Thursday of Week 9 Per Annum

Tobit 6.10-11; 7.1,9-14; 8.4-9; Ps 127; Mk 12.28-34

he scribes of 1st Century Judaism had knowledge of the law and could draft legal documents (contracts for marriage, divorce, loans, inheritance, mortgages, the sale of land, and the like). Every village had at least one scribe. We can presume that some Pharisees were also scribes, but in general the Pharisees were more often small landowners and tradesmen rather than professional scribes.

St Mark generally makes the scribes the primary opponents of Jesus; St Matthew’s Gospel alters many of these references to make the Pharisees Jesus’ principal adversaries. [Cf Matthew 22.34] Strikingly, though, the scribe who is Jesus’ interlocutor in this passage ends the encounter with a commendation of Jesus, and Jesus declares of him that he is ‘not far from the kingdom of God’. Neither Matthew nor Luke [cf 20.39] include this mutual exchange of approbation. Though Jewish legal experts may well have questioned and contradicted some of Jesus’ interpretations of the Mosaic law, it is notable that Jesus is never charged with an explicit legal offence. Jesus’ crucifixion doesn’t take place in Galilee, where he did most of his teaching, but in Jerusalem, where he appeared to be a threat to the equilibrium between the Temple priests and the occupying power.

Posted in Daily Reflection.