + pronominal suffix either as μετα + pronoun or ὀπίσω + pronoun. Most instances of ὀπίσω (opisō, “behind”) in LXX occur as the translation of אַחַר (’aḥar, “after,” “behind”).[78]

L15 Unlike Luke 14:26-27, 33, which are relatively easy to reconstruct in Hebrew, Luke 14:28-32, which make up the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes, are much more challenging. This fact, together with the way the twin similes interrupt the three part parallelism of the Demands of Discipleship saying, leads us to conclude that the author of Luke spliced the twin similes into the Demands of Discipleship context from another source (FR).[79] We have therefore dealt with the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes separately.

L16-19 Some scholars are of the opinion that Luke 14:33 was composed by the author of Luke.[80] Their conclusion is based on the following observations: 1) poverty and giving up one’s possessions are Lukan themes (cf. Luke 6:20; 12:33); 2) the verb ἀποτάξασθαι appears 4xx in Luke-Acts, but only 1x elsewhere in the synoptic tradition (Mark 6:46); 3) Luke 14:33 is an unnatural conclusion to the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes; and 4) there is no parallel to Luke 14:33 in Mark or Matthew. These are weighty considerations, however we have chosen to retain this verse for the following reasons:

  1. Luke 14:33 has basically the same structure and much of the same vocabulary as the sayings in Luke 14:26-27, which are deemed to be original.
  2. Although Matthew has no parallel to Luke 14:33, this does not prove that the source from which both Luke 14:26-27 and Matt. 10:37-38 are derived did not have a verse corresponding to Luke 14:33. We have demonstrated above that Luke 14:26-27 is closer to the conjectured Ur-text than Matt. 10:37-38. In addition to the other changes the author of Matthew made to this passage, it is possible that he chose to omit the third rib of a tripartite parallelism.
  3. The content of Luke 14:33 is in harmony with Jesus’ requirement that the rich man divest himself of his possessions in order to join Jesus’ itinerating band of disciples, as well as with Peter’s observation that the disciples had left everything in order to follow Jesus.
  4. Jesus’ requirement that individuals must renounce their possessions in order to gain entry into his movement is not unprecedented in first-century Judaism (see below).
  5. Parting with one’s possessions in order to travel with Jesus is a logical necessity. Disciples could not bring their possessions with them on the road.

The difficulties with Luke 14:33 do not seem sufficient to exclude this verse from our reconstruction of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua.

L16-17 οὕτως οὖν πᾶς ἐξ ὑμῶν ὃς οὐκ ἀποτάσσεται (Luke 14:33). The first two lines of this verse, L16-17, have undergone considerable redaction, which we attribute to the author of Luke. The Lukan redaction is a consequence of the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes (Luke 14:28-32), which the author of Luke sandwiched between the second and third parts of Jesus’ saying about the demands of discipleship. Luke rewrote the beginning of Luke 14:33 in order to make it into a more fitting conclusion to the similes.

L16 οὕτως οὖν πᾶς ἐξ ὑμῶν (Luke 14:33). The phrase οὕτως οὖν (“so therefore”) is Luke’s way of presenting this verse as a logical consequence of the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes. Luke’s attempt, however, was not entirely successful; whereas the similes describe scenarios in which a person makes a calculation about whether he has enough resources to embark on an endeavor, according to Luke 14:33 a prospective disciple must part with everything he has, whether his possessions be numerous or few.[81]

The words ἐξ ὑμῶν (ex hūmōn, “from of you”) are another adaptation of Luke 14:33 to the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes, which open with the phrase τίς γὰρ ἐξ ὑμῶν (tis gar ex hūmōn, “for which one of you”; Luke 14:28).

ὅστις οὐκ (GR). We believe that in Luke’s source the third demand in the series would have had the same pattern as those it followed. Just as Luke 14:27 opens with ὅστις οὐ (hostis ou, “whoever does not”), so in Anth. the third of Jesus’ demands probably opened with ὅστις οὐκ.[82]

L17 ὃς οὐκ ἀποτάσσεται (Luke 14:33). The verb ἀποτάξασθαι (apotaxasthai, “to bid farewell”) occurs 6xx in NT, four of which are in the writings of Luke.[83] This is the only NT instance where ἀποτάξασθαι is used in the sense “to renounce,” however this usage is attested in the writings of Philo (cf. Leg. 3:142, 145) where ἀποτάξασθαι is applied to Moses’ renunciation of food prior to receiving the revelation at Sinai.[84]

מַנִּיחַ (HR). Although the verb ἀποτάξασθαι occurs 7xx in LXX, it appears only 2xx in a Hebrew context (Jer. 20:2; Eccl. 2:20),[85] and only in Eccl. 2:20 does ἀποτάξασθαι translate a Hebrew word (יֵאֵשׁ [yē’ēsh, “to despair”]). Since ἀποτάξασθαι appears to be a Greek editorial improvement that cannot easily be put back into Hebrew, we have modeled our reconstruction on Peter’s claim that the disciples “left everything” to follow Jesus (Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L96-98; Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28; cf. Luke 18:28). On our preference for הִנִּיחַ over עָזַב see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L97.

ἀφίησι (GR). The Greek Reconstruction represents how the conjectured Greek Translation of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua may have read. In situations such as Luke 14:33, where we do not have a version in Matthew or Mark for comparison, and the text appears to be heavily redacted, we arrive at GR by imagining how the verse might have been written in Hebrew and then translating this Hebrew reconstruction into Greek in a literal style.[86] This approach allows us to imagine how the Greek Ur-text was worded before undergoing successive stages of editing.[87] In the present case, since ἀποτάξασθαι appears to have been introduced by the author of Luke, we conjecture that Luke’s source read ἀφίησι (afiēsi, “he leaves”), the same verb that appears in Peter’s claim to have “left everything” in order to follow Jesus. Another option for GR would be καταλείπει (kataleipei, “he leaves”), the verb used to describe Levi’s action in Call of Levi, L18 (Luke 5:28).

L18 πᾶσιν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ ὑπάρχουσιν (Luke 14:33). This statement links the Demands of Discipleship discourseto the other pericopae in this narrative-sayings complex (Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident; Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl parables). In each of these pericopae Jesus implies that it is necessary to leave one’s possessions in order to join his itinerating band of disciples.

Numerous sources reflecting divergent streams of ancient Judaism attest to the austere lifestyle of those who devoted themselves to full-time Torah study. The members of the Qumran community, who went out into the desert to engage in the study of Torah (1QS VIII, 15), gave up the private ownership of property upon their admission to the Yahad (1QS VI, 18-22; cf. 1QS I, 11-13). Rabbinic traditions about the Rechabites, which may reflect the practices of the Essenes, or a group close to the Essenes,[88] mention that the Rechabites left their possessions in order to study Torah.[89] Rabbinic traditions also describe the privations their own disciples endured.[90] Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, for instance, commented upon the austere lifestyle of full-time disciples:

לא נתנה תורה לדרוש אלא לאולכי המן הא כיצד היה יושב ודורש ולא היה יודע מהיכן הוא אוכל ושותה ומהיכן הוא לובש ומתכסה הא לא נתנה תורה לדרוש אלא לאוכלי המן

The Torah was not given for study except to the eaters of manna. For how can someone be sitting and studying and not know where his food and drink will come from, or where his clothes and coverings will come from? Thus, the Torah was not given for study except to the eaters of manna.” (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael Vayassa chpt. 3, on Exod. 16:4 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:235])[91]

Likewise, Ben Azzai offered assurances that the rigors of full-time discipleship are worth the discomforts involved:

אם מנבל אדם עצמו על דברי תורה ואוכל תמרים חרובים ולובש בגדים צואים ויושב ומשמר על פתח של חכמים כל עובר ושב אומר שמא שוטה הוא זה לסוף אתה מוצא כל התורה כולה עמו.‏

[Ben Azzai said] If one wastes away over the words of the Torah, eats dried-out dates and wears soiled clothing and sits faithfully at the door of the Sages, every passerby says, ‘Probably that’s a fool!’ But in the end thou wilt find the whole Torah at his command. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 11 [ed. Schechter, 46]; Goldin trans.)[92]

There are also many allusions to the disciples’ poverty in the Synoptic Gospels. In addition to Peter’s statement that the disciples had left everything to follow Jesus (Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L97; Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28; cf. Luke 18:28), Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (Matt. 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-32) is probably best understood in the context of the austere conditions of discipleship. The Lord of Shabbat incident (Matt. 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5) may have been occasioned by the disciples’ poverty.[93] And Jesus’ statement that “the son of man has no place to lay his head” is also best understood as an allusion to the difficult lifestyle of full-time discipleship (Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple; Matt. 8:20; Luke 9:58).

Jesus’ requirement that disciples must renounce everything they own (Luke 14:33) fits harmoniously with what we know about Jesus from other Gospel narratives and sayings and with the picture of discipleship in the first century.

כָּל מַה שֶּׁיֵשׁ לוֹ (HR). On reconstructing πᾶς (pas, “all,” “every”) with כָּל (kol, “all,” “every”), see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L26. In LXX the combination of πᾶς + τὰ ὑπάρχοντα frequently represents some variation of כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ,‎[94] while in rabbinic literature we find that the Rechabites made a claim similar to Peter’s, that for the sake of Torah study they left everything they owned: הנחתי כל מה שהיה לי (Sifre Zuta 10:29; cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 35 [ed. Schechter, 105]). Our reconstruction attempts to reflect this linguistic background.

Redaction Analysis

Luke 14:26-27, 33 preserves a three-part saying in which Jesus describes the difficult demands of discipleship. This saying has many Hebraic features (e.g., “hate” in the sense of “leave behind” in L5; “soul” in the sense of “life” in L9; “go after” in the sense of “become a disciple” in L13) that indicate that the source of this saying was Anth. In order to provide what he regarded as an appropriate setting for Jesus’ saying, the author of Luke composed Luke 14:25. For some reason, the author of Luke inserted the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes (Luke 14:28-32) between the second and third of Jesus’ demands. This interpolation interrupts the flow of the Demands of Discipleship discourse, and has led some scholars to doubt the authenticity of Luke 14:33.

In comparison with the version of Jesus’ saying preserved in Luke 14:26-27, 33, the version preserved in Matt. 10:37-38 appears to have undergone thorough redaction by a Greek editor, probably by the author of Matthew himself. Matthew dropped the third rib of Jesus’ triple parallelism, changed “whoever does not hate…” into “whoever loves…more than me,” and made “cannot be my disciple” into “is not worthy of me.” These stylistic changes were probably for the benefit of non-Jewish Greek readers or to assimilate Jesus’ saying into the context of Matt. 10.

The author of Luke primarily relied on two written sources for the material in his Gospel. Since one of these sources (FR) was an epitome of the other (Anth.), Luke often had two versions of the same story or narrative from which to choose. Sometimes Luke copied both versions at different points in his Gospel—these are the Lukan Doublets. This is what happened with Jesus’ cross-bearing saying. The highly Hebraic version from Anth. was copied at Luke 14:27, while the more refined Greek version from FR was copied at Luke 9:23. Mark, who used Luke as a source for the composition of his Gospel, copied Luke’s FR version of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying (Mark 8:34), and Matthew subsequently copied this version from Mark (Matt. 16:24). Thus, both Matthew and Luke have a version of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying derived from Anth. as well as a version stemming from FR.

