Mt 7:1    1"Judge not, that you be not judged."

TJ 7:1    1"Judge not falsely, lest you be falsely judged."

TJ 7:1    1«Richtet nicht falsch, auf dass ihr nicht falsch gerichtet werdet.»

THE PROBLEM.  The four Matthean verses following this one, spoken by Jesus, all imply that we will be making judgments from time to time, and everyone knows that judgments of all kinds must frequently be made, today as well as 2,000 years ago. And of course Jesus himself made judgments, such as judging that Pharisees in general were hypocrites. Moreover, what's so bad about being judged by others, if they judge you fairly? One expects to be judged by others whenever you do or say something that affects them. Hence, to make sense out of this contradiction, the usual interpretation that has been made is that you must not judge harshly, or not judge people, or make only simple moral judgments. However, without an appropriate qualifier for the verb, the verse is definitely illogical or ambiguous.

SOLUTION.  With the qualifying adverb in the TJ verse—falsely—it makes sense. Motivation for the writer of Matthew to have made this redaction may have been to discourage people from making any judgments that would be critical of church authorities or ruling authorities. Although one might argue that in the course of time, during translation and various re-transcriptions, the word "falsely" became lost accidentally, this is very unlikely since it is missing twice in the Matthean verse.

In assigning an estimate of the probability that this TJ verse came from a literary hoaxer, we must give heavy weight to the fact that the Matthean verse is so well known that one or another of its usual interpretations is usually taken for granted. Thus, the odds are poor that a literary hoaxer would perceive a need for "fixing up" this verse. On the other hand, the TJ verse is fully consistent with the concern of Jmmanuel within the TJ that truth is of overriding value. And as an alteration by the writer of Matthew, it is fully consistent with the picture of this writer being a redactor who wanted Christian followers to depend upon church authorities and teachings in making decisions rather than relying upon their own judgments. PHoax 0.2.

Mt 7:6    6"Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."

TJ 7:9-10    9"You shall not give sacred things to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before the swine, lest they trample them with their feet and turn on you and tear you apart. 10Truly, I say to you: Do not throw your consciousness-related treasure into the dirt and do not waste it on the unworthy, because they will not thank you and will tear you apart, for their understanding is small and their consciousness is weak."

TJ 7:9-10    9«Ihr sollt das Heilige nicht den Hunden geben und eure Perlen nicht vor die Säue werfen, auf dass sie dieselben nicht zertreten mit ihren Füssen und sich wenden und euch zerreissen. 10Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Werfet nicht euer bewusstseinsmässiges Gut in den Schmutz und verschwendet es nicht an Unwürdige, denn sie danken es euch nicht und zerreissen euch, denn ihr Verstand ist klein und ihr Bewusstsein ist schwach.»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (p. 190) noted that the point of Mt 7:6 is obscure. Quite likely for that reason it has no parallels in the other Gospels. He suggested some possible interpretations, but did not find any of them to be convincing.

SOLUTION.  In the TJ, on the other hand, it is clearly indicated who they are that Jmmanuel called the unworthy—those whose understanding is so small that they belittle the existence of one's consciousness or spirit. The presence of TJ 7:10, which the writer of Matthew omitted, makes the point of its verse 7:9 clear (see also TJ 5:12, 10:49, 19:16-20 and 23:47-49). Those indicted evidently included most scribes, and the writer of Matthew likely felt himself included. Thus it is not surprising that he altered this verse. It is consistent with a later Matthean verse (Mt 15:26) if his allusion to "dogs" and "swine" was to gentiles, since they comprised the group he considered unworthy of discipleship. The TJ, however, indicates that there had been no allusion to any racial or cultural group, but to those of little understanding and little consideration for others within any culture.

Although in the TJ verses Jmmanuel's language may seem harsh, it nevertheless deserves serious consideration as practical advice. The fact that the TJ verses could have come from a wisdom teacher but not the isolated Matthean verse, and the small chance that a literary hoaxer would have perceived a need to insert a clarifying verse here, and could have done so in a highly creative manner consistent with the rest of the TJ, suggest only a small chance for a literary hoax: PHoax 0.25.

Mt 7:7-8    7"Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks, receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

TJ 7:11-12    11"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 12For whosoever asks of their spirit (consciousness), will receive; and whosoever seeks through the power of consciousness, will find; and whosoever knocks at the door of their consciousness, to that person will it be opened."

TJ 7:11-12    11«Bittet, so wird euch gegeben; suchet, so werdet ihr finden; klopfet an, so wird euch aufgetan. 12Denn wer da bittet seinen Geist (Bewusstsein), der empfängt, und wer da durch die Kraft seines Bewusstseins suchet, der findet; und wer da bei seinem Bewusstsein anklopfet, dem wird aufgetan.»

