The Sermon at the Temple and the Greek New Testament Manuscripts
The example of the probable Aramaic meaning of Matthew 5:10 and the similar Book of Mormon rendition in 3 Nephi 12:10 leads to yet a further area of textual study, namely the examination of the early Greek manuscripts of Matthew. What may they add to our understanding of the Sermon at the Temple?
Stanley R. Larson has recently published an article helping to identify places in the early Greek texts of the Sermon on the Mount where variants exist.1 Although he advances this information for a diametrically opposed purpose,2 his findings can be reexamined to show that the Book of Mormon has yielded a translation that communicates, in each case, the correct meaning of the ancient text. Conveying accurate and precise meaning, though not to the extent of reflecting minute variances in grammatical form, was evidently the burden of Joseph's translation.
Before turning to the particulars, the following general observations are worth bearing in mind. First, as Larson points out, there are forty-five places in the Sermon on the Mount where the early manuscripts vary in one way or another from each other. He examines the eleven cases that scholars consider to be "secure" (that is, where scholarlu consensus agrees which reading most likely reflects the original Greek written by Matthew3) and that differ from the Textus Receptus (the Greek text from which the King James Version was translated). His purpose is to show that in these eleven cases the phrasing of the older Greek versions should have been (but was not) reflected by Joseph Smith in the Sermon at the Temple.
Parenthetically, eleven is a relatively low number of potential trouble spots. In fact, the early manuscripsts of the Sermon on the Mount agree on the vast majority of their words, spellings, and conjugations; they differ noticeably from the received Greek texts only in a few places. This high degree of confirmation of the Textus Receptus speaks generally in favor of the Sermon at the Temple, for one could not have wisely gambled on such confirmation a century and a half ago, before the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts had been discovered. In the rush of manuscript discoveries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many people expected that the earliest texts of the New Testament would prove radically different from the traditional manuscripts handed down through the ages, but the need to revise our texts significantly did not materialize.
Moreover, Larson assumes with many scholars (and I generally agree) that the older the manuscript, the closer it probably is to the original. Only time will tell, however, in how many cases this common assumption of textual criticism proves reliable, and so, for the time being, there is room to withhold judgment. As one scholar has written, "Often the Textus Receptus does preserve a text which represents the words of the original author where the older codices do not. The age of a manuscript should be no guide to the originality of its text."4
More than that, however, it is evident that most of these ancient textual variants in the Sermon on the Mount make no perceptible difference in the meaning of the text. Thus, in a roundabout way they confirm the correctness of the Book of Mormon translation, which in most of these cases renders the text into English quite acceptably. As the following case-by-case examination shows, the Sermon at the Temple never gives an incorrect translation, even though it may yet comport with the KJV. Moreover, a variety of secondary reasons give further support to the acceptability of the Book of Mormon's readings in each of these eleven cases, and in one additional instance (regarding Matthew 5:22), a vigorous case can be made that the Sermon at the Temple in fact conforms with the original manuscript tradition in the lone instance where the ancient textual variants do make a difference in meaning.
1. Matthew 5:27. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery." The best early manuscripts of this verse do not contain the words tois archaiois ("by them of old time"). They only read, "Ye have heard that it was said. . . ." Textual purists are probably right that the phrase should be left out of our Greek texts of Matthew 5:27 today. But this does not mean that the KJV or the Sermon at the Temple are wrong to include it in Mathew 5:27 and 3 Nephi 12:27, for the meaning of this phrase is implicit in the Greek text, whether or not the words tois archaiois are written out. This is because the parallel sayings in Matthew 5:21 and 5:33 contain the phrase tois archaiois, so these words are understood in verse 27, just as they are understood in verses 38 and 43, where no Greek manuscript evinced a need to repeat the obvious either. In fact, this variant is insignificant enough that the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament does not even note it. Thus, the KJV and the Sermon at the Temple capture a correct meaning when they include the phrase "by them of old time" in verse 27.
It is also interesting to note that the Sermon at the Temple does not follow the KJV blindly on this point in any even. The phrase "by them of old time" does not appear in 3 Nephi 12:33, whereas it does appear in the Greek and KJV of Matthew 5:33. Thus, just as the Greek manuscripts sometimes include and other times exclude the words tois archaiois in the five "ye have heard" verses, so does the Sermon at the Temple. Neither the Sermon on the Mount nor the Sermon at the Temple needs to spell this phrase out each time in order to convey this meaning.
