Blind Bartimaeus in the Gospel of Mark: Interpreted by the Gospel of John?

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by Neil Godfrey

Here beginneth the lesson. The Gospel of Mark, chapter 10, verses 46 to 52, in the original King James English:

And as [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.

And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

The author of this passage appears to have inserted a couple of clues to alert the observant readers that they will miss the point entirely if they interpret this story literally. It is not about a real blind man who was literally healed by Jesus. But I’ll save those clues for the end of this post. (As Paul would say, “Does God take care for oxen and blind beggars? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written.”)

completely-differentThere are many commentaries on this passage and I have posted about Bartimaeus a few times now. But this time I’ve just read something completely different so here’s another one. (Well at least the bit about why Jesus stood still will be different, yes?)


Mark uses different words for “sight” and “seeing”. Of the word used in “receive my sight” and “received his sight” is anablepo — “look up” — which Karel Hanhart says, the the Gospel of Mark (6:41; 7:34; 8:24; 16:4), “means to look at life with new eyes opened by faith”.

Many scholars agree that this usage is related to the two “blind receiving sight” stories (8:22-26; 10:46-52) which offset the central section of the Gospel and highlight the need of conversion if one is to understand Jesus’ “way to the cross” (cf. 8:34). (p. 124, The Open Tomb)

Hanhart, like a few other scholars who also identify Mark’s theme of the Way or Second Exodus in Isaiah, believes Mark is evoking passages such as Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them.

Mark’s two miracle stories of the healing of a blind man bracket the chapters narrating Jesus’ journey from Galilee to Jerusalem — the “way to the cross”. The first miracle happens at Bethsaida and in two stages; the man at first only sees people “walking like trees”. This episode and its relationship with the Bartimaeus healing will have to be discussed in another post.


The name. Timaeus is Greek but “Bar” is Aramaic. What is unusual is that Mark repeats the name. He stresses the meaning of the name and “Bar” by repeating its Greek equivalent huios/son of Timaeus. (Actually the Greek form precedes the Aramaic-Greek name.)

The clue is in the name itself. Timaeus is not a Hebrew, but a Greek name; and his readers, by now used to Mark’s ironic style, must have registered Mark’s signal because this Greek name is prefaced by the Aramaic bar. In fact, Mark has the name twice, translating the word bar as meaning huios, to make sure his readers would have understood his signal. It would have dawned on them that Mark must have had in mind Timaeus which every student of Hellenic learning knew — Timaeus is the title of one of Plato’s major works [dealing with cosmology (our world of appearances) and fate, physics and biology]. (p. 125, The Open Tomb)

So if Mark is here presenting a meaning drawn from Isaiah 42:16 (“leading the blind by a path they know not”) and LXX Isa. 61:1 (“sight [or insight, anablepsin] for the blind”).

But why the Aramaic bar?

If we know Mark by now we know that there is most likely some irony at work here. Recall the two brothers Simon and Andrew at the beginning of the gospel — one a Jewish name, the other Greek. Recall the two-stage healing at the beginning of the Way section that this Bartimaeus healing closes.

Karel Hanhart’s explanation:

Bar-Timaeus represents “one of those Judeans” seeking in vain their salvation in Greek philosophy. Perhaps he is not even a Judean, but a Greek God-fearer. He is calling on Jesus for help, using the politically charged title “Son of David.” But this Jesus is on the way to meet his death and no philosophy will help him then. Bar-Timaeus must learn that only God is able to raise the dead. (p. 125, The Open Tomb, my highlighting as in all quotations)

Why Did Jesus Stand Still?

(the different bit)

Hanhart points to something slightly odd, or at least left unexplained, in this passage:

It is noteworthy — another signal — that bystanders, not Jesus himself, urge this Bar-Timaeus to seek help from the healer. Jesus has stood still and could himself ask the blind man to come.

Yes, that is one of those little oddities I have momentarily wondered about but in the absence of anyone else offering to ask and answer why I’ve brushed it aside and continued to read on.

