Hello. It is nice writing to you. You wrote:
I watched the video yesterday morning - and spent all day today and yesterday thinking about it and praying about it. What does is the stance of the Orthodox Church in light of this?
Wow that is alot of thinking and praying about it! I also spent a long time, ie over a few days, thinking about it. Offhand, I'm not sure exactly what the Orthodox Church's position is on the first half of the movie, when Gordon discusses Jesus' words to observe what the pharisees sitting in Moses' seat bid to observe. I would guess that the Orthodox Church would say that this suggests one should follow the authority of religious leaders, except when those leaders make bad decisions.
Probably the Orthodox Church would sympathize with Gordon's criticisms of phariseeism, except that the Church wouldn't simply reject all customs not found in the scriptures.
Finally, the Orthodox Church rejects the idea that the Shem Tov version of Matthew is the original version. Instead, the Orthodox Church uses what Gordon refers to as the Greek version.
I was fascinated. Well worth the two hours.
For me it was fascinating too. He really packed in the information. I'm not sure it's worth the two hours though, because I feel that it would have to be accompanied by a presentation with opposing viewpoints. For example, it would be worthwhile to see how pharisees would respond to his criticisms of them, and how Christian scholars would respond to Gordon's claims about would-be original early Christian Hebrew versions.
You commented in response to Theophilios' confusion about whether Gordon changed all the "they"s to "he":
Quote from Marc 1152... Did you listen to the Lecture? That would not test what he suggested. It was a change of one word, from "THEY" to "HE"
I was wondering the same thing - the points being made concerning the lecture are so off it's almost laughable.
You're right about Theophilios' comment here. But some other points here, like the review posted by Alveus, are on the mark or close to it.
i agree with you when you say:
The scribes would have been responsible for transcribing the Word ACCURATELY - and if there was a nudge here and a nudge there (which seems to be something done since the beginning of written language. . .even transcriptionists today do it when they copy notes from a doc. . .you can only do so much - but if you are transcribing the Word? Don't to do this? Let's change it up a little, need to argue that point? Let's change it some more and prove it. This was one of the major issues in the Maccabees period . . .so much so that it had to be given fresh. This happens today with our wonderful internet docs - change it in a sec and get a whole gang of people to support your cause for something that's been fabricated. (This has happened TO me, so I know it's a fact, not an urban legend.)
I am not sure what your point is though. It's new for me that "This was one of the major issues in the Maccabees period . . .so much so that it had to be given fresh."
I'm sorry to hear you had the bad personal event you referred to with changed documents.
I agree with you when you say:
I'm beginning to understand the frustration of people who say they can't trust any of the translations - I'm very thankful that He's sent us the Holy Spirit to clear things up and teach us.
We are talking about documents originally written almost 2000 years ago, so it's harder to say strongly that one trusts their authenticity. But on the other hand, we can also have some trust in the Church that it chose the books wisely, based partly on other writings by other Christian saints commenting on the books of the Bible.
Your words here are pretty, although it's somewhat confusing for me:
And after praying about this for some days, I think that's where I'm at. I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit who lights my path every single moment. The further down the 'splits' you go, the less and less is available to read - sometimes I wonder if this isn't a divine purpose to keep certain things hidden for the sake of those who are yet to come, to protect, as it were until it is time to reveal.
May the Holy Spirit continue to do so for you. When you say that the further down the splits you go, the less you have to read, this makes sense. That is, the more you limit your reading material based on what sects have written the material, the less is available to read.
However, here we are mainly dealing with a small number of splits on the question of the Greek Matthew v. the Shem Tov Matthew: Traditional Christians who use the Greek version, and followers of Judaism who may prefer the Shem Tov for the apologetics purpose for which it was written.
This is a funny thought I haven't considered:
sometimes I wonder if this isn't a divine purpose to keep certain things hidden for the sake of those who are yet to come, to protect, as it were until it is time to reveal.
By "this", I assume you mean uncertainty about which translation is correct. It could be true. I don't know. It would seem like something in the mind of God, which is hard to know unless He clearly tells you what it is.God Bless.