2. Matthew 5:30. The better Greek manuscripts read, "lest your whole body go off (apelthēi) into hell," while other texts, including 3 Nephi 12:30, warn, "lest your whole body be cast (blēthēi) into hell." These readings also present a distinction without a difference. There is no practical difference between these two idioms. The result is the same whether one's whole body "is cast" into hell or "goes off" into hell. So this variant, too, is not significant enough to have been noted in the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament. Furthermore, it is evident that Jesus and his early apostles intended to convey no detectable difference in meaning between these two phrases, for they are used synonymously and concurrently in Mark 9:43, 45, and 47. Thus, they work as acceptable English equivalents in translation today.
Also, while the position of the prepositional phrase "into hell" shifts around in the various Greek manuscripts, in English this phrase can stand only at the end of the sentence. Thus, it is not possible to tell from the English translation of the Sermon at the Temple where the prepositional phrase was located in the underlying text; in other words, the English translation puts this prepositional phrase in the only place where English syntax will allow.
Moreover, although the textual evidence is on the side of "go to hell" in Matthew 5:30, it may be a quirk of fate that the oldest surviving manuscripts happened to have this reading. This observation receives some support from Matthew Black's argument that "cast into hell," preferred by the KJV, fits more comfortably into the alliteration of the Aramaic of this Markan (and Matthean) passage than does "go to hell."5 Thus, Jesus may well have said "cast into hell" originally here in any event.
3. Matthew 6:1. The earlier texts begin, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men"; later ones and the KJV read, "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men."6 Third Nephi 13:1 also talks about "alms." Has the Sermon at the Temple rendered a false translation? Again the answer is no, mainly because the "righteousness" discussed in Matthew 6:1—4 is unquestionably "almsgiving." All Greek manuscripts that read "righteousness" (dikaiosunē) in Matthew 6:1 still have alms (eleēmosunē) in Matthew 6:2. Since the "righteousness" referred to in Matthew 6:1 is clearly "almsgiving," it is not incorrect to translate dikaiosunē there as "almsgiving."7
For further clarification, the Sermon at the Temple begins 3 Nephi 13:1 with a sentence that is not present in the Sermon on the Mount: "Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor" (3 Nephi 13:1). Since this text makes the topic of these verses explicitly clear, continuing with a reference to "righteousness" would have been awkward, although this could have been done and the reader still would have understood its meaning to be "righteous almsgiving."
Moreover, in Hebrew (and presumably in the Nephite language) there is not nearly so much difference between the two Semitic words "righteousness" (ẓedeq) and "almsgiving" (Syriac, ẓedqthā Hebrew, z∂dāqāh, which at Qumran meant "righteousness . . . justified by charity"),8 as there is between the two Greek words dikaiosunē ("righteousness") and eleēmosunē ("generosity"). Indeed, one of the most important attributes of any person (including God) who is ẓedeq is that he is charitable: he "gives freely, without regard for gain."9 "The righteous (ẓedeq) sheweth mercy and giveth" (Psalm 37:21; see also Daniel 4:27 [Hebrew text 4:24]). If Jesus said in Hebrew, "Watch your ẓedeq," what did he mean? His message was about generosity, not just "righteousness" in some general sense. The Greek word dikaiosunē (from dikē, "justice") is, therefore, not a satisfactory term to convey the full meaning of the Hebrew ẓedeq or its Aramaic cognate, the languages Jesus spoke. "Doing alms," on the other hand, comes closer to conveying the meaning of "righteousness justified by charity." Assuming that Jesus said to the Nephites something like, "Watch your z∂dāqāh" (since he would not have spoken to the Nephites in Greek), Joseph Smith was most correct to translate this by reference to charitable "alms."
4. Matthew 6:5. The older Greek texts read "when you (plural) pray," but the later ones read "when you (singular) pray." The KJV and the Sermon at the Temple both read "when thou prayest." "Thou" in English is singular. Although the KJV may not grammatically reflect the older Greek texts, whether Jesus told his disciples not to behave in a certain way "when you (plural) pray" or " when you (singular) pray," the message in Matthew 6:5 is identical: Either way, his followers should not pray to be seen of men.
