§ 84. The anointing of Jesus in Bethany

Critique of the Gospel History of the Synoptics
by Bruno Bauer

Volume 3



§ 84.

The anointing of Jesus in Bethany.

1. The report of John.

C. 12, 1-8.

Six days before the Passover, after the priests had decided on his death and he himself had eluded their persecution for some time, Jesus came to Bethany.

Every reader will now know the relationship of Jesus to this place: why does the evangelist mention this place: “where Lazarus, the one who had died and whom he had raised from the dead, was”? This miracle chat was reported just now: why this laboriously elaborated, this anxiously turned note? We see from this nothing more than that the author first laboriously works into the situations, not to say that he only laboriously works them out at the moment of writing and cannot yet put the individual features into their correct harmony, or not to say that he uses a report which simply names Bethany, and that he now extremely anxiously blacks out the relation to Lazarus in this report.

V. 2 says vaguely: “A banquet was held there in his honor. But if it goes on to say: “Martha was waiting”, it seems that the banquet was organized by her, and therefore also by Lazarus, i.e. in the house of this family. Nevertheless, it says again vaguely: ,, Lazarus was one of those who were at table with him. ” So Lazarus is one of the guests – that is clear if one still gives language permission to be language – Jesus is in the house of a stranger and yet Martha is waiting!


Mary takes a pound of precious ointment, anoints the feet of Jesus and dries them with her hair. What does that mean? Does one wipe off the ointment with which one has rubbed the limbs of another on the spot? And now even with the hair? This touching trait of extreme self-denial, of heroic devotion, how does it come here? Is it motivated? No!

A new example of how clumsily and fearfully the author introduces the situations! One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, the son of Simeon, who was to betray him,” says v. 4. “But do the readers not know Judas? Do they not already know from C. 6, 71 that Judas was this very future betrayer? The author has again very anxiously imposed this note on a foreign report.

Judas now remarks whether this ointment could not be sold for three hundred denarii and the proceeds given to the poor. At the same time, the author gives the note, which has given rise to the most important and interesting remarks, treatises, thoughts, characteristics and a thousand useful things for the theologians, that Judas did not think of the poor, but was a thief, for he carried – a new instructive note, which in turn gave rise to many wonderful remarks – the common treasury of the followers. Thousands of essays, treatises, comments and books have also been written about how Jesus, with his omniscience, could have entrusted the treasury to Judas and thus tempted him. We will immediately relieve the theologians of the trouble of continuing to rack their brains over this highly important matter, and we will give the sensible ones a fully valid dispensation that will legally absolve them from the obligation to study this theological-criminalistic literature.


“Let her,” replies Jesus, “she has saved the ointment for the day of my burial. “But is it now, as Jesus sits at table, “the day of his burial”? The symbolism of the action, the bold anticipation inherent in Mary’s action, is not clearly expressed!

And how true it is that only after Mary’s action has been interpreted does it continue with “for” – namely, with reference to the words “let her! “- it continues: “for you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me! It is not true at all!

Finally, if the evangelist knows that Judas made this objection for selfish reasons, and not for the sake of the poor, he will also trust his Lord, the heart’s rescuer, to have known of Judas’ motive. But does Jesus in the least acknowledge this in his reply? Are these words intended to reject such a wicked hypocrite and egoist? Is this a dismissal of the shameful egoist, when he is confidently referred to the future, in which he would still have time to show his well-meaning disposition to the poor? Is not this speech comforting, and spoken with a good faith in the sincerity of the objection, or at least in such a way that it is thought possible that the man who expressed that misgiving would and could then take care of the poor? In short, the speech does not fit the premises of the report, i.e. it has come to the author from outside and, apart from that unfortunate mistake, he has only placed it so inappropriately because he has brought a feature into the narrative from his own resources which was alien to the original whole. After introducing the contrast between the pious liberality of the woman and the devilish Judas, he kept the speech of Jesus, which belonged to a different context, essentially unchanged.


2. The report of Matthew.

C. 26, 6-13.

Matthew and Mark also place the account of the anointing in Bethany immediately after the note that the priesthood had decided on the death of Jesus, but indicate that the event took place – not six, but at the earliest – two days before the feast.

According to both, however, the scene also took place in Bethany, but in the house of a certain Simon, who was called the leper. Both do not mention the name of the anointing woman, although if they had known it, they would have told us, since Jesus, according to their account, closes the defence of the woman with the words: Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in her memory. “

In some points, however, Matthew differs from Mark. He says: the woman “came to him”, but we do not know what should have been said, whether she was already in the house before. Afterwards it is assumed (v. 7) that Jesus was at the table, but it was not stated that he was given a banquet. Now listen to Mark! He first gives the situation that Jesus was at the table, and then he says: “there came a woman with a little bottle of balm. “

Furthermore, according to Matthew, it is the disciples who became indignant about this waste of the precious balm and remarked that the proceeds of the sale could be distributed to the poor. It is incomprehensible how all the disciples suddenly had the same feeling, how they all fell for the same thought, how they could be so envious of their Lord and master, especially since they could not otherwise prove that they were capable of such an attitude towards him. In Jesus’ answer, however, there is no hint at all that he turns against his disciples and has to defend the love of that woman against them. If the disciples had acted so conspicuously against him, Jesus would have had to take this peculiar incident into consideration. The speech therefore originally had a different purpose.


