Bethany real place?

by peacefulpete 17 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    Neon your arguement would be sound if it was the intention of the original Jesus story writers to present a document MEANT to be understood as historical. That is not the opinion of those who propose this reconstruction. It is their view that the original layer of myth was reworked ( largely by addition) by Catholic redactors attempting to bridge the sects of Jesus cults. The Gnostic forms of Jesus cult did not recognise many of the presently debated elelments in the Gospels. The Catholic adjenda also included a historizing of their stories to differentiate their cult from Mithraism or other rival groups whose tales that in many ways mirrored the Christian one but was recognized and accepted as moral allegory. To see the need for this historizing we need to recognize that a formost Pagan objection to early Christianity was that it was deemed ignorant to believe the Jesus tales were original to the cult and that they were actual history rather than moral allegory.

    The problem with redaction is that it is never detected when done well but leaves odd seams and contradictions when done hastily or late. Often the recognised interpolations were left of necesssity because of the popularity of the detail among believers. This Bethany tale may be an example of one such detail. The early versions of the Jesus stories may have included the Lazarus at Bethany element and became popular allegory (due to it's heart appeal and familiarity thru similarity with the Osiris version ) prior to the Church's gaining control of the text.

  • NeonMadman

    Pete, I hate to say it, but your reasoning sounds like the Watchtower's, full of speculation and "may haves." It seems that you want so badly to discredit the Bible that you'll jump on any argument, no matter how thin, to arrive at your predetermined conclusion. I think that was evident in your thread on Matthew 28:19 as well, where you were willing to accept obviously biased and largely undocumented arguments by Oneness Pentecostals that the words "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" in that verse must have been a later addition, based mainly upon the fact that the verse does not agree with their theology.

    What evidence is there that such redactions as you describe ever occurred? Oh, that's right, there isn't any, because "redaction ... is never detected when done well." The New Age people use a similar type of argument, that reincarnation "must have" been taught in the original Bible, but that those nasty Christians took it out. Even if there were redactions, how do you redact all of the thousands of extant NT manuscripts? Whichever manuscripts were redacted would be clearly contradicted by all of the others. And some of the fragments that are known to exist date back as far as the early second century, within a single lifetime from the time when the events occurred. If there were only one "original text," perhaps someone could have spirited it away into a back room and altered it without anybody noticing. But copies began to be made of the NT manuscripts as soon as they were written. Anybody who altered the text in his own copy would have been exposed easily by comparison with the others.

    As far as similarities between pagan mythologies and Christian teachings, there is a simple answer within the Christian paradigm, and that is that Satan offers counterfeits of the real things of God - "appears as an angel of light," if you will. While the JW's may argue that the Trinity is a false teaching because pagan religions have trinities of gods, the Christian would argue that the pagan trinities are merely Satan's pale imitation of the real thing.

    You don't have to believe any of that, of course. But it seems clear to me that whoever developed the argument you present had an agenda of discrediting the Bible, and was seeking to develop an argument along that line. No evidence is offered, only speculation. They've constructed what might be a plausible storyline, if there were any evidence to support it, but I don't see any, and you haven't cited any references to any. If I can, I might suggest that you consider ordering the tape, Is Your Bible Too Thin? by James R. White. It was a lecture delivered at the 2002 St. Louis Conference for Biblical Discernment, and goes into a good deal of detail as to how we got the Bible and how the canon was determined. It's cheap enough. I think $3.00 or so plus shipping, and can be ordered from

  • peacefulpete

    My friend your deliberate misrepresentation of me and my earlier postings is very disappointing. There was a time I also would have summarily dismissed the research of textural critics and archaeologists that offered alternatives to the fundementalist/literalist view of the Bible. That was when I was in a cult.

  • NeonMadman

    Pete, if I came across in my last post as more strident than I intended, I apologize. It was in no way my intent to misrepresent you.

