Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thoughts from Ephesians 3:1-13

A sampling of some thoughts written down for a session of our Young Marrieds group we happened to lead at the end of June:

*In bringing the Gentiles into the Church through Christ, there were obvious differences in how people lived and followed Christ. These differences could at times cause problems. So far, Paul has told us that the use of the Law to divide God’s people has been abolished (2:14-16) and now Gentiles have been accepted into the promises and privileges of Israel as equals. It’s not that Gentiles have replaced Israel or that all Israel has been rejected (see also Romans 9-11) but Jews as Jews and Gentiles as Gentiles are accepted in Christ as parts of the one people of God made up of many peoples (see Isaiah 19:23-25) on the basis of grace through faith (2:4-9). In history, however, as Gentiles became the majority, this was forgotten and Jews were expected to become Gentiles and leave their Jewishness behind them – theologians even thought that performing the Jewish aspects of the Law would condemn you to hell! The church, historically, then, has not dealt well with differences.

*In the 2nd century, Marcion saw a sharp dichotomy between an Old Testament creator god, Yahweh, who was full of wrath, judgment, and law and a New Testament rescuing god, the Father, who was full of love, mercy, and grace. The Old Testament was to be rejected as a product of the inferior god of the Jews who Jesus came to rescue us from. Despite being condemned, these views continue to be circulated in the church – people see the Law as bad, a way of getting salvation by works in contrast to the New Testament way of grace, the Old Testament religion as legalistic and primitive and to be replaced by good, rational, Gentile Christianity.

*Verses 10-11: God’s eternal purpose is to save a remnant through faith of all humankind, Jew and Gentile united together. This uniting and undoing of the division of sin and evil in the church will display to the “powers and principalities” that Jesus is now Lord, not them – their time is up and God’s bringing all things together (1:10) has begun in Christ in, through, and for the church.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Exegetical Notes on the Synoptic Beelzebul Controversy

Notes from various drafts of a couple papers written in the Fall, much of this culled from an earlier, over-long draft of a paper on the consistency of Jesus' argument in the relevant passages (many scholars see the passage as inconsistent).


In Mark, the controversy comes after Jesus has had some initial successes healing, performing exorcisms, and participating in controversies over the Law and Jewish customs, as well as whether he had personal authority to forgive sins. He then chooses the Twelve from among his disciples and our pericope begins from there. Mark 3:20-22 introduce the controversy, including the two related charges that Jesus is mad and that he is perhaps under demonic power in some way. 3:21, in addition, also serves as an introduction to a separate pericope involving his family which gets continued in 3:31 -35 immediately following Jesus’ response to the charge that he is in league with the demonic, thus creating a typical Marcan “sandwich”.

In 3:20, Jesus is once again at home, the last time having been in Mark 2:1-12, where previously there was also a crowd, charges of blasphemy, and mention of forgiveness of sin.[1] In 3:21, it seems that Jesus’ family, having heard about all the commotion he had been causing, comes to restrain him lest he bring shame on himself and the family, saying he must have lost his senses.[2] Since madness was often associated with demon possession, this verse prepares for the escalated, more serious charge of the next, where Jesus is accused of using demonic power in his exorcisms.[3] The Greek for “he has lost his senses” (or “he is beside himself”), ejxevsth, is a prefixed form of the verb i{sthmi, “stand,” which is used later in the pericope with regard to Satan and his kingdom, insinuating that for Mark it is not Jesus’ mind that is on shaky ground but Satan’s kingdom.[4]

In 3:22, some Scribes have come down from Jerusalem and now speak to Jesus, their ill-intent marked by their coming down and it being from Jerusalem, descent often having negative connotations in the Bible and Jerusalem in Mark as well.[5] They accuse him of “having” Beelzebul and further charge that it is by “the prince of demons” that Jesus casts out demons.[6]


