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July 21, 2009

Comments

Brother Bartimaeus

Many thanks for your lectionary blogging! I have been reading for a few months, as your insightful translations and commentary are now part of my lectionary devotional practice.

One comment on the translation this week. A comment was made on a podcast that I listen to about the left field inclusion of the fact that there was much green grass. Your commentary mentioning that sitting is actually reclining makes me wonder about the ties to Psalm 23 and lying down in green pastures. Any thoughts on this?

Blessings,
Brother Bartimaeus

John Petty

Thanks brother! I'm glad that you get some benefit from reading my little notes.

The business about the grass intrigues me, more so in Mark than in John. The reason is because Mark makes a point of saying that it was a "deserted place" and then says "they sat down in groups "on the green grass." To me, this is about "abundant life" where Jesus is.

I notice that Matthew has "grass" also, but then Matthew follows Mark so closely he probably got it from Mark. Luke leaves it out. John also has "grass."

I'm becoming more and more convinced that John knew Mark. Thought they come at the story of Jesus from very different directions--in Mark, Jesus is a victim; in John, a victor--they come out at the same place. They both emphasize the cross and, despite the difference in approach, have a very similar over-all theology.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the "green grass" is a reference to Psalm 23. I'll keep this in mind in the future. Thanks for your comments.

Brother Bartimaeus

I had another thought on the possible Psalm 23 reference. After this story, it's followed by that of Jesus calming the sea, i.e. still waters.

I also like your Roman legion comparison. It plays nicely with Borg & Crossan's observation that Pilate comes with his legion through the West gate at Passover. Alternatively, Jesus is amassing his own army of peace.

Brother Bartimaeus

John Petty

Excellent comment. Truly fine. I believe you have a strong point with this Psalm 23 business.

My former bishop, Wayne Weissenbuehler, used to say that the scriptures are "thick" with meaning. Our words today are "thin"; they're everywhere. Their words were concentrated.

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