You seem to be correct when you say:
I'm in the process of watching it now. So far I feel like I could disagree with some of his assertions simply based upon his ignorance of a lot of the finer details of Christian history, i.e. how he is understanding Church Fathers like Papias, which only in ways which is furthering his thesis. A simple viewing of a Wikipedia article on Papias discusses some problems with Gordon's interpretation of his accounts, although they do not either totally exclude his conclusions.
As you say, Gordon is only understanding Papias in a strong way when Papias says Matthew wrote in the "Hebrew dialect", that is Gordon puts a strong emphasis on the most apparent meaning of the word Hebrew here.
The Wikipedia article on "Papias of Hierapolis" says:
Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.
Citing this text, many argue that Papias claimed that Matthew was written in the Hebrew language, (as it is often translated in English). However, Papias' comment in Greek, (Ματθαῖος μέν οὖν Ἑβραίδι διαλέκτῳ τά λόγια, "Hebrew dialect") is a common construction in Greek and is seen in many different sources and contexts and seems to consistently refer to a style or subset of a language being spoken; and, this is distinguished from the general Greek term for language or tongue, "γλῶσσα". Papias' statement seems to signify a style of language or dialect being used by the "Hebrews", (or in other words, the style or subset of a language being used by the Hebrew race). In the historical context, the "dialect of the Hebrews", (Ἑβραίδι διαλέκτῳ), was most probably a reference to the Hebrew dialect of Aramaic.
Flavius Jospehus Antiquities of the Jews Bk 5, Sec 121: ... δὲ ὄνομα τοῦτο σημαίνει Ζεβεκηνῶν κύριος: ἀδωνὶ γὰρ τῇ Ἑβραίων διαλέκτῳ κύριος γίνεται:
You wrote that:
There were actually different versions of Matthew or different books associated with Matthew circulating in the earliest centuries of the Church, so it might not even clear which one Papias is referencing.
You are right if there were several versions of Matthew in Hebrew and/or Aramaic. In fact, in that case, Papias could just be making a general reference to several editions Matthew put together. But otherwise, it could be clear that Papias is referring to a single collection that Matthew made in Aramaic or Hebrew.
Anyway, so far I like some of the perspectives, as many modern Biblical-critical scholars place Christ firmly in the Pharisee camp for a variety of reasons.
However, Gordon is a Karaite, and is here placing Christ in the camp of the Karaites, and saying that a Karaite camp existed then, which would be a camp that rejected the oral torah and accepted the written one. It makes sense on the other hand, that Christ could be within the Pharisee camp, broadly speaking, because he accepted many of its ideas, like the general resurrection.
Also, I agree with you when you write:
Although I can already tell that Jesus is essentially going to wind up being a reflection of the sect which Gordon belongs to, which of course also makes me suspicious!
Except that I'm not sure what you mean that you are suspicious of.
I'll post more after I finish watching it, maybe.
I think you have good insights.
Thanks for posting the Amazon review:
I though this Amazon.com review of Gordon's book might be helpful in some ways:
"Since Gordon is a respected Hebrew scholar I expected to find deep insights into the book of Matthew. \
I'm alittle surprised he's a respected Hebrew scholar, because his theory did seems like it had alot of holes in it, like the reviewer said. On the other hand, he did have alot of information about sources that it feels aren't usually discussed, eg the Shem Tov. I wasn't expecting deep insights, but I was expecting some more solid, convincing ideas. The closest he got was when he made claims about Hebraisms in Matthew.
I feel like this expectation was upheld in the movie, because he talked about criticisms of phariseeism from a Karaite perspective:
I expected to find some content beyond Christianity since Gordon is a Karaite Jew and he can not believe Jesus is a teacher of righteousness.
I sympathize with the reviewer's curiosity when he/she asks:
I was curious why Michael Rood was involved in this project, what role did he have?
I assume that Rood helped organize and facilitate his presentation to Christians, since Rood is a Christian who also makes presentations about Christianity.
It makes sense when the reviewer commented:
As a former Christian, I wanted to gain knowledge about Hebrew Primacy since it has few adherents compared to Aramaic Primacy and Greek Primacy. I did not find what I was looking for.
Although I'm confused what the fact that being a former Christian has to do with it.
It's funny when the reviewer writes:
The book's conclusions have so many holes it read like swiss cheese. The Shem Tov's Matthew is far beyond the possiblity of being the "original" Matthew, or even a copy of such.
