The Weekly Roundup – 1.18.19

“The dude really needs to sit down and read something beyond McDowell, because at the moment his knowledge of scholarly consensus and methodology (and the evidence at hand) is enormously dime store apologist level.”
– Chris Hansen on J Warner Wallace


  • Over at his website Biblical Historical Context, blogger and Twitter user @bibhistctxt has a post up on whether the author the epistle of Jude used the apocryphal 1 Enoch in places like Jude 1:14-15. Virtually every biblical scholar except the ultra-conservatives (i.e. John MacArthur) agree that in the background of the text of Jude is 1 Enoch and @bibhistctxt shows why.
  • Last week I tweeted out my appreciation for a video from @StudyofChrist that appeared on his YouTube channel on whether the Lukan genealogy of Jesus is about Mary’s line, a claim made frequently by pop-apologists to reconcile the Matthean and Lukan genealogies. But I wanted to include it in a Weekly Roundup also so here it is! It was great and as I related in a comment on the video, this is one I plan on keeping in my back pocket for any future discussions with pop-apologists using the argument.
  • Chris Hansen (@thebiblicalath1) has begun a series briefly taking pop-apologist J Warner Wallace to task for his shoddy work in Cold-Case Christianity. In his first post, Hansen goes over some of Wallace’s outlandish material, including his suggestion that unbelieving scholars place the writing of the canonical Gospels in the second century. In the second post, Hansen deals with Wallace’s intrusion of his experience as a cold-case detective into investigating the nature of the Gospel accounts. These posts are relatively short and do a good job of nailing Wallace to the wall for his “terrabad” work.
  • Bill Mounce asks the question everyone is asking – Why do translators use the singular “net” in Mark 1:16 when the word is plural in 1:17? I must confess, that is puzzling. My translation of 1:16 reads, “And walking along the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting nets in the Sea, for they were fishers.” As Mounce explains, there is no direct object that follows “casting” and so it is implied by the context. But considering the context includes 1:17 where the word for “net” is plural, it is strange that translations don’t insert a plural “net” in 1:16.
  • In a paper that appeared two weeks ago in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Hans Moscicke discusses the exorcism of the demoniac of Gerasa from Mark 5:1-20 and its relationship to the scapegoat traditions of the Second Temple period. Interestingly, and somewhat related to @bibhisttcxt’s post on the relationship of Jude and 1 Enoch, the pericope in Mark seems to have borrowed imagery from the book of 1 Enoch as well, specifically the so-called Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36) and Moscicke discusses this and the relevant scholarship on the subject.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

Musings on Mark: The Markan Jesus on Divorce – Conflict with Matthew

In last week’s installment of “Musings on Mark” we looked at the Markan Jesus’ take on divorce where we concluded that

if we ask the Markan Jesus, “Is divorce permissible?” his answer would be a resounding “No!” Why? Because marriage is a union of one flesh that no one can separate. Not Moses. Not a certificate of divorce. No one. Only God.1

The sternness of Jesus’ position should not be all that unsurprising. After all, the reign of God was coming (Mark 1:15) and remarriage would not only be a distraction from spreading the gospel with the time that is left but also a violation of God’s commandment, thereby putting violators in a rather precarious spot when the Son of Man returns.

But Jesus’ hard line on divorce in Mark is softened in the Matthean redaction of the text (Matthew 19:1-12). The Matthean author places Jesus’ teaching on divorce in a similar geographical setting as the Markan author (i.e. in Judea; Mark 10:1) and it is “some Pharisees” who approach Jesus to question him on divorce (cf. Mark 10:2). But things quickly begin to diverge between the Markan and Matthean narratives.

Grounds for Divorce

Recall that in Mark 10:2 the question that the Pharisees ask is, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” This is a yes or no question and Jesus answers it with a no. But the Matthean text changes it up a bit. The question now from the Pharisees is, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause [kata pasan aitian]?” (Matthew 19:3) We immediately recognize that these Pharisees – or at least some Jews – believed that divorce could be initiated for any reason whatsoever but they want to get Jesus’ take on it “to test him” (19:3).

