The Didache and its Relevance for Understanding the Gospel of Matthew

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The image featured above, intended to symbolize the Two Ways of Life and Death, which are of central importance to the Didache, was photographed by Imen Bouhajja in Ghar Elmelh, Tunisia (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons). 1. The Didache A portrait of Philotheos Bryennios found opposite the title page of Philip Schaff’s The Oldest Church Manual Called The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (1885). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. In 1873, Philotheos Bryennios, the metropolitan of Serres (Serrae) in Macedonia, discovered a Greek parchment manuscript in the monastery of the Holy Sepulchre in Constantinople.

Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark

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My Hebrew translation of the Gospel of MarkRobert L. Lindsey, A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark (2d ed.; Jerusalem: Dugith, 1973).grew out of an eight-year personal encounter with this Gospel. Not long after Israel’s independence, I came to the conclusion that a new Hebrew translation of the New Testament was badly needed, especially by the Hebrew-speaking Christian congregations of the State of Israel. I chose to begin with the Gospel of Mark, under the impression that it was the earliest of the canonical Gospels and because it contained the kind of simple Greek text that would make translation relatively easy.

Tower Builder and King Going to War Similes

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We have placed the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes following Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple because the Tower Builder and King Going to War similes aptly illustrate the situations described in Matt. 8:19-22; Luke 9:57-62.

Measuring the Disparity Between Matthew, Mark and Luke

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These were printed by Huck in adjacent columns so that one could quickly compare the similarities and differences in, for instance, “The Call of Levi” pericope (Matt. 9:9-11; Mark 2:13-16; Luke 5:27-30; Huck no. 53): Pericope 53, The Call of Levi from Huck’s Synopsis

With such a passage it is necessary to check whether all the texts remain verse by verse in parallel.

Jesus’ Twin Parables

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We could now insert the Matthean form of the Disciples’ Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13), which is much more Hebraic than the Lukan version (Luke 11:2-4)….

Next, we could add to this story the teaching discourse found in Matthew 7:7-11:

Ask, and it will be given you.

Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry

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Matt. 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-31
(Huck 35, 157; Aland 67, 201; Crook 49, 236)For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.'”… According to Lindsey, the Miryam and Marta story (Luke 10:38-42) was the narrative introduction of a teaching complex that included not only Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (Matt. 6:25-34 // Luke 12:22-31), but also the Rich Fool parable (Luke 12:16-21) and the Rich Man and Lazar parable (Luke 16:19-31), which he regarded as twin illustrations…. In support of his reconstruction, Lindsey noted that Jesus stated that Martha was “worried” about many things (Luke 10:41), which corresponds to Jesus’ instruction “Do not worry” in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (Matt. 6:25 // Luke 12:22)See Lindsey, JRL, 101.Lindsey also believed that the description of the birds that do not store in barns (Matt. 6:26; cf. … Moreover, Lindsey found his reconstruction to be satisfying because it supplied the identity of the mysterious “one thing is needed” (Luke 10:42), namely, “Seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33 // Luke 12:31).

Jesus and a Canaanite Woman

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Matt. 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30
(Huck 116; Aland 151; Crook 170)For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.'” Revised: 30-March-2020

Table of Contents

1. Text

2. Conjectured Stages of Transmission

3. Story Placement


LOY Excursus: Criteria for Distinguishing Type 1 from Type 2 Double Tradition Pericopae

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Revised: 8-April-2020

An important breakthrough in the formulation of Robert Lindsey’s solution to the Synoptic Problem was his recognition that there are really two sets of Lukan-Matthean Double Tradition (DT) pericopae. Lindsey noted that one set of pericopae is characterized by high levels of verbal identity, whereas the other set of pericopae is characterized by somewhat lower levels of verbal identity, despite the fact that the Lukan and Matthean pericopae are clearly parallels.

Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

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Matt. 13:11-15; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 8:10 (Huck 91; Aland 123; Crook 145)For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.'” Revised: 31-March-2020

וַיֹּאמֶר לָכֶם נִתַּן לָדַעַת אֶת רָזֵי מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם וְלִשְׁאָר בִּמְשָׁלִים כִּי רָאוֹ לֹא רָאוּ וְשָׁמוֹעַ לֹא שָׁמְעוּ וְלֹא הֵבִינוּ

Then Yeshua said to his emissaries: “God has permitted you to experience the mysteries the Kingdom of Heaven had in store. But until now those mysteries were only hinted at through the symbolic language of the prophets, for ‘no eye could see, and no ear could hear, and no heart could understand’ beforehand the full scope of redemption the Kingdom of Heaven would bring.”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.

Lost Sheep and Lost Coin Similes

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Matt. 18:10-14; Luke 15:3-10 (Huck 133, 172; Aland 169, 219, 220; Crook 188, 265, 266)For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.'” Revised: 29-April-2020

וַיִּמְשׁוֹל לָהֶם אֶת הַמָּשָׁל הַזֶּה לֵאמֹר מִי אָדָם בָּכֶם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ מֵאָה צֹאן וְנִדַּחַת אַחַת מֵהֶן הֲלֹא יַנִּיחַ אֶת הַתִּשְׁעִים וְתִשְׁעָה עַל הֶהָרִים וְיֵלֵךְ וִיבַקֵּשׁ אֶת הָאֹבֶדֶת עַד שֶׁיִּמְצָא אֹתָה וּכְשֶׁהוּא מוֹצֵא אֹתָה שָׂם עַל כְּתֵפוֹ בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבָא לְבֵיתוֹ וְקֹרֵא לְאוֹהֲבָיו וְלִקְרוֹבָיו לוֹמַר לָהֶם שִׂמְחוּ עִמִּי שֶׁמָּצָאתִי אֶת הַשֶּׂה שֶׁלִּי הָאֹבֶדֶת אָמֵן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם כָּךְ יֵשׁ שִׂמְחָה בַּשָּׁמַיִם עַל רָשָׁע אֶחָד שֶׁעֹשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה מֵעַל תִּשְׁעִים וְתִשְׁעָה צַדִּיקִים שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם צוֹרֶךְ בִּתְשׁוּבָה

וּמִי אִישָׁה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָה עֲשָׂרָה דִּינָרִים וְהִיא מְאַבֶּדֶת דִּינָר אֶחָד הֲלֹא תַּדְלִיק נֵר וּתְכַבֵּד אֶת הַבַּיִת וּתְבַקֵּשׁ עַד שֶׁתִּמְצָא אֹתוֹ וּכְשֶׁהִיא מֹצֵאת אֹתוֹ קֹרֵאת לְאוֹהֲבוֹתֶיהָ וְלִקְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ לוֹמַר לָהֶן שְׂמַחְנָה עִמִּי שֶׁמָּצָאתִי אֶת הַדִּינָר שֶׁאִבַּדְתִּי אָמֵן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם כָּךְ יֵשׁ שִׂמְחָה לִפְנֵי מַלְאֲכֵי שָׁמַיִם עַל רָשָׁע אֶחָד שֶׁעֹשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה

Then Yeshua told them this parable: “Imagine you have a hundred sheep and one of them strays from the flock. Won’t you leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go search for the one that got lost until you’ve found it? And when you’ve finally found it, won’t you carry it home on your shoulders and invite all your nearest and dearest and tell them: ‘Come celebrate with me! I’ve found my missing sheep!’?

Darnel Among the Wheat Parable

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Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43
(Huck 96, 100; Aland 127, 131; Crook 149, 153)For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.'” Revised: 21-April-2020

