§ 76. The Entry into Jerusalem

Critique of the Gospel History of the Synoptics
by Bruno Bauer

Volume 3



Twelfth section.

The activity of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Mark 11, 1 – 13, 37.


§ 76.

The Entry into Jerusalem.

Mark 11, 1 – 11.

The changes that the three others made to the original report are so obvious as later changes, that we are allowed to focus on the original report right away. Once it has fallen itself – and it will fall immediately – the changes that the later ones have made with it, if they prove to be tasteless – also prove to be highly unnecessary.

The solemn entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and indeed his entry as king, appears from the outset as intended by him; in fact, Jesus’s intention is so serious that he does not disdain to bring the animal he needs for his purposes through a miracle. As soon as he and his entourage have arrived in the vicinity of Jerusalem, namely near Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, but why should we, with our profane pen, write once again what is written once and for all, about how the disciples went to the village before their eyes at his command, how he had predicted it, found a colt on which no one had yet sat, and how the people, seeing their violent intrusion into someone else’s property, contented themselves with the mere remark that the Lord needed it, and calmly let them untie the colt and drive away? Shall we still ask whether nothing great, worthy or special can happen in the world without a miracle? Poor humanity! Poor saviors of humanity, you heroes who have redeemed us in the state, in art and science, and through your discoveries, you are nothing! Shall we still ask – shall we at least ask one of the thousand questions of indignation and moral outrage that are on our lips, whether those people knew the Lord, that they simply let the disciples go away with the animal at a word? But that too is supposed to be a miracle, that those people, who could not understand how the disciples came to appropriate someone else’s property without further ado, were deprived of their reason by a word, by the magic formula: “the Lord!”


But we make fools of ourselves by coming upon a miracle that is tiny and small in comparison with the infinitely greater one that is now to take place. Jesus makes arrangements for a solemn entry into the capital; but does he know that the decoration will not be lacking, without which his ride out of that beast would lack all effect? Yes, he knows beforehand that the crowd – we don’t know where it comes from – will be there at once, scattering tree branches along the way and escorting him into the city with the shout: blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord! He knows it beforehand because it is a miracle and he knows miracles beforehand when they are necessary.

But we do not know where this attitude of the crowd comes from! We do not even know where the crowd comes from! Until now Jesus has not confessed himself as the Messiah before the crowd, even – a blatant contradiction! – When (C. 8, 30) the disciples saw in him the Messiah, he strictly forbade them to tell the people who he was; the people not only did not know, but they were not supposed to know. And yet they know it in Jerusalem and the first best crowd, which seems to have fallen from heaven, knows it.


Now, when Jesus’s collision with the people and the priesthood reaches its peak and the catastrophe is to be brought about, Jesus must openly appear as the Messiah, be recognized as such, and the introduction to this recognition is the jubilation of the crowd during the entry into Jerusalem, or rather not only the introduction, but the finished fact, and the blind man in Jerusalem is pushed forward as an outpost before the enthusiastic crowd. *).

*) After what we have already noted above about the report of this blind man, it only remains for us to add that Wilke (p. 673) rightly explains the words Mark 10, 46: “the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, the blind man” as a later inappropriate addition. If the blind man is designated by name, then the following provision, that he was a beggar, sitting προσαετων by the road, is superfluous, and under the condition that the reader already knows the man by name, when it says: they called the blind man (v. 49), the called man would not be designated as “the blind man”. Mark had written only “a blind man” τεφλος τις sat by the way begging.

Luke – not to mention other less significant deteriorations – does not distinguish the fact that the disciples put their clothes on the animal and the crowd spread their clothes on the road. He lets the disciples who brought the animal also do the latter (even where they may have obtained the clothes from!). He does not mention the crowd beforehand and only says later that “the whole crowd of disciples” praised God – note how here Luke, as always, gives the seeds which the fourth gospel allows to grow into trees! – for all the signs they had seen. Finally, when Jesus came near and saw the city, he very improperly used the words that Jehovah had already spoken in the times of the Old Testament in Isaiah 29:3, Jeremiah 26:18, and elsewhere, threatening Jerusalem with siege and destruction by its enemies because it did not also – like his crowd of disciples – consider what would serve its peace. Therefore, the matter had to be twisted in such a way that only the disciples solemnly lead the animal into the holy city? So that the evangelist would have an opportunity to make his threat so inappropriately, to spoil the joy of the day? It is also inappropriate that some Pharisees additionally ask him to threaten his disciples and shut their mouths, and that Jesus now answers: “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Inappropriate! The joy of the day must be complete! Complete and without discord! (Luke 19:29-44). That is why it is also inappropriate for Luke to have the temple cleansing happen on the same day, immediately after the entry into the city! – Today is a holiday! A day of glory! This day should be a silver lining of evangelical history!


