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Syrophoenician


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A Gentile woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter (Mark 7: 26); she came from the area round Tyre and Sidon and in Matt. (15: 22) she is called a Canaanite, which fitted the location. It is the only explicit healing in the gospel of Mark of a Gentile (though the demoniac Legion was roaming in Gentile country, Mark 5: 9), and could have been regarded by the early Church as Jesus' implicit authorization of its mission to the Gentiles, even though Jesus' own ministry was restricted to Jews (Matt. 10: 5). The woman was probably a well-to-do Hellenized Phoenician, a member of the more privileged social group: her daughter lay on a decent ‘bed’ (Mark 7: 30), not a miserable ‘mat’ (Mark 2: 4).

Subjects: Biblical Studies.


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