Whether the scribes are saying that Jesus is possessed by Beelzebul or more specifically has him as his familiar,[7] the charge is further specified that Jesus is using this Beelzebul, who the scribes identify as the prince of demons, to power his exorcisms. It is not any old demon whose power Jesus is using, but the chief of them all – an implicit recognition of the great power and authority with which Jesus had been performing his miracles and exorcisms. Either Jesus’ power came from God – which the scribes would not admit – or it came from the chief of all demons.[8] The scribes choose the latter option, accusing Jesus, in effect, of being a kind of sorcerer or magician who has a spirit granting him power, a status which they likely saw as proscribed by Torah (e.g., Leviticus 19:31, 20:27) – in effect, marking Jesus out as a deviant perhaps in an attempt to stem his popularity and shame him[9] (as well as, maybe, to give a rationale for their own opposition). This emphasized by their choosing the name of a foreign god instead of something like “Satan” to refer to Jesus’ supposed spirit. Jesus had been, in their eyes, deviant with respect to the law and blasphemous before God and hence they now associate him with those outside the covenant people, as an outsider trying to lead Israel astray.[10]


Out of the KJV, NASB, NIV, and NRSV, the biggest difference between them (concerning this pericope) comes in verse 21 dealing with who exactly is coming to take hold of Jesus. Here, the NIV and NRSV are the only two that agree by rendering the relevant Greek as “his family”. The KJV and NASB, by contrast, have “his friends” and “his own people” respectively. The Greek here is simply “oiJ paraujtouæ”, which seems at first glance to mean literally something like “those from him”. In addition, the NRSV, despite its agreement with the NIV on how to translate the phrase, disagrees with all the other translations (NIV included) in that it seems to deny any identity between those who have come to take Jesus and those who are charging him with madness (it uses the generic “people” to describe the latter group). The other translations explicitly identify the two groups. In the Greek, the clause is simply “e[legon ga;r o{ti ejxevsth”. It clearly has someone asserting the contents of the o{ti clause (which falls inside the larger clause), but the subject is not explicitly found within the larger clause as a separate expression. The Greek e[legon indicates, though, that that it is a plurality of persons doing the speaking here.

The charge against Jesus in the same verse, meanwhile, is missing entirely from both Matthew and Luke. A form of the word used in the charge – ejxivsthmi – appears, however, in Matthew’s version of the beginning of the pericope in Matthew 12:23. Matthew perhaps retains and reuses this word taken from the rather different beginning of the pericope in Mark. Matthew’s earlier version of the exorcism story which both he and Luke use to introduce the pericope, after all, does not contain this word. Luke’s version does not contain it either but uses a form of qaumavzw just like Matthew’s earlier version. Hence, Matthew’s use of the participle form of ejxivsthmi, ejxivstanto, is probably editorial rather than original to the shared exorcism story in Q and may plausibly come from Mark’s use (of the aorist form, ejxevsth) of the same verb.

According to the BDAG (pgs. 756-757), phrases like oiJ paraujtouæ are used to indicate either someone’s envoys or else those intimately connected with someone, such as their family. In Reisenfeld’s article under parav in the TDNT, meanwhile, he states that this sort of construction could mean in secular Greek “those who belong to someone as well as those sent by him” and at times was used to refer to someone’s soldiers, servants, officials, heirs, friends, neighbors, or relatives. In the Septuagint, meanwhile, it seems mostly to be used for those around someone, particularly in I Maccabees. In the New Testament, it is also used in Mark 5:26 with a neuter plural article and indicates possession. With regard to Mark 3:21 in particular, Reisenfeld notes that the phrase on its own could refer to Jesus’ relatives or even to the disciples. And, in accordance with what most critical commentators seem to think,[11] he takes it that in the Marcan context in which the phrase appears, oiJ paraujtouæ are to be identified with the group of 3:32, which is Jesus’ family. This is especially probable given Mark’s widespread use of narrative sandwiches, 3:21 providing the introduction to and anticipation of the events in 3:31-35 involving Jesus’ family and his speech on who his true family is. The KJV is thus the odd man out here, with the NIV and NRSV agreeing and the NASB giving a very literal, neutral rendering of the phrase.

The next question is what the charge about Jesus in 3:21 is exactly and who is making it. As stated already, the word used, ejxevsth, is an aorist form of ejxivsthmi. According to the BDAG (pg. 350), in every usage of this word the idea is one of being involved “in a state or condition of consternation.” In its intransitive usage, which seems to be what is operative here, it has acquired a sense of being out of one’s normal state of mind, which could be either, on the one hand, in the sense of losing one’s mind or having lost one’s senses, or, on the other, in the sense of being amazed or astonished. The former sense seems to be what is mind in Mark 3:21 whereas in Matthew’s version of the pericope, it is used in Matthew 12:23 more in the latter sense. The TDNT article by Albrecht Oepke (pgs.459-460), similarly, notes that the intransitive use means literally “to remove oneself” and was used of the loss of capacities, figuratively in terms of loss of one’s mind or else being “terrified out of one’s wits”. In the Septuagint, it is used more in the latter sense, conveying strong emotions of “terror, anxiety, or astonishment, with a strong sense of the numinous.” In Mark 3:21, however, it seems to be used more in the former sense of losing one’s mind.