THE PROBLEMS.  Beare (p. 191) noted that Mt 7:8 is not a general truth (not everyone who seeks finds, etc.). To get around this, Beare had to assume that the entire verse applies to asking for, and receiving, admission into heaven. However, with this interpretation, it is overkill to do all three things in order to gain admittance to heaven. Moreover, it is uncertain what door one should knock upon.

Dale Goldsmith has noted that Mt 7:8 is a virtual repetition of 7:7, and is therefore redundant.[1] In failing to provide any new input, Mt 7:8 is therefore illogical, repetitious and strongly suspect of being a redaction.

SOLUTION.  The TJ verse has the proper qualifiers that it could well be true as written. Thus asking of one's spirit or consciousness represents praying in sincerity, seeking through the power of one's consciousness represents searching for knowledge that will satisfy one's innate curiosity, and knocking at the door of one's spirit or consciousness represents encountering it through meditation or sensing one's conscience.

In editing out such TJ heresies, the compiler of Matthew often substituted the "kingdom of heaven" theme in place of the individual spirit or consciousness. He did not do that here, however, perhaps because knocking at the door of heaven would then be immediately rewarded by death (followed by entry into heaven or hell).

Mt 7:7 along with Mt 6:14-15 can be considered to constitute "editorial fatigue." At Mt 6:14-15 its writer had stated that if one asks the Father for forgiveness, it will not be granted if you yourself hadn't forgiven another. By the time he reached this point, however, he had apparently forgotten about this, and closely followed the text of TJ 7:11 (but not 7:12), thereby indicating that if one asks for anything, including forgiveness, it will be received without any qualifications.

TJ 7:12 is seen not to be subject to Goldsmith's criticism of Mt 7:8, as it amplifies upon its preceding verse in order to explain it, and is therefore not redundant.

In estimating the chance for a hoax here, we have the problems with Matthew that are consistent with a redactor having tampered with his source document in a consistent manner, to weigh against the possible work of a hoaxer who, however, is not very likely to have foreseen these problems or known how to remove them in a manner that would produce the beauty of TJ 7:12. PHoax 0.25.

Mt 7:11    11"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?"

TJ 7:15    15"So if you, now, though you be wicked, can nevertheless give your children good gifts, how much more will your consciousness give you, if you ask for it."

TJ 7:15    15«So nun ihr, die ihr doch arg seid, könnt dennoch euren Kindern gute Gaben geben, wieviel mehr wird euch euer Bewusstsein geben, wenn ihr darum bittet.»

THE PROBLEM.   This verse, along with Mt 7:7-8, indicates that one will receive good things simply by asking the Father for them. There are no qualifications placed upon this. If one simply asks to receive the kingdom of heaven, for example, then this will presumably be granted. Yet, from Mt 5:3 we read that it's the poor in spirit who receive the kingdom of heaven. From Mt 5:10 we read that it's those persecuted for righteousness' sake who receive the kingdom of heaven. From Mt 6:6 we read that only those who pray privately in their closed room will receive. Once again, a contradiction like this likely indicates that a redactor has tampered with his source text, if that source had derived from a teacher of wisdom and had therefore made sense.

The method by which Matthean critics Davies and Allison circumvented this contradiction was by assuming it is implied that only those who are children of the Father in heaven will receive, after asking.[2] Extra words such as these need to be read into the text. However, theirs are not satisfactory, since it is not at all clear who qualifies as being children of the Father. Are they just the "children of Israel" (Mt 15:24), are they all those upon whom the Father causes sun to shine and rain to fall (Mt 5:45), or where between these two extremes do we locate them?

SOLUTION.   It was the redactor's small alteration of the above TJ verse (from "spirit" to "Father in heaven"), along with his having altered other TJ verses, which caused the contradiction. In the TJ, Jmmanuel several times advises his listeners to get in touch each one with their individual spirit, to pray properly to it or ask properly of it as needed. There are no contradictions there, as advice is given on how to pray properly to one's spirit in order to receive (TJ 6:4-22), and this advice is available to all, without qualifications. PHoax 0.4.

Mt 7:15-16a    15"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits..."

TJ 7:21-23    21"Beware of false prophets and scribes who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are like ravenous wolves, preaching to you about submissiveness before sacred objects, false deities and gods, and preaching submissiveness to idols and erroneous teachings. 22Beware of those who forbid you access to wisdom and knowledge, for they speak to you only to attain power over you and to seize your goods and belongings. 23You will recognize them by their fruits."