I'm not absolutely certain it's far beyond the possibility of being a copy, but it looks extremely likely that it is, and I would like to see the reviewer explain why.
THe reviewer makes a good point:
The Appendix has a "Testimony of Papias" basically a quote from an early church father saying Matthew was written originally in Hebrew. First off, the quote is a second-hand quote and Papias's "fact" was second-hand knowledge. Papias's writing is non-existent today and the quote here is found as a quote in another writing, so the accuracy is questionable and the context is unknown. I asked myself the question "Does Papias mean it was written in the Hebrew language or in the language of the Hebrews which would have been Aramaic at that time?"
Regarding this statement by the reviewer about Papias' words:
Papias's writing is non-existent today and the quote here is found as a quote in another... the context is unknown.
What he means is that the writing is nonexistent outside whatever source it's quoted in. And by the context he means what was going on surrounding the composition of Papias' testimony.
And I do think it's an open question whether Papias meant it as in the Hebrew language or the Hebrews' language. Furthermore, one reading of the passage on "Papias" on Wikipedia quoted the Greek literally as "the Hebrew dialect." For example, there
s an "Scottish dialect" of English, and then there is also a Scottish Celtic language, which I think would be what "the Scottish language" would refer to.
It was alittle surprising when it says:
Gordon may be a Hebrew scholar but he really has no background in New Testament studies
. Maybe this means that in other areas he has in fact been a respected scholar with solid work.
I have some doubt about the statement:
He was the wrong person to write on this topic, he even says he had to go to other experts to ask questions since he knew nothing.
Just because he may begin research with little knowledge or have different viewpoints doesn't mean he's the wrong person. It seems OK for people to consult experts and for them to start with no knowledge.
The reviewer makes a good point:
He claims proof it was originally in Hebrew because of word puns. Wait, Aramaic is a Semitic language. Many Aramaic words share the same root as Hebrew too. There are Aramaic word puns, and the Hebrew word puns are going to be in many of the same places as the Aramaic word puns. That is not proof.
I disagree with the reviewer's sense here:
Gordon was asked a question about vows in the Oral Torah, yet he doesn't study Talmud, he is a Karaite.
Gordon said that in the past he was actually an Orthodox Jew educated in that sect, and then became a Karaite.
It sounds like the reviewer makes an informed statement:
To answer the question, some sages said ANY vow (which includes a vow on HaShem) can be nullified by the authority of a sage, and next is stated some sages said they have not the authority. For further study on vows closest to the time of the Pharisees read Nedarim in the Mishnah and Tosefta.
However, I am not sure what question the reviewer is referring to, because it seems like no such question that would give this answer was posed directly in the clip.
Regarding the claim:
Gordon paints Jesus as a Torah observent Jew yet knows nothing about the times Jesus broke the Torah(written Torah).
It could be that Jesus had a very liberal reading of how to obey the Torah in those instances, and thus from a very liberal view, He didn't break it. For example, today I think Reform Jews have something called liberal Halakha. One example of the very liberal view could be Jesus picking grain on the Sabbath. My guess is that alot of Reform Jews would also take liberal readings when acting on the Sabbath.
The reviewer makes a strong criticism here:
Jesus actually says in Matthew 5:17 that he did not come to untie the yoke of the law but to (Aramaic - emali) add to the law. "Add to" in the sense of pouring water into a half-full vessel (this is why it is translated "fulfill"). This is exactly what the Pharisees say with the Oral Torah. They claim the Written Torah is not perfectly complete and this is proof that an Oral Torah was given, because the Oral Torah makes it prefectly complete. This is contrary to the message of the Torah and Prophets. Jesus is just taking another route from the same place, the Torah is not perfectly complete.
(1) it may not be contrary to the Torah and Prophets, because I don't remember the written torah saying that there will be no more prophets or writings after them. The Torah says don't change these commandments, and it seems hard to get around this. One way though might be to say that Jesus came with a New Covenant, and that the written Torah was part of the Old Covenant, which was what said that people shouldn't take away from it. In other words, the written Torah was the Old Covenant, and it was within the Old Covenant that the Torah in it said not to change it.