    With regard to my remarks on the Matthew 28:19 thread, you suggested in that thread that interested persons should do a search on the phrase "Matthew 28 interpolation." I did so, using the Yahoo! search engine, and I summarized the results of my search in some detail. What I found was that the major sources offering the argument you presented against the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28:19 were Oneness Pentecostal sources. Oneness Pentecostals deny the Trinity in favor of a form of modalism. Their sources were rather inbred (citing only other Oneness sources), and the whole idea seemed to be traceable back to an early article by a writer named Conybeare. In addition, the vast majority of arguments they presented against the wording of Matthew 28:19 were theological in nature, of the form: "Those words can't be part of the original text, since they disagree with our understanding of these other scriptures." Obviously, it is at least possible that it is their understanding of the other texts that is flawed, and not the translation of Matthew 28:19. If one wanted to make a plausible case that the text of Matthew 28:19 has been altered, then the way to do so would be to produce some manuscripts showing a variant reading. In such a case, we could at least argue about which manuscripts are more reflective of the original writing. But my search revealed no such evidence.

    Since you never responded to my rather detailed answer to your assertion, I concluded that you were willing to allow your remarks to stand. That puzzled me, but, frankly, it seemed to me at the time that you were willing to accept such a questionable source, as long as it brought some part of the Bible into question.

    With regard to the present thread, what am I to think, when I see no evidence in anything you have presented, but only speculations of scholars as to how certain stories "may have" happened? You've effectively set yourself an impossible task, that of trying to prove a negative. You can't establish with any certainty that there never was such a place as Bethany, yet you continue to insist - dogmatically, in my opinion - that it must have been a fictional place. Did you read my remarks about Ashleyville? Place names come and go within a generation or two. How can you possibly be so certain that this particular place was made up - particularly when Bible scholars have, in fact, identified it with a specific location? Much as I'd like to, I can't think of another reason why you would cling so tenaciously to this particular belief of yours, except that it fits your agenda, which is to discredit the Bible in any way possible. If I've misjudged you, I'm truly sorry. I'd love to believe that you've come to your current position through unbiased research and consideration, but if that were the case, it seems to me that you would be far less insistent that Bethany could not have been a real place. If I've misjudged you, please explain it to me.

    As far as my 'summarily dismissing research,' I haven't seen any research to consider. What you have presented is largely speculative, as I've pointed out. It is possible to construct a worldview in which Jesus never existed, and the New Testament accounts are fables. We can then bolster our worldview by speculating on ideas for which there is no reasonable proof - such as that Matthew 28:19 has been altered from the original text, or that Bethany never existed. It may be your preference - even your honest conviction - to accept such a worldview. However, the fact that we can construct such a worldview does not make it true. For those of us who do respect the Bible, much more solid proof would be required to shake our faith than the sort of speculation you have presented in these two threads - and appropriately so, I think.

  • peacefulpete
    The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics

    As to Matthew 28:19, it says: It is the central piece of evidence for the traditional (Trinitarian) view. If it were undisputed, this would, of course, be decisive, but its trustworthiness is impugned on grounds of textual criticism, literary criticism and historical criticism. The same Encyclopedia further states that: "The obvious explanation of the silence of the New Testament on the triune name, and the use of another (JESUS NAME) formula in Acts and Paul, is that this other formula was the earlier, and the triune formula is a later addition."

    Edmund Schlink, The Doctrine of Baptism, page 28:

    "The baptismal command in its Matthew 28:19 form can not be the historical origin of Christian baptism. At the very least, it must be assumed that the text has been transmitted in a form expanded by the [Catholic] church."

    The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, 275:

    "It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but...a later liturgical addition."

    Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christianity, page 295:

    "The testimony for the wide distribution of the simple baptismal formula [in the Name of Jesus] down into the second century is so overwhelming that even in Matthew 28:19, the Trinitarian formula was later inserted."

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, II, page 263:

    "The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century."

    Hastings Dictionary of the Bible 1963, page 1015:

    "The not demonstrable by logic or by Scriptural proofs,...The term Trias was first used by Theophilus of Antioch (c AD 180),...(The term Trinity) not found in Scripture..." "The chief Trinitarian text in the NT is the baptismal formula in Mt 28:19...This late post-resurrection saying, not found in any other Gospel or anywhere else in the NT, has been viewed by some scholars as an interpolation into Matthew. It has also been pointed out that the idea of making disciples is continued in teaching them, so that the intervening reference to baptism with its Trinitarian formula was perhaps a later insertion into the saying. Finally, Eusebius's form of the (ancient) text ("in my name" rather than in the name of the Trinity) has had certain advocates. (Although the Trinitarian formula is now found in the modern-day book of Matthew), this does not guarantee its source in the historical teaching of Jesus. It is doubtless better to view the (Trinitarian) formula as derived from early (Catholic) Christian, perhaps Syrian or Palestinian, baptismal usage (cf Didache 7:1-4), and as a brief summary of the (Catholic) Church's teaching about God, Christ, and the Spirit:..."

