Jesus sweating blood was added to the gospel. Can a person sweat blood?

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    Oct 21, 2014 11:59 PM GMT
    Bart Ehrman

    Plunkett and I argued that the verses were originally NOT part of Luke’s Gospel (they aren’t found in any other Gospel either) but were added by scribes in the second century. One piece of evidence involved the intrinsic probabilities. Here’s the deal. Most readers of Luke have not noticed this, but a careful study of his Passion narrative shows clearly that Luke has gone out of his way to eliminate every indication that Jesus was suffering and in agony in going to his death by crucifixion.

    One way to show this is by looking at how Luke has modified the account of Jesus before his arrest from the one source that we are sure he used in writing his account, the Gospel of Mark. In Mark there is no doubt that Jesus is in deep agony (read for yourself: Mark 14:32-42). Mark indicates that when he came to the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper, Jesus “began to be distressed and agitated.” He tells his disciples that he is “deeply grieved, even to death.” He goes off and throws himself to the ground and prays that God will “remove this cup” from him – i.e. that he will not have to go through with it. In fact, he prays this prayer repeatedly, three times. And then he is arrested.

    Contrast that with Luke’s account. Again, Luke used Mark as a source, and so any changes he makes in Mark’s account are clearly for a reason: he wanted to tell things differently. (Studying the ways Luke changed Mark is called “redaction criticism.” A redactor is an editor.) Luke omits the statement that Jesus was distressed and agitated. Jesus does not tell his disciples that he is grieved unto death. Instead of throwing himself to the ground, he kneels. And instead of pleading with God three times, he prays just once, and prefaces his prayer with “if you be willing.”
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    Oct 22, 2014 12:00 AM GMT
    StephenOABC

    We’re obligated to say, that’s a good catch. You didn’t happen to mention the dissenters’ argument to the co-authored article. Were there any good counter-arguments?

    Second, do any of the Bibles footnote this oddity?

    We wouldn’t want Bible societies to go through all the trouble of getting the Greek right but missing the exegesis / textual criticism.
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    Oct 22, 2014 12:01 AM GMT
    Bart

    I deal with detractors in my book Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, where I devote a section to this variant. Yes, Bible’s regularly footnote the problem; the NRSV puts the passage in double brackets [[ ]] indicating that the translators do not think it is original.
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    Oct 22, 2014 12:02 AM GMT
    Another Poster

    You really should see the translators’ notes in the otherwise decent “New English Translation”, the “NET Bible” — fully available online. Really mind-boggling. They suggest that while the excerpt is not likely an authentic Lukan writing, it is probably historical anyway therefore they’ve left it in the text in a bracketed presentation. From the commentary:

    “Several important Greek mss (Ì75 א1 A B N T W 579 1071*) along with diverse and widespread versional witnesses lack 22:43-44. In addition, the verses are placed after Matt 26:39 by Ë13. Floating texts typically suggest both spuriousness and early scribal impulses to regard the verses as historically authentic. These verses are included in א*,2 D L Θ Ψ 0171 Ë1 Ï lat Ju Ir Hipp Eus. However, a number of mss mark the text with an asterisk or obelisk, indicating the scribe’s assessment of the verses as inauthentic. At the same time, these verses generally fit Luke’s style. Arguments can be given on both sides about whether scribes would tend to include or omit such comments about Jesus’ humanity and an angel’s help. But even if the verses are not literarily authentic, they are probably historically authentic. This is due to the fact that this text was well known in several different locales from a very early period. Since there are no synoptic parallels to this account and since there is no obvious reason for adding these words here, it is very likely that such verses recount a part of the actual suffering of our Lord. Nevertheless, because of the serious doubts as to these verses’ authenticity, they have been put in brackets.”

    Yikes.


    Bart

    Wow. “… very likely…” As to “no obvious reason,” well, hmm… Except for the obvious reason I suppose….
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    Oct 22, 2014 12:05 AM GMT
    The other poster

    These translators’ notes would be a fine example of what we would call “motivated reasoning”.
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    Oct 22, 2014 12:07 AM GMT
    Bart

    I discuss which manuscripts have it and which do not have it in my treatment in Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. It’s especially striking that it is absent from P75 and B (Vaticanus), widely considered (by just about everyone) to be our best manuscripts for Luke.

