Sep 23View Source
Re: [Synoptic-L] Cutting off the High Priest's Slave's EarI wonder whether much of this discussion of the high priest's slave and his ear is missing the point, for the incident is unlikely to be historical. Nineham observes that the action looks pointless after the arrest had been accomplished. Also aggression by a "bystander" looks odd, for the arrest scenario described by Mark up to v.46 included only an armed crowd sent by the religious authorities and a presumably unarmed group of disciples.
One of the few certain facts in Mark's narrative is that Jesus must have been arrested at some point prior to his crucifixion. This arrest, together with the crucifixion, may have given rise to rumours that Jesus was a LHSTHS (bandit, v.48), a term which Brandon says was used by the Romans as a contemptuous label for zealots. Indeed one of the original disciples of Jesus appears to have been a Zealot (SIMWNA TON KANANAION, Mk 3:18).
It seems to me that Mark probably created the episode Mk 14:47-49 in order to counter such rumours. Mark was arguing for the benefit of his Roman readers that if Jesus taught day after day in the temple, he could not have been a LHSTHS, for the authorities did not lay hands on him then. And incidentally (Mark was arguing) the arrest in this case did not indicate the guilt of the person arrested, for the scriptures had to be fulfilled (v. 49).