Oligopistos Aramaic Equivalent

According to Mark Jesus called his hearers not simply to repent/convert, but also to believe Mark has put the call in the language of later mis sionaries — to 'believe in the gospel'. But talk of 'faith' is no stranger to the

46. Goppelt gives particular emphasis to the call for repentance (Theology chs. 3-4): 'Each of Jesus' demands was after nothing less than a transformation of the person from the very core, i.e., total repentance' (118).

47. Despite their sole attestation by Luke, it is widely agreed that these parables originated with Jesus (e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke 1083-86, 1183-85; Funk, Five Gospels 356-57, 369; Becker, Jesus 152, 76-77; E. Rau, 'Jesu Auseinandersetzung mit Pharisäern über seine Zuwendung zu Sünderinnen und Sündern. Lk 15,11-32 und Lk 18,10-14a als Worte des historischen Jesus', ZNW89 [1998] 5-29; Hultgren, Parables 83-84, 125; Lüdemann, Jesus 365), though Lüdemann thinks Jesus did not speak the latter parable, because 'it is based on a fundamental hostility to the Pharisees which Jesus did not share' (376; contrast Becker 76).

48. Davies and Allison suggest that the Matthean form of the saying is more primitive than Mark 10.15, since 'receive the kingdom' is more likely a post-Easter expression (it occurs only here in the Synoptics) in contrast to Jesus' talk of 'entering the kingdom' (Matthew 2.757).

49. Note also GTh 46.2, which seems to have merged the thought here into the Q tradition, Matt. Il.ll/Luke7.28. See further below, §14.2.

50. 'Gospel' as a noun seems to have been coined by Paul or early missionaries, so there can be little doubt that 'in the gospel' is Mark's own gloss (see above, chapter 12 nn. 3-4).

Synoptic tradition of Jesus' words.51 A striking feature is that the majority of the references to faith (or lack of faith) occur in relation to miracles: nearly two-thirds of those in the Synoptics, in Mark eight out of thirteen. Typically the tradition recalls Jesus as saying things like, 'Do not fear, only believe' (Mark 5.36), 'All things are possible to him who believes' (Mark 9.23), and, most frequent, 'Your faith has saved you/made you well'.53 The encounter with the centurion/ royal official at Capernaum is remembered as notable for the great impression which his faith made on Jesus (Matt. 8.10/Luke7.9; cf. John 4.48-50). And Matthew draws the same point from Jesus' other known encounter with a non-Jew (Matt. 15.28). It matters little whether all the episodes which report Jesus as speaking of belief/faith are accurate as memories on that point. For the tradition shows clearly that this was recalled as a regular theme, particularly in the miracle stories, and was drawn in (again as a recurrent formula) precisely because it held such a firm place in the retellings of the tradition from the first.

Notable also is the fact that the character of the faith envisaged is hardly distinctively Christian, as that took shape in the subsequent evangelistic mission — that is, faith in Jesus, particularly in his death and resurrection.54 For the most part, in the Synoptic accounts the Evangelists do not even make the attempt to portray it as faith in Jesus.55 What is envisaged is more trust, or reliance on the power of God to heal56 or to answer prayer,57 or generally trust in God's care and provision (Matt. 6.30/Luke 12.28), though only Mark 11.22 explicitly speaks of

51. Pisteuo in Mark 5.36/Luke 8.50; 9.23; Mark 9.42/Matt. 18.6; Mark 11.23-24/Matt. 21.22; Matt. 8.13; 9.28; pistis in Mark 4.40/Luke 8.25; Mark 5.34/Matt. 9.22/Luke 8.48; Mark 10.52/Matt. 9.29/Luke 18.42; Mark 11.22/Matt. 21.21; Matt. 8.10/Luke 7.9; Matt. 17.20/Luke 17.6; Matt. 15.28; 23.23; Luke 7.50; 17.19; 18.8; 22.32. In John the usage has been considerably multiplied.

52. Cf. Jeremias, Proclamation 162-63; but see also chapter 15 n. 366 below.

53. Mark 5.34 pars.; 10.52 pars.; Luke 7.50; 17.19. See also C. L. Blomberg, '"Your Faith Has Made You Whole": The Evangelical Liberation Theology of Jesus', in J. B. Green and M. Turner, Jesus ofNazareth: Lord and Christ, I. H. Marshall FS (Grand Rapids: Eerd-mans, 1994) 75-93 (76-83).

