Monday, 30 March 2020

Monday quote

But the point of childrearing is not order or disorder but rather love. Order that serves love is a delight. Disorder for the sake of others is also a delight. Wisdom alone establishes the point of equipoise.

Douglas Wilson, My Life for Yours.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Monday quote

If you correct a bad attitude with a bad attitude, the lesson the child learns is not that bad attitudes are wrong. He learns that bad attitudes are wrong unless you have the upper hand. So then the kid clings sinfully to his bad attitude, and commences work on getting the upper hand.

Douglas Wilson, My Life for Yours.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

The twelve apostles

The twelve disciples of Jesus, who are also called apostles, are named in the 3 synoptic gospels and Acts. There are minor differences in these lists (and some minor manuscript variations). The comparison of the passages reveals several insights.

Matthew lists the names of the disciples at the time Jesus sent them out, not at the time of their calling.
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mat 10:1-6)
Mark writes of the calling of the disciples.
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. (Mar 3:13-20)
Luke also writes of the calling, and notes that this was after a night of prayer.
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. (Luk 6:12-18)
Luke again lists the disciples when they were choosing a replacement for Judas
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. (Act 1:12-16)
The disciples are listed in this order in the various books:

Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Peter

Rearranging the table so the names align with Matthew we get

Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Peter

Not unlike today, some people had more than one name. Matthew is also called Levi in Luke 5. Simon is renamed Peter by Jesus. Comparing the lists it is clear that Thaddaeus is Judas the son of James. We are not told why Judas also went by the name Thaddaeus, though the other Judas went on to betray Jesus and the son of James would not wish to be confused with him. Judas is the Greek form of the name Judah, a common name at the time.

This leads to another noteworthy aspect of the list. There are 2 Simons, 2 James', and 2 Judas'. They were common names. There are 11 different men named Simon mentioned in the New Testament*.

The top male names in first century Israel were:
  1. Simon
  2. Joseph
  3. Lazarus
  4. Judah
  5. John
  6. Joshua (Jesus)
  7. Ananias
  8. Jonathan
  9. Matthew
The top nine female names were:
  1. Mary
  2. Salome
  3. Shelamzion (related to Salome)
  4. Martha
  5. Joanna
  6. Sapphira
  7. Berenice
  8. Imma
  9. Mara
To prevent confusion disambiguators were used. The 4 lists of the disciples include disambiguators as the gospels also do elsewhere.
  1. Simon who is called Peter
  2. Simon the Zealot
  3. James the son of Zebedee
  4. James the son of Alphaeus
  5. Judas the son of James
  6. Judas Iscariot
Mark names all the disciples in a continuous list: Simon... and James... and John... and Andrew.... Luke does the same. But Matthew lists them in pairs.
First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; [and] James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Some manuscripts have an extra "and".

Matthew is pairing the names.
  • Simon and Andrew
  • James and John
  • Philip and Bartholomew
  • Thomas and Matthew
  • James and Thaddaeus
  • Simon and Judas
Matthew lists the disciples and pairs them within the pericope of Jesus sending out his twelve disciples to the Jews. While Matthew does not mention pairing specifically, we know from Mark that Jesus sent them out in pairs.
And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two. (Mar 6:7)
This also explains why Matthew puts Andrew next to Peter: Andrew was Peter's brother and were sent out together; but Peter, James and John are listed first in the other 3 lists as they were the inner circle of the disciples (consider the transfiguration).

In the pairing of Thomas and Matthew, Matthew writes his own name second. Yet in Mark and Luke Thomas is mentioned first. Matthew also calls himself Matthew the tax collector but this is not required as a disambiguator in this list nor is it included in the other 3 lists. These two aspects of Matthew's list are interesting: he is paired with Thomas yet names Thomas first (unlike Mark and Luke), and he adds an unnecessary descriptor which has very negative connotations (Mat 21:31; Luk 18:9). Tax-collectors were despised and considered (with good reason) to be dishonest. It would be like a woman labeling herself "Rachel the prostitute." The choice to list himself second in a specific pairing, and the use a derogatory label which was arguably unnecessary is suggestive that the author of the gospel was indeed humble Matthew.

*Simon and the variant Simeon in the New Testament
  1. Simon Peter (the disciple)
  2. Simon the Zealot (another disciple )
  3. Simon the brother of Jesus
  4. Simon the leper
  5. Simon of Cyrene (who carried Jesus’ cross)
  6. Simon the Pharisee
  7. Simon Iscariot
  8. Simon the sorcerer
  9. Simon the tanner
  10. Simeon (who blessed Jesus)
  11. Simeon called Niger

Monday, 16 March 2020

Monday quote

Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome.

Lee Spetner

Monday, 9 March 2020

Monday quote

So the question isn’t “If God is perfectly loving, why would he allow all those people to die?”. Rather, we should marvel at the amazing love of God to save anyone, especially when the price was the death of the Son of God.

Lita Cosner.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Monday quote

The only lasting monuments of atheism are the gulags, Stalin’s execution lists, China’s Movement, the guillotine and French river of blood, the attempted Mexican extermination of Catholicism and other such monuments.

This is what groups that are explicitly atheist have done—these are their monuments. It is a fact so obvious that I knew it as such even when I was an atheist.

RJ Wizard


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