It is also inappropriate and inexplicable that Jesus says: that she poured this ointment on my body, she did it to bury me. But how? Can there be talk of a real burial now? Matthew has made a mistake, has exaggerated clumsily.

So we would arrive happily at Mark.


3. The report of Mark.

C. 14, 3 – 9.

Everything is in harmony in his report, everything has its measure; situation, action, speech, everything is in the right harmony.

It was not Judas who took offense, it was not the disciples, but “some” of those present, who are to be thought of as those who were not in such close relationship to Jesus as the disciples.

The speech is complete in itself. Jesus does not attack the opponents. The situation has something mild, wistful, soft, since it is supposed to be the pre-celebration of the death and burial of Jesus. Jesus does not speak in sharp irony, but very mildly he says, “you always have the poor with you and, if you want – Matthew has not copied this mild, but for the character of the speech significant addition – you can do them good.

The construction of the speech is also correct. “Let them! What do you do to her complaint! She has done a good work on me! (Here, therefore, her work is not yet completely interpreted, the attention to it is not yet exclusively focused, so it can be continued with respect to the “Let her!”:) for you always have the poor with you, (Matthew has also already destroyed the rhythm, when he does not copy “let her” and also cincludes the words: “she has done a good work for me” with a “because”, so that two sentences one after the other begin with “because”,) but not me. “


Finally, Jesus says in Mark (when he now speaks directly about the woman’s act to interpret it): “She has done what she could (very beautiful, but omitted by Matthew), she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.”

Even if unconsciously to her, but following the divine impulse of love – that is what the words are supposed to mean – the woman has done the honor to my body for the event, which will now soon – (in two days) – occur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The meaning of these words becomes even clearer and more important when we remember that according to the writing of Mark the body of Jesus could not be anointed and embalmed, because it was too late on the day of the crucifixion and burial and the women, who C. 16, 1 went to the tomb of Jesus after the Sabbath with the specimens to embalm him, found the tomb empty and received the message from the angel that their Lord had risen. Matthew does not emphasize this circumstance, does not attribute this note to Mark, because he did not notice the inner connection of it with the story of the anointing in Bethany, because he had no eye for this kind of connection in the writing of his predecessor. And now the fourth? He was even more mistaken, he violated the story of the anointing – besides the other violations – even more, when he reports from his own hand that Joseph and the comrade whom he gave to Joseph, Nicodemus, embalmed the body of Jesus when they buried him.

Both Matthew and the Fourth copied their account from Mark. But how then are the differences to be explained, by which all these reports differ significantly from one another?


The matter of Matthew we can briefly settle. Where he differs from Mark, it is either his carelessness in the pure business of writing, or the fact that he had no feeling for some seemingly minor trifles, which is to be given as the reason for the difference. The most striking circumstance, that he lets the disciples appear against the woman, is to be explained purely and solely from the clumsiness, which sometimes tempts him to give a definiteness to the representation, where Mark very correctly and appropriately leaves the matter undefined. (Cf. C. 9, 14. Mark 2, 18).

But John?


4. The origin of the Johannine account.

The dear man of the heart has just copied!

From Mark he has the designation of the ointment as πιστικης – about the meaning of this word the theologians may still argue in the future – but from the treasure of his own sublime imagination he has taken it that the woman – think! – took a pound of ointment to anoint the Lord’s feet. In the end, we would have to explain it from this profusion that Mary was frightened when, instead of anointing the feet of Jesus, she did it in a troublesome way – we do not want to say what – and that therefore she reached for her hair *).

He wrote Mark’s calculation of the value of the ointment, but he wrote it badly, because Mark lets people say that one could pay “more” than three hundred denarii for the ointment if one sold it, he writes very clumsily that one could sell the ointment for three hundred denarii.

*) How do you like this explanation? Is it worse than that of de Wette, who explains the striking circumstance that Mary anointed the feet, not the head, thus: (I, I, 215) “probably Mary could approach the feet rather than the head. And to pour a whole pound of ointment on the head at once would have been unseemly”? I wish that the theologians would at least stop scolding the rabbis. These were worthy, clear philosophers compared to these people who make such profound reflections on a pound of ointment (font tant de bruit).


He omitted the word about the woman’s eternal remembrance because he had already given her a name (Mary) and then brought a new interest into the narrative, which he esteemed, to make the final focus fall once again on the woman or rest on her. He brought the contrast between the woman’s loving effort and the selfishness of the betrayer into the narrative, although not properly or even completely: as soon as the betrayer is dismissed in necessity, the account must come to an end.

