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Confession

By Carl S ~

Matthew. Chapter 28, vs. 16-17: "But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them to go. And when they saw him they worshiped him. But some doubted."

In 1936, a team of German scholars were involved in translating songs of the Middle Ages found in the Benediktbeuern monastery, Bavaria. Among the many manuscripts discovered was a small note, written by a monk. Translated from the Latin:

"I, Brother Johannes Eckhart, on December 1, anno Domini 1317, confess to altering the Holy Text of St. Matthew, chapter 28. I did so, not of deception nor malice, but only to know whether my masters were checking my work for errors in translation. I myself added the words "But some doubted" to the text. I thought that surely, this would be noticed immediately, since none of the disciples who spent years with Jesus, witnessing his many miracles, would doubt his resurrection. May God forgive me and grant me His graces despite my doubts."

................................................................................................................................................
^ cut on dotted line ^

The above "note" is fabricated. That is, the quote from Matthew is 100% accurate, but the monk’s note is fictitious. But, if you cut off on the dotted line, and pass it around as true, how many people would believe it? ( From the L. A. Times newspaper: When the Beatles said that scrapings taken from inside a banana peel, when dried and smoked, would bring a hallucinogenic experience, millions believed. One team of scientists bought tons of bananas to prove/disprove this claim.) So, isn't such a historical note, undiscovered until the 20th century, possible? Monks were copying manuscripts, hour after hour, day after day. Why would one monk be the only "confessing" one, and his the only note not discovered and destroyed? What man wouldn't be tempted to scratch his initials, add embellishments to the texts, maybe throw in a joke or more, to relieve the everyday tedium? Make up stuff? Who's checking, anyhow? Oh, I wouldn't put it past those guys, after reading some of the "Carmina Burana" texts of their time.

The alternative to this possibility would be the monk copying as closely as possible the translation set before him. Even then, supposing the monk had occasion to question anything he was copying, would his questions leak out into the world beyond the monastery? That would have been theologically verboten. Not only that, the believing world condemned homosexuality as a sin punishable by execution, and the monastery was most likely a refuge and community of mostly gay men. Questions might lead to revealing secrets, and covering up secrets, then and now, is absolutely necessary for religions to survive.

If any monk thought about this Matt. 28 passage he's copying, after reading that "some doubted," he might ask a question: Why would anyone doubt that Jesus is in front of him, after spending years living with him every day? Since doubt about the resurrection of Jesus was considered a major sin, why would the writer mention doubt? Why end a book leaving that question hanging in the mind? What a way to end a "perfect" testimony! Whether an unnamed author or a copier of the alleged author's work wrote the doubt words, they are based solely on hearsay


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