Sigurd Grindheim, «Faith in Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Object of Faith», Vol. 97 (2016) 79-100
Did Jesus call his followers to believe in him? or did he merely call them to believe in God or in the contents of his teaching? This article examines the evidence found in the Synoptic Gospels and discusses its possible Christological implications in light of the Scriptures of Israel and the writings of Second Temple Judaism. If Jesus expected to be the object of his disciples’ faith, his expectation may be understood in light of his redefinition of messiahship. But he may also be seen to have placed himself in the role of God, who was the object of Israel’s faith in the Scriptures of Israel and in Second Temple Judaism.
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Faith in Jesus 85
the case for omission is based on internal criteria. one of the
canons of textual criticism has been that the shorter reading is most
likely to be original, but this rule has been challenged by recent schol-
arship, as empirical research shows that scribes are just as likely to
abbreviate as they are to add 15. in this particular case, however, the
inclusion of the words “in me” (eivj evme,) may have been added as a re-
sult of harmonization with the matthean version 16. on the other hand,
as i will show below, unqualified references to faith without an object
are more characteristic of early christian habits. the shorter reading
may therefore have originated as an abbreviation of the longer one, if
a scribe were influenced by the more common style of expression.
But the matter is more complicated still. a hypothesis regarding
the original reading must also be able to account for the other surviv-
ing variants. codex Washingtonianus reads: “one of my little ones
who believe in me” (e[na tw/n mikrw/n mou/ tw/n pisteuo,ntwn eivj evme,).
there is no reason to believe that this reading is the original, but it is
an important witness, because it can only be explained as originating
on the basis of the longer reading, with the substitution of the pronoun
“my” (mou) for the pronoun “these” (tou,twn). the reason for the sub-
stitution may have been stylistic, in order to avoid the five sequential
words ending in -wn. on the other hand, codex Bezae cantabrigiensis
and two latin versions read: “one of these little ones who have faith”
Mark (cntc; cambridge 1977) 319; GunDRY, Mark, 523; a. YaRBRo collins,
Mark. a commentary (hermeneia; minneapolis, mn 2007) 442; R.h. stein,
Mark (Becnt; Grand Rapids, mi 2008) 451.
e. toV, “criteria for evaluating textual Readings. the limitations of tex-
tual Rules”, HTR 75 (1982) 441; J.D. milleR, “the long and short of Lectio
Brevior Potior”, BT 57 (2006) 11-16; e.J. epp, “traditional ‘canons’ of new
testament textual criticism. their Value, Validity, and Viability — or lack
thereof”, The Textual History of the Greek New Testament (society of Biblical
literature text-critical studies 8; eds. K. Wachtel – m.W. holmes; atlanta, Ga
2011) 106-116; J.B. RoYse, “scribal tendencies in the transmission of the text
of the new testament”, The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary
Research. essays on the Status Quaestionis (sD 46; eds. B.D. ehRman – m.W.
holmes; leiden 22013) 465-475.
cf. B.m. metZGeR, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament
(new York 41994) 86. the shorter reading is also preferred by R. pesch, Das
Markusevangelium (htKnt ii/2; Freiburg 1977) ii, 113; J. GnilKa, Das Markus-
evangelium (eKK 2/2; Zurich 1979) ii, 64; c.D. maRshall, Faith as a Theme in
Mark’s Narrative (sntsms 64; cambridge 1989) 158-159; R.t. FRance, The
Gospel of Mark (niGtc; Grand Rapids, mi 2002) 379; J. maRcus, Mark 8–16.
a new translation with introduction and commentary (aB 27a; new haven,
ct 2009) 689.