But where does Judas come from? First of all from the Fourth’s love of terrible contrasts! Here he wanted to oppose the expression of tender, wistful love with the utmost egoism, and he now opposes it – how clumsy, how tasteless! – a common thief. Mark has kept the right measure when he contrasts the touching extravagance of love with the envy and misgivings of the ordinary adherents of the utilitarian theory.

Earlier, the Fourth Gospel had already quoted the black traitor for the sake of contrast, namely to use his stubbornness as a foil for the love of the Lord and the attachment of the other disciples (John 6:68-71). He borrowed this contrast from the Gospel of Mark, but if Mark only used it once (in the account of the Last Supper) and even then only very appropriately, namely artistically tempered, then the Fourth Gospel has now painted it in glaring colors, as if this contrast were not always, even in the most moderate portrayal, large, terrible, and moving enough, and placed it everywhere, even in very inappropriate places, wherever he found a place for it.

However, this time there was a very special reason that led him to execute Judas here. In the scripture of Mark, immediately after the report of the anointing, there is a note (C. 14, 10) that Judas left to betray Jesus to the high priests. Well, here the fourth one had Judas in front of him, he also reads here that the betrayer was promised money by the priests. He slips it into his report about the anointing, the note about the money makes him make the villain a money man, in order to give him the opportunity to prove his greediness, he makes him immediately the treasurer of the society *) and afterwards – yes afterwards, after his wonderful report about the anointing he omits the note that Judas went to the priests and was promised money, a note that was necessary for the whole gospel.

*Tholuck (comm. p. 229) says, what the holy John C. 12, 4 – 6 reports, is “the only psychological trait from the life of Judas, which enables us to read his soul. Now read what Mr. Tholuck reads out in order to feel justified disgust about this astonishing psychology. No! One does not read it! It is too silly not to mention that it is empty straw threshing. Judas is no longer a treasurer!


Further, the question arises, how he came to set Martha and Mary in motion for the banquet. What a superfluous question! We have already seen how he wove Luke’s note of the two sisters into his story of the raising of Lazarus. He does that again here. As Luke’s Martha resurrects, so does his; as Luke’s Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, so does his prove her devotion to the Lord by anointing his feet.

He moved the sisters by force to Bethany. In Luke, where he first met them, they live in some village and Jesus meets them on his journey before he comes to Judea. The force that the Fourth used in this transfer can be seen very clearly in the hasty intention with which he immediately, as he first writes down the word Bethany in C. 11, 1. 2, assures that this place was the village of Mary and Martha. He wants to impress upon the reader that this village was the well-known village where Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, lived, the village where Mary lived, who, as is known, anointed the feet of the Lord and wiped them with her hair – Yes, yes, he tells the readers, just believe it, it is the same well-known village! the same village!


The name Lazarus he has from the narration of the rich man and Lazarus which he has read with Luke. His Lazarus is a revenant who should bring the people forcefully to the faith.

He transfers Lazarus to Bethany in order to use the miracle that happened to him to bring about the final catastrophe.

But would it really be because he used the elements that Mark and Luke gave him so externally? *) We have proved it and will add new proofs.

*) Strauss (l, 786. 787) not only doubts it, but decides – i.e. in the mist of his mystical tradition hypothesis – for the opposite. He does not find it “advisable to accuse the fourth gospel here of an unhistorical naming. For the relationship of Jesus to the family in Bethany, like the several festive journeys, is a point at which this Gospel in all probability has more precise notes ahead of the others.” The scattered features in the Synoptic Gospels of Jesus’ relationship to Bethany and to Martha and Mary are “just as many signposts pointing to a point of unification according to John’s narrative.” Of course! – thus in a completely different sense! – After John had united these traits in his report.

He holds the thing so uncertainly that we must think at the beginning, when he says, Martha waited for, that the guest meal takes place in the house of Lazarus, and nevertheless we hear immediately on it that Lazarus is only a guest. Why? Because in the original report, with Mark, the anointing woman comes to the banquet, thus is not at home with the host; because the host in the original report is called Simon. Even Luke has left the matter so far unchanged that the host is called Simon: this impressed the beast somewhat and he now presents the matter in such a way that Lazarus is only one of the guests, although we must assume at the beginning that the banquet had been ruined in his house.


Nevertheless, the fourth was so tender and yielding to the name of Simon that he nevertheless mentions it in his report, even though he does not really want to put it into words about the fact that the innkeeper was a stranger. Isn’t a Simon also mentioned here? Namely as the father of Judas. The fourth was the first to give this name to the traitor’s father, and in order to convince the reader quite definitely on this important point, he calls Judas the son of Simon almost everywhere he thinks of him.

One still insists on us: how? The Fourth would have had before his eyes and used Luke’s account of the anointing? Isn’t it a completely different story?

As for the first, the answer is absolutely yes!

