Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eyewitnesses, Luke, Mark, Bauckham


I have spent some days with Richard Bauckham's recent Jesus and Eyewitnesses (Grand Rapids; Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006). There is an interesting problem on page 43:

"Origen (C. Cels. 2.262) gave the name Simon to the anonymous companion of Cleopas in Luke 24—the first of many attempts to identify this disciple. [FN(18): If Origen intended, as he probably did, an otherwise known Simon, this would not really be an example of the tendency [of naming the previously unnamed, DJ] we are discussing. He may have identified Cleopas correctly with Jesus' uncle Clopas and Cleopas's companion with Clopas's son Simeon/Simon, known from Hegesippus as the second bishop of Jerusalem.]"

There is a little bit more to say about this issue as there is some textual variation involved. In Luke 24:34 Bezae reads λεγοντες instead of λεγοντας, turning the two man who had just returned from Emmaus into the ones saying 'the Lord ... has appeared to Simon.' The idea here is that it is not the Eleven saying to the Two that Jesus appeared to Simon, but the Two to the Eleven, indirectly identifying the companion of Cleopas.

Admittedly, Bezae is later than Origen, but Amphoux pointed out (correctly in my opinion) that it is this Western reading that lies behind the long ending of Mark: 'he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.' This fits perfectly with the scenario of the Bezan Luke 24: The Two return to Jerusalem, they tell the Eleven that Jesus appeared to them. However, the Eleven do not believe the Two and then Jesus himself steps in and rebukes the Eleven. If this is correct than Origen was not the first to identify Cleopas's companion with a Simon. The tradition must have been around somewhere in the second century, at the time when Mark received its long ending, and survived in the Lucan text of Bezae.

Though I cannot prove that the influence does not go the other way (that is, that Bezae tries to smooth out the historical problem created by the Long Ending), it seems less likely: the solution is limited to a single manuscript and not picked up by any other scribes who were faced with the apparent inconsistency between the Long Ending and Luke 24.


  1. All good observations.
    But the similarity of the account of the 2 men in Mark 16 and in Luke 24 does not clearly betray the precise literary relationship between the longer ending and Luke, whether in its Western form or not. The two passages could also be records of a tradition of the one historical event that both authors knew.

    On the relationship between the longer ending and the canonical Gospels, we face the problem that they include strikingly similar details combined with certain striking points of tension. The particular point of the 2 men informing the disciples and not vice versa might be explained by influence of the Western reading in Luke. But other points, like Mary Magdalene alone being the first witness of the resurrection and the lack of any mention of Galilee (and a few other things I would have to spend some time looking back over the text to recall), aren't as easily explained.

    So, we could emphasize the similarities between the LE and the 4 canonical cospels and say, with Kelhoffer, that the LE must have been composed in the middle or latter half of the 2nd century after the development of a 4-Gospel collection (and, as you and Amphoux point out, the Western text). Or we could emphasize the points of tension and conclude that the LE was written by someone knowing shared traditions with the other gospel writers but not knowing the books themselves, thus likely having been written in the early 2nd century or even the late 1st. I still lean toward the second option in company with Metzger, and Westcott and Hort.

    If we date the composition of the LE to some time after the development of the Western text of Luke (or at least of the reading you mention--an item whose date we admittedly can't know), and also to some time when its author would have likely had access to the 4 canonical gospels, then we will run into the problem of explaining how the LE could then become so widely distributed and received so quickly as it would have to have been in order to be part of the received texts of: Justin, Irenaeus, the authors of the Apostolic Tradition, the author of the addition found in Codex W, and the early Syriac and Latin translators. All of these probably (and most of them certainly) knew the LE. And all of them probably (and most of them certainly) came about around or before the end of the 2nd century.

  2. Dirk Jongkind:

    DK: . . . "This fits perfectly with the scenario of the Bezan Luke 24: The Two return to Jerusalem, they tell the Eleven that Jesus appeared to them. However, the Eleven do not believe the Two and then Jesus himself steps in and rebukes the Eleven."

    A perfect fit???

    Nowhere in Luke 24 is it stated that the Eleven did not believe the two road-travelers.

    Anyone reading Luke 24 would picture the scene where Jesus appears to the Eleven as part of the same scene in which the two road-travelers tell about their encounter: as Lk. 24:35 says, "While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst." This is certainly no perfect fit with Mark 16:14, which concisely but clearly presents the appearance of Jesus to the Eleven as a separate scene, rather than as the same scene in which the two travelers give their report.

    And Luke 24:36-43 contains no firm word of rebuke from Jesus to the Eleven. He says nothing whatsoever in Luke 24:36-43 about their disbelief of anyone’s reports! How is that a perfect fit with Mark 16:14, where Jesus "rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen"?

    These three considerations should drag us away from the theory that the Long Ending was written with knowledge of Luke 24 in any form. Which implies that the reading in D (a reading which appears to have been known to Origen) was either made with knowledge of the Long Ending, or has some otherwise unknown explanation.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.
    Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
    Tipton, Indiana (USA)

  3. Hi Dirk!
    The omission in Codex D of Luke 24:12, in which Peter visits the empty tomb, goes hand-in-hand with this variant in 24:34, since Simon Peter could not have discovered the tomb empty and also be, as Codex D presumes, one of the disillusioned Emmaus disciples. In the 1964 fourth edition of Aland’s Synopsis, Origen was listed as a witness to the variant legontes (though the reference was, I believe, subsequently purged in later editions). In his commentary (p. 899), I. Howard Marshall also lists Origen as a witness to the variant, but in an email several years ago confirmed for me that he obtained the reference from Aland’s Synopsis. Whatever the origins of the variant (and Origen’s knowledge of it), Metzger’s claim that the variant in D represents a simple ‘transcriptional error,’ is imo brought into serious doubt (see Textual Commentary, 1971, p. 186). It also seems to me, to return to Bauckham’s argument, that he would be on surer footing were he to credit Eusebius (citing Hegesippus) (Eccl. iii.32) rather than Origen with the identification of Simon (or Simeon) as son of Cleophas, uncle of Jesus. (Btw, in his response to Marinus, Eusebius claims that in Origen’s writings, Cephas, Peter, and Simon are all the same person; Supplementa ad quaestiones ad Marinum, 22.989)
    Mikeal Parsons