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6. ARE SEVERAL JOURNEYS OF JESUS TO JERUSALEM PRESUPPOSED IN MT. xxiii. 37?
But an attempt is made in another way to show that Jn. could not really be in conflict with his predecessors. Those who make it find in the Synoptics themselves passages here and there which confirm, as they think, the story of Jn. In particular, several journeys of Jesus to Jerusalem, connected with a public appearance there, are, they say, presupposed 58when Jesus says in Mt. (xxiii. 37): “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” The inference really appears to be unavoidable. The only remarkable thing is that the Synoptists themselves have not drawn it. If they themselves really suggest that Jesus came forward so often in Jerusalem, why do they not only tell us nothing about this, but represent things as if when he made this utterance he had come to Jerusalem for the first time to counsel and admonish. Thus those who refer to this utterance as a corroboration of the story of Jn. are producing a greater puzzle as regards the Synoptists, who likewise claim that their story has a right to be regarded as correct. So that before we attach such great importance to the utterance in question, we prefer to examine it again more closely.
When we do this, it is clear in the very first instance that it does not read as people think it does, and in the way in which we have rendered it above, intentionally following the general practice, in order to show what mistakes one is liable to make when one follows a popular custom. In reality—and in Lk. (xiii. 34) exactly as in Mt.—it reads: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets and stones them that are sent unto her, how often would I have gathered thy children,” &c. Jerusalem is therefore apostrophised only in the second half of the sentence; in the first something is said about the city without the city itself being addressed. No one who has a thought clearly in his mind, and intends to write it down in an equally simple sentence, would express himself in this way.
On the other hand, the remarkable form of the sentence 59would be quite intelligible if our Evangelists, Mt. and Lk., or rather the earlier writer from whom they both draw,33The truth of the theory that they had the work of an earlier writer before them has been fully demonstrated. Cp. Wernle, Die Quellen des Lelens Jesu, pp. 70-7-4 (in the Religionsgeschichtlichen Volksbücher; Engl. trans, pp. 131-139). used a book in which the sentence about Jerusalem appeared without any apostrophe; and if they or he proceeded to introduce the apostrophe without noticing that, having made this alteration, the sentence should have been made to read differently at the beginning. And this is not a mere conjecture; we have, in addition, a clue which indicates the kind of book it may have been. In Mt., that is to say, the utterance immediately follows another (xxiii. 34-36) to this effect: “Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; some of them shall ye kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,” &c. Lk. gives this utterance in xi. 49-51, keeping the continuation about Jerusalem—quoted above—for chap. xiii. of his book. But this earlier utterance in Lk. not only dispenses with the apostrophe, as the beginning of the continuation about Jerusalem does—“I will send unto them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall kill and persecute,” &c.—but—and this is the chief point it is preceded by the introductory words: u There fore also said the wisdom of God.”
The Wisdom of God is represented in several books of the Old Testament as a person who takes up the word (Prov. viii. f., Ecclus. xxiv.), or is found as the title of a book (Wisdom of Solomon; Wisdom of Jesus, son of Sirach). The saying under consideration is not found in any of these books. But it is clear that it cannot have been framed for the first 60time by Jesus. In what precedes Jesus is addressing the Pharisees. He could not, therefore, as he does in Lk., suddenly continue, “therefore also said the wisdom of God,” unless what now follows is a saying which was already well known. But this is clear from the version in Mt. as well, though here the introductory formula is wanting. Jesus cannot have said of himself, as Mt. makes him say, “I send to you prophets and wise men and Scribes,” for he never did this, and at least would never have sent Scribes, whose attitude towards him was so unfriendly. Lk. knew very well what he was doing, when he substituted “Prophets and Apostles”; for Jesus could really send Apostles and (New Testament) Prophets. In this description of the persons sent, Mt. therefore has, we may be sure, preserved the more original version, but in the introductory formula it is Lk. who has done so. In Mt. the only remaining clue to the fact that his predecessor had before him a book in which this introductory formula stood is the word “therefore.”
But what kind of book was it? If the Scribes were mentioned amongst those men who were sent by God to the people, it was the work of a pious Jew who reproached his people for being stiff-necked, and was anxious to induce them to repent. Whether it had the title “Wisdom”—perhaps with some addition—or whether Wisdom was simply represented as speaking in it, we do not know. From this book, according to the story of the predecessor of our Mt. and Lk., Jesus quoted a passage in support of his own words in which he warned the Pharisees that they would be punished. In this way it is still used in Lk. Mt., on the other hand, has wrongly understood it and introduced it in such a way that Jesus uses the words as his own, and Lk. also, as regards the utterance about Jerusalem, shares 61the misunderstanding. Thus it was the Wisdom of God which said that it had often wished to gather together Jerusalem’s children, as a hen gathers her chickens. This it had actually done by sending prophets and wise men and Scribes. It is not Jesus who says he has done this. Thus the whole confirmation of Jn.’s story of many visits of Jesus to Jerusalem rests solely on the fact that an utterance put into the mouth of the Wisdom of God by a Jewish author has been wrongly regarded as a saying of Jesus. And now we understand also why the Synoptics, in spite of this “saying of Jesus” in which he says how often he has concerned himself about Jerusalem, had no information about these labours.
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