Hanhart’s explanation is that Mark was foreshadowing a mission situation to the Diaspora. Jesus stands still and instead of calling the blind man himself he commands his followers to call him. In the Christian mission to follow this narrative sequence it is Jesus’ followers who are commanded to go out and bring the converts to him.

You think that’s a bit far-fetched? Hanhart read your mind:

If this interpretation seems farfetched, we do have a first-rate interpreter to confirm it; for John evidently understood the story in this manner.

So let’s have a look at Hanhart’s passage in John. It’s 12:20-22

And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

Greeks (Hellenes) suddenly appear on the scene. Like Bartimaeus (or Bar-Timaeus) after he received his sight they are going up to worship at the Passover festival in Jerusalem.

They want to see Jesus. They express their wish to the Greek named Philip who is from Bethsaida — the same place where Jesus performed his first miracle of healing the blind, the healing that forms a couplet to the Bar-Timaeus one.

The Greek-named Philip then calls the Greek-named Andrew, and both go and tell Jesus.

Karel Hanhart is confident that “John” is here commenting on Mark’s Bar-Timaeus episode. It happens at the same juncture in the gospel and echoes the same motifs. In both Jesus is the one who is stands aloof and the Greek seekers of Jesus are brought to Jesus by his followers.

In Mark’s gospel this happens near Jericho, which is on the Jordan, and possibly evocative of baptism and rebirth.

The suggestion is confirmed in Jesus’ words to him when his eyes are “opened,” “Go, your faith [pistis] has made you well [sesoken].” (p. 126, The Open Tomb)

Hanhart further offers the observation that in this little story the words like “arise” (egeire), combined with “faith” (pistis) and “save”, “make well” (sesoken) “were probably borrowed from Paul.” (p. 650)

But Did It Really Happen?

Our suspicions have been raised by the ironically apt form of the unusual Aramaic-Greek name.

By the end of the narrative Mark as good as tells readers to accept the whole episode as a colourful, symbolic tale:

No blind man casts aside his garment (himation) and jumps up in order to go to a person (10:50). Blind people get up with caution, first grasping their canes. The casting aside of the garment was another signal that Mark had in mind a Hellenistic Judean’s need for baptism. (p. 126, The Open Tomb)


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Neil Godfrey

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17 thoughts on “Blind Bartimaeus in the Gospel of Mark: Interpreted by the Gospel of John?”

  1. OR, Jesus standing still is exactly what I told you it means. Jesus is the Sun. Jericho is “The City of The Moon”. Look it up. The word “solstice” literally means, “Sun stand still”.

    1. This is classic parallelomania. You simply take one phrase, “stand still” — is Mark’s Greek comparable to the Septuagint phrase in Joshua? Do we know? — and link it to Jericho without explaining to us whether or not people in Mark’s time would have been aware of the “moon” meaning; and then leave us with a story without any meaning in terms of that symbolism. Jesus is walking away from Jericho — how does that fit with your symbolism? — and he is followed by his disciples who are also walking away from the moon — again, how does that fit? — and who or what does the blind man represent? If Plato’s work then in what respect, exactly? And why the “bar”? And what does it mean for the sun to tell his followers to bring the blind man to him? And what is the point of him standing still in the first place on his journey from the moon? Why can’t he call the blind man himself or just heal him as he passes? All of these questions get answers with Hanhart’s and similar explanations. What greater understanding does the “sun” and “moon” symbolism offer to anyone?

      1. I will try again here but my response has yet to be posted after 5 tries. I agree with you that more explanation is necessary Neil. I was simply addressing the “standing still”, an astrological term for when the sun is at its highest point north or south of the equator. I have no doubt that many of the stories have double meanings, but they always seem to be associated with astronomy/astrology, as is much of the outside evidence regarding Christianity (passover, comments by historians and pagans saying the Jews “honored Saturn” and that the Christians worshipped the Sun, Zodiac mosaics in synagogues, astrological texts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Chi Rho symbol, …) I can give you more detail but it isn’t going to be in 6 lines. Would you like me to take it verse by verse in Mark 10?