Jesus’ response to the Pharisees is to quote from Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 just as he had in the Gospel of Mark. But things are out-of-order a bit because the Markan Jesus initially asks the Pharisees, “What did Moses command you?” (Mark 10:3) That question never comes from the lips of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. Instead, the words of Jesus in 10:3 and the Pharisees’ response in 10:4 have been combined in the question that the Pharisees ask in Matthew 19:7: “They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?'”

The Matthean Jesus initially sounds a lot like the Markan in that he suggests there are no grounds for divorce since God’s design from the beginning was that the union of husband and wife into one flesh could be separated by no one. But with the question from the Pharisees, some cracks begin to appear. As in Mark, Jesus states that the Deuteronomic law (i.e. Deuteronomy 24:1-4) was a concession from Moses because of their hard heartedness and that it “was not so” from the beginning (19:8; cf. Mark 10:5). Instead, Jesus states that “whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity [mē epi porneia], and marries another commits adultery” (19:9).

So if we were to ask the Matthean Jesus, “Is divorce permissible?” his answer would be, “Only on the grounds of porneia.” This Jesus is not the Markan Jesus.

Unsurprising Caveats

But in reality, this should not be all that shocking. In another confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus is asked to give a “sign from heaven” but tells his opponents that “no sign will be given…except the sign of Jonah” (16:4; cf. 12:39). But the Markan Jesus tells the Pharisees that “no sign will be given” (Mark 8:12) and there is no “sign of Jonah” to be found anywhere.

There is also another issue at work in the Matthean Gospel: the necessity of the law. Had the Matthean Jesus said what the Markan Jesus had he would have been in direct contradiction with the law of Moses. But the Matthean Jesus isn’t a law-breaker. Instead, he places hedges around the law to protect people from violating it (cf. Matthew 5:21-48). The Matthean Jesus had come to fulfill the law, not abolish it (5:17-18).

A Missing Piece and a New One

So the Matthean Jesus has interpreted Moses in such a way that the only grounds for divorce is porneia, a word that basically refers to some kind of sexual immorality. Gone is the private conversation between Jesus and the disciples we find in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 10:10-12) that suggested anyone who remarried after a divorce was committing adultery. Instead, a new private conversation between Jesus and the disciples follows wherein the disciples tell Jesus that if it is the case that the only grounds for divorce is porneia then “it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10). Jesus responds with a strange teaching that features eunuchs.

Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can (19:11-12).

What in the world does that mean?

To be honest, I have no idea and it is a topic debated among scholars. Those “who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” may simply refer to people who remain celibate, i.e. practically eunuchs. Or Jesus might be speaking of people who actually emasculate themselves. Whatever the case may be, its relationship to Jesus’ teaching on divorce is not entirely clear.2 

A Conflict on Divorce

It is quite clear that we have a conflict between the Markan Jesus and the Matthean Jesus. In the former, divorce is never permissible since it violates the union of one flesh that God instituted from the beginning. Moses be damned! In the latter, the only cause for divorce is that of porneia, thereby revealing how Jesus understood the law of Moses.

NOTES

1 Amateur Exegete, “Musings on Mark: The Markan Jesus on Divorce” (1.9.19), amateurexegete.com. Accessed 13 January 2019.

2 For a discussion on this text, see R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, NICNT (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007), 722-726. France believes that the “this teaching” of 19:11 is a reference to the disciples comment in 19:10. In other words, celibacy is a good option for the sake of the kingdom.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

A Conversation with @MiraScriptura

Today over on the Mira Scriptura podcast is a conversation I had with @MiraScriptura covering a wide range of topics including my journey from Christianity to atheism, views on the Documentary and Supplementary Hypotheses, love for the Gospel of Mark, thoughts on Bernard Lamborelle’s The Covenant, and much more. I also got the chance to play inquisitor to @MiraScriptura’s work with mirror reading. If you don’t follow @MiraScriptura on Twitter or have not subscribed to his podcast, I recommend you do so. His series on the Northern book of Judges was my favorite, particularly the episode on Samson.

