Re: Did Peter walk on water?

From: George Murphy (
Date: Mon Sep 30 2002 - 17:40:27 EDT

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    Adrian Teo wrote:
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: George Murphy []
    > > Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 10:02 AM
    > > To: Terry M. Gray
    > > Cc:
    > > Subject: Re: Did Peter walk on water?
    > > There is nothing funny about the suggestion but also no
    > > reason to consider it
    > > terribly likely. 1st, there is nothing in the Gospel of Matthew, or
    > > indeed in the NT as
    > > a whole, that ascribes this gospel to the apostle Matthew. There is
    > > tradition going
    > > back to at least the 2d century to that effect but it's questionable
    > > whether it can be
    > > taken back any further. (In fact the only one of the canonical
    > > gospels that claims to
    > > be by an eyewitness is the 4th, & that is not ascribed - at least
    > > directly - to John.)
    > > 2d, one wonders why he would have used Mk here as a source if
    > > he had been an
    > > eyewitness. While Mt.14:22-27 is not identical with Mk.6:45-51, it
    > > seems clear from the
    > > use of the same words and phrases that Mt is indeed using Mk's
    > > account as his basic
    > > framework. (In contrast, Jn.6:16-20 is told very differently.)
    > Seems to me like if there is a clear tradition that places Matthew as
    > the author dating back to the 2nd century (Irenaeus), then we, people
    > of the 20th-21st century should accept that as valid until proven
    > otherwise. The 2-source theory is not convincing to me, although
    > George seems to assume it. There are several problems with it, but to
    > me the most basic one is the existence of Q. As far as I know, it
    > hasn't been found. What is so unbelievable about Matthew writing the
    > Gospel according to Matthew?
    > In Against Heresies (3.1.1.), Irenaeus (a student of Polycarp, who in
    > turn was discipled by the apostle John) wrote:
    > "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own
    > dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the
    > foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple
    > and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what
    > had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul,
    > recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the
    > disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did
    > himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia."

            On linguistic grounds few biblical scholars today hold that
    our present Mt is
    based upon a Hebrew or Aramaic original. The tradition attested in
    the late 2d century
    has to be given some respect but it is - from Irenaeus - at least 100
    years after the
    composition of the gospel. Since one of the criteria for acceptance
    of the NT was that
    they be written by an apostle or a companion of one of the apostles, it is not
    surprising that the idea of authorship of one of the 12 would have
    been accepted. The
    evidence is not, however, compelling.
            I would add that Irenaeus place in the Johannine tradition
    perhaps gives him
    special credence as far as authorship of the 4th gospel is concerned,
    but one wonders
    how familiar he was with the churches - perhaps in Syria - where Mt
    was written.
            I do not, in fact, accept the "2 source theory" in the form
    in which it's
    usually stated. It does seem likely that both Mt & Lk used some
    sayings source like the
    hypothetical Q, but it's also clear that each of them had other
    sources of information
    as well.
            But the only aspect of that really germane to the present
    question is that Mt
    used Mk as one source, & I think it's very hard to argue against
    that. Far from Mk just
    being a brief version of Mt (as Augustine, e.g., said, & as was often
    thought), careful
    study shows that in the material common to both it is Mt who appears
    to condense Mk, not
    vice versa.

    George L. Murphy

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