I am sending my reply also to the Synoptic-L list since it is also
a synoptic problem.
> --- Karel Hanhart <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:
> > At any rate I fail to read hostility in Mark's and
> Matthew's references to Jesus' parents, brothers and
> sisters. To be sure, in Mark 3,21 those who were 'par
> autou', his relatives, tried to hold Jesus back by force, thinking he
> was out of his mind. Their intention was good, it
> seems, but the result was nihil. Jesus went on
> preaching. Apparently his teaching was of such a
> radical nature ( see the Sermon on the Mount) that these
> relatives, the uncles, aunts, and cousins had reacted in
> this manner. However, the scribes of Jerusalem didn't
> have such good intentions. Their attack goes to the heart
of the pericope: is Jesus' teaching beneficial? They charged
him of being possessed by Satan. But these were his 'enemies'.
> Should we take them serious, according to Mark? Certainly
The reference to Beelzebul is in my opinion (after
> evaluating its usage in Tenach), to the Roman
> occupying forces and to the evil spirit that led them
> to flagrant injustices. In vs 27 Rome is called the
> 'strong man'. Binding the strong man. Peace with them
> would be achieved, as I read the text, if Jesus'
> teaching of non-violent resistance to the injustices,
> would wear them down. His 'impossible' teaching
> required that an open attitude to Roman citizens be
> maintained. Peace would not be achieved by the sword.
> This attitude prevailed in the ecclesia and was applied
> by them to Judean-Roman relations. However, Mark was
> writing just after the news, that Jerusalem's leaders
> ignoring this message had revolted. Mark realized what
> the result of the revolt against Rome had been (cmp
> Jeremiah's preaching and fate), as is clear from
> chapter 13.
> > The incident in Mark 3,31ff of Mary and his
> brothers, which ends this pericope, fits best in the
> context of the above approach. There is a certain
> tension between Jesus and his immediate family all
> right. Jesus' teaching had not always been popular -
> so they too got worried like the aunts and uncles. But
> Jesus resolutely calls every one to do the will of
> God; they are his real family. Mark describes this
> tension with his immediate family as only an incident.
> He certainly does not condemn them. To the contrary,
> he honors both his mother and his brother James
> (15,40.47; 16,1) in the climactic ending of his
> Dear Karel Hanhart:
> Mark 3:19b-35, which you discuss above, is a very
> intriguing passage.
> It begins with Jesus going to his home and the crowd
> coming together again. This crowd coming together
> again was from many different locales: Galilee, Judea,
> Idumea, Perea, Tyre, and Sidon (see 3:7). People from
> the last two locales were (Syro) Phoenicians.
> One of the features of this passage is that every
> statement attributed to Jesus by Mark has a parallel
> in the Q tradition and/or the Thomas tradition:
> Karel, if I understand you correctly, you suggest that
> Beelzebul refers to the Roman occupiers and an evil
> spirit influencing them to act unjustly, with the
> binding of this strong man being the overcoming of
> them through non-violent resistance.
> There is an alternative interpretation offered by
> Bradley L. Stein in "Who the Devil Is Beelzebul?" (BR,
> Feb., 1977, pp. 43-48). This is that Beelzebul is
> derived from the Phoenician Zbl Bl (Prince Baal).
Yes, I am aware of Stein's interpretation. However,
The name of the (false) "god of Ekron", Baal-zebub,
is rather prominent in the first chapter of 2 Kings.
The king of Samaria called on him in vain.
Elijah, the prophet, was sent by IHWH whose
1) The term Be-elzebul is so much like Baal-zebub, that
it appears to be a nickname, an epithet showing contempt
for a would be god. This would fit Caesar Tiberius who in the East
was already worshiped like a (false) god.
2) In Mt 10.25 Beelzebul is the name of the 'master of
the house'. This master is "maligned" with the name Beelzebul.
Jesus fears that they will malign "those of his household
all the more". This too would fit Caasar. The temptation to
throw off the yoke of the Romans was a real one - the
succesful Maccabean revolt was a shining memory in
the mind of the people.
3. The context deals with the admonition not
to fear those who kill the body. The death sentence
was pronounced by the Romans and their legions were
wreaking death (cf Mk 5,1-10). But Jesus suggests that in
the end the injustice will come to light (Mt 10,26).
The teaching of non-violent resistance in the Sermon
on the Mount would be in line with the argument in
Shouldn't we prefer Matthew's line of thought than
the Phoenician name in which moreover the order is
Jesus wasn't an ordinary exorcist - but with his teaching
he did counteract evil ideas that poisoned the mind of people.
I certainly cannot go along with your suggestion that
Jesus considered himself to be like MOT, as you suggested below.
> In this case, the scribal accusation that Jesus casts
> out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, is
> based on the concept that Satan, the prince of demons,
> had been worshipped by the Caananites and Phoenicians
> as Prince Baal (Zbl Bl).
> In line with this suggestion, Jesus speaks of Satan,
> as Beelzebul, in phraseology that equates him with
> Let us look at the first part of his reply according
> to Mark, "How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom
> is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
> And if a house is divided against itself, that house
> will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up
> against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but
> is coming to an end." (RSV)
> Here, I suggest, Jesus assumes that Satan can be
> spoken of as Prince Baal: who ruled a kingdom and had
> a house. So, one of the Ugarit tablets (Text 68, line
> 10) states:
> And Kothat-and-Hasis declared:
> "Did I not tell thee, O Prince Baal (Zbl Bl),
> Nor declare, O Rider of Clouds?
> ' Lo, thine enemies, O Baal,
> Lo, thine enemies wilt thou smite
> Lo, thou wilt vanquish thy foes
> Thou wilt take thine eternal kingdom
> Thine everlasting soveregnty!'"
> Again, another tablet (Text 51:VI:35) states:
> Aliyan Baal rejoices.
> ' My house I have built of silver
> My palace of gold I have made.'
> Next, let us turn to the second part of Jesus' reply
> to the scribes as rendered in the Q tradition, "When
> a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his
> goods are safe; but when one stronger than he
> overpowers him and conquers him, he takes away his
> armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil."
> Here, I suggest, Jesus likens Satan to Baal--a strong
> man who stands, fully armed, within his palace, but
> who can be overcome by even stronger than he, i.e.,
> Mot. So, another tablet (Text 76:II:2-6) states:
> 'Lo Baal is in his house
> El-Hadd in the midst of his palace.'
> His bow he takes in his right hand
> Even his arc in his right hand.
> Too, yet another tablet (Text 67:II:6-13) states,
> Aliyan Baal fears him
> The Rider of Clouds dreads him.
> "Depart! Speak to the god Mot
> Declare to El's Beloved, the Hero:
> 'The message of Aliyan Baal
> The word of Aliy the Warrior:
> "Hail, O god Mot!
> Thy slave am I
> Yea thine forever."'"
> So, in the second part of his reply to the scribes, I
> suggest, Jesus likens himself to Mot: who, being
> stronger than Baal, can enter Baal's house, where he
> stands fully armed, and enslave him. In this case,
> then, what he is saying is that, rather than being
> possessed by Satan, who can be spoken of as Baal, he,
> by casting out demons, demonstrates that he is like
> Mot: the even mighties one who can enslave Baal.
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