Although the Demands of Discipleship discourse is best preserved in Luke 14:26-27, 33, even there we find signs of Greek editorial activity, which should probably be attributed to the author of Luke. These include the insertion of the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes between Luke 14:27 and Luke 14:33 (L15), the phrase οὕτως οὖν in L16, which Luke added in order to make Luke 14:33 into a conclusion to be drawn from the interpolated similes, and the verb ἀποτάξασθαι in L17.

Results of This Research

1. What is the meaning of “hate” in Jesus’ saying? Jesus did not require his disciples to have feelings of animosity or disdain toward their parents, their wives or their children. “Hate” has this connotation in Greek and in English, but in Hebrew “hate” can mean “to put second” or “to forsake” in favor of something else. What Jesus required was not a feeling of contempt, but an extremely difficult action: to part with one’s family in order to join Jesus’ band of disciples as they itinerated throughout the Galilee and Judea. This difficult requirement would not have been considered extraordinary within first-century Jewish society.

2. What is the meaning of “to carry one’s cross”? Two main possibilities exist for the interpretation of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying: it can either refer to the daily difficulties all first-century disciples endured as they itinerated with their masters, or it can refer to the likelihood that individuals associated with Jesus’ movement will risk execution at the hands of the state.[95] If the former interpretation is accepted, then Jesus used cross-bearing as a figure of speech unparalleled in contemporary sources. If the latter interpretation is accepted, we must grapple with the political implications of Jesus’ mission.

3. Were all disciples required to give up their possessions in order to follow Jesus? By definition, full-time discipleship required giving up one’s ordinary means of income. Full-time disciples could not work their fields or ply their trades because they were constantly in the presence of their master. And if their master was an itinerating teacher, as Jesus was, they had to leave behind their belongings and their families in order to travel with him from place to place. It is not certain that all Jesus’ disciples were required to sell their possessions and distribute the proceeds to the poor as Jesus required of the rich man (Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L45-50; Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22). Perhaps other disciples were permitted to entrust their belongings to a family member or a friend for the duration of their discipleship, but this must remain speculative. What is certain is that all full-time disciples who itinerated with Jesus could not bring their possessions along with them.

The demands of full-time discipleship may sound extremely harsh, but it should be borne in mind that Jesus did not demand full-time discipleship as a condition for inheriting eternal life.[96] Many individuals who were close to Jesus and who accepted his message did not become full-time disciples.[97] Among these are the people whom Jesus healed; Zacchaeus, who remained in Jericho after his encounter with Jesus; the landlord in Jerusalem who welcomed Jesus and his disciples into his home for Passover (cf. Preparations for Eating Passover Lamb, Comment to L22-33); Nicodemus; Joseph of Arimathea; and, doubtless, many others. The rigorous demands of full-time discipleship were not for everyone, and their failure to leave everything in order to follow Jesus did not prevent non-disciples from experiencing the healing, renewal and redemption that God was bringing about through the Kingdom of Heaven. But for those who were ready and able to accept the challenge, full-time discipleship offered immeasurable rewards (cf. Blessedness of the Twelve).


The Demands of Discipleship discourse is a fitting comment on the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident. In that pericope, Jesus discusses the necessity of leaving one’s home (i.e., family) in order to become a full-time disciple. In that same pericope, Peter exclaims, “We have left everything and followed you.” In Demands of Discipleship Jesus states that anyone who does not “hate” his family cannot be a disciple and anyone who does not renounce his possessions cannot be his disciple. Giving up everything a potential full-time disciple had in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is also the theme of the Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl parables. Together, these three pericopae appear to constitute a narrative-sayings complex that may have existed as a single literary unit in the Hebrew Life of Yeshua.

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  • [1] For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.’
  • [2] This translation is a dynamic rendition of our reconstruction of the conjectured Hebrew source that stands behind the Greek of the Synoptic Gospels. It is not a translation of the Greek text of a canonical source.
  • [3] See Robert L. Lindsey, “Unlocking the Synoptic Problem: Four Keys for Better Understanding Jesus”; idem, “From Luke to Mark to Matthew: A Discussion of the Sources of Markan ‘Pick-ups’ and the Use of a Basic Non-canonical Source by All the Synoptists.”
  • [4] See Robert L. Lindsey, “From Luke to Mark to Matthew: A Discussion of the Sources of Markan ‘Pick-ups’ and the Use of a Basic Non-canonical Source by All the Synoptists,” under the subheading “Restoring Narrative Sayings Complexes”; idem, TJS, 38-39, 42-43.
  • [5] Lindsey dated his discovery of the literary link between Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven and Demands of Discipleship to 14 March 1978 (LHNS, 135).
  • [6] See Robert L. Lindsey, “From Luke to Mark to Matthew: A Discussion of the Sources of Markan ‘Pick-ups’ and the Use of a Basic Non-canonical Source by All the Synoptists,” under the subheading “Restoration of Narrative-Sayings Complexes.”
  • [7] The non-canonical Gospel of Thomas also attests to two versions (logion 55 and logion 101) of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying:

    Jesus said: Whoever does not hate his father and his mother will not be a disciple to Me, and (whoever does not) hate his brethren and his sisters and (does not) take up his cross in My way will not be worthy of Me. (Gos. Thom. §55 [ed. Guillaumont, 31])

    <Jesus said:> Whoever does not hate his father and his mother in My way will not be able to be a [disciple] to me. And whoever does [not] love [his father] and his mother in My way will not be able to be a [disciple] to me, for My mother [ ] but [My] true [Mother] gave me the life. (Gos. Thom. §101 [ed. Guillaumont, 51])

    The versions in the Gospel of Thomas share similarities with the versions in Luke 14:26-27 and Matt. 10:37-38. Like Luke 14:26, the Gospel of Thomas uses the verb “hate,” but like Matt. 10:38, Gos. Thom. logion 55 uses the adjective “worthy.” The versions in Thomas are likely dependent, either directly or indirectly, on the canonical versions of Matthew and Luke. The version in logion 101 may be an adaptation of Jesus’ saying to a Hellenistic proverb. Theon of Alexandria (first cent. C.E.) reports that Isocrates advised students to honor teachers above parents, since parents only give life, whereas teachers are the cause of living nobly (Progymnasmata chpt. 3 Chreia), which may be similar to “[My] true [Mother] gave me the life” (Gos. Thom. logion 101). The Gospel of Thomas adapted other sayings of Jesus to Hellenistic models. For instance, logion 102 is the adaptation of the Aesopic fable about the dog in the manger into a woe against the Pharisees.

  • [8] The two versions of Jesus’ cross-bearing saying in Luke 14:27 and Luke 9:23 constitute a Lukan Doublet. According to Lindsey’s hypothesis, Lukan Doublets are indicative of Luke’s dependence on two pre-synoptic sources. One of these sources (Anth.) was highly Hebraic, the other (FR) is characterized by a more refined Greek style. Several times in his Gospel Luke copied both the Anth. and the FR versions of Jesus’ sayings, resulting in the Lukan Doublets. See Robert L. Lindsey, “From Luke to Mark to Matthew: A Discussion of the Sources of Markan ‘Pick-ups’ and the Use of a Basic Non-canonical Source by All the Synoptists,” under the subheading “Lukan Doublets: Sayings Doublets.”
  • [9] Compare all these versions of the cross-bearing saying in the Synoptic Gospels to John 12:25-26.
  • [10] Commenting on Matt. 10:37-38, Beare writes: “the Lucan version probably stands closer to the original form of the saying, as it reproduces a peculiarly Semitic locution…. Matthew’s version…conveys the sense better in Greek (and in English)” (Beare, 86). Cf. Johannes Schneider, “σταυρός κτλ.,” TDNT, 7:578; C. H. Dodd, Historical Traditio in the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965), 343.
  • [11] Allen (Matt., 110-111) wrote: “It is clear that in the Synoptic Gospels we have three recensions of this saying, viz. (a) Mk 834 = Mt 1624 = Lk 923, a positive form, εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἐλθεῖν (Lk. ἔρχεσθαι), ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ (Lk. adds καθ᾽ ἡμέραν) καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι. (b) Mt 1038, a negative form, ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος. (c) Lk 1427, another negative form in a different context, ὅστις οὐ βαστάζει τὸν σταυρὸν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἔρχεται ὀπίσω μου. The two latter look like independent translations of a Semitic original.” Cf. Albright-Mann, 132.
  • [12] The Tower Builder and King Going to War similes have a high frequency of words that appear only in this passage in the Synoptic Gospels (ψηφίζειν [Luke 14:28]; δαπάνη [Luke 14:28]; ἀπαρτισμός [Luke 14:28]; ἐκτελεῖν [Luke 14:29, 30]), as well as words and phrases that do not appear in LXX (ψηφίζειν [Luke 14:28]; ἀπαρτισμός [Luke 14:28]; εἰ δυνατός [Luke 14:31]). Thus, the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes stand out linguistically from their Lukan context.
  • [13] On equating becoming a disciple with entering the Kingdom of Heaven, see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L64-65; David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “LOY Excursus: The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua,” under the subheading “The Kingdom of Heaven in the Teachings of Jesus: Jesus’ Band of Itinerating Disciples.”
  • [14] Moore pointed out that in the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes, “The men are not asking themselves whether they are willing to pay the cost. But ‘desiring’ (ver. 28. θέλων), to do a certain thing, they are considering whether they are able, with the resources at hand, to accomplish it.” See Thomas Verner Moore, “The Tower-builder and the King: A Suggested Exposition of Luke xiv. 25-35,” The Expositor 7.6 (1914)): 519-537, quotation on 522. The Tower Builder and King Going to War similes are poor illustrations of the rich man’s dilemma, for whereas the tower builder and the king were willing to pursue their tasks if they had the necessary resources, the rich man who had abundant resources was unwilling to accept Jesus’ invitation.
  • [15] According to Jarvis, “if vv. 28-32 are removed the continuity of the remainder is improved.” See Peter G. Jarvis, “Expounding the Parables: V. The Tower-builder and the King going to War (Luke 14:25-33),” Expository Times 77 (1965-1966): 196-198, quotation on 196. Cf. Snodgrass (384): “if the parables are omitted, the text that remains (Luke 14:26-27, 33) reads smoothly.”
  • [16] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:548-553.
  • [17] See Dos Santos, 22-23.
  • [18] See Saul Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine: Studies in the Life and Manners of Jewish Palestine in the II-IV Centuries C.E. (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1942), 80.
  • [19] Cf. the tradition about the Rechabites who said: באתי…ללמוד תורה (“I came…to study Torah”; Sifre Zuta 10:29).
  • [20] See Dos Santos, 200.
  • [21] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:929-930.
  • [22] Cf. Flusser, Jesus, 35.
  • [23] See R. Steven Notley, “Jesus’ Command to ‘Hate’.”
  • [24] Another illustration of this nuance—“to hate” in the sense of “to put in an inferior position in terms of affection”—is found in Jesus’ own words: “No servant can serve two masters…he will hate the one and love the other…” (Luke 16:13; Matt. 6:24). The point of this teaching is that any attempt to be God’s slave and at the same time to be a slave to money will fail. It is not that in such a situation a person actually hates God, but rather, that he tries to love both God and money. Inevitably, a conflict of interest will arise in which the person will sometimes prefer money to God.
  • [25] See Marshall, 592.