Matthew also presents the matter in such a way that Jesus immediately runs into the temple and performs its purification after the entry. Although he did not copy Luke in attributing the disturbance of the joy of the entry to the Pharisees’ reminder, he does not want to completely ignore the anger of the Pharisees, so he sends the priests and scribes against the Lord – but only immediately after the temple cleansing – because he does not know what the climax of a report is. However, to make the opponents’ complaint still explicable, he must introduce the children and boys who cry “Hosanna” and whom he suddenly creates as these children and boys (sons of David), so that Jesus’ response – “Have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise?'” – in the temple! – in the temple (!) can be explained. Yes, to explain their cry even now, he quickly has the Lord perform healing miracles!! (Matthew 21:1-17.) However, he reveals his dependence on Luke by not weaving a connection between the children’s cry and those miracles, nor between the enemies’ remark and Jesus’ response to the situation that the whole thing is happening in the temple.


Enough, however, that such a miraculous writer was also able to accomplish the feat that the disciples, when they had brought a donkey’s colt with its mother and had laid their clothes on both animals (επ αυτων), in one and the same moment likewise laid their Master on both animals (επ αυτων), so that it has now come down to the literary miracle that Jesus rides on two animals at the same time and makes his entrance. In the prophecy that he himself cites, Zechariah 9:9, Matthew has interpreted a bit too prosaically the two parallel determinations of one and the same donkey on which the Prince of Peace comes to the daughter of Zion, and because there is also talk of a colt of a donkey, he has had a colt with its mother brought to the Lord.

The expression ‘King’ in Luke’s account (Blessed is the King who comes) and the indication that the crowd rejoices led Matthew to that passage in Zechariah, and it is likely that Luke already had in mind the prophecy of Zechariah: Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! See, your king comes to you! For his citation, Matthew has also added the other phrase taken from Isaiah (Isaiah 62:11): ‘Say to Daughter Zion!’


No one can assert with certainty that Mark did not have that prophecy of Zechariah in mind as well; it is simply his style not to use the Old Testament quotations as precisely as his successors. And this time, there were no specific keywords that he could have used, as it was only the situation that mattered, that the Prince of Peace, the Lord, who does not ride in magnificence like worldly kings, enters his city on a donkey. But regardless of how it may be, i.e. even if he only had that Psalm 118 in mind, from which he borrowed the “Hosanna” cry during the entrance of the Anointed One, it is certain that his mount was not, as Weiss thinks, a horse, but a donkey. His foal had to be untied, for the donkey of Judah, the chosen one, the prince and lord, is bound according to Genesis 49:11. 

However, a donkey remains a donkey. This pomp of the entrance, which was supposed to clearly indicate the nature of Jesus’ kingdom, would have been lacking in flavor if it had not been for the prophecy of Zechariah. “Without this spice, this dish would never have tasted good,” rightly observed Calvin *). Calvin even goes further and admits that the nature of Jesus’ kingdom was not even clearly understood by the people who encountered him **). But if he now suggests that Jesus rather had in mind the future and the later believers when announcing his royal entrance, we must rather say: only in the later interpretation did this story make sense, in the mind of Mark.

*) Quum instaret – did the Jews, who ibn einbelten? — mortis tempus, solenni rita ostendere roluit, qualis esset regni sui satura. Faisset anten ridicula haec pompa , nisi respondisset Zachariae vaticinio. Sine hoc condimento nunquam haee historia sobis sapiet.

**) Fateor quidem, naturam hujus regoi se plebi quidem, quae ia occursum ejus prodiit, probe fuisse cognitam : sed in posterum respesit Jesus.


The Fourth Gospel, just to give it a passing glance, read in Luke that the crowd of Jesus’ companions praised his miracles during the entry – reason enough for him to insert his story of the raising of Lazarus here – for now let us just say that the people of Jerusalem ran out to Jesus in Bethany to tell him of that miracle, and once, when he set out for Jerusalem, they solemnly greeted him. Naturally, after such a magnificent introduction, the Fourth Gospel no longer needs the other introduction that sheds a glorifying light on the entry: he omits the account of the miraculous way in which Jesus comes to the animal. Instead of the indefinite word “colt,” he uses the more specific “donkey,” which he owes to Matthew’s instruction. (John 12:9-19.) In the course of his pragmatism, which we have long since resolved, he has reworked and transformed the Pharisees’ concern, as reported by Luke, to say to each other, “Do you see that nothing helps?”

Finally he says that on the following day the entry took place. But on which day? Which is the last day? Not the day of the anointing, which was the sixth before the feast? (C. 12, 1.) After the anointing he allows many, many things to happen, and he describes it in such a way that he describes it as something permanent. The people found out that Jesus was in Bethany, and they went out in crowds. The priesthood was already discussing the danger that could arise from this faithful incident. Was the following day the day after the anointing? The Fourth Gospel cannot even count properly, even if it wants to.

The magnificent statement that the anointing of Jesus took place six days before the Passover and even before the entry into Jerusalem falls apart like this: Mark does not specify the duration of Jesus’ stay in Jerusalem. He lives in a time that is measured not by sunrise and sunset, but by the ideal spread of events. He does not yet think of Passover when Jesus enters Jerusalem, and only when the catastrophe occurs and in the anointing the burial of Jesus is celebrated in advance, he says that this pre-celebration – very nicely! – took place two days before Passover.


But the Fourth Gospel is under the illusion that Jesus could only come to Jerusalem for a festival, and he has more to report, so he has the anointing take place six days before the festival and presents it before the entry because he must report it in the closest possible connection with the story of Lazarus, for it is Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who anoints Jesus.



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