The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation

By Michael Cahill | Go to book overview

APPENDIX An Interpolated Homily

The beginning of the homily about the seven men who all had her as wife and who did not have a child (cf. Mark 12: 18-27).1

The sterile woman finally died without having a child by any of the seven brothers. What else can this mean except that the Jewish synagogue has been abandoned, as if dead, by the sevenfold Spirit who filled the seven patriarchs?2 They did not leave to the synagogue the descendant of Abraham, who is Jesus Christ. Although a child has been born to them, nevertheless he is given to us who are gentiles.3 This woman was dead to Christ. At the resurrection she will not be married to any of the seven patriarchs. For the number seven represents

____________________
1
This passage is an interpolation. It is found in all the manuscripts and was the first of many passages added to the original text. Most of the others are from Cassiodorus, and these texts are readily available. Since it has never been translated, I supply it as an appendix. It is an interesting example of early medieval homiletics. Structured in a series of seven applications of seven it is a highly ornate composition, which is not matched in the commentary. For a fuller discussion, see my paper "The Identification of an Interpolated Homily in an Early Commentary on Mark."
2
Cam 4r 20-4V 26; PsAl Sept 1170 A-B; PsBed Coll 553 B-C; Crac 15 pp. 102-103 130-157 See James Cross, Cambridge Pembroke College MS. 25, p. 19, n. 2. The Holy Spirit is sevenfold because of the traditional enumeration of seven gifts.
3
There is a delicious paradox in the allusion to Is 9:6. The synagogue is sterile, but yet Jesus is a son of Abraham. Because he was rejected by the Jews and claimed by the gentiles, de facto sterility was maintained. The Jewish people are considered to be cut off from their own patriarchs, who are presented as sharing in the resurrection.

-135-

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The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Note: xiv
  • Introduction 3
  • Prologue 19
  • Chapter I 25
  • Chapter 2 41
  • Chapter 3 43
  • Chapter 4 49
  • Chapter 5 55
  • Chapter 6 59
  • Chapter 7 63
  • Chapter 8 69
  • Chapter 9 73
  • Chapter 10 79
  • Chapter 11 83
  • Chapter 12 89
  • Chapter 13 95
  • Chapter 14 99
  • Chapter 15 115
  • Chapter 16 127
  • Epilogue 133
  • Appendix an Interpolated Homily 135
  • Bibliography 139
  • Index of Biblical Texts 147
  • Select Index to Annotations 153
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