Matthew 4:9

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and he said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (ASV)


Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 offer competing accounts of an ordeal that Yeshua allegedly underwent.

Generally, the temptation accounts are in accord except they offer the event in a different order. Matthew records the temptations in the following order: 1)Bread, 2)Suicide, 3)Kingdoms.

In contrast, Luke gives us this rendition: 1)Bread, 2)Kingdoms, 3) Suicide. Mark's biography glosses over the particular temptations, while John's apologetic fails to mention the event at all.

Remember, neither Matthew or Luke were actually present at the time, so we have to assume they were informed of this event through divine inspiration.

Though it may not seem like a big difference, let's not forget, the Holy Ghost inspired the competing versions of this story, so this Holy Ghost is responsible for communicating the discrepancy.

It is apparent that as the passages ARE NOT identical, at least one is less than 100% correct, and therefore the Gospels err in at least this small detail.

It happened one way or the other; it didn't happen both ways.

Why would the Holy Ghost mislead the authors?


In Jewish custom, it was allowed for an account to give the overall picture and not report the minute exactness of the situation (i.e. the death of Josiah in the book of Kings vs Chronicles; one dies at Megiddo, the other in Jerusalem; clearly the former used the Jewish method and meant that Josiah died as a result of the battle of Megiddo, whereas the latter reports the actual death). Usually, when there are two diverging accounts in these details, priority is given of the other Gospel/Gospels over Matthew (as in the case of Jairus' daughter), but in this case, the typically Jewish challenges of 1) and 2) means that Matthew's order might be more original.

The fact that there was no Jewish tradition of the Messiah being tempted directly like this means that this was not a creation of the Palestinian Church. The fact that the content is specifically Jewish means the Hellenistic Church could not have forged the incident (not to mention its disinterest in forging episodes of Jesus' earthly life overall, demonstrated by the fact that, as Bultmann has stated, the Synoptic Tradition is entirely borrowed from Semitic sources). This points toward authenticity of the section.

Jesus could have easily been the source. It's not an impossibility, and the uncertainty of such small things over the easiness of pointing out problems doesn't preclude it as an answer rather than a 'story out of bias' as the moderator might deem it.


Edit this section to note miscellaneous facts.

The statement in PRO saying, "Remember, neither Matthew or Luke were actually present at the time, so we have to assume they were informed of this event through divine inspiration," is speculative and not supported as fact. As Matthew was an apostle of Jesus, it is probable that Jesus is the source of the information. Luke claims at the beginning of his gospel, "it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first,.." Thus, he seems to have been a disciple of Jesus though not selected to be an apostle, and it is probable that he was made aware of the temptation either directly by Jesus or by one of the apostles. Given that Jesus selected 12 men as apostles and spent considerable time teaching them, it seems probable that He described the temptation event to them. Speculating that the only source of the information had to be divine inspiration is an extreme position to take under the circumstances.

Movement Of Con Argument To Neutral

"The error in this sort of argument is a classic case of projecting our own storytelling biases and expectations back into another culture. In this case, the assumed contradiction results from insisting that everything in the story proceeds in a linear fashion. It's plain to see from the events depicted in the synoptics that this is not the case, so it's hard to see why this is an issue here.

Presumably the authors of the synoptics, even acting under divine inspiration, had thematic concerns as well as chronological ones. As the thematic concerns often trump the chronological ones -- such as when Mark's gospel provides the interepretation of the Parable of the Seeds immediately after the parable, rather than at the end of the description of the day's events -- it's hardly unreasonable to assume that this was the case in the synoptics' description of the temptations of Christ.

Nonlinear storytelling remains in vogue even today, as seen in "Pulp Fiction."

--JoeWallack 08:34, 16 Feb 2007 (CST)

Reason For Move


The attempted Defense is that presentation of a sequence of supposed events out of chronological order could be an accepted Literary Convention at the time dependent on the reason for non chronological presentation. This defense Fails to address the problem though that specifically here we have two different chronological sequences within the same writing (the Christian Bible). To try and regain Con status the Defense will first have to deal with this issue.

--JoeWallack 08:43, 16 Feb 2007 (CST)

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