Matthew 14 etc.

Thursday, 03 February 2005

I have been spending a lot of time in Matthew lately. If anyone actually reads this page and has some insight into the walking on water pericope in 14.22-33, your comments are invited and, in fact, requested. The explanations are as varied as, well, there are a lot.

Some call it a translational misunderstanding. They say that the Greek for on the water actually means by the water. Some call it a group hallucination. Some maintain that Jesus just exercised some inate and generally unused human psychic ability that allows one to project his image.

I’m calling these bunk. They all presuppose that miracles don’t happen, and each of these theories assumes that Peter’s getting out of the boat and walking himself is Matthew playing fast and loose with historical reality for the sake of the needs of his community of readers.

Then there’s the allegorical approach: the boat is the church, disciples of Christ are called to be faithful, etc. And yet Peter gets out of the boat. Not too likely an explanation.

And still others maintain that this is a post-resurrection account, and it got misplaced when Matthew did his hack job with Mark or whatever. But Jesus’ time spent in prayer prior to this doesn’t really fit with this. It’s the only other time that Jesus really spent in serious prayer in Matthew, the other being Gethsemane.

I think I’m a little too frustrated and too close to the text to really understand it right now. My frustration is with text critics who don’t allow the text to speak. They place themselves in judgment of the text rather than allowing the text to say what it says. That’s really it. Not helpful, and indeed, pretty dangerous.

There’s more brewing here, but that’s all for now. Brewing. Coffee. Wired and tired. I’m out.