Do unique or quirky tendencies repeatedly appear in Jesus’s sayings (in the Gospel traditions)?

“Yes, after all…
  • Gospels record Jesus prefacing with “amen” 59 times

      Throughout the four Gospels, we see that Jesus is habitually prefacing comments of his with “amen.” We see this across ≥5 independent sources:
      • 13 prefatory “amens” are only in Mark.
      • 9 prefatory “amens” are only in Mt & Lk (Q-source).
      • 9 prefatory “amens” are only in Matthew.
      • 3 prefatory “amens” are only in Luke.
      • 25 prefatory “amens” are only in John.
      This is relevant because it stands in stark contrast to the Old Testament and early Christian use of the word.2

      1. See Joachim Jeremias, New Testament Theology (SCM Press; Reissue edition, 2012), 35-36.
      2. Ben Witherington: “For example, he often prefaced a particular saying of his with the word “amen.” We find no one else using this practice in the New Testament. It is found in all layers of the Gospel tradition—13 times in Mark, 9 in Q, 9 in L, 9 in M, 25 in John (always as “amen, amen”).26 In dramatic contrast to this is the Old Testament use of “amen,” which is only “used” to confirm the truth of someone else’s remarks, as is also the case elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. 1 Cor. 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:20; Rev. 5:14; 7:12).” [New Testament History: A Narrative Account (Baker Academic, 2003), 124.]
  • Gospels record Jesus self-identifying as Son of Man 58 times

      Throughout the four Gospels, we see that Jesus is habitually referring to himself as the “Son of Man.” We see this across ≥5 independent sources:
      • 12 such self-identifications are only in Mark.
      • 4 such self-identifications are only in Mt & Lk (Q-source).
      • 15 such self-identifications are only in Matthew.
      • 15 such self-identifications are only in Luke.
      • 12 such self-identifications are only in John.

  • Gospels record Jesus using parables 37+ times

      There is some disagreement over how to divide parables up, and to what extent John has parables, but independent gospel sources together record at least 37 (up to 62) parables coming from the lips of Jesus. We see this across ≥4 independent sources:
      • 8 parables are only in Mk.
      • 34 parables are only in Mt & Lk (Q-source).
      • 12 parables are only in Matthew.
      • 16 parables are only in Luke.
      • A disputed amount of parables exist in Jn (as low as 0).

  • Gospels record Jesus using antithetical parallelism ~138 times

      . We see this across ≥4 independent sources:
      • 30 antithetical parallelisms are only in Mark.
      • 34 antithetical parallelisms are only in Mt & Lk (Q-source).
      • 44 antithetical parallelisms are only in Matthew.
      • 30 antithetical parallelisms are only in Luke.
      • [An uncounted number exist in Jn].

  • Gospels record Jesus using rhetorical questions ~50 times

      . We see this across ≥4 independent sources:
      • 19 rhetorical questions are only in Q (i.e. Mt & Lk).
      • 13 rhetorical questions are only in Mark.
      • 5 rhetorical questions are only in Matthew.
      • 7 rhetorical questions are only in Luke.
      • [An uncounted number exist in Jn].

  • Gospels record Jesus using the Divine passive 96 times

      We see this across ≥4 independent sources:
      • 21 Divine passives are only in Mk.
      • 23 Divine passives are only in Q (logia common to Mt and Lk).
      • 27 Divine passives are only in Matthew.
      • 25 Divine passives are only in Luke.
      • [An uncounted number exist in Jn].

  • Gospels record Jesus using hyperbole ~16 times

      . We see this across ≥4 independent sources:
      • Q 6:41-42. Q 12:46; 14:26, 27; 17:6;
      • Mk 4:8, 31-32; 8:34; 9:42-48; 10:25;
      • Mt 5:22, 29-30; 6:3; 23:8-10, 15, 25;
      • Lk 16:31; 19:40

      But so what?
      • This is common to rabbis (see Gospel Jesus-rhetoric super-fit AD 30 rabbis) [Forthcoming]

  • Gospels record Jesus using aphoristic formulations 148 times

      . We see this across ≥5 independent sources:
      • 44 aphoristic formulations are in Mark. • 49 aphoristic formulations are only in Mt & Lk (Q-source).
      • 32 aphoristic formulations only in Matthew.
      • 22 aphoristic formulations only in Luke.
      • 8 aphoristic formulations are only in John.

  • Gospels record Jesus using paradox ~12 times

      . We see this across several independent sources:
      • 5 paradoxical teachings are only in Mark.1
      • 5 paradoxical teachings are only in Mt & Lk (Q-source)2
      • 2 paradoxical teachings are only in Luke.3

      1. • Mk 2:17 — “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
        • Mk 7:15 — “there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.”
        • Mk 8:35 — “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
        • Mk 9:12-13 — “[Eschatological] Elijah does first come and restore all things… But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they did to him whatever they wished,
        • Mk 10:45 — “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
      2. • Q/Lk 6:20-23 — “Blessed are you who are poor, …. you who hunger now, … you who weep now, …you when men hate you, and ostracize you,… Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great
        • Q/Lk 10:21 — “I praise You, O Father…, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
        • Q/Lk 12:51 — “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;”
        • Q/Lk 13:20 — “[The Kingdom of Heaven] It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened [i.e. corrupting all the flour]
        • Q/Lk 13:30 — “behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.”
      3. • Lk 10:30-34 — “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him… a priest was going down on that road… , and when he saw him, he passed by… a Levite also… But a Samaritan… felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him
        • Lk 16:1-8 — There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager. …[the manager secretly] summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ … And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly;
  • “I have come” statements

      .
      Darrell Bock: “Scot McKnight's essay in this volume treats this criterion when he evaluates the "I have come" sayings. To this expression could be added the "I am sent" sayings, which are conceptually similar in form. This kind of expression appears at various levels of the tradition ("I have come": Matt. 5:17 [M]; 9:13 is like Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32 [Mark and/or Q]; 10:34-35 is like Luke 12:45 [Q]; "I am sent": Matt. 15:24 [M]; Luke 4:43 [L]). If we include statements like "the Son of Man has come" in this motif, then the selection of material broadens (Matt. 11:19 is like Luke 7:34 [QJ; Luke 19:10 is like Mark 10:45 [Mark]). One can see that this kind of statement is attested in multiple sources, since M, L, Q, and Mark all contain it.”[Jesus under Fire] {One might ask how this saying could be considered an "I have come" saying when it refers to the Son of Man, not Jesus. The answer is that Jesus only referred to himself as "Son of Man," so it is an indirect reference to himself. As such, it is semantically and conceptually equivalent to "I have come."}

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