“On Alleged NT Quotations” is a previously unpublished article from Dr. Gordon H. Clark’s papers. It is presented to the public for the first time here on the Gordon H Clark Foundation website. If you notice any typos on the typed document please email the administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org
**Items from the unpublished papers of Dr. Gordon H. Clark should not be considered his definitive statement on the particular topic addressed. These papers are being provided for educational value. For Dr. Clark’s official positions consult his published writings.**
Note: These notes of Dr. Clark’s on alleged New Testament quotations accompanied a letter in sent in 1972 to Wilber B. Wallis, professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.
On Alleged NT Quotations
Kurt Aland et al., at the end of their The Greek New Testament, add an Index of Quotations (pp. 897-920). After the items from the OT, they list alleged N.T. quotations from the Apocrypha and other non-canonical writings. In modern terminology the word quotation means a verbatim repetition of the original text. It also means a conscious repetition. That two authors have a few common words in the same order does not indicate a “quotation.” Then, too, N.T. authors, like authors of every age and every language, refer to, or give the sense of, an earlier writing. In this case there is conscious dependence, but not verbatim quotation. Such an author should not be charged with misquotation. The present project is to compare some non-canonical texts with the N.T., in those places where Aland et. al claim that the latter quoted the former.
Baruch 4:7 reads, “παρωξύνατε γὰρ τὸν ποιήσαντα ὑμᾶς θύσαντες δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ Θεῷ. I Cor 10:20 reads, “ἀλλ’ ὅτι ἃ θύουσιν τὰ ἔθνη δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ θύουσιν …”1
These two texts have four consecutive words in common: δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ. The verb θεῷ also occurs, once as a participle in Baruch and twice as the indicative in Paul. In Baruch the example of sacrificing to devils might be taken as a chance, though pertinent example; whereas in I Cor. it seems to fit the whole concept more naturally.
If one wishes to find a quotation, or, better, an allusion in I Cor, Deut 32:17, which Aland also lists, is a more appropriate source than Baruch. With Deut 32 in view, there is no reason to suppose that Paul had Baruch in mind at all. Aland also finds Deut 32:17 “quoted” in Rev. 9:20. Since this latter has only one word in common with Deut, and that not in the same form, it would be as well, and as groundless to claim that John quoted Paul.
Baruch 4:35 contains the words, κατοικηθήσεται ὑπὸ δαιμονίων; while Rev. 18:2 has κατοικητήριον δαιμονίων.
The similarity in words is obvious, but the diversity between the contexts makes it more unlikely than otherwise that John quoted Baruch. The background from chapters one and two is indeed Babylon. The scene in chapter three is Babylon though the name itself does not occur. Chapter four seems more general – including Babylon no doubt, but also speaking of nations (ἔθνεσιν, 4:6) and cities (πόλεις, 4:32). But it cannot be doubted that Babylon is the main concern. Hence there could be a connection between the symbolic Babylon of Rev. 18:2 and the literal Babylon of Baruch.
Yet the two verses in question aside from the two words reproduced above, are quite dissimilar. In Baruch there is no angel from heaven; there is no cry that Babylon is fallen is fallen; nor is Babylon said to be a guard house or garrison of every unclean spirit and hated bird. Baruch is plain and literal; John describes apocalyptic visions. Once again the reference in 18:2 is to be found, not in the Apocrypha, but in Isa. 21:9. Here we have πέπτωκεν πέπτωκεν Βαβυλών. The double “fallen” is a better sign of conscious dependence than “inhabited of devils,” a chance phrase anybody could use. But if this phrase must come from somewhere, then Isa 13:21 and 34:11 are at least suggestive, though not a verbatim source. Aland lists both. That the phrase is neither a chance phrase nor presumably taken from Baruch, and that Isa 13:21 is more than suggestive, becomes clear on examining the context in the LXX. Isa 13:23, 24 reads, καὶ δαιμόνια ἐκεῖ ὀρχήσονται, καὶ ὀνοκένταυροι ἐκεῖ κατοικήσουσι, καὶ νοσσοποιήσουσιν ἐχῖνοι ἐν τοῖς οἴκοις αὐτῶν. Here we have both the word dwell and the word demon. Then in addition, John’s mention of every unclean spirit and every unclean and hateful bird, entirely missing from Baruch, can easily be a condensation of Isaiah’s tailless apes who dwell there, and his hedgehogs who return to their homes. Thus there is no good reason for seeing a quotation from Baruch in Rev. 18:2, whereas it is as certain as literary allusions can be that Isaiah is the source.
Since there are only two alleged quotations from Baruch, the next twelve items come from Enoch.
Aland lists only one quotation from I Esdras 1:32 LXX (1:34 Eng. tr.). It is incredible that anyone should consider Matt 1:11 a quotation from Esdras. There is no verbal parallel at all. The historical note that Jehoiakin or Jechonias was a descendant of Josiah can be found in II Kings 24, II Chron. 36, and Jer. 27:20. To be sure, Aland lists these also. The difficulty is that they are called quotations. Nor is it clear that Matthew took history from I Esdras when the OT references sufficed.
Next comes Judith 11:19: ὡς πρόβατα, οἷς οὐκ ἔστι ποιμήν, which Matt is supposed to quote in 9:36 and Mark in 6:34: ὡςει πρόβατα μὴ ἔχοντα ποιμένα. Here the wording is similar enough, but the phrase is such a common comparison that it must have been used hundreds of times. Not that the contexts of Matt and Judith are radically different.
Again it is incredible that anyone should think James 5:3 to be a quotation from Judith 16:17. There is only one word in common: πυρ; though perhaps James’ ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις is similar enough to Judiths’ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως. No other noun or verb is found in both. The context in Judith concerns nations that fight against Israel. The context in James concerns rich individuals who oppress the poor. Does every author who mentions fire and the last days quote from Judith – II Peter 3:7 for instance?
1 Aland brackets τὰ ἔθνη, although it is supposed by p 46 vid. א A C P Ψ, and many cursives. B D and not much else omit it.