Moreover, Joseph Smith and his contemporaries were not rigid in their use of the words "thee," "thou," "you," and "ye." These singular and plural English forms are used interchangeably and side-by-side in a number of Book of Mormon texts (see, e.g., Alma 37:37, using "you," "thou," "you," and "ye" all to refer to Helaman), and so one cannot suppose that Joseph Smith always used "ye" as a plural and "thou" as a singular, although this was generally the case. The only way to tell in English whether the pronoun "you" is meant to be singular or plural is to look at the context. Since Matthew 6:5—6 (3 Nephi 13:5—6) talks about private prayer, the sense of the text is more singular than plural. One does not go with a group, as in Matthew 6:7—13 where the texts are all in the plural, into one's closet to pray. Thus, again, the use of the singular in 3 Nephi 13:5 seems to convey the correct meaning.
These points about the pronouns in Matthew 6 may also indicate that the ancients were flexible in their use of singular and plural second person pronouns. It would be interesting to know more about the ancient distinctions between "you" (singular) and "you" (plural). On what occasions did the Greeks or Hebrews use one or the other in daily speech? Indeed, scholars have struggled to find any meaningful distinction between the singular and plural "you" forms in Deuteronomy, discovering that the differences (if any) are more formal than substantive.10 Cazelles concludes, less than lucidly, that the plural was used in Deuteronomy to create a "more personal approach, . . . no more addressed in the singular but in the plural, to each Israelite who had to live a personal religion."11 In other words, the plural form was used in Deuteronomy, according to Cazelles, to convey a stronger singular message. If he is right, in Israelite culture strict form was not determinative of meaning.
As Larson acknowledges, the plural and singular "thou" and "ye" appear indiscriminately throughout the verses in Matthew 6 immediately before and after Matthew 6:5. In such cases, many Bible translators do not demand of themselves rigid adherence to grammatical detail: "In many languages, translators will use a plural in such cases, whether the noun used by the gospel writer is singular or plural, in order to make the plural meaning clear."12
5. Matthew 6:12. Here the textual issue is whether the Greek verb "to forgive" was originally written in the present tense, "as we forgive," or in the past (aorist) tense, "as we forgave." The better Greek manuscripts have this occurrence of the verb "forgive" in the aorist tense. Third Nephi 13:11 and the KJV have it in the present tense. From a textual point of view, there is a difference; but in terms of meaning and correct translation into English, the distinction does not matter.
The unambiguous meaning of this passage is clear either way: Forgiving others is a condition preceding being forgiven. Speaking on this very point, Moule comments, "The difference in the versions of this clause are a matter only of degree; for in either case, the petition is a conditioned one."13 We cannot be forgiven until we have forgiven others. The sense of this condition is aorist whether the English reads "as we forgive" or "as we forgave."
It also would not have improved matters if Joseph Smith had rendered it "as we have forgiven our debtors." Since the ancient languages relevant to the Sermon on the Mount have a perfect tense as well as a simple past, to render this into English as "have forgiven" would have implied that the original text had put this verb into the perfect tense, which no text does. The other choice was to use the imperfect, but that would not have been idiomatic in English; we do not say, "forgive our debts as we forgave our debtors." The translation given in the Sermon at the Temple and KJV is thus the best option available in English.
Furthermore, the writers of the Greek New Testament used this aorist tense on several occasions to translate the Semitic perfect, a tense used in Hebrew and Aramaic to convey a present tense meaning. Matthew Black comments on this point of grammar:
As Welhausen observed, . . . [the] Greek aorist [is] used with the force of a Semitic perfect: the latter [Semitic perfect] corresponds, not only to the aorist, but to the perfect and present tenses, in the latter use of present states or general truths. A similar instance is Mark 1:8, ebaptisa, the equivalent of a Semitic perfect, used either of a general truth or an immediately completed act. . . . The [aorist] tense of ēgalliase at Lk. 1:[44, 47] corresponds to a [Semitic] stative perfect, and should be rendered by a present.14
Thus the correct way to translate these Greek aorist verbs into English is with the present tense, just as the KJV and the Sermon at the Temple do. Black and others give several examples where the Gospel writers use the aorist in this way and where the aorist presupposes a continuing present condition.15 For example, the voice of God at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:17, only a few verses before the Sermon on the Mount) says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased (eudokēsa)." This verb is an aorist, but one would not translate it "in whom I was well pleased." The meaning of this, or any other tense, is not determined strictly by its form, but "is established in part by the set of relations that tense enters into with its context."16 Assuming that Joseph Smith had before him a Nephite "stative perfect" verb in 3 Nephi 13:11, his most correct translation in this context into English would on all counts have been a present tense verb, as is found in the Sermon at the Temple.
6. Matthew 7:2. The older texts of Matthew 7:2 read "and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you" (metrēthēsetai), while the later ones used by the KJV add, "and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (antimetrēthēsetai). Like the KJV, 3 Nephi 14:2 ends with the word "again." Since Luke 6:38 also has the word antimetrēthēsetai ("measured again"), New Testament scholars have generally concluded that the text of Matthew 7:2 was changed at some point to harmonize with Luke. Some have suggested that the threefold repetition of the Greek en hōi metrōi metreite metrēthēsetai has a cadence probably close to the Aramaic Jesus actually spoke.17
Behind the English word "again," however, stands only the Greek intensifying prefix anti-. With or without this prefix on the verb, the sentence means exactly the same thing. In either case, Jesus says that the standards a person uses to judge or to measure others will be used against the person who uses them. Since the idea that our standards will be used "in return, again, or back" against ourselves is present in the text either way, the difference between metrēthēsetai and antimetrēthēsetai is negligible. This variant was not considered significant enough to be noted in the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament.
7. Matthew 5:44. Some texts say "love your enemies and pray for them which despitefully use you," while others add such words as "bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you." The injunction to love one's enemies is shorter in the earlier manuscripts; the later ones seem to have incorporated the additional words from Luke 6:27—28. Here the issue is a little different. Did Joseph have the shorter text on the plates and expand it in the translation process, or did the longer text appear there similar to the way Jesus had spoken in Luke 6:27—28? Either is possible. Jesus must have said something like "love your enemies" many times; he need not have said it exactly the same way every time.
These points seem to me to allow adequate room for the translation given in the Sermon at the Temple. For those who might see this point here to be more of a problem for the Book of Mormon than the other cases, one should be aware that the textual evidence is not as strong in this instance as it is in the other examples. Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D) and many other early Greek texts have longer and different versions of this saying. While D agrees with the Siniaticus and Vaticanus codices on most of these other points (e.g., Matthew 5:27; 5:30; 6:1; 6:4, 6, 18; 6:13), D does not agree with the generally accepted reading here, mainly because one normally assumes that the shorter version is the older, though this may not necessarily be so.
8—10. Matthew 6:4, 6, 18. Strong textual evidence supports the idea that Matthew 6:4, 6, and 18 originally said, "Your Father will reward you," not "Your Father will reward you openly (en tōi phanerōi)." The KJV and the Sermon at the Temple, however, read "openly." Again I think this conveys the only possible meaning of these verses, namely that God will openly reward the righteous with treasures in heaven on the judgment day. This understanding is sustained by the Greek verb for "reward." Here again it would help to know what the Aramaic or Hebrew may have been, but the Greek word for reward is apodidomi. It has a wide variety of meanings, including "to give retribution, reward, or punishment." The verb didomi means to "give," and the prefix apo can mean, among other things, "out from." For example, in the word apocalypse, the prefix apo means "out from" that which is hidden. It is unclear what force the prefix apo has in the verb apodidomi. One sense it may convey, however, is the idea of being rewarded apo, "out from" the obscurity of the acts themselves, or openly. One does not need the phrase en tōi phanerōi in order to understand that "he who sees in secret will reward you apo, openly."
Some, however, have argued that the phrase en tōi phanerōi was mistakenly added to these verses in the Sermon on the Mount since it is inconsistent with the idea that one should do deeds of righteousness in secret so as not to be seen of men. But this argument assumes that the Sermon on the Mount primarily has a this-worldly orientation, which is not necessarily so. God will reward the righteous openly when the books are opened at the final judgment, and toward this end, the Sermon on the Mount admonishes the righteous to lay up treasures in heaven. Contemplating an open reward in heaven is even more consistent with the increased eschatological orientation of the Sermon at the Temple.
