060 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 060 Measure for Measure in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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Commentary

John Dominic Crossan

Crossan views this saying as closely related to the radical debt-related poverty that was endemic in Galilee in Jesus' time. He notes:

"Bread and debt were, quite simply," in the words of John Kloppenborg, "the two most immediate problems facing the Galilean peasant, day-labourer and non-elite urbanite. Alleviation of these two anxieties were the most obvious benefits of God's reign" (1990:192). The debt petition is especially significant, since 027 Forgiveness for Forgiveness [1/4], 060 Measure for Measure [1/3], and 118 Judgment for Judgment [1/2] all bespeak a close interaction between the way humans treat each other and the way God treats them. This is an even more radical suggestion than 033 The Golden Rule [1/3]. Those three aphorisms suggest that we do unto others as God does unto us and that God does unto us as we do unto others. The point, however, is not sequentially or causality, "we do in order that God does," but rather simultaneity and mutuality, "we do and God does." God forgives us our debts, that is offerings or punishments due for our sins, and we forgive our neighbors their debts, that is, the returns or penalties due for their loans. [Historical Jesus] (294)



IQP

The International Q Project reconstructs the original Q saying as follows:

[And] with the measurement you use to measure out, it will be measured out to you.



Jesus Seminar

The commentary in [The Five Gospels] (57) reads:

This saying is basically a legal precept announcing God's judgment. Sayings that express a correspondence between acts and their consequences ... are common in the wisdom literature of the period. Without some modification, the saying appears inimical to Jesus' fundamental announcement of God's unlimited love and expansive mercy.

The commentary notes that both Luke and Mark have made some addition to the core saying.

Samuel T. Lachs

Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament] (136f) cites a number of rabbinic parallels to the principle that underlies this saying, including the following:

R. Simeon b. Abba said: "All the measures have ceased [presumably four modes of execution], yet the rule of measure for measure has not ceased." [Gen. R. 9:13]



Gerd Luedemann

Luedemann [Jesus] (150) concludes that this is not an authentic saying from jesus, although he notes that it represents sound Old Testament theology with God rewarding people according to their own actions.

John P. Meier

Meier does not consider this saying in the first 3 volumes of A Marginal Jew.