(2) Another view here of fulfilling could be that Jesus fulfilled its requirements, not that he added to or changed the torah's words themselves. In line with this, the reviewer actually appears to show that Jesus here meant fulfill rather than add to:
Jesus actually says in Matthew 5:17 that he did not come to untie the yoke of the law but to (Aramaic - emali) add to the law. "Add to" in the sense of pouring water into a half-full vessel (this is why it is translated "fulfill").
First, the reviewer here points to the Aramaic word "emali", but in fact our earliest extant source is Greek, so he/she should've used the Greek word. Here he admits that the word is translated as "fulfill", and then tries to say that it really means "added to" because the real sense of the term is to pour something into. But this actually means fill up, which is closer to fulfill, so the reviewer appears to be making a weak claim here. Plus, the New Testament repeats the idea of fulfilling elsewhere in similar ways, like fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies. For example, when Jesus' life matched some prophecies the gospel writers sometimes said He fulfilled the prophecies.
I believe the reviewer made an honest and true review here:
I believe Gordon wrote this book for Messianic Christians to be introduced to Karaism, for them to see Jesus as a Karaite, and ultimately study and observe Torah... A lot of former Christians are drawn to Karaite Judaism and I think he expects this book to speed the flow of converts. Michael Rood seems to be the big name promoting this book to Christians."
I read a similar suggestion elsewhere on the web. Plus his audience is Christians and he is Karaite, so it seems like this would be a desire of his. I was unaware that alot of former Christians are drawn to Karaitism, but it makes sense because Jesus' criticisms of the pharisees make sense, and the Karaites like Gordon also criticise phariseeism using logic. The movie had an intermission where Michael Rood spoke, so it makes sense that he would be the big name promoting it to Christians.
Regarding the statements:
He possibly feels that if they study Torah they will come across many of the passages which point to Jesus like Deut. 13, the Hebrew of Num.23:19, or find that blood sacrifice is not required for atonement (Lev.5:11-13), that Lev 17:10-11 is talking about the improper and proper use of blood, not that it is necessary for atonement... and a plethora of others.
(1)Here, Deut 13 simply warns against and penalizes false prophets who would turn Israelites to other gods. I seriously doubt Jesus was such a false prophets, because He still pointed toward Jehovah and because the Old Testament also prophesied that God would make those who believed in Him into gods, not to mention the serious possibility that Jesus was God's son in some way.
(2)Christians wouldn't be strongly moved against Christianity just by reading Deut 13, because Christianity already has warnings against false prophets and turning to other gods, so the Christian readers would be already familiar with such readings.
(3) Numbers 23:19(KJV) says: "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" I am not sure how the Hebrew would be very different.
The Tanakh's JPT translation, which was made by Judaic scholars, reads similarly: "God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?"
One explanation of this from a Christian perspective is that God had not yet incarnated at the time, so at that time it was true that "God is not a man". Another explanation, which seems pretty weak, could be that this means God was not a man for the purpose of lying, repenting, or relenting. But the opposite reading could be true too: that God wasn't to lie, so He wasn't a man. A third explanation could be that Christ wasn't simply a man, but he was a combined God-man.
A fourth explanation could be to separate God as the divine nature in Christ's person from the human nature, and say that God, the divine part, isn't itself a man.
(4) Leviticus 5, which the reviewer uses to show a blood sacrifice was unnecessary, allows for an exception to the blood sacrificer, where the sacrificer uses flour because the sacrificer doesn't have enough resources to get the animal sacrifice. So in fact, this lack of necessity only exists where a blood sacrifice is impossible. Thus, Leviticus 5 isn't setting forth a broad principle that it's unnecessary, but only that under a certain condition an exception is possible. So the logic from the passage in Leviticus 5 is that under other conditions- the more common one where it's a possibility- it would still be a necessity.
(5) Even the Judaic scholars' JPT translation of Leviticus 17 goes against the reviewer's statement that:"that Lev 17:10-11 is talking about the improper and proper use of blood, not that it is necessary for atonement..."
Leviticus 11(JPT) specifies: "For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have therefore given it to you [to be placed] upon the altar, to atone for your souls. For it is the blood that atones for the soul."
Here, God explains that he gave the blood in the sacrifice because it is the sacrifice's blood that atones for the soul, and that in turn makes sense from this verse because it says that the soul is in the blood.
