Mt 4:1-11    1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil... 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them... 11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

TJ 3:33-4:51    33Behold, after these words Jmmanuel entered into the metallic light, which climbed into the sky, surrounded by fire and smoke, and passed over the lifeless sea, as the singing of the metallic light soon faded away. 34After that, Jmmanuel was no longer seen for forty days and forty nights... 4:4Thus, he lived for forty days and forty nights between the winds of the North and the West, where he received the arcanum (secrets) of knowledge. 5During this instruction period he spent his days with the wise saints of El and the guardian angels, the celestial sons... 51Thus they spoke, the celestial sons between the North and the West, before bringing Jmmanuel in the metallic light back to Israel, to the land of Galilee.

TJ 3:33-4:51    33Siehe, nach diesen Worten begab sich Jmmanuel in das metallene Licht, das unter Feuer und Rauch in den Himmel stieg und uber das leblose Meer hinwegglitt, so also das Singen des metallenen Lichtes bald verstummte. 34Danach ward Jmmanuel vierzig Tage und vierzig Nächte nicht mehr gesehen. ...4:4So lebte er vierzig Tage und vierzig Nächte zwischen den Winden von Nord und West, wo er das Arkanum des Wissens empfing. 5Er verbrachte in Belehrung seine Tage bei den weisen Heiligen Gottes und bei den Wächterengeln, den Himmelssohnen. ...51So sprachen sie, die Himmelssöhne zwischen Nord und West, ehe sie Jmmanuel im metallenen Licht zurückbrachten nach Israel, ins galiläische Land also.

THE PROBLEMS.   This is the story of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Beare (p. 105) noted that, even symbolically, one probably should not think of the wilderness as the abode of the devil, which this story does. His abode was supposed to be in Hades. Beare also noted that the discussion between the devil and Jesus should not be likened to any real conversation. His particular criticisms of individual verses within the story are logical but too numerous to present here.

Then there is the possible contradiction of God's spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil himself, whereas Jesus (later) taught his followers to pray to their Father (God, who was also his Father) not to be led into temptation. We are not told if the Spirit knew that the devil would come and tempt Jesus, or if the Spirit just wanted Jesus to undergo 40 days without water or food. And one wonders where "the Spirit" went after it had turned Jesus over to the devil. Since it was the one who turned Jesus over, why did it not later pick him up after his 40-day ordeal rather than leave that task to the angels? But did the angels return Jesus to civilization, where he could learn of John's imprisonment, or not? When and how did the angels leave? Why are we not told any of this? The story has so many questionable or fictitious aspects to it that it is difficult to take it seriously.

The title "Son of God" appears for the first time in Matthew within this section. One wonders why the writer did not introduce it earlier, within the Nativity section of Matthew, so as to emphasize the connection between the divine Sonship of Jesus and the miraculous conception.[1]

SOLUTION.   This TJ section (50 verses are omitted here) is very interesting reading, containing descriptions of the celestial sons and some of their marvels (which seem to have prompted Mt 4:8), a portrayal of El their leader, a brief summary of their history, distinctions between El and Creation, some prophecies for the human race and discussion of Jmmanuel's mission, among other things. However, it is almost as heretical today as it was 1,900 years ago, so that the compiler of Matthew had no orthodox choice but to omit it all in forming his gospel. He evidently considered it the work of the devil, and so substituted for it his story that Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness during the 40 days and nights.

The Son of God title fit in well with the compiler's desire to show that Jesus could overcome the temptations presented by the devil, and outsmart him in quoting from the Scriptures. He did not introduce the title earlier, in the Nativity, probably because of his appreciation of the argument, already presented for him in the TJ, that Jmmanuel was descended from David and Abraham according to Jewish traditions of patriarchy. To call Jesus "Son of God" so soon after presenting him as the son of Mary could have been awkward. In the TJ, Jmmanuel is of course not called the Son of God, except once when Peter called him as much, mistaking his father to have been El rather than Gabriel.

It is not particularly improbable that a literary hoaxer could recognize Mt 4:1-11 to be Matthean fiction, and thus not include it. However, the TJ must be read here to understand how improbable it is that a literary hoaxer could generate the 51 verses for which the Matthean pericope substitutes, and how probable that the writer of Matthew would greatly abbreviate and alter it, since he could utilize scriptural verses from Exodus (34:28), Deuteronomy (6:13,16; 8:3) and Psalms (91:11-12). PHoax 0.1.

