Helen Bond’s The First Biography of Jesus– Part Sixteen

Helen Bond’s The First Biography of Jesus– Part Sixteen June 1, 2020

BEN: On p. 128 you quite rightly comment on the lack of use of the title Son of David to characterize who Jesus was in Mark. I wondered if you had considered that in that era the title ‘son of David’ if used in conjunction with a request for healing or some miracle was assumed to refer to someone who was like Solomon, who in the wisdom tradition was believed to have the wisdom for cures. Indeed, even for exorcisms in some of the traditions. In other words, the phrase on the lips of Bartimaeus has to do with his desire for a cure from one who seemed to be like Solomon, not like David. This would comport with the later way Jesus talks about ‘David’s son vs. David’s lord’ it seems to me. This would seem to support your argument here. Comments?

HELEN:

Yes, nice idea, and as you say it would fit with the presentation of Solomon by Josephus.

But I do think that Mark dislikes Davidic language for Jesus. Not only is the title rarely used, but it’s used by Bartimaeus when he’s blind – as soon as he can see he calls Jesus Rabbouni. It’s hard to know what to make of kingship language in Mark; its excessive use in chapter 15 makes me think that our author wants to say that Jesus is some kind of a king (despite appearances). But I’m sympathetic to the view that kings are just a bad thing for Mark – I have a very good student, Mark Lamas, who’s just finished a PhD on that topic (and has very nearly persuaded me!).


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