Mt 19:3-5    3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one'?"

TJ 20:3-5    3The Pharisees approached him and tempted him by asking, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?" 4He answered, saying, "Truly, I say to you, stars would sooner fall from the sky than for divorce to be permissible. 5Truly, a person will leave father and mother for the sake of marriage and will cling to their spouse, so as to become one flesh and blood."

TJ 20:3-5    3Da traten zu ihm die Pharisäer und versuchten ihn und sprachen: «Ist es auch recht, dass sich ein Mann scheide von seiner Frau um irgend einer Ursache willen?» 4Er aber antwortete und sprach: «Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Eher werden die Sterne vom Himmel fallen, als eine Scheidung erlaubt sei. 5Wahrlich, denn um der Ehe willen wird ein Mensch Vater und Mutter verlassen und an seinem Ehegespan hangen, so sie beide werden ein Fleisch und ein Blut sein.»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (p. 388) noted that Mt 19:4 stems from the creation story, namely Gn 1:27, while Mt 19:5 stems from Gn 2:24. He didn't think that Jesus would have drawn upon a myth (Gn 1:27) to validate the institution of marriage, though allowing that it was not impossible. The Gn 2:24 verse, though introduced by "therefore," otherwise stands by itself and need not be considered to follow from the preceding mythical verses.

SOLUTION.  Beare's intuition was correct; the writer of Matthew drew upon the creation myth. A little further in the TJ, Jmmanuel qualifies his advice against divorce, as then did the writer of Matthew. The verse of TJ 20:5, closely paralleled in Matthew, does seem to have been spoken with knowledge of Gn 2:24, however, which could then have suggested to the writer of Matthew to borrow more from Genesis, namely Gn 1:27.

Since the TJ does not borrow from Scripture that is definitely mythical, it comes out slightly ahead with respect to the hoax hypothesis. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 19:6     6"So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

TJ 20:6-8     6"So they are now no longer two, but one flesh and blood, which is uniquely theirs. 7From one flesh and blood they bring forth offspring, who again are of the same flesh and blood as their father and mother. 8What has been joined together in this way, man shall not part, because it is against the laws of nature."

TJ 20:6-8     6«So sind sie nun nicht mehr zwei, sondern ein Fleisch und ein Blut, und das ist ihr eigen. 7Aus einem Fleisch und einem Blut zeugen sie Nachkommen, die abermals ein Fleisch und ein Blut sind von Vater und Mutter. 8Was so zusammengefügt ist, das soll der Mensch nicht scheiden, denn es ist wider die Gesetze der Natur.»

THE PROBLEM.  As noted in the previous discussion, the thought that the two become one apparently stems from Gen 2:24. However, where did Mt 19:6b come from? It would not, at least in this form, seem to have derived from a wisdom teacher, because the choice to get married is that of the man and woman involved, or in some cases, the choice of a parent. To say God has joined them together is no different than to say that everything that happens is due to God, which then lacks any substance. However, we are so used to accepting this marriage-vow sentence in a sacred sense that we scarcely stop to think about it or question its significance.

SOLUTION.  We see from the TJ verses that the writer of Matthew utilized enough from them as to produce a very memorable verse of his own. However, Jmmanuel evoked the laws of nature here, which I would interpret as follows. Most paired creatures of opposite sex, throughout the animal kingdom, will if necessary defend their status as mates, so that, if violence is to be avoided, others should not interfere with the pairing up. Thus there is substance here that Matthew's verse lacks. Of course, the TJ verse does additionally mention that out of marriage comes genetically related offspring. It is interesting to speculate that the writer of Matthew omitted copying this verse, TJ 20:7, because his was a patriarchal outlook in which the mother is not to be given a status as a bloodline parent equal to that of the father.

