From John of Apamea to Mark’s Gospel

Two Dialogues with Thomasios: A Hermeneutical Reading of Horáō, Blépō, and Theōréō

by Dempsey Rosales Acosta (Author)
©2015 Monographs 163 Pages
Series: Studies in Biblical Literature, Volume 160


From John of Apamea to Mark’s Gospel: Two Dialogues with Thomasios: A Hermeneutical Reading of Horáō, Blépō, and Theōréō combines two theological fields of investigation. The first is related to the Patristic theology of Eastern Syrian Christianity and the second resides in the field of Biblical theology. The research articulates the two fields, which complement each other through a logic exposition in that the theological conceptions of John of Apamea serve as the hermeneutical reading of the verbs of visual perception in the Markan Gospel.
The first part expounds the problem related to the quest of the historical John of Apamea, an overview of the problem of his identity based upon the most important critical works attributed to him, proposing a plausible solution. The notion of the spiritual perception of the soul is intrinsically connected with the notion of «spiritual exegesis» and «spiritual senses», essential thoughts in the theology of the dialogues with Thomasios. Applying this methodological approach to the Scripture, the second part expounds the topic of the spiritual seeing in Mark’s Gospel. The section follows four expositive stages. The first consists of the semantic analysis of the Markan terminology and its psychological implications; the second analyzes the narrative portrait of the seeing of Jesus; the third examines briefly the seeing of the demons; the last stage considers the contemplative attitude of the women in the context of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. From John of Apamea to Mark’s Gospel is essential reading for scholars in Eastern Patristic theology, Biblical theology, and spiritual theology.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Editor’s Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Part One: John of Apamea and His Oeuvre
  • Chapter I: John of Apamea’s Writings and Identity
  • 1. Premise: Eastern Christianity
  • 2. The Translated and Edited Works of John of Apamea
  • 3. The Identity of John of Apamea: Proposals
  • 3.1. The Hypothesis of Three Different Persons
  • 3.2. The Hypothesis of Two Different Persons
  • 3.3. The Hypothesis of One John of Apamea
  • 4. Concluding Elucidations
  • Chapter II: John of Apamea’s Significant Theological Notions
  • 1. The Holy Scripture and John of Apamea
  • 2. The Divine Pedagogy
  • 3. The Spiritual Physiognomy
  • 3.1. The Somatic Path
  • 3.2. The Path of the Soul
  • 3.3. The Pneumatic Path
  • 3.4. Note of Conclusion
  • Chapter III: John of Apamea and the Senses of the Soul
  • 1. The Spiritual Senses
  • 2. The Content of the Second Dialogue with Thomasios (Syr. 2, 13-21)
  • 3. The Content of the Sixth Dialogue with Thomasios (Syr. 6, 70-81)
  • 4. Corollary
  • Chapter IV: Spiritual Exegesis
  • 1. Premise
  • 2. Spiritual Exegesis: From the Literal Meaning to the Theoria
  • 3. Allegorism and Anagogy
  • 4. Patristic Exegesis of Mark’s Gospel
  • Part Two: Mark’s Gospel
  • Chapter V: Mark’s Vocabulary: The Literal Semantic Level
  • 1. Horáō (ὁράω)
  • 2. Blépō (βλέπω)
  • 3. Theōréō (θεωρέω)
  • 4. Dictionary versus the Context
  • 5. A Psychological Approach: Seeing and Seeing as
  • Chapter VI: From Littera to Theoria: Narrative Portrait of Jesus’ Seeing
  • 1. The Baptism of Jesus
  • 2. Contexts of Calling: Vocatio Universalis et Specialis
  • 3. Contexts of Healing
  • 4. Contemplation
  • 5. Note of Conclusion
  • Chapter VII: The Seeing of the Demons
  • 1. The Pericopes
  • 2. Behavioral Pattern of the Demoniacs
  • Chapter VIII: The Visual Perception of the Women: Theōréō
  • Conclusions
  • 1. The Seeing and the Christological Dimension
  • 2. The Seeing and a Dialogic Movement of Relationship
  • 3. The Seeing and the Healing Dimension of the Human Condition
  • 4. Jesus’ Seeing and a Didactic Dimension
  • 5. Pragmatic Dimension of the Texts
  • Bibliography
  • Index of Authors
  • Index of Subjects
  • Series index

← 10 | 11 → Editor’s Preface

More than ever the horizons in biblical literature are being expanded beyond that which is immediately imagined; important new methodological, theological, and hermeneutical directions are being explored, often resulting in significant contributions to the world of biblical scholarship. It is an exciting time for the academy as engagement in biblical studies continues to be heightened.

