Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Transference and the Day of Atonement

Transference, according to Dino Felluga, “is the displacement one’s unresolved conflicts, dependencies, and aggressions onto a substitute object.”[i] I recognize that that the use of terms of psychoanalysis would appear to be out of place in a blog dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke addressed to most excellent Theophilus. But, in fact, it is not.

Luke wrote to the High Priest, who on the Day of Atonement, engaged in certain rituals we barely understand. I suggest you that the Day of Atonement completes the transference of sins that began in every village throughout Israel when the people told their problems to the village priest who placed their problems on his shoulders. Once a year the village priest traveled to Jerusalem and participated in the temple ceremonies on the Day of Atonement. By the time of Theophlius, the priests were so numerous that the village priests only participated in the temple ceremonies five times a year and even on those occasions they drew lots for the privilege of participation.

The village priests bore the sins of the people and transferred those sins from their shoulders to the shoulders of the High Priest. On the Day of Atonement, two goats were offered for sacrifice but an arbitrary decision was made regarding them. The one goat was sacrificed in the Temple for Israel's sin and its blood taken into the Holy of Holies itself. In Leviticus 16:21, Aaron is commanded to lay his hand on the scapegoat and "confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel." This confession and transference of sin to the beast is special to this occasion.[ii] This goat is then sent out laden with this sin into the wilderness.[iii] The purpose of the sacrificial blood is clearly stated:

The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life.[iv]

Following the slaughter and the blood-rite, and the burning of the fat portions on the altar, the rest of the flesh is consumed by the priests in the sacred precincts.[v]

I suggest to you the Rite of Atonement is the ritual best defined by the use of the term, transference. I plan to return to this subject that I have come to realize is an important part of the theology of the Gospel of Luke.

[i] Felluga, Dino, "Terms Used by Psychoanalysis," Introductory Guide to Critical Theory, Purdue University (2005).
[ii] Two other verses command confession as part of the process of atonement for sin: Lev. 5:5; Num. 5:6f.
[iii] Lev. 16:7-10.
[iv] Lev. 17:11.
[v] Lev. 6:24-30.

copyrighted 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


"getCITED is an online, member-controlled academic database, directory and discussion forum. Its contents are entered and edited by members of the academic community. By putting its content in the hands of its members, getCITED makes it possible to enter in and search for publications of all types. This means that, in addition to the books and articles accessible with other databases, book chapters, conference papers, working papers, reports, papers in conference proceedings, and other such research outlets can all be entered and then searched for within getCITED. In addition, getCITED makes it possible to link publications with all the publications in their bibliographies, thereby making possible a wide variety of publication and citation reports."

I have entered my personal data into the system that you can examine at

The entry for Jim West of Biblical Theology
is listed in getCited at

To illustrate how the system works, look at the entry for one of my articles, published in the Journal of Biblical Studies at

Members of the getCited system cannot only examine entries made by others, they can also within limitation create new entries such as I did for the Journal of Biblical Studies so that I could link my article to my name. I, of course, informed Brian Tucker, the general editor, what I have done so he could edit the entry if necessary. You can create entries for works that you cite as your contribution to the database.

“As a getCITED member, you can LINK a CITATION so that it can be displayed in getCITED CVs. CITATIONS are displayed as links, allowing you instant access to reference information about the work that cited you. getCITED also keeps STATISTICS of the number of CITATIONS linked to a PUBLICATION.”

Since I have been cited, I plan to obtain the necessary confirmation information and enter this information into the system. I may need to make an entry for the books that cited my article and the author who cited me.

I see a number of benefits to the academic community: 1) a new search tool; 2) additional exposure to scholars; 3) a computer base citation system; 4) more opportunities to cite and be cited.

Any one can become a member of getCited, even students. However you should be aware that getCited have installed audit-tracking tools to protect against abuse.