We remember the inconvenience of Mary anointing “the feet of Jesus” and – what cobbled together language! – wipes “the feet of the same” with her hair. Mark and Matthew know nothing of this anointing of the feet; only the head is anointed – that is in order! – So they also know nothing about the drying of the feet.

– – Oh, that one must speak about such things! If only they had fallen into oblivion, which will be their just fate. Now we still have to speak of them, but in such a way that no one needs to remember them anymore, thoroughly, sharply, devastatingly. It is not enough that we break the thorny chains with which they still want to bind us today: we must grind them, pulverize them! – –

But the woman, who comes to the house of Simon in Luke, approaches Jesus, who lay at the banquet, in such a way that she fell unnoticed at his feet, wept behind his back, wetted his feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair and kissed them – and only then she anoints them. (Luke7, 38.) That is in order! There everything is in order! The fourth, however, has disorderly gathered the key words together and thrown them into his report in a colorful jumble.


We have nothing to do with the second question in the form in which it is usually posed by theologians and critics: whether what Luke reports is the same story, since we have no material interest in such stories. Correctly, i.e. critically and aesthetically correctly posed: namely: is the report of Mark the literary basis for that of Luke? – only then it has interest for us and will immediately receive its answer.


5. The report of Luke.

C. 7, 36 – 50.

A Pharisee, who, as we learn from Jesus’ address (v. 40), is called Simon, invited the Lord to the table. But it is not said which was the city where the Pharisee lived, how Jesus came there, since already before it was not said where Jesus was when the message of the Baptist met him. Nain it is not, since the author has long since pushed back the interest that captivated the reader to this city, when he reports that the news of the revival of the young man spread throughout Judea and the whole surrounding area.

A Pharisee invites Jesus as a guest. Only Luke knows how to praise such kindness of the Pharisees; he lets the Lord very often be invited to the table by these his arch-enemies, in order to – strangely and rudely enough! – to give him the opportunity to be quite crude against them, sometimes thunderously. This contradiction is most vociferous in the breakfast scene C. 11, 37 – a contradiction that dissolves this whole breakfast and banquet pragmatism.

Once again, Jesus has the opportunity to strongly rebuke the Pharisee and accuse him of being beneath the sinner who – another contradiction! – had entered Simon’s house and dining room, without us knowing how she, as a stranger and even as a woman, could do this, and how she could stay in the room undisturbed until she showed her love to the Lord.


When she bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them *), the Pharisee – – another inconvenience – was not upset that a notorious sinner had invaded his house, but he was only inwardly surprised that Jesus, if he wanted to be a prophet, did not know that the woman was a sinner. Since he allowed himself to be “touched” so nonchalantly by her, it seemed that he did not know her status, so he probably was not a prophet. But if he thought that the touch of the woman defiled him, he should have immediately expelled her from the house instead of engaging in such foolish speculations about the prophetic gift of his guest.

*) On the fact that the woman anoints Jesus’ feet, it only comes up in Luke’s account because she had just been busy with his feet.

But the author of the verse did not notice these contradictions, because all that mattered to him was that the woman got into the house and the Lord had the opportunity to punish the pride of Pharisaic self-righteousness.

But how did Jesus realize that the Pharisee had just this thought, that he doubted his prophetic dignity? Just think! – It is not a small thing! – Just this particular thought! Small thing! He noticed it because the evangelist made him clairvoyant, omniscient!

Jesus does not directly respond to the Pharisee’s objection – this should only serve to open his mouth – but he speaks about something completely different: the extraordinary demonstration of love by that woman.

As the debtor who had been forgiven a larger sum by his creditor than his co-debtor would feel greater love, so – – but it does not follow what we expect; the whole thing is designed and executed in such a way that it mocks even the most reasonable expectation.


We would expect: “You have shown me less love because you have been forgiven less,” but instead the discourse takes a completely different direction. The Lord complains that the Pharisee has shown him nothing of love, not even the necessary courtesies. Later on, the discourse becomes more general and the personal consideration for the Pharisee completely disappears – which had to happen after such an unfortunate start – and it is said: “But the one who has been forgiven little loves little.”

What kind of reproach is this against the Pharisee! Has he not made his affection known to the Lord, when he — he a Pharisee! — invites him into his house? And when he asks him to the table, will he not have given him water to wash his feet, will he not have welcomed him with the usual kiss? And if it was customary and demanded, as we must assume after Jesus’ complaint *), the Pharisee will also have anointed his guest’s head. The reason why the Pharisee has to hear the accusations that Jesus makes against him is because, as the self-righteous person in contrast to the sinner, he needed to be rebuked. However, the Evangelist made a mistake by making the accusation about violated etiquette.

*) Theologians often talk on this occasion about the “well-known Jewish custom” as if they were very familiar with wonders in Judea! And they still dare to discuss the accusation of the Pharisee with seriousness?

