Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Passion in the Apocrypha?

Last week I was preparing a bible study on the crucifixion narrative in Matthew's gospel. Searching for some fresh insights, I came across this:

There are also striking parallels between the narrative in Matthew 27 and Wisdom of Solomon 2:10-20. This writing in the Apocrypha was probably composed a few decades before the birth of Jesus. The passage in Wisdom is as follows:

10 Let us oppress the righteous poor man; Let us not spare the widow, or regard the gray hairs of the aged. 11 But let our might be our law of right, for what is weak proves itself to be useless. 12 Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. 13 He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. 14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.

16 We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. 17 Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; 18 for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. 19 Let us test him with insult and torture, so that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."

(http://www.cresourcei.org/lectionary/YearA/Alent6nt.html )

Presumably many of the Jewish readers of Matthewe's gospel would be familiar with this. Something to ponder.

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