So the charge is that Jesus has lost his senses or gone mad, but the question still remains as to whether it is his family (oiJ paraujtouæ) who is making the charge or some others who are doing it. Despite the NRSV’s interpretation (this is the RSV’s as well) that it was generic “people” who were saying Jesus was mad, it seems more plausible to see the ones coming to seize Jesus (oiJ paraujtouæ) as providing the appropriate grammatical antecedent for e[legon and hence taking subject place in that sentence. Most critical scholars appear to agree.[12]

Mark 3:21, then, seems to claim that Jesus’ family said he had lost his senses and that they thus went to seize him. This reading appears to be supported by most of the best manuscripts. The few alternate readings found in other manuscripts most people seem to agree are a result of scribes correctly understanding the verse and, finding it offensive, altering it to make it less so. These manuscripts alter the verse so that it is the scribes and others who make the accusation, with the phrase “oiJ paraujtouæ” no longer making an appearance. Thus we have at least two manuscripts whose version of the verse reads the following in place of “ajkouvsanteV oiJ paraujtouæ”:

ajkouvsanteV peri; aujtouæ oiJ grammateiæV kai; oiJ loipoi;

A number of others contain the very similar alternative reading:

o{te h[kousan peri; aujtouæ oiJ grammateiæV kai; oiJ loipoi;

Such variants would, if they were in fact correct, give us a reading of 3:21 on which the scribes and some others, having heard things about Jesus, come to seize him, saying that Jesus is out of his mind.

That Mark 3:21 does in fact implicate Jesus’ family as the ones charging him with loss of sanity may also be the way Matthew and Luke understood Mark, which perhaps explains at least part of the reason why they omitted this verse or any version of it in their own accounts of the pericope on Jesus’ true family. That Mark 3:21 does in fact claim that it was Jesus’ family who came to seize him and that it was they who claimed he was out of his mind, then, seems the most plausible view based on the evidence so far, thus making the NIV’s translation of 3:21 (though not necessarily of the rest of the pericope) perhaps the best of those examined and basically in agreement with most Marcan scholars.[13]


The beginning of the controversy in Mark thus already signals an ironic reversal of relations of inside and outside. In the passage just before, twelve disciples – a group which were otherwise outsiders with regard to Jesus and perhaps marginal at best in the eyes of the religious elite, are made the core insiders. And now here, those who should be the insiders par excellence, Jesus’ family and the religious elite, are strangely found outside, the Marcan sandwich concerning Jesus’ family, in effect, showing who the true insiders are in contrast to, say, the scribes here who are themselves accusing Jesus of being the outsider.[14]

Aside from a few variations, the sense of the beginning of the controversy in both Matthew and Luke are essentially the same as that given above for Mark with the important exception that instead of beginning with Jesus’ family thinking him out of his mind (the mention of which might have seemed somewhat scandalous to Matthew and Luke)[15], Matthew and Luke both begin with a short exorcism story designed to provoke the reaction of the opponents. Matthew’s exorcism story in fact appears earlier, with slight differences, in Matthew 9:32-34, where a demon-possessed man who was mute is brought to Jesus and becomes able to speak after Jesus casts out the demon, a story immediately preceded by another short miracle resulting in two blind men, who had been calling out “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”, recovering their sight. Matthew then contrasts the reaction of the crowds, who marvel at Jesus’ mighty works and emphasize their unique character, to that of the Pharisees, Matthew’s preferred targets for criticism (which perhaps explains why Matthew, in accordance with his practice elsewhere, has the Pharisees making the accusation rather than the scribes in Mark or some among the crowds in Luke)[16], who accuse Jesus of using the power of the prince of demons.

