1.0 Miracles, In Other Words|
2.0 Miracles and Ancient Health Care Systems
3.0 Miracles and Ancient Economic Theory: Exchange and Reciprocity
4.0 Miracles and Patronage-Benefaction
5.0 Miracles and Honor
6.0 Miracles and Symbolic Anthropology
7.0 Miracles and Status Transformation Rituals
8.0 Cultural and Social Questions: A Checklist
9.0 A Systems Approach
Recent scholarship has produced many excellent studies which define a "miracle" more accurately,(1) illumine the typical form of a miracle narrative,(2) and describe the hymns of praise or gratitude due the deity through whom the miracle occurred.(3) These, of course, correspond to the traditional questions asked in biblical and classical scholarship and are argued and evaluated in terms of the prevailing paradigm of biblical scholarship, namely, the historical-critical method.(4)
Such approaches, however, hardly exhaust our examination of miracles because they omit certain questions. This inquiry will ask different sorts of questions about miracles in biblical miraculous healing accounts from a different paradigm, namely, the social sciences. Miracles, then, "in other words."
What sorts of different questions might we ask about miracles? (1) Americans, who structure their world in terms of economics, would want to know more about the exchange involved in miracles. Perhaps money is not exchanged between the healer and the healed, but some sort of exchange or reciprocity is expected and regularly occurs. What is it? (2) Harold Remus defines a miracle as having three components: (1) an act which causes wonder and (2) which is extraordinary and inexplicable in terms of everyday causation, such that (3) it is ascribed to superhuman force or agency.(5) Then we must ask if and how it is perceived as an act of benefaction. Is the healer a patron, and has the healed person become a client? What duties does each incur? (3) Although pious minds might imagine that healings are acts of altruistic generosity, those who wear social science lenses want to know why a healer heals? Honor is at stake, but what does this look like? (4) Miracles presume a cultural symbolic universe: what limb or ailment gets healed? what is the cultural meaning of "wellness" or "uncleanness"? What sorts of taxonomies do ancients employ to classify and thus "understand" illness? (5) Finally, what happens to those who are healed? What ritual process do they undergo? What of their former stigma? This study, then, focuses on healing miracles and seeks to examine them in terms of their socio-cultural context.(6)
2.0 Ancient Health Care Systems
To investigate the relevant social background for a study of healing miracles, we must first ask about the ancient "health care system."(7)
Health, illness, and health-care-related aspects of societies are articulated as cultural systems. . .Such cultural systems, which I shall call health care systems, are, like other cultural systems (e.g. kinship and religious systems), symbolic systems built out of meanings, values, behavioural norms and the like. The health care system articulates illness as a cultural idiom, linking beliefs about disease causation, the experience of symptoms, specific patterns of illness behaviour, decisions concerning treatment alternatives, actual therapeutic practices and evaluations of therapeutic outcomes. Thus it establishes systematic relationships between these components.(8)
When applied to healing miracles in early Christianity, Kleinman's definition suggests that we take a systems approach to the phenomenon.(9) Fortunately, John Pilch has digested Kleinman's work and other cross-cultural materials on healing, and has articulated the basic shape of the ancient "system" in a series of articles.(10) Pilch distinguishes between formalized and non-formalized treatments; "physicians" provide the former, but examples of the latter would be "healing at shrines, by folk-healers, shamans, by exorcists, and so on."(11) Following the lead of Kleinman, he identifies three sectors or social arenas within which illness is experienced and reacted to. These include first the popular sector,(12) which comprises principally the family context of sickness and care and thus embraces "the lay, non-professional, non-specialist popular culture."(13) Cultural anthropologists argue that between 70 and 90 per cent of sickness is managed solely within this domain.(14) Next Pilch presents the folk sector: people credited by their neighbors with powers to combat illness.(15) They share with their village neighbors the same world view and health concepts; not being "scientifically trained," they accept everything presented to them as a naturally co-occurring syndrome; and they treat their clients in public.(16) The deviant condition called "illness" is "first observed, defined and treated" in the web of relations involving family, social network, village, etc. For example, persons with a skin blemishes in Jesus' world might interpret these blemishes in the light of the Levitical code (Leviticus 13-14), labelling them "uncleanness" which invokes the world of purity concerns. A village cohen might pronounce "uncleanness," indicate ritual separation and washings, and then inspect the blemish. Although not a "scientific" physician, the village cohen interprets for individuals and their families the presence of "illness" and its absence. Finally Pilch treats the professional sector: "professional, trained and credentialed healers."(17) "Physicians" (iatroi) such as Hippocrates (469-399 BCE), Herophilus (300-250 BCE), Soranus (98-138 CE) and Galen (129-199 CE) advanced "scientific" practice based on the then current theory of the body.(18) Often well educated according to ancient standards of learning(19) and often well connected,(20) they served the elites of their world. In this group we should include the cadre of "physicians" who accompanied the Roman armies and who practiced sophisticated medicine especially in regards to wounds received in battle.(21) These appear to be the people praised in Sirach 38:1-8, which contains elite comments on an exclusive element of their social location.
For students of early Christianity, it is important to note that rural peasants and urban artisans, who constitute the bulk of the population, were unlikely to enjoy the services of "physicians." It is difficult to imagine them finding them, gaining access to them, much less affording them. Most professional-sector physicians "practiced as itinerants, traveling from one city to another, offering their services as did other craftsmen."(22) Moreover, they tended to be contracted for a limited time by cities with enough wealth to afford them,(23) which thus put them out of the reach of the rural masses. Peasants would operate either in the popular sector, consulting village priests or visiting nearby shrines,(24) or in the folk sector, finding a local person with special powers. This might help us situate more accurately the social location of holy men, prophets, etc. who were sought after for their healing powers.
3.0 Miracles and Ancient Economic Theory: Exchange and Reciprocity
Despite the altruism which currently surrounds the "Hippocratic oath" of contemporary physicians, it would be anachronistic to imagine that people in the various layers of the health care system performed their tasks gratis.(25) It is not a cynical, but a basic social question to ask: What did the healer (mortal or immortal) get out of the healing?
The answer to this question leads us into issues of peasant economics and basic modes of exchange and reciprocity in antiquity. Our path has been amply blazed by several scholars who offer road maps through a dense and perhaps unfamiliar landscape. Several cross-cultural concepts emerge in the literature which have a bearing on the questions: "Why would a healer heal?" "What does a healer get from this action?" "What is exchanged?"
First, George Foster, a student of peasant societies, advanced the thesis of "limited good."(26) Peasants perceive all goods in the world as essentially limited in quantity, a "zero-sum game." Unless the gods or God increase it, the supply of goods never gets larger; hence, if anyone seems to gain, someone must be losing. Thus if a healer "gives" healing or a teacher "imparts" teaching, unless he is appropriately remunerated, he would be perceived to be losing as others gained at his or her expense.(27) Or, if someone secretly obtained healing or some other benefit without the healer's knowledge and remuneration, this might be considered a form of theft (see Mark 5:28-29). "Charity begins at home"; generosity belongs in the family. But for someone to give anything to a non-family member without some form of reciprocity would be negatively perceived (see Mark 7:27).
Second, what can be exchanged? In the Western mercantile world, we exchange money for goods and services. But money (and stuff for barter/exchange) is but one of the media of exchange. Talcott Parsons offers a cross-cultural model for identifying the "symbolic media of exchange," indicating that humans tend to exchange four classes of things: (a) money,(28) (b) political power,(29) (c) influence(30) and (d) value-commitment.(31) Teachers, for example, give instruction to students and may even recommend them for higher studies (influence), for which they receive money; soldiers risk their lives for their country (value-commitment) and receive a pension or lands in a colony (money) and public honoring, such as a ticker-tape parade (value-commitment). What, then, does a healer receive for healing? Sometimes "money" (food, lodging, gifts) and sometimes "value-commitment" (honor and fame; an aretalogy or acclamation of praise).
Third, what are the expectations of reciprocity? what kinds are possible? who exchanges what? with whom? and with what expectation? Because of the scope of this study, we need not detour through the rich research on the nature of economics in antiquity.(32) Rather, we focus on an anthropological theory of exchange.(33) Marshall Sahlins identifies three types of reciprocity pertinent to our study of the ancient Mediterranean world:
Generalized reciprocity describes the "altruistic" interactions whereby the interests of "the other are primary"; it is generally extended to kin-group members (i.e., "charity begins at home"). Balanced reciprocity looks to mutual interests, that is, quid-pro-quo or tit-for-tat exchanges; it has one's neighbors and villagers in view. Negative reciprocity seeks self- interest at the expense of "the other," who probably is a stranger or an enemy. A schematic view of the model is suggested in the following diagram:(35)
|1. characteristic: give without
expectation of return|
2. forms: child rearing, hospitality
3. recipients: parents, children, kin
4. biblical examples: Matt 7:11/Luke 11:11-13; Luke 10:33-35; Acts 3:6
1. characteristic: tit-for-tat, quid-pro-quo|
2. forms: barter, assistance agreements
3. recipients: neighbors
4. biblical examples: 1 Cor 9:3-12; Matt 10:10/Luke 10:7; Ps 116
1. characteristic: exploitation; get &
don't give; reap where one does not sow|
2. forms: robbery, buy-cheap-sell-dear
3. recipients: strangers, enemies
4. biblical examples: Luke 10:30; 19:22
We can ask, then, what is exchanged in a healing miracle: most probably healers dispense power and influence. Unless healers are themselves gods or God, they exchange access to the power of a patron deity as well as knowledge of what deity to petition or what technique to employ. The various stele, laudatory inscriptions, sacrifices and votive offerings at healing shrines indicate that the heavenly healers receive value-commitment or honor. Thus, some sort of balanced reciprocity seems to be operative in healing situations. We are invited, then, to consider the importance of thanksgiving prayers and sacrifices in this light.
4.0 Miracles and Patronage-Benefaction
4.1 Patronage. Scholars are giving increasing recognition to the prevalence and importance of the social structure of patronage in antiquity.(36) From the Greco-Roman world, we possess a set of ideal "rules" for patron-client relationships, which spell out both the rights and duties of each partner (Dionysus Halicarnassus, Ant. Rom. 2.10.1-4), as well as detailed historical studies of various types of patron-client relationships.(37) Because patron-client relationships are so prevalent throughout the world at all times, anthropologists have studied them and synthesized a cross-cultural model for examining them.(38) What are these relationships?
