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Matthew 4,23 and 9,35

Requests and Replies in
The Expository Times 10 (1898) 127



n Matt. 9,35, if the καὶ before κηρύσσων were rendered ’both’, the two clauses introduced respectively with καὶ κηρύσσων and καὶ θεραπεύων would be in explanatory apposition to διδάσκων. By this translation we have emphasis laid on ‘preaching and healing’ as parts of ‘teaching’, an emphasis which to my mind is exceedingly necessary to a right understanding of the miracles; and we remove what seems to be something of a pleonasm in the mere conjunction of ‘teaching and preaching’, – as though there were no mutual inclusion, and only parallel connection. But perhaps there is something in the grammar against me, which my eye has missed. – R.B.

Swete's reply:

The phrase περιῆγεν … διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων … καὶ θεραπεύων occurs twice in St. Matthew (4,23; 9,35). In both instances it appears to be a summary of our Lord's itinerant ministry in Galilee. St. Mark, in a corresponding passage, stops at διδάσκων (6,6); St. Matthew at once limits διδάσκων by adding ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν, and expands it by proceeding καὶ κηρύσσων … καὶ θεραπεύων, κ. τ. λ. The question is whether the expansion merely interprets διδ. ἐν ταῖς συν. αὐτῶν, or refers to other activities.

Your correspondent's view is, I think, grammatically possible; comp. Lk. 2,46, καθεζόμενον … καὶ ἀκούοντα … καὶ ἐπερωτῶντα (R.V. ‘sitting – both hearing and asking them questions’). But, on exegetical grounds, I prefer the ordinary interpretation. To construe καὶ κηρ. καὶ θερ. as in apposition to διδ ἐν τ. συν. αὐτ. (1) limits the ministry in the towns and villages of Galilee to the synagogues, whereas it certainly included street preaching (Lk. 13,26); and (2) it represents the synagogues as the usual scene of the miracles of healing, whereas other passages show that the majority of these miracles were wrought in the open places, where our Lord was surrounded by a multitude.

On the other hand, the usual rendering, ‘Jesus went about – teaching in their synagogues, and preaching …, and healing all manner of disease’ (R.V.), includes every form of ministerial work – the synagogue homily, the street of field preaching, and the working of cures among the crowd who flocked to the latter (ἐν τῷ λαῷ, Mt. 4,23). Of course, the last of these three activities grew out of the first and second, and stood in a real and important relation to them; but this, although true, does not appear on the surface of the simple synoptic narrative. Nor is διδάσκων καὶ κηρύσσων really pleonastic. Though κηρύσσων may be used of synagogue teaching (Mk. 1,39; Lk. 4,44; Acts 9,20), it is specially applicable to the more public and direct proclamation of the kingdom to the crowd outside. ‘Teaching𔃷 and ‘preaching’ present Christ's instructions in two different aspects, and the words may therefore be associated without pleonasm; see Mt. 11,1; Ac. 28,31.