It may be noticed that Mark (Mk 1:12-13) contains only a two-verse summary of the Temptation story. It is more plausible for a redactor to greatly abbreviate a story—in this case Matthew's 11 verses of the Temptation story—than to proceed in the opposite direction and build an 11-verse story out of a 2-verse summary. This is but one of many scores of reasons why we find it plausible that Matthew preceded Mark. It is consistent with the overall editorial profile of the writer of Mark that he greatly abbreviated the story because he felt its extensive Old Testament quotations would not be of interest to his gentile audience, and because he wanted his gospel to be different from the Gospel of Matthew.

Mt 4:12-13    12Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; 13and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,

TJ 4:52    52When Jmmanuel heard that Johannes the Baptist had been imprisoned, he left the town of Nazareth, came to and lived in Capernaum, which lies by the sea in the land of Zebulon and Naphtali.

TJ 4:52    52Da nun Jmmanuel hörte, dass Johannes der Täufer gefangengelegt war, verliess er die Stadt Nazareth, kam und wohnte zu Kapernaum, das da liegt am See im Lande Sebulon und Naphtali.

THE PROBLEMS.   In Matthew it is not clear where Jesus had been before he withdrew into Galilee. At last mention, in the previous verse, he had been left in the wilderness. But in the wilderness he could not have learned about John having been imprisoned. So, where did he go after leaving the wilderness in order to hear about John? According to Mt 4:12, it was somewhere else than in Galilee that he heard about John.

The unexplained lack of any transition between Mt 4:12 and Mt 4:13 has been pointed out by various analysts.[2] Jesus goes to Galilee, leaves there for no mentioned reason and goes to Capernaum.

SOLUTION.   These problems do not occur with the TJ, as is seen from the previous TJ verse (presented in the previous segment): Jmmanuel learned about John's imprisonment after being returned to Galilee, and this prompted him to leave Nazareth. We see that the writer of Matthew, when editing his source, left a very rough transition between the end of the actual 40-day event and the beginning of Jmmanuel's ministry in the land of Israel. He did not wish to mention how Jesus had been transported back to Galilee, and so he placed his mention of Galilee after his mention of Jesus having heard of John's arrest. This then led to the problem mentioned above. The TJ verses allow us to infer that it was in Nazareth itself, or possibly nearby in Galilee, that Jmmanuel heard of the news about John.

It is difficult to conceive that if a literary hoaxer were astute enough to recognize these problems, which is not very probable, he could avoid them both so deftly. PHoax 0.2.

Mt 4:14-16    14that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEM.   It has been pointed out (Beare, p. 115) that Mt 4:15-16 in no way does justice to the setting that Isaiah actually had in mind for his verses. Beare could see that the writer of Matthew brought in these verses from Isaiah on his own, in keeping with their introductory verse, Mt 4:13, in order to enhance the Messianic image of Jesus.

SOLUTION.   The TJ's lack of cognate is consistent with Beare being correct here. However, Beare tended to imply that Mt 4:13 was a redaction also, whereas the TJ indicates it is a good rendition of its verse (TJ 4:52b). This latter verse then, which mentions Zebulun and Naphtali, is apparently what brought the Isaiah citation to the mind of Matthew's writer or translator. That is, it is possible that the quotation from Isaiah placed in Mt 4:14-16 was added by the one who later translated Hebraic Matthew into Greek, as it is favorable to gentiles but was not utilized by the writers of Mark and Luke.

It is rather improbable that a New Age hoaxer would have omitted Mt 4:15-16 from his fabrication, since light, as opposed to darkness, goes along with New Age concepts of enlightenment. PHoax 0.35.

Mt 4:17    17From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

TJ 4:53    53From that time onward Jmmanuel began to preach, saying, "Repent and turn to the truth and knowledge, because they alone bring you life!"

TJ 4:53    53Seit der Zeit fing Jmmanuel an zu predigen und sagte: «Tuet Busse und kehret euch der Wahrheit und dem Wissen zu, denn sie allein bringen das Leben!»

THE PROBLEMS.   Beare (p. 88) attributes this verse to the redactor-writer of Matthew because the content of the preaching merely repeats, word for word, what John the Baptist reportedly had said in Mt 3:2.

And not to be overlooked is that "repent" means to change one's ways. Just to urge "repent" lacks meaning unless the admonition includes the way one is urged to change from or to turn to. The clause, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" does not at all fulfill this need. Besides the meaning of "kingdom of heaven" being unclear and unexplained, the clause does not tell the listener whether to eat, drink and be merry now because the end time is coming soon, or to quit committing some unspecified sin so as to be allowed access to heaven. Thus the saying in Mt 4:17 would not have been spoken by a teacher of wisdom, who would realize that wisdom is gained through learning from one's mistakes (sins).