Matthew reuses the story from 9:32-34, with some modifications, to introduce the Beelzebul controversy in Matthew 12. This time, the demoniac is blind as well as mute. In part, this is likely a result of Matthew combining the characteristics of the two exorcisms in 9:27-34,[17] a link which is perhaps further confirmed by the change in the crowd’s reaction to include the phrase “Son of David” (Greek: uiJo;V Dauivd), which is the same phrase used by the blind men, and by the use of a form of the Greek verb qerapeuvw, “heal”, applied to the demoniac in 12:22 instead of a form of ejkbavllw, “cast out”, applied to the demon as in 9:33 (this also, perhaps, links back to 12:15).[18] The dual affliction may also be related to Isaianic passages connecting the healing of the blind with that of the deaf and mute.[19]

The appellation “Son of David” may, particularly in light of Matthew’s linking of Jesus and divine wisdom, allude to Solomon, who in Jewish settings had become regarded as the exorcist and miracle worker (and magician) par excellence and to whom the phrase “Son of David” was generally applied both within the Old Testament and without. Matthew may then be using the phrase both with this allusion and, more importantly for Matthew’s larger purposes, to emphasize Jesus as Messiah.[20] The use of this title may also prepare for the Sign of Jonah sayings immediately following the Beelzebul controversy in Matthew, the former ending with mention of people coming to hear Solomon’s wisdom and Jesus’ claim of being greater than Solomon – if the Pharisees who, unlike the blind and mute man, can physically see, are spiritually blind to the signs of the kingdom in Jesus’ words and mighty deeds, no other sign is left to them but the culmination of Jesus’ kingdom ministry, his death and resurrection.

Unlike Matthew or Mark, Luke does not specify Jesus’ opponents and instead leaves them faceless among the crowds.[21] Like Mark, however, Luke creates his own narrative sandwich with the story by inserting in 11:16 a call for a sign from heaven to validate Jesus’ ministry and teaching, which prepares for the Sign of Jonah sayings in response to this call in 11:29-32, immediately following the close of Jesus’ speech in response to the charges of being in league with the demonic. These others who ask for a sign are, in effect, taking on the role of Satan from the temptation narrative earlier in Luke (thus also linking them with the desert generation in the Pentateuch – see the next section), putting Jesus (and, by extension, God) to the test just as Satan did, the previous “sign from heaven” having been the successful triumph in 10:17-18 of the Seventy-Two over demons, which Jesus applauds by speaking of seeing Satan falling from heaven. By contrast with the disciples, those asking for signs are blind to the kingdom’s signs (11:33-36, thus connecting with 10:21-24), asking for signs (11:16) instead of the Holy Spirit (11:13) and putting Jesus to the test (11:16) instead of asking for deliverance from testing (11:14).[22]


In Matthew 12:27 and Luke 11:19, immediately following the Parables of the Divided House and the Kingdom, we have Jesus question his opponents concerning by whom certain people associated with them are casting out demons. The majority opinion, which seems to me more plausible than anything else, is that Jesus is here issuing a charge of inconsistency against his opponents – they do not charge certain others with being in league with Satan, yet Jesus, whose exorcisms and miracle working are even more unmistakably unlike magical practices than the more ambiguous exorcisms performed by Jewish exorcists, is the one accused of sorcery.[23] There is in fact no evidence in Jesus’ exorcisms that cast a negative shadow on them in comparison with other Jews whose exorcisms do not seem to be in question. Hence, without further evidence and given that these others are not in question, the opponents ought not to be putting Jesus’ exorcisms into question and attributing them to Satan.[24] If Jesus is casting out by Satan, then so must these others, a charge those others would likely not accept and perhaps condemn.[25] But this raises the question: If not by Satan, then by whom?

The alternative to casting out demons by Satan seems to be that Jesus does so by power from God. And if this is true, Jesus’ message is vindicated – the kingdom of God really has come in the person of Jesus. This is what we find in the Finger/Spirit of God saying in Matthew 12:28/Luke 11:20.[26] Jesus’ exorcisms are unique in that they point to the presence of the kingdom and this is due to Jesus’ unique relationship to the kingdom.[27] In Luke, the use of the phrase “finger of God” points to the Exodus narrative, particularly God’s saving his people from Pharaoh through sending the plagues on Egypt (e.g., Exodus 8:19, Deuteronomy 9:10) – as God rescued his people from the oppressor and gave them the Law on Sinai, so now Jesus as the new Moses inaugurates the coming of the kingdom, an eschatological exodus, a restoration of creation through God’s creation power, rescuing his people from the ultimate oppressor, Satan himself.[28] Like Pharaoh, and Israel in the desert, though, Jesus’ opponents, particularly those asking for a sign, have hardened their hearts against God’s salvific actions.[29]


