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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: June 2014

26 - From a Greek Woman of Tyre to Jairus of Galilee


Dear Sir,

I must apologize for sending you this letter, which may, I fear, stir up in you troubling and even painful memories of long ago. However, I have only lately heard the remarkable story of your daughter, and I hope that you will be able (and willing) either to confirm the truth of it or to correct or even to reject it altogether, if need be. Your story, as I have heard it, bears a curious resemblance to a story of my own.

It was ten or more years ago that I heard that the wonder-worker, Yeshua ben Miriam, as I think he was called, had come to our vicinity. I was at my wits' end, for my daughter Phoebe had been possessed for some time by a demonic spirit, and so I went to the holy man and begged him to exorcise her. Perhaps it was because I am a woman, or perhaps because I am not a Jew, or maybe he was just in a bad mood on that day, but he certainly did not welcome my arrival, or my request. He said that our people were dogs, and that we were not fit to be fed until the children had been fed first. (I think he was referring to the Jews as ‘children’. Isn't that also an insult to your people? Although not as bad as being called a dog, I suppose, unless you're one of those crazy philosophers! But his Greek was quite poor and perhaps I misunderstood.)