There are 14 thoughts on “A Redemptive Reading of Mark 5:25-34”.

  1. Pingback: Review of The Gospel according to Mark | BYU New Testament Commentary

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  3. Thank you for your insights into this story and what it teaches us about Christ overcoming the Fall. I would like to expand on one of the observations of Stan Spencer, namely that the woman’s hemorrhaging had begun twelve yesrs before, and Jairus’ daughter was twelve years old. The uncleanness that Leviticus constrains is primarily related to the side effects of childbirth. Normally that effect ends, and the mother is no longer ritually unclean. However, if the mother never recovers completely, she would suffer as a pariah, unable to care for her new child, and unable to live with her husband. I think the two stories, folded together, are really a single story of a single family, divided by the rules of Levitical purity. She has been unable to carry out her role as mother. She has known of Jesus being in Capernaum, and the miracles of healing he performs, but is afraid that the Levitical rule would prevent him from touching her, or her touching him. But that changes when she sees her husband asking Jesus to come and heal his daughter, who is HER daughter, extremely ill. She must be there, and the only way she can be there is to be healed, so she reaches out to touch him, perhaps his prayer shawl, out of a desperate hope. And her hope is vindicated! Then, after the servant comes to tell Jairus that his daughter has died, Jesus tells all the mourners to leave the room, and takes in Peter. James, and John, and the father and MOTHER of the girl. This is the first mention of the mother, but I think we have been seeing the mother all along.. The miracle Christ does for the woman includes giving her the gift to be reunited with her child, as both mother and child are brought back from the dead.

      • I think this event teaches us, like many other stories in scripture, that our faith is strongest when we are most desperate for a blessing, or an answer. Joseph Smith was desperate for an answer when he went into the Sacted Grove, and again when he was imprisoned in Liberty Jail. Mary and Martha were desperate when they hoped for their brother Lazarus to be raised to life. The converts in Europe were desperate to reach Zion, with a journey of crossing the ocean, riding trains and steamboats to the railhead, and then pulling handcarts.

    • I agree with your assessment, the twelve years mentioned is too much of a coincidence along with the two stories inside one another. It’s almost like Mark is writing the story of Jairus’s daughter and then remembers an important detail that adds to the depth and meaning of the narrative.

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  5. Do you see a possible chiasm tying together the stories of the bleeding woman and Jairus’s daugther in Mark 5:25-42? The levels being marked by these elements:
    A. The woman had an issue of blood “twelve years” / The damsel was of the age of “twelve years”
    B. The woman touches Jesus…predicts a miracle, “I shall be whole”…“And straightway” is healed / Jesus takes the damsel by the hand…commands a miracle, “I say unto thee, arise”…“And straightway” she is raised from the dead
    C. Jesus “turns him about” to face the woman / Jesus “enters in” to where the damsel is
    D. Jesus asks his only question, “Who touched my clothes,” and receives a mocking response / Jesus asks his only question, “Why make ye this ado, and weep?” and is “laughed…to scorn.”
    E. (the center) Jesus calls the “fearing” woman his “daughter” and tells her that her “faith” has healed her. / Jesus tells the ruler to be “not afraid” but only “believe” concerning his “daughter”

    • Oh, and a wonderful paper! This really makes sense of some strange stories and contributes to the message of Jesus as our Redeemer. Now, if we can only have a discussion like this in Sunday school!

  6. “Because the hemorrhaging woman is most likely standing, it is possible that she touches Jesus’ side or ribs.”
    Rather than simply ignoring the detail provided in Luke, a more likely synthesis would be that wht the woman touched was the twisted woolen tassel (tzitzit) on the corner of the tallit or shawl that Jesus, as an observant Jew, would have been wearing in compliance with Numbers 15:38. The Greek in Luke is κρασπέδου /kraspedon/ which is the NT term for the OT ‘צִיצִית /tziztit/ mentioned in Numbers. She could easily have touched the tzitzit hanging from the corner of his tallit while standing. This also hints at an interesting possible parallel with the Genesis “coats of skins.”

  7. “Do you think that such deliberate intertextual inversions as those discussed here enhanced that performance?”
    Oh, absolutely. It is easy to imagine a skilled storyteller playing up the allusions with body language, etc.

  8. Julie
    Antoinette Clark Wire and Whitney Shiner have each argued for the practice of early Christian oral performance of Mark. Do you think that such deliberate intertextual inversions as those discussed here enhanced that performance?

  9. Julie, wonderful article. I really enjoyed the concept of inversion as you described it. As I read, I could not help but think of Satan, the author of the fall, as manifested by the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and of Christ represented by the tree of life. The one brought the fall and death, while the other brought redemption and life.
    My wife and I have each read the article individually and plan on studying it together now.

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