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“That I May Lift Up My Eyes”
Bartimaeus as a Temple Petitioner before the Veil
Spencer Kraus

Presented at

The 2022 Temple on Mount Zion Conference

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Sponsored by The Interpreter Foundation, BYU College of Humanities, and BYU Religious Education


Mark 10 contains the last miracle recorded in Mark’s Gospel. While many scholars have proposed that the healing of blind Bartimaeus is best understood as a call to discipleship, many key words and images point this narrative to the temple of Jerusalem. In this new light, I submit a new interpretation that the healing of blind Bartimaeus is best understood as a temple ascent text. This ascent is performed in a ritual manner, including a threefold petition made between God and man, overcoming difficulties or evil, the disclosure of a sacred name of the Lord, preparing for the reception of new and sacred clothing, a plea to lift one’s eyes to see the Lord, a blessing offered by the Lord, body parts anointed (in other textual traditions), and finally the veil being rent allowing Bartimaeus to see the face of the Lord and overcome his fallen state. In so doing, Bartimaeus becomes a covenantal “son of the Honored One,” as is suggested by his name. By following the example of Bartimaeus, we too can become sons and daughters of the Honored One, and through our covenantal fidelity and love for God we can enter His presence and follow Him in the way



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