This series seeks to make available to scholars and institutions, scholarship of a high order, and which will make a significant contribution to the ongoing biblical discourse. This series includes established and innovative directions, covering general and particular areas in biblical study. For every volume considered for this series, we explore the question as to whether the study will push the horizons of biblical scholarship. The answer must be yes for inclusion.

In this volume Dempsey Rosales Acosta explores the works of the little known and studied work of John of Apamea. Using the methodological approach that is termed “spiritual exegesis,” the author explores the use of horáō, blépō, and theōréo in the Gospel of Mark, seeking to understand the notion of visual perception. It is Acosta’s contention that the theological conceptions of John of Apamea serve as the hermeneutical lenses through which the Gospel of Mark might be most faithfully interpreted and understood. One of interests in this study will be the potential scholarly impact on Markan scholarship as the variety of methodologies and lenses continue to expand. I believe that this study will be of benefit to both the academy and the Church.

The horizon has been expanded.

Hemchand Gossai

Series Editor ← 11 | 12 →

← 12 | 13 → Acknowledgements

Gratitude is a virtue that must be cultivated in every field of life, and any moment can be used as the appropriate time to practice it. For this reason it is necessary to acknowledge my gratitude to several people who have been valuable instruments in the elaboration and finalization of this research.

First of all I want to express my gratefulness to Archbishop Roberto Lückert León who has been a decisive instrument in my dedication to the study of Theology and biblical exegesis. I am especially grateful to Dr. Mario Paredes, President of the American Bible Society’s Presidential Liaison for Roman Catholic Ministries and chairman of the Board of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL), who, since 2010, has provided me with opportunities to present my work to different specialized audiences who in turn have challenged me to refine and develop the theological themes that have acquired their final form in this present book. It was during that period of time when the fundamental elements of this book began to be formulated. To Dr. Hemchand Gossai who has made possible the publication of this work with his suggestions and comments.

I thank my former professor Dr. Elena Bosetti who was the first university lecturer that opened my eyes to Mark’s Gospel through her teaching and works when I used to be her student at the Pontifical Gregorian University. I am also grateful to my assistant, Ms. Esther Hudson, whose enthusiasm for the project and helpful comments have helped to make this text more understandable in this English version. ← 13 | 14 →

← 18 | 19 → Introduction

The present work elucidates upon the relation between two theological fields that are connected through their very nature, for one builds its theological conclusions upon the other. The first field of research is related to Patristic theology, particularly focused on the Eastern writings of an enigmatic monk, who can be identified by the name John of Apamea. The second theological field resides in the discipline of Biblical Theology. For the sake of clarity and precision, the present investigation is delimited to the analysis of selected pericopes of the Gospel of Mark where the verbs of visual perception, i.e., Horáō, Blépō, and Theōréō, are found and these become the semantic objects of this study.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (March)
Patristik Jesus Syrien Hermeneutic
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 163 pp.

Biographical notes

Dempsey Rosales Acosta (Author)

Dempsey Rosales Acosta obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Master’s in Philosophy from the Catholic University Cecilio Acosta (Venezuela), his Baccalaureatus in Theology (STB) from the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), his Master’s in Biblical Languages and Exegesis from the Pontifical Biblicum Institute of Rome (SSL), and his Doctorate in Biblical Theology from the Gregorian University (Rome). In 2008 he began to work as a peritus and consultant for the Presidential Liaison for Roman Catholic Ministries of the American Bible Society (New York), and since 2010 he has been a full-time faculty member of the University of St. Thomas (Houston) teaching Holy Scripture at the undergraduate and master’s level.


Title: From John of Apamea to Mark’s Gospel
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166 pages