Patronage is a model or analytical construct which the social scientist applies in order to understand and explain a range of apparent different social relationships: father-son, God-man, saint-devotee, godfather-godchild, lord-vassal, landlord-tenant, politician-voter, professor-assistant, and so forth. All these different sets of social relationships can thus be considered from one particular point of view which may render them comprehensible.(39)
In other words, the relationship of Roman emperor to Palestinian Governor (John 19:12), of centurion to synagogue elders (Luke 7:3-5), of God and priests (Heb 7:23-28; 8:2, 6), of master and disciple (John 13:12-16; 15:14-16), and of healer and healed would serve as NT examples.
But what is a patron-client relationship? what is a patron? a client? Patrons are powerful figures who control resources and who are expected to use and distribute them as favors to inferiors. Clients, then, are persons dependent upon the largesse of patrons to survive in the social and economic system. The patron-client relationship may be summarized in the following points:(40)
1. Patron-client relations are vertical (superior/inferior) and dyadic; they encode inequality and difference in power and status. A patron enjoys a monopoly on certain resources that are of vital importance to the client.
2. Interaction between patron and client is based on simultaneous exchange of different types of resources. A patron tends to have economic and political resources and can give support and protection. In return, clients give promises of solidarity, protestations of honor, as well as financial assistance and contributed labor.
3. The relationship encodes a strong element of solidarity and ideally indicates long-range credit; it is linked to personal honor and the corresponding sense of obligation.
4. Patron-client relations are treated as binding and long range, ideally for life and even passing on to one's heirs. While not fully legal, they are strongly binding. Yet in practice, because the relationship is entered into voluntarily, it can be abandoned voluntarily.
4.2 Patron/Broker/Client. In considering patron-client relationships in regard to healings and miracles, we must nuance the model appropriately. If ill persons prayed to their gods or God, they would be identified as clients seeking favors from a patron. But in a world in which persons vertically higher on the social ladder were insulated from lower ranking persons by an array of social and spatial distances,(41) it was frequently necessary to employ the services of mediators and brokers in establishing patron-client relations. Thus petitionary prayers and sacrifices to the gods or God might be made at a temple or shrine with the assistance of and through the mediation of a local priest. The mantis at an oracular shrine might employ the assistance of a "prophet" in conveying the message to a petitioner. On the village level, the local elders might approach a charismatic figure to petition help for a third party (Luke 7:1-10; see Matt 20:20-21).(42)
This urges us to consider the position of Jesus the healer in terms of patron-client relations. It is doubtful that he is perceived of as patron, that is, the person who possesses first-order goods, such as wealth, power, land, etc. That role belongs to God, the giver of all good gifts.(43) Jesus, rather, functions as broker and mediator.(44) This requires, then, some adjustment in how we imagine the reciprocity operative in patron-broker-client relationships. Brokers deserve tariffs; brokers are owed something for their services. Thus in the raising of the son of the widow of Nain, God-Patron receives "glory," while Jesus-Broker acquires the honor of being acclaimed "prophet" as well as an expanding reputation (Luke 7:16-17). But we might ask what brokers generally received (money? value-commitment?) and the social value of that reciprocity, especially if it is something such as "honor" or fame (Matt 5:24; Mark 1:45; John 11:47 and 12:9-11)? In a limited-goods perspective, are brokers like Jesus likely to provoke institutional envy from other established brokers (Mark 6:1-6; John 11:47-48)?
4.3 Benefaction. Although classicists have long studied the phenomenon of benefaction in antiquity,(45) biblical scholars are beginning to give attention to this common phenomenon in the ancient Mediterranean world and its importance for biblical studies.(46) Benefaction, it would seem, is a particular aspect of patron-client relationships. When patrons act on a significantly large scale and bestow any of the general symbolic media to cities, towns, or groups, such patrons would be hailed as "Benefactor (and Savior)." Thus a person who builds facilities for a city, such as an aqueduct, or who negotiates to have it declared a "metropolis,"(47) or who arranges tax exemptions for it,(48) would be properly a "benefactor." The title of benefactor might be extended to physicians who generously and competently served a city,(49) treasurers of associations,(50) renowned musicians, (51) and the like.
Benefaction, of course, must be publicly acknowledged according to the canons of honor.(52) It is generally announced by means of a public proclamation, which is often also inscribed in stone on the wall of a public building as a lasting memorial. It may be accompanied by the gift of a golden crown, special seats in the theater, statues of the honoree, and the like.(53) Indeed, in terms of models of reciprocity, acts of benefaction imply rights and duties. Recipients are honor-bound to acknowledge benefaction and benefactors are encouraged to maintain loyalty and support.(54) Benefaction begins a "chain of obligations" and establishes indebtedness on the part of the recipient.(55) Thus honor and loyalty are exchanged by clients for wealth or influence or power made available by the benefactor.
5.0 Miracles and Honor
5.1 The Cultural Value of Honor. Indications from the sketches of patron-client relations,
benefaction, and reciprocity suggest that "honor" plays an important role. Honor(56) is defined
as: ". . . the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society. It is his
estimation of his own worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgement of that
claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride."(57) This means that one's worth
is not a matter of individualistic determination of one's identity and standing (a very modern
concept), but of the public acknowledgment of this by one's kinship group and neighbors. In
Shakespeare's Othello, Iago states that his total value in life lies in his reputation, his "good
name": Paul identifies "honor" as the pursuit of a good life (Rom 2:7) and as God's acknowledgement
of a virtuous life (Rom 2:10). NT doxologies all reciprocate to God "honor" or "glory" for
God's excellence and/or benefaction (1 Tim 6:15-16; Jude 24-25; Rom 16:25-27). 5.2 Honor and Miracle Stories. Why do healers heal? The consideration of honor in the
context of miracles and healing stories may shed light on this question. Certain aspects of
honor are important for an in-depth study of miracles. For examples, in terms of the source of
honor, ancient Mediterranean persons enjoyed honor either because it was ascribed to them (by
birth, adoption, appointment, and the like) or achieved by them (by athletic prowess, military
exploits, patronage-benefaction, and the like).(58) Healers such as Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter
and Paul enjoy ascribed honor; they are brokers of God-Patron, who designates them as
prophets mighty in word and deed, which ascription needs be acknowledged by the people.(59)
Yet some healers might claim to have achieved honor on the basis of their miracles (2
Corinthians 10-11), and may thus be perceived as challenging the honor and status of those in a
group with ascribed honor.(60) Honor, moreover, should rightly be considered as one of the
basic goods exchanged by ancient peoples; in terms of the model of Talcott Parsons, "honor"
belongs in the category of "value-commitment." In terms of reciprocity, deities who heal
receive in exchange praise and honor, as well as votives to commemorate their benefaction.(61)
What else can one offer the immortals but honor?(62) Why then does a healer heal? Does the healer expect something in return? deserve
anything in return? Abstractly, it would seem that if healers are patron-benefactors with access
to first order goods (wealth, health, etc.), then their acts of benefaction would create a debt of
loyalty, commitment and acknowledgement of honor in their clients. If healers are brokers
between the gods or God, then they still deserve their tariff, which might be financial
remuneration or more typically honor. It is an observable fact in the gospel narratives that
Jesus' miracles produce honor for him, at least fame and a growing reputation (e.g., Mark
1:32-33, 37, 45; 3:9; 4:1; 5:20; 6:2-3).(63) But do healers heal so as to gain honor? Of course, our documents do not allow us to
quiz healers directly, but our informants on the healings suggest the following range of motives
for healings. John's semeia source explicitly states that the miracles function to gain "honor"
(or "glory") for Jesus. The coda at the ending of the first sign attests to the success of the
enterprise: "This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee,and manifested his glory;
and his disciples believed in him" (2:11). The miracle produces "glory" (i.e., an increase in
Jesus' honorable reputation) and cemented to Jesus a cadre of loyal disciples who acknowledge
his honor. The ending of the sign source also suggests a motive for the narrative of the
healings, if not the healings themselves: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God" (20:31). Again, "honor" is Jesus' tariff as he is acknowledged as
"Christ, the Son of God."(64) The Q source, which does not narrate any healings, contains a
question-answer exchange between John's disciples and Jesus, which pertains to honor. When
asked if he is the one who is to come, Jesus points to his healings to identify him and serve as
his credentials (Matt 11:2-5//Luke 7:18-23). Again, a healing may serve as a riposte in an
honor challenge, as when Jesus silences his challengers by declaring: "But that you may
acknowledge that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins...rise, take up your
pallet and walk" (Mark 2:10). Jesus' ascribed honor as God's agent is defended as his
challengers are forced publicly to "acknowledge" his role and status. Other passing remarks,
although they do not explicitly indicate that honor is the purpose of the healings, nevertheless
insist that honor results from them (see Luke 7:16; Matt 8:17; Mark 7:37). Finally, healings
provoke institutionalized envy in Jesus' limited-goods world, and so bring challenges to his
honor which must be defended.(65) 6.0 Miracles and Symbolic Anthropology It is surely a truism that we post-industrial, urban moderns live in a social and cultural
world enormously different from the pre-industrial, peasant world of the ancients. The issues
comprise more than social or economic differences, and indicate entirely different symbolic
worlds.(66) The tasks of early anthropologists were twofold: to develop (a) a sense of a symbolic
world different from that of observers from colonial powers and (b) methods of describing a
symbolic universe. The early works of Mary T. Douglas proved quite influential in this area.(67)
Biblical scholars were quick to appreciate her enterprise and contributed to shaping her
remarks into descriptive models. Their attention focussed on several areas: (a) describing a
"symbolic universe,"(68) (b) articulating a theory of purity/pollution,(69) (c) sketching a model for
studying the physical body,(70) and (d) interpreting witchcraft accusations.(71) 6.1 Symbolic Universe and Taxonomies of Illness. We know now that all peoples have some
cognitive map of how they think the universe works. They are socialized to perceive patterns
in certain events, to see cause-effect relationships operative, and to imagine spatial
distinctions.(72) Culture varies from culture in terms of what goes into a given symbolic
universe and the relative articulateness of perspective and interpretation. Of concern to us
would be the degree to which people (1) draw boundary lines defining themselves and others,
(2) interpret "sin" either as law breaking or as pollution, (3) perceive the physical body as an
organic system which needs control, (4) evaluate suffering in life as either just or unjust, for
which latter notion (5) there might be a subsequent theory of devils, demons or witches who
attack people. Such questions help to situate a healing or miracle in the context of the natives'
cultural horizon. Thus we begin to appreciate how they perceive illness as just punishment (see
John 9:2) or unjust attack. 6.1.1 Taxonomy of Witchcraft and Spirit Aggression. Knowing as much as possible about
the symbolic universe of a given culture affords us access to native taxonomies of illness.
