Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Elegant Universe

In The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene describes “A universe in which space and time are malleable, a universe in which the fabric of space can rip, . . . .”  This sounds like something from the Gospel of Mark where at the baptism of Jesus the heaven is ripped.

Perhaps Mark was a scientist and a professor of physics and mathematics.

Now, I have decide whether it is more important to read The Elegant Universe or the Gospel of Mark in order to better understand the world in which we live.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Messianic Secret

Yesterday I read the Gospel of Mark in one sitting and noticed that Mark has included some unusual features in his account of the baptism of Jesus which can only explained by Mark copying both Matthew and Luke. Only Mark has ‘torn’ but more importantly only Luke tells us that the crowd heard and saw the event. Both Mark & Matthew have the pronoun ‘he’ indicating, according to them, only Jesus saw and heard the theophany which means that Matthew and Mark, or one of them, acquired the account from Luke and the other copied it. Since Mark has a strong messianic secret no one not even Mark could know about this event until later and none of gospels has Jesus telling the disciples what happened at his baptism. 

William Wrede first identified the existence of the theme of the Messianic secret and indicated it was not historical but was an addition by the author of Mark. Wrede also suggested that his theory would work best if Marcan priority turned out to be false.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Votive Practices at Mount Gerizim

The recent PhD Thesis by Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme © 2011 with the lengthy title, Before the God in this Place for Good Remembrance: An Analysis of the Votive Inscriptions from Mount Gerizim contain the following statements:

“Gerizim in the 2nd century BCE and therefore the votive inscriptions from Gerizim offer us a rather unique window to Yahwistic votive practice in Hellenistic period Palestine.
As mentioned above, the conclusion is reached that there is nothing particularly ‘Samaritan’ about the worship carried out on Mount Gerizim in the 2nd century BCE, but that the sanctuary on Mount Gerizim simply gives us an example of Yahwistic worship in Hellenistic period Palestine.”

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Archaeology of Shechem and Samaria

In 1983 archaeological excavations were begun on Mount Gerizim which continued uninterrupted for twenty-two years. Yitzhak Magen, according to the preliminary report of these excavations, dates the first temple to the middle of the 5th century BCE. Magen’s excavation also led to the discovery of three Proto-Ionic capitals, “of this type, date to the Iron age and generally appear in temples.” Thus, Mount Gerizim was a cultic center beginning from the Iron age.

Magen’s findings are consistent with the Biblical account that Omri of Israel built the city of Samaria (2 Kings 16:24; Mesha Stele; around 885 BCE). According to Norma Franklin, Omri selected this site for the newly established capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel because “it served as the hub of a highly specialized and lucrative oil and wine industry that flourished throughout southern Samaria.” More likely Omri wanted the capital to be close to the existing cultic center on Mount Gerizim because this was “the place that the Lord has chosen.” 

In fact as established by Stefan Schorch, the original text of the MT was changed. “Thus, the textual change from ‘he has chosen’ (Heb) to ‘he will chose’ (Heb) seems to have taken place in the period between 4QMMT and the Temple Scroll, i.e. around the middle of the 2nd century B.C.E.”

“The readings found today in the Samaritan Pentateuch (i.e. ‘Mount Gerizim’ in Deut 27:4 and ‘he has chosen’ in the centralization formula) were part of the original text” accepted by both the Jerusalem Temple and the Mount Gerizim sanctuary communities.

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Chronicles as a source for Luke

The Chronicler described a community acting together to help their captives in these words: “ . . .  and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all that were naked among them; they clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them; and carrying all the feeble among them on asses, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Sama'ria.” 2 Chr 28:15

Japhet said that “Nowhere else in the Bible do we find a community of men, motivated by purely humanitarian and religious causes, acting in perfect unity in order to help their captives.”

The Samaritans rendered aid and assistance to their captives because the Judeans were their brothers.

The I-95 corridor storm has made travel dangerous setting a record for power outages.

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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Special Treatment

Jesus is treated as special but we only appreciate this special treatment in the Gospel of Luke by comparing Luke to Matthew and Mark. By implication, this may mean this may mean that neither Matthew nor Mark understood his sources or modified them for their Hellenistic audience. Furthermore this special treatment may implicate our understanding of the synoptic relationship.

Koet teaches that God speaks mouth to mouth with Moses and Jesus. The unique position of Moses and Jesus may explain the occurrence of dreams and visions in Acts of the Apostles and their absence in the Gospel of Luke.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jesus as the eschatological priest

There are a number of enigmatic passages that can be better understood once we recognize that both Jesus and Theophilus areLabels priests. Since 1997, there has been a paradigm shift in Lucan studies in that academic scholarship has begun to recognize that both Luke and Theophilus are Jewish, and not Gentiles, and that most excellent Theophilus served as High Priest from 37 to 41 C.E. Secondly, beginning in 2004, scholars have acknowledged that perhaps Jesus in his sermon in Nazareth was telling us he is a special kind of priest.

Isaiah 61 speaks, in the first person, of an “anointed” figure whose activities seem to suggest that he is an eschatological prophet. Scripture has identified only two prophets as having been anointed: Elijah and Elisha, both mentioned by Jesus in his sermon in Nazareth. The anointing of Elijah and Elisha indicates they were both high priests. This identification of the anointed one of Isaiah 61 with a priest is supported by the mention of the priesthood in Isaiah 61:6 in these words: “But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord . . . .” The priestly nature of the anointed figure in Isaiah 61, the quotation from Isaiah 61:1-2 and the reference to Elijah and Elisha in the sermon is evidence that hidden polemics has been employed to advocate that Jesus is a special kind of priest. Fifty verses later, in Lk 5:24, Jesus, speaking as the son of man, claimed he had the power to forgive sins, and parenthetically,
consequently rendered the sacrificial system obsolete.

The poor, blind, captives and the oppressed are all named when the Lucan Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” A number of the scholars who have examined this passage have noted that the captives and the oppressed are never mentioned again. These scholars failed to recognize the creativity of Luke.

Luke begins his gospel by having a priest from the hill country offer sacrifice in the Temple. The wife of this hill country priest is one “of the daughters of Aaron.” Zachariah and Elizabeth are both described as “righteous before God.” Thus the Greek word, δίκαιος, is first applied to righteous individuals such as Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth and Simeon then applied by the centurion to Jesus on the cross. In his second letter written in early sixties, Luke continues in the next step of progression to designate Jesus as “the Righteous One” and “the righteous one” as “the son of man” and eschatological agent of God. The designation in Acts appears only speeches delivered to Jewish audiences in Jerusalem.

Zechariah and Elizabeth live in a city of Judah in the hill county (Lk 1:39). According to Joshua 20:7, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), located in hill country of Judah, is a city of refuge. Thus Zechariah is a priest with a ministry to persons who have fled to the levitical place of refuge in Hebron, whose “guests” living in a self imposed exile as captives, receive “atonement” upon the death of the high priest. The last “righteous” priest of the old levitical order is a special kind of priest. 

This new series of blog postings will explain how “righteous” as a adjective used originally as a term of piety for a simple rural priest and his wife became a term, used interchangeably, to designate Jesus as the eschatological high priest.

This new series of blog postings will also attempt to establish that the messianic hopes are fulfilled in Jesus as the eschatological high priest.

This is a work in progress.

© copyrighted 2014.

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