Book Review: ‘The Case for Miracles’ by Lee Strobel, part 5b

In part one of my review of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Miracles I covered chapters 1-3, a section featuring Strobel’s interview of the skeptic Michael Shermer. In part two I covered chapters 4-6 featuring his interview with Craig Keener. In part three I covered chapter 7 which featured an interview Strobel had with Candy Gunther Brown of Indiana University. In part four I covered chapter 8 featuring his interview with missionary Tom Doyle. Strobel’s fifth interview is with Michael Strauss and covers chapters 9-10. In part 5a I covered Strauss’ discussion of the origin of the universe, focusing on whether Genesis portrays creation ex nihilo. Today’s post covers chapter 10 which dives into the fine-tuning argument for God’s existence.

To view all posts in this review series, please go to its index.


INTERVIEW #5b – MICHAEL STRAUSS

“In the beginning the Universe was created,” wrote Douglas Adams in his book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. “This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”1 That the universe exists may or may not be surprising depending on your view of the laws of physics. But that life – including people to be very angry at the “bad move” of the universe’s creation – exists is a different story altogether. Why should we or monkeys or roses or amoeba exist at all? Why isn’t the universe populated entirely with inanimate dead stuff? Why is there at least one planet that we know of upon which life exists?

A “Miraculous” World

For theists like Michael Strauss, the existence of life is evidence for fine-tuning. As he explains to Strobel, “Over the last five decades, physicists have discovered that the numbers which govern the operation of the universe are calibrated with mind-boggling precision so intelligent life can exist” (175). Strauss overs Strobel two main examples: the amount of matter in the universe (176-177) and the strength of the strong nuclear force (177). In the former, an increase or decrease results in a universe wherein planets never form upon which life could proliferate. In the latter, a slight increase in strength results in a universe filled with elements that are “radioactive and life destroying” (177) while a slight decrease in strength would result in a world made up of hydrogen and only hydrogen.

And it is not just the universe at large which exhibits signs of fine-tuning. Strauss observes that our planet too seems to be in a very special condition for life to flourish. He lists the following conditions that need to be met to have life (179-180):

  • The planet should be in orbit around a Class G star like our sun.
  • That star should be middle-aged so that “its luminosity is stabilized.”
  • That star should be a “bachelor star,” i.e. not a binary or in some other less stable configuration.
  • That star should be a third-generation star, i.e. a star with enough material to create rocky planets like earth.
  • The planet should be one that is in the “Goldilocks Zone” so that it isn’t too hot or too cold for liquid water to exist.
  • That planet needs to have a particular rotation rate, tilt, and size.
  • That planet needs a moon to stabilize the planet’s tilt.
  • That planet needs to have active tectonic plates.
  • That planet needs to be near larger planets to keep comets and meteors at bay (i.e. Jupiter).

If accurate, this list makes an impressive case for fine-tuning. But what explanations are there for this apparent fine-tuning?

Explanations for Fine-Tuning

After rightly dismissing notions that the fine-tuning is best explained by self-creating humans (181) or that we exist in some kind of simulation like we find in the movie The Matrix (182), Strauss offers two possible explanations. First, some scientists have speculated that our universe is one of many universes and that we are in what has come to be known as a “multiverse.” Strauss notes that the late Stephen Hawking suggested what is known as “M-theory,” an idea derived from the highly speculative string theory. M-theory, says Strauss, “may be untestable and nonfalsifiable, and there’s no observational evidence for it” (183). And despite the varied attempts by scientists to explain the origin of the multiverse, “there is no observational or experimental evidence for it” and “there is likely no way for us to discover something that’s beyond our universe” (183). To believe in such a multiverse, Strauss contends, “you basically need blind faith” (183).

