Thursday, January 05, 2012

Book Review--John Moles

Jesus the Healer in the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and Early Christianity by John Moles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This scholarly article proposes that the name of Jesus was similar in appearance, sound and meaning to the words "healing" and "saves" in both Greek and Hebrew and that this relationship would have been obvious to Hellenized Jews as well as to Greeks of the first few centuries, A.D. New Testament writers used this relationship between a person's name and other words, as did Classical Greek writers, to illustrate and reinforce (through assonance, alliteration and "punning through synonyms") characteristics of the person being written about.

Greek gods and goddesses themselves carried names that pointed to their functions in the Pantheon. The consistent juxtaposition of the name of Jesus with words like "healing" and "saves" illustrates the superiority of Jesus to Greek gods with names of similar sound and meaning. This point was driven home by the New Testonament writers, whose audience would have picked up on these textual similarities.

Salvation, Moles says, is linked to healing in the sense that illness was often seen by Jesus' contemporaries as being related to sin. So, the name "Jesus" which means "Yahweh saves" also means "Yahweh heals". The idea of God/religion/Jesus-as-healer is one that pervades Eastern Christianity which sees salvation as being primarily a healing process rather than the more retributive view of the West.

To read this work in its entirety, go here:

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Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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