In Luke’s version of the parable, an armed strong man guards his abode and is then defeated and disarmed by an even stronger attacker, who then divides his goods. Thus, instead of a robbery as in Matthew and Mark, we have pictured here an armed battle. Martin Emmrich suggests that Luke’s version more clearly than its parallels echoes the exodus pattern behind Isaiah 49:24-26 (and 59:16-18), with God’s people rescued from a tyrant who oppresses them by the even more powerful divine warrior.[30] Jesus seems clearly to be the stronger man who attacks Satan’s kingdom and overcomes him, linking to both Luke 3:16 and 4:1-13.[31]

This attack has similar results for Satan as in the parallels in Matthew and Mark, as he is disarmed and his goods taken. What happens with the goods, though, is slightly different. Whereas in the parallels, the goods seemed to be people and the idea seemed to be that they are released from Satan’s power, here the idea seems to be that in disarming Satan, Jesus brings blessings of some kind to people.[32] Despite the difference between accounts, the outcome seems to be similar – in casting out demons, Jesus (and perhaps his followers) are disarming Satan, thus bringing blessings to the formerly possessed and, in general via the power of the kingdom of God, to the world.


Mark’s passage, as described previously, emphasizes the ironic reversal of who is inside and who is out. Based on things such as Jesus’ perceived looseness with the Law and his claiming authority to forgive sins, he was opposed, accused of blasphemy, and finally, here, charged with madness by his own family and then with consorting with Beelzebul in an honor challenge by his opponents. These two groups, who should be in on what God is doing, are not. Jesus, exercising his authority, calls his challengers and bests them in the honor game, thus parrying their attempt to label him a deviant and outsider and instead deflecting aspects of the charge back onto them.[33] First, Jesus notes how if Satan casts out Satan, his kingdom would fall (here we can pick one of our three interpretations), using several analogies to back it up. And since Satan would not willingly give up his kingdom and so it would not fall from internal division, Jesus himself has assaulted Satan and is releasing people from his power.

Jesus, then, is the ultimate insider and, given the final saying on the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in Mark 3:28-29,[34] his opponents’ attempts to cast Jesus as an outsider render them in danger of being complete outsiders in regards to God’s kingdom forever. In his response to them, then, Jesus turns the tables on his opponents and warns them not to blaspheme. By the Spirit Jesus works, saving people from their bondage to Satan, the “strong man”, and initiates the saving power of God, bringing them into a new, undivided household with Jesus at its head. To arrogantly say it is Satan instead of the Spirit behind all these works is to slander the Spirit and mistake it and its power for good and salvation for the power of darkness and its power for evil and bondage. To reject the Spirit is to miss forgiveness and salvation since it is precisely the Spirit which brings forgiveness and escape from evil’s bondage.[35]

In Matthew, we see Jesus, the Messiah and the one greater than Solomon in wisdom and power displaying the power of the kingdom of God in the healing of a deaf and blind man. The Pharisees, Jesus’ chief opponents in Matthew, reject other interpretations of Jesus’ identity, and treat him as in league with Beelzebul – they are blind to the true signs of the kingdom. Jesus, as in Mark, responds by talking about how Satan would fall if that was true. And the Pharisees are, in any case, guilty of hypocrisy in accusing Jesus of being in cahoots with Satan. Instead, Jesus is performing his actions by the Spirit and hence, because of who Jesus is, the kingdom of God really has arrived. Jesus is rescuing those oppressed by Satan, healing and casting out demons.

Matthew then shows us the consequences of this all-out battle with Satan, issuing a call to those who would listen. The kingdom of Satan is being invaded by the kingdom of God and there is no neutrality here, one is either on Jesus’ side or, like the Pharisees, one is an opponent or persecutor or otherwise on the wrong side – one either gathers with Jesus or one scatters (Matthew 12:30).[36] There is then a warning in some ways similar to that of Mark against blaspheming the Holy Spirit.[37] As the exact meaning of the versions of this saying in Matthew and Luke are controversial,[38] the only thing I think we can confidently say at this point without really delving into the topic is that it is a warning here based on the previous saying about scattering. There is no neutrality here between Jesus and Satan and the Pharisees are in danger of casting themselves on the wrong side forever. And the very fact that the Pharisees have uttered such dangerous blasphemy condemns them as evil. Jesus, in words very similar to those from the Sermon on the Mount, speaks of how evil words come from an evil internal character and how these words can thus prove as evidence both now and on the day of judgment.[39]