        1. I am letting your comment through after some thought and with much concern. I don’t want this to become another endless hectoring against those of us who do not accept the astrotheological views. We had Robert Tulip, and others before him I think, who wanted to propagate their views here as fervently as any fundamentalist evangelist. I would prefer you to point to an existing online site or some place where I can read the sort of argument you think is strong. If you really want to post one of the arguments here then okay. Before you do, however, you must understand why I am not convinced by what you have said so far.

          A hypothesis should have some predictive value that is both testable and unique to be of any use. It’s prediction needs to be specific and distinctive enough to impress us that only that hypothesis could be the explanation. So when you say that Jesus “standing still” represents the solstice, I would expect such a hypothesis to lead us to find in that same passage something that clearly indicates that Jesus is also the sun.

          — We have the concept of “the standing one” in gnosticism
          — and “the one who stands” in Paul in contexts that do not point to solar imagery at all.

          The Greek word for “stand” is the same in all cases. So why would the expression here be an indicator of the sun?

          I would also expect such a hypothesis to lead us to be able to interpret the other main characters and actions in terms of the solstice event, too. But I do not see that. In fact, after Jesus stands still he continues on in the same direction as before. Would not your hypothesis predict that from that standing still point he should return to Galilee?

          On the other hand, another hypothesis says that the “standing still” image represents Jesus being distant or absent from the one in need, though available if truly wanted. This fits the same theme as Mark 13 and other images in the early chapters of the gospel where Jesus is shown not to be found by those seeking him — he is absent or distant for a time.

          — when others came out looking for him in Galilee after he had risen well before dawn and then went on his way to other cities;
          — when Jesus was walking on by on the water and past the disciples who had to call out to him to attract his attention and be with him;
          — in the Olivet Prophecy when he predicts his people will have to hold fast under duress in his absence — until his return;
          — the message that he was not where people were looking for him at the tomb but waiting for them in Galilee.

          So already we can see that the Jesus remaining where he was, distant from the one in need, is a common motif in the Gospel. Jesus “standing still” and not coming to the blind man does seem to be consistent in this context. Does the solstice theory explain all of these occurrences of the similar motif?

          Then the same hypothesis can explain why Jesus commands his followers to convey the message to the blind man. It can explain why the blind man comes to Jesus through them; it explains why Jesus and the blind man both continued on in the same direction towards Jerusalem.

          If you can believe that your astrotheological hypothesis has the same or greater explanatory power of the details of this pericope, then feel free to post your detailed explanation.

          1. Thank you Neil, that made sense and was respectful. I will give this one more try. For whatever reason, my responses say Error most times.

            I just read your section on parallelmania and these are my thoughts. I think the “astro” thing may ly beneath these parallels. It isn’t a astro or … thing, it could be all of the above. It would support the Jesus/Joshua parallels, the Odysseus and his 12 parallels, other godman parallels, the Judah/Judas parallels, all the Hebrew scripture/N.T. parallels, …

            The comment about Jesus continuing on the same direction is good, but we don’t need to take it all literal. It could be referring to the Solstice time period. The continuing on would make the story make more sense. As you said Jesus is going from Galilee, meaning “rolled around”, “a circle” to Jerusalem, said to mean “Foundation of the god Salem, associated with the planet Venus. “Standing” can easily be an astro term. resurrection means “rising up” or standing up”. Gilgal means, “circle of the standing stones”

            So to Mark 10. Mark is derived from Marcos or Martkos, meaning “consecrated to Mars”. The other gospel names and Paul/Saul also have astro connections. Mark 10 opens with Jesus rising and going through the other side of the Jordan, meaning “one descending”. So they go to Jericho, probably derived from Yareach due to the fact that the city is known for its worship of lunar deities. In 10:46 they meet Bartimaeus, whose name means “Son of Timaeus (the name of a Hellenistic cosmological treatise)”, “Son of Honor”, “Son of Price”, “Son of Worth, or “Son of Impure ones”. Synonyms of Honor are “Dignity”, an astro term, “Exalted”, an astro term, “Glory”, an astro term, beloved, elevated, …

            The man is sitting beside the way, also an astro term and finds out it’s Jesus, The Nazarene or Of Nazareth. Jesus or Yeshua, supposedly means “Yah Saves”. Yah or Iah is an Egyptian moon god, whose name means “moon”. Iah is found in many names such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah, … The words for Nazareth mean “branch”, “East”, and “Rise”. The Arabic word for Nazareth is An-Nasira, Nasira meaning “glowing star”. If it is at solstice, Cancer is at a solstice, is the House of the Moon, associated with healing, mercy, and a lack of money. It is also a secret sign, a mute sign, and along with the Sun can be associated with blindness.

            So the man calls out to the “Son of David” or “Son of Beloved, the meaning of Venus, associated with impurity. Jesus possibly being in a mute sign has others call out to him saying “take courage (associated with the Lion or Leo, the sign next to Cancer) and rise”. He “rises” and throws away his garment or “covering” and follows Jesus on his way, an astro term.

            This is the kind of thing I’m talking about. It is “connected” to biblical names, places, words, …

            I’m I supposed to ignore thousands of these “coincidences”, “parallelmanias”, or whatever we want to call them?

          2. Also, the reason I came down this road is because of its predictability.

            For example: If the Passover lamb is mentioned, we would expect the discussion to mention the springtime when the Sun passes over (Aries, the lamb). If virgins are the topic, we would expect words such as womb, harvest, bread, servants, labor, productive, widows, septemberish, earth (virgo),… If Lions are mentioned, we would expect talk of heart, power, gold, spirit, fire, sun, kingship, … If scales and justice, we would expect talk of spirit, blindness, wisdom, trials, enemies, enmity, judgement, feminine things (Libra). If Fish are mentioned, we would expect empathy, secrets, water, feminine things, and march/april, …

            Bull talk would be root crops, earth, 7 females (pleiades), dry, material things, copper, …
            Twin talk (Thomas and others) would have talk of hands, communication, relational truth, spirit, mutable, messengers, …
            If “Beloved” is mentioned (Venus), talk should be of female things, pomegranates, date palms, (fertility), moon, water, spirit, …

            These are things that constantly came up. Jesus doesn’t have to be the Sun. For example, in Revelation, he claims to be “The Bright Morning Star” as i’m sure you already know. If we took it literally, he is saying he is Venus. I believe it is more of a reference to a Dawning. And what are the planets associated with the Dawn? Sun, Venus, and Mercury, which is also associated with the Moon.

            The healing of the blind is also done in Bethsaida, “House of Fish”, Pisces, ruled by Venus. There is also a lunar stand still in astrology associated with the solstice.

            You’ve already mentioned sight referring to “Look up”. Other astro words are affliction, lord, age, behold, house, cross, pole, chariot, command, ruler, critical days, dragon, sign, descending, exile, face, finger ofGod, fruitful, hour, image, joy/happy, lady, lame, lesser, lilly, lot, opposition, part, place, quality, quarter, radiant, rays, smoky, table, temple, testimony, throne, under the sun, void, watchers, …

            These terms arrive in the Hellenistic period when Alexandria (containing a huge population of Jews) was spreading astrology throughout the area.

            Anyway, I know this isn’t the forum for it, but I just wanted you to see where I was coming from. There are thousands of them all throughout the Bible. Don’t we need to explain these things if the Jews and Christians supposedly despised polytheism, mythology, and astrology because they are pagan? Why historians are saying these things? why zodiac mosaics are there? …

            1. I know, the stuff about the “talk of …” was vague. I was busy yesterday. I know you don’t want to waste a lot of time on this but I just wanted someone to explain to me what their reasoning was about these parallels. Usually people just call out “parallelmania” and don’t give their reasoning.

              Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. So this is the bottom line for me. Here is an example: The Bible goes from The Bull of Abraham, to Moses’ Ram/Lamb, to Jesus’ Fish, and then to him saying a waterbearer is next. These are the exact images of Taurus, Aries, Pisces, and Aquarius, in the exact order, relating to the exact time period in history. Mary Magdalene had 7 she devils taken out of her and she is associated with “sin” or prostitution usually. So that would lead me to Venus. Venus rules Taurus and in the head of Taurus are the 7 stars of the Pleiades associated with 7 she devils in mythology. These are the things I’m talking about.

              Yes Mark appears to have imitated, borrowed from, whatever, from Homer. But what explains their connection? Oddysseus is a “traveler”/”carpenter” who travels with his 12 and many scholars believe it to be an astro story. That doesn’t mean it is the meaning of the story, just the underlying connection. The story itself would bring out what the author wanted to teach. Same with Hercules and his 12 labors, which scholars also believe is underlined with astro.

              So lets assume that I am wrong. Mithras pictured with the 12, Odysseus and his 12, Hercules and his 12, Horus pictured before 12, The 12 tribes of Israel, The 12 Disciples, The 12 stones on Aaron’s breastplate, … have nothing to do with astro and we probably agree they are not historical events and people. So what is a better explanation for what they are associated with? There are millions of numbers and millions of animals, yet the main numbers, images, and animals in the Bible are 3, 4, 7, 12, 28, 30, 40, 70, 72, 120, 144, … Ram/Lamb, Bull, Twins, Backbiter, Lion, Virgin, Scales/Justice/Judgement, Eagle, Spear, goat, waterbearer, and fish?

              Assuming I’m wrong and assuming the Jews and Christians wanted nothing to do with astrology, polytheism, …, why are there names of the Sun and Moon all over the main players in the Bible? If we took 50 random people, how many do you think would have names associated with the Sun and Moon, even at those times? The Ancient Hebrew word for Sun was SHM, without vowels, and any vowels can be placed there, which is why Sams/Shams, Shem/Shemesh, and Shim all mean sun, as does Sion, found in a manuscript in place of Zion, and Cy words such as Simon of Cyrene. On was also the city of the Sun. So we have Simon, Simeon, Samson, Shem, Saul, Samuel, and numerous others. Then there are the Iah’s and IO’s- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Josiah, Nehemiah, Obadiah, Joanna, John (Ioannes), Joseph, Joel, … Sin, our first evidence of the word, is a moon god as well.

              Assuming I’m wrong, What is a better explanation for Easter’s sunday sunrise services, the cross, chi rho symbol, astro in the D.S.S., zodiac mosaics in synagogues? Moses appointing “judges over tens”, Moses receiving (an astro term) on Mt. Sinai (Sin’s Mtn.) and dying on Mt. Nebo (god associated with Mercury/Moon), …

              Why are /secular authorities/early church fathers/pagans associating them with astro if not related to astro? 2 bears? Jonah in “a great fish”, 2 asses, rising after “3 days/months”, Christians named Diotrephes (“nourished by Jupiter”, a judge from Areopagus, meaning “Hill of Aries” ), Aquila (constellation), Bartholomew (“Son of Furrow”, the ancient name for Virgo), Barsabbas, from Sabbaton- “Saturday”/Saturn, Jesus dies and rises at the exact time of the 365 day year as other sun and vegetation gods,( Easter, the first sunday after the full moon)?

              what is a better, more reasonable, more supportable explanation. You have been more than patient with me Neil, but that is what I’m after. Keep up the great work. I love your blog and agree with you on most things. I believe your blog is working and is forcing certain scholars to question their beliefs.

              1. completely understand. Your a busy guy and have to keep this thing going. I’m just trying to keep things coherent. The Hebrews (“one’s crossing over”) hate Egypt, Canaan, their polytheism, and astrology, yet adopt the gods Yah, Yahweh, and El and write astrological texts? Christians are monotheistic and argue against astrology, yet adopt their astrological symbols, say Amen, the name of an Egyptian creation god, adopt the word Sin for their own use when it is the name of a moon god, and force there to be only “4” gospels to match the 4 universal winds and associate the gospel writers with the images of the 4 cardinal signs of the Zodiac? You know what I mean?

                You don’t have to respond here either. You can just send me your thoughts or address it somewhere else if you want. I’ll be on vacation for a week so I’ll catch up when I get back.

              2. Hi Tim, I have had a look at your comments and as you probably expect I have to say I do not think your reasoning or some of your facts are correct or valid.

                There is no question that astrological symbolism infused Christianity over several centuries from its beginnings, but astrological symbols and meanings that were introduced later cannot be the root cause or origins of the persons and things to whom they were applied. Philo is sometimes said to be evidence that certain Biblical motifs had astrological origins but in fact all he said was that he could interpret certain motifs astrologically. And even if he did say they had an astrological origin that would not be evidence that they did since he wrote so long after they had been around.

                On some of the facts I find invalid: Mary Magdalene was not associated with prostitution until well after the first Gospel was written. And there is nothing in the Bible to say she was possessed of ‘she’ devils. That, too, is a later invention. The word “sin” does not derive from the moon god Sin but from the Latin “son” for guilt. I don’t know what the twelve refers to in association with Odysseus. I’m pretty sure he did not have “twelve crew” if that’s what you were suggesting. I would not be surprised if the basic idea of that story were based on an earlier tale like that of Heracles but that doesn’t mean that the Odyssey itself was a sun-myth of any kind.

                When I read books telling me things like this, that such and such was a technical term for some astrological phenomenon or that such and such was symbol for this or had some particular meaning, I take it all with a grain of salt. I don’t believe most of it. The reason is that where I do know something about the origin of a particular word or its meaning I know the author has not been fully informed. I think if you check each one of the facts and try to find out what the authors’ sources are and how they know, what evidence they have for their specific claims, I suspect that very often you will find it a very long, laborious and fruitless task.

                The number twelve is undoubtedly of significance across many cultures present and past. But that doesn’t mean everything associated with twelve somehow originated in deference to the zodiac. It does mean that people can always find a way to associate 12 of anything with the zodiac, but that’s really just a bit of idiosyncratic fun backwards rationalization.

                As for the first day of the week being for Christian worship, we do not know how that came about. I suspect a much better reason, one grounded in the evidence we work with, is that it had something to do with the first day of the week following Passover being the day when the first of the firstfruits were offered as the beginning of the Pentecost festival.

                And this brings me back to the alternative explanations that I find much more coherent and explanatory. You mention the progression of the symbolism of the zodiac (Taurus-Aries-Pisces-Aquarius) being traced through the Bible. A major problem here is that the Bible is not a single book. Another major one is that the images selected to demonstrate this pattern seem to me to be biased to make the astrological meaning work. There are other sacrificial and other animals in those books but only those that fit the Taurus to Aquarius progression are selected.

                On another forum Robert Tulip is elaborating on all the astrological associations he can relate to the miracle of the loaves and fish. The biggest problem he is presenting for himself is that all he has done is find places on a Christmas tree to hand decorations. But those decorations do not explain the structure and plot of the story itself. Nor do they address other well-known explanations for the imagery that are grounded in the evidence at hand as opposed to imaginative speculation.

                All I can say, I think, is to ask that we ask in every instance that we read of some symbolic explanation, “How do we know that word means that or comes from something or other?” “What is the evidence for that claim?” If we don’t know what that is then it is wiser to suspend judgement, I think.

      1. I’m not saying it means “City of the Moon”, I’m saying it IS the city of the moon, which is why a sign outside the city reads just that. This would be a better explanation than “fragrant” as is the fact that Jericho was known for its worship of lunar deities. So Jericho being derived from “Yareah” is the only scholarly definition that makes sense.

  2. Very interesting (once again). It actually gave me an idea which I haven’t elaborated on (since it only came to me after reading this). I see more connections between John and Mark here.

    You know, the two passages from Secret Mark were according to Clement preceding the Bar-Timaeus passage. The longer resurrection passage was situated between Mark 10:34 and 10:35 and the shorter one in the middle of Mark 10:46.

