201 The Chief Commandment
- 1 Data
- 2 Texts
- 3 Literature
- 4 Parallels
- 5 Commentary
(1a) Mark 12:28-34 = Matt 22:34-40,46b = Luke 10:25-28
(1b) Justin, Dial 93:2
(2a) Did. 1:2a
(2b) Barn 19:2
Stratum: II (60-80 CE)
(1a) Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" 29 Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32 Then the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that 'he is one, and besides him there is no other'; 33 and 'to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,' and 'to love one's neighbor as oneself,' --this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that no one dared to ask him any question.
Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συζητούντων, ἰδὼν ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν· ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων; ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι πρώτη ἐστίν· ἄκουε, Ἰσραήλ, κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν, καὶ ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου. δευτέρα αὕτη· ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. μείζων τούτων ἄλλη ἐντολὴ οὐκ ἔστιν. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ γραμματεύς· καλῶς, διδάσκαλε, ἐπ᾿ ἀληθείας εἶπες ὅτι εἷς ἐστιν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλος πλὴν αὐτοῦ· καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτὸν ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς συνέσεως καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος καὶ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν περισσότερόν ἐστιν πάντων τῶν ὁλοκαυτωμάτων καὶ θυσιῶν. καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἰδὼν [αὐτὸν] ὅτι νουνεχῶς ἀπεκρίθη εἶπεν αὐτῷ· οὐ μακρὰν εἶ ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ. καὶ οὐδεὶς οὐκέτι ἐτόλμα αὐτὸν ἐπερωτῆσαι. (Mark 12:28–34 GNT-T)
= Matt 22:34-40, 46b
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 37 He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." ... 46 No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἀκούσαντες ὅτι ἐφίμωσεν τοὺς Σαδδουκαίους συνήχθησαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν [νομικὸς] πειράζων αὐτόν· διδάσκαλε, ποία ἐντολὴ μεγάλη ἐν τῷ νόμῳ; ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ· ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου· αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μεγάλη καὶ πρώτη ἐντολή. δευτέρα δὲ ὁμοία αὐτῇ· ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. ἐν ταύταις ταῖς δυσὶν ἐντολαῖς ὅλος ὁ νόμος κρέμαται καὶ οἱ προφῆται. καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο ἀποκριθῆναι αὐτῷ λόγον οὐδὲ ἐτόλμησέν τις ἀπ᾿ ἐκείνης τῆς ἡμέρας ἐπερωτῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐκέτι. (Matthew 22:34–40, 46 GNT-T)
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" 27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."
Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν λέγων· διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν· ἐν τῷ νόμῳ τί γέγραπται; πῶς ἀναγινώσκεις; ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης [τῆς] καρδίας σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου, καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ· ὀρθῶς ἀπεκρίθης· τοῦτο ποίει καὶ ζήσῃ. (Luke 10:25–28 GNT-T)
(1b) Justin, Dial 93:2
And hence I think that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ spoke well when He summed up all righteousness and piety in two commandments. They are these: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.' For the man who loves God with all the heart, and with all the strength, being filled with a God-fearing mind, will reverence no other God; and since God wishes it, he would reverence that angel who is beloved by the same Lord and God. And the man who loves his neighbor as himself will wish for him the same good things that he wishes for himself, and no man will wish evil things for himself. Accordingly, he who loves his neighbor would pray and labor that his neighbor may be possessed of the same benefits as himself. Now nothing else is neighbor to man than that similarly-affectioned and reasonable being — man. Therefore, since all righteousness is divided into two branches, namely, in so far as it regards God and men, whoever, says the Scripture, loves the Lord God with all the heart, and all the strength, and his neighbor as himself, would be truly a righteous man. ANF
Original language text is currently unavailable
(2a) Did 1:2a
The way to life is this:
"First, you shall love God, who has created you;Ἡ μὲν οὖν ὁδὸς τῆς ζωῆς ἐστιν αὕτη· πρῶτον, ἀγαπήσεις τὸν θεὸν τὸν ποιήσαντά σε· δεύτερον, τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν· πάντα δὲ ὅσα ἐὰν θελήσῃς μὴ γίνεσθαί σοι, καὶ σὺ ἄλλῳ μὴ ποίει. (Didache 1:2 AF-T)
second, your neighbor as yourself.
