Original Research

A study of the woman in the crowd and her desperate courage (Mark 5:21–43)

Robin G. Branch
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 47, No 1 | a649 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v47i1.649 | © 2013 Robin G. Branch | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 August 2012 | Published: 23 July 2013

About the author(s)

Robin G. Branch, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa and Department of Bible and Theology, Victory University, United States


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Abstract

This article examines the cameo appearance of an unnamed woman in the gospel of Mark, a member of a crowd following Jesus (Mk 5:24b–34). Chronically ill and probably dying, she thinks she is inconspicuous. The text identifies her in terms of her gender, illness, covenant status, prolonged suffering and penury. Yet, a careful reading reveals her stealth, desperation, courage and eloquence − all elements of character and, it turns out, of a faith focused on Jesus. Combining both literary and canonical insights, this article shows how the story of the anonymous woman, set within the larger context of the healing of Jairus’ daughter, sheds light on the developing concepts of faith, fear, purity, discipleship, confession and family matters in Mark. The woman’s interaction with Jesus adds depth to Mark’s portrait of him and contributes to the ongoing revelation in Mark that Jesus is indeed the Son of God (Mk 1:1).

Hierdie artikel ondersoek die reliëfverskyning van ’n naamlose vrou in die evangelie van Markus. Sy was deel van die skare wat Jesus gevolg het (Mark 5:24b–34). Omdat sy kronies siek en moontlik sterwend was, het sy gedink sy is onopvallend in die skare. Sy word in die teks geïdentifiseer in terme van haar geslag, siekte, verbondstatus, langdurige lyding en armoedige voorkoms. ’n Noukeurige bestudering van die gedeelte openbaar ook haar heimlikheid, desperaatheid, moed en welsprekendheid – alles eienskappe van ’n sterk karakter en, soos dit later blyk, haar gefokusde geloof op Jesus. Deur die letterkundige en kanonieke insigte te kombineer, wys die artikel hoe die verhaal van die anonieme vrou, gesien teen die agtergrond van die genesing van Jaïrus se dogtertjie, lig werp op die ontwikkelende konsepte van geloof, vrees, suiwerheid, dissipelskap, belydenis en familie-aangeleenthede in die boek Markus. Die vrou se interaksie met Jesus verskaf diepte aan Markus se uitbeelding van Hom en maak ’n bydrae tot Markus se deurgaanse openbaring dat Jesus inderdaad die Seun van God is (Mark 1:1).


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