TJ 7:21-23    21«Sehet euch vor vor den falschen Propheten und Schriftgelehrten, die in Schafskleidern zu euch kommen, inwendig aber sind sie reissende Wölfe, und predigen euch Demut vor Heiligtümern, Götzen und Göttern und predigen euch Demut vor Idolen und irren Lehren. 22Sehet euch vor vor denen, die euch die Weisheit und das Wissen verbieten, denn sie sprechen zu euch nur, um Macht über euch zu erlangen und euer Hab und Gut an sich zu reissen. 23An ihren Früchten sollt ihr sie erkennen.»

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (pp. 195-197) concluded that this verse as it stands would not have been uttered in Jesus' time because Israel then was not being harassed by false prophets. Israel's prophets had died out centuries before, and only after the early churches had been established did a rash of new prophets, including false prophets, arise, this time within Christianity.

In addition, "there has been much discussion as to whether the 'fruits' by which we are to judge, represent the life or the teachings of the teachers in question."[3]

SOLUTION.  The TJ verse does not suffer from Beare's criticism, since it includes scribes, not just prophets, and since the disciples who were listening to Jmmanuel's sermon would be told to spread the word primarily in other lands besides Israel, where self-proclaimed prophets and/or oracles may have then dwelled; e.g., some of the Sibylline oracles. Apparently the writer of Matthew omitted "scribes" when replicating TJ 7:21 because he himself had earlier been a Jewish scribe. He similarly omitted its last clause, probably because it might cause readers or listeners to wonder if any teachings in the Torah were erroneous, or if the God of Israel was one of the false gods. And as always he would need to omit any thought that a Christian should want to seek wisdom or knowledge.

As to just what the "fruits" refer to, the TJ verse lets us know that it is the unworthy teachings and actions of those who would deny you knowledge and try to acquire power over you.

The motivations for the writer of Matthew to have made the alterations we have noticed, upon comparing the two sets of verses, are strong and required no ingenuity. However, the creativity needed by a hoaxer to have amplified the Matthean verses to produce the TJ verses, and in a manner that is free of Beare's objection, is excessive. PHoax 0.3.

Mt 7:17    17"So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit."

TJ 7:25    25"Hence, every good seed brings forth a good harvest, but a rotten seed brings forth a bad harvest."

TJ 7:25    25«Also, eine jegliche gute Saat bringt gute Ernte, aber ein faule Saat bringt arge Ernte.»

THE PROBLEM.  This Matthean verse is very similar to its following verse, causing Davies & Allison [4] to infer that this one was a redaction designed to repeat Mt 7:18 with positive statements replacing negative ones.

SOLUTION.   The TJ verse uses a different analogy (seed—>harvest) from that of its following verse, which is very closely paralleled by Mt 7:18 ("A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit"). Thus TJ 7:25 does not experience the problem raised by Davies & Allison. The verse is not strictly a cognate to the Matthean verse, except for its general meaning.

It would appear that the writer of Matthew made the change in order to stick to the subject of trees, because he would soon insert another verse, Mt 7:19, involving cutting down the bad tree. This latter redaction, mentioned below, would not then apply to the seed-harvest theme in his source.

It is important to note, however, that this TJ verse is one that had been omitted from the 1978 version of the TJ, in which verse Mt 7:17 had been erroneously copied in from the German Bible. This was either an error on the part of the typist who prepared the 1978 version for printing, or of the translator, Rashid—two adjacent verses were copied from the German Bible when one of them (Mt 7:18) was almost identical to a TJ verse (7:26). TJ 7:25 is then one of the more important esoteric corrections Meier received in 1990. PHoax 0.5.

Mt 7:19    19"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEM.  As noted by Beare (p. 197), this sentence already occurred earlier, in Mt 3:10, and thus is suspect as a needless repetition. The verse can also be seen to interrupt the flow of thought from the preceding and following verses, which deal with perceiving false prophets, not disposing of them.

SOLUTION.  The verse evidently suggested itself to the writer of Matthew since his previous two verses, which do have close parallels to TJ verses, deal allegorically with trees and fruit. Its insertion also reflects the redactor's preoccupation with the notion that sinners receive their just dues in the fires of hell.

While the chances are good that this verse is a repetitive redaction by the compiler of Matthew, the chances are not quite as good that a literary hoaxer would notice this and omit it. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 7:21-22    21"Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'"

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEM.  In this context, "Lord" was recognized by Beare (p. 198) as a title of worship of Jesus, following later Christian practice. Thus the verses would not have been so spoken by Jesus himself. Beare also discussed the likelihood that Mt 7:21 was consciously constructed by the writer of Matthew to act as a rebuttal to a certain doctrine of Paul—the idea that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be "saved." Other scholars have noted that "in your name" is a phrase used by the early church and not used during Jesus' ministry,[5] since many years elapsed before "Jesus Christ" became a name of worship. For the same reason, the following are also considered to be redactions: "my name's sake" in Mt 10:22, "in my name" in Mt 18:5, and "for my name's sake" in Mt 19:29 and 24:9.

