A key question I have to wrestle with in relation to this story is whether I am dealing with one incident or two, and how that impacts things. Both the following possibilities seem plausible to me. One is that a woman wept upon and wiped Jesus’ feet, while another poured perfume on his head, and there was cross-contamination between the two stories. The other is that Luke took a story and reworked it for his own purposes. There are of course additional variations on these two basic scenarios. The action of the first woman might have inspired the second so that the resemblance is due to emulation. Luke might have inherited a version of the story that had already been radically reworked before it reached him.
Ultimately, whatever what we decide about this question, it doesn’t change the overall impression we get: a woman washed Jesus’ feet, and he followed her example by washing the feet of his disciples.
Part - Project - Scholarship - Parts - World
One delightful part of this project has been getting to know scholarship from other parts of the world. The case for the action of Mary having influenced Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet is made well by...