    The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge:

    "Jesus, however, cannot have given His disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after His resurrection; for the New Testament knows only one baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:43; 19:5; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. 28:19, and then only again (in the) Didache 7:1 and Justin, Apol. 1:61...Finally, the distinctly liturgical character of the strange; it was not the way of Jesus to make such formulas... the formal authenticity of Matt. 28:19 must be disputed..." page 435.

    The Jerusalem Bible, a scholarly Catholic work, states:

    "It may be that this formula, (Triune Matthew 28:19) so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Man-made) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community. It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing "in the name of Jesus,"..."

    The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, page 2637, Under "Baptism," says:

    "Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula (is) foreign to the mouth of Jesus."

    New Revised Standard Version says this about Matthew 28:19:

    "Modern critics claim this formula is falsely ascribed to Jesus and that it represents later (Catholic) church tradition, for nowhere in the book of Acts (or any other book of the Bible) is baptism performed with the name of the Trinity..."

    James Moffett's New Testament Translation:

    In a footnote on page 64 about Matthew 28:19 he makes this statement: "It may be that this (Trinitarian) formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Catholic) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community, It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing "in the name of Jesus, cf. Acts 1:5 +."

    Tom Harpur:

    Tom Harpur, former Religion Editor of the Toronto Star in his "For Christ's sake," page 103 informs us of these facts: "All but the most conservative scholars agree that at least the latter part of this command [Triune part of Matthew 28:19] was inserted later. The [Trinitarian] formula occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and we know from the only evidence available [the rest of the New Testament] that the earliest Church did not baptize people using these words ("in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost") baptism was "into" or "in" the name of Jesus alone. Thus it is argued that the verse originally read "baptizing them in My Name" and then was expanded [changed] to work in the [later Catholic Trinitarian] dogma. In fact, the first view put forward by German critical scholars as well as the Unitarians in the nineteenth century, was stated as the accepted position of mainline scholarship as long ago as 1919, when Peake's commentary was first published: "The Church of the first days (AD 33) did not observe this world-wide (Trinitarian) commandment, even if they knew it. The command to baptize into the threefold [Trinity] name is a late doctrinal expansion."

    The Bible Commentary 1919 page 723:

    Dr. Peake makes it clear that: "The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion. Instead of the words baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost we should probably read simply-"into My Name."

    Theology of the New Testament:

    By R. Bultmann, 1951, page 133 under Kerygma of the Hellenistic Church and the Sacraments. The historical fact that the verse Matthew 28:19 was altered is openly confesses to very plainly. "As to the rite of baptism, it was normally consummated as a bath in which the one receiving baptism completely submerged, and if possible in flowing water as the allusions of Acts 8:36, Heb. 10:22, Barn. 11:11 permit us to gather, and as Did. 7:1-3 specifically says. According to the last passage, [the apocryphal Catholic Didache] suffices in case of the need if water is three times poured [false Catholic sprinkling doctrine] on the head. The one baptizing names over the one being baptized the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," later expanded [changed] to the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit."

    Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church:

    By Dr. Stuart G. Hall 1992, pages 20 and 21. Professor Stuart G. Hall was the former Chair of Ecclesiastical History at King's College, London England. Dr. Hall makes the factual statement that Catholic Trinitarian Baptism was not the original form of Christian Baptism, rather the original was Jesus name baptism. "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," although those words were not used, as they later are, as a formula. Not all baptisms fitted this rule." Dr Hall further, states: "More common and perhaps more ancient was the simple, "In the name of the Lord Jesus or, Jesus Christ." This practice was known among Marcionites and Orthodox; it is certainly the subject of controversy in Rome and Africa about 254, as the anonymous tract De rebaptismate ("On rebaptism") shows."

    The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles Volume 1, Prolegomena 1:

    The Jewish Gentile, and Christian Backgrounds by F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake 1979 version pages 335-337. "There is little doubt as to the sacramental nature of baptism by the middle of the first century in the circles represented by the Pauline Epistles, and it is indisputable in the second century. The problem is whether it can in this (Trinitarian) form be traced back to Jesus, and if not what light is thrown upon its history by the analysis of the synoptic Gospels and Acts.