Without adopting an attitude of cultural superiority, it is simply the case that modern
Westerners mostly follow a scientific taxonomy of illness, which was hardly the case in
peasant societies, especially those of the ancient Mediterranean. Yet we are assisted in our
pursuit of native taxonomies of illness by the pioneering work of George P. Murdock and
George Foster. Murdock, a major figure in the Human Relations Area Files, gathered and
coded cultural data from ethnographic surveys of diverse cultures. In one of his works, he
examined the geographical distribution of various theories of illness and looked for statistically
significant correlations with other social phenomena.(73) Of particular interest for early
Christianity is Murdock's survey of illness caused by witchcraft, sorcery and spirit
aggression.(74) His data indicate that witchcraft is a major cause of illness only in the Circum-Mediterranean area from as far back as the time of Hammurabi (or as far back as written
records take us),(75) whereas spirit aggression is virtually universal. Sorcery, according to his
technical definition, does not apply. Nevertheless, spirit aggression as a cause of illness has
special bearing on the agricultural-pastoral world of antiquity: Without exception, every society in the sample which depends primarily on animal
husbandry for its economic livelihood regards spirit aggression as either the
predominant or an important secondary cause of illness.(76) The care of animals, either used for agricultural production or cultivated as sources of food
and clothing, involves the owners in a precarious world of good and bad fortune, which is
interpreted as the agency of good or bad spirits. Thus Murdock suggests a form of witchcraft
or spirit agression as an appropriate taxonomy for illness for the world of Jesus and the early
Mediterranean churches. In a similar vein, George Foster proposed a twofold taxonomy for illness in non-Western medical systems, such that illness is perceived either as related to spirits or not.(77) This
material has been gathered and digested for the use of biblical interpreters by John Pilch.(78)
Thus, we ask whether Jesus in his healings deals with illness caused by spirit-aggression.(79)
Are any illnesses caused by sources other than spirits? Which ones? This question in turn
requires us to be attentive to the symbolic world of Jesus and the evangelists. 6.1.2 Taxonomy and Cultural Interpretations of the Physical Body. Spirit-aggression is not
the only taxonomy operative in the synoptic miracle stories. Bernard de Géradon described
biblical understanding of the physical body in terms of three zones.(80) The following diagram
summarizes the model.(81)
"Good name in man and woman, my dear lord,
is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, 'tis nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands.
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed" (Oth. III.iii.160-166).
Paul identifies "honor" as the pursuit of a good life (Rom 2:7) and as God's acknowledgement of a virtuous life (Rom 2:10). NT doxologies all reciprocate to God "honor" or "glory" for God's excellence and/or benefaction (1 Tim 6:15-16; Jude 24-25; Rom 16:25-27).
5.2 Honor and Miracle Stories. Why do healers heal? The consideration of honor in the context of miracles and healing stories may shed light on this question. Certain aspects of honor are important for an in-depth study of miracles. For examples, in terms of the source of honor, ancient Mediterranean persons enjoyed honor either because it was ascribed to them (by birth, adoption, appointment, and the like) or achieved by them (by athletic prowess, military exploits, patronage-benefaction, and the like).(58) Healers such as Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter and Paul enjoy ascribed honor; they are brokers of God-Patron, who designates them as prophets mighty in word and deed, which ascription needs be acknowledged by the people.(59) Yet some healers might claim to have achieved honor on the basis of their miracles (2 Corinthians 10-11), and may thus be perceived as challenging the honor and status of those in a group with ascribed honor.(60) Honor, moreover, should rightly be considered as one of the basic goods exchanged by ancient peoples; in terms of the model of Talcott Parsons, "honor" belongs in the category of "value-commitment." In terms of reciprocity, deities who heal receive in exchange praise and honor, as well as votives to commemorate their benefaction.(61) What else can one offer the immortals but honor?(62)
Why then does a healer heal? Does the healer expect something in return? deserve anything in return? Abstractly, it would seem that if healers are patron-benefactors with access to first order goods (wealth, health, etc.), then their acts of benefaction would create a debt of loyalty, commitment and acknowledgement of honor in their clients. If healers are brokers between the gods or God, then they still deserve their tariff, which might be financial remuneration or more typically honor. It is an observable fact in the gospel narratives that Jesus' miracles produce honor for him, at least fame and a growing reputation (e.g., Mark 1:32-33, 37, 45; 3:9; 4:1; 5:20; 6:2-3).(63)
But do healers heal so as to gain honor? Of course, our documents do not allow us to quiz healers directly, but our informants on the healings suggest the following range of motives for healings. John's semeia source explicitly states that the miracles function to gain "honor" (or "glory") for Jesus. The coda at the ending of the first sign attests to the success of the enterprise: "This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee,and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him" (2:11). The miracle produces "glory" (i.e., an increase in Jesus' honorable reputation) and cemented to Jesus a cadre of loyal disciples who acknowledge his honor. The ending of the sign source also suggests a motive for the narrative of the healings, if not the healings themselves: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (20:31). Again, "honor" is Jesus' tariff as he is acknowledged as "Christ, the Son of God."(64) The Q source, which does not narrate any healings, contains a question-answer exchange between John's disciples and Jesus, which pertains to honor. When asked if he is the one who is to come, Jesus points to his healings to identify him and serve as his credentials (Matt 11:2-5//Luke 7:18-23). Again, a healing may serve as a riposte in an honor challenge, as when Jesus silences his challengers by declaring: "But that you may acknowledge that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins...rise, take up your pallet and walk" (Mark 2:10). Jesus' ascribed honor as God's agent is defended as his challengers are forced publicly to "acknowledge" his role and status. Other passing remarks, although they do not explicitly indicate that honor is the purpose of the healings, nevertheless insist that honor results from them (see Luke 7:16; Matt 8:17; Mark 7:37). Finally, healings provoke institutionalized envy in Jesus' limited-goods world, and so bring challenges to his honor which must be defended.(65)
6.0 Miracles and Symbolic Anthropology
It is surely a truism that we post-industrial, urban moderns live in a social and cultural world enormously different from the pre-industrial, peasant world of the ancients. The issues comprise more than social or economic differences, and indicate entirely different symbolic worlds.(66) The tasks of early anthropologists were twofold: to develop (a) a sense of a symbolic world different from that of observers from colonial powers and (b) methods of describing a symbolic universe. The early works of Mary T. Douglas proved quite influential in this area.(67) Biblical scholars were quick to appreciate her enterprise and contributed to shaping her remarks into descriptive models. Their attention focussed on several areas: (a) describing a "symbolic universe,"(68) (b) articulating a theory of purity/pollution,(69) (c) sketching a model for studying the physical body,(70) and (d) interpreting witchcraft accusations.(71)
6.1 Symbolic Universe and Taxonomies of Illness. We know now that all peoples have some cognitive map of how they think the universe works. They are socialized to perceive patterns in certain events, to see cause-effect relationships operative, and to imagine spatial distinctions.(72) Culture varies from culture in terms of what goes into a given symbolic universe and the relative articulateness of perspective and interpretation. Of concern to us would be the degree to which people (1) draw boundary lines defining themselves and others, (2) interpret "sin" either as law breaking or as pollution, (3) perceive the physical body as an organic system which needs control, (4) evaluate suffering in life as either just or unjust, for which latter notion (5) there might be a subsequent theory of devils, demons or witches who attack people. Such questions help to situate a healing or miracle in the context of the natives' cultural horizon. Thus we begin to appreciate how they perceive illness as just punishment (see John 9:2) or unjust attack.
6.1.1 Taxonomy of Witchcraft and Spirit Aggression. Knowing as much as possible about the symbolic universe of a given culture affords us access to native taxonomies of illness. Without adopting an attitude of cultural superiority, it is simply the case that modern Westerners mostly follow a scientific taxonomy of illness, which was hardly the case in peasant societies, especially those of the ancient Mediterranean. Yet we are assisted in our pursuit of native taxonomies of illness by the pioneering work of George P. Murdock and George Foster. Murdock, a major figure in the Human Relations Area Files, gathered and coded cultural data from ethnographic surveys of diverse cultures. In one of his works, he examined the geographical distribution of various theories of illness and looked for statistically significant correlations with other social phenomena.(73) Of particular interest for early Christianity is Murdock's survey of illness caused by witchcraft, sorcery and spirit aggression.(74) His data indicate that witchcraft is a major cause of illness only in the Circum-Mediterranean area from as far back as the time of Hammurabi (or as far back as written records take us),(75) whereas spirit aggression is virtually universal. Sorcery, according to his technical definition, does not apply. Nevertheless, spirit aggression as a cause of illness has special bearing on the agricultural-pastoral world of antiquity:
Without exception, every society in the sample which depends primarily on animal husbandry for its economic livelihood regards spirit aggression as either the predominant or an important secondary cause of illness.(76)
The care of animals, either used for agricultural production or cultivated as sources of food and clothing, involves the owners in a precarious world of good and bad fortune, which is interpreted as the agency of good or bad spirits. Thus Murdock suggests a form of witchcraft or spirit agression as an appropriate taxonomy for illness for the world of Jesus and the early Mediterranean churches.
In a similar vein, George Foster proposed a twofold taxonomy for illness in non-Western medical systems, such that illness is perceived either as related to spirits or not.(77) This material has been gathered and digested for the use of biblical interpreters by John Pilch.(78) Thus, we ask whether Jesus in his healings deals with illness caused by spirit-aggression.(79) Are any illnesses caused by sources other than spirits? Which ones? This question in turn requires us to be attentive to the symbolic world of Jesus and the evangelists.
6.1.2 Taxonomy and Cultural Interpretations of the Physical Body. Spirit-aggression is not the only taxonomy operative in the synoptic miracle stories. Bernard de Géradon described biblical understanding of the physical body in terms of three zones.(80) The following diagram summarizes the model.(81)
Believe what you read (eyes/heart)
Preach what you believe (mouth/ears)
Practice what you preach (hands/feet).
The same can be said of illness and wellness: how complete is it? Does healing in one zone imply restoration of wholeness to the entire person in all three zones? Moreover, we are urged to consider that illness has a decidedly cultural factor; people in certain cultures tend to become ill in a particular zone.
Another way of developing a taxonomy of illness would be to study the anatomical ex-votos left at various healing shrines.(83) The body parts represented are few in kind, mainly eyes, ears, hands, feet, genitals, occasionally breasts and rarely internal organs.(84) Yet
these objects can provide important clues as to a native taxonomy of illness. Certain shrines, moreover, contain a disproportion of organ-specific anatomical ex-votos, such as eye votives at the Athenian Asklepieion(85) or chest votives at the Amphiareion. This might be explained in several ways. Certain ethnic groups tend to become "ill" in certain areas of the body or to describe their syndrome of symptoms in culturally specific ways, a fact well documented by medical anthropologists.(86)
The part of the body commemorated in an anatomical ex-voto need not reflect any precise pathology, but rather suggest the appropriate native way of thinking about the body and about illness. For example, hands and feet relate directly to labor and purposeful action, especially in a world of agricultural peasants. If "many hands make light work," then one might expect the wellness of a peasant family to encompass members who can work and share in the farm labors.