I enrolled last Sunday and experienced a number of problems with getCited. I found that the help desk responded quickly, acknowledging that they were having problems with the indexing program that has since been resolved and further that some of the instructions are not clear. I now feel comfortable recommending that you check the entries I have provided to see if you like what you see and if you do join. If I did not share these entries with you, you would need to join to see them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

IAA scandal

Edward M. Cook, blogging at Ralph the Sacred River, has published an article at SBL Forum: The Forgery Indictments and BAR: Learning From Hindsight,
Cook would like to think that the James ossuary scandal is somehow the fault of the magazine, Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) and its editor, Hershel Shanks. Ed Cook is not alone in his criticism. Under the view of these critics, responsible journalists would engage in a kind of self-imposed censorship. This to me is unrealistic. Furthermore it does not address the real problem.

The IAA scandal reminds me of the story of the Mormon Salamander forgery. The Church of the Later Day Saints was the biggest purchaser of Mormon artifacts, much like the Catholic Church was in the years before the Reformation. When you have institutional buyers, you create a market opportunity for crooks. Part of the problems is that the institutional buyers have not done a good job of vouching for the authenticity of their purchases.

I suspect that the Israel Antiquities Authority has replaced the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church as the largest purchaser of religious artifacts. The IAA is responsible for the enforcement of the Law of Antiquities (1978). The Department of Antiquities and Museums, which is part of the IAA, acquired the Johanna ossuary in 1984[i] and undoubtedly made numerous other acquisitions. This combination of functions in one entity is problematical. IAA has lent and created credibility for all the key players in the scandal and in effect gave them the keys to the checkbook.

A number of people who have vouched for the James ossuary and reported its existence are now belatedly saying the inscription is not authentic. Defense lawyers love the numerous contradictions already known. This in my opinion is one of the reasons why the case will fail. The trial will however not establish the authenticity of the artifacts nor will it establish responsibility for the creation of the scandal.

It is interesting to me that there is no urgent call for the IAA to examine all of the artifacts it has purchased over the last thirty years to determine which ones are fakes and of course, publish the results of their findings. Unfortunately this review would probably demonstrate how closely some of the indicted conspirators have worked with the IAA over the years.

The extent to which we, by our interest in “signs”, help create an interest in the market, we too are also participants.

[i] As readers of my blog know, I have cited the inscription on this ossuary in my writings. James VanderKam, From Joshua to Caiaphas: high priests after the Exile, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press), 2004, 442-443, and Richard Bauckham, Gospel women: studies of the named women in the gospels, (Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans), 2002, have also cited this ossuary.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Article on Acts 13:6-12

Douglas A. Campbell has published an article in The Journal of Theological Studies, 2005, 56(1):1-29, with the title “Possible Inscriptional Attestation to Sergius Paul[L]US (Acts 13:6–12), and the Implications for Pauline Chronology.”

The abstract states:
"A re-examination of an inscription found in Chytri on Cyprus suggests a possibly highly significant, though challenging, piece of further evidence for the reconstruction of Paul's life. This evidence is fragile because the inscription is very partial, but certain concrete considerations previously not remarked on suggest restoring the emperor's name in line 9 as Tiberius, and that of the Roman citizen in line 10 as Quintus Sergius Paul[l]us. Quintus Sergius was also probably the island's governor. It would follow from this restoration—which must be treated with appropriate caution—that Paul's ‘first missionary journey’, as recounted in Acts 13–14, took place during or before 37 CE, the year of Tiberius’ death. This is roughly ten years earlier than is usually thought to be the case, although it is by no means impossible in absolute terms. This conclusion renders the strictly sequential—and foundational—use of information from Acts for the reconstruction of Paul's life highly problematic. "

I plan to read this article because if Campbell is correct there will a need to rethink Pauline's chronology.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Pseudo-Philo and Luke

Luke is criticized, for recalling in his account of the sermon in Nazareth the healings in Capernaum, even though Luke has not previously mentioned any healings by Jesus. This is said to be evidence of his carelessly copying another gospel account. I would appreciate knowing who made this criticism and what was stated, as I cannot find my notes.

Several scholars have noted striking similarities between Luke-Acts and the Liber biblicarum antiquitatum of Pseudo-Philo. Eckhard Reinmuth has argued that close examination of Liber biblicarum antiquitatum has important implications for understanding Luke-Acts in its Jewish context.[i]

Reinmuth has demonstrated the habit of the author of Pseudo-Philo, Liber biblicarum antiquitatum, of “recalling material not previously mentioned in the text is not the result of oversight or carelessness; rather, such material is part of a recurring pattern fully integrated into the narrative structure of the work.”[ii]

Reinmuth calls attention to several shared elements in the narrative structures of Luke-Acts and of Liber biblicarum antiquitatum.