Whatever you do not want to happen to you,
do not do to another. [Hermeneia]
(2b) Barn 19:2
The way of light, then, is as follows. If any one desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. Thou shalt love Him that created thee: thou shalt glorify Him that redeemed thee from death. Thou shalt be simple in heart, and rich in spirit. Thou shalt not join thyself to those who walk in the way of death. Thou shalt hate doing what is unpleasing to God: thou shalt hate all hypocrisy. Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord. Thou shalt not exalt thyself, but shalt be of a lowly mind. Thou shalt not take glory to thyself. Thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not allow over-boldness to enter into thy soul. Thou shalt not commit fornication: thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not be a corrupter of youth. Thou shalt not let the word of God issue from thy lips with any kind of impurity. Thou shalt not accept persons when thou reprovest any one for transgression. Thou shalt be meek: thou shalt be peaceable. Thou shalt tremble at the words which thou hearest. Thou shalt not be mindful of evil against thy brother. Thou shalt not be of doubtful mind as to whether a thing shall be or not. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain. Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thine own soul. Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born. Thou shalt not withdraw thy hand from thy son, or from thy daughter, but from their infancy thou shalt teach them the fear of the Lord. Thou shalt not covet what is thy neighbor's, nor shalt thou be avaricious. Thou shalt not be joined in soul with the haughty, but thou shalt be reckoned With the righteous and lowly. Receive thou as good things the trials which come upon thee. Thou shalt not be of double mind or of double tongue, for a double tongue is a snare of death. Thou shalt be subject to the Lord, and to [other] masters as the image of God, with modesty and fear. Thou shalt not issue orders with bitterness to thy maidservant or thy man-servant, who trust in the same [God], lest thou shouldst not reverence that God who is above both; for He came to call men not according to their outward appearance, but according as the Spirit had prepared them. Thou shalt communicate in all things with thy neighbor; thou shalt not call things thine own; for if ye are partakers in common of things which are incorruptible, how much more [should you be] of those things which are corruptible! Thou shalt not be hasty with thy tongue, for the mouth is a snare of death. As far as possible, thou shalt be pure in thy soul. Do not be ready to stretch forth thy hands to take, whilst thou contractest them to give. Thou shalt love, as the apple of thine eye, every one that speaketh to thee the word of the Lord. Thou shalt remember the day of judgment, night and day. Thou shalt seek out every day the faces of the saints, either by word examining them, and going to exhort them, and meditating how to save a soul by the word, or by thy hands thou shalt labor for the redemption of thy sins. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor murmur when thou givest. "Give to every one that asketh thee," and thou shalt know who is the good Recompenser of the reward. Thou shalt preserve what thou hast received [in charge], neither adding to it nor taking from it. To the last thou shalt hate the wicked [one]. Thou shalt judge righteously. Thou shalt not make a schism, but thou shalt pacify those that contend by bringing them together. Thou shalt confess thy sins. Thou shalt not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light. [ANF]
ἀγαπήσεις τὸν ⸂ ποιήσαντά σε ⸃, ⸂ φοβηθήσῃ τόν σε πλάσαντα ⸃, δοξάσεις τόν σε λυτρωσάμενον ἐκ θανάτου. ἔσῃ ἁπλοῦς τῇ καρδίᾳ καὶ πλούσιος τῷ πνεύματι. οὐ κολληθήσῃ μετὰ ˹ τῶν ⸂ πορευομένων ἐν ⸃ ὁδῷ θανάτου, μισήσεις πᾶν ὃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἀρεστὸν τῷ θεῷ, μισήσεις πᾶσαν ὑπόκρισιν· οὐ μὴ ἐγκαταλίπῃς ἐντολὰς κυρίου. (Barnabas 19:2 AF-T)
Testament of Dan (T12P)
/5:1/ Observe the Lord's commandments, then, my children,
and keep his law.and one another with a true heart. OTP
and hate lying.
in order that the Lord may dwell among you,
and Beliar may flee from you.