11. Matthew 6:13. Finally, there is the famous textual problem at the end of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:13. Did the prayer originally include the doxology "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen"? This case raises a different sort of issue.. In the ten cases discussed so far, the translations offered by the Sermon at the temple and the KJV are not erroneous. Here the issue is simply whether one can assume, with Jeremias and others, that Jesus originally appended some ending to the Lord's Prayer, although it is not recorded in the earliest survivors of the Sermon on the Mount. This issue is unsettled among biblical scholars.18
It is well-known that the earlier Greek manuscripts have no doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer; they end abruptly with "deliver us from evil." In this respect they resemble (and may have been changed to conform with) Luke 11:4, which also ends "but deliver us from evil." The Sermon at the Temple along with later Greek manuscripts and the KJV conclude with the doxology. Whether the phrase was originally present in the text of Matthew cannot be known, although most textual critics find it easiest to believe that the phrase was introduced later into that text. For many circumstantial reasons, however, no one seems to doubt that Jesus probably pronounced a doxology at the end of his prayers; the only question is how early such a thing found its way into the text of the Gospel of Matthew.
The following circumstantial evidence makes it likely that Jesus indeed ended his prayers in Jerusalem and Bountiful with a doxology. First, it would have been highly irregular at the time of Jesus to end a Jewish prayer without some words in praise of God. Jeremias states:
It would be a completely erroneous conclusion to suppose that the Lord's Prayer was ever prayed without some closing words of praise to God; in Palestinian practice it was completely unthinkable that a prayer would end with the word "temptation." Now in Judaism prayers were often concluded with a "seal," a sentence of praise freely formulated by the man who was praying.19
Second, Jeremias' point can be extended one step further into the temple. As pointed out above, a special acknowledgment of the glory and kingdom of God was spoken in the temple of the Jews as a benediction on the Day of Atonement. The people bowed their knees, fell on their faces, and said, "Praised be the name of his glorious kingdom forever and eternally!" In the sacred matters in the temple, one did not simply answer "Amen."20 It is all the more unlikely that a prayer at the temple would end without some form of doxology. This may be a factor in explaining why the prayer here at the temple in Bountiful includes the doxology, but the instruction given by Jesus on prayer out in the open in Luke 11 does not.
Third, the doxology in the KJV and Sermon at the Temple seems to have followed a traditional form, reflected in 1 Chronicles 29:10—13, as is widely observed.21 The Nephites may have known such phraseology from their Israelite traditions, for it appears in an important blessing spoken by King David, and the Nephite records contained certain historical records of the Jews (see 1 Nephi 5:12), although it is unknown which ones. David's blessing reads: "Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom" (1 Chronicles 29:10—11).22
Fourth, while a minority, several early texts in Greek, Syriac, Coptic, and in the Didache (ca. A.D. 100) also exist that include doxologies at the end of the Lord's Prayer. These indicate that the cultic use and acceptance of some doxology was apparently widespread at a very early time in Christianity.
Fifth, it can also be noted that the Lord's Prayer in the Sermon at the Temple differs in several other respects from the version of the prayer in the KJV, as discussed already above. The prayer in the Book of Mormon is longer than the version in Luke but agrees substantially with Matthew in wording, a felicitous result for the Sermon at the Temple in light of Jeremias' conclusion that "the Lucan version has preserved the oldest form with respect to length, but the Matthean text is more original with regard to wording."23
In sum, it is hard to see that the Sermon at the Temple can be faulted in these eleven cases. Unless one would require the Book of Mormon translation to be extremely literal, even to the point of being ungrammatical in English, Joseph Smith's translations are not erroneous. They do not miscommunicate the meaning of the text. Larson, it should be pointed out, claims to have ignored all the textual "variations that produce little or no difference in English translation," but readers must decide if his work lives up to that representation.24
Other issues could be raised in discussing and evaluating Larson's presentation of the textual variants in the Greek New Testament manuscripts, but they lead into wider fields of inquiry. What remains of these cases is not, however, that the Sermon at the Temple ever gives a false translation, but only the familiar complaint, already addressed above, that the Sermon at the Temple is very much like the KJV English. In other words, we are back to looking for places where the Sermon at the Temple could have optionally translated the text differently, in a way that might have improved on the meaning reflected in the Greek, but instead came out the same as the KJV.25 But such points are nothing more than the general problem of similarity between the Sermon at the Temple and the KJV that has been obvious since the first day the Book of Mormon appeared.
12. Matthew 5:22. So far in this chapter, we have concentrated attention on passages in which the Sermon at the Temple and KJV lack strict formal textual support in the earliest Greek manuscripts. In one important passage, there is evidence that favors the Sermon at the Temple, and it deserves more notice and credit than it has been given.
