What intrigues me in these Lectionary readings in Sacred Scripture, is the variation in the manuscripts for how the Canaanite woman cried out to Jesus to heal her daughter.  Appropriately, the daughter was a traditional enemy, tormented by a demon.  The question is in the verb tense.  I wonder whether the better manuscripts correct the aorist tense for the imperfect, -ing, tense.  There is no aorist tense in either Latin or English.  The aorist is a completed action that continues into the present.  As I understand it, the manuscripts struggle over, did the woman cry out once and expect to be heard or did she keep crying out to ensure that she was heard?  While I am very uncertain of my grasp of the Greek, I am very certain that my effort to grasp the Greek helps bring that woman alive in my imagination.  In the final analysis, the Canaanite woman is a stand in for all non-Jewish Christians.

Isaiah 56:6 prophecies positively about the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD.  Psalm 67:6 prays, O God; may all the peoples praise you!  The passage from Romans, begins with verse 13, I am speaking to you Gentiles.  Finally, the woman wins her argument in Matthew 15:28, when Jesus says, “let it be done for you as you wish.”



Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from material below the double line. Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here. If they do, however, they may miss some interesting scholarly details.

Isaiah 56:1. 6-7

          Isaiah 56:3, 6-7

          Matthew J. Lynch, "Zion's Warrior and the Nations: Isaiah 59:15b—63:6 in Isaiah's Zion Traditions"[1]

Isaiah 56:3 is in Third- or Trito-Isaiah, that part of Isaiah written after the Israelites return from Exile.  Lynch argues that Trito-Isaiah employs the divine warrior traditions “to counter the increasing darkness of Israel’s exilic rebellion, failed dreams, and foreign domination, and to illuminate the surprising glories of Zion’s future—a future made secure only by the intervention and return of Zion’s warrior and king.”  Lynch argues, “In the broader Trito-Isaian context, foreigners are offered asylum in Zion (56:3, 6-7).”


Isaiah 56:3-8

Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy[2]

Barker argues that the enforcement of the Law of Deuteronomy drove foreigners and eunuchs out of the restored temple, even though Isaiah warned that those people would have a place in the temple.  Such enforcement of the Law of Deuteronomy is like enforcing harmful racial customs in the United States.


          Isa 56:1

          William H. Irwin, C.S.B., review of Burkard M. Zapff, Jesaia 56—66[3]

Zapff argues that the scribal activity adding and extending the original Isaiah goes through five stages.  Skipping over the first two stages, Observe what is right, do what is just, represents the third “conversion redaction” stage. Isaiah 56:1 is the key to all of the stages.  Irwin agrees, “The salvation promised in Isaiah 40-55 is delayed but will come.”  Skipping over the fourth stage, Isaiah 56:2-8, I will bring [foreigners] to my holy mountain, comes in the final, fifth stage, “the community of the servants of God redaction.”  The Gentile Faithful are in this final community.


          Isa 56:3-8

          J. Clinton McCann, Jr., review of John T. Strong and Steven S. Tuell (eds.), Constituting the Community: Studies on the Policy of Ancient Israel in Honor of S. Dean McBride, Jr.[4]

The authors argue that Isaiah 56:3-8, I will bring [the foreigners] to my holy mountain, “is an intentional and direct abrogation of Ezek 44:1-14,” No alien …may enter my sanctuary …”


          Isaiah 56:7

          Steven L. Bridge, review of Steve Moyise and Maarten J. J. Menken (eds.), Isaiah in the New Testament[5]

The authors argue that Isaiah 56:7, my house shall be called a house of prayer, validates and explains the actions of Jesus in the temple.


Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6

          Psalm 67

          William P. Brown, review of Theodore Mascarenhas, The Missionary Function of Israel in Psalms 67, 96, and 117[6]

Mascarenhas does not convince Brown that Israel has a missionary function.


Romans 11:13-15, 29-32

          Rom 9:30—11:36

          Mark Reasoner, review of Kari Kuula, The Law, the Covenant and God’s Plan, Volume 2, Paul’s Treatment of the Law and Israel in Romans[7]

Kuula argues that Romans 9:30—11:36 cancels “the salvific purpose of the law.” Kuula advances the study of Romans in three ways.  (1) There is a discontinuity between Pauline theology and Jewish Scriptures and a corresponding need for a better definition of Christian identity.  (2) Kuula distinguishes between unchanging core convictions and changing arguments used to explain them.  (3) Kuula “offers a Protestant insistence on the necessity of good works for salvation in Paul.”


          Rom 11:12, 15, 30, 32

          Charles H. Cosgrove, "Did Paul Value Ethnicity?"[8]

Paul did not value ethnicity. Cosgrove uses Romans 11:32 to argue that “all people are `consigned to disobedience,’ which makes them all morally equal (Rom 11:32), a point already made in Rom 3:9.”  Cosgrove uses Romans 11:12, 15, and 30 to state, “Israel is an unwitting servant to the nations.”


          Rom 11:13

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[9]

Lawrence writes,


It was agreed [at the Council of Jerusalem in 49] that, since faith in Christ brought salvation, Gentile Christians were not required to keep the rituals of Mosaic Law.  It was this principle, more than anything else, that clearly differentiated Christianity from its origins in Judaism.  It was this that enabled Christianity to take root in Gentile communities.


          Rom 11:1-24

          Jeremy Corley, “The Pauline Authorship of 1 Corinthians 13”[10]

Corley observes that this is one of the passages in which Paul makes no explicit reference to Jesus.  Paul focuses on God the Father.


          Rom 11:15

          Wendell E. Langley, S.J., “The Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32) against its Semitic and Rabbinic Backdrop”[11]

Langley argues from their [the Jews] rejection (Romans 11:15) to gain insight into the allegory of the two sons [the one who said no, but did yes, and the other who said yes, but did no].  In other words, Christian commitment requires more than words, but also actions.


cf. Mathew 4:23


Matthew 15:21-28

Matthew 15:22

“a Canaanite woman … called out.”

The Greek for called out in the uncial manuscript, Z (whoever that may be) corrected from the aorist (a completed act) to the imperfect (kept going on) act. In other words, the Majority text has kept calling out, rather than called out [once].


The various translations are as follows:

Lectionary (1998)                         a Canaanite woman … called out

The Vulgate (circa 410)[12]             Et ecce mulier Chananaea … clamavit

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610)          a woman of Canaan … crying out

King James (1611)                       a woman of Canaan … cried

Catholic RSV (1969)                    a Canaanite woman … cried

New American (NAB) (1970)         a Canaanite woman … called out

New Jerusalem (1985)                 a Canaanite woman … started shouting


In order to get a better grasp of the manuscripts, I have ordered Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism.


          Matt. 4:17—16:20

          Jack Dean Kingsbury, “Observations on the `Miracle Chapters’ of Matthew 8-9”[13]

Kingsbury argues, “that Jesus Messiah both delivers the Sermon on the Mount in Chaps. 5—7 and undertakes in chaps. 8—9 his ministry of healing.”


          Matt 15:21-28

          Kenton L. Sparks, "Gospel as Conquest: Mosaic Typology in Matthew 28:16-20"[14]

Sparks argues, “Paradoxically, I believe that another instance of Matthew’s ethnic inclusivism appears in a text that, on the surface, reads like an expression of Jewish exclusivism.  Here I speak of the faithful Canaanite woman described in Matthew 15 …” This is the only use of “Canaanite” in the entire New Testament.  The woman should have been of Syrophoenician descent.  Matthew uses Canaanite, “to show that Jesus embraced the faith not only of foreigners but even of Israel’s traditional hated enemies.”


          Matt 15:24

          John Paul Heil, “Ezekiel 34 and the Narrative Strategy of the Shepherd and Sheep Metaphor in Matthew”[15]

Heil uses “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel as part of his argument that Matthew uses the metaphor of sheep valued by the shepherd through the Gospel.


          Matt 15:24

          Mark F. Whitters, "Jesus in the Footsteps of Jeremiah"[16]

Whitters argues that the mission to the lost sheep of Israel extends to all people only in the last episode of the Gospel, the Grand Commission.  The “new covenant establishes Jesus as the Jeremiah to the nations,” hinted at in such passages as Matthew 15:21-28.

[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 262.


[2] London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003, 151.


[3] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 804.


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 791.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 190.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (April 2006) 518.


[7] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (April 2006) 151.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 288.


[9] Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 2006, 148.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2004) 268.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 2 (April 1996) 231.


[12] At this point, I am taking the Vulgate from Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine: Textum Graecum post Eberhard et Erwin Nestle communiter ediderunt Barbara et Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger: Textus Latinus Novae Vulgatae Bibliorum Sacrorum Editioni debetur: Utriusque textus apparatum criticum recensuerent et editionem novis curis elaboraverunt Barbara et Kurt Aland una cum Instituto Studiorum Textus Novi Testamenti Monasterii Westphaliae (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1999) Editio XXVII. I intend to reissue the Appendix immediately.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (April 1978) 565 ff.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 654, 655.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 4 (April 1993) 698-705.


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (April 2006) 244, 246.