Sanders 2 (Mk 1:29 par)
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On: Sanders 2 (Mk 1:29 par)
Moving right along, I come to the second item on the Sanders list
"2. Mk 1:29, cf Mt 8:14 and Lk 4:38. Mark's "Andrew with James and John" is
secondary. J Weiss, Evangelium 148n, R Bultmann, Die Geschichte der
synoptischen Tradition (ET, 212)."
The RSV versions are:
Mk 1:29. And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of
Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Mt 8:14. And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law
lying sick with a fever;
Lk 4:38. And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now
Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for
Again, I have not seen the argument of Weiss. Bultmann p212 (translating the
Greek quotations): "Mk 1:29-31 par: Peter's Mother-in-law. This passage is
woven into its context by the introductory formula. It is very simply told:
the healing gesture . . . and the demonstration of the consequent healing .
. . are stylistic elements. Luke adds, for explanatory purposes, "He rebuked
the fever." It is a noteworthy fact that Matthew and Luke simply refer to
the "house of Peter (or Simon), and do not reproduce either "and Andrew" or
"with [Jacob] and John" from our Mark text. Actually our Mark text seems to
have been edited under the influence of 1:16-20 [the calling of Simon and
Andrew, and Jacob and John]."
Bultmann notwithstanding, there are three kinds of Jesus miracles (healing,
exorcism, nature), and in Mark the word "rebuke" is never used of the first
kind, only of the second and third. Luke's addition therefore amounts to an
extension of usage as against Mark, who envisions a different toolkit for
the healing miracles (a mixture of faith and spit, or other body contact).
This is more likely a development than an original envisionment. Of other
contrasting details, Taylor well says, ad loc, "The parallel accounts in Mt
and Lk heighten the miraculous element and omit details which seemed of
secondary importance, although, in reality, it is these which give the story
its lifelike character." Just so.
Nor is Bultmann's idea of editorial corruption from the previous Calling of
the Four passage notably convincing. The house may well have been owned
jointly by Simon and Andrew (thus most commentators), just as they were
obviously partners in the export fishing business (Mk 1:16, two guys with
one net), hence we need not see Andrew as extraneous here. And there is no
narrative reason why Jacob and John, having just been called to the circle
of Jesus' regular companions, should not accompany him to their colleagues'
house after the synagogue events. They play no narrative role, but they add
a touch of verisimilitude. Gundry ad loc: "The addition of James and John as
going with Jesus implies the continued effectiveness of his calling all four
to follow him (vv 16-29)." As they are also included in the Healing of
Jairus' Daughter, where again they are present but play no narrative role.
The inclusion of the sons of Zebedee in otherwise private faith healing
scenes may be a Markan topos, and thus a literary invention, but there is
nothing requiring an assumption of subsequent editorial interference. The
subtraction of Mark's typical vivid but narratively nonfunctional details in
Mt and Lk would seem to be standard procedure for all three Synoptics. I see
nothing here to require that the Mk version be secondary to either of the
others, or to suggest the existence of an outside source earlier than all,
and drawn upon by all.
Comment always welcome.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst