Notes on “Ephphatha”

Captions provided. Watch in high definition. Watch the companion poem at

Image description: Eric Epstein, a white young man with shaved hair, wearing a green T-shirt. The background is a whiteboard that lists the following: “(line 1) Title: Ephphatha (line 2) Characters: Jesus Christ, Deaf person, the public (line 3) Setting: Decapolis, ~4 BC/BCE-33 AD/CE (line 4) Topic:Jesus makes a deaf person hear again (line 5) Theme: Inner awakening(line 6) Tone: Direct.” He is signing “GROUP.”

Transcript: [Eric, a white man, is standing in front of a whiteboard] The poem “Ephaphatha” is based on an ancient word in the Aramaic language, which means “Be opened.” Whether it be the opening of the ear, mind, or heart is up to interpretation. The poem takes place in Jesus’s lifetime. It was in Decapolis, a region, where Jesus walked and saw a deaf person. Jesus placed his finger on the tongue of the deaf person and his hand on the ear of the deaf person. Then, Jesus said, “Ephphatha.” Suddenly, the deaf person could hear again. Instead of focusing on the deaf person’s experience, the poem focuses on the public’s reaction. One group of people looked on in amazement, recorded the miracle, and then spread it around. The other group of people, rather than hearing “Ephphatha” with their ears, heard it with their heart. They were literally opened to the deaf person’s experience, which they took to heart, as what was truly Jesus’s teaching. The tone of the poem is direct, as the narrator says this happened and that happened. Ultimately, the poem is about how the word “Ephphatha” impacts different people.

Major disclaimer: This video is a work in progress.

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