Healthy economics or cautionary tales? The narrative microeconomics of four Matthean healing stories
AbstractThis article explores the four Matthean stories wherein an individual supplicant requests a healing on behalf of someone else: the centurion for his paralyzed servant, the ruler for his dead daughter, the Canaanite woman for her demon-possessed daughter, and the man for his epileptic son. The paper proposes a methodology of narrative microeconomic analysis. By applying the method to the stories, a pattern of three primary exchanges is observed: the locational, healing and confl ict exchanges. By examining how the stories conform to and deviate from this pattern, a complex picture of the textual microeconomies emerges, one that contradicts the unitary macro-narrative of healing. The microeconomic analysis reveals Jesus to be a complex, ambivalent fi gure: He creates confl icts that hinder the healing process and invariably excludes someone or some group before completing any healing. The pedagogical, formational and theological implications of these complexities are briefl y considered in local and global contexts.
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