Reception of Jesus as healer in Mark’s community
This study traces the manner in which the evangelist Mark presents Jesus as a healer. While this is the primary focus, I am also interested, from an identity perspective, in why Mark is keen to present Jesus as the best physician. Healers during the 1st century were varied. Cities had professional healers with great knowledge of the Greek Hippocratic tradition. The entire empire had famous temples of Asclepius and Apollo. Common people had diverse knowledge about various illnesses with remedies varying from herbs to exorcisms. Amidst all this and located in southern Syria in the northern regions of Galilee, Mark presents Jesus as a healer. The study concludes that Mark presents Jesus as an efficient healer with great power and authority. Though Mark is mute regarding other healers such as Asclepius and Apollo, near whose temples patients would sleep for days waiting for healing, he wants to remind the adherents of Jesus’ movement that they are following a great physician. A few selected stories from Mark’s gospel illustrate this argument.
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