E Jesus the Healer

Mark again provides a good range of examples of the range of healings which were credited to Jesus during his mission. no doubt in marketplace gossip as well as disciple gatherings. To draw from them the conclusion that stories like these must have circulated during his mission is to toy again with the idea that we should try to uncover a historical Jesus who was similar to but somehow different from the Jesus of the Synoptics. These were the stories which were being circulated during his mission. Nor. once again. should we allow ourselves to slip into the comfortable hypothesis that they were put into miracle-story form only at

295. Philostratus, Life4.20; Lucian. Philops. 11, 16; PGM4.3013; see also D. E. Aune. 'Magic in Early Christianity', ANRW 2.23.2 (1980) 1507-57 (here 1531-32); Kollmann, Jesus 202-203.

296. E.g.. PGM 1.253. 324; 2.43-55; 4.3080; 7.331; 12.171.

297. Josephus. Ant. 8.47; Philostratus. Life 4.20. See further Twelftree. Jesus the Exor-cist95-96.

298. Meier concludes that Mark 1.23-28 serves as 'a global representation of "the sort of thing" Jesus did during his ministry in Capernaum', that 'an exorcism performed by Jesus near Gerasa lies at the basis of the Gospel narrative in Mark 5.1-20' (similarly Adna, 'Encounter' 298-99). and follows Pesch {Markusevangelium 2.95) in discerning 'some historical remembrance' behind Mark 9.14-29 {Marginal Jew 2.650. 653. 656). The Jesus Seminar 'agreed that Jesus healed people and drove away what were thought to be demons' (Funk. Acts ofJesus 60). Ludemann even concludes that 'the activity of Jesus in driving out demons is one of the most certain historical facts about his life' {Jesus 13).

some later stage, when memory had been suffused (and transformed) by the Easter Some at least of the Gospel healing stories were almost certainly given verbal expression in the immediate aftermath of the events described, as the disciples who had witnessed the event talked of it among themselves, gave the story its basic shape, and agreed on its central point.

Since Matthew and Luke, where they have the same story, seem to be more or less dependent on Mark, here again we need cite only Mark's I cite several in order to give the flavour of at least one retelling of the tales (Mark's).301

immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.

40And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, 'If you will, you can make me clean'. with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I will; be clean'. immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, said to him, 'See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people'. he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

299. Note the widespread reaction against Bultmann's judgment that the miracle stories were of 'Hellenistic origin' (History 240-41). E.g., C. H. Holladay, Theios Aner in Hellenistic Judaism: A Critique of the Use of This Category in New Testament Christology (SBLDS 40; Missoula: Scholars, 1977): 'To account... for the presence of miracles and miracle traditions within the Gospels on the basis of a Hellenistic Sitz im Leben, particularly that of missionary preaching, as the earlier form critics did, seems to be a highly dubious exercise' (239); H. C. Kee, Medicine, Miracle and Magic in New Testament Times (SNTSMS 55; Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1986): 'the phenomenon of healing in the gospels ... is a central factor in primitive Christianity, and was so from the beginning of the movement. It is not a later addendum to the tradition, introduced in order to make Jesus more appealing to the Hellenistic world, but was a major feature of the Jesus tradition from the outset' (124).

300. Crossan, however, argues that P.Eg. 2 fragment 1 recto is an independent variant of Mark 1.40-45, that John 5.1-7, 14 is a variant tradition of Mark 2.1-12, and that Mark 8.22-26 and John 9.1-7 go back to the same source (Crossan, Historical Jesus 321-26).

301. For treatment of the other miracle stories within the Jesus tradition, see Meier, MarginalJew 2 chs. 21-22, and Twelftree, Jesus chs. 12-15. On the sole miracle story attributed to Q (Matt. 8.5-13/Luke 7.1-10) see above, §8.4b.

And when he returned to Capernaum after some davs, it was reported that he was at home. 2And manv were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. thev came, bringing to him a paralvtic carried bv four men.