    And they [“he” according to Clement] came to Jericho … [SM adds] and the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them [end of SM]. And as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

    First, what has Hanhart to say about emblepsas? You speak of anablepo, to “look up” (Mark 6:41; 7:34; 8:24; 16:4), which Hanhart thinks “means to look at life with new eyes opened by faith”. Secret Mark 1 has ἐμβλέψας, emblepsas, a form of emblepó: to look at, fig. to consider. The word emblepsas is also in Mark 10:21 where Jesus looks at the rich young man, in Mark 10:27 where Jesus is looking at the disciples, and then in Secret Mark (10:34+) where the raised youth is looking upon Jesus (III.4).

    Second, in the same way as “Mark’s two miracle stories of the healing of a blind man bracket the chapters narrating Jesus’ journey from Galilee to Jerusalem”, the two Secret Mark passages combined with Mark 10:32-34 and in combination with Mark 16:1-8 bracket the passion story. This makes actually a superb “framing story” where almost everything in Mark 10:32-34 plus the Secret Mark passages is mirrored in Mark 16:1-8.

    Third, it is quite obvious that the raising story of the youth in Secret Mark 1 is another version of the raising of Lazarus in John 11. Lazarus is present in the story a bit into chapter 12 until Jesus is preparing his entrance into Jerusalem. After that follows John 12:20-22 which you refer to as an echo of the story in the last verses of Mark 10.

    Accordingly (Secret) Mark has the raising of the youth (Lazarus) immediately followed by the healing of the blind Bar-Timaeus “foreshadowing a mission situation to the Diaspora”. John has the raising of Lazarus soon followed by Greeks wanting to see Jesus and where John seem to be “commenting on Mark’s Bar-Timaeus episode”

    It seems like John is actually working from Mark’s Gospel here, or to be more precise, from a copy of a longer Gospel of Mark which Morton Smith choose to name the Secret Gospel of Mark.

    And of course being raised from the dead is one way of saying that someone is enlightened, to receive your sight, is another way. It’s all symbolic and was meant to be just symbolic.

    1. I have only read the first three chapters of a book over 800 pages so would not want to declare what Hanhart’s view of other forms of anablepo are — though I get the impression he is saying they all point to the same meaning. But that brings me to a point of my own (my own secret Mark speculation) that I don’t think Hanhart does address: I sometimes wonder if Mark is equating in some way Jesus with some of those he heals or who follow him at times. I am reminded of Christ living in the convert, being the “new man” in the convert, at one . . . . a Pauline idea I know, also a gnostic one. But that’s just a suspicion that comes to mind from time to time.

      Hanhart does not build a case with Secret Mark but he does have more to say about it and how it can possibly assist in throwing light on the identification of the young man at the end (=Paul). Interestingly he also concludes that the “beloved disciple” in John is also Paul — reminder of Roger Parvus’s own views that he has posted here.

      And yes, Hanhart also sees John working from SM in the Lazarus episode.

      You would love to read Hanhart I am sure — he makes the similar observations re everything coming together in 16:1-8.

      The biggest difference, probably, is that Hanhart postulates an earlier Gospel of Mark written prior to 70 CE that was far more optimistic about the future mission of the Church after Jesus’ commissioning. Mark originally began with the Passover and the miracle stories followed leading up liturgically to the Pentecost at the transfiguration. After 70 he re-wrote it to explain the way disaster had happened instead of the expected Second Coming ruling from Jerusalem as per the prophets.

  3. I sometimes wonder if Mark is equating in some way Jesus with some of those he heals or who follow him at times.

    I think the same idea about the episode of blind man of Betsaida. The blind man sees ”men as trees walking”, and Jesus rebukes Peter (”vade retro satana”) ”seeing his disciples”(Mark 8:33), then Jesus and the blind man see the same thing: blind people that want a king-messiah for themselves (you can see the allusion to Judges 9 about riotous trees).

    In this way, the blind man becomes more close to God (and more similar to Jesus) than the same disciples.


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