Israel and the gospel of the kingdom

Two prophetic activities make up the bulk of the Gospel narratives. Jesus healed crowds of Jews in the countryside, in homes, and in synagogues, all while announcing the arrival of the kingdom through powers, teachings, and parables.  Jesus debated priests, lawyers, scribes, and Pharisees concerning the Jewish scriptures wherever he met them; in Jerusalem, Galilee, … Continue reading Israel and the gospel of the kingdom

Children first, then the dogs: the literary origins of Mark’s Syrophoenician woman

Jesus' interaction with the Syrophoenician/Canaanite woman in Mark 7/Matthew 15 leaves many uneasy, both because Jesus initially refuses to help, and because he speaks of non-Jews as dogs. This behavior seems uncharacteristic of Jesus, who has himself already healed multiple gentiles without question in the Markan and Matthean narratives. Others have suggested that Jesus' behavior … Continue reading Children first, then the dogs: the literary origins of Mark’s Syrophoenician woman

Canaanite women and the New Conquest

I observed in the last post some similarities between Matthew's nameless female Canaanite mendicant and the Canaanite prostitute Rahab. I want to try to draw that connection a little tighter here and show that these women play a similar role in their respective narratives. They are not simply righteous gentile women, they are unlikely harbingers … Continue reading Canaanite women and the New Conquest

“Come out of her, my people!”: Rahab and the Exodus from Rome

The Exodus is more than the founding myth of the Hebrew people; it is a literary stream that runs from the beginning of the scriptures to the end. It is recalled all throughout the Biblical narrative: at creation, at Israel's return from exile, at the death of the Messiah, and at John's judgement of the … Continue reading “Come out of her, my people!”: Rahab and the Exodus from Rome