SOLUTION.   The TJ supports Beare's deduction while allowing us to understand what prompted the compiler to utilize "repent" here and at Mt 3:2. Obviously, he did not wish to emphasize Jmmanuel's teaching on seeking truth and knowledge, since that would detract too much from the orthodox view of Jesus being a figure of worship: only Jesus himself could bring (everlasting) life. Thus the writer's abbreviation of the TJ verse left him with a rather meaningless verse, which, however, he liked so well he utilized it at Mt 3:2 as well. In the TJ, Jmmanuel in the above verse does not repeat any of John's wording, though what he says above does include John's admonition to "learn the truth," which is found in TJ 3:11. PHoax 0.35.

Mt 4:19    19And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

TJ 4:55-56    55And he said to them, "Follow me; I will teach you knowledge and make you fishers of people." 56Thereupon they left their nets and followed him.

TJ 4:55-56    55Und er sprach zu ihnen: «Folget mir nach; ich will euch das Wissen lehren und euch zu Menschenfischern machen.» 56Alsbald verliessen sie ihre Netze und folgten ihm nach.

THE PROBLEM.   On Jesus' ability to enlist helpers, or disciples, Beare (p. 117) commented that it obviously could not have happened so abruptly as this, implying that there had to be more of an inducement than just to become "fishers of men."

SOLUTION.   In the TJ verse the extra words are few, but the inducement of acquiring knowledge from a man who could demonstrate the power of his spirit was great. Thus the TJ indicates that when Jmmanuel acquired new disciples, the acquisition did occur swiftly.

One continues to find that the idea of either the disciples or the common people becoming educated beyond church teaching was unacceptable in the eyes of the writer who compiled the TJ into Matthew. This writer quite likely had once been a scribe, as is pointed out elsewhere in this analysis, and the person who was wise enough to teach knowledge in those days was most notably identified as being the church scribe.[3] Thus, with the hindsight provided by the TJ, the ex-scribe who compiled Matthew seems to have resented the idea that the common man could become as educated as he, or more educated, through everyday learning outside of the church. Therefore, phrases involving the seeking of knowledge on a personal level were edited out by the compiler, causing one scholar to comment upon its omission: "Perhaps the most striking [omission] is the lack of any admonition to seek wisdom."[4] The TJ indicates that this element had indeed been present in Jmmanuel's original message. PHoax 0.2.

Mt 4:23    23And he went all about Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.

TJ 4:60    60Jmmanuel went about in the entire land of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the knowledge of the spirit and healing all diseases and shortcomings [or infirmities] among the people.

TJ 4:60    60Und Jmmanuel ging umher im ganzen galiläischen Lande, lehrte in ihren Synagogen und predigte das Wissen des Geistes und heilte alle Krankheit und alle Gebrechen im Volk.

THE PROBLEM.   Why did the writer of Matthew refer to the synagogues, there in the land where Jesus supposedly was raised since childhood, as their synagogues? If Jesus was a Jew, these were his synagogues as much as anybody else's synagogues. This was a sufficient peculiarity to attract the attention of Beare (p. 121).

SOLUTION.   The portion of the TJ that survived was written only some years after Jmmanuel's Palestinian ministry was over, by a disciple who by then had traveled to, or was en route to, the land of India with Jmmanuel and two others. This disciple knew that neither he nor Jmmanuel would ever be returning to Palestine, so they must no longer have thought of themselves as Palestinians or Israelites or Jews since, as one learns from further reading of the TJ, they considered much of the Torah, and especially the teachings of scribes and Pharisees, to be false, distorted or incomplete. Thus Jmmanuel and/or Judas referred to "their" synagogues instead of to "the" synagogues, "his" synagogues or "our" synagogues. The writer of Matthew then overlooked this little detail, and copied the TJ's "their synagogues" without alteration. The writer of Matthew himself retained a largely Jewish outlook, and so would not likely have written "their synagogues" of his own composition even if he then lived in Ephesus or Antioch, where there were Jewish communities.

Beare's suggested solution to the problem was that Jesus was preaching in Aramaic just to Israelites (the lost sheep of Israel), while the people of Galilee may have included more Greeks than Jews. But this does not seem to be a viable solution, since the synagogues themselves were not Greek, but were Jewish. PHoax 0.3.

Upon accumulating the estimated probabilities that the TJ is a hoax from just the TJ-Mt 4 verse comparisons, one finds a summary probability of 0.00086.

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1. Verseput, Donald J., "The role and meaning of the 'Son of God,' title in Matthew's Gospel," NTS 33 (1987), pp. 532-556; see p. 532.

2. See, for example, Marxsen, Willi, Mark the Evangelist (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1969), p. 96.

3. McKenzie, John L., "Reflections on wisdom," JBL 86 (1967), pp. 1-9; see p. 2.

4. Carlston, Charles E., "Proverbs, maxims and the historical Jesus," JBL 99 (1980), pp. 87-105; see p. 92.