RE: [Synoptic-L] The Davidic Entry into Jerusalem
- To: Synoptic (GPG)
In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
On: Objections to Healing
I had suggested a distinction between Jesus's healings and his exorcisms,
BRUCE: Did the Gospel writers make a distinction between healing and
exorcism? On the way to an opinion of our own, we might want to notice that
Jesus's healings in Mark provoke no opposition from anybody,
JEFFREY: Umm ... Mk 3:6?
BRUCE: Mk 3:6 indeed. What is it that the evil Pharisees object to (and so
much that they conspire to bring about Jesus's death) in 3:6. Is it his
healing? Or is it his healing on the Sabbath? In view of Mk 3:2, which reads
"And they watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that
they might accuse him," I would suspect that it is the Sabbath component,
not the healing component, which the evil Pharisees (they are evil in Mark,
and I am borrowing his viewpoint) find to be a capital offense.
We can of course check this. Are there other Sabbath moments, where Jesus
breaks the conventions appertaining to the Sabbath, and the evil Pharisees
or their equivalent object? I would suggest looking half a page back in the
second-best Bible, where we have Mk 2:23f, "One Sabbath, he was going
through the grainfields . . ."
It might be noticed also that what the evil scribes object to in the (quite
thinkably interpolated) Mk 2:5b-10 is Jesus's claim of a divine power: the
power to forgive sins. This may well be analogous to his exerting of what
the evil Pharisees construe as a supernatural power (one which the demons,
at any rate, attribute to Jesus's being, and I quote, the Son of God) when
he exorcises demons.
So far, at any rate, I think my previous statement will hold, and may (such
things have been) even be susceptible of expansion.
EXCURSUS ON YELLOW
But I did make one infelicitous suggestion to Chuck. It was to use a yellow
highlighter on the second-best Bible. Yellow is an excellent choice for
highlighting, but it is also a color without favorable associations. A guy
in my town is running for Mayor with yellow lettering on his lawn signs, and
I guarantee he will lose. So I suggest that, for present purposes, we
construe the yellow as gold, a highly honorable and even divine color (there
are Buddhist sutras whose words are traced in gold, and very pretty they
look that way, I assure you). Rather than a red-letter Bible, where the
words of Jesus are printed in red, I suggest accordingly that the industry
(or in a pinch it can be the industry of an individual with a little time to
spare) turn out a Bible in which the passages in which Jesus exercises, or
claims, supernatural powers, are printed in gold. There would be some point
in that, analytically speaking, or so it seems to me.
One thing that analysis might help to highlight is the outcome of the above
opposition passages. What is their outcome? Heavens, how should I know? But
one imaginable possibility is that it comes at Mk 14:61, where Jesus is
accused of claiming to be precisely what the demons had acknowledged him to
be: the Son of God, and is immediately judged to be guilty of blasphemy, and
deserving of death.
That passage too should be printed in gold, and why? Because Jesus's answer
makes the same claim.
Not to knock individual enterprise, far from it, but I await proposals for
the Gold Letter Bible from the relevant publishers. Perhaps something in the
nature of a percentage can be worked out.
E Bruce Brooks
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- Jeff Peterson wrote:
> ..... while Paul doesn't mention signsJeff,
> and wonders performed by Jesus, he does regard signs and wonders as marking
> apostles of the risen Christ (Rom 15:1819; 2 Cor 12:12).
Indeed, Paul himself apparently claimed to have performed signs and wonders,
though it should be noted in regard to the latter reference above, which is
Paul's strongest statement on the subject, that the context is his desperate
desire to present himself as a true apostle. Also he was somewhat agitated
(2 Cor 12:11).
But unfortunately none of the four claims to deeds of power (your two plus 1
Thess 1:5 and 1 Cor 2:4) are accompanied by details. Consequently we can't
be sure what Paul meant, and there is at least the possibility that he was
referring to the drama of mass conversions which this persuasive missionary
no doubt initiated.
> It wouldn't be a great leap to suppose that Paul had heard reports fromBut this is nothing more than a supposition, and its perceived likelihood
> Cephas, James, et al. of signs and wonders performed by Christ .....
depends on whether or not we consider (on other grounds) that Jesus was a
So I still maintain that our only independent witness to Jesus as a miracle
worker is the gospel of Mark.