Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 14/WIFTA

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by Neil Godfrey

6am Thursday 1st Mar 07:

Yes miracles of healing and exorcism would be memorable but what is important in the context of the gospels is that these were unlike the ‘normal’ works of healers and exorcists in the ancient world (1.27; 2.12; 3.22). Our earliest gospel, Mark, writes that the people were so astounded at the healings and exorcisms by Jesus that the reader is clearly meant to understand they were unlike anything they had seen before. One is left to conclude that the author wants readers to understand that they really were just as described — and that the description in the gospel is not simply a theological kind of “exaggeration”. It is going beyond the immediate context in which these accounts are told to assume that there was some additional cause for the crowds’ astonishment.

The ancient world knew of exorcists, but Jesus’ exorcisms were of such a nature that he could not be recognized as one of the many exorcists known to all, but none other than the son of the devil himself (3.22).

The miracles and exorcisms of Jesus that we read in Mark are just as different from anything anyone has ever seen before as is his miracle of the stilling of the storm with a word — which provoked the same reaction among those who witnessed it (4.41).

6pm Tuesday 27th Feb 07:

Should have clarified that my aesthetic liking for the idea of John having a “double ending” does not mean to imply for a moment that I think of everything in the “epilogue” scenes as original to the gospel. As discussed and hinted at in my earlier Loisy post, and I think I recall something in my discussion of Bauckham’s treatement of the Twelve earlier, I suspect little sprinklings of names and other content added at various stages throughout the gospel.

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Neil Godfrey

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One thought on “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 14/WIFTA”

  1. Actually, the people in Mark’s Gospel behave just like Old Testament characters when faced with similar miracles.

    In both Mark 4 and Jonah the witnesses after the sea-calming miracle are portrayed as afraid and awe-struck. In Mark 4 ‘feared with great fear (ephobethesan phobon megan)’. In Jonah (LXX) ‘feared the men with great fear’ (ephobethesan hoi andres phobon megan)

    Mark 5:42 says that after the miracle of the raising of a dead child, the parents were ‘amazed with great amazement’ (exestesan ekstasei megale), while 2 Kings 4:13 (LXX) we have ‘amazed with all amazement’ (exestesas… pasan ten ekstasin tauten)

    2 Kings 4 , of course, contains a story of a miraculous raising of a dead child.

    Why postulate that Mark was getting all this stuff from Peter, when we can see the same words in a book that the author of Mark considered to be full of prophecies about Jesus?

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