And when thev could not get near him because of the crowd, thev removed the roof above him; and when thev had made an opening, thev let down the pallet on which the paralvtic lav. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralvtic, 'Mv son, vour sins are forgiven'. ¿Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemv! Who can forgive sins but God alone?' 8 And immedi-atelv Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that thev thus questioned within themselves, said to them, 'Whv do vou question thus in vour hearts? is easier, to sav to the paralvtic, "Your sins are forgiven", or to sav, "Rise, take up vour pallet and walk"? 10But that vou mav know that the Son of man has authoritv on earth to forgive sins' — he said to the paralvtic — H'l sav to vou, rise, take up vour pallet and go home'. 12And he rose, and immediate^ took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that thev were all amazed and glorified God, saving, 'We never saw anvthing like this!'

when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea. came one of the rulers of the svnagogue, Jairus bv name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, besought him, saving, 'Mv little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lav vour hands on her, so that she mav be made well, and live'.

he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve vears, who had suffered much under manv phvsicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. she said, 'If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well'. 29 And immediatelv the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her bodv that she was healed of her disease. Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediatelv turned about in the crowd, and said, 'Who touched mv garments?' his disciples said to him, 'You see the crowd pressing around vou, and vet vou sav, "Who touched me?"' 32And he looked around to see who had done it. the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34And he said to her, 'Daughter, vour faith has made vou well; go in peace, and be healed of vour disease'. 35While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, 'Your daughter is dead. Whv trouble the Teacher anv further?' 36Butignoring what thev said, Jesus said to the ruler of the svnagogue, 'Do not fear, onlv believe'. 37And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. 39And when he had entered, he said to them, 'Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping'. they laughed at him. But he put them all out side, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41Taking her by the hand he said to her, 'Talitha cumi'; which means, 'Little girl, I say to you, arise'. 42Andimmedi-ately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. 32And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. 33And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; 34andlooking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, 'Ephphatha', that is, 'Be opened'. his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36And he charged them to no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. they were aston ished beyond measure, saying, 'He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak'.

they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, 'Do you see anything?' he looked up and said, 'I see men; but they look like trees, walking'. 25Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly. 26And he sent him away to his home, saying, 'Do not even enter the village'.

The evidence of Mark's retelling is clearly visible — particularly the typical 'immediately'302 and the endings with their choral effect (2.12; 7.37) or interplay of silence and publicity (1.44-45; 5.42-43; 7.36). Nor is it hard to hear the voice of the story-teller adding the sarcastic comment about doctors (5.26), a not unfamiliar but no doubt borne out by the hard experience of several in

303. 2 Chron. 16.12; Sir. 10.10; 38.15; Tob. 2.10; lQapGen. 20.20; Philo, Sac. 70; m. Qidd. 4.14.

most audiences.304 And personally I have no doubt that Mark has used the account of the two-stage healing (8.22-26) to indicate the painfully slow transition of Jesus' own disciples from their blindness (8.18) to the partial sight of Peter's confession (8.29) and beyond (9.9).305

At the same time. the fact that most of the stories have a location is hardly to be attributed to subsequent adornment.306 The simple intimacy and unadorned character of what is only the second healing in Mark's account is remarkable. even by Mark's standard — nothing worthy of special note here!307 Equally remarkable is the description of Jesus' emotional state when confronted with leprosy:308 not only was he 'deeply moved' (1.41 —splanchnistheis),309 but Mark describes him as 'snorting' (1.43 — at the leper.311

Somewhat surprising too. given Mark's attitude to the law of clean and unclean elsewhere (7.19). Jesus commands the man to 'go show yourself to the priest. and

304. Was it Mark who created the 'Markan sandwich' in 5.21-43 (cf. 3.20-35; 11.12-25; 14.53-72). or did a twin episode thus interwoven already in the tradition (and in memory) give him the idea of using the same technique elsewhere? Here is a good example of the difficulty of discerning Markan redaction (cf. above. §7.4c at n. 75). For the discussion on the point see particularly Guelich. Mark 292-93.

305. Similarly. e.g.. Guelich. Mark 430; Meier. Marginal Jew 2.691-92.

306. The house of Simon and Andrew (1.29); 'at home' in Capernaum (2.1); Bethsaida (8.22); on Capernaum and Bethsaida see above. §9.9d and nn. 305 and 329 respectively; here note also Meier. Marginal Jew 2.692-93 and his response to Guelich's conclusion that 'Bethsaida' is redactional in n. 71.

307. Peter's mother-in-law is never mentioned again. 'This brief vignette comes as close as any to qualifying as a report of an actual happening' (Funk. Acts of Jesus 59); similarly Ludemann. Jesus 13. See also Pesch. Markusevangelium 1.131-32. Meier. however. almost falls over backwards in his desire not to claim too much for this story (Marginal Jew 2.707708). Luke treats the healing as a quasi-exorcism: Jesus 'commanded the fever' (Luke 4.39; cf. 4.35).

308. On what the description lepros/lepra (1.40. 42) might have denoted see D. P. Wright and R. N. Jones. 'Leprosy' ABD 4.277-82.

309. For the debate on whether the more weakly attested orgistheis ('angered') should be regarded as the earlier reading see Meier. Marginal Jew 2.748 n. 106.

310. LSJ. embrimaomai; see Taylor. Mark 188-89; 'growling' (Marcus. Mark 1.206). See also S. Eitrem. Some Notes on theDemonology in the New Testament (Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksells, 21966) 51-55.

Opinion is divided on this episode. Ludemann thinks the tradition has no historical value (Jesus 14). But the Jesus Seminar 'agreed by a narrow margin that Jesus cured the "leper" of some form of dermatitis' (Acts of Jesus 62). The usually more conservative Pesch. however. is much less impressed (Markusevangelium 1.147); Meier declines to make any claims about the details of the story. though he is more confident than Pesch 'that during his ministry Jesus claimed to heal lepers and was thought by other people to have done so' (Marginal Jew 2.706); and Kollmann thinks that the 'obviously christological adaptation and outbidding of 2 Kgs 5'(!) allows no certain clue to the leprosy healings of Jesus (Jesus 225).

offer for vour cleansing what Moses commanded' It is also hard to doubt a vivid memorv behind the description of the paralvsed man's four friends as thev 'removed the roof where Jesus was, and digging through let down the pallet' (2.4).314 The fact that one of those involved is remembered bv name ('Jairus') is hardlv surprising, since he was leader of the village assemblv (5.22); an episode involving such a prominent local figure would inevitablv create a stir.315 In the interwoven episode, the seriousness of the woman's condition in a societv where blood and a woman's bleeding was so defiling316 is simplv assumed rather than stated; the story took its shape in a Palestinian context where an explanation was unnecessarv.317 Not to be missed are the Aramaic words of Jesus preserved in 5.41 ('talitha koum') and 7.34 ('ephphatha').3 It mav well be the case that later tradents retained the words in Aramaic because thev gave an appropriate sense of magic and mvsterv in a Greek-speaking context.319 But these are not non-Guelich pushes too hard the suggestion that the phrase eis should be translated 'as evidence against them' (Mark 76-77), since what is more obviousfy in view is compliance with the law as laid down in Leviticus 13-14 (though cf. 6.11). Matthew and Luke took over the phrase unchanged.

313. 'Probablv in reference to making an opening bv digging through the clav of which the roof was made .. . and putting the debris to one side ..., so that it does not fall on the heads of those in the house' (BDAG, exorysso b). Luke's retelling assumes the tiled roofs of more substantial houses familiar to his Greek-speaking readers (Luke 5.19).

314. See also Pesch, Markusevangelium 1.157-58, and further below, §17.2b. 'The storv reflects an incident in the public life of Jesus' (Funk, Acts of Jesus 64); contrast Ludemann, Jesus 15.

315. See also Meier, Marginal Jew 2.784-88; Twelftree, Jesus 305-307. Meier (782-84) justifiablv criticizes Pesch {Markusevangelium 1.312-13) for pressing too hard the possible symbolical significance of the name Jairus ('he will enlighten or awaken'?). And although the parallels with Elijah (1 Kgs. 17.17-24) and Elisha (2 Kgs. 4.18-37) natural^ attract attention, it is clear that no attempt has been made to frame the storv of daughter on the template thev provide; thev hardlv provide a 'model' (Ludemann, Jesus 37; contrast the stilling of the storm and the feeding of the 5,000 below, §15.7f).

316. The restrictions on a woman with a discharge of blood were severe (Lev. 15.19-27; see also m. with a continuous flow of blood she would have been sociallv crippled, mav indeed have been quarantined (Marcus, Mark 1.357-58). In which case, her boldness in breaching a serious taboo was all the more striking.

317. See also Pesch, Markusevangelium 1.305-306; Twelftree, Jesus 317-18. The Jesus Seminar suggest that the gist of the storv 'in its earliest form must have been something like this: "There was a woman who suffered from vaginal hemorrhaging. She touched Jesus' cloak and the bleeding stopped instantlv"' (Funk, Acts of Jesus 80). Kollmann can see on^ the interests of Hellenistic Jewish Christian missionary1 propaganda (Jesus 229-31).

318. On the Aramaic involved see M. Wilcox, 'Semitisms in the New Testament', ANRW 2.25.2 (1984) 998-99, 1000-1002 ('Talitha' is possibty a personal name = Greek Thaleththi); Marcus, Mark 1.474-75.

