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Aspects of the Crucifixion I:

Carrying the cross, trials and rooster crow.

Word RTF

Question #1:

Hello Dr Luginbill,

I was just wondering, did Jesus carry his own cross or not? Could you explain the difference between John 19:17 vs. Matthew 27:32?

Response #1:

Hello Friend,

Our Lord did carry His own cross – up to a point. He had been beaten and abused to the point that would have killed any average human being; so to avoid further delay as He struggled on the way to Calvary, at some point the Roman guard drafted Simon of Cyrene to finish the journey – the quicker to crucify our Lord (compare Matt.27:31 with Matt.27:32). See the link in BB 4A: "The Events of the Crucifixion".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior who died on that cross for us, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Bob L.

Question #2:

Is there any reason you can see, for the gospel of John to leave the part out about Simon carrying the cross?

Response #2:

Hello Friend,

The gospels all have slightly different emphases, as the Holy Spirit has given us a complete picture from four slightly different viewpoints. This means that there are details in all of the gospels which occur in only one, and others which occur in all four. The biggest distinction is of just this sort, that is, details which occur in the first three gospels (aka "the synoptic gospels") but not in John, and, conversely, details which occur in John, but not in the other three. As John says in his gospel, "there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." (Jn.21:25 NKJV). Since John's gospel was written a good deal later than the other three, and since therefore the other three had had time to be well-circulated to the entire Christian community around the Mediterranean world (and beyond) by the time John wrote it, it is not surprising to me that the Spirit led John to leave our particular details which were already well-known and to concentrate instead on other things which the ears of willing believers were by now ready for: issues related to the deity of Christ and the deeper doctrinal implications of the incarnation of the Word of God.

After all, books in the ancient world had a natural limit because of the technology of the day. A book in antiquity (before ca. the 3-4th century) was a papyrus roll, and there was a limit to how many pages of papyrus could be pasted together into a roll and still be manageable. That is why most ancient works are dividing into "books" where today can easily fit many of them into one volume (e.g., Thucydides' History has eight books and Herodotus' History has nine, but they will each fit nicely into a single modern volume). John's gospel is fairly long from this point of view – any longer and it might well have had to be made into two books instead of one, and that was clearly not something the Spirit saw as advantageous.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Good day to you!

Just wanted to send you a link from "first things". It seems to agree with your dating of the crucifixion, although I have not done the math on this one or yours either. I just trust that yours is correct.

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/04/april-3-ad-33

With love in Christ,

Response #3:

Good to hear from you, and thanks for the link. This article (as well as the one they link to for the scholarly details: "The Date of the Crucifixion" by Humphreys and Waddington) demonstrates that the information for this calculation is pretty much ready to hand. Plenty of scholars over the last few centuries in particular have come up with this same date for the crucifixion and resurrection, namely, 33 A.D. (there are alternatives given by others, although incorrect in my view). The one caveat about this and the other linked article I would have is the notion that we can tell anything at all about the dating of the crucifixion or of Passover week from "astronomical data". For one thing, the "eclipse" which took place while our Lord was on the cross lasted three hours and was a supernatural event (so it cannot be discovered by reference to normal celestial phenomena); for another, the idea that we can, based upon medieval Jewish calculations of the date of Passover, project backward and come up with an appropriate year or even day for this Passover of Passovers is also in my view wrong-headed. We have absolute faith in the scriptures; the extra-biblical lore of those who did not even accept the New Testament as inspired should not be given the level of credence it often is (especially since as I say this "data" comes to us not from contemporary sources but centuries after the fact).

The Jewish ceremonial calendar year consists of 360 days, so that every once in a while days had to be added to address the fact that otherwise the calendar would become completely out of sync with the actual seasons (this was a common issue in all the calendars of the ancient world which natural aligned to the lunar cycle for the calculation of months). No one knows how this process of "intercalation" (as this process of adjustment is called) was done in ancient Israel, although there is some evidence for intercalation, and in my opinion the process was never standardized (it wasn't even standardized in Rome until Julius' Caesar's reforms). Indeed, it seems that in our Lord's day, there were in fact two different calendars for the Passover during the year of His crucifixion and resurrection. That is the only way I know to explain the fact that He and the disciples ate the Passover the day before the crucifixion, but the Jews of the Jerusalem establishment had not yet done so and would not do so until sundown on the day of Calvary (Jn.18:28): intercalation had been calculated differently that year in the north (Galilee et al.) and in the south (Jerusalem et al.). A good analogy today is the fact that there are two "Easters" every spring (the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox), because of the use of two different calendars (Gregorian and Julian respectively).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #4:

You wrote: It was the judgment of our Lord Jesus in the darkness on the cross which washed those sins away, and not the unimaginable physical and emotional sufferings that preceded the cross, the event which, from the proper divine point of view, is history. What do you mean by 'the event which, from the proper divine point of view, is history'?

