Monday, June 21, 2021

Mark 5.21-43 Translations and Notes (RCL 5th Sunday after Pentecost Year B)

Mural in one of lower spaces of Boat Chapel of Duc In Altum, Magdala, Israel (mgvh, 2017)

Mark 5.21-43 is the designated Revised Common Lectionary text for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost Year B which is June 27 in 2021. It's a wonderfully composed text employing a Markan intercalation and intentional use of tenses (lots of imperfects), grammatical constructions (note how participles are piled up at the beginning and add tension until the main verb is expressed), and precise and repeated vocabulary that holds two stories together. It pairs the woman with the constant bleeding with Jairus's daughter (12 years), but it also contrasts the male, high-status, synagogue leader Jairus with the female, impure, low-status woman. Both are equal in Jesus' eyes.

It's a fun text to perform, and performance allows for some beautiful nuances in the story. For example, when the woman comes forward and tells Jesus the whole truth, how do you picture Jesus responding to her when he says, "Daughter, your faith has saved you..." The woman had fallen down before Jesus (just as Jairus had done a few verses earlier), but is Jesus standing over her looking down as he makes his declaration. Or, as one of my students once performed it, does Jesus kneel down to the woman's level when he speaks. It makes a significant difference in the hearer's perception and reception of the story.

As I've been doing, I'm providing a collection of translations along with notes, translation comments, and my own translation. My translation is intended to reflect the oral character of Mark's Greek which also makes it a good version for performance in English. It's part of a larger project I'm working on, Let the Hearer Understand: A Translation and Performance Guide for Hearing the Gospel of Mark. 

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