    According to Catholic teaching, (traditional Trinitarian) baptism was instituted by Jesus. It is easy to see how necessary this was for the belief in sacramental regeneration. Mysteries, or sacraments, were always the institution of the Lord of the cult; by them, and by them only, were its supernatural benefits obtained by the faithful. Nevertheless, if evidence counts for anything, few points in the problem of the Gospels are so clear as the improbability of this teaching.

    The reason for this assertion is the absence of any mention of Christian baptism in Mark, Q, or the third Gospel, and the suspicious nature of the account of its institution in Matthew 28:19: "Go ye into all the world, and make disciples of all Gentiles (nations), baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." It is not even certain whether this verse ought to be regarded as part of the genuine text of Matthew. No other text, indeed, is found in any extant manuscripts, in any language, but it is arguable that Justin Martyr, though he used the trine formula, did not find it in his text of the Gospels; Hermas seems to be unacquainted with it; the evidence of the Didache is ambiguous, and Eusebius habitually, though not invariably, quotes it in another form, "Go ye into all the world and make diciples of all the Gentiles in My Name."

    No one acquainted with the facts of textual history and patristic evidence can doubt the tendency would have been to replace the Eusebian text (In My Name) by the ecclesiastical (Catholic Trinitarian) formula of baptism, so that transcriptional evedence" is certainly on the side of the text omitting baptism.

    But it is unnecessary to discuss this point at length, because even if the ordinary (modern Trinity) text of Matthew 28:19 be sound it can not represent historical fact.

    Would they have baptized, as Acts says that they did, and Paul seem to confirm the statement, in the name of the Lord Jesus if the Lord himself had commanded them to use the (Catholic Trinitarian) formula of the Church? On every point the evidence of Acts is convincing proof that the (Catholic) tradition embodied in Matthew 28:19 is a late (non-Scriptural Creed) and unhistorical.

    Neither in the third gospel nor in Acts is there any reference to the (Catholic Trinitarian) Matthaean tradition, nor any mention of the institution of (Catholic Trinitarian) Christian baptism. Nevertheless, a little later in the narrative we find several references to baptism in water in the name of the Lord Jesus as part of recognized (Early) Christian practice. Thus we are faced by the problem of a Christian rite, not directly ascribed to Jesus, but assumed to be a universal (and original) practice. That it was so is confirmed by the Epistles, but the facts of importance are all contained in Acts."

    Also in the same book on page 336 in the footnote number one, Professor Lake makes an astonishing discovery in the so-called Teaching or Didache. The Didache has an astonishing contradiction that is found in it. One passage refers to the necessity of baptism in the name of the Lord, which is Jesus the other famous passage teaches a Trinitarian Baptism. Lake raises the probability that the apocryphal Didache or the early Catholic Church Manual may have also been edited or changed to promote the later Trinitarian doctrine. It is a historical fact that the Catholic Church at one time baptized its converts in the name of Jesus but later changed to Trinity baptism.

    "1. In the actual description of baptism in the Didache the trine (Trinity) formula is used; in the instructions for the Eucharist (communion) the condition for admission is baptism in the name of the Lord. It is obvious that in the case of an eleventh-century manuscript *the trine formula was almost certain to be inserted in the description of baptism, while the less usual formula had a chance of escaping notice when it was only used incidentally."

    The Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. 1923, New Testament Studies Number 5:

    The Lord's Command To Baptize An Historical Critical Investigation. By Bernard Henry Cuneo page 27. "The passages in Acts and the Letters of St. Paul. These passages seem to point to the earliest form as baptism in the name of the Lord." Also we find. "Is it possible to reconcile these facts with the belief that Christ commanded his disciples to baptize in the trine form? Had Christ given such a command, it is urged, the Apostolic Church would have followed him, and we should have some trace of this obedience in the New Testament. No such trace can be found. The only explanation of this silence, according to the anti-traditional view, is this the short christological (Jesus Name) formula was (the) original, and the longer trine formula was a later development."