The other possible explanation Strauss offers is that God is behind fine-tuning and that from the evidence of fine-tuning we can figure out some pretty interesting things about him (186-187):

  • He is transcendent (i.e. he exists apart from creation).
  • He is immaterial (i.e. he existed before physical creation).
  • He is timeless (i.e. he existed before time was created).
  • He is powerful (i.e. he had the ability to create the cosmos in the Big Bang).
  • He is intelligent (i.e. he has fine-tuned the world for life).
  • He is personal (i.e. he made a decision to create).
  • He is creative (i.e. he has made some pretty impressive stuff).
  • He is caring (i.e. he has “purposefully crafted a habitat for us”).

So which God performed this universe creation and fine-tuning? “All the qualities we’ve elicited from the evidence,” Strauss tells Strobel, “are consistent with the God of the Bible” (186). And this God is an artist: “I can look deeply into the universe and the subatomic world and see the soul of the Artist” (187-188). In fact, Strauss is able to look at the world with all its “nuances and subtleties and intricacies” and see that they can only point to “one conclusion: the God hypothesis has no competitors” (188).

Not So Fast!

Strauss’ case for fine-tuning is at once compelling and problematic. It is compelling in that he lays out the case that it does exist. What is problematic about it is his conclusion that it must have been God and that it was the God of Christianity.

For example, consider the claim that God is “caring” because he has “purposefully crafted a habitat for us” (186). But the existence of a world that is habitable does not imply that it was created by a deity who is caring. In fact, given human biology, nearly three-quarters of the planet is inhospitable to human life by virtue of the fact that humans lack gills to breathe underwater. And over ninety percent of all that water cannot be consumed by humans. Humans are also unable to operate in geographic locales with extreme temperatures, at least not without serious modifications. This information doesn’t suggest a deity who is caring but rather one who is restrictive.

We might also consider Strauss’ contention that God is also “personal” because “a decision had to be made to create” (186). But doesn’t this beg the question? Isn’t Strauss assuming the Big Bang was an intentional act and then reasoning to it being so? Perhaps the Big Bang was not intentional and was triggered accidentally by a deity. We simply do not have any evidence to suggest God is personal, at least not from looking at the universe.

Or consider the claim that God is “timeless or eternal, since he existed before physical time was created” (186). How is it possible for a mind to exist outside of a temporal existence? We certainly have no examples of such a thing and if a mind like God’s was able also to create, would not this imply a temporal existence? For at one moment God was not creating the universe and in another he was creating it. This, to me, suggests God experiences some sort of temporal existence. And if this is the case, how then is he “timeless”?2  

We could, in some form or fashion, contest each of Strauss’ contentions. The point is, I do not find it plausible to infer a specific deity from the fine-tuning argument. If we assume that there is some kind of consciousness behind the universe’s alleged design, the nature of that evidence prohibits us from declaring with any degree of certainty that it is this or that deity.

Alternative Explanations

So if not God, then who or what? While many subscribe to the idea of a multiverse, I find it to be too hypothetical and without sufficient empirical grounds. As far as I’m concerned, it is on par with the God hypothesis at this time. So then how do I explain the fine-tuning of the universe?

I don’t know. I honestly do not have any good explanation for it. This may trouble some who need to have some degree of certainty on such matters. But I am content with not knowing and holding out until such time as more evidence comes in from which we may draw conclusions. I feel this way about the origin of the universe itself. I do not find any version of the cosmological argument to be persuasive nor do I find non-theistic explanations compelling. I am comfortable saying the universe has always existed and I am comfortable saying that the universe has not always existed. Since I do not think there is sufficient evidence either way, I reserve judgment.

For me, evidence for God must lie elsewhere. Strauss’ God is one I simply cannot find.

NOTES

1 Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, in The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide (Wings Books, 1996), 149.

2 For an overview of the debates on God’s relationship to time, see Gregory E. Ganssle, “God and Time” (n.d.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

The Weekly Roundup – 1.11.19

“What is at stake in that sad progression from Paul to anti-Paul? Why is it of importance that — at least with regard to slavery — radical Christian liberty is being changed back into normal Roman slavery. It means this: Jewish Christianity is becoming Roman Christianity.”

