201. Even when hamartolos is used in a non-factional context (Luke 5.8; 6.32-34; 7.37, 39; 13.2; 15.7, 10; 18.13) a dismissive (even self-dismissive) overtone is clear. 'Sinner' could sometimes be used to describe a prostitute, as implied in Matt. (where 'prostitutes' replaces the more common 'sinners' in the association with toll-collectors) and Luke 7.37, 39. On Jesus' attitude to law-breaking see below, §14.4.
202. Cf. the affirmation given to the ninety-nine who do not need to repent in the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15.7) and to the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke
Elsewhere in the Jesus tradition the term 'righteous' (dikaios) is used positively, and not only by Matthew (Mark 6.20; Matt. 1.19; 10.41; 13.17, 43, 49; 23.29, 35; 25.46; Luke 1.6, 17; 2.25; 14.14; 23.47, 50), though it is noteworthy that not one of the instances is paralleled in a second Gospel. Given this feature of the data, McKnight is unwise to put as much weight on it as he does (New Vision 200-206).
203. We may ask whether Jesus criticizes the assertion of self-righteousness even in Luke 18.11-12, since a parallel like 1QH 15[= 7],26-35 suggests an attitude of gratitude more than of pride (Borg, Conflict 107-108).
'the sinner' (Luke 18.13). The point of Mark 2.17 is rather the implicit rejection of the use of 'sinner' by the self-perceived 'righteous' as a term Jesus' protest was evidently directed against a factionalism which drew too narrow boundaries round what could be regarded as behaviour and which judged those outside these boundaries to be 'sinners', law-breakers, disowned by God. He protested against a righteousness which could not recognize covenant loyalty unless it accorded with its own terms and definitions.206 So Jeremias was closer to the historical circumstances than Sanders al-lowed.207 It was not that Jesus opened the door of the kingdom to criminals without repentance, as Sanders maintained,208 or denied that there were 'sinners'. Rather Jesus objected against a boundary-drawing within Israel which treated some Israelites as outside the covenant and beyond the grace of God. Such attempts to erect internal boundaries within Israel, creating internal divisions within Israel, were contrary to the will of God. Jesus, in other words, was more critical of those who dismissively condemned 'sinners' than of the 'sinners' themselves. Just as the place of the poor within the people had to be reaffirmed (§13.4), so too the place of those regarded as 'sinners' by the narrow definitions and scruples of others had to be reaffirmed. Just as the poor were God's special concern, so the excluded and marginalized were of special concern for Jesus' mission.
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