The reviewer seems correct that the verse doesn't specify that substituting a soul for a soul is the only way possible for an atonement. But it does suggest that at least it's a central means, because God says he ordered the sacrificial blood for this purpose.
I agree with you when you write:
I also wanted to say after reflecting on this a bit that it doesn't strike me as solid scholarship has much as public relations for his religious group. The video/book package makes it seem more like an infomercial. Furthermore, this was not released by any academically viable press.
However, it seems like it could also be combined scholarship and public relations for his group, because he did include research. On the other hand, your opening statement seems ok, because it doesn't seem like what's in the movie is solid scholarship, because for example he didn't investigate the other 23 copies of Shem Tov he finds so important. And yet the video book package, as well as the fact that he is giving Karaite literature to a large Christian audience seemed like something of public relations for his group. So there is more of public relations than deep scholarship.
When you say it wasn't an academically viable press, I have some doubt or confusion about what you mean, because sometimes small presses can produce good academic literature on a topic that especially interests the group.
I sympathize with your statement:
It was rather produced by a small religious press, which signifies that it is primarily a devotional/evangelistic piece of literature to me.
, because it seems like a small religious press would focus most of its limited resources on books that strongly reflected its own religious views, although it could be an academic accompaniment to other works that were devotional/evangelistic, like you said.
I also agree with you when you write:
quietmorning, I wouldn't get too upset about it, because many of his assertions seem to have a lot of holes in them. The fact that he's presenting this as something only he has managed to figure out very recently with cutting-edge primary sources makes the amateur scholar in me highly suspicious.
More clearer, what it makes us very suspicious of is that his ideas have holes in them because they are as yet untested, since he presents it as something only he has been able to figure it out. It's possible that there are other scholars who agree with him, but if so, it's a small, minority viewpoint and his would-be failure to mention the other scholars also goes against the strength of his own belief in the veracity of what he's saying.
Plus, I agree that they have alot of holes, like his failure to describe how it happened that Shem Tov would've come into possession of such a would-be accurate version.Kind Regards.
I agree with you when you say: "I'm fairly certain that he is speaking to Messianic Jews."
On the other hand, I don't remember him saying that he is, so I have some doubt that he said he was speaking to them.
I think you're probably right when you say:
I believe Mr. Nehemiah was invited by a group of Messianic Jews (Evangelical Christians) to speak.
, because partway through it says Michael Rood, a Messianic Jew, would speak, and because the audience was Christian.
I have some doubt about your words:
They recorded this video.
, because it says in the beginning "Hilkiah press", which is Karaite.
It isn't clear from his words "Every time he talks about so-called contradictions in Matthew, he says "This is a problem for YOU, but not for me, since I do not follow Yeshua as the Messiah. But I did some research anyway... etc etc...""
that ""You"= the Messianic Jews which are his audience."
It could be, for example, that "you" could just be Christians in general, because they also follow Jesus as the Messiah.
I agree with you when you write:
At the beginning of his speech, as he identifies himself as a Karaite Jew, he adds that Karaites "Do not look to Yeshua as the Messiah." This would be idiotic if he was talking to real Jews. Of course Karaites don't believe in Jesus. No duh. He has to clarify this, in case his Messianic audience mistakes him as one of their own.
Except that it still might not be that they are Messianic jews, as opposed to just Christians. After all, if he hadn't specified this, then with all his claims about Karaites criticising pharisees, and with his views where he claims that he agrees with Jesus on some things, then some Christians in his audience could foreseeably mistake him for part of the Messianic Jewish movement.Regards.
You have a pretty avatar, and I am curious what it is. It's also impressive to me that you were a Muslim and came to Orthodoxy.
Jesus referred not only to the Pharisees, but also to "the scribes" as religious authorities sitting in Moses' seat. Why did He do that? Why did He relate the Pharisees to the scribes in that context?
Here you are asking a rhetorical question, as you rolled your eyes. What you mean is that here Jesus referred to both the pharisees and the scribes because what he meant to say about them was to focus on something that they had in common in their position as sitting in Moses' seat. What this suggests is that Jesus was referring to their power to say what the law is and recite the law.
Still, one counterargument could be that Jesus was simply referring to their roles in Moses' seat. For example, a horse-driver and a security guard riding shotgun can both sit in the front seat of a stagecoach, but they have different roles. I can tell other stagecoaches to obey the driver and guard on a certain stagecoach, but they would still both have different roles.