    If you think the verses were originally in Luke, you’d have to explain why scribes left them out. I think I’ve considered all the options, and presented most of them. Look at my fuller discussion.
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    Oct 22, 2014 12:10 AM GMT
    StephenOABC

    Hematohidrosis is a very rare condition of sweating blood. A case of hematohidrosis is reported. There are only few reports in the literature. Hematohidrosis is a rare condition in which a human being sweats blood. Leonardo Da Vinci described a soldier who sweated blood before battle.
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    Oct 22, 2014 3:58 AM GMT
    Bart Ehrman

    In the second century, one of the dominant heresies being combatted by the proto-orthodox was “Docetism” – the view that Christ was not a real flesh and blood human being but only “seemed” to be (Docetism comes from the Greek word “dokeo,” which means to “seem” or to “appear”). Proto-orthodox heresy-hunters (technical term for them: heresiologists) such as Justin Martyr in Rome, and Irenaeus in Gaul, Tertullian in North Africa, and Hippolytus in Rome were dead set against those who denied that Christ was fully human, with a human body, and human emotions. This became tricky, because they also wanted to claim he was God. But even though he was God, he was no less human, contrary to what the docetists said (who maintained that if he was really God he could not at the same time *really* be human).

    In the context of those debates, which form of the text seems more likely serviceable to proto-orthodox scribes? Clearly the one where Jesus is show to be sweating blood and needing angelic assistance in his time of deep grief. Here he is very human indeed. Could the verses have been added to Luke’s Gospel to provide additional ammunition to proto-orthodox Christians wanting to show Jesus really was a flesh and (sweating) blood person, contrary to what the docetists said?

    There actually is evidence that this is the case, and we dug it up. The first three times the verses are ever mentioned happen to be in the writings of proto-orthodoxy heresiologists: Justin, Hippolytus, and Irenaeus. And all three times, how do these church fathers quote the verses? Precisely in order to show that Jesus really was a flesh and blood human being who could suffer and precisely in order to put down those who claimed otherwise. In other words, the first usages of these verses were in the polemical context for which they do indeed seem best fit.
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    Oct 22, 2014 4:22 AM GMT
    StephenOABC/Steefen:

    Dr. Ehrman: In the context of those debates, which form of the text seems more likely serviceable to proto-orthodox scribes? Clearly the one where Jesus is show to be sweating blood

    Steefen: The problem is hematohidrosis is a very rare condition. As such, Jesus doesn't become commonly human. Besides, he bled when he was beaten when held in custody by Rome; and, he bled when he was nailed to the cross.

    "His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground." The "like" removes all serviceability to the proto-orthodox scribes. We don't even have hematohidrosis here.
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    Oct 22, 2014 12:30 PM GMT
    So, let's look at this simile; for, that's what it is.
    Perspiration leaves the body at its rate.
    Blood leaves the body at a faster rate with a more constant flow.
    Perspiring like bleeding means the sweat is coming down at a faster rate than normal, constantly, despite any modulation in temperature or breeze in the Garden of Gethsemane, or where have you.

  • Gayroy65

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    Oct 22, 2014 6:33 PM GMT
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematidrosis
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    Oct 22, 2014 8:52 PM GMT
    Once after a weekend of binge drinking I sweated vodka.

    Does it matter a hill of beans whether or not Jesus sweated blood? There is no way to prove or disprove it. Just as there is no way to prove or disprove there was ever any blood in his stool. Just because there is no mention of it in the Gospels doesn't mean it never happened or did happen.

    How does knowing in any way shape or form improve our understanding of Jesus or his message?
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    Oct 23, 2014 12:27 AM GMT
    UndercoverMan saidHow does knowing in any way shape or form improve our understanding of Jesus or his message?


    They will find a boy in Chile who sweats blood. His father will claim it's a sign from God. People will come to touch and him and be healed. This is why it's important; someone needs to make a buck off of mythology, and the best frauds point to something from the second century as proof of their divinity.
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    Oct 23, 2014 3:01 AM GMT
    StephenOABC saidSo, let's look at this simile; for, that's what it is.
    Perspiration leaves the body at its rate.
    Blood leaves the body at a faster rate with a more constant flow.
    Perspiring like bleeding means the sweat is coming down at a faster rate than normal, constantly, despite any modulation in temperature or breeze in the Garden of Gethsemane, or where have you.



    Bart Ehrman

    Right! The point is that he is in very deep agony, not that he is literally sweating blood.

    [The nerves, feeling agony, and the sweating makes him human.]

    StephenOABC
    Hm, the manuscripts that do not have this verse dehumanize Jesus because he does not agonize over his death. The less human, the more god. An all-knowing God must know, experientially, human agony.
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    Oct 23, 2014 3:08 AM GMT
    UndercoverMan saidOnce after a weekend of binge drinking I sweated vodka.

    Does it matter a hill of beans whether or not Jesus sweated blood? There is no way to prove or disprove it. Just as there is no way to prove or disprove there was ever any blood in his stool. Just because there is no mention of it in the Gospels doesn't mean it never happened or did happen.

    How does knowing in any way shape or form improve our understanding of Jesus or his message?


    Did Jesus walk in our shoes? "Try walking in my shoes" Man can retort to God. This is Jesus earning his stripes. Now, Jesus can get worshipers saying, "Tell it to Jesus, Jesus knows."

    Jesus can say, I've walked in your shoes, I've wept, I've agonized. I've suffered. I've been sick with agony. You know you can cry on my shoulder: I know what you're feeling.

    Save me from my agony, Master Christ of Agony.
    Save me from my suffering, Master who has suffered.
    Etc.
  • aishingo1996

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    Oct 23, 2014 5:49 AM GMT
    It's completely possible to sweat blood. If someone is laboring hard enough, their blood pressure rises and burst capillaries and then as you bleed from your pores, it mixes with the sweat and you "sweat blood". Especially in the face where you have a bunch of capillaries. A teenager with acne understands if they pick at a pimple and it's deep in the skin and they try to pop it (gross I know... eww) they will burst the capillaries and instead, just get blood.
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    Oct 23, 2014 1:45 PM GMT
    Maybe Jesus had Ebola. Too soon?
  • frogman89

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    Oct 23, 2014 1:50 PM GMT
    aishingo1996 saidIt's completely possible to sweat blood. If someone is laboring hard enough, their blood pressure rises and burst capillaries and then as you bleed from your pores, it mixes with the sweat and you "sweat blood". Especially in the face where you have a bunch of capillaries. A teenager with acne understands if they pick at a pimple and it's deep in the skin and they try to pop it (gross I know... eww) they will burst the capillaries and instead, just get blood.

    The skin doesn't have pores.
    It's not possible to sweat blood. Capillaries don't burst due to high blood pressure. If they did, it would mean instant death.
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    Oct 23, 2014 2:53 PM GMT
    "Hematidrosis (also called hematohidrosis or hemidrosis or blood sweat) is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood." (Wikipedia)
  • frogman89

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    Oct 23, 2014 3:07 PM GMT
    TerraFirma said"Hematidrosis (also called hematohidrosis or hemidrosis or blood sweat) is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood." (Wikipedia)

    The word in itself is wrong. Hematidrosis implies that unfiltered blood is secreted by the sweat glands. And that's not what happens.

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    Oct 23, 2014 3:46 PM GMT
    We interrupt this thread for a news item.

    (Bart Ehrman teaches at UNC)

    I am so sorry to hear about the 18 years of academic fraud at UNC.
    I’m looking at my Roku3 News. It’s the first news story: “UNC Report: 18 Years of Academic Fraud.”
    Thousands have cheated their way … unearned dean’s lists
    3100 students to keep their sports eligibility
    “as an athlete … I clearly didn’t go to any classes”
    UNC won 3 NCAA titles
    9 employees have been fired
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/us/unc-report-academic-fraud/index.html

    Is your college/school at UNC clear?

    People will suspect that some basketball players may have registered for classes in religious studies.

    Probably one of the toughest questions this month.
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    Oct 23, 2014 3:50 PM GMT
    frogman89
    The skin doesn't have pores.

    What has the skin products industry been telling us?

    Tell us how they're wrong.

    For every hair on your body, there is a corresponding skin pore. Although we can't see all of these pores, we can see some of them. The same holds true with hair; while we share the same number of hairs with apes, human hairs are much less coarse, and most are so wispy they can't easily be seen.

    http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/information/anatomy/skin-pores.htm
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    Oct 23, 2014 3:51 PM GMT
    PBk24.jpg
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    Oct 23, 2014 3:51 PM GMT
    At the top of the image is a "sweat pore."
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    Oct 23, 2014 3:53 PM GMT
    frogman89 said
    aishingo1996 saidIt's completely possible to sweat blood. If someone is laboring hard enough, their blood pressure rises and burst capillaries and then as you bleed from your pores, it mixes with the sweat and you "sweat blood". Especially in the face where you have a bunch of capillaries. A teenager with acne understands if they pick at a pimple and it's deep in the skin and they try to pop it (gross I know... eww) they will burst the capillaries and instead, just get blood.

    The skin doesn't have pores.
    It's not possible to sweat blood. Capillaries don't burst due to high blood pressure. If they did, it would mean instant death.


    Just doing a quote to show frogman did write, "The skin doesn't have pores."