The KJV of Matthew 5:22 reads, "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause (eikē) shall be in danger of the judgment." The Sermon at the Temple drops the phrase "without a cause."26 So do many of the better early manuscripts.27
This evidence favorable to the Sermon at the Temple has support from the sources named by Larson as being the most reliable. While lacking unanimous consensus in the early manuscripts (which is not unusual), the absence of the phrase "without a cause" from the Sermon on the Mount is evidenced by manuscripts p64, p67, Sinaiticus (original hand), Vaticanus, some minuscules, the Latin Vulgate (Jerome mentions that it was not found in the oldest manuscripts known to him), Justin, Tertullian, Origen, and others. Larson counts as compellingly original all readings that are supported by "the best Greek MSS—by the A.D. 200 p64 (where it is extant) and by at least the two oldest uncials, as well as some miniscules. In each case [he requires that] it also has some Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and early patristic support."28 A check of the list of manuscripts supporting the Sermon at the Temple and the original absence of he phrase "without a cause" in Matthew 5:22 shows that this shorter reading meets Larson's criteria. Can it then be concluded that "the Book of Mormon never takes us to a verifiable text in antiquity"?29
Moreover, this texual difference in the Greek manuscripts of the Sermon on the Mount is the one that has the most significant impact on meaning. It is much more severe to say, "Whoever is angry without a cause is in danger of the judgment." The first discourages all anger against a brother; the second permits brotherly anger as long as it is justifiable. The former is more like the demanding sayings of Jesus regarding committing adultery in one's heart (Matthew 5:28) and loving one's enemies (Matthew 5:43), neither of which offers the disciple a convenient loophole of self-justification or rationalization. Indeed, the word eikē in Matthew 5:22 may reflect a Semitic idiom that does not intite allowance for "'just' anger in certain circumstances" at all, but "is original and echoes some Aramaic phrase, condemning anger as sinful in any case" and "as alluding to . . . the harbouring of angry feelings for any length of time."30 In light of Wernberg-Moeller's interpretation of the underlying idiom, the original sense of Matthew 5:22 is accurately reflected in the Sermon at the Temple whether eikē is included in the Greek saying or not.
In my estimation, this textual variant in favor of the Sermon at the Temple is very meaningful. It makes more of a difference than all of the other textual cases combined. The removal of "without a cause" has important moral, behavioral, psychological, and religious ramifications. From the vantage point of meticulously conservative or fundatmentalist New Testament critical scholarship, one might have thought the Sermon at the Temple would have hit the textual nail on the head more often by yielding more cases like this one in 3 Nephi 12:22, but in the end, this appears to be the only place where a significant textual change from the KJV was in fact needed and delivered.
1. Stanley R. Larson, "The Sermon on the Mount: What Its Textual Transformation Discloses concerning the Historicity of the Book of Mormon," Trinity Journal 7 (1986): 23— 45.
2. He concludes that the Sermon at the Temple should be rejected as an historical text, not so much because it resembles the King James idiom of the Sermon on the Mount, but because it is like the Sermon on the Mount in places where it allegedly should not be. For the reasons discussed in this chapter, I have not found his evidence strong enough to support that conclusion.
3. Of course, it is impossible to know exactly what the original copy of Matthew's Gospel was like. Thus, Larson is probably overconfident in undertaking "to establish what was originally written by Matthew, and eliminate any later additions and alterations," and then in concluding that, where the Book of Mormon differs, it must be in error. Ibid., 23. While Larson understands tht inconclusiveness of textual criticism, many of his readers might not appreciate the indeterminancy of this disciple. Even though scholarly consensus may justifiably emerge in favor of a given reading for a disputed New Testament passage as scholars assimilate the biblical evidence that has survived from the second to the fifth centuries, scholars still disagree on many points and assign different degrees of certitude to their preferred readings. For the same reason, I do not claim to be able to prove them wrong, any more than they can prove they are right. The best one can do is examine the strength of the evidence and consider the weight it is being asked to bear.
4. J. K. Elliott, "Can We Recover the Original New Testament?" Theology 77 (1974): 343.
5. Black, Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts, 171.
6. J. Harold Greenlee, Scribes, Scrolls, and Scripture (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1969), 83, suggests that it is more likely that a text was changed from "righteousness" to "alms" than vice versa.
7. See also Walter Nagel, "Gerechtigkeit oder Almosen? (Mt 6:1)," Vigiliae Christianae 15 (1961): 141—45, which presents seven points justifying eleēmosunē as the better reading of Matthew 6:1.