  • [26] These two rabbinic sayings are exhortations to prefer one thing and put aside another. The second saying enjoins that one should prefer the “What if?” that is, weigh or consider carefully one’s actions, but flee the “What of it?” that is, avoid the attitude that one’s actions do not matter.
  • [27] See Isaac Newman, “Talmudic Discipleship,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica Yearbook (Jerusalem: Keter, 1989), 33-40.
  • [28] See David N. Bivin, “At the Feet of a Sage”; idem, “First-century Discipleship.”
  • [29] Compare Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah’s words of comfort to Rabbi Eliezer recorded in Sifre Deut. § 31 (on Deut. 6:5), and compare these rabbinic traditions to Theon of Alexandria’s statement (first cent. C.E.) regarding Isocrates (436–338 B.C.E.): “We object to…Isocrates’ saying that one should honor teachers before parents, since the latter have offered us the chance to live but teachers the chance to live nobly” (Progymnasmata chpt. 3 Chreia). Translation according to James R. Butts, The Progymnasmata of Theon: A New Text with Translation and Commentary (Claremont, Calif.: Claremont Graduate School, 1987), 213.
  • [30] Compare Elijah’s response to Elisha’s request to say good-bye to his parents (1 Kgs. 19:20). See Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple, Comments to L32, L35-36.
  • [31] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1105-1111.
  • [32] See Dos Santos, 1.
  • [33] See Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L82-83.
  • [34] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:278-283.
  • [35] See Dos Santos, 19.
  • [36] See Newman, “Talmudic Discipleship,” 38.
  • [37] See Healing Shimon’s Mother-in-law, Comment to L11.
  • [38] See Dos Santos, 6.
  • [39] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:20-23.
  • [40] See Dos Santos, 6.
  • [41] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:19.
  • [42] On the dropping of pronominal suffixes in the course of translation from Hebrew to Greek, see Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L10.
  • [43] While it is true that in NT the phrase ἔτι τε καὶ occurs only in the writings of Luke, even in Luke-Acts this phrase only occurs 2xx (Luke 14:26; Acts 21:28). To describe the phrase as “characteristically Lukan,” therefore, seems to be a bit of a stretch.
  • [44] For examples of וְאַף in the Mishnah, cf., e.g., m. Ter. 5:4; m. Yom. 3:10; m. Sot. 7:3, 4; m. Bab. Kam. 2:5; m. Bab. Metz. 2:5 [2xx]; m. Edu. 6:3 [2xx].
  • [45] The four instances of וְגַם in the Mishnah are: m. Maas. Sh. 5:10 (in a quotation of Deut. 26:13); m. Sot. 8:6; m. Bab. Kam. 3:9 (in a quotation of Exod. 21:35); m. Sanh. 1:4 (in a quotation of Exod. 21:29).
  • [46] An example of ψυχή (“soul”) carrying the sense “self” appears in a mid-first-cent. C.E. Greek novel, where a prospective husband advises himself to be patient as he anticipates marriage: καρτέρησον ψυχή (“be patient, soul,” i.e., “be patient, self,” “be patient, my heart”) (Chariton, De Chaerea et Callirhoe 3.2.9).
  • [47] Understood in the sense of “self,” the meaning of Jesus’ saying would be that disciples must put their interests, concerns and comforts second to serving Jesus as his disciple. The two senses are not mutually exclusive, since anyone who is prepared to die has, by definition, put his or her personal interests beneath the call to discipleship.
  • [48] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1486-1490.
  • [49] See Dos Santos, 135.
  • [50] Cf. HALOT, 712.
  • [51] For the semantic range of ψυχή, cf. Luke 12:19, “I will say to myself [ψυχή]: ‘Self [ψυχή], you have many good things…’”; and Luke 12:20, “Your life [ψυχή] will be demanded from you.” See also Moule, Idiom, 185.
  • [52] It is possible that the identification of מְאוֹדֶיךָ as wealth is also witnessed in DSS. See Serge Ruzer, “The Double Love Precept in the New Testament and the Community Rule” (JS1, 89-94).
  • [53] As Kister wrote, “notwithstanding significant changes in style, tone, context, and content, aggadic statements in rabbinic literature should be regarded principally as traditions, and the sages to whom these utterances are attributed as tradents of ancient material. Studies that consider rabbinic literature together with writings of the Second Temple period (such as Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Qumran, Philo, Josephus, Gospels) validate time and again this assertion.” See Menahem Kister, “Allegorical Interpretations of Biblical Narratives in Rabbinic Literature, Philo, and Origen: Some Case Studies,” in New Approaches to the Study of Biblical Interpretation in Judaism of the Second Temple Period and in Early Christianity (ed. Gary A. Anderson, Ruth A. Clements, and David Satran; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 133-183, quotation on 141-142.
  • [54] See Dos Santos, 81.
  • [55] See Hatch-Redpaht, 1:353-354.
  • [56] See Robert L. Lindsey, “Unlocking the Synoptic Problem,” under the subheadings “Pre-synoptic Sources” and “Lukan Doublets”; idem, “Measuring the Disparity Between Matthew, Mark and Luke”; idem, “From Luke to Mark to Matthew: A Discussion of the Sources of Markan ‘Pick-ups’ and the Use of a Basic Non-canonical Source by All the Synoptists,” under the subheading “Lukan Doublets: Sayings Doublets.”
  • [57] See Brad Young, “A Fresh Examination of the Cross, Jesus and the Jewish People” (JS1, 202).
  • [58] The insertion of a final ν (nu) by copyists, even when this changed the meaning of the word, was a fairly common error. For an analogous example in the writings of Josephus, see Daniel R. Schwartz, Reading the First Century: On Reading Josephus and Studying Jewish History of the First Century (Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 2013), 38. On the rationale for basing our commentary on Vaticanus, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction’,” under the subheading “Codex Vaticanus or an Eclectic Text?”
  • [59] On the term shimush in the context of discipleship, see Newman, “Talmudic Discipleship,” 33-34.
  • [60] See N. T. Wright, “Paul and Caesar: A New Reading of Romans,” in A Royal Priesthood? The Use of the Bible Ethically and Politically: A Dialogue with Oliver O’Donovan (ed. Craig Bartholomew, Jonathan Chaplin, Robert Song, Al Wolters; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 173-193, esp. 182.
  • [61] See David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “LOY Excursus: The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua,” under the subheading “The Kingdom of Heaven in the Teachings of Jesus: Political Aspect.” Although there are reports of Jewish authorities who practiced crucifixion (e.g., Jos., J.W. 1:97; 4Q169 [4QpNah] 3-4 I, 6-8; Gen. Rab. 65:22; y. Sanh. 6:6 [23c]; y. Hag. 2:2 [78a]), and despite the evidence that the Essenes may have sanctioned crucifixion for certain crimes (11Q19 [11QTemplea] LXIV, 6-13), only the Roman governor had the legal authority to impose the death penalty during Jesus’ lifetime (cf. John 18:31; Jos., J.W. 2:117-118; y. Sanh. 18a, 24b). See Brad H. Young, “A Fresh Examination of the Cross, Jesus and the Jewish People” (JS1, 196-199); Jean-Jacques Aubert, “A Double Standard in Roman Criminal Law?” in Speculum Iuris: Roman Law as a Reflection of Social and Economic Life in Antiquity (ed. Jean-Jacques Aubert and Adriaan Johan Boudewijn Sirks; Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 2002), 123.
  • [62] Cross-bearing is used once in rabbinic literature to portray the plight of Isaac, who carried the wood for the whole burnt offering on his shoulders (Gen. Rab. 56:3). Strictly speaking, this example is not a metaphorical usage of cross-bearing, rather the image of a man carrying his cross shares a point of comparison with the story of Isaac: both Isaac and the cross-bearer carry an instrument of their own deaths to the place where their doom will be carried out.
  • [63] Tilton agrees with France, who writes: “The metaphor of taking up one’s cross is not to be domesticated into an exhortation merely to endure hardship patiently…. While it may no doubt be legitimately applied to other and lesser aspects of the suffering involved in following Jesus, the primary reference in context must be to the possibility of literal death” (France, 340). In Tilton’s opinion, the point of comparison in Jesus’ warning between disciples and cross-bearers is not the action of carrying a burden, but one’s status as an enemy in the eyes of the state. Had Jesus said, “Anyone who wishes to be my disciple must take his seat in the electric chair” or “must wear a noose around his neck,” no one today would have supposed that the force of the imagery was focused on the sitting in the chair or the swinging on the rope. Cf. Plummer (Luke, 248), who noted that the image of carrying one’s cross “represents…not so much a burden as an instrument of death.” Likewise, in a culture where crucifixion was a practiced mode of execution, the point of Jesus’ imagery is that discipleship involves accepting risk to life and limb. Cf. Allen, 182; Manson, Luke, 110-111; Nolland, Matthew, 442.
  • [64] Bivin regards the Roman Empire as more tolerant than does Tilton. See David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “LOY Excursus: The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua,” under the subheading “Bivin Rebuts Tilton’s View of the Political Aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven in Jesus’ Teaching.”
  • [65] See Tilton’s discussion of the political aspect of Jesus’ message in David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “LOY Excursus: The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua,” under the subheading “The Kingdom of Heaven in the Teachings of Jesus: Political Aspect.”
  • [66] On the political aspect of this prophecy, see David Flusser, “The Times of the Gentiles and the Redemption of Jerusalem,” under the subheading “Solidarity with Israel.”
  • [67] Tilton can see no reason to suppose that the Roman Empire would have made a distinction between violent insurgents and peaceful resisters, any more than the British Empire made an exception for Gandhi’s non-violent resistance in the twentieth century. On the usefulness of comparing the behavior of empires separated in time by several centuries, see Daniel R. Schwartz, Reading the First Century, viii.
  • [68] On P75, see Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament (trans. Erroll F. Rhodes; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 87. The staurogram also appears at Luke 9:23 in P75.
  • [69] This abbreviation is unusual in that Greek monograms typically combine adjacent letters, for example, χ (chi) and ρ (rho) were combined in the monogram , which stands for the word χριστός (christos, “anointed one”) in Christian writings. The pictographic quality of the staurogram may account for the unusual combination of non-adjacent letters to form the monogram.
  • [70] Cf., e.g., Barn. 9:7-9; Clement of Alexandria, Strom. 6:11 §278-280; Tertullian, Adv. Marc. 3:22.
  • [71] See Larry W. Hurtado, “The Staurogram in Early Christian Manuscripts: The Earliest Visual Reference to the Crucified Jesus?” in New Testament Manuscripts: Their Texts and Their World (ed. Thomas J. Kraus and Tobias Nicklas; Leiden: Brill, 2006), 207-226, quotation on 223.
  • [72] On the basis of a rabbinic parallel in Gen. Rab. 56:3, Young proposed reconstructing Luke 14:27 as: מי שלא יטען את צלובו ויבוא אחרי אינו יכול להיות תלמידי (“whoever does not load [on his back] his cross and come after me is not able to be my disciple”). See Brad H. Young, “A Fresh Examination of the Cross, Jesus and the Jewish People” (JS1, 191-209, esp. 202). According to the Genesis Rabbah passage, when Isaac carried the wood on his shoulders as he ascended the slope of Moriah (Gen. 22), “…it was like a condemned man who took his cross upon his shoulders.” Some scholars have even suggested that Jesus alluded to an early version of the tradition preserved in Gen. Rab. 56:3 when he spoke of carrying one’s own cross. While it is difficult to prove that the comparison between Isaac and a man carrying a cross existed in the time of Jesus, we do find that this comparison is made in the writings of the church fathers. Davies-Allison (2:223 n. 51) cite Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 4:5.4, which states: “Righteously also do we, possessing the same faith as Abraham, and taking up the cross as Isaac did the wood, follow Him.” Cf. Augustine, De Trinitate 2:2.11, who refers to “Isaac, who became [a symbol of—DNB and JNT] Christ when he carried the wood for his own sacrifice.” Are these examples of cross-pollination between Christian and Jewish interpretations of Scripture later witnesses to a pre-Christian tradition, or independent developments in separate faith communities?
  • [73] Examples of צְלוּב are found m. Yev. 16:3; t. Sanh. 9:[7]3; Gen. Rab. 56:3; y. Yev. 16:3 [83a]. See Jastrow, 1286; Kaufmann Kohler, “Cross,” JE 4:368-369.
  • [74] An example of צְלִיבָה is found in b. Gittin 70b). See Jastrow, 1283.
  • [75] Descriptions of disciples following their master are common in rabbinic literature. See, for example:

    כבר היה רבי ישמעאל ורבי אלעזר בן עזריה ורבי עקיבא מהלכין בדרך ולוי הסדר וישמעאל בנו של רבי אלעזר בן עזריה מהלכין אחריהם

    Once Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah and Rabbi Akiva were walking along the road and Levi the netmaker and Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah’s son Ishmael were walking behind them…. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Shabbata chpt. 1, on Exod. 31:13)

    מעשה ברבן יוחנן בן זכאיי שהיה רוכב על גבי החמור והיו תלמידיו מהלכים אחריו

    An anecdote about Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, who was riding on a donkey and whose disciples were walking after him…. (Sifre Deut. § 305, on Deut. 31:14; cf. b. Ket. 66b)

    פעם אחת היה רבן יוחנן בן זכאי יוצא מירושלים והיה ר′ יהושע הולך אחריו וראה בית המקדש חרב

    One time Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai was going out of Jerusalem and Rabbi Joshua walked after him and he saw the Temple in ruins…. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 4:5 [ed. Schechter, 21])

    ר″ג הוה מטייל מן עכו לכזיב והיה טבי עבדו מהלך לפניו ורבי אלעאי מאחוריו

    R. Gamaliel was once walking from Acco to Chezib, Tabbai his servant walking in front, and R. Ila’i behind him. (Lev. Rab. 37:3; Soncino)

    רבה בר בר חנה אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי פעם אחת הייתי מהלך אחר ר′ אלעזר הקפר בריבי בדרך ומצא שם טבעת ועליה צורת דרקון

    Rabbah son of Bar Hanah said in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi: “One time I was walking after the eminent Rabbi Eleazar Hakkappar in the road, and there he found a ring and on it was the form of a dragon.” (b. Avod. Zar. 43a)

  • [76] Cf. Lachs 258, 66 n. 2; Morton Smith, Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels (Philadelphia: Society of Biblical Literature, 1951), 30, 44 n. 101. For the opposite view, see Martin Hengel, The Charismatic Leader and His Followers (trans. James Greig; New York: Crossroads, 1981), 50-57.

    Smith mentions the story about Rabbi Yehoshua’s disciples where parallel versions equate אחריך רבי (“We are after you, Rabbi”) with תלמידיך (“We are your disciples”):

    מעשה בר′ יוחנן בן ברוקה ור′ אלעזר חסמא שבאו מיבנה ללוד והקבילו פני ר′ יהושע בפקיעין אמ′ להן מה חידוש היה לכם בבית מדרש היום אמרו לו תלמידיך

    An anecdote about Rabbi Yohanan ben Berokah and Rabbi Eleazar Hisma, who came to Lod from Yavneh and who greeted Rabbi Yehoshua of Pekiin. He said to them, “What was the innovation you had today in the bet midrash?” They said to him, “We are your disciples.” (t. Sot. 7:9)

    כבר שבתו תלמידים ביבנה ולא שבת שם רבי יהושע וכשבאו התלמידים אצלו אמר להם מה דבר חדש היה לכם ביבנה אמרו לו אחריך רבי

    Once the disciples spent the week in Yavneh, but Rabbi Yehoshua did not spend the week there, and when the disciples came to him, he said to them, “What new thing did you learn in Yavneh?” They said to him, “We are after you, Rabbi.” (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Pisha chpt. 16 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:90])

    Evidently, then, being “behind” a sage meant the same thing as being his disciple.

