bar-ti-me'-us (Bartimaios): A hybrid word from Aramaic bar = "son," and Greek timaios = "honorable." For the improbability of the derivation from bar-tim'ai = "son of the unclean," and of the allegorical meaning = the Gentiles or spiritually blind, see Schmiedel in Encyclopedia Biblica. In Mk (10:46-52) Bartimeus is given as the name of a blind beggar, whose eyes Jesus Christ opened as He went out from Jericho on His last journey to Jerusalem. An almost identical account is given by Lk (18:35-43), except that the incident occurred "as he drew nigh unto Jericho," and the name of the blind man is not given. Again, according to Mt (20:29-34), "as they went out from Jericho" (like Mk) two blind men (unlike Mk and Lk) receive their sight. It is not absolutely impossible that two or even three events are recorded, but so close is the similarity of the three accounts that it is highly improbable. Regarding them as referring to the same event, it is easy to understand how the discrepancies arose in the passage of the story from mouth to mouth. The main incident is clear enough, and on purely historical grounds, the miracle cannot be denied. The discrepancies themselves are evidence of the wide currency of the story before our Gospels assumed their present form. It is only a most mechanical theory of inspiration that would demand their harmonization.

See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

T. Rees

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