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Miracle-Stories

"Belief in miracles is concentrated here on the specific situations of distress, on possession, disease, hunger, lack of success, and danger, in other words on situations which do not strike as hard in all social groups . . . the popular character of these stories is that in them people whose social and economic position left them no other outlet to articulate their hopes . . . It seems to me that a degree of class correlation in the primitive Christian miracle stories can hardly be denied."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Their [the acts of Jesus] 'divine power' lay not in a manipulation of nature but in confrontation with the dominant order of oppression and in witness to different possibilities."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"There are many today who simply to not believe that their liberation is dependent upon being able to talk or walk. They insist on their right to live fully human and 'whole' lives in a society that continues to define them as 'handicapped' only because they are different. Nonphysically disabled readers must be aware of the biases we unconsciously bring to the biblical narratives of 'healing.' Obviously any interpretation that stresses the biomedical definition of 'wholeness' excludes the physically disabled from the good news. If, however, we focus on the broader socio-symbolic meaning of illness and healing, the stories address us all equally. After all, in Mark the true impediments to discipleship have nothing to do with physical impairment, but with spiritual and ideological disorders."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Mark's Jesus seeks always to restore the social wholeness denied to the sick/impure by this symbolic order. That is why his healing of the sick/impure is vitally interchangeable with his social intercourse with them. To one 'leper' he offers a declaration of wholeness, to another simply the solidarity of table fellowship. Both acts defy the symbolic order that segregates those lacking bodily integrity; both challenge the prevailing social boundaries and class barriers. This is why Jesus the healer was a threat to 'civic order.'"    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The discourse of healing and exorcism is central to this section. G. Theissen, in his study of the social function of the primitive Christian miracle stories, points out that most contemporaneous Hellenistic miracle sources originated from the aristocracy, and through the highly institutionalized practice of divination and technique-magic were 'concerned with the maintenance of the accepted order and way of life.' Other pagan tradition of 'sorcery and magic represent an individualistic reaction to growing social disintegration.' In contrast, the gospel miracles assert the promise and possibility of radical socio-political change in behalf of the disenfranchised. They function to subvert, not legitimate, the dominant order."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"André Trocmé, in his provocative book Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution (1964), argued that this episode, as a turning point of Jesus' public ministry, represents carefully staged political theater. Jesus could presumably heal the man with the withered hand in private without provoking a reaction, but chooses yet again to force the issue."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"In sum, Jesus' symbolic acts were powerful not because they challenged the laws of nature, but because the challenged the very structures of social existence."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The demon in the synagogue becomes the representative of the scribal establishment, whose 'authority' undergirds the dominant Jewish social order. Exorcism represents an act of confrontation in the war of myths in which Jesus asserts his alternative authority. Only this interpretation can explain why exorcism is at issue in the scribal counterattack."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesusn


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