New Testament

Week 4: The Gospel of Mark, Part 2

Mark 6:7–10:52

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27 September 2018

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  • The story in KJV Matthew 17:15 calls the possessed/epileptic boy a “lunatic,” which is a translation of the Greek σεληνιάζεται (selēniazetai), “moonstruck.” From this word came the English words lunatic and lunacy, based on the Latin prefix luna–, “moon.” Anciently, it was commonly believed that the phases of the moon were responsible for insanity and violent acts. This belief persists today, even though statistical studies have conclusively demonstrated that there is no such connection. See Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld, “Facts & Fictions in Mental Health: Lunacy and the Full Moon,” Scientific American Mind (blog), 1 February 2009.