S4E10: The Parable of Defilement

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In this episode we discuss the parable of defilement in Matthew 15 and Mark 7. The parable is set in context to Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees concerning the hypocrisy of their traditions. The explanation of this parable, particularly in Mark’s gospel, has been widely used to support the idea that Jesus abrogated the Torah’s dietary instructions. By examining the context and the various translations of Mark 7:19, it becomes clear that Jesus is actually upholding Jewish dietary laws and is simply emphasizing “the weightier matters of the law,” so to speak.

Show notes

  • This parable is often used to show that Jesus was redefining Jewish ideas (4:04)
  • Context of the parable: understanding ritual purity – Manual of Discipline 5:13-14; Galatians 1 (8:52)
  • An indictment of hypocrisy – Matthew 15:-3-9; Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 23:16-22 (19:30)
  • Mark’s missing verse and the parable’s explanation – Mark 7:15-17; Matthew 15:16-20 (26:33)
  • The phrase added by translators changes the parable’s meaning – Mark 7:19 (30:00)
  • Apocalyptic convictions – Matthew 15:13 (39:19)