Furthermore, in the view that the evangelist follows here, and which he only clumsily processes, the righteous and the sinners form an absolute contrast. The righteous are the healthy ones who do not need a doctor and are condemned (Mark 2:17). The evangelist has focused on this contrast between the righteous and the sinners, but he has weakened it, made it relative, by speaking of the contrast between those who are forgiven more or less, and he has also not fully carried out this contrast but crossed it with the absolute one. He wanted to bring the idea of that divine irony, which he borrowed from Mark’s scripture in that classical expression, to be manifested here, but he could not fully control the element, the material, in which he wanted to shape it. He did not go so far as to fully put Jesus in conflict with the Pharisee, because the account of the anointing in Bethany still dominates him, as he does not read in the original account that Simon the host was hostile, nor that the attitude of those who took offense at the anointing was decidedly evil. Hence the extraordinary confusion. Two interests intersected in the mind of the writer, and he could not give either of them the upper hand.


The same phenomenon is repeated in another form when, all of a sudden, the viewpoint that was just explained and was supposed to be concluded is completely reversed and turned in the opposite direction. At first, love is the result of forgiveness; now it is the opposite: because the woman has loved much, her many sins will be forgiven. We leave it to the Protestants to struggle with the agony and torture of this verse, as they are concerned about their salvation order – because a biblical verse can overturn everything – and instead we point out the reason for this reversal! It is because the report itself has left the assumption standing that the woman showed her love to the Lord before her forgiveness was declared, and because Luke is dependent on the original report in which the woman approached Jesus without hesitation before he had spoken to her about anything!

Finally, when Jesus said to the woman: your sins are forgiven (v. 49), a whole new interest comes. The guests wondered inwardly “who he is that forgives sins also”. *). Inappropriate exuberance! The report should be finished now, since Simon’s concern is completely solved. Two collisions in one report is too much **), which is confirmed in the present report itself, if Jesus does not explicitly address this new concern – the reminiscence of the original presentation of this concern would then also have been too clear and too annoying – he only says – again clumsily, as if he had to defend the woman and not rather himself against a concern – v. 50: “your faith has helped you, go in peace. “This new concern is borrowed from the report of Mark about the healing of the paralytic (Mark 2, 7) and the form in which it is presented is formed after the exclamation of the disciples about Jesus’ power that he had exercised over the wind and the sea ***).

*) τις ουτος εστιν, ος και . . . . 

**) One must understand! These are not reports that reflect the often accidental configurations of real history, but productions of the imagination that are not disturbed by the accidental interference of reality. Everywhere the imagination – as with Mark – creates originally, the creatures are a complete and individually closed whole. The skillful imitator will also create complete, individual figures; but if he is unskilled, chance and the limited associations of ideas, the weakness of plastic power, will take the place of chance and caprice, which have their scope in empirical reality.

***) Mark 4, 41 τις αρα ουτος εστιν οτι και . . .


In short, the report of Luke is a tragedy. It is clumsily copied from the report of Mark about the anointing in Bethany, the woman became a sinner, because the author wanted to use this report – why? we will see later! – to give a vivid expression to the irony about the righteous and the sinners, and Simon, who has now become a Pharisee, takes the place of those who took offense at the anointing in the original report.

If we leave aside the theological babbling about the kinship relationship between Simon and Lazarus, perhaps the opinion of Gfrörer is worth mentioning. He regards the Gospel of John as a sanctuary of truth: Judas, Simon’s son, was the one who was angered by the anointing. “In the mouth of the legend,” this Judas, Simon’s son, was turned into the simple Simon, and the hateful, wicked man finally became – as one may read for oneself – Simon the leper; as such, he became the host in the Gospel of Luke. “So events change under the hands of the legend!” *) “I could demonstrate this,” Mr. Gfrörer continues, “from lively examples, anecdotes about Frederick and Napoleon that are circulating among the people and old soldiers in this country. ” It’s a pity that these lively examples come too late, as we have now shown that events can change greatly “under the hands” of writers, and that in particular, this time the Simon of Mark, after becoming the Simon of Luke, became the Judas, Simon’s son of the Fourth. It’s a pity that only the Fourth knows that Judas’ father’s name is Simon. It’s a pity that Mark placed the anointing in the aesthetically correct chronological relationship to the death of Jesus, and the Fourth inserted many alien things between them and to that end turned Mark’s two days into six! It’s a great pity that the Gospel of Mark is so pushy and threatening to theologians and critics!

*) The Holy Saga, l, 179-181.


If, by the way, through the power of that ironic contrast, Luke succeeded, more than he himself knew, in creating one of the most excellent objects of Christian art – the sinner is the objective, personified expression of that irony about the contrast of the sinner and the righteous; her tear is itself already the victory and the mockery of this contrast of reason – then Mark, in forming his story of the anointing, also succeeded in giving expression to a view that belongs essentially to Christianity. What basically drove him to work out this story full of the anointing in Bethany was not the antithesis that the anointing and embalming, which according to the plan of his writing should not be given to the body of the Lord, should be carried out in advance, but the other interest, that now, when the sufferings and pains begin, nor was it simply the motive that the body of the Most High should be symbolically protected from decomposition or represented in advance as the incorruptible one – all these motives were involved in the creation of this narrative, but the main motive was the feeling of veneration for the incorruptible body of the Lord. The body of the Savior has already received the high significance for the point of view on which the Gospel was written, which it enjoyed in the classical and plastic time of Christianity, in the time of Catholicism. The body became – and rightly so, since it is unique in its kind – the object of veneration, pious contemplation and care. But this veneration, contemplation and care was especially obligatory for the woman, since she is more sentimental and more capable of joy, which smiles through tears, than the man. Only a woman is allowed to rejoice and weep at the same time, as she is the only person who can mourn and care for the body of death, which is also the eternal and incorruptible body. It is the woman who, in those Catholic images, holds the body of the crucified in her lap and gazes upon it with sorrow and love!


Moreover, it hardly needs to be mentioned that the assumption that the sinner was Mary Magdalene, whom Luke later mentions as a person not previously mentioned (Chapter 8, verse 2), goes against the view of the Evangelist.


6. Theological Chronology.

If we now say a word about chronology, we certainly do not intend to make ourselves ridiculous and ask when that anointing of Jesus took place. The matter is already settled when we have found as a time determination that this anointing as this specific event only took place in the imagination of Mark *), and when we have stated that the Fourth Gospel has very inappropriately and unsuccessfully pushed the event back by at least four days. Rather, we want to give an example of theological chronology and language, and if we mention Olshausen for this reason, we ask that this not be understood as if Olshausen were unique in his kind, but all theologians down to Neander are just as skilled in language and chronology, and to their disadvantage, they only differ from Olshausen in that he has a method in such matters.

*) In this ideal world it was also only possible, what Mark alone reports, that the woman broke the alabaster vessel in which she had the ointment. But she broke it in that feeling of enthusiasm in which it seems to man that a vessel which has served a high, single purpose would be dishonored if it should afterwards again serve the use of ordinary life.

In order to make this method understandable to the reader, we must first note that Luke, after the account of the sinner, continues (C. 8, 1-4): “After that Jesus went about preaching in the towns and villages, and once, when many people had gathered, he took occasion to recite the parable of the sower. “Matthew, on the other hand, says that Jesus delivered the parable (C. 13, 1) on the same day that He had taken the stand against the Pharisees for violating the Sabbath and against the accusation that He was in league with the sower (C. 12). Luke has assigned completely different places to these events.


Now hear, Israel!

Matthew, says Olshausen *), connects the following C. 13 by such a certain chronological indication, with which also Mark 4, 1 agrees that one can consider the same (!) as belonging to each other (!). (We are silent about the language! Olshausen wanted to say that Matthew links the two chapters 12 and 13 to each other!) For this reason, here is the most appropriate place to include a story that Luke (C. 7, 36 – 50) has alone; this is placed by the evangelist in the most intimate connection with the story of the parable of the sower. (Every reasonable person would have to think that this is the reason to doubt that this story could be included here. Olshausen thinks differently, but must now dissolve everything that he has just said about the most intimate relationship, about definite chronology, into a very indefinite talk again). Of course, even in this case, the assertion of a strict order cannot be thought of, because while Matth. 13, 1 says: on that day, so that still the parable (! what language!) would have to be put on one and the same day with the preceding, we read after the story of the anointing (in Luke): ” in the following it happened “, which formula puts the following in any case on a late day. (Not to mention that Luke thinks that a lot of time passed between the anointing and the parable recital: isn’t that a strict order, if Matthew and Luke each indicate the chronology so definitely?) So (!) this passage should have been placed before C. 12 Matth, provided that everything in it happened on the same day with C. 13. (So? Because the evangelists do not keep a strict order? Therefore Olshausen wants to arbitrarily nest the reports and think that he puts each one in its right place? And what an enormously and wonderfully long day, on which everything happened, what Matthew C. 12. 13 reports). However, since the time indications in Matthew leave it completely unclear where the day begins and in Luke there is also no mention of the time of the anointing (Olshausen distinguishes it from the anointing in Bethany), nothing definite could be determined and that is precisely why (!) we let ourselves be guided by the “fitting together” of the following events to include it here. (And a few lines earlier we read the opposite “therefore”, that Olshausen wanted to include the event here precisely because the chronological indications of Matthew and Luke were very specific! Now it is said that they are unclear and uncertain! And if, as now suddenly turns out, they are indefinite, why include “the anointing” here? Because of the “fitting together of the following”? What kind of fitting together? Chronological? That was proven! Substantive? What kind of substance? Because the parable of the sower is mentioned afterwards? Or because the women in Jesus’ entourage are mentioned afterwards? Oh, you hypocrites, if Luke had not pleased to report the anointing exactly here, you would never have thought that there could be talk of a “fitting together of the following”!)

*) I, 428 – 430.


And why did Luke like to tell the anointing here, to include his transformation of the report of Mark just here? Certainly not because of the “fitting together of the following”!

But because he had just spoken about the relationship of himself and John the Baptist to the people in Luke 7:34-35. The Lord said that neither he nor John the Baptist could please the people; he did not lead the strict way of life of John, he ate and drank, and yet people called him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Now, to make this word of his true, Luke immediately invites him to dinner and gives him the opportunity to prove his friendship for sinners. Therefore, because Luke 7:34 is based on Mark 2:17, that irony about the intellectual contrast between the supposedly righteous and sinners must now be woven into the account of the anointing. Or rather, Jesus’ statement about how the people judged him and the new interpretation of the original report on the anointing are a cohesive work that formed in the mind of Luke at the same time. Jesus’ behavior towards the sinner is meant to explain how the people could come to think of him as a friend of sinners.


If the origin of Luke’s account has now been proven beyond any doubt and Olshausen’s assertion – that the narrative of Luke is a “total distortion” of the parallels and is “incompatible” with the meaning of the biblical scriptures before Christian consciousness – must be repudiated by anyone who has even the slightest spark of love for truth and humanity within themselves. This is a consciousness that offers a repugnant defiance of truth, and while pretending to fight for truth and scripture, it is afraid of the truth and turns its nose up at scripture, plays tricks, lies, mocks and treats the most specific details and explanations of scripture as if they were the work of a schoolboy – no, even worse – which distorts scripture.

I still wanted, from Schleiermacher’s book on Luke, to give an example of

7. theological omniscience

Schleiermacher believes that what Luke and the others report is an account of the same event, “only viewed from a different perspective.” However, my desire to provide an example of theological omniscience from Schleiermacher’s writing has faded. I only note that according to Schleiermacher *), the criticism expressed by the disciples was “simultaneous” with the Pharisee’s objection. In the end, Jesus would have had to refute both that criticism and this objection at the same time, in the same words. John and Luke’s informant then divided this “simultaneous” duality!

*) p. 111.


Thanks, thanks, Mark, for freeing us from the theological lie! Thanks to the kind fate that has preserved the scripture of Mark to pull us out of the web of this hellish pseudo-science!

Understand! The unctuous, theological aberrations of earlier critics, such as Schleiermacher, we do not, of course, want to accuse as open lies; they are products of a still constricted, fearful time. But if one now comes to reproach us with Schleiermacher’s “sense of truth” as a horror and to condemn the free, human critic after the truth has come to light, one may expect only the strongest language from our side.

Instead of enduring this omniscience any longer, let us rather take a look at the fourth evangelist. We may only take this look now, after we have established all the necessary conditions.


8. The Adulteress of the Fourth Gospel.

It remains as we have proved in our writing on the Gospel history of John that the passage dealing with the adulteress was written by the author of the fourth Gospel.

The adulteress is the sinner of Luke. As she is accused by Simon in such a way that Jesus is reproached for having a friendly relationship with a sinner, as it finally (Luke 7, 49) raises doubts that Jesus acquits the sinner, so the Pharisees and scribes who bring the adulteress to Jesus assume that he will not declare himself against the sinner, indeed they hope, because they are sure that he will acquit her, to catch him thereby and to get a reason for accusation.

Lücke, who would like to absolve his John from responsibility for this passage, asks *): “But what entitled the scribes and Pharisees to count on such a decision from Jesus with certainty?” We have answered! The knowledge of the character of Jesus, which the Fourth Gospel obtained from the Gospel of Luke, he shares with those tempters from the very beginning.

*) II, 226.


But, the faithful theologians ask further, what was the collision in which Jesus’ enemies hoped to entangle him? No one has been able to determine it so far! Of course! Because the matter itself is vague and indeterminate, because the Evangelist himself had no specific understanding of it and no knowledge of the political and civic constitution of the Jews at that time, in short, because he copied Mark and Luke – who, however, mention a completely different collision. **).

**) John 8, 6: τούτο δε έλεγον πειράζοντες αυτόν, ένα έχωσι κατηγορεϊν αυτόν.

Mark 12, 13: … ένα αυτόν άγρεύσωσι λόγω. 23. 15: τι με πειράζετε.

Luke 20, 20: . . . . ένα επιλάβωνται αυτού λόγον, εις το παραδούναι αυτήν τη αρχή

Mark 3, 2:  . . . . ινα κατηγορήσωσιν αυτού.

One asks, as does Lücke, how the opponents could speak of stoning when, according to the almost unanimous testimony of the rabbis, the punishment for adultery was strangulation. But what did the Fourth care about the anxiety of later “Christian consciousness” and about the judicial system at the time of Jesus, of which he knew so little that he did not even dream of that anxiety. He was satisfied if, like Mark, he mentioned the Law of Moses in a discussion of marital matters. ***).

