Sunday, July 15, 2018

Quotations of Jewish Scripture - The Gospel of Luke

This continues the survey of quotations of Jewish Scripture in different gospels from the last several posts. There are some notes in a previous post on the general approach in deciding whether to count something as a quotation rather than an allusion or other type of reference. 

Again, because I expect readers with any interest in this topic to be generally familiar with the quotations, I'll place them below the analysis for the reader's convenience. 

The Analysis

With a long-running series like this, a refresh on the scope can be useful: The eight non-Biblical gospels that we've surveyed, together, contain a combined total of 7 passages with quotations of Jewish Scripture. The Gospel of Mark contains 14, while the Gospel of Matthew by itself contains 39 such passages. Luke's gospel contains 17, coming in with more than the combined total of the eight non-Biblical gospels surveyed and more than Mark, but less than Matthew.

There are a number of quotations from Mark and Matthew that are not included in Luke, though the general analysis of the gospels isn't quite far enough along to have a solid understanding of Luke's basis for selection at this stage. Here I'll confine myself to commenting on things that are included in Luke, rather than the various things omitted.

We can recognize many of the quotations here from Matthew or Mark. Luke was clear about having researched the available material before writing. Yet Luke does not entirely follow either Matthew or Mark for quotations, and seems to have done some independent research into the quotations. The quotation of Isaiah introducing John the Baptist is expanded compared to Mark; it also has the section removed which wasn't from Isaiah. Between that and the way the quote is introduced ("it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet"), it reads as if Luke checked his references. This is Luke's first but not only reference to the previous writings as books or scrolls (using sometimes biblion and sometimes biblos, for those who keep track of such things). He refers to Isaiah's writings more than once using those terms. Luke also makes the first reference in our survey to the "Book of Psalms". Luke includes some quotations seen in neither Mark nor Matthew. It is not clear whether Luke recognized 'the people will say to the hills "Fall on us!"' as a quotation of Jewish Scripture; it is quoted by Jesus and left otherwise unintroduced. Luke also includes an account of Jesus reading from Isaiah's scroll at a sermon at the synagogue in Nazareth, which is not contained in either Mark or Matthew.

As with Mark and Matthew, Luke also shows awareness of the various books and different authors of Jewish Scripture, such as Isaiah, David, and Moses. There is a subtle shift of focus in Luke towards physical reference materials such as scrolls.
 The Quotations

The numbers count how many passages contain quotes of Scripture. A passage may contain more than one quote.

1. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

2. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

3. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

4. The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

5. Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

6. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

7. This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’

8. His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see;
    though hearing, they may not understand.’

9. He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

10. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

11. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”

12.  “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

13. When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

14. Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone’?

15. But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’

16. Then Jesus said to them, “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”’
David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

17. Then
“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
    and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Quotations of Jewish Scripture - The Gospel of Matthew

This continues a survey of quotations of Jewish Scripture in different gospels. There are some notes in the previous post on the general approach in deciding whether to count something as a quotation (as opposed to an allusion or other type of reference), for anyone interested in the technical end of things.

Because I expect readers who have any interest in this topic are generally familiar with the quotations -- and because Matthew's gospel has so many of them -- I'll place those below the analysis for the reader's convenience. 

The Analysis

The first thing that will help our analysis is some sense of context for the scope of it all. The eight non-Biblical gospels that we've surveyed, together, contain a combined total of 7 passages with quotations of Jewish Scripture. The Gospel of Mark contains 14, which is more than the eight non-Biblical gospels combined. The Gospel of Matthew by itself contains 39 such passages, more than double the count from the Gospel of Mark.

In Matthew, we have a number of quotes that are attributed to specific authors: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and David. (In-line footnote: Further citations are made of other authors such as Moses, but these are more along the lines of references or allusions than quotes.) As with previous citations we've seen, some of the citations are not as exact as we'd like -- for instance, the one about the 30 pieces of silver stands out as something where the citation raises questions. Existing scholarship of these gospels has noticed that Matthew probably quotes a Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures, with evidence such as the prophecy of the virgin birth.

There is more usage of Scripture all around, compared to previous documents. From the author's point of view, the Gospel of Matthew shows much independent application of Jewish Scripture by the author. The people inside the narrative also have their own interest. People in the crowd quote Scripture; people who want to ask questions ask about Scripture; in answer Jesus quotes Scripture. Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount is seen as having portions organized around key passages of Law of Moses. All around, the Gospel of Matthew is a narrative which is saturated with Jewish Scripture, where the action occurs in a culture that honors and respects those Scriptures, and where the author shares that perspective.

The Quotations

The numbers count how many passages contain quotes of Scripture. A passage may contain more than one quote.
1.    All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
2.    “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
3.    And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
4.    Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”
5.    This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”
6.    Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
7.     “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
8.    Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
9.    “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
10.    to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
    the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
    Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.”
11.    “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,’ and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.
12.    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 
13.     “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
14.    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 
15.    This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.”
16.    But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
17.    For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
18.    This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’
19.    If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
20.    This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
    In his name the nations will put their hope.”

21.    This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
22.    In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
23.    So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
    I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
24.    For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.
25.    Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’”
26.    Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
27.    This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
28.     “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
29.     “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
30.     “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
31.    Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
32.    But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
33.    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
34.    He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’
35.    “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
36.    “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
37.    Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
38.    Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
39.    About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Quotations of Jewish Scripture - The Gospel of Mark

This continues a survey of quotations of Jewish Scripture in different gospels, which to this point has covered some collections of alternative gospels. We have now come to the first survey of a document that is recognized by the Christian church as a reliable record of Jesus' life: the Gospel of Mark.

A Note On Methods (Skip to the next heading if you're not interested in the technical stuff)


And here, for the first time, it becomes important to note: there are many cases of references or allusions which are not being included in this analysis, because this analysis is focused specifically on quotations. This was less of an issue in the previous documents that we surveyed since there were relatively few references to the Jewish scriptures. But as we come to the Gospel of Mark it becomes necessary to clarify how to distinguish a quote from other kinds of reference. One way that I’m using to distinguish other references from quotations is by the fact that a quote repeats the original material, where another type of reference may not repeat the original material so much as mention it. An example is that Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife: here we can find a reference to Jewish Scripture but it would be overstating the case to call it a quotation. Another situation that I do not count as a quotation here is finding such a short set of words that it’s not clear whether it’s intending to repeat the original material or reference it. The identification of something as a quotation is reserved for passages where there’s not a serious doubt: where not only is there a reference to earlier Scripture but also there are more than a few words involved or it was introduced in the document as a quotation (e.g. “it is written”).

Quotations of Jewish Scripture in the Gospel of Mark


1. .. as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”
 2. “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
   
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
3. He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’

4. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’

5.  “‘the worms that eat them do not die,
    and the fire is not quenched.’
6. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

7. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

8. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
9. Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

10. Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?

11. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
12. While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’
13. “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered.’

14. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

 

Analysis

In the very first quotation in Mark, we see something we hadn't seen in the documents surveyed previously: the quote is attributed to a particular prophet, Isaiah. While the second part of the quote is from Isaiah, the first part is from Malachi, so the attribution doesn't completely satisfy. Despite the mixed-source quote with attribution for only part of it, it’s the most precise we’ve seen yet: it's the first instance we’ve seen of the author trying to be specific about the previous author. While that was the first instance, as we continue in the Gospel of Mark we see that it's not too unusual here, where we have various quotes attributed to Isaiah, Moses (or the Book of Moses), and David. 

Most quotes of Jewish Scripture are included as having been spoken by Jesus. We also see some independent application by the author of the gospel. There is an instance of Jewish Scripture by some of the people in the crowd during Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem. For the most common case -- instances where Jesus quotes the Jewish Scripture -- some of these uses of Scripture are embedded in conversations which revolve around the right understanding or application of Jewish Scripture. The other people in the narrative are shown to have their own knowledge of or interest in Jewish Scripture.  

Quotations of Jewish Scripture are more plentiful here than was typical in the alternative gospels. Fourteen passages in Mark contain quotes of Jewish Scripture, compared to a combined total of seven in the previous eight documents surveyed.