– John Dominic Crossan


  • One of my favorite bloggers, @bibhistctxt, has written another piece in his series on Israelite origins entitled “Israelite Origins: Egyptian Domination of Canaan.” As he shows, Canaan was under Egyptian domination during the periods wherein the Israelites purportedly fled Egypt for the Promised Land. Yet there is no mention of this and related issues in the narratives we find in the book of Joshua. This is problematic for those who believe in an Exodus as described in some narrative texts of the Hebrew Bible.
  • Tavis Bohlinger wrote a piece over on the Logos website on why Paul mentions his “large” hand writing in the epistle to the Galatians. Bohlinger interviewed Steve Reece, a professor Classical Languages at Saint Olaf College, on the background of this comment from Paul. Reece’s proposal is that the ending of the epistle is Paul taking over for his secretary, creating a noticeable difference in handwriting, i.e. Paul’s wrote with larger letters than his secretary did. This also may have served to show that Paul really was associated with the letter and his handwriting was proof. Reece also goes over other manuscripts from antiquity where we see this kind of phenomena.
  • @StudyofChrist recently uploaded a video comparing the Matthean and Lukan genealogies, stressing that these are theological and not historical in nature and therefore do not need to be harmonized. He even quotes from Richard Dawkins!
  • Last week over at The Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta posted a video of exorcist Bob Larson casting out a demon from an atheist. What Larson didn’t know is that the atheist was a plant, someone acting like they were demon-possessed to show just how ridiculous Larson’s work truly is. Larson posted the video to his YouTube channel as proof his ministry works. You can’t make this stuff up!
  • Almost a decade ago New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on “The Search for the Historical Paul: Which Letters Did He Really Write?” There are seven letters which are widely regarded as authentic but others which aren’t. But why? Crossan argues that they exhibit “counter-Pauline and anti-Pauline” tendencies. In effect, “Paul is being deradicalized, sanitized, and Romanized” in those letters. Crossan is frequently the center of controversy and this piece was no exception. But it is a very good read on one scholar’s take on the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral epistles.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

Musings on Mark: The Markan Jesus on Divorce

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her….”
– Jesus


In Mark 10:1-12 we read of an encounter between “some Pharisees” and Jesus over the question of divorce. They ask him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (10:2, NRSV) to which Jesus replies, “What did Moses command you?” (10:3) They then tell Jesus that Moses said it was permissible to divorce one’s wife if you produce a “certificate of dismissal” (10:4). What did that entail?

Moses and Divorce

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 gives us the answer.

Suppose a man enters into marriage with a woman, but she does not please him because he finds something objectionable about her, and so he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; she then leaves his house and goes off to become another man’s wife. Then suppose the second man dislikes her, writes her a bill of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house (or the second man who married her dies); her first husband, who sent her away, is not permitted to take her again to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that would be abhorrent to the LORD, and you shall not bring guilt on the land that the LORD your God is giving you as a possession.

So if a man found something “objectionable” about his wife, he could then write a certificate of divorce and send her away. But what constitutes objectionable? Simply put, we don’t know.

The “objectionable thing” is vague, and perhaps deliberately so. This law is less interested in the technicalities of the bill of divorce than it is in the correct disposition of the former wife’s sexuality.1

Whatever it was, by the time of Jesus there were some groups who contended a wife who couldn’t cook was one who could be divorced while others claimed that divorce was only permissible on the grounds of sexual immorality.2 

Having been put away by her husband, the woman is free to marry again (24:2). However, if her new husband “dislikes her” then he too can write a bill of divorce and put her away (24:3). But is this woman free to return to her first husband? No, because “she has been defiled” and such an act “would be abhorrent to the LORD” and would “bring guilt on the land” (24:4).