8. Robert Eisenman, Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians and Qumran (Leiden: Brill, 1983), 110; see also Nagel, "Gerechtigkeit oder Almosen? (Mt 6:1)," 144; Tobit 14:10; and James H. Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. (Garden City: Doubleday, 1983), 2:489 n. 64.
9. R. Harris, G. Archer, and B. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody, 1980), 753.
10. See, e.g., Henri Cazelles, "Passages in the Singular within Discourse in the Plural of Dt 1—4," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 29 (1967): 207—19.
11. Ibid., 219; italics added.
12. Paul Ellingworth, "Translating Parallel Passages in the Gospels," Bible Translator 34 (1983): 402—3.
13. C. F. D. Moule, Essays in New Testament Interpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 279.
14. Black, Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts, 128—29; italics added.
15. See D. A. Larson, Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1984), 69—75.
16. Ibid., 73.
17. There are similar expressions in Wisdom of Solomon12:22 and Mishnah, Sota 1:7, but I have not compared them further. See Strack and Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, 1:444.
18. For a recent debate regarding the long ending of the Lord's Prayer, see Andrew J. Bandstra, "The Original Form of the Lord's Prayer," Calvin Theological Journal 16/1 (1981): 15—37; Jacob van Bruggen, "The Lord's Prayer and Textual Criticism," Calvin Theological Journal 17/1 (1982): 78—87; and Andrew J. Bandstra, "The Lord's Prayer and Textual Criticism: A Response," Calvin Theological Journal 17/1 (1982): 88—97.
19. Jeremias, Prayers of Jesus, 106.
20. Strack and Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, 1:423, citing Mishnah, Yoma 6:2, and others. Discussed above in chapter 3 concerning 3 Nephi 13:9—13.
21. Jeremias discusses this, as Larson too observes. See also John W. Welch, "The Lord's Prayers," Ensign 6 (January 1976): 15—17; and Strack and Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, 1:424.
22. Italics added. Note that "for ever and ever," which appears in the JST and which Larson claims is going "in a direction away from the original text" (Larson, "Sermon on the Mount," 39 n. 34), is close to this ancient blessing of David and is also the same as the typical ending of the Jewish temple benediction. See Strack and Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, 1:423, "immer und ewig."
23. Jeremias, Prayers of Jesus, 93 (italics in original).
24. Larson, "Sermon on the Mount," 25. Other examples exist that may be used for comparison. In Matthew 5:32, the early Greek manuscripts variously, but inconsequentially, read "whoever," "each who," or "whosoever" shall divorce his wife. While Larson has not advanced this as one of his test cases, one may ask if the differences in his stated examples are not about as insignificant as these variants in Matthew 5:32. Similarly, when an alteration of two occurences of a second person singular sou to the Lukan second person plural humōn exists in Matthew 6:21, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," Larson finds this to be an insignificant textual difference. Larson, "Sermon on the Mount," 25. But his fourth example above seems to be no different.
25. Larson suggests that "by them" would be better translated "to them"; that the kai ("also") in Matthew 6:12 should have been reflected in the English; that "in (epi) earth" in 6:10 (Printer's Ms) would have been better rendered as "on earth"; that the Sermon at the Temple "blindly follows" the KJV, which supplies "men" in italics (although this is clearly the meaning of the Greek); and that the Greek third person plurals ("they gather") could have been "better translated" as impersonals ("one gathers"). Larson, "Sermon on the Mount," 41—42. These do not seem to me to be candidates for serious translational blunders; moreover, it remains for Larson to show that the supposedly missing kai and the like were present in Jesus' Aramaic words. See also the discussion of the translation process at the end of chapter 7.
26. This point was first published in John W. Welch, "A Book You Can Respect," Ensign 7 (September 1977): 45—48.
27. For a discussion of this text by a scholar who challenges many normal assumptions, see David A. Black, "Jesus on Anger: The Text of Matthew 5:22a Revisited," Novum Testamentum 30 (1988): 1—8. While acknowledging that "the shorter text undoubtedly has impressive manuscript support," Black presents reasons why the longer reading "should at least be reconsidered in scholarly discussions of this passage." Ibid., 5; cf. 2. His points, however, have not emerged persuasive enough to shift the balance of scholarly opinion in favor of including the word eikē.
28. Larson, "Sermon on the Mount," 43.
29. Ibid.; italics added.
30. P. Wernberg-Moeller, "A Semitic Idiom in Matt. V. 22," New Testament Studies 3 (1956): 72—73.