Journal Title

New Testament Studies

Publication Date



Matt 5. 27–32, from the Sermon on the Mount, and Mark 9. 42–10.12 are passages that contain similar material, although neither is directly dependent on the other. Both have sayings that deal with ‘offences’ caused by certain body members (the verb used is σκανδαλίζω), and both contain a version of Jesus' prohibition of divorce. Between these two passages and a third, b. Nid. 13b, from the Babylonian Talmud, there also exist several similarities. Despite this intriguing configuration of materials, which might indicate that all three passages are dependent on a common set of traditions, scholars have approached these texts from a very different perspective. Those who posit a connection between the synoptic and the rabbinic materials do so only with respect to Matt 5, never Mark 9; and several scholars have instead sought parallels to the synoptic passages in Hellenistic gnomic literature, disregarding or ignoring the rabbinic material altogether. In the present study I intend to challenge the validity of these approaches and propose that there is indeed a common set of traditions to which all three of these texts are indebted. I will begin my investigation by highlighting three peculiarities of Mark 9. 42–48, and then posit a relation between this passage and b. Nid. 13b. Following this I will bring the material from Matt 5. 27–32 and Mark 9. 49–10. 12 into consideration. One of the results of this study, as I shall explain more thoroughly in the conclusion, will be the identification of a discussion on male sexuality that took place in Jewish and Christian circles sometime in the middle of the first century C.E


Theology; Men--Sexual behavior





Document Type

Journal Article