The greater substance of the TJ verse suggests a greater probability of its genuineness than that of the Matthean verse. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 19:7-9     7They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

TJ 20:9-11     9Then they asked, "Why did Moses command that a decree of annulment be issued in case of divorce?" 10He spoke to them, "Moses gave you permission to divorce because of the hardness of your hearts and his dominion over you. But such has not been the case from the beginning of human species, for Moses has broken a law in this instance. 11But I say to you, whoever divorces, except for fornication or the other stipulated transgressions, and marries someone else, commits adultery."

TJ 20:9-11     9Da sprachen sie: «Warum hat denn Mose geboten, einen Scheidebrief zu geben, wenn man sich scheidet?» 10Er aber sprach zu ihnen: «Mose hat euch erlaubt euch zu scheiden, um eurer Herzen Härtigkeit willen und um die Herrschaft über euch; von Anbeginn der Menschengeschlechter ist es aber nicht so gewesen, denn hierin hat Mose ein Gesetz gebrochen. 11Ich aber sage euch: Wer sich scheidet, es sei denn um der Hurerei willen oder der anderen festgelegten Fehl willen, und freit anderweitig, der bricht die Ehe.»

DISCUSSION.  These verses are presented only to show what I see are the three main differences here between the TJ and Matthew. The first is the TJ's "and his dominion over you." It implies that Jmmanuel was of the opinion Moses allowed divorce in order to stay on good terms with his followers, and that before that time divorce had not been allowed at all. The second difference is the TJ's mention of "other stipulated transgressions" in TJ 20:11; these presumably are offenses he had discussed earlier (in TJ 12). They include committing violence against the other person's body, life or mental state. The third is that Jmmanuel's mandate applies also to the case when the transgression is the fault of the man rather than the woman, as it is written in a gender-neutral sense. With these three differences, Jmmanuel seems to indicate that the divorce law in Dt 24:1 (divorce permitted if a man finds "some indecency" in his wife), stemming from Moses, was too incomplete.

It then makes good sense that Jmmanuel would commence his own escape clause in TJ 20:11 (which agrees with TJ 5:32 and essentially with Mt 5:32) by starting it with "But I say to you," because he was generalizing the Deuteronomy teaching to apply to both sexes equally. In Matthew, however, there is no reason to think Jesus was stating anything new or different, and thus it may seem surprising that Mt 19:9 also starts out with "But I say to you." (In the RSV Bible this is given as "And I say to you," which is at variance with the Greek text the RSV is based upon, which uses "But.") However, if the writer of Matthew had been following along the TJ's text, this can be seen as a minor slip-up he made in not altering the TJ's "but" into "and," as the RSV Bible editors did—an instance of "editorial fatigue."

It is understandable that the writer of Matthew would omit the TJ's references to Moses that are unfavorable to his memory, and would alter the TJ's gender-neutral text into the male-dominant frame in which the Pharisees had phrased their question.

Thus the TJ can explain why the third verse starts out with "But" while Matthew cannot. Although this may give the TJ the edge with regards to the hoax hypothesis, those who support this hypothesis could argue that the alleged literary hoaxer did not view Moses or Judaism with favor. However, it is fully consistent with the rest of the TJ that Jmmanuel did not view much of Judaism with favor, and this is also consistent with Mt 16:11-12, where he warned his disciples against the teachings of the Pharisees. Nevertheless PHoax 0.5 is assigned here.

Mt 19:12     12"For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

TJ 20:14-15     14"Some do not enter marriage because from the time of their birth they are incapable of it; some do not enter marriage because other people have made them unsuited for it, and still others do not enter marriage because they renounce it for the sake of consciousness-related strength. 15Those who can grasp this, let them grasp it."

TJ 20:14-15     14«Etliche enthalten sich der Ehe, weil sie von Geburt an zur Ehe unfähig sind; etliche enthalten sich der Ehe, weil sie von den Menschen dazu untauglich gemacht sind; und etliche enthalten sich, weil sie um der bewusstseinsmässigen Kraft willen auf die Ehe verzichten. 15Wer es fassen kann, der fasse es.»

THE PROBLEM.  In discussing this Matthean verse, Beare (p. 391) did not view it as at all godly, especially the implied self-emasculation. He found it very difficult to believe that self-castration could ever serve the purposes of the kingdom of heaven; so why would Jesus have recommended it?

SOLUTION.  Jmmanuel is seen not to have recommend self-emasculation, but only the forgoing of marriage for some persons who were so inclined spiritually. The second clause in the TJ verse might refer to eunuchs, though not necessarily, while the last one certainly does not. But all three refer to who it is that may choose not to enter into marriage, and so the passage connects more smoothly with the two verses preceding it, involving marriage, than does the Matthean verse. Interestingly, Beare's criticism, which does not apply to the TJ, does not apply to the German Bible's version either. It is unclear how that Bible version came to differ so significantly on this verse from the favored Greek Bible reconstruction, which utilizes "eunuchs." However, the TJ's wording is sufficiently close to that of the German Bible here, on the first two clauses, as to suggest (a) that the TJ translator, Isa Rashid the ex-priest, used this Bible text as a guide (since he was translating the Aramaic into German), and (b) that its text happens to be closer to the original than that of the Greek text (Nestle-Aland, 27th edition) in present scholarly use.

It is clear that a translator, even if he were a priest or ex-priest already fully familiar with some modern version of the Bible, would be prudent enough to use some particular Bible text as a guide. Otherwise, whenever the text he was translating exhibited about the same meaning as what he already had memorized from years of being a priest, out would come the words in about the same form as in his favorite Bible version anyway. Thus this verse does not lend credence to or against the hoax hypothesis, though a teacher of wisdom is not likely to have uttered the Matthean version: PHoax 0.5.

Mt 19:13-15    13Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; 14but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." 15And he laid his hands on them and went away.

TJ 20:16-18,26    16Then children were brought to him, so that he would lay his hands on them and bless them, but the disciples rebuked them. 17However, Jmmanuel spoke, "Let the children be and do not hinder them from coming to me, because they are my most attentive listeners, and theirs is the realm of wisdom." 18And he laid his hands upon them and said, "Learn knowledge and wisdom to become perfect in consciousness, and true followers of the law...." 26And he laid his hands upon them and departed from there.

TJ 20:16-18,26    16Da wurden die Kinder zu ihm gebracht, dass er die Hände auf sie legte und sie segnete, aber die Jünger fuhren sie an. 17Jmmanuel aber sprach: «Lasset die Kinder und wehret ihnen nicht zu mir zu kommen; denn sie sind meine aufmerksamsten Zuhörer, und solcher ist das Reich der Weisheit.» 18Und er legte die Hände auf sie und sprach: «Lernet das Wissen und die Weisheit, so ihr werdet bewusstseinsmässig vollkommen und treue Befolger der Gesetze. ...» 26Und er legte die Hände auf sie und zog von dannen.

THE PROBLEM.  It is odd that the children would be brought to Jesus so that he would pray over them, and then that he would depart without praying after all, and without even talking to them.

A further, apparent problem is that Jesus admonished the disciples not to hinder the children from coming to him. He didn't admonish the disciples for hindering the parents (the people) in bringing their children to him.

SOLUTION.  One sees from the TJ account that the idea of praying at this point was inserted by the writer of Matthew in substitution for blessing. (Here the blessing comes from the German word "segnen" rather than from "taufen" which was similarly translated in TJ 3 although it is usually rendered as "baptize.") Likely the writer did this because, as mentioned by Davies & Allison, prayer and laying on of hands traditionally went together, as in Acts 6:6 and 13:3.[1] By the end of the little story, however, he had apparently forgotten that a prayer was needed in order to fulfill his insertion. After omitting some TJ sentences, he copied the TJ's concluding sentence intact, which had Jmmanuel departing without having said any prayer. This amounts to another instance of "editorial fatigue" by the writer of Matthew relative to the TJ.

The TJ verses not shown in the above passage, on the other hand, contain one more sentence that Jmmanuel speaks to the children, which acts as a blessing, and then six more with which he explains to, and admonishes, his disciples. These, plus TJ 20:18, contain material that would have been unacceptable to the early church and the writer of Matthew because of their reference to spirituality (or consciousness), knowledge and wisdom, and may have been the distraction that caused him to forget to have Jesus pray. After this, Jmmanuel laid his hands on the children again and left with his disciples, which sentence the writer of Matthew could copy without alteration in Mt 19:15.

If one reads the parallel account in Mark (Mk 10:13-16), one sees that its writer fixed up Matthew's little mistake by omitting any mention of prayer. And he apparently realized that Jesus' laying on of hands constituted a blessing, and so he added explicit mention of blessing, since he wished his gospel, which had to rely so heavily upon Matthew, to appear different from Matthew rather than being merely a Greek translation and abbreviation of it.

Regarding the second possible problem, from the TJ text we see that it was the children, who were crowding in as close as possible to Jmmanuel, whom the disciples had rebuked, and not the people around them. And so he admonished his disciples not to hinder the children. Indeed, in the Greek texts on which the RSV and other Bible versions are based, the wording is that "the disciples rebuked them," referring to the children. We see, then, that in this instance it was not the writer of Matthew but more modern Bible translators who were responsible for this alteration. They evidently did not wish to portray the disciples as having acted in an unseemly manner toward children, and therefore redirected the disciples' rebuke to the people or to those who had brought the children.

The problem regarding prayer seems to have gone unnoticed or uncriticized within the annals of scholarly exegesis, and is therefore very unlikely to have been foreseen by a literary hoaxer. Because of this and the unlikelihood that such a hoaxer would risk adding still more text, I estimate PHoax 0.3 in this instance. A smaller probability could be offered, except that in the omitted verses Jmmanuel mentions that his name means "the one with godly knowledge," which was one of the corrections the editor, Billy Meier, made in 1992, as discussed under the Mt 1:23 heading.

Mt 19:16-17     16And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" 17And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments."

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEM.  This was in response to a man's question to Jesus about what good thing he should do to gain eternal life. Beare (p. 394) noted that in 19:17 Jesus' response seems quite artificial, as it first focuses on the meaning of "the good" or on who or what is "the good," rather than on the deed. (The more original Greek reads "the good" in both these spots, and doesn't have the who). Lamar Cope has given persuasive arguments indicating that "One there is who is the good" refers to the Torah,[2] which contains the laws and commandments that were all important to Judaism and to the compiler of Matthew as well.

SOLUTION.  These two verses are the first of 11 consecutive Matthean verses for which there is no TJ parallel (Mt 19:16-26). In a parallel passage of Mark (Mk 10:17-18) Jesus says, "no one is good but God alone." Beare, because he favors the theory of Markan priority, assumed that Matthew's statement "One there is who is good" was ambiguous because the compiler had experienced trouble editing this statement of Mark. However, it is at least as plausible, even without using TJ hindsight, that the writer of Mark, being a gentile in Rome, did not understand that when the compiler of Matthew referred to "the good" here he was referring to the Torah. And so he attempted to improve upon the compiler's confusing statement, but succeeded only in arousing the undesired interpretation that Jesus did not claim to be good.

For the last portion, "If you would enter life, keep the commandments," the writer of Matthew may have drawn upon Prv 4:4, in which the father instructs his sons, "keep my commandments, and live." He would probably have been aware of this portion of Proverbs, in which a father's commandments could be likened to God's commandments.

Mt 19:17 is one of the Matthean verses for which it can probably be argued with equal force that since it is non-genuine a literary hoaxer would not have utilized it. Since following verses in the pericope are also found to be non-genuine, the entire pericope, including Mt 19:16 above, must be also.

Mt 19:18-20     18He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill,... 19...You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 20The young man said to him, "All these things I have observed, what do I still lack?"

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.  Beare (p. 395) commented upon the "love your neighbor" commandment having been included by the writer of Matthew as part of his emphasis upon love. However, Beare may not have spoken in terms of this being a redaction had this commandment been present in the Markan parallel, and similarly, Davis & Allison.[3] Beare's comment may be expanded upon, however. The fact that only the second half of the Ten Commandments is listed, while "Love your neighbor as yourself" is added in, makes it seem as if the question "Which?" was posed just as an excuse for the writer of Matthew to spell out a listing of what he considered to be the most important commandments.

The artificiality of the entire pericope is suggested more strongly by the manner in which its main character in v. 16 starts out as being "one," who then becomes "he" in v. 18 and escalates into a "young man" in v. 20. It appears that the specificity was invented and added by the writer as he proceeded into his story. In retelling an actual story, the specificity usually comes first, as in the "man with the withered hand," who is referred to a little later as "the man;" or the Sadducees in Mt 22:23 who become "them" in 22:29; or "Caiphas the high priest" in 26:57 who is simply called "the high priest" later. It is only natural that the noun or identifying words come first, followed upon second mention by the pronoun or abbreviated identity, within a genuine pericope of two or more verses.

SOLUTION.  This was indeed an invented pericope, which can explain why it had not been present in the TJ. Since Matthew exhibits several signs of being non-genuine, while a literary hoaxer might or might not have utilized this pericope, the hoax hypothesis has to favor the TJ here. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 19:21-22    21Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.  One problem lies in the phrase "If you would be perfect," which Beare (pp. 395-396) and many others have noted leads to the idea of two different classes of Christians: the perfect and the imperfect. The clergy might then consider that they alone are candidates for the perfect.

Also, Beare noticed that the summons to go sell all of one's possessions cannot be generally valid, since the persons to whom they are sold would then possess them and could not then be perfect until after they had sold them, and so on ad infinitum. This is a piece of inanity that no wisdom teacher would espouse. The illogic here is so strong that society could not function at all if most people set out to "be perfect" in this way.

Further, Jesus' invitation to "come, follow me," fails to ring true, since "come" means to "come right now," as when he was gathering his twelve disciples, whereas it would have required many days or weeks for the man to sell all his possessions.

The reward for being perfect here was to have treasure in heaven. However, sinning Christians would also receive the same reward. For example, disciples who were persecuted for Jesus' sake would receive a great reward in heaven (Mt 5:11-12), regardless of their sinning status. Persons who humble themselves like children are to be greatest in heaven (Mt 18:4), and therefore presumably receive the greatest rewards in heaven, no matter how perfect or imperfect they are. How could a teacher of wisdom teach such inconsistency?

In the last verse we learn that the young man had great possessions. This would have made him an important person; either his name would have been known, or his entrance on the scene would have been described from the beginning in a more appropriate manner than as "one came." Thus the entire pericope seems bogus.

SOLUTION.  The above deductions are correct; the pericope was invented. [PHoax 0.5.]

Mt 19:24-26    24"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.  The camel and needle hyperbole is so familiar as to seem almost beyond reproach. Beare (p. 396) noted only that in some of the many different early manuscripts of Matthew "camel" is replaced by "rope," "cable" or "hawser," thereby making the figure more harmonious. However, in one instance Matthew's gospel itself violates this saying in all of its forms. Joseph of Arimathea is described in Mt 27:57 as being rich and yet a disciple of Jesus. And a disciple of Jesus was a person who would presumably gain entry into the kingdom of God unless he sinned as badly as Judas Iscariot.

The amazement expressed by the disciples, and their question, "Who then can be saved?" were found by Beare (p. 397) not to make sense. They imply that if not even the rich can be saved, who can be? Jesus never taught that possession of great riches gives their owner access to the kingdom of God, so where would the disciples have gained that impression?

Finally, Beare (p. 397) pinpointed why Jesus' response should seem strange. His reply here does not fit the question, since it implies that the salvation of poor people might be achieved through men, or through the church, while the redemption of a rich man is particularly difficult and requires God for its achievement.

DISCUSSION.  All three of these points involve illogic, and so the verses are presumed more likely to be a redaction of the compiler than any authentic saying of Jesus.

Little impetus was needed for verse 25, since the concept of salvation was central to the new religion, ever since Paul emphasized it, and was very common within the Scriptures. For example, we have earlier seen the likelihood that the writer of Matthew drew from Lamentations 3, and in Lam 3:26 one reads:

26It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

As impetus for verse 19:26, the compiler likely drew upon Genesis:

Gn 18:14    Is anything too hard for the LORD?

Due to the great familiarity and popularity of the saying of Mt 19:24, there's a rather good probability that a literary hoaxer would have made use of it. Yet, it's not in the TJ, as we have seen it should not be, since a teacher of wisdom would not have uttered it.   PHoax 0.4.

Mt 19:28    28Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

TJ 20:28    28But Jmmanuel replied to them, "Truly, I say to you: Some of you who have followed me will embrace the wisdom of my teachings, so in reincarnations to come, you will be great in consciousness. But some of you will not recognize the wisdom of my teachings and will disseminate erroneous teachings about me. Those ones will have difficulty finding the truth in future incarnations."

TJ 20:28    28Jmmanuel aber sprach zu ihnen: «Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Ihr, die ihr mir seid nachgefolget, etliche unter euch werden die Weisheit meiner Lehre aufnehmen, so ihr bewusstseinsmässig gross sein werdet in den kommenden Wiederleben; etliche aber unter euch werden die Weisheit meiner Lehren nicht erkennen und irrige Lehren über mich verbreiten; sie aber werden in den kommenden Wiederleben Mühe haben, die Wahrheit zu finden.»

THE PROBLEMS.  Matthew's verse was discussed thoroughly by Beare (pp. 398-400), who concluded that Jesus could never have spoken these words. Instead, they seem to derive, he felt, from an editor who was a Palestinian Christian, and who used traditional Jewish rhetorical images in describing the post-apocalyptic world (after the Second Coming).

Another problem is that if Jesus was able to prophesy his own arrest and crucifixion, and presumably Judas's role in it (see Mt 26:25), he would not have considered Judas qualified to sit on one of those twelve thrones. Yet this verse indicates that Judas would be included among the twelve who judge the twelve tribes.

SOLUTION.  Reincarnation and subsequent topics of the TJ verse had demanded heavy editing, which brought about the problems indicated. The writer of Matthew might have realized the problem he introduced implying that Judas Iscariot would be one of the twelve judges, but perhaps decided to ignore it because the twelve Jewish tribes demanded twelve disciples to judge over them. The TJ verse is presented as the cognate to Matthew here because the verse preceding it and the second verse after it are definitely cognates.

While the Matthean verse is non-genuine, the TJ verse seems too substantive and too prophetic to have been created by a literary hoaxer. If Jmmanuel is allowed to have been a long-range prophet, the probability of this verse being a hoax is exceedingly slim. If he is not, then the opposite claim might be made. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 19:29    29"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life."

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEMS.  Again, as discussed under Mt 7:21-22, the phrase "for my name's sake" indicates that this is a voice of the early church speaking, not Jesus during his ministry.[4]

And it is totally unclear just what will be received hundredfold: the inheritance of eternal life would seem to represent the spiritual reward, so the hundredfold return must refer to material goods. If so, the verse implies that this hundredfold bonus must be declined (over and over again) if eternal life is to be gained. Yet it seems to be listed as an incentive for true discipleship. Incentives are meant to be welcomed, not refused.

SOLUTION AND DISCUSSION.  Again the solution is that this verse is a redaction, so there is no TJ cognate to it. However, a literary hoaxer would quite likely avoid using it for the same reason. PHoax 0.5.

If one examines the parallel verses in Mark (Mk 10:29-30), one sees that its writer eliminated Matthew's ambiguity and clearly interpreted the reward to be material possessions, and in fact to be a hundred times as many houses, lands and even brothers, sisters and mothers as were left behind! He added a phrase that indicates all this would be received "in this time," leaving no doubt that he was thinking of receiving it in the present life, not in an after life.

Mt 19:30    30"But many that are first will be last, and the last first."

TJ 20:33    33"Many will be first among the human species because they will think as human beings in their deluded teachings, but they will be last in spiritual knowledge and small in their wisdom."

TJ 20:33    33«Viele werden so vor den Menschengeschlechtern die Ersten sein, weil sie menschlich denken in ihren irren Lehren, aber also werden sie die Letzten sein im geistigen Wissen und klein in ihrer Weisheit.»

THE PROBLEM.  Even within the context of its preceding verses, this statement of Matthew lacks normal logic, since once the first becomes last, it says he would be first again, and vice versa, in an endless cycle of flip-flops. To make sense of it, one must interpret the switch from first to last, or from last to first, to take place only once per person, at most. In that case, the switch is usually assumed to take place between one's death and one's supposed future resurrected state. However, many Christians, including some theologians, using mainly the Gospel of John, have construed any such future state to be the present. This they summarize as "Eternity is now."[5] In that case, not even the first interpretation is satisfactory.

Davies & Allison refer to this as a "reversal aphorism," and note that such was common within near eastern wisdom literature, such as in "the serf becomes an owner of serfs."[6] However, the saying of Mt 19:30 is a generalization that contains a double reversal. If the "serf" example were extended in this manner, it would read, "serfs become owners of serfs, and owners of serfs become serfs." This would render its meaning valueless, as there were many more serfs than owners of serfs, just as there are many more who are of lowly estate than are rich; neither aphorism could be considered a piece of wisdom literature. Yet, since the writer of Matthew used the same expression again (at Mt 20:16), he must have held some interpretation for his redaction that he liked, such as, "The rich/proud will be last in heaven, and the poor/humble will be first," whatever his view had been of different levels of rank within heaven.

SOLUTION.  In contrast, the TJ statement, from which the compiler seems to have drawn, is self-explanatory. In stripping away its unacceptable portions, the compiler left only nonsense behind, requiring heavy interpretation to make any sense. It is quite easy for an editor to work in this direction of condensing a verse, though illogic sometimes results, as in this instance. It is much more difficult for a literary hoaxer to work in the opposite direction and end up with meaningful text. Hence open-minded scholars might find this TJ verse impressive evidence against the hoax hypothesis for that reason. PHoax 0.1.

The TJ does not seem to be teaching that humanism, or secular humanism, is wrong per se, only that it is an incomplete philosophy due to its ignorance of the spiritual world.

As a redaction, the theme of Mt 19:30 may have gained much favor within the clergy because it discourages those having little authority within the church or state (those who are "last") from challenging those who are in authority (those who are "first"). It encourages the humble to remain humble.

Upon accumulating the estimated probabilities that the TJ is a hoax from just the TJ 20-Mt 19 verse comparisons above, one finds a cumulative probability of PHoax = 0.014. It should perhaps be reiterated that this represents the cumulative probability derived from this chapter's individual probability estimates, based upon the hypothesis that either the writer of Matthew utilized the TJ or a literary hoaxer wrote the TJ based upon Matthew. The situation is taken to be one or the other, since that is what not refers to in the question: Is the TJ a hoax or not? If the reader's mind should happen to be fixed upon the assumption that Matthew depends upon some other textual document(s), namely the Gospel of Mark and/or"Q," then his mind obviously would not be open to the possibility that the TJ could be anything but a hoax. Such readers are directed to summaries showing the dependence of Mark upon Matthew.

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1. Davies, W. D., and Dale C. Allison, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, vol. 3 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1997), p. 33.

2. Cope, Lamar, Matthew: A Scribe Trained for the Kingdom of Heaven (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1976), pp. 111-114.

3. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 3, p. 44.

4. Sanders, E.P., Jesus and Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), p. 229.

5. Keysar, Robert, John the Maverick Gospel (Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1970), chap. 4.

6. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 3, p. 60.

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