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Jesus as News: Crises of Health and Overpopulation in Galilee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-30
Number of pages23
JournalJOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Volume44
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jun 2021
DOIs
Accepted/In press28 May 2021
E-pub ahead of print29 Jun 2021
PublishedSep 2021

King's Authors

Abstract

What made Jesus ‘news’? The key reason given in Mark and Matthew is that Jesus was an effective healer. In Q, likewise, Jesus fulfils John’s prediction of a Coming One who will baptize in Holy Spirit and fire by means of his healing mission. Luke complicates this slightly by emphasizing Jesus’ teaching on social justice, and John conceptualizes the healings as ‘signs’, but both also indicate that Jesus was news because he healed people. Thus, Galilee was in the grip of a chronic health crisis which people – both rich and poor – experienced as stress, and Jesus was news because he provided a solution. While being an exorcistic healer was not unusual, Jesus’ healing apparently was, both in its effectiveness and in its approach, involving physical touch. We now know that affective touch has a positive effect on the immune system. Disease crises in Galilee can be linked to the great density of its population, associated with widespread rural poverty and environmental degradation. Previous assessments of population in Galilee have hitherto been much too small.

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