Beare further noted (p. 198) that impetus for the "will of my Father" portion of the above verses to be constructed by the compiler might have come from a verse of the Pirke Aboth, the Jewish "Sayings of the Fathers" (Aboth 5:22).

SOLUTION.  These two Matthean verses, and the next, appear as an insert to the TJ. In this instance, they can be fairly readily picked out as such from being a paragraph of inappropriate subject matter. The three verses on each side of the Mt 7:21-23 insert, save for the duplicate verse, Mt 7:19, discussed earlier, are faithful renditions of the TJ. These surrounding TJ verses of course do not address the compiler's strong concern for separating evildoers from those going to heaven.

The TJ does not contain the phrases "in your name" or "for my name's sake," or "will of my Father."

For reasons noted above, the chances are good that these verses were an invention by the compiler of Matthew. However, the chances are almost as good that a literary hoaxer would notice this and omit them. PHoax 0.45.

Mt 7:23    23"And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'"

TJ    [No cognate]

THE PROBLEM.  Beare (p. 198), as have others before him, recognized the last half of this verse as coming from:

Ps 6:8    Depart from me, all you workers of evil.

His inference was that it is therefore a non-genuine utterance.

SOLUTION.  Beare's inference, which the TJ supports, appears to give the correct solution, since it is implausible that Jesus inserted unattributed verses from the Scriptures here and there into his speech as he made it. This verse is furthermore part of the compiler's insertion of the two previous verses, and for that reason also can be judged as having stemmed from the writer of Matthew, not from Jesus.

Although the reason why this Matthean verse was found to be non-genuine is different from those of the preceding verses, a literary hoaxer would likely have omitted it if he omitted the previous two verses. [PHoax 0.5.]

Mt 7:28-29    28And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

TJ 7:32-33    32And it happened that after Jmmanuel had finished his talk, the people were shocked by his teachings. 33He taught with full power a new doctrine unlike that of the scribes.

TJ 7:32-33    32Und es begab sich, da Jmmanuel diese Rede vollendet hatte, entsetzte sich das Volk über seine Lehre. 33Er lehrte nämlich mit Vollmacht eine neue Lehre, und dies nicht wie die Schriftgelehrten.

THE PROBLEM.  The crowds would have been astonished over what Jesus had taught, not over the degree of authority with which he taught them. It goes without saying that a teacher needs a certain degree of authority about him to command the attention of listeners, and this in itself would not cause astonishment. Thus Mt 7:29 is quite implausible, suggesting it involves a redaction.

SOLUTION.  TJ 7:33 lets us know that what had astonished the people (not the crowds), or had even shocked them, had been his teachings themselves. They were different than what they had heard before. How to pray to one's spirit or consciousness rather than to Yahweh is one example of what likely had shocked them. The use of the word "Creation" ("Briya" in Aramaic) rather than "Creator" ("Bare" in Aramaic) in describing attributes of the ultimate mystery rather than of a personal God, must have been another. Although the compiler of Matthew seems to have gone along with some of Jmmanuel's verbal chastisement of scribes (and Pharisees), he evidently did not wish to imply that their teachings had been erroneous and in need of replacement by a new doctrine.

The differences between the two verses are quite small. Yet the difference that caused the problem pointed out above is a telling one, as the problem is not mentioned in any scholarly literature I am aware of. Perhaps only in hindsight could it have been detected. A literary hoaxer is thus very unlikely to have thought of it, while the omission of "a new doctrine" by the writer of Matthew is as to have been expected. PHoax 0.15.

Upon accumulating the estimated probabilities that the TJ is a hoax from just the TJ-Mt 7 verse comparisons above, one finds a cumulative probability of PHoax = 0.00094.

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1. Goldsmith, Dale, "'Ask, and it will be given...' Toward writing the history of a logion," NTS 35 (1989), pp. 254-265; see p. 255.

2. Davies, W. D. and Allison, Dale C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (Edinburgh, Scotland: T & T Clark, Ltd., 1988), vol. 1, p. 684.

3. Broadus, John A., Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Philadelphia:American Baptist Publication Society, 1886), p. 168.

4. Davies and Allison, Critical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 709.

5. Sanders, E. P., Jesus and Judaism, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), p. 284.