Response #4:

Jesus' sacrifice for our sins is not just the most important thing – in many respects it is the only thing. There could never have been a creation without the cross; the cross is the Rock upon which the Plan of God and all human history depends. Please see the link: BB 4B: Soteriology

Question #5:

Could you please clarify:

For they have struck on the cheek with a rod the Judge of Israel.
Micah 5:1b

Is 'striking with a rod' something that took place when our Lord was bearing our sins on the cross, but has not been included in the gospels, or should this passage be taken metaphorically?

Response #5:

Our Lord was, of course, physically struck in the face and repeatedly so in the trials He endured before the cross. As mentioned in early correspondences, these passages in the Old Testament foreshadow not only the preparatory gauntlet but the actual suffering of our Lord for the sins of the world. For a variety of reasons, the terror of that marvelous and gracious death and victory are not spelled out all that clearly in the New Testament either. But we do know, and passages such as this help us to emotionally appreciate, that what our Lord did for us was the greatest thing that has ever or will ever be done: His spiritual death to atone for the sins of the world (see the link). Please see the link: in BB 4A: "The Seven Trials of Christ".

Question #6:

If my understanding is correct, our Lord was arrested late at night; was He taken to Annas at this time, or was it early morning (Jn.18:12-24)?

Response #6:

I have all this written up in BB 4A under "The seven trials of Christ" (see the link). Because this happens prior to the trial before Caiaphas where the cock crows and Peter sees Jesus turn and look at him (Lk.22:61), it would have had to have taken place while it was still night.

Question #7:

You wrote: Under intense interrogation, Jesus refused to answer questions about His disciples and remained unintimidated in spite of physical abuse (cf. Jn.18:21-23 with Is.50:8-9). Could you please clarify why you link these two passages?

Response #7:

In the first passage, Jn.18:21-23, Jesus is stricken; Is.50:8-9 is a prophecy of this trial and no doubt encouragement to our Lord in His anticipation of these false accusations and in His bearing up under them (especially as He paraphrases the passage in His response here to the high priest).

Question #8:

Matt.26:57-68; Mk.14:53-65: In the first passage our Lord replies 'You have said it yourself', in the second - 'I am'. Are these two renderings of the same words, or do both gospels refer to two different sentences spoken by Jesus?

Response #8:

The latter rather than the former. Matthew says "You have said it", while Mark records Him as actually saying ego eimi, "I am", which is the Greek equivalent to the tetragrammaton, YHVH (as can be seen very clearly from John 18:6, it means that Jesus was acknowledging His deity). In my view our Lord said both things. It is acceptable and typical of all historical renderings to include only some of the details.

Question #9:

You wrote: While the first trial seems to have been focused upon gathering intelligence in order to round up all of our Lord's followers, this second trial seems to have served a probouleutic function (...). Although the purpose of the second trial seems clear to me, I'm still uncertain about the first one - how do we know it was focused on gathering intelligence to round up all of our Lord's followers?

Response #9:

That is my take. They had planned to round up all of Jesus' disciples, but God had prevented that. This first trial serves the purpose of an initial police interrogation in order to provide avenues of inquiry for the more formal procedures that follow.

Question #10:

How do we know that the trial before Caiaphas and Sanhedrin are two separate events, as the account from Lk.22:66-71 seems very similar to Matt.26:57-68 and Mk.14:53-65?

Also, John 18:28 says: 'Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium', without mentioning Sanhedrin in between.

Response #10:

The gospels each handle these things in different ways. Since the trials before Pilate and Herod are arguably more critical to the narrative, it is easy to see how the earlier trials were run together before John was given by the Spirit to produce a more detailed account of the events preceding the cross. John 18:13 says that they "brought him first to Annas", while after this first trial it says at John 18:24, "Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest". These events are explained at the link: in BB 4A: "The Seven Trials of Christ".

