Thursday, November 20, 2014

57. Matthew and Marcion agree that Jesus's first miracle was performed in Capernaum

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus does not commence his preaching until after he takes up his residence in Capernaum. ~Matthew 4:13-17. Mark and Luke confirm this, but Matthew and Marcion were most likely from a common manuscript, as in the Gospel of John, Jesus is represented as performing his first miracle in Cana of Galilee, after which he traveled to Capernaum [E Christopher Reyes In His Name p. 230] 
John only thrice describes Jesus as "teaching," and only once as "teaching in synagogue." Comparing this with the frequency of the Synoptic traditions about Christ's teaching, we ought to be prepared to suppose that John attached special importance to this particular "teaching in synagogue" and some importance to the fact that it was at " Capernaum."This supposition is confirmed by the fact that John agrees with Luke in using the phrase "went down (or, came down) to Capernaum" to introduce (apparently) a new stage in the proclamation of the Gospel . It is also confirmed (not weakened) by the fact that the compiler of the Diatessaron omits the phrase in Luke , and not only the phrase, but also the context in John. That indicates for those at least who have studied the Diatessaron and its ways that in early times discussion was probably frequent about this "going down to Capernaum" and about the questions "Whence did He come down?" and "What did He do when He had come down ?" According to Tertullian, Marcion so mutilated the Gospel of Luke as to make it appear that Jesus came down "from heaven, straight to the synagogue" in Capernaum . Heracleon, dealing with the Johannine "going down to Capernaum," said that "the beginning of another dispensation was indicated, since 'went down' is not without significance." He added that Capernaum signifies "the uttermost parts of the Cosmos, the regions of matter into which He 'came-down .'" So far, Origen, who quotes Heracleon as above, might agree with Heracleon as to the inferior and negative character of the revelation at Capernaum. But he demurs to what Heracleon says concerning the following words "and there [i.e. at Capernaum] they abode not many days. And the passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up. . ." on which Heracleon says "By reason of the strange and alien nature of the place, He is not even said to have done or spoken anything in it [i.e. in Capernaum]." Yet Origen's only ground for demurring is that Mark and Luke relate, as occurring during this visit, the exorcism in the Capernaum Synagogue. To this Heracleon would have an obvious reply : "The Marcan exorcism could not have occurred during the Johannine visit to Capernaum; for Mark says clearly that what he relates about Capernaum took place after the Baptist's arrest ; John makes it no less clear that what he relates here about Capernaum took place before the Baptist's arrest." It is hardly possible to doubt that Heracleon is right at all events in calling attention to the fact that Jesus "is not even said to have done or spoken anything" in the first brief (Johannine) visit to Capernaum. But about the Evangelist's motive in thus recording an apparently resultless action of Christ there may very well be doubt or, at least, doubt at the first view of the subject. [Abbott Diatessarica III p. 99] [foot note] See Origen on Jn ii. 12 (Lomm. i. 291) quoting Heracleon to this effect. Origen himself says (Lomm. i. 288) that Capernaum means "field (agros) of Consolation." Jerome calls it (Onomast. 64) " ager vel villa consolationis." In his comment on Mt. iv. 13, viii. 5. Jerome is silent as to its meaning. Pseudo- Jerome, on Mk i. 21, calls it "villa consolationis. [Edwin Abbott the Fourfold Gospel p. 179]

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