In Part One of this article we focus on discerning the truth about an anointing “FOR” the Historical Jesus. (Please read: Mark 14:3-9; Matt 26:6-13; Luke 7:36-50; John 12:1-8). Words in bold type indicate what I believe is true about this pivotal event in Jesus’ life. The Jesus Seminar voted this story “gray” to indicate their consensus that the truth is too difficult to reconstruct. In this introductory and abbreviated article I will try to persuade readers otherwise.
I believe the fourth evangelist’s account is the most accurate historically, because I believe in the editorial claim of the Fourth Gospel, when the editor explains he is inheriting some apostolic witness. “We know” (John 21:24). This claim is rooted in memories of an anonymous “male”, Beloved Disciple, who, in reality was Jesus’ favourite female: Mary Magdalene! The Fourth Gospel editors were concealing her identity. But some of her genuine witness, however distant, is still preserved in the Fourth Gospel. This amazing woman witnessed events in Judea during the last week of Jesus’ life and experienced powerful visions of his resurrection. Matthew, Mark and Luke all knew of her significant witness. The Anointing story is a case in point!
Three gospels, Mark, Luke and John all tell the anointing incident differently. Matthew is dependent on Mark, with two omissions. Let’s consider Matthew while introducing the relationship of the other three. The one difference between Matthew and Mark is, like Luke, Matthew omits the name of the ointment and its cost. According to Mark and John only, the ointment was pure nard costing at least 300 denarii. Perhaps Matthew omits these two details, because using pure nard on Jesus’ head makes no sense. Pure nard is an extremely thick and strong, aromatic oil. If you poured 300 denarii’s