55. Roloff,Kerygma 173. The one exception is Mark 9.42 (A B L W, etc.)/Matt. 18.6; 'whoever causes one of these little ones who believes (in me) to stumble . . .'. But the absence of 'in me' from Mark's text is also well attested, and there is a strong possibility that Matthew added the phrase, which was then copied into Mark in later transcriptions (Metzger, Textual Commentary 101-102; Pesch, Markusevangelium 2.113). The position is clearer with the taunt of the crowd in Mark 15.32: 'let him now come down from the cross, that we might see and believe' (Mark 15.32), where it is evident that Matthew has added 'on him' and the Markan textual tradition indicates a variety of obviously later emendations to the same effect.

56. See, e.g., Mark 2.5 and the passages cited in the preceding paragraph.

57. Mark 11.22-24/Matt. 21.21-22; Matt. 17.20/Luke 17.6.

58. Oligopistos ('little faith') seems to have been coined by Q (elsewhere only in Christ

'faith in God',59 This strongly suggests that stories and teaching about the faith encouraged and commended by Jesus had already assumed a definitive shape before Easter. Equally striking is the complete absence of any reference to Jesus' own faith, or to Jesus as 'believing'.60 Jesus is not the one who believes/trusts in God so much as the medium of God's healing power to those who trust in God.61 In short, Jesus is presented neither as the example of one who believed, nor as the one in whom subsequent hearers should believe.

Behind the no doubt lies the hiphil of Hebrew

'to trust, believe in, rely on, be confident in'), used of trust in God in passages scattered across the Hebrew Scriptures.62 The noun equivalent to the Greek pistis, Hebrew or had more the sense of 'firmness, reliability, faithfulness',63 but it could embrace the sense of the hiphil verb, as seems to be implied by the usage attributed to Jesus. So if Jesus did indeed use the Aramaic equivalent of the noun in echo of the verb encouraging individuals to trust in God, it should be noted that the concept would be o^imi faith', faith which is steady and committed in its reliance on God.64 It was the firmness of the ian literature); Matthew has made it one of his own motifs (Matt. 6.30; 8.26; 14.31; 16.8; 17.20). Since oligopistos 'lacks any real equivalent in the Semitic languages' Fitzmyer concludes that it can hardly be traced back to Jesus himself (Luke 979); but even if a direct translation equivalent is lacking, the thought itself could certainly be expressed by Jesus (cf. Str-B

I.438-39; Davies and Allison, Matthew 1.656).

59. Cf. Bornkamm, Jesus 129-37. Stegemann presses the point: 'Jesus appears simply as a mediator of heavenly, divine power' {Library 236).

60. Kerygma 166-8, 172-3. Despite Fuchs (see above, chapter 5 n. 61) and the renewed emphasis on this point in Pauline studies consequent upon Richard Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: An Investigation of the Narrative Substructure ofGalatiansiii.l-iv,ll (Chico: Scholars, 1983); further bibliography in my Theology ofPaul 335. The one exception might be Mark 9.23: it is because Jesus has faith that 'all things are possible' to him; but the primary function of the reference is to encourage the father of the boy to believe (9.24) (brief discussion in Meier, Marginal Jew 2.655 with bibliography in notes).

61. In Matt. 9.28 Jesus encourages the two blind men to believe that he is able to help them; cf. Mark 11.31 pars, and Matt. 21.32, where the talk is of believing the Baptist. See further below, §15.7g(3).

62. Gen. 15.6; Exod. 14.31; Num. 14.11; 20.12; Deut. 1.32; 2 Kgs. 17.14; 2 Chron. 20.20; Ps. 78.22; Jonah 3.5 (BDB 'aman hiphil 2c); plus Isa. 7.9; 28.16; 43.10 (A. Jepsen, 'aman, TDOT 1.305-307); more consistently in the Apocrypha — Jdt. 14.10; Sir. 2.6, 8, 10;

63. BDB 'emunah, 'emeth; Jepsen, TDOT1.310-13, 316-19.

64. The condemnation of a 'faithless (apistos) generation' (Mark 9.19) may echo Deut. 32.20 ('a perverse generation, sons in whom there is no faithfulness [lo'-'emun]'. Matt. 17.17/ Luke 9.41 ('a faithless and perverse generation') is usually reckoned a minor agreement against Mark, influenced more explicitly by Deuteronomy 32. Stuhlmacher, however, argues that Jesus presented 'a wholly novel view of faith' as a gift of God and as such faith in God (Biblische Theologie 1.91-92).

faith of the centurion (Matt. 8.10/Luke 7.9), the boldness of the faith of the friends of the paralyzed man and of the woman with a haemorrhage (Mark 2.5 pars.; 5.34 pars.), the persistence of the faith of Bartimaeus (Mark 10.52 pars.) which impressed Jesus. It was to an unyielding trust in God that Jesus gave assurance of answered prayer.65

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