Mark Chapter 10:46-52
Chapter 10 concludes with a shortish story about a blind man.
46 Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς Ἰεριχώ. καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ Ἰεριχὼ καὶ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ καὶ ὄχλου ἱκανοῦ ὁ υἱὸς Τιμαίου Βαρτιμαῖος τυφλὸς προσαίτης ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν.
And they came to Jericho. And he having left Jericho with his disciples and a sufficient crowd, the son of Timaios, Bar-Timaios, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road.
First: the beggar has a name. This is only the second time a supplicant like this has been given a name. The first was Jairus back in Chapter 6. This is a level of detail that either bespeaks the tradition of an eyewitness, or is something Mark made up to give the story a sense of authenticity. Or both.
Off-hand, my first impulse is to disbelieve the details of a lot of these stories; the names of Bar-Timaios and Jairus among them. Stories grow. Yes, it is possible that they reflect an actual tradition, perhaps even one going back to an eyewitness–such as Peter, who then told them to John Mark, who wrote them down. This, anyway, is the position and the argument of a lot of religious scholars. I’m more skeptical. Mark is full of these set-piece stories; no doubt they were in circulation, but we have no reason to accept anything but the barest outline. Josephus said that Jesus was a wonder-worker, and I’m not sure I’m willing to disbelieve that. Ergo, there’s every reason to suppose that stories of these wonders were circulating, and that a number of them got to Mark. Either they had become embellished by the time Mark heard them, or Mark did the embellishing. Or both.
And Bar-Timaios is a patronymic form; as is explained, the son of Timaios. Again, Mark seems to be explaining a Hebrew or generally Semitic language quirk to an audience that may not have gotten it. Or, actually, now that I think of it, perhaps the << ὁ υἱὸς Τιμαίου >> is gloss that was eventually swallowed into the narrative by scribes who did not understand Aramaic, and who made the note in the margin in order to explain or remember it themselves.
So why couldn’t all the translations from Aramaic be later marginalia that became incorporated into the text? That suddenly strikes me as very possible.
46 Et veniunt Ierichum. Et proficiscente eo de Iericho et discipulis eius et plurima multitudine, filius Timaei Bartimaeus caecus sedebat iuxta viam mendicans.
47 καὶ ἀκούσας ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζαρηνός ἐστιν ἤρξατο κράζειν καὶ λέγειν, Υἱὲ Δαυὶδ Ἰησοῦ, ἐλέησόν με.
And hearing that (it was) Jesus of Nazareth, he began to call out and said, “Jesus, Son of David, take pity on me!”
Once again, Jesus’ fame has preceded him. Even here in Jericho, Bar-Timaios has heard of Jesus and his powers. This is not inherently impossible. Jesus did create a stir; otherwise, we’d probably not be discussing him like this.
47 Qui cum audisset quia Iesus Nazarenus est, coepit clamare et dicere: “ Fili David Iesu, miserere mei! ”.
48 καὶ ἐπετίμων αὐτῷ πολλοὶ ἵνα σιωπήσῃ: ὁ δὲ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἔκραζεν, Υἱὲ Δαυίδ, ἐλέησόν με.
And many rebuked him, in order that he should be silent. But he called much louder. “Son of David, pity me!”
Should note the “Son of David” here. Not “son of God/Man”, but “Son of David”. Why does that crop up now?
48 Et comminabantur ei multi, ut taceret; at ille multo magis clamabat: “ Fili David, miserere mei!”.
49 καὶ στὰς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Φωνήσατε αὐτόν. καὶ φωνοῦσιν τὸν τυφλὸν λέγοντες αὐτῷ, Θάρσει, ἔγειρε, φωνεῖ σε.
And standing, Jesus said, “Call him. ” And they called the blind (man) saying to him, “Take heart, get up, he calls you.”
“Take heart/courage” or something such. I like that. Another quirky little detail.
49 Et stans Iesus dixit: “ Vocate illum ”. Et vocant caecum dicentes ei: “ Animaequior esto. Surge, vocat te ”.
50 ὁ δὲ ἀποβαλὼν τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ ἀναπηδήσας ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.
And taking up his cloak (and) leaping up, he came towards Jesus.
This is the only instance of the word << ἀναπηδήσας >> in the NT.
Again, the detail of picking up his cloak (he was presumably sitting on it) is quirky. It’s telling, and it’s very immediate. The story has a real sense of life.
50 Qui, proiecto vestimento suo, exsiliens venit ad Iesum.
51 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Τί σοι θέλεις ποιήσω; ὁ δὲ τυφλὸς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Ραββουνι, ἵνα ἀναβλέψω.
And answering him Jesus said, “What do you wish me to do for you?” And the blind (man) said to him, “Rabbi, in order that I may look (see) about.”
51 Et respondens ei Iesus dixit: “ Quid vis tibi faciam? ”. Caecus autem dixit ei: “ Rabboni, ut videam ”.
52 καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Υπαγε, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκένσε. καὶ εὐθὺς ἀνέβλεψεν, καὶ ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.
And Jesus said to him, “Get up, your faith has saved you.” And at once he looked about, and he (Bar Timaios) followed him (Jesus) in the road.
52 Et Iesus ait illi: “ Vade; fides tua te salvum fecit ”. Et confestim vidit et sequebatur eum in via.
This is really nothing new or unusual. It’s of a piece with the previous healing stories that we’ve run across. Perhaps it’s best to think of this as something of a recapitulation, or a review, coming as it does after the newer themes that we’ve been experiencing.
Posted on June 1, 2013, in gospel commentary, gospels, mark's gospel and tagged Bible, Bible commentary, Bible scholarship, biblical scholarship, commenting, gospel commentary, gospels, Historical Jesus, mark's gospel, New Testament, New Testament Greek Translation, NT Greek, NT Translation, religion, St Mark, Translate Greek NT. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.