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“Physician, Heal Yourself!”—Jesus’ Challenge to His Own

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A Re-examination of the Offense of Nazareth in Light of Ancient Parallels (Luke 4:22-30)

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This article argues that current explanations of the strange sequence in Luke 4, whereby Jesus’ hometown turns from admiration to murderous anger, fail to give a coherent reading of the narrative. It then submits that a re-examination of the meaning and function of the proverb “Physician, heal yourself!” in antiquity sheds significant light upon its use in Luke’s pericope and the fundamental issue between Jesus and his own people. Indeed, rather than reflecting the narrow-mindedness or scepticism of the inhabitants of Nazareth, the proverb should be understood as expressing Jesus’ challenge to his own.

Affiliations: 1: Corpus Christi College, University of CambridgeUK


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