The whole thread on the “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture” is really really great! Thanks!!
QUESTION: are the shorter version in Luke 22:19-20 and the “bloody sweat” in Luke 22:44 documented by the same manuscripts? Or do these variants appear in different manuscripts? In other words: do we have an “entirely docetic” manuscript of Luke? (incidentally, I see that both variants are in chapter 22 very close to each other). Thank you very much!!!
Ah, this is a great question. The answer to the first question is no. The manuscripts that contain the shorter reading in Luke 22:19-20 (that is, the form of the text in which Jesus does NOT say that the bread represents his body “given for you” and that the cup is “the new covenant in my blood poured out for you”) are not the same ones that contain the shorter reading in Luke 22:43-44 (the “bloody sweat”; in this case the manuscripts with the shorter reading do NOT have the account of Jesus’ sweating great drops of blood in deep agony, with an angel from heaven coming to minister to him).
All this can get a bit confusing, but remember my argument. In the case of the Last Supper (22:19-20), I argued that the shorter form of the text was original, and that a scribe added the familiar words in order to oppose a “docetic” understanding of Jesus, one in which Jesus allegedly was not a real human being but only seemed to have flesh and blood. The change stresses Jesus’ (real) broken body and (real) shed blood for the sake of others. It is an anti-docetic variation, that was (demonstrably, I think) made during the second century when different Christian groups were arguing over whether Jesus was so much God that he was not actually a human. For the scribe who made the change, the answer was definitely NO. Jesus, for this scribe, WAS a human with real flesh and blood.
So too in the case of the Bloody Sweat (22:43-44), a scribe, I argued, added the passage because it so well brings out the humanity of Jesus, against those who argued that he was not a human who could experience real human emotions such as agony and grief. The longer form of the passage (with the addition of the Bloody Sweat and the Angel) is another anti-docetic change of the text.
But different manuscripts attest the two readings. The manuscripts with the first anti-docetic reading in 22:19-20 do NOT attest the second one in 22:43-44, and vice versa. But why is that, and what’s going on?
This was one of the key findings of my research for The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. The changes scribes made…
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