6.2 Miracles and "Purity." One of Mary Douglas' major contributions has been her interpretation of the cross-cultural idea of pollution.(87) She suggests that pollution and taboo refer to matter which is "out of place," which presumes a prior cultural system of order.
Lord Chesterfield defined dirt as matter out of place. This implies only two conditions, a set of ordered relations and a contravention of that order. Thus the idea of dirt implies a structure of idea. For us dirt is a kind of compendium category for all events which blur, smudge, contradict, or otherwise confuse accepted classifications. The underlying feeling is that a system of values which is habitually expressed in a given arrangement of things has been violated.(88)
Thus peoples in various cultures share a socially constructed notion of order, both in the macrocosm and in their own microcosm. It is the task of anthropologists as well as biblical interpreters to learn the natives' code or system of what is orderly, that is, to learn their system of classification. The importance of this model for a study of illness and healing lies precisely in the clues in documents and inscriptions which indicate social attitudes toward ill persons. It matters that lepers were "unclean"; and so it is part of the interpreter's task to grasp how significant was Jesus' touch of the unclean person (Mark 1:4-41); since menstruating women and dead bodies were unclean, it matters that a healer is in direct physical contact with these "fathers of uncleanness" (Mark 5:21-43).(89) It matters greatly that Matthew narrates that Jesus healed the blind and the lame in the temple (21:14), for this gives salience to outsiders' interpretation of Jesus as a deviant.
6.3 Miracles, Wholeness and the Physical Body. When the cultural notion of order is applied to the physical body, as it will be in the case of healings, it will highlight a sense of wholeness and sufficiency. People judge a body as "pure" which is whole and intact. "Too much" (polydactylism, hermaphroditism, hunchback, dropsy) suggests matter "out of place," that is, more than is normal. This is at least dangerous and possibly polluting. "Too little" (eunuchs, blind, withered limbs, etc.) lack wholeness, and thus are dangerous, if not polluted.
In terms of 2nd-temple Judaism, we find a fully articulated notion of bodily wholeness vis-à-vis purity/pollution in Lev 21:16-20, rules which disqualify a priest because of bodily "pollution." Bodies that have "too much" are unclean and may not stand before the Holy God (blemish, hunchback, itching disease, scabs); likewise with bodies that have "too little" (blind, defect in sight, lame, mutilated face, injured foot or hand, crushed testicles). Philo and Josephus both know of this tradition and comment on it. Philo states the matter abstractly, whereas Josephus gives specific historical illustrations. For example, Philo comments:
With regard to the priests there are the following laws. It is ordained that the priest should be perfectly sound throughout, without any bodily deformity. No part, that is, must be lacking or have been mutilated, nor on the other hand redundant, whether the excrescence be congenital or an aftergrowth due to disease. Nor must the skin have been changed into a leprous state or into malignant tatters or warts or any other eruptive growth (Sp. Leg. 1.80; see also 1.117).
Josephus retells the story of Antigonus' mutilation of Hyrcanus:
Hyrcanus threw himself at the feet of Antigonus, who with his own teeth lacerated his suppliant's ears, in order to disqualify him for ever, under any change of circumstances, from resuming the high priesthood; since freedom from physical defect (holoklerous) is essential to the holder of that office (War 1.269-70; see Ant. 14.366 and t. Parah 3:8).
The Qumran community extended these rules to all who would enter their group and fight their holy war (1 QSa 2:3-10; 1 QM 7:4-7). And, I argue, this concept lies behind the cultural perception of ill people in Matt 21:14 and Luke 14:13-14, 21.(90)
In addition to the basic notion of bodily wholeness expressing bodily purity, the physical body must be pure in regard to its orifices and bodily exuviae. Ideally, all matter should remain "in place." Whatever leaves the body (spittle,(91) menses, semen,(92) urine, vomit (see 2 Peter 2:22),(93) tears, etc.) is "out of place" and so dangerous, if not downright polluting. Hence great concern surrounds the bodily orifices, with particular attention to what goes in (kosher foods) and what comes out (bodily exuviae). Philo reflects this perspective when he urges strict bodily control: "...bind up each of the (bodily) openings with adamantine chains of self-control (egkrateias). For Moses says (Num 19.15) that 'every open vessel which hath no covering bound upon it is unclean'" (Det. 103). He then identifies each bodily orifice and indicates what control is appropriate to it (Det. 101-102).
This material on purity, wholeness and bodily control suggests the following questions in regard to a cultural reading of healings. (1) Is the ill person "unclean"? in what way? (2) Are there social implications as a result of this "illness," such as quarantine, separation, etc.? (3) Does the healer in any way use bodily exuviae to heal, such as spittle (Mark 7:33; John 9:6)? How might this be perceived? (4) What is the social importance of being made "clean"(94) or "whole"?(95)
7.0 Miracles and Status Transformation Rituals
7.1 Ritual, Not Ceremony. We must distinguish from the beginning a status transformation ritual from a ceremony. Victor Turner described the difference thus:
I consider the term "ritual" to be more fittingly applied to forms of religious behavior associated with social transitions, while the term "ceremony" has a closer bearing on religious behavior associated with religious states. . . Ritual is transformative, ceremony confirmatory.(96)
In the following diagram we can schematically distinguish the elements of rituals which transform status or role and ceremonies which confirm them.(97)
|1. frequency: irregular pause||1. frequency: regular pause|
|2. calendar: unpredictable, when needed||2. calendar: predictable, planned|
|3. time focus: present-to-future||3. time focus: past-to-present|
|4. presided over by: professionals, limit breakers||4. presided over by: officials|
|5. purpose: status/role transformation within an institution||5. purpose: confirmation of role and status within an institution|
(1) Frequency: Both rituals and ceremonies represent pauses in life's rhythms. Certain pauses occur irregularly (sickness, uncleanness), which we call rituals, that is, pauses which allow us to assume new and different roles and statuses. Other pauses occur routinely in our lives, (meals, birthdays, anniversaries, festivals); we call these ceremonies, not rituals, for they do not effect change of role or status, but confirm them. (2) Calendar: Ritual pauses tend to occur unpredictably; we undergo them when necessary because of uncleanness, sinfulness or pollution. Some rituals are unrepeatable status changes, such as birth, coronation, death and the like. Conversely, ceremonial pauses, which occur on fixed calendar dates, such as Sabbath, Passover, and Pentecost, we anticipate and plan for. (3) Time Focus: Transformation rituals take us from present needs to the future, as we change our current status to assume a new role. Ceremonies look to the past and celebrate its influence on the present. Past roles and statuses retain their importance in the present and influence present social dynamics. (4) Presiding: Different kinds of people preside over rituals and ceremonies. Professionals (physicians, prophets) preside over or direct status transformation rituals; society allows specified persons to deal with marginal people as they cross fixed social lines.(98) Officials (fathers at Passover meals, priests in temple worship) preside over or direct the appropriate ceremonies in their institutions. (5) Purpose: Ceremonies leave in place the lines of the maps of society, because they function to confirm the values and structures of society and to celebrate the orderly classification of persons, places and things in the cosmos. For example, birthdays, anniversaries, pilgrimage feasts and the like confirm the roles and statuses of individuals in the group as well as the group's collective sense of holy space and holy time which pertain to its festivals. Ceremonies look to the stability of the lines of society's maps. Conversely, rituals attend precisely to those lines, but focus on their crossing. Rituals are stable ways of dealing with necessary instability in the system: a boy and a girl cross lines to become husband and wife in a marriage ritual; sick people cross lines and become healthy (Lev 14; Mark 1:44); sinners become purified (Luke 18:13-14). The status of those who cross lines is thereby changed, and so these rites are called "status transformation" rituals.
The issue of who presides over the ritual (professional) deserves closer attention, for it
may happen that the authority or legitimacy of certain healers or workers of miracles is
contested. One thinks of phrases such as "False Christs and false prophets will arise and show
signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect" (Mark 13:22).(99) At stake, of course,
is point of view: an existing institution may label the activity of a rival as illegitimate or invalid
because of a power conflict. Accepting the inevitable social tensions between the "great
tradition" and the "little tradition," with the resulting conflict between aristocrat and peasant as
well as city and countryside, we might schematize the issue thus.(100) Whom might we identify
as the typical figures in contests of legitimacy or competence? How will they shift as the
medium of exchange varies?
|Legitimacy and Competency: A Cast of Characters|
(knowledge and reputation)
|mantis, astrologer, diviner||official priest, oracle, philosopher, diviner, prophet|
(force and enforcement)
|sorcerers, witches||emperor/king, priests, bureaucrats, army, physician-philosopher|
(social position, goods, services)
|traders, pseudo-rhetors||imperial household, aristocracy|
(activator of commitment)
|group leaders||heads of empire, city and family|
7.2 Stages in the Ritual Process. The treasure of examples across times and cultures has allowed anthropologists to describe the typical stages in ritual process. In general, rites of passage or status transformation rituals generally contain the stages of: separation, liminality and re-aggregation.(102) Initiands begin their transformation by being separated from familiar persons, places and rhythms of life. They enter a place and period of seclusion, which is called the "liminal" or threshold stage, during which time
they shed one role or status and prepare to assume new ones.(103) At the appropriate time, they return to their social world transformed with a new role or status, which is appropriately acknowledged by their kin group and neighbors.
Considerable interest developed over the characteristics of the liminal stage. Comparing and contrasting the properties of liminality with those of the status system, Victor Turner listed the following: transition (vs state), totality (vs partiality), homogeneity (vs heterogeneity), communitas (vs structure), equality (vs inequality), anonymity (vs systems of nomenclature), absence of property (vs property), absence of status (vs status), nakedness or uniform clothing (vs distinctions in clothing), sexual continence (vs sexuality), humility (vs just pride of position), disregard for personal appearance (vs care for appearance), no distinctions of wealth (vs distinctions), unselfishness (vs self-interest), total obedience (vs obedience only to superior rank), silence (vs speech), sacred instruction (vs technical knowledge), simplicity (vs complexity), and acceptance of pain and suffering (vs avoidance of pain).(104) This list may help to explain the expected and actual behavior of persons seeking a miraculous healing.
Finally, initiated persons who have experienced a status transformation return to their familiar homes and villages, but with a new role or status. A "role" is defined as "the socially recognized position of a person which entails rights and duties." (105)
Fortunately we are able to reconstruct the outlines of the typical process of a person seeking healing at the shrine of Asclepius in Epidaurus.
