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The Depiction of the Transfiguration Essay

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The Depiction of the Transfiguration

The Transfiguration, depicted with minor variations in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is an event in which Jesus’ true glory is revealed to the privileged disciples (Peter, James, and John) who were there to witness the event. Our author, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., gives us a literary critical perspective on what he believes really happened atop Mt. Tabor in Lower Galilee.
As the story in The Synoptic Gospels goes, Jesus ascends to the top of a mountain with Peter, James and John to pray. It is here that Jesus is transformed completely, “and his face shone like the sun, but his garments became white as light” (Matthew 17:2). It is said that his true nature was revealed there when Moses and Elijah
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In Matthew, Peter uses the phrase, “if you wish” when asking Jesus if they should build the tents; thus, Peter seems much more in control of the situation. Would the author of Mark change Matthew’s confident Peter into one that was afraid and didn’t know how to handle himself? The contrary seems more likely.
Through examples like these, our author make his point about Matthew was using Mark as a written source for the Transfiguration information. He also used similar examples to show us that the first part of Luke’s Gospel was used for a written source for the Gospel of Mark. As for the second part of Luke, we find an internal contradiction that, according to our author, suggests that an editor changed the existing text.

In Luke 9:33 we read, “And when they {Moses and Elijah} parted from him {Jesus}, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is well that we are here, let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’“ Why would Peter want to set up three tents after Moses and Elijah have already left Jesus? Our author believes that a later editor of Luke picked up most of the later part of Luke’s account from Mark; that is, the part containing Peter’s suggestion that three tents be built and the account of the cloud descending and saying that Jesus is God’s son. All of this is not part of the original account of Luke.
Doing away with the additions in Luke and the inaccuracies of the Gospels that relied upon one and
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