“On the basis of observable similarities in linguistic usage, Reinmuth rejects the view that recurring formulaic expressions in Luke's work are simply mimesis of LXX Greek. Reinmuth contends the usage may reflect contemporary Jewish usage. Like the author of Liber biblicarum antiquitatum, Luke uses biblical citations and direct quotations to frame and advance the narrative. Both writers share the same technique of recalling narrative material not previously mentioned. Analogous theological conceptions are imbedded in the general narrative structure. Among them are ideas about Israel's election, God's providential plan, and the role of narrative in describing how this plan unfolds historically.”

Reinmuth has, inter alia, demonstrated the importance of Jewish sources for understanding the theology and structure of Luke-Acts.

The most important preliminary finding is that Luke, in recalling material not previously mentioned, is using an established Jewish literary technique.

I plan to return to Pseudo-Philo and Luke.

[i] Pseudo-Philo und Lukas: Studien zum Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum und seiner Bedeutung fur die Interpretation des lukanischen Doppelwerks (WUNT 74; Tubingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1994). Pp. xii + 284. DM 198.
[ii] All quotations are from William Adler’s book review appearing in Catholic Biblical Quarterly, April 1997, of Reinmuth’s work.

copyrighted 2005

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Put Yahoo Beside Google: YaGooHooGle

My sister, the librarian, shared this search engine with me.

Hi Rich!

This is a very cool site: when you do a search, the results are posted on a split screen, one side for Google and one for Yahoo. It is fascinating to see the different results.

Thanks Stina

Pseudo-Philo, Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum

Earlier in the week I mentioned that I have been reading James Rhodes’ Epistle of Barnabas and the Deuteronomic Tradition. Barnabas asserts that the golden calf incident demonstrates that the covenant was lost forever at Sinai. I am very much interested in how the golden calf incident has been treated by writers prior to Barnabas in the post-biblical literature.

One Jewish text, I am reviewing is the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum. This text is “a paraphrastic and imaginative retelling of the Old Testament from Adam to the death of Saul.”

The apostasy of the people in worshiping the golden calf is recorded as follow:

“4. And the Lord said to Moses: Make haste hence, for the people is corrupted and hath dealt deceitfully with my ways which I commanded them. What and if the promises are at an end, which I made to their fathers when I said: To your seed will I give this land wherein ye dwell? For behold the people is not yet entered into the land, even though they bear my judgments, yet have they forsaken me. And therefore I know that if they enter the land they will do yet greater iniquities. Now therefore I also will forsake them: and I will turn again and make peace with them, that a house may be built for me among them; and that house also shall be done away, because they will sin against me, and the race of men shall be unto me as a drop of a pitcher, and shall be counted as spittle. 5. And Moses hasted and came down and saw the calf, and he looked upon the tables and saw that they were not written: and he hasted and brake them;” L.A.B. 12:4-5a. See Peter Kirby’s

copyrighted 2005

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Welcoming Pope Benedict XVI

Johann Christoph Arnold of the Bruderhof Communities offers his welcoming comments:

I agree with these comments by David’s

“It seems to me that it is a bit early to dismiss the man just by saying that he is a conservative, and traditionalist, and dogmatic person (some of the qualities that right now I see attributed to him a lot), especially when these comments come from people outside the Church, people sometimes without even a clear idea of what these terms actually mean.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Epistle of Barnabas and the Deuteronomic tradition

I am reading
Rhodes, James N., The Epistle of Barnabas and the Deuteronomic tradition: polemics, paraenesis, and the legacy of the golden-calf incident (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004) because I am trying to better understand the golden calf reference in Stephen's last sermon.