    A History of The Christian Church:

    1953 by Williston Walker former Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale University. On page 95 we see the historical facts again declared. "With the early disciples generally baptism was "in the name of Jesus Christ." There is no mention of baptism in the name of the Trinity in the New Testament, except in the command attributed to Christ in Matthew 28:19. That text is early, (but not the original) however. It underlies the Apostles' Creed, and the practice recorded (*or interpolated) in the Teaching, (or the Didache) and by Justin. The Christian leaders of the third century retained the recognition of the earlier form, and, in Rome at least, baptism in the name of Christ was deemed valid, if irregular, certainly from the time of Bishop Stephen (254-257)."

    On page 61 Professor and Church historian Walker, reviles the true origin and purpose of Matthew 28:19. This Text is the first man-made Roman Catholic Creed that was the prototype for the later Apocryphal Apostles' Creed. Matthew 28:19 was invented along with the Apocryphal Apostles' Creed to counter so-called heretics and Gnostics that baptized in the name of Jesus Christ! Marcion although somewhat mixed up in some of his doctrine still baptized his converts the Biblical way in the name of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:19 is the first non-Biblical Roman Catholic Creed! The spurious Catholic text of Matthew 28:19 was invented to support the newer triune, Trinity doctrine. Therefore, Matthew 28:19 is not the "Great Commission of Jesus Christ." Matthew 28:19 is the great Catholic hoax! Acts 2:38, Luke 24:47, and 1 Corinthians 6:11 give us the ancient original words and teaching of Yeshua/Jesus! Is it not also strange that Matthew 28:19 is missing from the old manuscripts of Sinaiticus, Curetonianus and Bobiensis?

    "While the power of the episcopate and the significance of churches of apostolical (Catholic) foundation was thus greatly enhanced, the Gnostic crisis saw a corresponding development of (man-made non-inspired spurious) creed, at least in the West. Some form of instruction before baptism was common by the middle of the second century. At Rome this developed, apparently, between 150 and 175, and probably in opposition to Marcionite Gnosticism, into an explication of the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 the earliest known form of the so-called Apostles Creed."

    Catholic Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

    He makes this confession as to the origin of the chief Trinity text of Matthew 28:19. "The basic form of our (Matthew 28:19 Trinitarian) profession of faith took shape during the course of the second and third centuries in connection with the ceremony of baptism. So far as its place of origin is concerned, the text (Matthew 28:19) came from the city of Rome." The Trinity baptism and text of Matthew 28:19 therefore did not originate from the original Church that started in Jerusalem around AD 33. It was rather as the evidence proves a later invention of Roman Catholicism completely fabricated. Very few know about these historical facts.

    "The Demonstratio Evangelica" by Eusebius:

    Eusebius was the Church historian and Bishop of Caesarea. On page 152 Eusebius quotes the early book of Matthew that he had in his library in Caesarea. According to this eyewitness of an unaltered Book of Matthew that could have been the original book or the first copy of the original of Matthew. Eusebius informs us of Jesus' actual words to his disciples in the original text of Matthew 28:19: "With one word and voice He said to His disciples: "Go, and make disciples of all nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsover I have commanded you."

    "There is the 'triune' baptismal formula, which may prove a very broken reed when thoroughly investigated, but ... we may leave it for separate treatment. The thoughtful may well ponder, meantime, why one cannot find one single instance in Acts or the Epistles of the words ever being used at any of the many baptism recorded, notwithstanding Christ's (seemingly) explicit command at the end of Matthew's Gospel" [The Testimony (Oct. 1959) p. 351. Art. Back to Babylon (4).

    "The command to baptize in Matthew 28:19 is thought to show the influence of a developed doctrine of God verging on Trinitarianism. Early baptism was in the name of Christ. The association of this Trinitarian conception with baptism suggest that baptism itself was felt to be an experience with a Trinitarian reference" [Theological Workbook of the Bible, p. 29].

    "Doubtless the more comprehensive form in which baptism is now everywhere administered in the threefold name... soon superseded the simpler form of that in the Name of the Lord Jesus only" [Christian Institutions].

    "The striking contrast and the illogical internal coherence of the passage... lead to a presumption of an intentional corruption in the interest of the Trinity. In ancient Christian times a tendency of certain parties to corrupt the text of the New Testament was certainly often imputed. This increases our doubt almost to a decisive certainty concerning the genuineness of the passage."

