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 as calm and in control in the ace of death – evidently to provide a model to his readers about how they too suffer when they experience persecution – these verses show him in deep anguish to the point of needing heavenly support by an angel, as he sweats great drops as of blood.
But if the verses were not originally in Luke, why were they added by scribes?
The key to answering the question comes from considering two data. First, when were the verses added to the text? And second, how were they first “used” by readers/writers who knew them? On the first point, almost everyone agrees that the verses — if not original to Luke, who was writing toward the end of the first century (80-85 CE?)—must have been thought to be part of the Gospel already by the middle of the second century, as the story of Jesus’ sweating blood was “known” (found only here in the NT) by church fathers as early as Justin (ca. 150 CE), Irenaeus (ca. 180 CE), and Hippolytus (ca. 200 CE) (all three of whom refer to the passage). So they were added by scribes no later than 60 or 70 years after Luke first produced his Gospel.
FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a Member. Click here for membership options. If you don’t belong yet, JOIN!!!