***) John 8, 5 : εν δε τω νομω μωσης ημιν ενετειλατο

Mark 10, 3 : τι υμιν ενετειλατο μωσης


Whether the punishment commanded by Moses still applied at the time of Jesus, he did not know and was highly indifferent to!

Although the collision between Jesus and his opponents may be viewed as serious and prosaic, it is ultimately meaningless and ill-defined, as the Fourth Gospel overemphasizes the criminal and scandalous nature of the event, transforming the compassionate sinner of Luke into an adulteress caught in the act. Nevertheless, Jesus’ response: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” is still beautiful in that it evokes the indefinite feeling of the transcendence of heavenly or moral justice over legal justice within us, touching upon the sense of moral infinity within us. However, setting aside the fact that the collision is too crudely depicted by the Fourth Gospel, the scene becomes artificial again when Jesus twice scribbles in the sand to show his contempt for the Pharisees, and the depiction becomes ridiculous when the Evangelist describes how the tempters “slip away one by one, beginning with the elders.” This is a pretentious exaggeration of the synoptic expression: “He shut their mouths”, or they “went away”, or “they marveled,” or “they kept quiet, and no one dared to ask him anymore.”

The description of the situation in which Jesus found himself when the Pharisees brought the woman to him is borrowed from the Synoptics’ account of Jesus’ way of life during his stay in Jerusalem, and is especially copied from Luke.

The fourth says *) that after the quarrel with the crowd and the councilors (C. 7) and when the trouble of the Feast of Tabernacles was over, “Jesus went to the Mount of Olives; and early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.” Luke tells us that Jesus, while in Jerusalem, “taught in the temple by day, and went out by night, and lodged in the mount of Olives: and early in the morning all the people rose up to hear him in the temple.

*) John 8, 1. 2: επορεύθη εις το όρος των ελαιών. όρθρου δε πάλιν παρεγένετο εις το ιερόν και πάς ο λαός ήρχετο προς αυτόν, και καθίσας εδίδασκεν αυτούς.

Luke 21, 37, 38: ήν δε τας ημέρας εν τω ιερώ διδάσκων, τας δε νύκτας εξερχόμενος ηυλίζετο εις το όρος καλούμενον ελαιών. και πάς ο λαός ώρθριζε προς αυτόν εν τώ ιερώ ακούειν αυτού. Luke’s own fabrication ! Mark did not think it was worth the effort to record the details of the diary to that extent. He only shows the reader that the Lord must have had an inn in Bethany.


From Luke, the fourth has “all the people”, whereas otherwise he knows “the multitudes”. Luke is to blame for the fact that after the bickering of the past days, “all the people” suddenly come to the Lord.

The fact that Jesus sits teaching this time is attributed by the evangelist to Mark, who also has Jesus sit in the temple and look at the people *).

*) Mark 12, 41: και καθισας – Luke did not omit this expression from the parallel passage, so the Fourth Gospel must have carefully consulted the text when developing this situation.

The scribes, whom he does not mention otherwise, are sent against the Lord this time together with the Pharisees, because he has in mind the passage of the Synoptic Gospels where the Pharisees and scribes appear to capture Jesus by fragments. But why does he now bring here a parallel to those attacks? As if he could not have used it in any other place, since in his case the hostility of the Jewish party is decided very soon!

The Pharisees put the adulteress in the middle, as Jesus did another time when the Pharisees were waiting for an opportunity to accuse him, when they were watching whether he would heal the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, and ordered the sick man to put himself in the middle **).

**) John 8, 3: στήσαντες αυτήν εις το μέσον.

Luke 6, 8: έγειραι και στήθι εις το μέσον.

Mark 3, 4: έγειραι εις το μέσον.

“Go,” Jesus says to the adulteress, dismissing her as he says to the sinner in Luke: “Go in peace”, except that the fourth makes him add: “And sin no more!” *)

*) John 8, 11; πορεύου και μηκέτι αμάρτανε. (Comp. 6. 5, 14.)

Luke 7, 50: πορεύoυ εις ειρήνην.

Luke 5, 24 : πορεύoυ εις τον οίκόν σου.

Mark 2, 11: ύπαγε εις τον οίκόν σου.


The theologians were very surprised and complained of arbitrariness when I explained that the whole glorious practicality of festival travel in the fourth gospel was nothing but a fabricated work, an external support with which the author wanted to help the weakness of the spiritual, inner pragmatism. They may now think about where the Fourth Evangelist knew so exactly that the incident with the adulterous woman took place on the day after that Feast of Tabernacles.

What a mind this evangelist had, who wrote a work like the one we have from his hand, after studying the synoptic Gospels so diligently!



The following two tabs change content below.

Neil Godfrey

Neil is the author of this post. To read more about Neil, see our About page.

Latest posts by Neil Godfrey (see all)