    Art. The Question of the Trinity and Matthew 28:19. 1924, pp. 147-151, trans from the Christadelphian Monatshefte.

    In his Literal Translation of the Bible Dr. Robert Young places the triune name in Ma. 28:19 in parentheses, thus indicating the words to be of doubtful authenticity.

    "The very account which tells us that at last, after his resurrection, he commissioned his disciples to go and baptize among all nations, betrays itself by speaking in the Triniitarian language of the next century, and compels us to see in it the ecclesiastical editor, and not the evangelist, much less the Founder Himself" [Seat of Authority, 1905, p. 568].

    "The Trinitarian formula (Matthew 28:19) was a late addition by some reverent Christian mind."

    Dismisses the text almost contemptuously as being "no word of the Lord" [History of Dogma )German edn. i 68).

    "Clerical conscience much troubled (see Comp. Bible App. 185) that apostles and epistles never once employ 'the Triune Name' of Matthew 28:19. Even Trinitarians, knowing Trinity idea was being resisted by Church in 4 th century, admit (e.g. Peake) 'the command to baptize with the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion,' but prior to oldest yet known Ms. (4 th Century). (Its sole counterpart, 1 John 5:7 is a proved interpolation). Eusebius (A.D. 264-340) denounces the Triune form as spurious, Matthew's actual writing having been 'in my name'." [Footnotes to Art: Baptism (5) in The Testimony, Aug., 1958].

    "The historical riddle is not solved by Matthew 28:19, since, according to a wide scholarly consensus, it is not an authentic saying of Jesus, not even an elaboration of a Jesus-saying on baptism."

    From The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, 1992, page 585

    "It has been customary to trace the institution of the practice (of baptism) to the words of Christ recorded in Matthew 28:19. But the authenticity of this passage has been challenged on historical as well as on textual grounds. It must be acknowledged that the formula of the threefold name, which is here enjoined, does not appear to have been employed by the primitive Church, which, so far as our information goes, baptized 'in' or 'into the name of Jesus' (or 'Jesus Christ' or Lord Jesus': Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 1 Cor. 1:13, 15).

    From The Dictionary of the Bible, 1947, page 83

    "The disciples are further told to "baptize" (the second of the participles functioning as supplementary imperatives) new disciples. The command to baptize comes as somewhat of a surprise since baptism is referred to earlier only in chap. 3 (and 21:25) where only John's baptism is described (among the Gospels only in John 3:22; 4:1-2 do we read of Jesus' or his disciples' baptizing others). Matthew tells us nothing concerning his view of Christian baptism. Only Matthew records this command of Jesus, but the practice of the early church suggest its historicity. (cf. Acts 2;38, 41; 8:12, 38; 9:18; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; etc.). The threefold name (at most only an incipient Trinitarianism) in which the baptism was to be performed, on the other hand, seems clearly to be a liturgical expansion of the evangelist consonant with the practice of his day (thus Hubbard; cf. Did. 7.1). There is a good possibility that in its original form, as witnessed by the ante-Nicene Eusebian form, the text read "make disciples in my name" (see Conybeare). This shorter reading preserves the symmetrical rhythm of the passage, whereas the triadic formula fits awkwardly into the structure as one might expect if it were an interpolation (see H. B. Green; cf. Howard; Hill [IBS 8 (1986) 54-63], on the other hand, argues for a concentric design with the triadic formula at its center). It is Kosmala, however, who has argued most effectively for the shorter reading, pointing to the central importance of "name of Jesus" in early Christian preaching, the practice of baptism in the name of Jesus, and the singular "in his name" with reference to the hope of the Gentiles in Isa. 42:4b, quoted by Matthew in 12:18-21. As Carson rightly notes of our passage: "There is no evidence we have Jesus' ipsissima verba here" (598). The narrative of Acts notes the use of the name only of "Jesus Christ" in baptism (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; cf. Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27) or simply "the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16; 19:5)."

    Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 33B, Matthew 14-28

    Donald A. Hagner, 1975, page887-888

    "It cannot be directly proved that Jesus instituted baptism, for Matthew 28:19 is not a saying of the Lord. The reason for this assertion are: (1) It is only a later stage of the tradition that represents the risen Christ as delivering speeches and giving commandments. Paul knows nothing of it. (2) The Trinitarian formula is foreign to the mouth of Jesus and has not the authority of the Apostolic age which it must have had if it had descended from Jesus himself. On the other hand, Paul knows of no other way of receiving the Gentiles into the Christian communities than by baptism, and it is highly probable that in the time of Paul all Jewish Christians were also baptized. We may perhaps assume that the practice of baptism was continued in consequence of Jesus' recognition of John the Baptist and his baptism, even after John himself had been removed. According to John 4:2, Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples under his superintendence. It is possible only with the help of tradition to trace back to Jesus a "Sacrament of Baptism," or an obligation to it ex necessitate salutis, through it is credible that tradition is correct here. Baptism in the Apostolic age was in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 1:13; Acts 19:5). We cannot make out when the formula in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit emerged."

    History of Dogma

    , Vol. 1, Adolph Harnack, 1958, page 79 fn.

    "The very account which tells us that at the last, after his resurrection, he commissioned his apostles to go and baptize among all nations (Mt 28:19) betrayed itself by speaking in the Trinitarian language of the next century, and compels us to see in it the ecclesiastical editor, and not the evangelist, much less the founder himself. No historical trace appears of this baptismal formula earlier that the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" (ch. 7:1,3 The Oldest Church Manuel, ed. Philip Schaff, 1887), and the first Apology of Justin (Apol. i. 61.) about the middle of the second century: and more than a century later, Cyprian found it necessary to insist upon the use of it instead of the older phrase baptized "into Christ Jesus," or into the "name of the Lord Jesus." (Gal. 3:27; Acts 19:5; 10:48. Cyprian Ep. 73, 16-18, has to convert those who still use the shorter form.) Paul alone, of the apostles, was baptized, ere he was "filled with the Holy Ghost;" and he certainly was baptized simply "into Christ Jesus." (Rom. 6:3) Yet the tri-personal form, unhistorical as it is, is actually insisted on as essential by almost every Church in Christendom, and, if you have not had it pronounced over you, the ecclesiastical authorities cast you out as a heathen man, and will accord to you neither Christian recognition in your life, nor Christian burial in your death. It is a rule which would condemn as invalid every recorded baptism performed by an apostle; for if the book of Acts may be trusted, the invariable usage was baptism "in the name of Christ Jesus," (Acts 2:38) and not "in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." And doubtless the author (Luke) is as good a witness for the usage of his own time (about 115 A.D.) as for that of the period whereof he treats."

    The Seat of Authority in Religion

    , James Martineau, 1905, page 568

    "It is clear, therefore, that of the MSS which Eusebius inherited from his predecessor, Pamphilus, at Caesarea in Palestine, some at least preserved the original reading, in which there was no mention either of Baptism or of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It had been conjectured by Dr. Davidson, Dr. Martineau, by the present Dean of Westminister, and by Prof. Harnack (to mention but a few names out of many), that here the received text, could not contain the very words of Jesus?this long before any one excep t Dr. Burgon, who kept the discovery to himself, had noticed the Eusebian form of the reading."

    "It is satisfactory to notice that Dr. Eberhard Nestle, in his new edition of the New Testament in Latin and Greek, furnishes the Eusebian reading in his critical apparatus, and that Dr. Sanday seems to lean to its acceptance."

    History of New Testament Criticism, Conybeare, 1910, pages, 98-102, 111-112

    "It is doubted whether the explicit injunction of Matt. 28:19 can be accepted as uttered by Jesus. ...
    But the Trinitarian formula in the mouth of Jesus is certainly unexpected."

    A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, J. Hastings, 1906, page 170

    "Feine (PER3, XIX, 396 f) and Kattenbusch (Sch-Herz, I, 435 f. argue that the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28:19 is spurious.
    No record of the use of the Trinitarian formula can be discovered in the Acts of the epistles of the apostles."

    The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, 1946, page 398

    Footnote to Matthew 28:19, It may be that this formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the liturgical usage established later in the primitive community. It will be remembered that the Acts speak of baptizing "in the name of Jesus", Acts 1:5 +. But whatever the variation on formula the underlying reality remains the same."