‏ לֵאמֹר לְמַה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה לְאָדָם זוֹרֵעַ זֶרַע טוֹב בְּשָׂדֵהוּ וּבִשְׁכִיבָתוֹ בָּא אוֹיְבוֹ וְזָרַע זוֹנִים בֵּין הַחִטִּים וְהָלַךְ וּכְשֶׁעָלָה הָעֵשֶׂב אַף עָלוּ הַזּוֹנִים קָרְבוּ אֶצְלוֹ עֲבָדָיו וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ אֲדוֹנֵנוּ רְצוֹנְךָ נֵלֵךְ וּנְקוֹשֵׁשׁ אוֹתָם וְאָמַר לֹא שֶׁמָּא תְּקוֹשְׁשׁוּ אֶת הַזּוֹנִים וְתַעַקְרוּ עִמָּם אֶת הַחִטִּים הַנִּיחוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם לִצְמוֹחַ עַד הַקָּצִיר וּבִשְׁעַת הַקָּצִיר קוֹשּׁוּ תְּחִילָּה אֶת הַזּוֹנִים וַעֲשׂוּ אוֹתָם חֲבִילוֹת וְתִשְׂרְפוּ אוֹתָם בָּאֵשׁ וְאֶת הַחִטִּים הַכְנִיסוּ לְאוֹצָרִי

And Yeshua told them this parable: “What is the matter like? It’s like someone who sowed good seed in his field.

Rabbinic Literature: A Spiritual Treasure for Christians

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.), “The day is short and the work is great, but the workers are lazy; however the wages are high since the owner is in a hurry” (Avot 2:15), is very similar to Jesus’ saying in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvesting is great and the workers are few. … Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:24-27 that good deeds are necessary along with knowledge (“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like…. … (Avot 2:4)

There is a striking similarity between this saying and the sayings of Jesus in Matthew 6:10 (“Let your will be done in heaven and on earth”)For a discussion of the rabbinic background to the entreaty, “Let your will be done in heaven and on earth,” see Brad Young, “The Lord’s Prayer (6): ‘Thy Will Be Done,'” Jerusalem Perspective 14 (Nov. 1988): 1-2…. Note the similarity between the following saying and the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).

Measure For Measure

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Transcribed and Edited Jerusalem Bible Study As the topic for this Bible study, I have chosen Midah KeNeged Midah, which means “measure for measure.” A longer version of this mishnaic Hebrew idiom is במידה שאדם מודד בה מודדין לו (Bamidah she’adam moded ba, modedin lo; m. Sotah 1:7, Codex Kaufmann), which may be translated “by the measure that a man measures, they measure to him.” In Jewish literature the rabbis often referred to this principle simply as מידה כנגד מידה (Midah KeNeged Midah). In English, people say, “What goes around comes around,” or “He reaped what he sowed.”

Jesus’ Yoke and Burden

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Revised: 25-Nov-2014″Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30; NIV). Although extraordinarily beautiful, Jesus’ saying recorded in Matthew 11:28-30 is enigmatic. What is this saying’s meaning, and what were Jesus’ “yoke” and “burden”?

The Major Importance of the “Minor” Agreements

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Revised: 8-April-2015 My research on the Synoptic Problem was originally stimulated by questions regarding the Hebrew translation of Greek words and idioms in the Gospel of Mark when I attempted to produce a modern Hebrew translation of the New Testament for Christian congregations in Israel. No doubt all Bible translators have the happy experience of finding themselves face to face with the real theological and spiritual problems of their faith as they struggle, often rather desperately, to understand the biblical text. In my own instance, I found myself confronted with the unexpected discovery that a large portion of Mark’s Gospel translated so easily into Hebrew that I began to wonder whether the Gospel of Mark had originally been produced in some Semitic language. The word order was predominantly like that of Hebrew, and many of the special expressions of the Gospel of Mark could easily be explained as resulting from a literal translation of Hebrew idiom. There were also both Aramaic and Hebrew words in Mark’s text that had simply been transliterated into Greek.

Jesus and the Enigmatic “Green Tree”

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The above image, courtesy of Gary Asperschlager, shows olive trees growing near the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives. Revised: 19-Apr-13How did a Jew in Jesus’ time announce that he was the Messiah? One accomplished this by applying to himself words or phrases from Scripture that were interpreted by members of his community to be references to the coming Messiah. Being interpretations rather than direct references, such messianic allusions are extremely subtle, and easily missed by modern readers of ancient Jewish literature. Claimants certainly did not reveal themselves by simply declaring, “I am the Messiah,”Even today a Jew who believes he is the Messiah never says, “I am the Messiah,” but rather, a messianic pretender refers to himself using words or phrases from scripture texts that have been interpreted messianically.