January 19, 2007

Mark 6.1-6

He left that place and went to his home town accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue; and the large congregation who heard him were amazed and said, "Where does he get it from?" and "What wisdom is this that has been given him?" and "How does he work such miracles? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" So they fell afoul of him.

Jesus said to them, "A prophet will always be held in honor except in his home town, and among his kinsmen and family."

He could work no miracle there, except that he put his hands on a few sick people and healed them; and he was taken aback by their lack of faith.


At 10:12 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

The first thing to be said about this section is that Luke 4:16-30 has a much more detailed account of this incident.

For elementary students, of whom many no doubt read this blog, Luke offers an interesting contrast here to Mark, more detailed and reflecting several important differences in his background and values

At 1:18 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

It's often useful to see what other gospels make (or don't make) of a story. Usually the pattern is for the later versions to be more detailed, to make Jesus more of a divine figure, to soften the harsh edge of sayings like "Blessed are the destitute."

In this case, I think Luke brings out the socio-political element that was left out of previous versions because people just took it for granted. By Luke's day, there were more new adherents and people were forgetting.

But Mark is emphasizing his own aspect of things here.

There are minor oddities we could get into. Why is Jesus "the son of Mary" in this first gospel we know of? Is he supposed to be a mamser, as in Stephen Mitchell's commentary?--or has the notion of Jesus as a merely literal "son of God" already started to influence how these stories are worded? Were the manuscripts that made him, not "the carpenter" but "the son of the carpenter" based on earlier versions? & does this have anything to do with the lack of earlier versions (beyond the fact that old manuscripts usually rot and are lost if someone doesn't choose to copy them)?

But Mark keeps rubbing our noses in his main point: What is this thing called "faith"?

Anyone here ready to take that one up?

At 6:05 a.m., Blogger david said...

I think Jesus (or more likely his biographer) is misreading the situation. Human animals have this hunger for novelty -- expecially in spiritual matters. When a Quaker feels led to learn more about discernment she doesn't turn to George Fox or Thomas Kelly -- she goes to Saint Ignatius. When a Protestant hungers for spiritual depth, he doesn't turn to scripture, but practices zazen. And the Catholic hangs out with Pentacostals.

When I took classes at an Anglican seminary, my offerings were given a weight that sometimes surprised. As the lone Quaker in a sea of Anglicans what I said was assumed to come for adeepr insight rather than from simply differences in faith cultures.


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