    The Jerusalem Bible, 1966, Page 64

    Matthew 28:19 "... has been disputed on textual grounds, but in the opinion of many scholars the words may still be regarded as part of the true text of Matthew. There is, however, grave doubt whether thy may be the ipsissima verba of Jesus. The evidence of Acts 2:38; 10:48 (cf. 8:16; 19:5), supported by Gal. 3:27; Rom 6:3, suggest that baptism in early Christianity was administered, not in the threefold name, but "in the name of Jesus Christ" or "in the name of the Lord Jesus." This is difficult to reconcile with the specific instructions of the verse at the end of Matthew."

    The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, 1962, page 351

    Critical scholarship, on the whole, rejects the traditional attribution of the tripartite baptismal formula to Jesus and regards it as of later origin.

    Undoubtedly then the baptismal formula originally consisted of one part and it gradually developed into its tripartite form.

    The Philosophy of the Church Fathers, Vol. 1, Harry Austryn Wolfson, 1964, pg 143

    Please expain how these and other authorities are conspiring to deny the trinity as some are themselves works by trinitarian authors. The nature of this forum and the broad difference of knowledge and opinion of the readers and posters makes in depth arguementation and referencing futile. I can not abbreviate the work of modern scholarship evrey time a new point is posted. It is my intention to pose ideas that those interested can pursue at their pace and interest. Anyone if free of course to dismiss these ideas without doing any honest research. That is their loss. The Bethany discussion is an example that illustrates the need to understand the model and methods of modern scholarship before being able to see the possible value of the arguement. I have always sought to be clear that such reconstructions are works in progress and open to review and adjustment. To fault me or anyone for use of afffirmative language while expressing these models/theories is to ignore the point that these are proposals that have some merit yet are open for discussion and have been presented as such. There is a reason no fundementalists have been invited to sit on the panel at the Jesus Seminars. Not that they have been excluded, they have excluded themselves by their insistent denial of the possibility that the NT is not perfect. That is why engaging in exchange with some members here likewise results in little progress. Your demand for "manuscript" evidence has been answered on the other thread. I could of course demand from you evidence that the passage appeared in the text before the 3/4th century. The best either of us can do is an arguement from silence. The question is whose position is stronger. I feel the fact that the entire history of Bible translating and textural refinment has been to identify and remove the interpolations that occurred after the 4th century, gives a rational person reason to question what tampering occurred previous to that. Secondly the use of early writer's quotations supports the view that an alteration was made in this case. Thirdly the uniqueness of the passage supports the view that it was an interpolation into a text that was not overtly Trinitarian. Forthly nearly all church historians recognize the trinity doctrine was debated during the 2-3rd century and therefore such an overtly trinitarian passage would have surely been include in the arguements, it was not. If you read my thread about an arguement from silence again I think you may see that yes you can prove a negative to the satisfaction of a rational person, if the arguement is strong. I feel that the best evidence favors the view that the passage was an interpolation and this is the view of the majority of researchers.

  • peacefulpete

    Neon...By the way, could you find the original discussion we had on this passage? I couldn't find it for some reason.

  • NeonMadman
    Neon...By the way, could you find the original discussion we had on this passage? I couldn't find it for some reason.

    Yep, it was right here. OK, now I'm impressed (by your list of sources, that is). The subject bears investigating, and I'm planning on doing so as I can make the time. The question that sticks in my mind at this point is, if the words in question are an interpolation (and it seems apparent from your references that many serious Bible scholars, not just atheists and skeptics, believe that it is), why are not at least some modern Bible translators convinced enough of it to revert back to the original wording? As far as I know, every modern translation contains the triune formula. That leads me to believe that there is another side to the argument, and I'm hoping to find out what it is.

  • peacefulpete

    The bottom line is the manuscripts. Most translators feel their role is to simply transmit the text as it occurs in the manuscripts. The footnotes and paretheses in some translations do cue a reader in that the words are in some dispute. The traditional position that the earliest manuscripts represent the original text is quite a huge assumption. 2-300 years is a long time. The passage does not occur in the Sinaiticus document and others due to the last chapter being lost/removed. This is of course suspect because the only extant 4th century manuscript that contains the phrase is the Vatican 1209. I am not suggesting that the words were not in use prior to then, as this is bourne out out by earlier witnesses. The issue was whether the interpolation was post-cannon or simply a very early variant of the Gospel. I think the work was done after the books had begun being circulated, therefore the controversy. This would be late 2nd early third century.

    BTW I did try to respond in the earlier thread but my post never appeared. It has happened a few times when I'm at home. Sorry.

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