Luke is superficially overall very similar to Matthew but with more of an exodus theme than is present in Matthew. Here, Jesus is the bringer of the new creation, the eschatological exodus, the one who passes the test in contrast to those who test him. He is the divine warrior who is the one stronger than Satan and has violently attacked and disarmed him in order to distribute the eschatological blessings of the coming of the kingdom to those who side with him.[40] In the next chunk of text, Luke describes the spirit who is cast out, wanders in the desert, and returns with seven more demons. The spirit here undergoes a kind of anti-exodus as a kind of anti-Israel – it goes into the desert and returns to its home stronger than before. This creates a contrast between the nature of demons versus Jesus as the true Israel. Only Jesus can free Israel of the tyranny of Satan. Previous attempts at reform and cleaning house have only been temporary – the demonic powers have always struck back, thus also reemphasizing their unity and undivided power. Jesus is clearly not possessed and only his kingdom will succeed in rescuing Israel from the kingdom of Satan.[41]

[1] Donahue, J. R. and D.J. Harrington, The Gospel of Mark (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002), 128.

[2] Some manuscripts have the scribes doing and saying these things, but this is almost certainly an effort to soften the otherwise seemingly harsh view of Jesus’ family portrayed here. Some English translations, likely effected by some of the same sentiments, have likewise interpreted the Greek here to refer to people other than Jesus’ family but scholars seem to agree that the Greek most likely refers to Jesus’ family, especially considering Mark 3:21’s status as one half of the Marcan sandwich which continues in 3:31 with Jesus’ family. Likewise, despite the RSV’S and NRSV’s interpretations that it was generic “people” who were saying Jesus was mad, it seems more plausible to see the ones coming to seize Jesus as providing the appropriate grammatical antecedent and hence taking subject place in that sentence. And since such charges would not likely be made up by the early church, there is a high probability that these verses accurately reflect a tension in Jesus’ family during his earthly ministry. See Ayers, James, “Mark 3:20-35,” Interpretation 51 (1997): 174; Best, Ernest, “Mark 3:20, 21, 31-35,” New Testament Studies 22 (1976): 309-314; Donahue, J. R. and D.J. Harrington, The Gospel of Mark (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002), 129; Marcus, Joel, Mark 1-8 (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 270; May, David M., “Mark 3:20-35 from the Perspective of Shame/Honor,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 17 (1987): 85; Meier, John P., A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume One: The Roots of the Problem and the Person (New York: Doubleday, 1991), 370-371; Yarbro Collins, Adela, Mark: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2007), 225.

[3] Cf. Best, “Mark,” 309; France, R. T., The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002), 169.

[4] Marcus, Mark, 271.

[5] Marcus, Mark, 271.

[6] The sorts of charges brought out in the Beelzebul controversy in the Synoptic Gospel are likely historical given the also likely historicity of Jesus’ exorcism and healing ministries (both charges of possession and ministries of Jesus also being attested to by the Gospel of John). See Donahue and Harrington, Mark, 130; Emmrich, Martin, “The Lucan Account of the Beelzebul Controversy,” Westminster Theological Journal 62 (2000): 269; France, Mark, 170; Harrington, D. J., The Gospel of Matthew (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1991), 134; Meier, Marginal Jew I, 96; Wright, N. T., Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 187, 195.

[7] Yarbro Collins, Mark, 229.

[8] On the unity of the demonic world under a single demonic ruler (particularly, who took control, through his minions, of humans and the world) in Second Temple literature, see Alexander, Philips, “The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Dead Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years: A Comprehensive Assessment, Vol. 2, ed. P. W. Flint and J. C. Vanderkam (Leiden: Brill, 1999) , 331-353; Russell, D. S., The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic: 200 B.C. – A.D. 100 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1964), 254-257.

[9] May, “Shame/Honor,” 85. Here, May takes the scribes in Mark to be issuing a public honor challenge in contrast to the opponents in the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke where the charges do not seem to be made publicly. Cf. Guijarro, “Politics,” 124.

[10] Caragounis, Chrys C., “Kingdom of God, Son of Man, and Jesus’ Self-Understanding,” Tyndale Bulletin 40 (1989): 224; Humphries, Michael, “The Kingdom of God in the Q Version of the Beelzebul Controversy: Q 11:14-26,” Forum 9 (1993): 128-130; Marcus, Mark, 281; Wright, Jesus, 452-453; Yarbro Collins, Mark, 228. Lloyd Gaston also argues that in Matthew, the meaning of “Beelzebul” has links with Jesus’ claims to superiority vis-à-vis the Temple earlier in the Gospel, making the Pharisees’ charge in part an act of throwing such claims in his face. See Gaston, “Beelzebul,” 254.

[11] See footnote 3 for some references.

[12] See the following footnote.

[13] See, for instance, James Ayers, “Mark 3:20-35,” Interpretation 51 (1997): 174; Ernest Best, “Mark 3:20, 21, 31-35,” New Testament Studies 22 (1976): 309-314; Adela Yarbro Collins, Mark: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2007), 225; J. R. Donahue and D.J. Harrington, The Gospel of Mark (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002), 129; R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002); Joel Marcus, Mark 1-8 (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 270; David M. May, “Mark 3:20-35 from the Perspective of Shame/Honor,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 17 (1987): 85.

[14] Cf. Busch, Austin, “Questioning and Conviction: Double-voiced Discourse in Mark 3:22–30,” Journal of Biblical Literature 125 (2006): 480-482.

[15] Cf. Boring, “Unforgivable Sin,” 260; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 332; Gundry, Robert H., Matthew: A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church under Persecution, Second Edition (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1982), 230.

[16] Boring, “Unforgivable Sin,” 261. Cf. Davies and Allison, Matthew, 335. Note, though, that Matthew does directly echo Mark’s beginning, reusing ejxivstanto from Mark 3:21 to apply to the crowds’ wonderment at Jesus instead of ejqauvmasan as in Luke 11:14 and Matthew 9:33. See Gundry, Matthew, 231.

[17] Gundry, Matthew, 231; Nolland, John, The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2005), 498.

[18] Gundry, Matthew, 231.

[19] Collins, Raymond F., “Jesus’ Ministry to the Deaf and Dumb,” Melita Theologica 35 (1984): 17. Collins cites examples such as Isaiah 29:18 and 35:5. Note that all of these considerations so far explaining why Matthew has included blindness in the narrative renders Luz’s unsupported commented that, since Matthew used the story already he added to it so that no one would notice, rather lame. See Luz, Matthew, 199.

[20] Fisher, Loren R., “Can this be the Son of David?” in Jesus and the Historian: Written in Honor of Ernest Cadman Calwell, ed. F. T. Trotter (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1968), 85-89; Harrington, Matthew, 186. Contra Gundry, Mark, 231.

[21] See Marshall, Luke, 472 for evidence that it may have been Luke that deleted reference to the Pharisees in Q rather than Matthew that added his reference.

[22] Emmrich, “The Lucan Account,” 274; Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Gospel of Luke (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1991), 181-183; Marshall, Luke, 473.

[23] Caragounis, “Kingdom of God,” 229; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 337; Fitzmyer, Luke, 918; Harrington, Matthew, 183; Luz, Matthew, 203. See, though, Shirock, Robert, “Whose Exorcists are They? The Referents of oiÓ uiÓoi; uÓmwæn at Matthew 12:27/Luke 11:19,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 46 (1992): 41-51, for an alternative (and, it seems to me, less plausible) interpretation according to which these exorcists are the disciples rather than Pharisees or some other Jews outside Jesus’ circle.

[24] Note that this important move on Jesus’ part in no way implies or requires the acceptance of the other exorcists and their exorcisms and Jesus’ part. At least some commentators notice this. See, for instance, Gundry, Matthew, 235. Hence, we need not follow, for instance, Humphries, “Q Version,” 132-134.

[25] Marshall, Luke, 471, 474-475, gets this right but still seems at times to think that on this interpretation Jesus must be accepting the exorcists and their exorcisms.

