Mark 7:26

the woman was a foreigner, from Syrian Phoenicia – and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.


our own another
asking demanding
resisting complaining
wanting not wanting
healings release

out out damn demon
not of my own causing
with all my power out
I call upon every resource
in seven regions

exhausted
falling heavily
upon a last
pair of feet
still unwashed


Remember to cast your mind back to previous similar events. Mark does his best to not only move us along, but to have us bring the whole story along with us.

Myers82 reminds us of this context in both prior stories and the culture of the time,

The woman who falls at Jesus’ feet appealing on behalf of her off-stage daughter reminds us of Jairus, but she represents a world remote from that of the synagogue leader. Because we are unfamiliar with what constituted social propriety in Hellenistic antiquity, we miss the scandal of this encounter. In conventional Mediterranean “honor culture,” it would have been inconceivable for an unknown, unrelated woman to approach a man in the privacy of his residence. Worse, this woman is a Gentile soliciting favor from a Jew. Mark’s description is emphatic: She is “Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth”.

Mark seems to enjoy the various combinations of relationships he reports. This is true of the interplay he sets up between sets of parables as well as individuals. Much is lost if we overfocus. This is one of the dangers of doing a verse by verse response. It is important to be able to pull back while zooming in.

Consider the differences between the Jairus and “Justus” stories. Both come forward falling at Jesus’ feet: one in public; one in private. Both have sick daughters: one physically sick, close enough to touch; one demonically possessed, at an unknown distance. Both need to assert themselves: one begging repeatedly; one entering debate. Both receive their requested healing: one a named, male, Jewish, religious leader; one an anonymous, female, pagan, foreigner.

These, plus the differences you named, are enough to legitimize a Feminist Theology. There are many excellent resources available. To continue focusing on Mark, try A Feminist Companion to Mark, edited by Amy-Jill Levine.

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