Dr. Cory M. Marsh is Published in the Bulletin for Biblical Research


Moral Injury and the βασιλικός of John 4:46–54 in the Bulletin for Biblical Research

By Dr. Cory M. Marsh


Still emerging from infancy, the developing field of trauma theory called “moral injury” (MI) has opened fresh vistas for biblical studies. Scholars are now beginning to employ MI theory as an interpretive frame of reference to biblical scenes depicting high intensity scenarios where moral values are challenged. Surprisingly, engagement of MI theory to the Fourth Gospel has yet to be done despite its specified portrayal of individual scenes of mental suffering. Attempting to fill the void, this article examines and appropriates recent MI research to propose a fresh reading of a significant, yet often overlooked, Johannine narrative of trauma: the βασιλικός (“royal official”) of John 4:46–54. Perhaps plagued by parental guilt over his dying son and tensions caused by a career forcing him to hold in balance conflicting Jewish and gentile sensibilities, the article engages insights borrowed from MI theory, posing a horizontal reading of the text that sheds light on this father’s inner trauma. In doing so, it invites similar sufferers today to rely on the Jesus in whom the βασιλικός sought relief.Find the article here 

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