[26] Whether or not this Q saying originally spoke of casting out demons by the “finger of God” or the “Spirit of God” need not concern us, particularly given the amounts of evidence on both sides and the difficulty of adjudicating it. See Davies and Allison, Matthew, 340; Emmrich, “Lucan Account,” 271-273; Fitzmyer, Luke, 918; Harrington, Matthew, 183; Luz, Matthew, 200; Marshall, Luke, 475-476; Menzies, Robert P., The Development of Early Christian Pneumatology (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), 186; Rodd, C. S., “Spirit or Finger,” Expository Times 72 (1960-1961): 157-158; Wall, Robert W., “The Finger of God: Deuteronomy 9:10 and Luke 11:20,” New Testament Studies 93 (1987): 144-150. Whether or not the saying, in whatever form it originally took, is regarded as an authentic word of Jesus, it certainly fits the context well and probably went together with the charges of demon possession in the tradition (at least within Q’s version of it), which might give us at least some reason (even if it is not seen as decisive) to think this might originally belong with the DS sayings or even go back to Jesus (though its absence from Mark certainly makes these claims less supported than they otherwise might have been).

[27] Caragounis, “Kingdom of God,” 230-231; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 339. There may also be a sense of here of Jesus’ companions having won a victory for God’s kingdom over Satan as Jesus’ kingdom subordinates by attacking Satan via casting out his subordinates. See Johnson, Luke, 183.

[28] Fitzmyer, Luke, 922; Klingbeil, Gerald A., “The Finger of God in the Old Testament,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 112 (2000): 415; Marshall, Luke, 475; Williams, David, “Why the Finger?” Expository Times 115 (2003): 48. Against the alternative understanding of Wall, “Finger of God,” 144-150, see Emmrich, “Lucan Account,” 272n32.

[29] Emmrich, “Lucan Account,” 272, 275; Perkins, Larry, “Why the ‘Finger of God’ in Luke 11:20?” Expository Times 115 (2004): 261-262.

[30] Emmrich, “Lucan Account,” 273; Marshall, Luke, 478.

[31] Fitzmyer, Luke, 919.

[32] Marshall, Luke 477-478.

[33] Guijarro, “Politics,” 125; May, “Shame/Honor,” 86.

[34] On the authenticity of this saying and its belonging (or not) to its context within the Beelzebul controversy, see Boring, M. Eugene, “How May We Identify Oracles of Christian Prophets in the Synoptic Tradition? Mark 3:28-29 as a Test Case,” Journal of Biblical Literature 91 (1972): 501-521; Boring, “Unforgivable Sin,” 276-277; Emmrich, “Lucan Account,” 270.

[35] Cf. Ayers, “Mark 3:20-35,” 182; Donahue and Harrington, Mark, 131-136; France, Mark, 177; Marcus, Mark, 284; Williams, James G., “A Note on the ‘Unforgiveable Sin’ Logion,” New Testament Studies 12 (1965): 75-77; Wright, Jesus, 453-454.

[36] Davies and Allison, Matthew, 343; Gundry, Matthew, 236; Luz, Matthew, 205-206. Cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 919; Marshall, Luke, 478. For alternative approaches to this saying, see Humphries, “Q Version,” 137; Kilgallen,, “Return,” 59n29.

[37] On the relationship between the Q and Mark sayings, how Matthew has combined the sayings, and trying to figure out the possible Aramaic prehistory of these and the relationships between them, see Boring, “Unforgivable Sin,” 258-279; Caragounis, “Kingdom of God,” 6-7; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 345-346; Gundry, Matthew, 237-239; Luz, Matthew, 201; Marcus, Mark, 275; Schippers, R., “The Son of Man in Matt. xii. 32 = Lk. xii. 10, Compared with Mk. iii. 28,” Studia Evangelica IV, Part I: The New Testament Scriptures, ed. F. L. Cross (Berlin: Akademic Verlag, 1968), 231-235; Yarbro Collins, Mark, 234.

[38] See Caragounis, “Kingdom of God,” 11, 227;Harrington, Matthew, 184; Maddox, Robert J., “The Function of the Son of Man according to the Synoptic Gospels,” New Testament Studies 15 (1968-1969): 59; Schippers, “Son of Man,” 235.

[39] Davies and Allison, Matthew, 349-351; Gundry, Matthew, 240.

[40] Cf. Robbins, Vernon K., “Beelzebul Controversy in Mark and Luke: Rhetorical and Social Analysis,” Forum 7 (1991): 276.

[41] Humphries, “Kingdom of God,” 139; Kilgallen, “Return,” 56; Marshall, Luke, 471; Wall, “Finger of God,” 148; Wright, Jesus, 456.