See Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, “What Really Happened at the Transfiguration?” BR 03:03.


The term synoptic, from the Greek for “seeing together,” refers to the fact that Matthew, Mark and Luke share so much material that when printed in three parallel columns, their correspondences can be “seen together” at a glance, as in the sidebar to this article.


The common explanation of the name Q is that it is short for the German Quelle, meaning “source.” See Stephen Patterson, “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Q,” BR 11:05.



Thus, for example, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke, Anchor Bible 28A (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), p. 1438.


To bring out even the most minute differences between the gospels, a very literal translation has been used. It is taken from Raymond E. Brown, The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave, Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York: Doubleday, 1994), pp. 1583–1602.


Their proposals are listed below. Elements added by Mark when he combined the two sources are not taken into account. For Source A, Rudolf Thiel (Drei Markus-Evangelien [Berlin: De Gruyter, 1938], p. 23) includes 14:33, 34, 35a, 36, 37, 38; Emanuel Hirsch (Die Frühgeschichte des Evangeliums, I. Das Werden des Markus-Evangeliums [Tübingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1951], pp. 156–157), 14:34, 35, 37, 42; Karl Georg Kuhn (“Jesus in Gethsemane,” Evangelische Theologie 12 [1951–1952], pp. 266–267), 14:32, 35, 40, 41; Pierre Benoit (“Les outrages À Jésus Prophète,” in Neotestamentica et Patristica, Festschrift for O. Cullmann [Leiden: Brill, 1962], p. 103 n. 8), 14:32a, 34b, 32b, 35, [40–41a],41b, 42; Marie-Emile Boismard (Synopse des Quatres Evangiles en Français, II [Paris: Cerf, 1972], pp. 392–393), 14:26, 32b, 35a, 36, 40, 41; J. Warren Holleran (The Synoptic Gethsemane, Analecta Gregoriana 191 [Rome: Gregorian University, 1973], p. 144), 14:32, 33b, 35, 40, 41, 42a; Xavier Léon-Dufour (“Jésus À Géthsemani. Essai de lecture synchronique,” Science et esprit 31 [1979], p. 251), 14:32, 33b, 35, 40, 50; David Stanley (Jesus in Gethsemane: The Early Church Reflects on the Suffering of Jesus [New York: Paulist, 1980], pp. 108–111), 14:32, 33b, 35, 40, 41, 42a.

For Source B, Thiel includes 14:32, 39, 35b, 40, 41a; Hirsch, 14:32, 36, 38a, 41; Kuhn, 14:33, 34, 36, 37, 38; Benoit, 14:33, 34ac, 39, 36, 37, 38; Boismard, 14:32a, 33, 34b, 38, 39, 36, 37; Holleran, 14:33a, 34, 39a, 36, 37, 38; Léon-Dufour, 14:33a, 34, 36, 37; Stanley, 14:26b, 33a, 34, 36, 37, 38.


Brown, Death of the Messiah, p. 221.


Brown, Death of the Messiah, p. 204.


This tendency is accentuated by Matthew’s addition, “keep watching with me” (v. 38).


Magen Broshi, “La population de l’ancienne Jérusalem,” Revue biblique 82 (1975), p. 13. He bases his estimate on the average number of inhabitants per acre, in contrast to Wilkinson (see next note), who bases his estimate on the city’s water supply.


John Wilkinson, “Ancient Jerusalem—Its Water Supply and Population,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 106 (1974), p. 49.


See Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus—An Investigation into Economic and Social Conditions During the New Testament Period (London: SCM, 1969), p. 84. Jeremias bases his estimate on an average of 18,000 sacrificial lambs multiplied by an average of 10 at each meal (p. 83).


See Sylvester Saller, Excavations at Bethany (1949–53) (Jerusalem: Franciscan Press, 1957).


See Jerome Murphy-O’Connor “Pre-Constantinian Christian Jerusalem,” in Anthony O’Mahony, Göran Gunner, Kevork Hintlian, eds., The Christian Heritage in the Holy Land (London: Scorpian Cavandish, 1995), pp. 15–17.


Louis-Hugues Vincent and Felix-Marie Abel, Jerusalem nouvelle (Paris: Gabalda, 1914), p. 305.


Henry Barclay Swete, The Gospel According to St. Mark (London: Macmillan, 1908), p. 342.


Brown, Death of the Messiah, p. 153.


Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians (London: Macmillan, 1908), p. 123.


See Murphy-O’Connor, “What Really Happened at the Transfiguration?” BR 03:03.


David Ussishkin, The Village of Silwan (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1993).


For description and dating, see Kay Prag, Jerusalem, Blue Guide (London: Black, 1989), pp. 247–51.


So, rightly, David Stanley, Jesus in Gethsemane, p. 134. Brown reluctantly concedes that Jesus’ action compleements what is said of his distraught state, but then says that Matthew “slightly softens Mark’s picture of Jesus’ distress” (Death of the Messiah, p. 165). In fact, Matthew changes the picture completely (as does Luke) by substituting a controlled action for an uncontrolled one.


The question is raised by Stanley (Jesus in Gethsemane, p. 140), but not really answered.


Brown says that “there was an early Christian memory or understanding that Jesus struggled with and prayed to God about his impending death” (Death of the Messiah, p. 177, cf. p. 225), but does not say where either came from. When he wrote his commentary on John 12:27–28, Brown suggested, “Since there were no witnesses to report the prayer of Jesus during the agony (the disciples were asleep at a distance), the tendency would be to fill in the skeletal framework of the Gethsemane scene with prayers and sayings uttered by Jesus at other times” (The Gospel According to John (I-XIII), Anchor Bible 29 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966), p. 471.


Stanley’s translation (Jesus in Gethsemane, p. 108).


It is paraphrased “My sorrow is so great that it almost overwhelms me” in Christopher S. Mann, Mark, Anchor Bible 27 (New York: Doubleday, 1986), p. 587.


J. Warren Halloran, The Synoptic Gethsemane, Analecta Gregoriana 191 (Rome: Gregorian University, 1973), p. 207.


David Daube, “Death as a Release in the Bible,” Novum Testamentum 5 (1962), pp. 96–98. This study also evokes Moses (Numbers 11:15), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:14–18).


Cf. Mark 10:27.


Brown, Death of the Messiah, pp. 180–186.


Brown cites medical evidence of “instances of hemaidrosis, involving intense dilation of subcutaneous capillaries that burst into the sweat glands. The blood then clots and is carried to the surface of the skin by the sweat” (Death of the Messiah, pp. 185).


“But it is also well attested for a state of mind associated with fear or anguish because of some impending, uncertain experience or phenomenon” (Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke, p. 1444).


Precisely these words are used of the prayers of Peter (Acts 9:40), Paul (Acts 20:36) and the community at Tyre (Acts 21:5). Kneeling while praying was not unknown among the Jews; see 1 Kings 8:54 (which, however, contradicts 1 Kings 8:22!) and Daniel 6:10.


For example, John’s version of the Last Supper (John 13:1–20) does not contain the institution of the Eucharist (Mark 14:22–25 = Matthew 26:26–29 = Luke 22:15–20), but in the discourse on the bread of life (John 6:26–59), which takes place much earlier in the ministry of Jesus, John evokes the Eucharist by the words “the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh…[U]nless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:51–54).


Brown, The Gospel According to John, p. 470.


Brown, The Gospel According to John, p. 476.