I was somewhat surprised that the Epistle of Barnabas denies the davidic royal notion of messiah (12:10b, 11b). Why? What happened between the writings of the gospels and the Epistle of Barnabas? What did the author of this epistle know that we do not? In the book, Judaisms and their Messiahs, a Jesuit, Macrae I believe, noted that we could not explain how we went from Jesus of Nazareth, Messiah of Israel, to the messianic view contained in the gospels that was pleasing to its Greco-Roman audience. Perhaps the missing clue is contained in Barnabas. It is interesting to note that one of the suppositions of the Jesuit writer is that Luke is a Gentile. I suppose we could say that Barnabas is the "dumb down" version of the Epistle to Hebrews but I do not know what benefit is derived thereby.

It is almost as if a collection of books that ought to exist vanished! Or maybe the books exist but we do not recognize them because of our suppositions about their dating.

I will be paying particularly close attention to what Rhodes says about three Jewish writings making mention of the golden calf incident and raising the question of the status of Israel’s covenant.

copyrighted 2005

Monday, April 18, 2005

More Marcan Conflations

In yesterday blog’s, prompted by a comment from Michael Turton, I noted that Lindsey made certain observations on his study of the Gospel of Mark. What I did not indicate is that Lindsey initially set out to translate the Gospel of Mark into Hebrew for the use of the members of his Hebrew-speaking congregation located near the Sea of Galilee. One of his earliest observations was “that the Lukan text was almost always easier to translate to idiomatic Hebrew than was Mark.”[i]

Today I wish to mention two more Marcan conflations noted by Lindsey.

In Luke both Jesus and John the Baptist are criticized. John had neither “eaten bread nor drunk wine” but the people said he “had a demon.” Jesus had both eaten and drunk and the people said he was a glutton and a winebibber. According to Lindsey, “The Markan conflated version has destroyed the original distinction.”[ii]

In his analysis of the Lucan Parallels to so-called Little Apocalypse of Mark 13, Lindsey noted, as did William Lockton, the same kind of Marcan conflation of Lucan pericopae and verses of Mark 13.

“The following verses in Mark and Luke are close enough to argue for some kind of direct dependence of one writer on the work of the other.”

Mark 13: 1-9 . . . . . . . . Luke 21: 5-12
Mark 13: 12-14 . . . . . . Luke 21: 16-20
Mark 13: 17-19 . . . . . . Luke 21: 23
Mark 13: 24-26 . . . . . . Luke 21: 25-27
Mark 13: 28-31 . . . . . . Luke 21: 29-31

“Lockton pointed out where the missing Lukan verses occur above no verbal Markan parallel of any kind can be located, but, where at least six of the Markan replaced verses appear, close verbal parallels exist in the twelfth, seventeenth and nineteenth chapters of Luke. These parallels are:”

Mark 13: 11 . . . . . . . . . Luke 12: 11, 12
Mark 13: 15, 16 . . . . . . Luke 17: 31
Mark 13: 21 . . . . . . . . . Luke 17: 23
Mark 13: 33 . . . . . . . . . Luke 21: 36
Mark 13: 34 . . . . . . . . . Luke 19: 12, 13

Mark 13: 35-37 . . . . . . Luke 12: 40, 38

“One can explain how Mark has dropped verses and replaced them with pick-ups from the scattered contexts of Luke’s Parousia but it is extremely difficult to understand how Luke can in any sense have used Mark in constructing his twenty-first chapter. Luke’s discourse is almost exclusively a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and as such hangs on the various references in the text to Jerusalem (Lk. 21:20, 21-auten, 24). In every instance, Mark has what appears to be a replacement: once in reference to Daniel’s abomination of desolation” (Mk 13:14), once in the borrowed verse from Luke 17:31 found in Mark 13:15, and once in a long pick-up (Mk 13:19, 20) which includes a quotation from Daniel 12:1 and some apparently lost apocalypse which emphasized the ‘chosen’ and ‘the shortening of the days’ in a way unknown in any New Testament parallels. This is a clear pattern of conflation but the more important point is that we can trace most of these conflations to literary sources, which include non-Markan portions of Luke. Sometime later I came to realize that Mark 13:32, 35-37 shows also the influence of Mark of Acts 1:6, 7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 7.”[iii]

[i] Lindsey, 12.
[ii] Lindsey, 35.
[iii] Lindesy, 42-44.

copyrighted 2005

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Todd Penner, In Praise of Christian Origins

I have been waiting for a review of this book that discusses the significance of Stephen and the Hellenists in the nascent stages of Christian development. I thank David Hindley for mentioning on XTalk this review that just appeared in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

The review is online at

Mark borrowed from Acts and the early Pauline corpus

Michael Turton asked:
"By means of synonymic interchanges, Mark also made allusions to verses in Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians."Does he have any examples? I'd love to see them!

