The Gospels of the New Testament are full of stories featuring Jesus and the
performance of healing miracles. One of these accounts shows up in the opening
chapter of Mark where Jesus is approached by a leper begging him to be healed. Jesus is profoundly touched by such an earnest request and “moved with pity, stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him: I do choose. Be made clean” (Mk 1:41, NRSV). However, this story might not be as lovely as it meets the eyes. That is due to a textual variant that instead of saying that Jesus was “moved with pity” says that he was “angry”. As neither emotion appears in Matthew nor in Luke, the parallel accounts, a great problem is posed to the considerations of this Markan story. After analyzing the external and internal evidence for the text, this study proposes that “angry” is the most likely original variant. Jesus’ anger would have been due to the boldness of the leper in approaching him without believing he would come away restored.
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