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Old 04-27-2001, 05:13 PM   #1
James Still
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Post Twice cured in Mark

There's an interesting story in Mark 8:22-26 which reads:

"They come to Bethsaida, and they bring him a blind person, and plead with him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. And he spat into his eyes, and placed his hands on him, and started questioning him: 'Do you see anything?' When his sight began to come back, the first thing he said was: 'I see human figures, as though they were trees walking around.' Then he [Jesus] put his hands over his eyes a second time. And he opened his eyes, and his sight was restored..."

Incredibly, this pericope is one of only three in Mark that was omitted by the authors of Matthew and Luke. The thing that fascinates me about this story is how "earthy" and folkish it reads. Like all magicians of the period, Jesus often effects cures with magical commands or with ordinary substances like spit or mud. (Early frescoes often portrayed him with a magic wand!) Jesus gives it a good go and like a country doctor asks his patient "how was that?" to see if anything else is needed. In this case the patient replies "almost there!" and Jesus has to work his magic a second time to effect the cure. One of the rewarding things about the portrayal of Jesus in Mark's gospel is the utter humanity of Jesus. Unlike the supernatural caricature of later tradition, this is someone to whom we can relate on a personal level. Probably the reason Matthew and Luke dropped the story was because it portrayed Jesus in too ordinary a way, as someone who had to work a bit to get it right. But that give-and-take is exactly what allows us to relate to Jesus. It's too bad the junior synoptists dropped it.
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Old 04-27-2001, 05:55 PM   #2
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by James Still:
There's an interesting story in Mark 8:22-26</font>
There was another thread on this a while back http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000181.html about a possible reason for Jesus to take two tries at healing the man.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Incredibly, this pericope is one of only three in Mark that was omitted by the authors of Matthew and Luke. The thing that fascinates me about this story is how "earthy" and folkish it reads. Like all magicians of the period, Jesus often effects cures with magical commands or with ordinary substances like spit or mud. (Early frescoes often portrayed him with a magic wand!) Jesus gives it a good go and like a country doctor asks his patient "how was that?" to see if anything else is needed. In this case the patient replies "almost there!" and Jesus has to work his magic a second time to effect the cure. One of the rewarding things about the portrayal of Jesus in Mark's gospel is the utter humanity of Jesus.</font>
I agree, the personal relationship of Jesus with others seems to be one of the major themes of Mark's gospel. His portrayal of a personal, caring Jesus who is not too high to get muddy hands or to spit when helping those in need, is one of the things I most enjoy about Mark's gospel. I feel there is a rather unsubtle message here to Christians as to how they are to act and relate to others.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Unlike the supernatural caricature of later tradition, this is someone to whom we can relate on a personal level. Probably the reason Matthew and Luke dropped the story was because it portrayed Jesus in too ordinary a way, as someone who had to work a bit to get it right. But that give-and-take is exactly what allows us to relate to Jesus. It's too bad the junior synoptists dropped it.</font>
I think it's going too far to say that Mark doesn't see a supernatural Jesus, as he seems to take it for granted that Jesus is a divine miracle worker. I think the things above all he wanted to show was the humanness and the compassion of Jesus.
I don't have a problem with Matthew and Luke not including the story: The story has still been preserved through Mark, so we've lost nothing. You're right in that this story doesn't really fit with the themes in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, so it's not really surprising that the writers dropped it. I don't think that was a bad idea for them: they are making their own points about Jesus and the story only confuses that portrayal.
 
Old 04-27-2001, 09:11 PM   #3
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And then there was the blind man outside Jericho, who was healed coming & going.

You see, Mark 10:46 has Blind Bartimaeus healed as Jesus is leaving Jericho, while Luke 18:35 has Jesus heal the blind man while approaching Jericho. Matthew 20:29-30, incidentally, agrees with Mark that the encounter took place upon departure from Jericho -- except now there are 2 blind men.

How's that for an encore?
 
Old 04-27-2001, 11:05 PM   #4
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Hmm, very interesting, I beleiveJesus used mud to show that the work of healing was not a problem on the Sabbath. Jewish leaders considered making mud, from spitting in the dirt to mixing bricks was breaking the Sabbath. Jesus was stating that is was fine to work to help others on the Sabbath. I think the story is not eliminated in the other books because it showed Jesus as too human, but perhaps because the authors were writing from a point of view that didn't need that story. John tried to portray God as very human, He was, after all 100% God and 100% human.
 
Old 04-28-2001, 05:03 PM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Grumpy:
And then there was the blind man outside Jericho, who was healed coming & going.

You see, Mark 10:46 has Blind Bartimaeus healed as Jesus is leaving Jericho, while Luke 18:35 has Jesus heal the blind man while approaching Jericho. Matthew 20:29-30, incidentally, agrees with Mark that the encounter took place upon departure from Jericho -- except now there are 2 blind men.

How's that for an encore?</font>
There are several explanations for this, and I'm sure you would agree that we cannot conclude that it is a contradiction unless we can say there are no alturnative explanations.
It may be that these are different events being described here, meaning that Jesus healed blind men on two or even three separate occasions.
It may also be that there were two towns named Jericho near each other and the incident occured when Jesus was leaving one town and entering the next.
Also worth consideration is that Mark names the man as Blind Bartimaeus, it is quite possibly the case that there were two blind men but Mark only knew one of them so he mentioned the one he knew.

On a side note, it is passages like these which makes me wonder about the Two Source theory of the synoptics (Mark + Q). If Matthew and Luke here truly copied the story from Mark, then they seem to me to be amoung the world's worst copiers.
 
Old 04-28-2001, 05:29 PM   #6
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There are 2 Jericho's, well, maybe 3.

Thanks, Offa
 
Old 04-28-2001, 06:44 PM   #7
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JS: ...Like all magicians of the period, Jesus often effects cures with magical commands or with ordinary substances like spit or mud. (Early frescoes often portrayed him with a magic wand!) Jesus gives it a good go and like a country doctor asks his patient "how was that?" to see if anything else is needed. In this case the patient replies "almost there!" and Jesus has to work his magic a second time to effect the cure...

I agree that the the NT narratives often depict Jesus as practicing magical techniques. One example, out of many, is in the narrative attributed to Luke in which Jesus is the master exorcist: "And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever [demon], and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them." (4:38-39)

One parallel can be found in Egyptian literature dating from circa 1500 BCE. A child's mother uses magical words to exorcise a demon: "I drive away the sickness which is in your body, and the weakness which is in your body, and the weakness which is in your limbs, like the crocodile traveling up the Nile, like the snake secreting venom...Drain away, swelling, and go down." See John Hull's Hellenistic Magic and the Synoptic Tradition, pp. 61-61, where he quotes "Magical Formulae for Mother and Child", 15th century BC, in Lexa, La magie dans l'Egyte II, p. 29.

A second parallel comes from the ancient Greek Magical Papyri. The magician says his words of power above the head of his patient in a rite of magical exorcism: "Come out, daimon, whoever you are, and stay away from him...now, now; immediately, immediately. Come out, daimon, since I bind you with unbreakable adamantine fetters, and I deliver you into the black chaos in perdition." PGM IV.1241-1249. See The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, P. 62

Perhaps the best parallel comes from the Qumran literature. "...I adjure you, all who en]ter into the body: the male Wasting-demon and the female Wasting-demon [...I adjure you by the name of the Lord, 'He Who re[moves iniquity and transgression', O Fever-demon and Chills-demon and Chest Pain-demon..." 4Q560. See Dead Sea Scrolls A New Translation, Wise, Agegg, and Cook, P. 443

The ancients believed demons to be the cause of illness. The best way to get rid of the illness-demon was to get the help of a magician who performed exorcisms. Jesus was the master.

rodahi



[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited April 28, 2001).]
 
Old 04-28-2001, 08:09 PM   #8
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http://www.rrc.edu/journal/recon63_2/praglin.htm, about jewish healing in its historical perspective, talks about the tradition of jewish healing that jesus fits right into:

"Convincing recent scholarship, however, contends that even in biblical times, healing practices involving magical spells, incantations, and exorcisms had found considerable expression. This was especially true in those Jewish communities influenced by Egyptian, Midianite or Roman culture, as Numbers, Isaiah, 2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, and 2 Kings attest.7 The book of Numbers documents Moses fashioning an image (later destroyed by King Hezekiah) known to magically heal serpent bites.8 I Kings, as well as Josephus, depict Solomon as a magician who could repel demons with his incantations, although the Mishnah records Hezekiah's suppression of this "Book of Cures," given its use as a substitute for prayer.9 The Apocrypha also documented folk medicine practices featuring the angel Raphael, who brought health and healing in the name of God.10 According to Philo and Josephus, the Essenes were particularly interested in physical and spiritual healing. The community at Qumran embellished the story of Abraham's healing of Abimelech, while the Dead Sea Scrolls record Abraham healing on behalf of the pharaoh by expelling a plague caused by a demon.11"

On this list of magical amulets in the Kelsey Museum there is this interesting specimen:

"Note especially the international character of this gem -- the images are mostly Egyptian, the letters Greek, the god's dress is Roman, the angelic names (Michael, etc.) are Jewish, and some of the voces magicae (e.g. "semeseilam," which probably means "Eternal Sun") are of a Semitic, non-Jewish, origin. Note also the fine execution of every detail -- this gem took much time to produce, and must have cost accordingly."

Obviously jewish magic workers, as James Still notes, fit into a tradition of magic working that blended several E. Mediterranean magical systems. Nor is that one uncommon; there is another four-sided amulet with three jewish "deities" and Thoth, who was equated with Hermes and also -- Moses(!) according to the writer.

Michael
 
Old 04-30-2001, 04:44 PM   #9
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">posted by Tercel, re: blind men at Jericho:
It may be that these are different events being described here, meaning that Jesus healed blind men on two or even three separate occasions.</font>
If this is so, it is doubly - even triply! - a miracle, as each of the blind men said the same thing to Jesus! Silly me, I just assumed the similarities in the 3 passages indicated the same story, told 3 ways. Now I know better.

Apparently, there were also two faithful centurions with sick servants, one who approached Jesus in person (Matthew 8:5-13) and said, "I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes." Et cetera. While this might appear to be the same account as the centurion in Luke 7:1-10, it is actually a different one. In Luke, the centurion sends emissaries to Jesus -- who deliver the exact same message.

There must also be two Judases. One who threw the money away and hanged himself, the other who used the money to buy a field and flung himself headlong until his bowels burst.

There must also be two Jesuses. One who died on the cross saying, "Father into your hands I commit my spirit," as per Luke. The other died saying, "It is finished," according to John.

Hmm. That might explain the mysterious double-grandfather dilemma.

But I digress. We now return to our exploration of the Markan priority.
 
 

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