by Neil Godfrey
In Chapter 7, I give reasons why there should be no doubt that the whole of this healing narrative [the raising of the daughter of Jairus in Mark 5] is literally true, and that it is dependent ultimately on an eyewitness account by one of the inner circle of the three of the Twelve, who were present throughout, and who accordingly heard and transmitted exactly what Jesus said. (p. 109 of Jesus of Nazareth by Maurice Casey; a footnote here directs the reader to pages 268-69 in that chapter 7.)
Things about Jesus in the Gospels that are “literally true” — that is what this historical Jesus scholar believes he can establish. Not only that, Casey will give reasons why there should be no doubt that we find this healing recorded in the Gospels because of the direct eyewitness testimony of one of Jesus’ own disciples.
The evidence for historicity of the healing of the daughter of Jairus:
“A different kind of evidence for the historicity of healing narratives lies in Aramaic words, believed to be exactly the words which Jesus spoke.” (p. 268)
Casey explains the evidence that he believes establishes historical accuracy of the words used by Jesus in telling the young girl to arise — “Talitha koum” = “Girl, get up”. A grammatical correct form of “koum” should apparently be written with a feminine “i” ending, hence as “koumi”, as many manuscripts have it. But that feminine ending, Casey explains, was not pronounced. Therefore what Mark wrote, “koum”, is “exactly what Jesus said”. (p. 269)
According to Casey, then, these two Aramaic words “take us right back to the Aramaic stage of the tradition.” (p. 269)
Some of us may be wondering why anyone should consider the story true at all, and why we should think that an author who knows how to write an apparently phonetically correct Aramaic phrase should be presumed to be recording a true story. Is there anything more substantial from a biblical scholar to help us have confidence that this story is historically true?
The reason the story depends ultimately on an eyewitness account:
“Jesus took with him into the house only the inner circle of three, Simeon the Rock, and Jacob and John the sons of Zebedee, so one of them is likely to be the ultimate source of the story.” (p. 268)
In the light of the above level of argumentation can someone give me a reason why I should not use words like “fraudulent” and “charlantry” when describing the nature of what passes for “historical Jesus” scholarship among certain biblical scholars?