Back to “The Beginning”

Jesus acknowledges the Pharisees’ words about Moses but it isn’t a concession. He tells them that it was “[b]ecause of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you” (10:5). Well what does that mean? A heart that is “hard” refers to a disposition of stubbornness. But how does that fit with regards to Moses and the giving of this law? It seems that Jesus understands Deuteronomy 24:1-4 “as a temporary concession by God to the spiritual weakness of the people.”3 In other words, divorce was permitted but it “was never envisaged in the divine purpose.”4 Instead, God’s design was life-long partnership:

But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate (10:6-9).

Jesus is echoing the words of both the Priestly account of humanity’s creation (Genesis 1:27) and the Yahwist’s account (Genesis 2:24). His appeal to these texts serves his point that “what God has joined together, let no one separate” (10:9). How? Because it was God who made them two separate beings (Genesis 1:27) but then, through the act of marriage and physical consummation, they “become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). And since marriage was God’s idea “from the beginning of creation,” only he can separate the two that have become one.

Divorce and Remarriage

But if this wasn’t obvious from his exchange with the Pharisees, Jesus is even more blunt in private with the disciples (10:10).

Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery (24:11-12).

If you divorce your spouse and marry someone else you have violated the commandment of God (Exodus 20:14). Why? Because the now-divorced couple are still one flesh. Therefore, a remarriage means a union that violates that one flesh. This is in stark contrast with the Deuteronomic law which stated marriage was permissible after divorce.

So if we ask the Markan Jesus, “Is divorce permissible?” his answer would be a resounding “No!” Why? Because marriage is a union of one flesh that no one can separate. Not Moses. Not a certificate of divorce. No one. Only God.


NOTES

1 Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine, The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (HarperOne, 2011), 315.

2 Gordon J. Wenham, “Divorce,” in Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, editors, The Oxford Companion to the Bible (OUP, 1993), 170.

3 John R. Donahue and Daniel J. Harrington, The Gospel of Mark, Sacra Pagina (The Liturgical Press, 2002), 294.

4 R.T. France, The Gospel of Mark, NIGTC (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), 391.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

Mark 1:35-39, AEV

This pericope serves as a transition from Jesus’ work in the city of Capernaum (Mark 1:21-34) to the broader region of Galilee and its towns. It is there he continues his preaching and exorcism ministry. Coming on the heels of 1:29-34 where the throngs came to him for healing and to have their demons cast out, Jesus seeks solitude in a “deserted place” (1:35) where he prays. The disciples, led by Simon, search for him to inform him that “[e]veryone is looking” for him. This prompts Jesus to suggest a preaching tour in the surrounding towns.


35 Having risen early in the morning while it was dark,a he went out and came to a deserted placeb and there he prayed. 36 Simon and those with him searched diligently for him 37 and found him and said to him, “Everyonec is lookingd for you!” 38 He said to them, “Let us go elsewhere – into the towns nearby – so that even there I may preach, for this is why I came.” 39 And he went preaching in the synagogues of all of Galilee and casting out demons.e

 


 

 TEXTUAL NOTES

a Greek, prōi ennycha lian anastas. The awkwardness of this phrasing has been long noted and is smoothed out by the Lukan author (Luke 4:42) who chose to employ a genitive absolute: Genomenēs…hēmeras, “When day came” (NRSV, “At daybreak”). Translated literally, the Markan phrase would be something “having risen early at night very.”

b Greek, erēmon topon. The idea is that Jesus wanted to get away from everyone. This could be translated alternatively as “a remote place.”

c Greek, pantes. Markan exaggeration like what we find in 1:5. This is for dramatic effect, i.e. Jesus is so popular that when he goes missing everyone tries to find him.

d Greek, zētousin. In the Markan Gospel, the verb zēteō always carries negative connotations (i.e. 3:32, 8:11, 8:12, 11:18, 12:12, 14:1, 14:11, 14:55, 16:6).

e Jesus’ activity in Galilee is described using two present tense participles: kēryssōn (“preaching”) and ekballōn (“casting out”). In this verse, following the aorist verb ēlthen (“he went”) the construction begins with kēryssōn and ends with ekballōn, exhibiting some degree of symmetry. That is, it begins and ends with a present participle.