I am set now to return to my thread on the changes in our surviving manuscripts of the New Testament that were made in order to make the text more amenable to the theological agenda of orthodox scribes and to help prevent their use by Christians who had alternative understandings of who Christ was.
I have been arguing, in that vein, that the voice at Jesus’ baptism in Luke’s Gospel originally said “You are my son, today I have begotten you” (as in some manuscripts) but that it was changed because scribes were afraid that the text could be too easily read to mean that it was at this point that God had adopted Jesus to be his son. These scribes believed that Christ had *always* been the son of God, and so God could not say that he “made” him the son on the day of his baptism. Their change was remarkably successful: the vast majority of manuscripts have their altered text, in which the voice says (as it says also in Mark’s version): “You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”
My next step in showing that Luke had the *other* version, in which God claims that it was on that day he “begot” or “gave birth” to his Son is a little more complicated than the other pieces of evidence I have cited. This new kind of evidence has to do with how Luke later in his Gospel and in the book of Acts looked back on what happened at the baptism of Jesus, and it involves subtleties that are easily overlooked by someone who is reading Luke’s text superficially. The matter is so intricate that I need to prepare the way and set the stage. I’m going to do that not by talking about Luke, but by talking about Mark. You’ll see why in later posts when I get to the point – a point I can’t get to without substantial background.
Most readers of the Gospels never realize how amazingly….
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