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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