319. 'The magic word' (Bultmann, History 213-14). According to Lucian, healers sense words, such as we find in the magical papyri.320 On the contrary, they probably belonged to the tradition from the first, as the words which the first Aramaic-speaking tradents recalled Jesus as speaking.321 Finally, we should note that, although Mark has made good use of the story of the two-stage healing, the story self hardly does Jesus much credit as a healer.322 The embarrassment of his relative failure and the crudity of his technique is probably sufficient indication that the story goes back to a tradition of Jesus' mission, recalled despite (or because of) its problematic character.323

Whatever we now may think of the events which might have occasioned these stories, the most obvious conclusion to draw is that there were various incidents during Jesus' mission which were experienced/witnessed as miracles, understood as healings brought about by divine power flowing through Jesus. These first impressions would almost certainly have been embodied in the remembrances of these episodes as they were first circulated among Jesus' followers. Strauss was right: remove the element of miracle and you eliminate the very reason why the story was told in the first place.

f. The Nature Miracles

The most 'extraordinary deeds' attributed to Jesus are usually designated 'nature miracles', most notably the stilling of the storm (Mark 4.35-41 pars.), the feeding of the 5,000 (6.32-44 pars.), and the walking on the water (6.45-52

tended to use rhesis barbarike, 'foreign language' (Philops. 9); see also Theissen, Miracle Stories64-65.

320. See Meier's robust response to F. L. Horton, 'Nochmals ephphatha in Mk 7:34', ZNW17 (1986) 101-108 (Marginal Jew2.759 n. 159); contrast Kollmann, Jesus 233-34.

321. These [Aramaic healing] formulas were probably preserved for the purpose of guiding Christian thaumaturges in exorcistic and healing activities' (Aune, 'Magic in Early Christianity' 1534-35).

322. Is this part of the reason that Matthew and Luke both omit it?

323. The criterion of embarrassment is emphasized by Meier: 'having Jesus spit in a person's face does not seem to fit any stream of Christology in the early church' {Marginal Jew 2.693); he also notes the number of hapaxlegomena in 8.23-25 (741-42 n. 76). Similarly in regard to Mark 7.31-37: embarrassment (713-14) and hapaxlegomena (758 n. 154). Meier is followed by Twelftree, Jesus 300-301, 322-23. Ludemann agrees: 'because of the specific details [Mark 7.31-37] may have a high claim to authenticity' {Jesus 52; contrast Pesch, Markusevangelium 1.399). Similarly on Mark 8.22-26: 'such an abstruse story as this can hardly be derived from the community' (Jesus 55) — the sort of over-confident comment which invites a pencilled 'Oh!' in the margin. The Jesus Seminar (Funk, Acts ofJesus) was more confident regarding Mark 8.22-23: 'The Fellows by a narrow majority concluded that Jesus cured at least one blind person' (103), but more ambivalent on 7.32-35 (98-99).

pars.).324 I have already cited the first of these above (§8.4c), so need quote only the other two here. In the first case there is a faint possibility that Matthew and Luke knew another version close to that of Mark (Matt. 14:13-21/Luke 9.1017), but for present purposes it will suffice to quote only Mark. The greater interest lies in the fact that in both cases there is a Johannine parallel to the Synoptic version.

Mark 6.32-44

John 6.1-14

32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, 'This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late; 36 send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat'. 37 But he answered them, 'You give them something to eat'. And they said to him, 'Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?' 38 And he said to them, 'How many loaves have you? Go and see'. And when they had found out, they said, 'Five. and two fish'.

39 Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.

41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken nieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great crowd followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a great crowd was coming to him,

Jesus said to Philip, 'How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?' 6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, 'Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little'. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9 'There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?' 10 Jesus said, 'Make the people sit down'. Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus then took the loaves. and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, 'Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost'. 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, 'This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!'

324. On the others usually included in this category — the coin in the fish's mouth (Matt. 17.27), the cursing of the fig tree (Mark 11.12-14, 20-21 par.), the miraculous catch of fishes (Luke 5.1-1 I/John 21.1-14?), and the changing of water into wine (John 2.1-11) — see Meier, Marginal Jew 2.880-904, 934-50, whose conclusions seem eminently sensible. On the first, see also R. Bauckham, 'The Coin in the Fish's Mouth', in Wenham and Blomberg, eds., Miracles of Jesus 219-52.

