Michael J. Haren, «The Naked Young Man: a Historians Hypothesis on Mark 14,51-52», Vol. 79 (1998) 525-531
The article starts from the premiss that the young man in question - whatever his subsequent symbolical value - was a historical person. It notes the proximity of his association with Jesus implied by the evangelists usage. It comments on the fact that in the sources for the Passion there is only one figure besides Jesus who was the object of a projected arrest by the authorities and one figure besides Jesus on whom an arrest is known to have been actually attempted. Suggesting that the historian dealing with secular sources would be prompted to consider an identification accordingly, the article examines the implications.
resolution by the authorities Bethany itself might not be altogether safe for continuous residence 16. Even if there were no particular purpose in his being in the Garden that night, Lazarus might well have been disposed to share the Masters danger (cf. John 11,16). Though not one of the twelve, he was a friend (John 11,3; 11,11) and one, surely, with a special debt. That his nerve should have failed in the end (if his escape is to be so interpreted) would simply place him on a footing in that respect with all the rest. It may be observed too that Lazarus would serve well the function of "missing witness" to Jesus prayer in the Garden that prompted B. Saundersons inquiry 17. However, if the suggested identification need occasion no surprise on general considerations, there are some obvious problems about it and these must be addressed even if they can be answered only speculatively.
The most serious problem is why if the figure was Lazarus he is not named. This can be no more confidently answered than the larger question why the synoptics have no mention either of his raising or of the supposed impact on Jerusalem opinion of the reports of his raising. In default of a confident answer a hypothesis may be advanced which would cater for both defects. During the period in which the synoptic tradition was in formation there may have been need for reticence on the subject of Lazarus, either because, as suggested by John, he had been the object of some proceeding or a fortiori because, on the above identification, he was a fugitive 18. John says of Jesus, in the aftermath of his raising of Lazarus but before the report of the resolution concerning Lazarus himself, that the Jewish authorities issued orders that anyone who knew of his whereabouts should give information (John 11,57). A similar order may have been made about Lazarus and, if made, it is perhaps unlikely that it was revoked. This would not be the only point at which reticence of the kind might be suspected in the sources. While all the Gospels have a reference to an attack by one of Jesus party upon the servant of the high priest (Matt 26,51; Mark 14,47; Luke 22,50; John 18,10-11), only John names the assailant. It would be difficult to suppose if Johns information were accurate that there would not have been a general awareness within the community, at least in the early period, that he was Simon Peter 19. Whether in respect of Mark