Did Scribes Add the Passage of the Bloody Sweat?

In my previous posts I’ve been puzzling over the textual problem of Luke 22:43-44, the so-called “bloody sweat” passage, where Jesus, before his arrest, is said to have been in such deep agony that he sweat drops “as if of blood,” so that an angel came down from heaven to minister to him.  These verses are found in some manuscripts of Luke, but not others.    So which text is “original”?  The version of Luke with the verses or the version ...

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The Bloody Sweat and the Scribes Who Changed It

I have been talking about the famous passage in Luke 22:43-44, the account of the so-called “bloody sweat,” where we are told that prior to his arrest, Jesus went into deep agony and began to sweat great drops “as if of blood,” and to be so deeply disturbed that an angel had to come down from heaven to support him.

These verses can be found in a lot of manuscripts, including those used by the translators of the King James Bible, ...

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Jesus’ Lack of Agony

Did Jesus feel deep agony in the face of death, in virtual despair up until the end?  Or was he calm and collected, confident in both himself and God’s will?  It depends which Gospel you read.

And that is one of the reasons (not the only one, as we will see!) that the textual problem of Luke 22:43-44 – the passage that narrates the “bloody sweat” —  is so important.   If the verses were originally in Luke, then Jesus in Luke, ...

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When I First Realized the Importance of Textual Criticism: The Bloody Sweat

I think I first came to see precisely why textual criticism could be so important my first semester in my PhD program, during a seminar I was taking that had almost nothing to do with the study of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  It was an “exegesis” course (i.e. focused on interpretation) on the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke – studied, of course, in the Greek).  My realization of the importance of text-critical issues was not even ...

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The Bloody Sweat and Historical Plausibility

QUESTION:

The following question was raised by a reader on the blog, based on my discussion of the so-called “bloody sweat” passage of Luke 22:43-44, which I maintained was not originally part of Luke’s Gospel (or any Gospel) but was added by later scribes.  Here’s the question

Even if this event of Jesus sweating, as it were, great drops of blood was in the original manuscript, one must wonder how the author knew of it. Luke 22:41 tells us that ...

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Jesus Sweating Blood: Transcriptional Probabilities

I’ve been discussing the kinds of evidence that textual critics appeal to in order to make a decision concerning what an author originally wrote, when there are two or more different forms of the text – that is, where a verse or passage is worded in different ways in different manuscripts.  And I have been using the passage found (only) in (some manuscripts of) Luke of Jesus’ bloody sweat as an example.  Yesterday I discussed one kind of “internal” evidence.    ...

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Why Did Scribes Add the Bloody Sweat?

I have explained why it is almost certain that Luke did not himself write the passage describing Jesus “sweating blood” in Luke 22:43-44: the passage is not found in some of our oldest and best manuscripts, it intrudes in a context that otherwise is structured as a clear chiasmus, and it presents a view of Jesus going to his death precisely at odds with what Luke has produced otherwise. Whereas Luke goes out of his way to portray Jesus ...

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More on The Bloody Sweat

I mentioned that I first got interested in the textual problem of Luke 22:43-44 (“the bloody sweat”) when I was taking a graduate seminar at Princeton Theological Seminary, my first year in the doctoral program.  The seminar was devoted (the entire semester) to the Greek exegesis of Luke.   My fellow student, Mark Plunkett, presented a seminar paper in which he dealt with the passage.  He was not at all interested in the textual question of whether vv. 43-44 were original.  ...

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Problems with the NRSV (Part 5)

Trust me. I will eventually get back to the question of my relationship with Bruce Metzger. I keep getting sidetracked. But the tracks on the side are interesting. At least I *think* they are!!

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In my last post I pointed out that the famous passage of the so-called “bloody sweat” in Luke 22:43-44 is thought by some scholars not to have been original to the Gospel of Luke. I count myself in that number. One of my very first scholarly ...

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Problems with the NRSV (Part 4)

I will give just one other textual disagreement that I have with the translators of the NRSV: by “textual” disagreement I mean a disagreement over what the original Greek text of a passage was that should have been translated. For this second example I’ll stick with Luke, and again with the Passion narrative. The full passage of Jesus’ prayer in the garden in Luke 24:39-46 reads as follows in the NRSV:

FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in ...

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