So in Matthew 5, Jesus could be referring to their power to recite, state, and interpret the law of Moses.
I am unsure if you're right here:
If the Book of Matthew had been written in Hebrew and contained the sentence : "Listen to HIM" (Moses) rather than "Listen to THEM" (Pharisees), that whole chapter in Matthew would make no sense. The guy who focuses on the word "Pharisees" disregards the notion of textual coherence.
That's because the rest of the chapter seems to be Jesus giving examples of pharisees' hypocrisy. You seem to have a correct suggestion, because it would make sense for Jesus to say that they say some good observances, but are hypocritical in fulfilling them. For example, it is a good observance to "clean the outside of the cup", but he points out a hypocrisy in their action when "they are full of extortion and excess" within the cup. But you didn't explain why you think it makes no sense, so I have some doubt about what you are saying here.
After all, the other verses still make sense by themselves. So I do disagree that the whole chapter makes no sense with Gordon's meaning. But on the other hand, Jesus doesn't go through and say that Moses' observances are good and other observances, if performed correctly, like cleaning a cup, would be bad.
Let's put the guy's theory to a test then and replace the word "Pharisees" with "Moses":
“The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore pay attention to what he (Moses) tells you and do it. But do not do what he (Moses) does, for he (Moses) does not practice what he teaches. (23:2-3)
Does this make any sense?
But your scenario doesn't work, because the guy's theory was that only the first insertion you made (what he tells you) is the one that says "he". Gordon's theory is that the rest of the places still should say "they."
I somewhat agree with you when you write:
There is no contradiction. Jesus first endorses the religious authority of the scribes and Pharisees, but immediately emphasizes that they do not do what they teach. This means "pretence" and "hypocricy", which are perfectly in line with Jesus' harsh critique of the same religious leaders in the following section. The main theme of Jesus' rebuke is unsurprisingly the hypocricy of those religious authorities.
There is no direct contradiction between saying to observe what someone says
to observe and saying that the persion is hypocritical in their actions.
There is only an indirect, vague contradiction between praising someone and then criticising them.
You give a good example when you write:
Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23)
"Giving a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin" was a part of the Law, but the Pharisees neglected "justice, mercy, and faithfulness". The first clause refers to the religious leaders' authority endorsed by Christ, for it was written in the Law given to Moses. Nothing wrong with that.
You asked why only one time Gordon changed "they" to "he." You asked: "WHY is that? Is this his personal choice?"
The answer is that Gordon was following the Shem Tov, which has it Gordon's way, although it appears his personal choice to follow the Shem Tov.
I sympathize with your words:
If only one word changes, the rest of the chapter goes dead with no sense. Why would Jesus have asked the audience to listen to Moses after saying that the scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat? This is logically fallacious. Jesus referred to Moses because He discussed the religious authority of the scribes and Pharisees, not vice versa.
However, it can still make sense logically. It is at least rational to say: "The pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Do as Moses says, but don't do like the pharisees are now acting.
" Still, this raises the question: OK, well what about what the pharisees are SAYING?
So I agree with you more when I think about it.
To answer your question, Jesus could be saying to listen to Moses after saying that the pharisees sit in his seat, in order to bring up their hypocrisy and contrast following Moses with following the pharisees.
It makes sense when you write: "Jesus referred to Moses because He discussed the religious authority of the scribes and Pharisees, not vice versa.", because the chapter is about the scribes and pharisees' ways, and so the mention about Moses was a part of mentioning about their authority.
The given interpretation implies that Moses' authority was based on the scribes' and Pharisees' sitting on Moses' seat, which is utterly ridiculous.
It's funny(!) because I don't see how this means that Moses' authority was based on the pharisess and scribes sitting on Moses' seat, and I agree it would seem utterly ridiculous, because Jesus wasn't presenting them as models. But actually Gordon seems to follow this weird reasoning, as Gordon explicitly says that his view is that Jesus is saying: The pharisees sit on Moses' seat and get their claim to authority from Moses', so follow Moses
... instead of them.
It makes sense when you responded to Marc:
So you think followers of Jesus were commanded to do as the Pharisee's tell them? "Do what they say?' Really ?.. The passages in Mathew go far past an acknowledgment of the Teaching Authority of the Pharisees.
