Hmm perplexing..

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Categories: Bible, Jesus

8 replies

  1. And the “apocryphal” gospels of Judas said that Judas was crucified instead of Jesus. Also the “apocyphal” Apocalypse of Peter indirectly says the wicked was killed instead of Jesus.

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  2. And there is even this imaginative speculation.

    https://ehrmanblog.org/did-they-crucify-the-wrong-guy-jesus-identity-switch/

    No wonder God says “….And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except speculation…..” (4:157). I used the word “speculation”

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  3. I.

    It is hard to reconcile a death from hanging with someone’s insides bursting open. I don’t see how hanging would result in the latter.

    The Wikipedia article on Judas Iscariot says:

    The existence of conflicting accounts of the death of Judas has caused problems for scholars who have seen them as threatening the reliability of Scripture.[20] This problem was one of the points leading C. S. Lewis, for example, to reject the view “that every statement in Scripture must be historical truth”.[21]

    Various attempts at harmonization have been suggested. Generally they have followed literal interpretations such as that of Augustine, which suggest that these simply describe different aspects of the same event – that Judas hanged himself in the field, and the rope eventually snapped and the fall burst his body open,[20][22] or that the accounts of Acts and Matthew refer to two different transactions.[23] Some have taken the descriptions as figurative: that the “falling prostrate” was Judas in anguish,[24] and the “bursting out of the bowels” is pouring out emotion.

    I honestly don’t see the point though. It does not seem fundamental to “Christian” theology.

    II.
    I would focus more on what Paul said as a polemic since Muslim apologists/polemists typically emphasize the differences between the Gospels and Pauline (and the deutero-Pauline) writings. I looked up the most obvious place where Paul would say that Jesus (saws) appeared to the Twelve (1 Corinthians 15) and he does say in in verse 5. This provides some evidence that Paul did not know much about the life of Jesus, including important parts about how he was betrayed.

    The fact that Matthew said “twelve” does not necessarily indict the Gospels for error.

    The context of Matthew is the same as in Mark, and the text is very similar showing that Matthew was using the text of Mark. However, this verse is an addition. In the Messianic age, Jesus will be sitting on the throne in his glory, and so will the disciples, all twelve of them! These twelve will then judge the twelve tribes of Israel. It is not certain whether Matthew made a blunder and forgot about the betrayal of Judas and thus perhaps should have spoken of eleven disciples sitting on eleven thrones. However, it is more likely that twelve was used for rhetorical purposes, as twelve disciples sitting on twelve thrones to judge twelve tribes sounds a lot better than eleven.

    https://muslimcommentaryofbible.wordpress.com/contents-of-a-muslims-commentary-of-the-bible/188-on-riches-and-the-rewards-of-discipleship/

    It is more smoother to say twelve than for Jesus (saws) to bring up the prospect of his betrayal.

    III.

    Off topic:

    How did Paul know the words of the Last Supper. Were those words circulating around in the early practices of Christians?

    23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    1 Corinthians 11

    Perhaps the synoptics were edited to conform to the epistles. But for whatever reason it does match.

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  4. It is worth noting that while the Bible says Judas hanged himself as well as that he burst open, it does not say he died from that bursting. In other words, it is entirely possible that his body burst open after he died. Ergo, there is no explicit contradiction regarding how he died.

    While this was not touched on in the image, it may be worth noting that the text in Acts doesn’t require that he “fell headlong”. πρηνης γενομενος can be understood along the lines of “having become prostrate” (i.e. his body winding up facedown). γενομενος (which is to say an aorist participle of γινομαι, in the nominative case) can mean “having become” or even “was made”. πρηνης can mean to be laying facedown, or on one’s front. Ergo, the phrase in Acts can apply even to a case of people taking him down and laying him in a field, face down.

    Also interesting, the entry for πρανης in Liddell-Scott-Jones’ Lexicon (emphasis on Jones) connects πρηνης γενομενος with “becoming distended”. That certainly has the potential to put a rather different spin on the verse…


    [Source: Henry George Liddell, Robert Scoot, & Henry Stuart Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon, (Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 1459.]

    To touch on one other thing not brought up in the image, but which does come up in discussions on whether Acts 1 contradicts Matthew 27 regarding Judas, there is the question of the money and the field. Personally, I think 2 Peter 2:13 may provide a key to understanding Acts 1:18. That verse in Acts states that Judas acquired the field with the reward for his wickedness. That seems, at first glance, to be a reference to the coins, but it is interesting that the text does not explicitly refer to money or coins.

    The Greek text of Acts 1:18 states that Judas acquired the field from μισθου της αδικιας. The Greek text of 2 Peter 2:13 employs an almost identical phrase: μισθον αδικιας. The preceding verse states that the relevant blasphemers will die, and it is then that it is stated that they will receive the reward for their wickedness. So, perhaps based on that, we can conclude that the reward for Judas’ wickedness is not a reference to the thirty coins he got from the priests, but rather the brutal end which he met. In other words, imagine a scenario as follows: after Judas commits suicide, men angry with him toss his rotting corpse into the relevant field (a cemetary for non-Jews), where his broken body bursts open (either from the tossing or during the rotting process). Thus via such a disgraceful fate, he acquired the field in the sense that it became attached to him in the minds of those who saw or heard what happened.

    [On an interesting side note, the Greek verb used in Acts 1:18 to refer to Judas acquiring the field is also used in the Septuagint version of Isaiah 57:13 when it speaks of those who remember the LORD GOD receiving the Holy Land (to be contrasted with the wicked, who are blown away and scattered to foreign lands).]

    Getting back to the image, Jesus appearing to “the twelve” could be a figure of speech referring to the group, irrespective of precise number of members present. Another possibility is that a person who would take Judas’ episcopal position was there (even if had not yet officially taken the position yet). This also can apply to the line about the disciples being on thrones (Judas may be replaced on the throne by a person who took over his episcopal office).

    Now that I think about it, perhaps this comment could have been a blog entry unto itself…

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    • Denis do you admit the possibility that the Bible might contain errors and
      contradictions?

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    • Br. Paul,
      You might find the answer for your question in this passage
      “ the twelve” could be a figure of speech referring to the group, irrespective of precise number of members present. Another possibility is that a person who would take Judas’ episcopal position was there (even if had not yet officially taken the position yet). ” !!!

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