Epidaurus early developed the regimen of incubation in the sanctuary that was widely used throughout the history of the cult. Typically a pilgrim might undergo a 3-day period of purification with baths and abstinence from sexual intercourse and certain foods...Afterward, he brought an animal sacrifice to Apollo and offerings of honey cakes to other divinities. He then might sacrifice a piglet to Asclepius and give an offering of money appropriate to his wealth. As he entered the sleeping chamber (abaton or enkoimeterion), where he hoped and expected to receive either immediate healing or some helpful prescription from the god in a dream, he would bring offerings of cakes to Fortune, Memory, and Law. The person slept wearing a sacred laurel wreath and left it behind on his bed in the morning.(106)
Thus we can see that initiands/petitioners were separated (3-day incubation and purification ritual), during which they entered into a liminal state (abstinence from sex, foods, etc.). The process climaxes with a night in the sleeping chamber, during which their illness status will be changed in some way. In conclusion, they would be presented in public as people healed or blessed or gifted by the gods. This new status entails certain duties, such as rendering thanks to the god.(107)
8.0 Cultural and Social Questions: A Checklist
This study has attempted to outline a formal method for interpreting miracles in terms of their social and cultural background. Admittedly the categories for interpretation and analysis are not those typically found in traditional treatments of Jesus and his miracles. But in light of modern trends to investigate the social, economic, political and religious aspects of behavior and thought, interpreters of New Testament and early Christian miracle stories can benefit from the analysis outlined here. In the light of these materials, then, the relevant social-science questions for interpreting miracles can be summarized.
8.1 Ancient Health Care Systems. What are the expectations, behaviors and techniques appropriate if an illness is dealt with by a physician, a temple priest or a folk-healer? What is the role of the family in soliciting help for the ill?
8.2 Ancient Economic Theory: Exchange and Reciprocity. Given the perspective of "limited good," where is this new "wellness" coming from? Will anyone be provoked to envy (Mark 3:1-6; John 11:47-48)? (2) What is exchanged? money or goods for healing and services (see Mark 5:26)? influence? commitment and honor? power? Or, to put it crassly, what does God get out of healing? Jesus? (3) What type of reciprocity is portrayed in a healing: generalized (Matt 10:8)? balanced (Luke 7:16-17)? Who is my neighbor or who is kin (Luke 10:29)? Given their status and relationship to the ill person, what do healers owe them? or those healed owe the healer?
8.3 Patronage and Benefaction. The importance of the practice and concept of patronage and benefaction for a study of miracles lies in the following areas and questions. (1) When a healing benefactor favors a certain city and has a particular shrine there, what might one expect in terms of obligations on the part of those so favored? (2) Does the relationship of healer (gods, God, Jesus, or holy man)(108) to healed person exhibit or imply any of the social dynamics of a patron-client relationship? (3) What does the healer provide (economic assistance, solidarity-loyalty, physical wholeness, social wholeness)? What does the healed person owe in return to the healer (money, honor, loyalty)? (4) What names, titles or labels are appropriate to healers? (5) How long do patrons and clients remain in those roles? (6) Is there competition among healing patrons for clients? Might a client seek out many patrons? How would this affect the relationship? (7) What do brokers receive (money? value-commitment?) and what is the social value of that reciprocity, especially if it is something such as "honor" or fame (Matt 5:24; Mark 1:45; John 11:47 and 12:9-11)? Are brokers likely in a limited-goods perspective likely to provoke institutional envy (Mark 6:1-6)? Does it matter that a broker like Jesus might extend his brokerage more widely through the agency of his apostles (Matt 10:1, 5-8)? Is it significant that people do not then need to come to a fixed place to seek this brokerage, but rather the brokerage comes to them?
8.4 Honor. (1) What is the honor which the healer receives? ascribed? achieved? (2) What might this look like in the narrative? a title? a gift? etc.? (3) Do healers heal so as to receive honor? do they expect it? (4) What would be the cultural perception of bystanders if the healer did not receive honor, either from the negligence of the person(s) healed or through the challenge made as a result of the healing or the envy aroused? What would be the perception of the bystanders if the healer was not able to heal (Mark 9:17-18)?
8.5 Symbolic Anthropology.
8.5.1 Taxonomy of Illness. (1) What can we know about the symbolic universe of the healer and those healed? how is illness rationalized? (2) What taxonomies are operative or implied in the narrative of the healing? (a) spirit-aggression? (b) three-zone model of the body?
8.5.2 Purity and Wholeness. This material on purity, wholeness and bodily control suggests the following questions in regard to a cultural reading of healings. (1) Is the ill person perceived of as "unclean"? in what way? (2) Are there social implications as a result of this "illness," such as quarantine, separation, etc.? (3) Does the healer in any way use bodily exuviae to heal, such as spittle? How might this be perceived? (4) What is the social importance of being made "clean" or "whole"?
8.6 Rituals of Status Transformation. (1) In the miracle story described, is there notice of the typical stages of a ritual, such as separation, liminality and re-aggregation (e.g., Mark 7:31-37)? Does the report of the miracle emphasize any particular stage? why? (2) What is the new status of the healed person? Is it merely a restoration of previous status (Mark 5:21-43; Luke 7:11-17) or the assumption of an entirely new one?(109) (3) What duties does the healed person have? sacrifice (Mark 1:44), thanksgiving (Luke 17:15-18), honor (Luke 7:16-17)? (4) Is the healing just of an individual or does it restore a social network to wholeness?(110) (5) Do the healed persons retain any of the stigma(111) of their former condition? For example, is "Simon the leper" (Mark 14:3) a person who retained the label "leper" after his healing?(112) Are the healed persons "sacred to the gods"?(113) Does the healing become part of the new identity of the person?
9.0 A Systems Approach
From this survey of thinking of miracles "in other words," we return to an obvervation made earlier, namely, the importance of taking a "systems approach" to this topic.(114) While for various purposes interpreters and historians might isolate or emphasize one particular way of examining miracles, we all strive for the fullest and "thickest" description. In short, we should take a systems approach to the phenomenon.
This means that we should attend to the institution in which the healing takes place, either kinship or politics. What roles does the family have in an illness? How are they socially and economically affected (e.g., Luke 7:12)? What role do they play in the seeking of a cure (Mark 7:26; Luke 7:1-3; John 11:3)? What costs do they pay or debts to they incur? What if the healing occurs in the political realm, even if this is a healing shrine such as the temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus?(115) Healings, moreover, might have important political implications, for "prophets" arose, echoing themes of liberation and freedom.(116) The political significance of the account of the healing by the Jewish Eleazar before the emperor Vespasian and his retinue should not be discounted (Josephus. Ant. 8.45-48).
In line with this, one should ask about the "economics" of a healing. What is exchanged? what debts or obligations occur as a result? This may be realized in the light of native models of patronage and benefaction.
In terms of the world of meanings, we should ask about the symbolic universe of a given group, in particular its view of the causality of evil and misfortune, its system of classification, and its taxonomies of illness. Appropriate here is an adequate description of the "health care system," especially in light of ethno-medical anthropology.
In terms of social interaction, we should also inquire into the roles and statuses of the healer and the healed. These, of course, will necessarily be evaluated more closely in terms of indigenous hierarchies. Yet in this regard, some attention should be paid to the titles, names and labels assigned, whether the ill person is classified as "unclean" or whether the healer is labelled a "prophet" or a "deceiver" (Mark 3:23).(117) We should pay further attention to the labelling process itself:(118) who does the labelling?(119) what labels stick and do damage? how does the labelling process proceed? This in turn might help us assess the possibility of conflict or rivalry in the situation, for which notions of the dynamics of honor and shame or models from conflict theory(120) are useful lenses.
Finally some attention should be paid to the specific values of a given culture, in which illness or wellness make sense. "Purity" and "honor" would certainly be important elements here.(121) One would ask further about the types of groups and the types of institutions in which such values function.
1. See Howard C. Kee, Miracle in the Early Christian World. A Study in Sociohistorical Method (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983) 3-41 and Medicine, Miracle and Magic in New Testament Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986) 1-8; see also Harold Remus, Pagan-Christian Conflict over Miracle in the Second Century (Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1983) 3-6, 27-48.
2. See Robert W. Funk, "The Form of the New Testament Healing Miracle Story," Semeia 12 (1978) 57-96 and Antoinette C. Wire, "The Structure of the Gospel Miracle Stories and Their Tellers," Semeia 11 (1978) 83-111.
3. See H. S. Versnel, "Religious Mentality in Ancient Prayer," Faith, Hope and Worship. Aspects of Religious Mentality in the Ancient World (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1981) 42-62; also H. W. Pleket, "Religious History as the History of Mentality: the 'Believer' as Servant of the Deity in the Greek World," Faith, Hope and Worship, 183-88. Specific hymns to Asclepius became standard parts of the healing ritual; see Emma Edelstein and Ludwig Edelstein, Asclepius. A Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1945) II.199-204.
4. See, for example, Bruce Kaye and John Rogerson, Miracles and Mysteries in the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978) 1-19.
5. Harold Remus, "Miracle (NT)," ABD 4.856-57. Yet we should be very leery of the category of "supernatural," which Benson Saler ("Supernatural as a Western Category," Ethos 5 31-53) has shown to be an inappropriate, even anachronistic category for the ancient world. No one would have thought of Simon Magus in Acts 9 to be other an a mortal, only a human with special powers.
6. The essays collected in Jacob Neusner, Ernst Frerichs and Paul Flesher (Religion, Science and Magic In Concert and in Conflict [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989]) offer a start in this direction; they focus only on issues where "miracles" and "magic" might be confused, but contain little formal anthropological analysis.
7. For a cross-cultural study of health care systems, see Arthur Kleinman, Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1989); and "Concepts and a Model for the Comparison of Medical Systems as Cultural Systems," Concepts of Health, Illness and Disease: A Comparative Perspective (eds., Caroline Currer and Meg Stacey; New York: Berg, 1986) 29-47.
8. Arthur Kleinman, "Concepts and a Model for the Comparison of Medical Systems as Cultural Systems," 31-32.
9. The clearest proponent of a "systems approach" is Ervin Laszlo, The Systems View of the World. The Natural Philosophy of the New Developments in the Sciences (New York: George Braziller, 1972) and Introduction to a Systems Philosophy. Towards a New Paradigm of Contemporary Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1972) 55-118.
10. The primary references are John J. Pilch, "Insights and Models for Understanding the Healing Activity of the Historical Jesus," SBLSP 1993 154-77; "The Health Care System in Matthew: A Social Science Analysis," BTB 16 (1986) 102-106 and "Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts," The Social World of Luke-Acts. Models for Interpretation (ed., Jerome H. Neyrey; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991) 181-209; see also "Biblical Leprosy and Body Symbolism," BTB 11 (1981) 119-33; "Healing in Mark: A Social Science Analysis," BTB 15 (1985) 142-50; "Understanding Biblical Healing; Selecting the Appropriate Model," BTB 18 (1988) 60-66 and "Understanding Healing in the Social World of Early Christianity," BTB 22 (1992) 26-33.
