“In The Vicinity Of Jericho”: Luke 18:35 In The Light Of Its Synoptic Parallels -- By: Stanley E. Porter
BBR 2:1 (1992) p. 91
“In The Vicinity Of Jericho”: Luke 18:35 In The Light Of Its Synoptic Parallels
The University Of Sheffield
At Luke 18:35, the author (called Luke for purposes of clarity) has apparently redacted his source, Mark 10:46 (par. Matt 20:29), quite heavily.1 Mark’s relevant wording reads: “And they came (ἔρχονται) to Jericho. And as he was going out (ἐκπορευομένου) from Jericho and his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting beside the road.” Luke retains very little of the wording, using instead ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῶ ἐγγίζειν αὐτὸν εἰς ᾿Ιεριχώ. Worth noting are the following changes. First, Mark’s two directional references indicating going away from Jericho— “out” (ἐκπορευομένου) and “from” (ἀπό)—are completely eliminated in Luke. Second, although the phrase εἰς ᾿Ιεριχώ is retained, in Luke it follows a different verb from the one in Mark, coinciding with
BBR 2:1 (1992) p. 92
changes in number. Luke introduces ἐγγίζω in place of Mark’s verb of motion, ἔρχονται. Third, Luke introduces his distinctive ἐγένετο ἐν τῶ plus infinitive phrasing.2
According to traditional interpretation of this verse, Luke apparently contradicts Mark and Matthew.3 Mark tells of Jesus’ healing of Bartimaeus on the way out of Jericho, an understanding which Matthew at 20:29-34 appears to follow. But as Haenchen states, “Nach Mk spielt sich diese Heilungsgeschichte ab, als Jesus Jericho verlässt, nach Lk (18,35), als sich dieser Stadt nähert.”4 As a consequence, there have been numerous attempts either to bring these two accounts into some meaningful harmony or to explain why it is that Luke so clearly stands against his apparent source. It must be recognized, however, that McNeile’s position—that Luke’s relation to Mark “admits of no harmonization”5—has carried the day with the majority of scholars.
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