Original Research

Aretalogy of the Best Healer: Performance and praise of Mark’s healing Jesus

Zorodzai Dube
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a5050 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.5050 | © 2018 Zorodzai Dube | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 April 2018 | Published: 03 December 2018

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Zorodzai Dube, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The study proposes a link between Mark’s healing stories in chapter 1 and praise songs and/or poems performed at Apollo’s temple and other possible shrines of Asclepius in Southern Antioch. Mark chapter 1 begins with Jesus healing the demoniac (Mk 1:21–28), healing of Simon’s mother in law (Mk 1:29–31) and healing of various peoples who gathered at Simon’s mother-in-law’s house (Mk 1:32–34) and people from the region and afar (Mk 13:39). The chapter finishes with the controversial healing of the leper (1:40–45). Assuming that Mark is located in Southern Antioch, with analogies from Zulu praise poems, this study reread Mark’s healing stories alongside Greek aretalogies with a view to reveal the function and mood around which the stories were told and/or performed. As hypothesis, Mark’s healing stories exudes similar characteristics as Greek aretalogies, praising the benefactor (Jesus) vis-à-vis known healers such as Apollo and Asclepius.


Aretalogy; Healing; Propaganda; Mark; Apollo; Asclepius


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