11. Pilch, "The Health Care System in Matthew," 102-103; he cites here Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, Illness and Culture in Contemporary Japan: An Anthropological View (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984) 7.
12. Pilch, "Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts," 194-97.
13. Pilch, "The Health Care System in Matthew," 103.
14. Kleinman, "Concepts and a Model for the Comparison of Medical Systems as Cultural Systems," 33.
15. Pilch, "Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts," 197-200.
16. See Bennetta Jules-Rosette, "Faith Healers and Folk Healers: The Symbolism and Practice of Indigenous Therapy in Urban Africa," Religion 11 (1981) 127-49; and Peter Worsley, "Non-Western Medical Systems," Annual Review of Anthropology 11 (1982) 315-48.
17. Pilch, "Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts," 192-94. This sector is generally treated in studies of the history of medicine; see John Scarborough, Roman Medicine (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969); Ralph Jackson, Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire (London: British Museum Press, 1988) 9-31 and Howard Kee, Medicine, Miracle and Magic in New Testament Times, 27-66. Invaluable in this regard is the Newsletter. Society for Ancient Medicine and Pharmacy, published by the Department of Classical Studies of the University of Pennsylvania.
18. See H. F. J. Horstmanshoff, "The Ancient Physician: Craftsman or Scientist," The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 45 (1990) 176-87. It would be quite anachronistic to think of even "professionals" in antiquity as being "scientific." Dissection was very rare with consequent ignorance of anatomy. Even as empirical a "professional" as Galen still subscribed to the prevailing understanding of illness as related to the theory of humors: "In reference to the genesis of the humours, I do not know that anyone could add anything wiser than what has been said by Hippocrates, Aristotle, Praxagoras, Philotimus and many others among the Ancients. These men demonstrated that when the nutriment becomes altered in the veins by the innate heat, blood is produced when it is in moderation, and the other humours when it is not in proper proportion. And all the observed facts agree with this argument. Thus, those articles of food which are by nature warmer are more productive of bile, while those which are colder produce more phlegm. Similarly of the periods of life, those which are naturally warmer tend more to bile, and the colder more to phlegm. Of occupations also, localities and seasons, and above all, of natures themselves, the colder are more phlegmatic, and the warmer more bilious. Also cold diseases result from phlegm, and warmer ones from yellow bile. There is not a single thing to be found which does not bear witness to the truth of this account" (On the Natural Faculties II.viii.117-118); see Rudolph E. Siegel, Galen's System of Physiology and Medicine (New York: S. Karger, 1968) 216-31. See also G. E. R. Lloyd, Science, Folklore and Ideology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).
19. Galen (That the Best Physician Is Also a Philosopher) argued that the best physician is skilled in the three branches of philosophy: logic (how to think), physics (the "nature" of things), and ethics (what to do). The the "rhetorical" nature of the ancient's physician's training, see Horstmanshoff, "The Ancient Physician," 181-82, 185, who speaks of the "craftsman-like demiourgos and the noble amateur" (189). Commenting on the diversity of ancient medical education, I.E. Drabkin ("On Medical Education in Greece and Rome," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 15  333) remarks: "These may range from the transmission of purely practical secrets of the craft from father to son, on the one hand, to a completely bookish and academic approach, on the other. Though it is proper in one sense to speak of the development of the Greek physician from craftsman in the Hippocratic period to professional man in the Roman age, we must remember that this distinction is valid for a relatively few leading doctors."
20. Ralph Jackson offers a glimpse into the social status of doctors: "In Rome especially, but also in the Western Empire generally, the majority of physicians, then and for centuries to come, were Greek or of Greek descent. In the first century BC most were slaves, freed slaves or their descendants, who brought the knowledge and practice of medicine to Roman households. . .Some were simply practitioners of medicine ministering to the needs of the family, from the master down to fellow slaves. Others were men of wide learning, whose worth was measured as much in their ability to converse knowledgeably on subjects such as philosophy as in their ability to treat illness. They were chosen by the wealthy as learned companions, friends whose influence and knowledge belied their low official status" (Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire, 56).
21. On Roman army medicine, see John Scarborough, Roman Medicine (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969) 66-75 and Ralph Jackson, Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire, 112-37.
22. Henry E. Sigerist, A History of Medicine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961) II.306.
23. On the "city physician," see Horstmanshoff, "The Ancient Physician," 189-92. See also L. Cohn-Haft, The Public Physicians of Ancient Greece (Northampton, MA: Department of History of Smith College, 1956) 32-75, and Vivian Nutton, "Continuity or Rediscovery: The City Physician in Classical Antiquity and Medieval Italy," The Town and State Physician in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, ed. Andrew W. Russell (Wolfenbüttel: Herzog August, 1981) 9-46.
24. See Sigerist, A History of Medicine, II.44-79 and Jackson, Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire, 138-69.
25. A sensitive treatment of the fees and remuneration can be found in Horstmanshoff, "The Ancient Physician," 192-95; see also Owsei Temkin, "Medical Ethics and Honoraria in Late Antiquity," Healing and History.Essays for George Rosen (Charles E. Rosenberg, ed.; New York: Science History Publications, 1979) 6-26.
26. George M. Foster, "Peasant Society and the Image of Limited Good," American Anthropologist 67 (1965) 293-315, reprinted in Peasant Society. A Reader (eds. Jack Potter, May Diaz, George Foster; Boston: Little and Brown, 1967) 300-323; see his "A Second Look at Limited Good," Anthropological Quarterly 45:58-59. See the adaptations of this for New Testament studies by Bruce J. Malina, "Limited Good and the Social World of Early Christianity," BTB 8 (1978) 162-76); Halvor Moxnes, The Economy of the Kingdom (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988) 76-79; and Douglas Oakman, "The Ancient Economy in the Bible," BTB 21 (1991) 36.
27. Even though Matt 10:8 says "You received without paying, give without pay," he quickly balances this in 10:10, "The laborer deserves his food." See the discussion of the "right to food and drink" in 1 Cor 9:3-13; worthwhile in this connection is the polemic against those within the churches who love money.
28. Talcott Parsons, Politics and Social Structure (New York: The Free Press, 1969) 314-315, 342-44, 408-9; see Terence S. Turner, "Parsons' Concept of 'Generalized Media of Social Interaction' and its Relevance for Social Anthropology," Sociological Inquiry 39 (1968) 121-34. This material was adapted for biblical studies by Bruce J. Malina, Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology. Practical Models for Biblical Interpretation (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1986) 77-87.
29. Parsons, Politics and Social Structure, 352-404, originally published as "On the Concept of Political Power," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 107 (1963) 232-62.
30. Parsons, Politics and Social Structure, 405-29, originally published as "On the Concept of Influence," Public Opinion Quarterly 27 (1963) 37-62.
31. Parsons, Politics and Social Structure, 439-72.
32. Douglas Oakman ("The Ancient Economy and the Bible," 34-39) presents a survey of the relevant literature, highlighting for a beginning reader in this area the major figures and their contributions.
33. The basic model was presented by Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, Inc., 1972) 185-230 and adapted for biblical studies by Bruce Malina, Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology, 98-106; the model was subsequently employed in the study of Luke-Acts by John H. Elliott, "Temple versus Household in Luke-Acts: A Contrast in Social Institutions," The Social World of Luke-Acts, 232-35; Douglas Oakman, "The Countryside in Luke-Acts," The Social World of Luke-Acts, 156, 166, 173-76; and Jerome Neyrey, "Ceremonies in Luke-Acts: The Case of Meals and Table-Fellowship," The Social World of Luke-Acts, 371-73 and 385-86.
34. Sahlins, Stone Age Economics, 193-96.
35. This diagram is based largely on the exposition in Bruce Malina, Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology, 101-4.
36. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Patronage in Ancient Society (London: Routledge, 1989). In terms of biblical studies, see John H. Elliott, "Patronage and Clientism in Early Christian Society. A Short Reading Guide," Forum 3.4 (1987) 39-48; Bruce J. Malina, "Patron and Client. The Analogy Behind Synoptic Theology," Forum 4.1 (1988) 2-32; Halvor Moxnes, The Economy of the Kingdom, 22-47 and "Patron-Client Relations and the New Community of Luke-Acts," The Social World of Luke-Acts, 241-68.
37. John Elliott ("Patronage and Clientism," 41) lists the following sources for the institution of patron-client relations in antiquity: ""...the hundred commendationes, or personal recommendations, of clients or 'friends' contained in the epistles of Cicero; the similarly numerous recommendations or requests contained in the epistles of the younger Pliny or the correspondence of Cornelius Fronto, the well-connected tutor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius; the frequent references to patron-client relations in the epigrams of the satirist Martial; the philosophical discourses (e.g., of Dio of Prusa and Plutarch) on the obligations of politicians and kings or emperors to advance the careers and fortunes of their clients and 'friends'; imperial decrees and letters of appointment and, particularly in the East, both the body of official and personal correspondence and the mass of monuments and inscriptions publicly acknowledging and expressing gratitude for the benefits conferred by municipal and imperial 'saviors' and 'benefactors.'"
38. See Steffen W. Schmidt, James C. Scott, Carl Landé and Laura Guasti, eds., Friends, Followers, and Factions. A Reader in Political Clientelism (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1977) esp. xiii-xxxvii; S. N. Eisenstadt and L. Roniger, Patrons, Clients and Friends. Interpersonal Relations and the Structure of Trust in Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
39. A. Blok, "Variations in Patronage," Sociologische Gids 16 (1969) 366, as cited in Halvor Moxnes, The Economy of the Kingdom, 41.
40. Based on Eisenstadt and Roniger, Patrons, Clients, and Friends, 48-49 and Moxnes, The Economy of the Kingdom, 42; see the application of this material to Luke 1:46-56 by Peter Scaer, "The God of the Magnificat: Patron of the Lowly," unpublished seminar paper, 1994.
41. E.g., God may be said to live in "unapproachable" light (1 Tim 6:16), a feature of many oriental monarchs.
42. See the discussion of this passage in terms of patron-client relations by Halvor Moxnes, The Economy of the Kingdom, 53-64, 74.
43. See the Our Father and its expectation that God bestows food (daily bread), economic relief (debt remission) and political protection from the Evil One.
44. See Peter Brown, "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity," Journal of Roman Studies 61 (1971) 87.
45. Eiliv Skard, Zwei religiös-politische Begriffe: Eurgetes-Concordia (Oslo: Jacob Dybwad, 1932); Paul Veyne, Bread and Circuses (London: Penguin Press, 1990); Arthur D. Nock, "Soter and Euergetes," Essays on Religion and the Ancient World (ed., Zeph Stewart; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972) 2.722-35.
46. Foremost in this development is Frederick W. Danker. He introduced the material on benefaction as the operative concept in his commentary Jesus and the New Age. A Commentary on St. Luke's Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1972) and again in Luke (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976) 6-17; he followed these with a detailed study of inscriptions of benefaction in Benefactor. Epigraphic Study of Graeco-Roman and New Testament Semantic Field (Clayton, MO: Clayton Publishing House, 1982); see also his articles "Bridging St. Paul and the Apostolic Fathers: A Study in Reciprocity," CurrTheoMiss 15 (1988) 84-94 and "Benefactor" in ABD 1.669-71.
47. Danker, Benefactor, 75.
48. Danker, Benefactor, 306.
49. Danker, Benefactor, 59-64, which includes the honoring of a veterinarian.
50. Danker, Benefactor, 152-53.
51. Danker, Benefactor, 167-69.
52. Besides Frederick W. Danker, Benefactor, see Stephen C. Mott, "The Power of Giving and Receiving: Reciprocity in Hellenistic Benevolence, Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation (ed., Gerald Hawthorne; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1975) 60-72; more recently, Frederick W. Danker, "Bridging St. Paul and the Apostolic Fathers: A Study in Reciprocity," CurrTM 15 (1988) 84-94; Holland Hendrix, "Benefactor/Patron Networks in the Urban Environment: Evidence from Thessalonika," Semeia 56 (1992) 39-54.
53. An excellent example of the many aspects of acknowledging benefaction may be found in Dio Chrysostom's comments on the continual honoring of his family at Prusa in Disc. 44.1-5.
54. See Josephus, Ant. 14.149-55.
55. See M. Greenberg and S. Shapiro, "Indebtedness: An Adverse Aspect of Asking for and Receiving Help," Sociometry 34 (1971) 290-301; Stephen C. Mott, "The Power of Giving and Receiving: Reciprocity in Hellenistic Benevolence," 60-64.
56. Its semantic word field is quite extensive, which suggests its importance: see nouns such as glory, reputation, fame, name, respect, worth, value, regard, as well as verbs such as to praise, magnify, exalt, acclaim, acknowledge, etc. See F. Klose, "Altrömische Wertbegriffe (honos und dignitas)," Neue Jahrbücher für Antike und deutsche Bildung 1 (1938) 268-78 and Johannes Schneider, "Timê," TDNT 8.169-80.
57. Julian Pitt-Rivers, The Fate of Shechem or the Politics of Sex: Essays in the Anthropology of the Mediterranean (Cambridge Studies in Social Anthropology 19; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977) 1.
58. The major exponents of honor in the field of anthropology are: J.G. Peristiany, Honour and Shame: The Values of Mediterranean Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966); Julian Pitt-Rivers, "Honor." IESS 6.503-11; The People of the Sierra (2nd edition; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971); and David Gilmore, ed., Honor and Shame and the Unity of the Mediterranean (American Anthropological Association 22; Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association, 1987). Applications to biblical studies can be found in Bruce J. Malina, New Testament World. Insights from Cultural Anthropology (2nd edition; Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1993) 28-54; Bruce J. Malina and Jerome H. Neyrey, "Honor and Shame in Luke-Acts: Pivotal Values of the Mediterranean World," The Social World of Luke-Acts, 25-66; Halvor Moxnes, "Honour And Righteousness in Romans," JSNT 32 (1988) 61-77 and "Honor, Shame, and the Outside World in Paul's Letter to the Romans," The Social World of Formative Christianity and Judaism (ed. J. Neusner; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988) 207-18. Classics scholars have also studied this phenomenon; see A.W.H. Adkins, "'Honour' and 'Punishment' in the Homeric Poems," Classical Studies 7 (1960) 23-32 and Merit and Responsibility. A Study in Greek Values (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960); Douglas L., Cairns, Aidos. The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); N.R.E. Fisher, "Hybris and Dishonour," G&R 23 (1976) 60-73 and Hybris. A Study in the Values of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greece (London: Aris & Phillips, 1979); Paul Friedrich, "Sanity and the Myth of Honor: The Problem of Achilles," Ethos: The Journal of Psychological Anthropology 5 (1977) 281-305.
59. Typical are the remarks of Diodor of Sicily (1.90.2-3), who indicates that mortal healers are specially gifted by the gods.
60. See Dieter Georgi, The Opponents of Paul in Second Corinthians (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986) 229-46.
61. Ex-votos were left at shrines as acknowledgments of favors received, thus honoring the healing deity; the stele at the Asclepium in Epidauros, however, do not serve the same function, but rather serve as claims to the honor of the healing deity and the shrine; see Emma Edelstein and Ludwig Edelstein, Asclepius, I.221-38.
62. The place of aretalogies belongs here, for they are the public return to deities of what is due them for their benefaction. See Danker, Benefactor, 176-85, 192-96. The stele from the Asclepion in Epidaurus probably serve this function as well; see Emma and Ludwig Edelstein, Asclepius. A Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1945) II. 221-37.
63. On the propaganda value of miracles, see Howard Kee, Miracle in the Early Christian World, 252-86.
64. For other indications of honor vis-à-vis miracles in the Fourth Gospel, see John 9:3, 17, 30-33.
65. The classic instance is the rejection at home (see Mark 6:1-6); but see also Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; John 11:45-48; Mark notes that Jesus' enemies handed him over out of "envy" (15:10).
66. See Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967) 3-28.
67. In particular Purity and Pollution. An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966); "Pollution," International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 12.336-42; and Natural Symbols. Explorations in Cosmology (New York: Pantheon Books, 1982).
68. Sheldon K. Isenberg and Dennis E. Owen, "Bodies, Natural and Contrived: The Work of Mary Douglas," Religious Studies Review 3 (1977) 1-17; Sheldon K. Isenberg, "Mary Douglas and Hellenistic Religions: the Case of Qumran," SBLASP 1975.179-185; Bruce J. Malina, "The Social World Implied in the Letters of the Christian Bishop-Martyr (named Ignatius of Antioch)". SBLASP 1987.71-119 and Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology, 13-67, 87-97 and 122-29; Jacob Neusner, "Map Without Territory: Mishnah's System of Sacrifices and Sanctuary," HR 19 (1979) 103-27; Jerome H. Neyrey, "The Symbolic Universe of Luke-Acts: 'They Turn the World Upside Down,'" The Social World of Luke-Acts. Models for Interpretation, 271-304 and Paul, In Other Words (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990). See also Ross S. Kraemer, Her Share of the Blessings. Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 13-20 and 202-208.
69. Bruce J. Malina, "Clean and Unclean: Understanding Rules of Purity," The New Testament World. Insights from Cultural Anthropology (revised ed.) 149-83; Jacob Neusner, The Idea of Purity in Ancient Judaism (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1973); "The Idea of Purity in Ancient Judaism," JAAR 43 (1975) 15-26; "History and Purity in First-Century Judaism," HR 18 (1978) 1-17; Jerome H. Neyrey, "The Idea of Purity in Mark's Gospel," Semeia 35 (1986) 91-128; "Unclean, Common, Polluted and Taboo," Forum 4.4 (1988) 72-82; Paul, In Other Words. A Cultural Reading of His Letters, 21-101; 2 Peter, Jude (AnB 37C; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1993) 10-13; and"Readers Guide to Clean/Unclean, Pure/Polluted, and Holy/Profane. The Idea and System of Purity," forthcoming; John H. Elliott, "The Epistle of James in Rhetorical and Social Scientific Perspective: Holiness-Wholeness and Patterns of Replication," BTB 23 (1993) 71-81.
70. Jerome H. Neyrey, "Body Language in 1 Corinthians: The Use of Anthropological Models for Understanding Paul and His Opponents," Semeia 35 (1986) 129-170, reprinted in Paul, In Other Words, 102-46; "A Symbolic Approach to Mark 7," Forum 4/3 (1988) 71-79; 2 Peter, Jude, 12-17 and index "Body, parts of."
71. Peter Brown, "Sorcery, Demons, and the Rise of Christianity from Late Antiquity," Witchcraft Confessions and Accusations (ed., Mary T. Douglas; New York: Tavistock, 1970) 17-45; Jerome H. Neyrey, "Witchcraft Accusations in 2 Cor 10-13: Paul in Social Science Perspective," Listening 21 (1986) 160-70 and "Bewitched in Galatia: Paul and Cultural Anthropology," CBQ 50 (1988) 72-100, both of which are reprinted in Paul, In Other Words, 181-224.
72. See, for example, Brian Morris, Anthropological Studies of Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987) 182-263.
73. George Murdock, Theories of Illness. A World Survey (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980).
74. Murdock links witchcraft with the phenomenon of envy and the evil eye, whereas sorcery has to do with shamanistic technique or the use of the appropriate verbal spell or magical rite; finally spirit aggression refers to the transference to heavenly beings of overt human aggression on earth. Each type as a specifically different geographical distribution, as well as correlation with other identifiable traits; see Theories of Illness, 57-87.
75. Murdock, Theories of Illness, 57-53.
76. Murdock, Theories of Illness, 82.
77. George M. Foster, "Disease Etiologies in Non-Western Medical Systems," American Anthropologist 78 (1976) 773-82.
78. John J. Pilch, "Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts," 200-209; see also his article, "A Spirit Named 'Fever,'" PACE 21 (May, 1992) 253-56.
79. Luke 13:16 may be the clearest example, but see Mark 1:23-26; 9:25, Matt 9:32, and Luke 11:14. Matthew twice calls an ill person "moonstruck" (selêniazomenous, 4:24 and 17:15), which would seem to be a variant of the motif.
80. Bernard de Géradon, "L'homme a l'image de Dieu," Nouvelle Revue Théologique 80 (1958) 683-95; this material was popularized for biblical interpreters by Bruce J. Malina, New Testament World (2nd edition), 73-82 and developed further by John. J. Pilch, "Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts," 203-7.
81. From John J. Pilch, "Sickness and Healing in Luke-Acts," 204.
82. This correlates with the use of the verb "to walk" vis-à-vis Jewish halachic ordinances and Christian exhortations about walking in the "way of Jesus" (see Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:11 and 24:22; see Wilhelm Michaelis, "Hodos, TDNT 5.48-60, 69-74 and 84-91.
