What is the meaning of ‘transfiguration’?

Philip Seddon writes: We are so used to speaking of ‘transfiguration’ in Christian terms that we have not realised how remarkable it is that Mark and Matthew used the Greek verb metamorphoō (in the passive: metamorphoumai) at all.  In classical Greek and Latin literature, the verb, and the noun metamorphōsis, are both slippery, ambivalent words, largely … Continue Reading

The preaching and call of Jesus in Mark 1

The Sunday gospel lectionary for the Third Sunday before Advent at the end of this Year B is Mark 1.14-20, the beginning of Jesus’ active ministry in Galilee following his baptism in the Jordan and testing in the wilderness. I have to say I have found what the lectionary does with the opening chapter of Mark’s … Continue Reading

Jesus’ radical inversion of community values in Mark 9

The Sunday gospel lectionary reading for Trinity 16 in Year B is Mark 9.30–37. In our reading of Mark, we have leap-frogged from the confession at Ceasarea Philippi, over the Transfiguration (which is considered at other times in the lectionary) and the following deliverance episode, to a short cluster of sayings, though stopping short of … Continue Reading

Did the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7 teach Jesus not to be racist?

The gospel lectionary reading for Trinity 14 in Year B is Mark 7.24-37, which includes the episode of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman that often brings readers up short, containing as it does what appears to be a rather shocking insult. Jesus is seeking to withdraw from public attention, needing some time for rest … Continue Reading