Luke 6:31 ~ Mt 7:12
The Golden Rule
This is the center saying of the second part of the Lukan Sermon.
IQP. And the way you want people to treat you, that is how you treat them.
- Mt 7:12 (ASV): All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them, for this is the law and the prophets.
- Lk 6:31 (ASV): And as ye would that men should to to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Comment. This is the Golden Rule in its less workable positive form; the more natural negative form occurs in Tobit 4:15a (02c) and in a famous Hillel anecdote (which, if authentic, would bring the concept within the lifetime of Jesus). The extra phrase at the end of the Matthean form is an explanation of the kind we have already seen several times in Matthew; it may imaginably have in mind the Hillel story. As in those cases, the probable implication is Lk > Mt.
Authenticity. The Golden Rule is a completely human-based ethic, or rather a human-based way of discovering an ethic. Its lateral character is not incompatible with Jesus's reinterpretation of the Mosaic Ten Commandments (as known from Mark), but its independence of all religious sanctions goes beyond anything ascribable to the Markan Jesus. Such a principle was already known in Palestine and points north (Tobit is set in the Babylon area, and Hillel was nicknamed "the Babylonian"), and was perhaps reinforced by early Christian contact with trade centers such as Antioch, where ideas as well as goods from the East passed through continuously. That this and several other principles in the Lukan Sermon had been philosophically prominent for centuries at the Eastern end of those commercial routes is a fact from which modern NT people seem to be shielded, and it is not the purpose of this sentence to violate their immunity. As for the early Christians themselves, if contact of this sort were a factor, it is perhaps more likely to have taken place in the cosmopolitan second Christian generation, rather than its more exclusively Jewish-focused first generation. The lack of specific religious sanctions in the Golden Rule would also have been useful as the early Jewish Christians came to terms of daily accommodation with Gentile converts. and this situation is perhaps most likely to have occurred after the death of Jesus. On the whole, then, the saying is not likely to have been spoken by Jesus.
12 May 2011 / Contact The Project / Exit to Alpha Page