RE: [Synoptic-L] Re: Priority of Matt in Matt 8:1-4: Positive argument II
- Dear Eric and Leonard,
> More importantly still, in Matt, Jesus' cleansing11:2)
> of lepers is part of an extended scriptural argument in support of the
> authenticity of his claim to be the messiah of Israel (see Matt 11:2-4).
>Cleansing from leprosy is one of the messianic works (TA ERGA TOU XRISTOU,
>Jesus performs in fulfillment of Isaianic prophecy (11:5). [The argumentfor
>Jesus as authentic ruler (messiah) of Israel is still in the making, as itwere,
>not already settled, as it is in Mark (see. Mk 1:1).] Mark, in contrast,shows
>no further interest in the theme of cleansing from leprosy elsewhere in hisEric wrote:
>That's true if you define the theme as 'cleansing from leprosy'; it's lessobviously true if you define it as 'cleansing', of which this episode is
then a particular example for Mark. Mark also has Jesus interact with the
haemorraghing woman and a dead girl, for example, in each case touching them
(as he touched the leper) and instead of contracting impurity himself
removing the cause of impurity from the sufferer. I could expand this on
this further, but I'm pressed for time, and I expect you catch my drift: the
theme of Jesus' healing/cleansing touch and the breaking down of purity
barriers *is* one that belongs in Mark.>
Identifying this incident as a cleansing rather a healing of leprosy removes
the force of the command to go see the priest and 'low keys' the messianic
claim which Mark probably did not understand or recognized that his audience
would not understand! In this instance, Mark abridges Matt and Luke.
Lev 13-14 sets forth detailed instructions with 8 days of ritual that is
implemented when someone says: "I was a leper; I have been healed." Luke's
use of the phrase 'pleres lepra' in of Luke 5:12 is therefore significant.
It is not that Luke may be a medical doctor but that he is aware of the
requirements of the law set forth in Lev 13-14.
There was no cure for leprosy and only two accounts of a healing recorded in
to this incident: Miriam by Moses and Nathan the Syrian by Elijah. Both
Moses and Elijah appear together with Jesus in the three synoptic accounts
of the transfiguration. The healing of a leper was a sign of the Messiah as
noted by Leonard. Therefore when such a claim was made the priests were to
determine: was the person really a leper?; was the person really healed?;
and is the person who healed the leper the Messiah? Luke uses of the phrase
'pleres lepra' to show that the man really was a leper. The next pericope in
Luke demonstrates that the third questions was being investigated because
the first two had been answered affirmatively. "Lk 5:17 And it came to pass
on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors
of the law sitting by, which were come out
of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the
Lord was [present] to heal them." Since the phrase "which were come out of
every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem" is not included in Matt
and Mark, the impact in Matt and Mark of the messianic claim is not as
strong as in Luke.
Richard H. Anderson
Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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