Monday, February 18, 2008

Martha, Martha

This is actually a post about Mary, but it references a scripture verse from Luke about Mary and Martha:
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ 41But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’ (Luke 10:38-42, Oremus Bible Browser)
I was struck today by a post by biblical scholar James Talbot on The Jesus Dynasty Blog:
**Wendy Pond just pointed out to me that the text actually says that “Martha welcomed Jesus into her house,” when “they,” namely the Jesus entourage, came to a certain village. It does not say that Mary lived there, but just that Martha had a sister called Mary. It is possible that this “Mary” has been traveling with the group, suggests they stop at her sister’s house for a meal and rest, and she has developed the practice of gathering and sitting with the men. Even though Luke introduces these women as if they are “new” to the story, it is clear from the way Jesus speaks to them in the core tradition that he knows them both well. The “good portion” that Mary has chosen appears to be her desire to hear and learn the words of the Teacher.
The particular wording of this passage never struck me before. It doesn't say Jesus came to the house of Mary and Martha. It could be that Mary was part of Jesus' traveling entourage. We don't know exactly how she relates to the other Marys - it gets quite confusing.

I am up to my eye-balls in Mary readings right now. Martha, Martha...

No comments: