Amateur Exegesis – Episode 9: Dirty Hands, Clean Food

Texts discussed: Mark 7:1-23; Matthew 5:17-42, 15:1-20; Galatians 2:11-16

Recommended Reading:

  • Darrell Bock, Mark, New Cambridge Bible Commentary (Cambridge University Press, 2015), 221.
  • Howard Clarke, The Gospel of Matthew and Its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First Gospel (Indiana University Press, 2003), 137.
  • Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, Yale Anchor Bible (Doubleday, 1991), 920.
  • L. Michael White, Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite (HarperOne, 2010), 309.

6 thoughts on “Amateur Exegesis – Episode 9: Dirty Hands, Clean Food

  1. This is a great overview. Thanks!

    When Jesus says “there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile” is he making a legitimate point about the Law? As in, it is really only those fluids that come out of the body that defile someone, not what he might eat (or touch?)? Does this fact support Jesus’ point that in the moral sphere, as in the ritual sphere, it is what issues forth from a person that defiles?

    Yet wouldn’t it be fair to say that touching a dead body also defiles according to Torah? Perhaps that example is excluded because it does not go into the body.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great question but I’m not sure what the answer is. The Torah lists a few bodily fluids that can defile a person (semen, menstrual blood, etc.) and surely Jesus would have agreed that these would defile. But is he drawing a parallel with the “evil intentions, murder, adultery, etc.” that issue from a person? Maybe. It’s something to think about.


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