/2/ each of you speak truth clearly to his neighbor,
and do not fall into pleasure and trouble making,
but be at peace, holding to the God of peace.
thus no conflict will overwhelm you.
/3/ Throughout all your life love the Lord,
Testament of Issachar (T12P)
/5:1/ Keep the Law of God, my children;
achieve integrity; live without malice,be compassionate toward poverty and sickness. OTP
not tinkering with God's commands or your neighbor's affairs.
/2/ Love God and your neighbor;
A proselyte approached Hillel with the request Hillel teach him the whole of the Torah while the student stood on one foot. Hillel responded, "What you find hateful do not do to another. This is the whole of the Law. Everything else is commentary. Now go learn that!" (Babylonian Talmud, Makkot, 23b-24a)
Jesus' saying about the double commandment of love was clearly coined before his time. ... both verses from the Bible (Deut. 6:5 and Lev, 19:18) begin with the same word. It was typical of rabbinic scholarship to see similarly phrased passages from the Bible as connected in content also. The first great commandment of Jesus—love of God—was thus in harmony with the spirit of contemporary Pharisaism. ... the double commandment of love existed in ancient Judaism before, and alongside, Jesus. The fact that it does not appear in the rabbinical documents that have come down to us is probably accidental. Mark (12:28-34) and Luke (10:25-28) show that on the question of "the great commandment" Jesus and the scribes were in agreement. Jesus', (89f)
The views of the Seminar may be expressed as follows:
- Mark 12:28-34
- Mark 12:28-34
- Mark 12:29b-31
- Mark 12:34c
- Matt 22:37-40
- Luke 10:27
- Luke 10:28b
The commentary in [The Five Gospels] (104f) notes the secondary character of the narrative framework for each version of this saying in the Gospels: a friendly scribe in Matthew, a hostile scribe in Mark, and as a prelude to the parable of the Samaritan in Luke.
This is a classic example of the function of a Gray result in the Seminar's deliberations:
The majority of the Fellows thought that the ideas in this exchange represented Jesus' own views; the words, however, were those of the young Jesus movement. Those Seminar members who voted pink argued that Jesus might have affirmed the interpretation of the law given by Hillel, a famous rabbi who was a contemporary of Jesus.
Samuel Tobias Lachs
Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament], (280f) notes that the form cited in Mark begins with the traditional opening phrase of the Shema ("Hear, O Israel ..."). This may reflect the influence of Jewish devotional practices, since none of the other versions have that form. He comments further as follows:
The combination of Deut. 6.4 and Lev. 19.18 is already found in the Test. of Iss. 5.2 and in the Test. of Dan. 5.3. It is reasonable to assume that this combination was commonplace in rabbinic teachings, since it combines the love of God with the love of man.
Lüdemann [Jesus], (85f) suggests that Mark was handing on the tradition he had received without any significant change, but he sees the two fold summary of the law as a reductionist and anti-cultic development from the early Christian community, rather than as a saying of Jesus:
The historical yield of the tradition is nil, since it is firmly rooted in the community and is to be derived from its needs. This community has detached itself from the temple cult and justifies this with reference to 'Jesus.' Moreover at another point Jesus gives a completely new definition of the term neighbour (see on Luke 10.30-37).
Niederwimmer Hermeneia, (64) notes the parallels to the Gospels where this double summary of the Torah is variously attributed to Jesus (Mark, Matthew) or to a Torah scholar (Luke). Niederwimmer offers several considerations for concluding that the Didache version is not dependent on the Gospels, but was added to the traditional "Two Ways" tractate (which seems to have spoken only of the commandment to love God) when the Didache was compiled.