J ESUS H EALS A L EPER : M ARK 1.40-45 AND E GERTON G OSPEL 35-47 Robert L. Webb McMaster University Hamilton, ON, Canada A BSTRACT While recent historical Jesus studies often appreciate the role played by Jesus’ characteristic activities, debate continues over the historicity of speciﬁc examples of such activities. This essay examines the story of Jesus healing a leper as a speci- ﬁc example of Jesus’ activity of healing. In particular it shows the contribution to be made by analyzing the account in the Egerton Gospel 35–47 alongside Mark 1.40-45. The nature of leprosy in the ancient Mediterranean world and the socio- cultural realities of a ﬁrst-century Jewish context contribute to this analysis. The essay concludes that within the bounds of historical probability Jesus healed a leper (not Hansen’s disease but a ﬂaking skin condition). Jesus responded to the man’s request by anticipating the priestly declaration that he would be clean and making this possible by curing the man’s disease (i.e., his bio-medical condition) by means of verbal command and probably also through touch. Jesus instructed the man to seek a priest’s declaration of cleanness in order to heal his illness (i.e., his socio-cultural condition)
Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: disease and illness; Mark 1.40-45; Jesus as a healer; Egerton Gospel; leper; leprosy; historical Jesus
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