Question #11:

You wrote: Thus, sending Jesus to Herod was far from a benign act, and that fact was surely not lost on our Lord. What do you mean by 'and that fact was surely not lost on our Lord'? Also, could you just briefly introduce all the Herods to me - there was the one that wanted to kill our Lord (what's his full name)? Then you mention the oldest son - Herod Archelaus, of whom you say that he committed some sort of malfeasance and Herod Antipas - the one that questioned our Lord. What specifically were their roles, if the Roman protectorate was dissolved, what was the position held by Herod Antipas? Why did Herod and Pontius become friends? Were the Herods of Jewish, Roman or other descent?

Response #11:

Jesus knew why Pilate had sent Him to Herod. This was an important perspective to have inasmuch as it informed and reinforced the fact that the trial had no standing whatsoever (hence our Lord's refusal even to answer Herod). As to the friendship, no doubt it was because of a favor given and a favor accepted. It is also true in my experience and observation that unbelievers "bond" in their mutual contempt for the truth. Herod's family on his father's side was from "Idumea" or "Edom" and his mother was a Nabatean. They practiced Judaism (that is, the legalistic traditional religion of the day). What precisely the details were beyond that, we cannot say. The family supported the winning side in the Roman civil wars and owed its political ascendency to that astute choice.

Question #12:

Is Luke 23:17, "for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast", a part of the scripture?

Response #12:

It occurs in Sinaiticus, the best witness, but is absent from a variety of other very good and early witnesses. In any case, the sentiment is clearly correct based upon Matt.27:15 and Mk.15:6.

Question #13:

You wrote about the question of whether or not Pilate actually believed Jesus to be a king when he proclaimed to the people, "Behold, here is your king!" (Jn.19:15): Then, to leave no doubt, and to gain some political capital from this defeat, Pilate referred to Jesus as their "King", questioning whether or not they really wanted to crucify their own king, until they responded "We don't have a king – except Caesar" (Jn.19:15). What do you mean by 'to leave no doubt and to gain some political capital'?

Response #13:

Merely that Pilate was not willing to hand Jesus over to death unless there was no politically viable alternative, and, if he felt forced to do so, he wished to make a difficult situation into one of some advantage to himself in not only acceding to the crowd's demands but also in getting them to acknowledge their loyalty to Rome. Yes, it is ironic.

Question #14:

Did the message sent by Pilate's wife meant that she realized that Jesus should have been released? Was it supposed to give Pontius a choice?

Response #14:

The dream was clearly from God and it did indeed make the issue all the more clear to Pilate. All these things just go to show how the hardened heart of unbelief has absolutely no room for consideration of the truth any longer.

Question #15:

You wrote about Pilate's motives: There are no doubt several reasons for this, but we need not attribute any deep respect for justice on his part as one of them (cf. Jn.18:38: "What is truth?"). What were the reasons for Pilate attempting to free Jesus? Also, do you link your point with Jn.18:38 because Pilate was not really interested in the truth, and hence we can conclude that similarly his standards of justice were not genuine, as he was probably not interested in true righteousness, just as he was not interested in truth?

Response #15:

I think he was interested in justice, as long as it was politically expedient. Jesus was innocent, as he well knew. From a cynical political point of view it would hardly do for the Roman governor to accede to the wishes of the crowd riled up by political factionalism. Pilate wanted to be the manipulator not the manipulated. He did not believe in "truth" of a supernatural and transcendent sort as his question to Jesus makes clear.

Question #16:

Do you think that Pilate was then aware of the Pharisees and the elders being against the teaching of Jesus and His disciples - is that what you mean by Pilate not wanting to alienate any 'faction'?

Response #16:

Yes, and I would include the Sadducees too.

Question #17:

You wrote: However, wishing to make it crystal clear that he was only acquiescing in a decision of their making, he first washed his hands to demonstrate his "innocence" (cf. Deut.21:6). Since the ritual from Deuteronomy is commanded by God rather than performed sinfully, as in the case of Pilate, do you refer to it simply to show the meaning of the gesture itself?

Response #17:

It is part of the scriptural narrative, so it is included in the synopsis. It had no value to God in this case, clearly, other than that it demonstrated Pilate's knowledge of Jesus' innocence and the collusion on the part of all involved in His judicial murder.

Question #18:

How do we know that Rufus from Mk.15:21 and Rom.16:13 is the same man?

Response #18:

We do not know that for certain (hence the "cf." where I mention this); it may be the same man. Then again, the name means "Red", and was a fairly common cognomen.

Question #19:

Could you please 'walk me through' Luke 23:28-31:

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, "Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!" Then "they will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'" For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?

a) Why and who "will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'"?

b) And finally, what is meant by: "For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry"?

Response #19:

This verse is ultimately fulfilled at the second advent when all of the wicked who have supported the beast and opposed the Messiah's return will wish that they had never been born:

They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
Revelation 6:16 NIV

If people can kill an innocent man, the Lord of life, when there is relative peace and prosperity, what in the world will they not be capable of when there is famine and imminent destruction (as will be the case in the short run before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem a few decades later, and in the long run during antichrist's siege – brought to an end by the 2nd advent)?

Question #20:

I read your clarification of the usage of the word 'gall' and 'myrrh' as the additive to our Lord's drink - can we then assume that both gospel authors meant the same thing?

Response #20:

Yes, that is my take on this issue. See the link: in BB 4A: "Events of the Crucifixion".

Question #21:

You wrote: The usual punishment for Roman citizens found guilty of capital crimes was beheading (cf. the fasces, the bundle of rods bound around an ax, carried by Roman lictors). Was beheading normally done with fasces in ancient Rome?

Response #21:

The fasces are technically the rods within which the ax was bundled. The rods were the first choice (beating), with the ax (securis) used only for those found guilty of a capital crime (literally, a "crime of the head"). A trial was necessary before execution except when the consul or praetor who had this authority was in the field on military operations.

Question #22:

You wrote: Deprived of the ability to adjust their positions on the cross by means of their legs, suffocation would soon result (and shock, of course, would be greatly increased thus hastening the process). Why does the suffocation occur through the legs being broken?

Response #22:

I'm not an M.D., but I can imagine that being hung by the arms will make it difficult to breath over a long period of time and contribute to a more rapid death. That is what the experts who have looked at this issue have concluded, at any rate. Here is a link to one article which deals with the issue (about half way in): "The Physical Death of Jesus Christ".

Question #23:

You wrote: Moreover this was particularly true for Jews, since hanging a person (on a tree [or cross]) is indicative of that person being "under a curse" (Deut.21:23; cf. Josh.8:29; 10:26; 2Sam.4:12; Gal.3:13). Do you give the following passages: Josh.8:29; 10:26; 2Sam.4:12, simply as examples of a cursed death?

Response #23:

Yes, they show the cursing associated with hanging in the Jewish culture.

Question #24:

Why do you think that the Romans gambling for His clothing was a part of the psychological torment, if our Lord didn't prize the earthly possessions?

Response #24:

It is true that our Lord had no inordinate desire for worldly possessions. But we need worldly possessions to survive in the world, and having every last one of them stripped away from us and having to watch it would be a very large psychological load, indicating that physical death was the next thing to be suffered.

Question #25:

You wrote: we see the chief priests and scribes actually quoting Psalm 22 to chastise Him, using the very prophetic words which foretold of this suffering of the Messiah and now serve to condemn their blind, self-righteous behavior.

I) Could you explain what do you mean by the words of the Psalm 'condemning' their behavior?

II) Also, could you please clarify the Psalm itself - does it refer to the cross? If so, why does it say 'Let Him rescue Him', if our Lord would not be saved from the cross?

Response #25:

This passage describes the deliberately cutting remarks made by David's enemies against him in ironic anticipation that the Lord would not save him. Indeed, the Lord did save him. And Jesus was delivered as well – for this statement is made after His spiritual death for the sins of the world has already taken place. That is the substance of His final remarks:

Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Psalm 31:5 NKJV

And indeed, not only was our Lord victorious at the cross, successfully dying for all of our sins; He was also resurrected three days later as a demonstration of that victory, in which victory we who have chosen for Him will share forever.

Question #26:

You wrote: The Greek words employed to describe these men, lestes in Matthew and Mark, and kakourgos in Luke, indicate that far from being petty criminals, these men were professional felons of the most violent sort, highway robbers and/or home invaders guilty of terrible crimes. Where can we draw these conclusions about the criminals from?

Response #26:

The Greek words indicate serious crimes and these examples are examples of the sorts of crimes that men described by these Greek words are wont to engage in (but they are not universal technical terms, so we can't be any more specific).

Question #27:

You wrote: As Mary's sister was standing by, however, and considering that in addition to her extended family (cf. Lk.1:39-45). Can you clarify how does this passage illustrate this point?

Response #27:

The passage cited gives indication that Mary had an extended family in Bethlehem, close to Jerusalem.

Question #28:

You wrote: Mary had a rather large number of other children herself (cf. Matt.13:56; 28:10; Mk.3:31; Lk.8:19; Jn.2:12; 7:3; Acts 1:14; 1Cor.9:5; Gal.1:19; Jude 1:1).

