Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sam Cooke, "Touch the Hem of his Garment"

Far too many of my analogies and digressions in class are drawn from British culture, so it's always nice when I can point to something like this.  On Thursday this week, we were talking about Matthew's Gospel and we were looking at his redaction of the story of the woman with a haemorrhage (Matt. 9.18-26 // Mark 5.21-43 // Luke 8.40-56), and the note that she touched not just his garment but "the hem" of his garment, Matt. 9.20, a minor agreement with Luke 8.44.  It reminded me of one of my favourite old gospel tracks, Sam Cooke's "Touch the Hem of His Garment". If you are not familiar with the track, it is a classic. Here is a nice youtube version with some fan-added images:


1 comment:

Jim Deardorff said...

Is it OK to look at things the other way around -- that it makes more sense that the writer of Mark redacted Matthew’s story? Markan priority, replete with reversible argumentation, is by no means assured when there is so much evidence, internal and external, favoring priority of a Hebraic Matthew, later translated into Greek Matthew with use then being made of Greek text within Mark and Luke.

1. At Mark 5.31 the unworthy Jewish disciples insolently question Jesus’ knowledge, not in Matthew’s parallel. This is but one of many well known Markan “harder readings” that disparage the Jewish disciples, for which the obvious possibility -- that the writer of Mark (probably in Rome) was anti-Jewish, becomes a non-issue if Mark is placed ahead of Matthew.

2. Just preceding the Markan pericope, the man healed of his legion is told to go to his home (in pro-gentile Decapolis) and proclaim all the Lord had done for him. This is easily seen as part of Mark’s Messianic “Secret” – a secret to be kept from the Jewish population but not at all from the gentiles. (The Markan addition is not in the parallel of Matt. 8.28-33.)

3. In the Matthean pericope there is no crowd or great crowd present, as there is in Mark 5.24,30.

4. In Mark Jesus’ courage, boldness and power are emphasized, while not in Matthew. In Mark 5.30 Jesus perceives that power had gone forth from him. Not only does Matthew not mention this source of power, but it is an obvious invention by the writer of Mark, since only Jesus would have known if such had occurred.

5. Whether the fringe or hem of the garment was original in Matthew or its absence original in Mark, can be argued either way. However, the latter is consistent with Matt. 23.5 mentioning phylacteries and fringes while Mark 12.38 omits them for a gentile audience, and just cautions to beware of scribes who wish to walk about in robes.