    On the translation of שבת in this story, see Marc Hirshman, A Rivalry of Genius: Jewish and Christian Biblical Interpretation in Late Antiquity (trans. Batya Stein; Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1996), 145-146 n. 44 and the literature cited there.

  • [77] The expression הָלַךְ אַחַר occurs twice in the biblical account of Elijah’s calling of Elisha (1 Kgs. 19:19-21). In response to Elijah’s call, Elisha says וְאֵלְכָה אַחֲרֶיךָ (“and I will walk after you”; 1 Kgs. 19:20), and after Elisha slaughters his oxen and makes a feast for his companions we read וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ (“and he walked after Elijah”; 1 Kgs. 19:21). LXX translated these phrases as καὶ ἀκολουθήσω ὀπίσω σου (“and I will follow after you”; 3 Kgdms. 19:20) and καὶ ἐπορεύθη ὀπίσω Ηλιου (“and he went after Elijah”; 3 Kgdms. 19:21).
  • [78] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1001-1003.
  • [79] See above under the subheading “Conjectured Stages of Transmission.”
  • [80] Among such scholars is Bovon (2:385).
  • [81] According to Bovon (2:349), “At the point where the parables invite readers to take stock of the means at their disposal to find out what their capacities are and take the measure of them, v. 33 concludes (‘so therefore,’ οὕτως οὖν) paradoxically with an order of renunciation.”
  • [82] The negative adv. οὐ becomes οὐκ when it is followed by a vowel with smooth breathing (BDAG, 733).
  • [83] The NT instances of ἀποτάξασθαι are: Mark 6:46; Luke 9:61; 14:33; Acts 18:18, 21; 2 Cor. 2:13.
  • [84] Note that Moses’ fast, though lengthy, was temporary. Thus, ἀποτάξασθαι does not imply permanent renunciation.
  • [85] The other instances of ἀποτάξασθαι in LXX occur in 1 Esdr. and 1 Macc., where ἀποτάξασθαι has the sense “to station [troops].”
  • [86] On this approach, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction’,” under the subheading “Guiding Principles.”
  • [87] In certain Triple Tradition pericopae there might be as many as four layers of editorial activity: that of FR, Luke, Mark, and finally Matthew.
  • [88] See Ze’ev Safrai, “The Sons of Yehonadav ben Rekhav and the Essenes,” Annual of Bar-Ilan University Studies in Judaica and Humanities 16 (1979): 37-58 (Hebrew; English summary, 131).
  • [89] Cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 35 (ed. Schechter, 105); Sifre Zuta 10:29, cited in Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L97. For these sources, we are indebted to Ze’ev Safrai and Peter J. Tomson, “Paul’s ‘Collection for the Saints’ (2 Cor 8-9) and Financial Support of Leaders in Early Christianity and Judaism,” in Second Corinthians in the Perspective of Late Second Temple Judaism (ed. Reimund Bieringer, Emmanuel Nathan, Didier Pollefeyt, and Peter J. Tomson; Leiden: Brill, 2014), 212 n. 252.
  • [90] See Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L112-129.
  • [91] In the Mechilta, Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai’s comment is juxtaposed to a saying of Rabbi Yehoshua about those who work for a living and only manage to study two halachot in the morning and two halachot in the evening. According to Rabbi Yehoshua, “it is as if he fulfilled the whole Torah.” Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai describes the life of those who give up their secular occupations in order to study full time, whereas Rabbi Yehoshua emphasizes the merit of those who manage to fit study into their busy work lives.
  • [92] Cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 22 (ed. Schechter, 46).
  • [93] In the Lord of Shabbat incident the disciples help themselves to the gleanings because they are hungry. This may be an indication of the disciples’ poverty.
  • [94] Cf. the following examples:

    וַיִּתֵּן אַבְרָהָם אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ לְיִצְחָק

    ἔδωκεν δὲ Αβρααμ πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ Ισαακ τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ

    And Abraham gave all he owned to Isaac. (Gen. 25:5)

    וַיְהִי בִּרְכַּת יְהוָה בְּכָל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֶשׁ־לֹו בַּבַּיִת וּבַשָּׂדֶה

    καὶ ἐγενήθη εὐλογία κυρίου ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ

    And the LORD’s blessing was on all that he owned in the house and the field. (Gen. 39:5)

    פֶּן־תִּוָּרֵשׁ אַתָּה וּבֵיתְךָ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לָךְ

    ἵνα μὴ ἐκτριβῇς σὺ καὶ οἱ υἱοί σου καὶ πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντά σου

    lest you be disinherited: you and your house and all that you own. (Gen. 45:11)

    וַיִּקַּח יְהֹושֻׁעַ אֶת־עָכָן בֶּן־זֶרַח…וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לֹו

    καὶ ἔλαβεν Ἰησοῦς τὸν Αχαρ υἱὸν Ζαρα…καὶ πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ

    And Joshua took Achan son of Zerah…and all that he owned. (Josh. 7:24)

  • [95] We suppose that some form of the cross-bearing saying did originate with Jesus, but not everyone agrees with this conclusion. Some scholars presume that the cross-bearing saying did not originate with Jesus, but was composed by the early Church. If the cross-bearing saying did not originate with Jesus, this would expand the range of interpretive possibilities.
  • [96] See Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L15-16.
  • [97] Cf. John P. Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve: Did it Exist During Jesus’ Public Ministry?” Journal of Biblical Literature 116.4 (1997): 635-672, esp. 636-637.

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