83. See Sara B. Aleshire, The Athenian Asclepeion: Their People, Their Dedications, and Their Inventories (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1989); F.T. van Straten, "Gifts for the Gods," Faith, Hope and Worship. Aspects of Religious Mentality in the Ancient World, ed., H.S. Versnel (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1981) 97-151; Patrizio Pensabene, et al., Terracotte Vitive del Tevere (Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1980); still valuable is W.H.D. Rouse, Greek Votive Offerings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1902).
84. In light of his exhaustive inventory, the comment by F.T. van Straten ("Gifts for the Gods," 111) warrants notice: "Ancient Greek votive offerings depicting internal organs are extremely rare, and as far as I know heart and bladder do no occur among the surviving examples." Of importance here might be the frequency with which people seek healing for a specific bodily illness, and that at a particular shrine; see T.W. Potter, "A Republican Healing Sanctuary at Ponte di Nona near Rome," Journal of the British Archaeological Association 138 (1985) 27-33.
85. See F. T. van Straten, "Gifts for the Gods," 109; W. H. D. Rouse, Greek Votive Offerings (Cambridge, 1903); see also IG II.2, 1532-9; see T.W. Potter, "A Republican Healing Sanctuary at Ponte di Nona near Rome," 31.
86. See Monica McGoldrick, John K. Pearce and Joseph Giordano, eds., Ethnicity and Family Therapy (New York: The Guilford Press, 1982); Mark Zborowski, "Cultural Components in Responses to Pain," Journal of Social Issues 8 (1952) 16-30; and Irving K. Zola, "Culture and Symptoms: An Analysis of Patients' Presenting Complaints," American Sociological Review 31 (1966) 615-30.
87. In particular, Purity and Danger, 29-57; see note 64 above.
88. Mary T. Douglas , Implicit Meanings (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975) 50-51.
89. See Jerome H. Neyrey, "The Idea of Purity in Mark," Semeia 35 (1986) 107-8 and "The Symbolic Universe of Luke-Acts: 'They Turn the World Upside Down,'" The Social World of Luke-Acts, 286-88 and 291-92. On the expression of "fathers of uncleanness," see Herbert Danby, The Mishnah (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933) 800-804.
90. It would be a mistake to confine notions of pollution to ancient Israel or 2nd-temple Judaism. For the importance of this material in Greek culture, see Robert Parker, Miasma. Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983) and Walter Burkert, Greek Religion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985) 75-84.
91. "Fathers of Uncleanness in a man who has a flux are: (i) his bare flesh; his 'fountains,' viz. his flux, semen, urine, and spittle (which includes the phlegm of his lungs, throat, and nose...)" Eliyahu Rabba I.3, cited in Herbert Danby, The Mishnah, 801. On the magical property of spittle, Pliny writes: "The best of all safeguards against serpents is the saliva of a fasting human being. But our daily experience may teach us yet other values of its use. We spit on epileptics (comitiales morbos) in a fait, that is, we throw back the infection. In a similar way we ward off witchcraft (fascinationes) and the bad luck that follows meeting a person lame in the right leg" (H.N. XXVIII.vii.35).
92. For example, see the case of Uriah the Hittite, who does not have sexual intercourse with Bathsheba because he is in a state of ritual purity to fight the holy war (2 Sam 11:8-11); more dramatic, perhaps, is the treatment of the high priest on the eve of Yom Kippur: "Throughout the seven days they did not withhold food and drink from him; but on the eve of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) toward nightfall they did not suffer him to eat much, since food induces sleep...If he was a Sage he used to expound [the Scriptures], and if not the disciples of the Sages used to expound before him. . .And from what did they read before him? Out of Job and Ezra and Chronicles. Zechariah b. Kabutal says: Many times I read before him out of Daniel. If he sought to slumber, young members of the priesthood would snap their middle finger before him and say to him, 'My lord High Priest, get up and drive away sleep this once by walking on the cold pavement.' And they used to divert him until the time of slaughtering drew near" (m. Yoma 1.3-7); see also Josephus, Ant. 17.165-66.
93. See Neyrey, 2 Peter, Jude, 221-22.
94. Note the frequency of katharos/katharizô in Mark 1:40-42.
95. See the importance of hygios in Matt 12:13; 15:31; Mark 5:34; John 5:6, 9 (see Luke 5:31).
96. Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols. Aspects of Ndembu Ritual (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967) 95 (emphasis added); see also Raymond Firth and John Skorupski, Symbol and Theory: A Philosophical Study of Theories of Religion in Social Anthropology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976) 164. A similar notion of certain rites confirming the bonds whereby individuals are attached to society can be found in Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (London: Allen and Unwin, 1964) 387. For the history of this distinction, see Edmund Leach, "Ritual," International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 13.521-24.
97. See Bruce J. Malina, Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology. Practical Models for Biblical Interpretation, 139-43. See also Jerome Neyrey, Paul in Other Words, 76-80, and Mark McVann, "Rituals of Status Transformation in Luke-Acts: The Case of Jesus the Prophet," The Social World of Luke-Acts, 334-36; and Jerome H. Neyrey, "The Footwashing in John 13:6-11 -- Transformation Ritual or Ceremony?" The Social World of the First Christians (L. Michael White and O. Larry Yarbrough, eds.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995) 198-213.
98. Bruce Malina (Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology, 143-54) developed the concept of a person permitted by society to cross boundaries and deal with the "unclean," such as police (with criminals), doctors and nurses (with sick), psychiatrists (with insane), priests and ministers (with sinners) and the like.
99. Besides Christians saying this of others, see the slander against Jesus in John 7:12, 30-31; 9:24; Mark 3:23 and Matt 12:23-24.
100. Based on Bruce J. Malina, Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology, 145-47.
101. The treatment of John the Baptizer by John Dominic Crossan (The Historical Jesus. The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant [San Francisco: Harper, 1991] 156-67, 230-31) is an apt illustration of the clash of institutions and so a conflict between illegitimate and legitimate authority.
102. Arnold Van Gennap produced the seminal work (The Rites of Passage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960) which has set the parameters of the discussion. In his Forest of Symbols, Victor Turner discusses separation (pp 187-209), liminality (pp 209-50) and re-aggregation (pp 251-60); see his The Ritual Process (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1969); this material has been digested and applied to biblical interpretation by Mark McVann, "Rituals of Status-Transformation in Luke-Acts," The Social World of Luke-Acts, 333-60.
103. See Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols, 93-111 and The Ritual Process, 94-113, 125-30.
104. Victor Turner, The Ritual Process, 106-107.
105. See Paul A. Hare, "Groups: Role Structure," International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 6.283-88.
106. Thomas L. Robinson, "Asclepius, Cult of," ABD 1.475; this description is based on Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, 267-68, who utilized the important study of M. Wörrle, "Die Lex Sacra von der Hallenstrasse," Altertümer von Pergamon. Die Inschriften des Askelpieons (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter and Co., 1969) VIII.3.167-90.
107. Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, 268.
108. See Robert F. Stoops, "Christ as Patron in the Acts of Peter," Semeia 56 (1992) 146-51.
109. This would apply especially if the person was healed of an illness present from birth, such as paralysis (Acts 3:1) or blindness (John 9:1).
110. The healing of the menstruating woman in Mark 5:24-34 is likewise the healing of the affliction of her family and network; menstruation would prohibit sexual intercourse with her husband and would probably indicate a prolonged period of separation from wifely duties in the household (see also Mark 1:29-31). The restoration of a cripple, as in Mark 3:1-6, means that a family has one more productive contributor to its well being, and so the entire family experiences healing.
111. On the sociology of stigma, see Irving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963).
112. On labelling theory, see Erdwin H. Pfuhl, The Deviance Process (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., Inc., 1980); Edwin M. Schur, The Politics of Deviance: Stigma Contests and the Uses of Power (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980); on the application of labelling theory to christology, see Bruce J. Malina and Jerome H. Neyrey, Calling Jesus Names. The Social Value of Labels in Matthew (Sonoma, CA: Polebridge Press, 1988), esp. 35-67. On Christians dealing with the stigma of "Christ Crucified," see 1 Cor 1:23.
113. Although Menander Rhetor was not specifically describing a person healed of an illness, his remarks touch on the issue of a person who is both "god-loved" (benefaction received) and who is "god-loving" (reciprocity of a client): "The parts of justice are piety, fair dealing, and reverence: piety towards the gods, fair dealings towards men, reverence towards the departed. Piety to the gods consists of two elements: being god-loved (theophilotês) and god-loving (philotheotês). The former means being loved by the gods and receiving many blessings from them, the latter consists of loving the gods and having a relationship of friendship with them" (I.361.17-25). In this regard, see the reaction to Paul in Acts 28:6, as well as the popular evaluation of persons struck by lightning who survived (Fredrick Brenk....).
114. Carl Kazmierski ("Evangelist and Leper: A Socio-Cultural Study of Mark 1:40-45," NTS 38  37-50) provides a good example of a broad approach to miracle stories; see also the references to Laszlo's works in note # 9 above.
115. I am persuaded by Bruce J. Malina ("'Religion' in the World of Paul," BTB  92-101) that there are but two basic institutions in antiquity, family and politics. "Religion," then, is embedded either in the family or in the state. This means that we should not consider temples to be "religious institutions" independent of the political control of the elites of the cities where they are.
116. See Richard A. Horsley and John S. Hanson, Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs (New York: Winston Press, 1985) 160-89; much of this has been repeated in John D. Crossan, The Historical Jesus, 137-67.
117. See Bruce J. Malina and Jerome H. Neyrey, Calling Jesus Names, 34-67.
118. See Edwin M. Schur, Labeling Deviant Behavior: Its Sociological Implications (New York: Harper and Row, 1971) and The Politics of Deviance: Stigma Contests and the Uses of Power; see also Erdwin H. Pfuhl, The Deviance Process and F.T. Cullen and J.B. Cullen, Toward a Paradigm of Labeling Theory (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1978).
119. One should carefully assess Josephus' rhetorical and political strategy in his description of deceptive prophets in Ant. 18:85-87; 20:97-98, 168-71, 188 and B.J. 2.259, 261-62; 6.283-85, 286-88; 7.437-40. Hence one should engage in some "ideology" criticism; see John H. Elliott, A Home for the Homeless. A Social-Scientific Criticism of I Peter, Its Situation and Strategy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990) 11-12 and more recently What is Social-Scientific Criticism? (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993) 84-86.
120. Lewis A. Coser, The Functions of Social Conflict (New York: Free Press, 1956); in terms of gospel texts, see Bruce J. Malina, "A Conflict Approach to Mark 7," Forum 4/3 (1988) 3-30.
121. On "values" in antiquity, see "honor," "pain," "power," "purity," and
"wholeness" in John J. Pilch and Bruce J. Malina, eds., Biblical Social Values and Their
Meanings (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993).
Jerome H. Neyrey