You are falling into the same error as that guy coming up with an innovated theory.
Not only the Pharisees, but also and primarily the scribes. When Jesus said: "Do what the scribes and Pharisees tell you...", He meant that people must not disregard the Mosaic Law solely because the religious authorities were hypocrites. As long as the scribes and Pharisees taught the Law with the authority given them through Moses, people had to obey them.
However, you state this in a broad way. One possible counterargument to what you're saying comes to mind: What if the Pharisees were talking about Moses' law and then made a bad interpretation? Would people have to obey them? If your explanation is absolute, someone could conclude you would answer 'yes', resulting in people following bad interpretations.
It seems that one way to overcome this counterargument could be to say that in such a case, the pharisees would be exceeding the scope of their authority.
Your statement is confusing:
"I think it means something like: Even though the Pharisees sit in the teaching chair, dont listen to them, listen to Moses" That is far more consistent with his harsh criticisms of the Pharisees just a few pages later."
If this is what Jesus meant, then another problem arises from Matthew's Greek text: the contrast Jesus underlined between what the scribes/Pharisees taught and did disappears, and the verse based on that contrast must be deleted to make the discourse more meaningful.
1. Marc is saying that he prefers the Shem Tov over the Greek text, so it doesn't really matter if it causes a problem with Matthew's Greek text.
2. Marc could just add to what you quoted, that in addition, Jesus finds hypocrisy between what they do and what they say.
3. Still, you are making a good point, that if Jesus says to do what they say, then it adds to the pharisees' hypocrisy, because it means that they hypocritically don't do the good things they say.
4. You make an insightful good point that this emphasis on their hypocrisy would disappear. If they were just saying bad things and then not doing them, then it wouldn't really be a hypocrisy that matters. And if they were saying good things, then it would make sense to listen to those things.
5. I don't think that deleting anything would make it more meaningful, because each phrase has meaning, and thus, adds it. On the other hand, it might make more sense as I said in the example above.
I also agree with you when you write:
This interpretation is far more consistent with the Protestant mentality, which objects to every sort of religious authority. It reminds me of Protestant believers who preach: "Do not listen to the Christian clergy although they claim to represent Christ, but listen to Christ alone".
To paraphrase, the idea would be like saying clergy are hypocritical, because they don't do what they say, so therefore, don't do what they say. But this idea doesn't make sense, because some priests say to do good things in their sermons, even if they don't follow them themselves. And it would make more sense just to do the good things the priests said.
You commented that it's not a stretch to say: "He meant that people must not disregard the Mosaic Law solely because the religious authorities were hypocrites."
Jesus didn't explicitly say this word for word, so it's a stretch. But it's a normal, natural stretch, because the observances Jesus would've meant to follow would've been ones made by people speaking from Mosaic authority, which suggests that they were observances coming from the Mosaic Law directly or indirectly.
I somewhat disagree with you when you write:
Now the passage makes no sense as the concept of hypocricy is not effectively expressed and the contrast between religious authorities' teachings and acts lose their existence.
Even without effective expression, the passage is at least rational. However, I agree that with Jesus saying to avoid their observances, which suggests that the observances are bad, it reduces the effectiveness of the expression of their hypocrisy, because it no longer contrasts their stated good observances with their failure to follow them.
I somewhat disagree that in that case "the contrast between religious authorities' teachings and acts lose their existence", because still there is a contrast between what they say and their failure to do what they say.
I agree with you when you say: "It is not a problem." that "The passage in Greek says, very directly, to listen to the Pharisees.",
as I explained above.
I'm not certain which point you are trying to make when you say:
I have to remind you for the third time: The passage also refers to the scribes and actually associates the Pharisees with the scribes.
, although I discussed it above too.Take care
He may have spoken Aramaic in Galilee and a type of Hebrew dialect in Judaea.
This idea would work if one accepts that a Hebrew dialect was what was commonly spoken in Judea, and Aramaic was what was spoken in Galilee. However, I read that Aramaic was what was spoken in 1st century Judea as the common language. I have some doubt about it, but not really any basis for this doubt, except that it simply appears Gordon and Marc propose that Aramaic wasn't the common language then and there.Health and Happiness.