Mark 6.45-52

John 6.15-21

45 Immediately he compelled his disciples to set into the and go before him to the other side. to Bethsaida. while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them. he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came. the boat was out on the sea. and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the nieht he came to walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king. Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. When evening came. his disciples went down to the sea. got into a and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark. and Jesus had not yet come to them.

The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles.

they saw Jesus walking on the sea

and cried out; 50 for they all saw him. and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said. 'Take it is I; do not be afraid'. 51 And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded. 52 for they did not understand about the loaves. but their hearts were hardened.

and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened. but he said to them.

'It is I; do not be afraid'. 21 Then thev wanted to take him into the and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

This is one of the more interesting instances of the traditioning process within the earliest Christian groups. Clearly we have two versions of the same tradition. Equally clearly. one has not been derived from the other at a literary level. The only obvious explanation is two oral versions of the same episodes which came to Mark and John independently. As oral tradition. the core detail in each case is fairly modest. Intriguingly. in the first almost the only verbal agreement is limited to the numbers (200 denarii. 5 loaves. 2 fishes. 12 baskets. 5.000 participants); presumably a key factor here was the lack of core saying of Jesus.326 In the latter. the most significant constant is the words of Jesus: 'It is I (egd eimi); do not be afraid'.

What is most striking. however. is the fact that the two stories had evidently become so firmly attached to each other. Their attachment was so firm that the Fourth Evangelist retained the second miracle story even though it interrupted the pattern of miracle followed by discourse which he otherwise followed throughout the 'book of signs' (John 2-12); in this case the addition of the sequel required a somewhat awkward bridge passage (6.22-25) back to the discourse

325. It should also be noted that the feeding of the 5.000 is the only miracle to be recorded in all four Gospels (Matt. 14.13-21/Mark6.32-44/Luke 9.10b-17/John 6.1-15), though for reason not at all clear Luke omits the walking on the water sequel (simply to note that this marks the beginning of Luke's 'great omission' [of Markan material — Mark 6.45-8.26] explains nothing).

326.1 am uncertain what to make of the second feeding miracle in Mark — the feeding of the 4,000 (Mark 8.1-10/Matt. 15.32-39). I suspect Mark has picked up what was a variant version where it was not the numbers that were held constant but the eucharistic 'took bread. gave thanks. broke and gave' (cf. particularly Luke 22.19); see also Meier. Marginal Jew 2.961-64. 1030-31 n. 301.

consequent upon the feeding miracle (6.26-59). The most obvious conclusion to draw from this is that the two stories were united in oral tradition more or less from the beginning, so that in oral performance it had become itself traditional to tell the two together.327 This is all the more striking, given the indications of the diversity in detail, and thus flexibility in performance, which the parallel accounts above indicate. Could the explanation be that the twin tradition started life as twins because it embodied a twin memory?

In terms of the tradition as it now stands, the possibility can arouse only qualified enthusiasm. A feature of all three 'nature miracles' (including the stilling of the storm) is the degree to which they have been shaped to bring out biblical echoes and parallels. In the telling of the stilling of the storm (Mark 4.35-41) there are clear echoes of the Jonah story328 and possibly also of the famous sea storm passage in Ps. 107.23 - 30.329 In the feeding of the 5,000 (Mark 6.32-44) the echo of 2 Kgs. 4.42-44 seems to have shaped the account of the miracle itself.330 And in the walking on the water (Mark 6.45-52) it is hard to doubt that the scriptural talk of God (or divine Wisdom) walking on the sea has played some part in

327. See also Meier, Marginal Jew 2.905-906, 908-12, 951-56, 993-94 n. 110.

328. Jonah 1.4: Jonah boards a boat (ploion), it is caught up in a great (megas) storm, which puts the boat in grave peril. 1.5: the mariners are afraid, but Jonah had gone down into the bowels of the boat and sleeps (katheudon). 1.6: the captain rebukes Jonah for showing no concern lest 'we perish' 1.9-10: when Jonah confesses his faith, his companions are 'exceedingly afraid' (ephobethesanphobon megan). 1.15: when Jonah is thrown into the sea, it ceases from its raging. 1.16: the mariners are again 'exceedingly afraid'. See also Pesch, Markusevangelium 1.270-73; Meier, Marginal Jew 2.931, 1008 n. 184.

329. Particularly 107.28-29: 'They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed'. See also Marcus, Mark 1.336-39.

Study Aid

Study Aid

This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Getting A Scholarship And Financial Support For Your Studies.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment