Showing posts from January, 2014

Aquarius (2): O, Brave New World!

Extracts from Mark 13 As he was leaving the temple one of his disciples said to him, 'Look teacher! Such stones and such buildings!' And Jesus said to him, 'You see these great buildings? There won't be one stone left upon another. There's none that won't be demolished!' But after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not shine. The stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then they will see the son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather together his chosen ones from the four corners of the earth, from the farthest bounds of earth to the farthest bounds of heaven. Learn a lesson from the fig tree: when its branch becomes tender and the leaves appear, you know that summer is near. So when you see these things taking place you will know that the end is near, at the door almost. I'm telling you the truth: this

Odysseus, Jesus, Eurycleia, and the Woman with the Alabaster Jar

We are all familiar with the fact that the Gospels regularly refer to the Jewish scriptures (what we disparagingly call the Old Testament) but it is not so well known that they contain references to the literature of Greece. Some time ago I posted a piece on the way that the story of the death of John the Baptist in Mark’s Gospel reflects a passage from the Greek historian Herodotus (see blog on 12th October 2012), and today I want to point out how the story of the woman who anoints Jesus before his death echoes a passage from Homer’s Odyssey . Eurycleia washes Odysseus's feet             When Odysseus returns to Ithaca, he comes disguised as a beggar and spends some time at the house of Eumaeus, the swineherd. Still disguised, he goes to his palace where he meets Penelope, his wife, whom he hasn’t seen for 20 years. She instructs Odysseus’s old nurse, Eurycleia, to bathe and anoint him. While bathing him, Eurycleia recognises the scar on Odysseus’s thigh and realis