I) Could you please clarify the last three passages here - do they also refer to our Lord's siblings?

II) James from Galatians 1:19 is called an apostle, but he is not one of the twelve, if I'm correct?

Response #28:

Yes, they do (I am aware that in the R.C. tradition they are called "cousins" or some such, but the Greek is very clear that they are Jesus' younger siblings). There are apostles and Apostles. The word represents a gift, an assignment, and an office. The office only has twelve who have ever held it, but there are numerous examples of those invested with special authority by the church of that day, usually "sent forth" (the etymology of the word) on some missionary endeavor or another. See the link: "The Apostles".

Question #29:

You wrote: Since as we have seen none of the disciples really grasped the reality or the gravity of our Lord's impending death before the fact, it would have been somewhat imprudent of our Lord to entrust this responsibility to John (or anyone else, for that matter) before now. What is the link between entrusting His mother to John and John's (and other apostles') understanding of the death on the cross? Why would it have been imprudent to entrust such responsibility before the cross?

Response #29:

Simply that in that the gesture might have been completely missed (since the apostles did not want to accept the reality of Lord's coming crucifixion in any case), and would thus have to have been repeated from the cross in any case. They weren't taking our Lord seriously about the need for His sacrifice before it happened, and they weren't understanding it either. Being asked to take care of His mother prior to a death they did not understand or expect would have been an exercise in futility (see the link: Why did Jesus choose John over James to take care of His mother Mary?).

Question #30:

Regarding the insertion of the interpolation, "Father, forgive them", you wrote: Were Luke to have written this at the end of verse 34 instead of at its beginning, the placement would have been less jarring (...). Would it be less jarring because the subject at the beginning of verse 34 would have remained the same as in the previous verse, or are there other reasons?

Response #30:

It is primarily because the circumstantial participle diamerizomenoi, "dividing up", couldn't belong there naturally. The previous part of the verse has been spliced in artlessly, lending support to the truth that "Father, forgive them" is not part of scripture (unbelievers are not forgiven their unbelief, the most dramatic demonstration of which in all of history is the crucifixion), but was added in imitation of Stephen's statement at his martyrdom (see the link).

Question #31:

You wrote: According to the canons of textual criticism, one of the main issues one should consider in cases of this sort is how likely inclusion or exclusion would be if the passage were original or not. Could you please clarify what you mean by that?

Response #31:

If a passage is thought to be original but left out, there should be reasons why it was left out (whether accidentally or on purpose); alternatively, if a passage is thought to be unoriginal but spliced in, there should be things we can point to that verify this as is the case in this instance of "Father forgive them" – in spades (see the link).

Question #32:

You wrote: Putting aside the obvious distinction that Stephen was not the Messiah about to die for the sins of the world, it is yet easy to see how a person with a superficial understanding of the nature of our Lord's death for sin on our behalf might find the lack of a similar statement of blanket forgiveness troubling, and might wish to rectify the perceived "problem" (which is in reality no problem at all; see the following point) by means of this interpolation. Could you please clarify this sentence?

Response #32:

I mean that a scribe who knew Steven said "forgive them" would be embarrassed that our Lord didn't say "forgive them" so he might have put it in to "help" Jesus' reputation – out of ignorance of the theological horrors of what he had done in altering scripture in this way.

Question #33:

You wrote: Additional problems include the fact that these words create the impression that the cross was a mistake as opposed to a part of the plan of God. Is this linked with the point you made about creating a perception of the death on the cross being unnecessary, and hence if it is unnecessary, it is a mistake?

Response #33:

Yes, they are connected. It is always sobering to see how even (seemingly) small alterations of the scripture can end up creating massively destructive waves.

Question #34:

You wrote: Unbelief is the one "unpardonable sin" for which forgiveness is impossible, and for our Lord Jesus Christ to have exonerated unbelief in any way by such words would have had repercussions throughout the entire plan of God which are unfathomable (and impossible because, ultimately, such blanket forgiveness would in effect compromise the righteousness of God, something that can never be). Am I correct to understand that God's righteousness would have been compromised as the only way for us to have our sins forgiven is through Jesus' sacrifice for these sins, hence forgiveness without acknowledging the sacrifice on part of the person being forgiven would mean no standard of righteousness?

Response #34:

I see what you are asking but it is hard for me to answer the hypothetical because it was impossible for the Father to forgive people who were not accepting the only Substitute for sin. We cannot make amends for our sins, so the only way to be saved is through having Another die in our place. Even if Jesus had asked for this, how would it have been possible? It would have violated the whole principle of free will and turned the entire Plan of God inside out (see the link). If all could be saved apart from faith, then why do we need the process of history in the first place?

Question #35:

You wrote: But though He was soon to die for the sins of all, He did not forgive everyone's sins (Jn.8:24; 9:41), only the sins of those who turned to Him in faith (Matt.9:2; Lk.7:48; cf. Jn.20:23). Does Jn.20:23 means that apostles were given the power to forgive sins? Was that power given to them from that moment until they died? I struggle to understand how they could forgive the sins. In the letter from about a year ago you wrote that this passage refers to either accepting the gospel on part of the person who heard it through an apostle and hence being granted forgiveness, or not accepting the gospel, and hence being confirmed in sin. Isn't this then completely up to the free will decision of the person hearing the gospel? What specifically would be the role of apostles, how specifically they would forgive?

Response #35:

Yes, I stand by my earlier statements on this. The role of the apostles is that of representing the truth of the Kingdom and confirming those who accept it . . . or reject it. The power and the glory lie with God as always. So this power is not independent of the free will of those who hear the gospel and respond – in fact that is absolutely necessary for salvation (as in all cases in all of history).

Question #36:

You wrote: Regarding the passages which deal with events after our Lord gives up His spirit (Matt.27:45-54; Mk.15:33-39; Lk.23:44-49), in each one there is a different reason given why the centurion says "Truly this man was the Son of God!". Why is that the case?

Response #36:

It is often the case that different gospels emphasize different (actual) events. In this case they are consistent. Matthew attributes the motive of amazement at the earthquake not just to the centurion but to "those with him". Mark says that the centurion was impressed with the way Jesus exhaled His spirit. Luke merely says "when he say what happened", which covers everything.

Question #37:

Regarding the rooster crowing twice you wrote: This particular incident occurs in all the gospels. In John 18:15-27, the rooster crows after the third denial, and the same is true of Luke 22:56-62. This is also the case in Matthew 26:69-75. Mark 14:66-72 only seems to be different. The references to the rooster crowing "twice" in Mark are not to be found at all in the best of the manuscripts (e.g., it's absent in Sinaiticus). Why some later scribe decided to add this incorrect detail is not known.

What do the correct manuscripts say at Mark 14:30, when our Lord tells Peter about the rooster crowing twice?

Response #37:

Here's the link on this one: "Simeon, Simon and the Crowing Rooster". Two of the best mss., Sinaiticus and Ephraemi Rescriptus (aka C) don't have the word "twice" (dis, δὶς), and I believe that absence to be the correct reading. The real issue is Mark 14:72a where the text of the later mss. of Mark have "a rooster crowed a second time". Assuming that reading, it seems easy to me to see how a scribe or interpreter dealing with this passage in Mark might want to link up this oddity with the two times Jesus' words are quoted (later in v.72 and also in Mk.14:30). The fact that in one good ms. which has "twice", in both those passages the phrase "a second time" is in a different order in the sentence speaks volumes to me: this was the offending addition which was later assimilated in the tradition by adding "twice" to the two quotations of our Lord's prediction. The phrase in Greek ek deuterou (ἐκ δευτερου) is common enough in scripture, but this would be the only time Mark has it (and that may be evidence too of its lack of originality here). But the biggest problem with assuming that ek deuterou is original is that in fact this is the first (and only) cock-crow that Mark records in the chapter! So while the two instances of dis/δὶς are to be explained as smoothing out this phrase, how ek deuterou found its way into part of the tradition is a bit of a mystery. My best guess is that it was a gloss or marginal explanation where a reader remarked "this is the second time" we find this in scripture (Mark is the second recording in the NT of the important event of Peter's three denials since Matthew's gospel comes first in most orderings), and then this note was misunderstood to mean not "second time in the NT" but "second crowing".

Question #38:

Regarding the rooster you wrote: Two of the best mss., Sinaiticus and Ephraemi Rescriptus (aka C) don't have the word "twice" (dis, δὶς), and I believe that absence to be the correct reading. In which verse do they not have 'twice' - is it in Mark 14:30? Do they have it in Mark 14:72?

Response #38:

The word dis does not occur in the original in Mark 14:30 or 14:72. It is not in Sinaiticus nor in C (Ephraemi Rescriptus), and in the second verse is also absent in some western family mss. (I don't know about verse 30 on that score since the critical versions I have say nothing about the issue one way or another and I don't have access to those mss.). The occurrence of dis has all the hallmarks of a later addition.
 

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