This item has been selected by Peter Kirby as a "Featured Smackdown". You are heartily encouraged to debate the claims made on both sides.
And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. (ASV)
Pro - "Mark" says Sign/"Matthew" says No Sign
Thought I'd move from a really difficult error to prove like the Placement of "Matthew" to the other extreme, a really easy error to prove:
- "And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation." (ASV)
Compare to Matthew_16:4
- "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. And he left them, and departed."
Sounds like "Mark's" Jesus said there would be No Sign and "Matthew's" Jesus, supposedly from the same conversation, said there would be a sign. Let's expand the stories to get some confidence that "Mark" and "Matthew" were reporting the same conversation:
- "8:1 In those days, when there was again a great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them,
- 8:2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat:
- 8:3 and if I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way; and some of them are come from far.
- 8:4 And his disciples answered him, Whence shall one be able to fill these men with bread here in a desert place?
- 8:5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.
- 8:6 And he commandeth the multitude to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he brake, and gave to his disciples, to set before them; and they set them before the multitude.
- 8:7 And they had a few small fishes: and having blessed them, he commanded to set these also before them.
- 8:8 And they ate, and were filled: and they took up, of broken pieces that remained over, seven baskets.
- 8:9 And they were about four thousand: and he sent them away.
- 8:10 And straightway he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.
- 8:11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, trying him.
- 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
- 8:13 And he left them, and again entering into [the boat] departed to the other side.
- 8:14 And they forgot to take bread; and they had not in the boat with them more than one loaf.
- 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."
Compare to Matthew 15
- "15:29 And Jesus departed thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and he went up into the mountain, and sat there.
- 15:30 And there came unto him great multitudes, having with them the lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and they cast them down at this feet; and he healed them:
- 15:31 insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, and lame walking, and the blind seeing: and they glorified the God of Israel.
- 15:32 And Jesus called unto him his disciples, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat: and I would not send them away fasting, lest haply they faint on the way.
- 15:33 And the disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so many loaves in a desert place as to fill so great a multitude?
- 15:34 And Jesus said unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few small fishes.
- 15:35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground;
- 15:36 and he took the seven loaves and the fishes; and he gave thanks and brake, and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes.
- 15:37 And they all ate, and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, seven baskets full.
- 15:38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, besides women and children.
- 15:39 And he sent away the multitudes, and entered into the boat, and came into the borders of Magadan.
- 16:1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
- 16:2 But he answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, [It will be] fair weather: for the heaven is red.
- 16:3 And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to-day: for the heaven is red and lowering. Ye know how to discern the face of the heaven; but ye cannot [discern] the signs of the times.
- 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. And he left them, and departed.
- 16:5 And the disciples came to the other side and forgot to take bread.
- 16:6 And Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
- 16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, We took no bread.
- 16:8 And Jesus perceiving it said, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have no bread?
- 16:9 Do ye not yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
- 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
- 16:11 How is it that ye do not perceive that I spake not to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Yup, I'm pretty sure this is the same story. The apparent Contradiction is also Reinforced by the different Themes of these two evangelists. To "Mark" the Christian witness was the reader of his Gospel ("Let the Reader understand"). "Matthew" correctly saw this as seriously undermining the Christian assertion of a reliable chain of witnesses from Jesus to the subsequent Church as it bypassed the supposed disciples. That's why Mark's Jesus says there will be no sign for his generation and his disciples never know that he was resurrected. All consistent with "Mark's" theology that it's the Readers and not the Disciples who are the witnesses to a resurrected Jesus. Since "Matthew" changes Mark's theology to having the disciples as the witnesses "Matthew's" Jesus changes the no sign story to a yes sign story in order to predict that the disciples would be witnesses to a resurrected Jesus and then changes "Mark's" resurrection story to show the disciples as witnesses to a resurrected Jesus.
This Error has all the qualities a Skeptic would want:
1) Clear contradiction of No sign versus Yes sign.
2) Contradiction refers to the most important event in Christianity.
3) Clear evidence that "Matthew" edited "Mark" to change the theology.
Having an Apologist try to defend this will tell you more about the Apologist than the Bible. To see this for yourself go to the TWeb Archived Debate section and see where I debate JP Holding on the subject.
--JoeWallack 19:58, 24 June 2008 (EDT)
The thread JW refers to is found here.