"SON OF MARY" BY HARVEY K. McARTHUR Hartford U.S.A. The Revised Standard Version translates the traditional text of Mark vi 3 when it attributes to the people of Nazareth the query concerning Jesus, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James ... ?" For those conditioned by the Christian 1) or Muslim 2) traditions the phrase "Son of Mary" is familiar, but a little reflection on the customs of the ancient Near East reveals the exceptional character of this identification of Jesus. A man was regularly identified by the name of his father. Thus b. Yebamoth 54b says "... and only a father's family may be called the proper family" 3). In accord with this general principle there are thousands of instances in the Old Testament or later Jewish literature in which a man is identified by the name of his father, e.g., "David, the son of Jesse". Older commentators were so concerned with the identification of Jesus as "the carpenter" in Mk vi 3 that they ignored the problem suggested by the "son of Mary" terminology; but modern commentators have proposed a number of explanations for this unusual expression. Some have argued
Novum Testamentum – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1973
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