The article for which I supplied the link is probably a summary of the many writings of Lindsey that appear in articles, books etc. not readily accessible. You might check for Lindsey articles. Many years ago I read Lindsey, A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark, wherein, Lindsey demonstrated the priority of Luke. I recall that Lindsey asserted that Mark borrowed "he is beside himself" from 2 Cor. 5:13. Lindsey noted that Mark only borrowed from the early Pauline corpus, which Lindsey defined as 1 & 2 Thess., 1 & 2 Cor. and Romans, a finding which is quite interesting.

Before I discuss the borrowings from Paul’s early writings, I would like to mention one example given by Lindsey on how Mark combined Matthew and Luke. In the story of John the Baptist, Mark states: “John whom I beheaded, he has risen.” Lindsey states: “In other words, Mark combines the story of Luke’s confused Herod with a story of a Herod who is certain!”[i] Of course, you will need to read the Matthew’s straightforward story about the tetrarch Herod in which Herod showed absolute certainty in his decision that Jesus was John the Baptist returned from the dead and compare it with Luke’s account that ends with Herod “wanted to see Jesus.”

I plan to continue my comments but I will need to locate my notes.

[i] Lindsey, 31.

coyrighted 2005

Thursday, April 14, 2005

God fearers II

In yesterday’s blog, I noted that God-fearers appear in the Septuagint with the last reference being the Book of Malachi. The dissident priests of Malachi are challenging the legitimacy of the temple establishment led by priests who are considered to be sons of Zadok. In the time of Luke, including the time from 35 B.C.E. to 66 C.E., four priestly families, who were not of Zadokite descent, dominated the office of the high priest.

Cassidy suggested that a possible explanation for Paul's reply in Acts 23:3 and 5 may be that the “white-washed wall” retort raised the issue of the legitimacy of Ananias in the high-priestly office[i] just as Stephen challenged the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin to try him.[ii]

It may be that Luke, in using “God-fearers”, is letting Theophilus the High Priest know the gospel he has received has come from the remnant who considered themselves to be like the group of people in Malachi, clearly Jewish, who fear God and are described as pious, righteous and loyal to the true God. Luke may also be suggesting, like the dissident priests of Malachi, that the followers of Jesus have challenged the legitimacy of the office holder.

The use of the Malachi material created by a group of dissident priests suggests that there is more than one way to view legitimacy of the office holder. I have been inclined to believe that Luke was objecting to the conduct of the office holder, not his family tree. Modern scholarship has shown that there is no one single view of second Temple Judaism. There were numerous groups and factions with many different views.

[i]. R.J. Cassidy, Society and Politics in the Acts of the Apostles, (Maryknoll, NY 1987), 64-65, 188-189, suggested that “the white-washed wall” retort based on Ezekiel 13:10-12 raised the issue of the legitimacy of Ananias.
[ii]. Esler, P.F., Community and Gospel in Luke-Acts: The Social and Political Motivations of Lucan Theology, (Cambridge, 1987), 123, has said that Stephen's speech can be understood in modern legal terms as a challenge to the jurisdiction of the court. This could also be understood and expressed as a challenge to the illegitimacy of the officeholder and/or the Sanhedrin.

copyrighted 2005

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lindsey on Sources and Interrelationships

Four Important Insights or Keys for Understanding the Sources and the Interrelationship of the Synoptic Gospels
By Robert L. Lindsey, PhD

God fearers

In the literature on Acts of the Apostles, there is discussion about God-fearers and whether or not Luke created this group of people (Cornelius) who seems to appear only in Acts. I did not realize it but the term does appear in the Septuagint (2 Chron 5:6; Psalms 115:9-11; 118:2-4; 135:19-20 and Mal. 3:16)(but not the MT). In Malachi 3:16, there is reference to a group of people, clearly Jewish, who fear God who are described as pious, righteous and loyal to the true God. What is interesting is that Malachi is a book about Levite priests who are on the outside, not being sons of Zadok, who defend the abiding validity of God’s covenant with Levi.

It is clear to me that Luke did not invent the phrase. The question is why did he use the phrase? In as much as Luke cites Malachi, he in his citation is alerting us to something. Something more than what has been considered.

copyrighted 2005

Monday, April 11, 2005

Where Salome danced for the king is reporting the discovery of a marble floor in the palace of Herod Antipas where Salome danced for the king.

“According to archaeologist Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld, director of the three-week dig that ended yesterday, the floor is apparently a remnant of a pavement in the palace of Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, who ruled the Galilee from 4 BCE to 38 CE.”

See more at

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The golden calf incident

In Acts 7:41, Luke wrote “And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and rejoiced in the works of their hands.”

Consequently, I have rewritten a sentence of “Rewriting of Sacred History” to include the “golden calf” with a new endnote as follow:

“This rewriting is directed particularly at Luke because only Luke includes unmistakable references to Enoch, Moses, the golden calf
[i], Elijah, Lot, the Diaspora, covenant-rooted ingathering of the exiles, and a circumcised messiah out of the house of David.”

Luke includes “And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and rejoiced in the works of their hands” in close proximity to “A large number of priests gave their obedience to the faith.”

I am wondering if Luke identified with these priests and the Northern Levites who are said to have inserted this story of the Golden Calf into Sacred Scriptures as a subtle criticism of the priesthood of the Jerusalem Temple. These priests, who joined the community of the followers of Jesus, liked the Northern Levites, considered the temple establishment in Jerusalem to be idolatrous. In any event Josephus appreciated what Luke has done and thus he rewrote sacred scriptures to eliminate the scriptural support for Acts 7:41 by omitting the golden calf incident from his rewriting of sacred scripture.

[i] Feldman notes that Josephus has omitted any mention of the incident of the golden calf and its consequences. Feldman, Louis H. "Rearrangement of Pentateuchal Material in Josephus' Antiquities, Books 1-4" is available on the Internet.
[ii] Acts 6:7.

copyrighted 2005

The judge has spoken

Everyday there are new blogs and new explanations for why we blog. Since I am an attorney, I am aware that Judge Richard A. Posner, who has a blog, recently noted, “the greater degree of freedom and autonomy associated with blogs as compared to traditional publishing. He points out that though editors are not involved, comments and other blogs can provide quick corrections to errors.” E-LawLibrary Weblog,

I look forward to the quick correction of my errors but not by any judge in my jurisdiction.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Rejected Stone

The parable of the wicked tenants concludes with an allusion to Psalm 118:22 about “the stone which the builders rejected.” None of the Gospels tell us Jesus is the stone that was rejected or that 'builders' is a term for the religious aristocracy. Luke tells us in his second publication that Jesus is the stone that was rejected. Acts 4:7-12. It was a favorite quotation of the early Church as a description of the death and the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 4:11; 1 Peters 2:7; Barnabus 6:4). By the time of Justin Martyr, “the stone” had become a name for Jesus (Dialogue with Trypho 34). In Acts 4:11, Peter calls the religious aristocracy of the Temple, “builders”.

The stone as a messianic image in Judaism draws especially on Isa. 28:16 and Dan 2:44-45. Consequently one would expect that Josephus would somehow acknowledge the “stone”. The closest Josephus comes to discussing a Messianic theme in his rewriting of sacred scriptures is his reference to the meaning of 'the stone' in Dan. 2, 'which I do not think proper to relate' (Ant. 10, 10. 4).

copyrighted 2005

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Have you been to the Carnival?


I am impressed with the extent of your scholarship; I think it is very hard for someone to be knowledgeable enough about one entry to write a thoughtful review let alone about numerous entries.

Just to illustrate, I actually wrote 13 pages on Reading Luke Chiastically wherein I discussed over several pages whether or not a gospel could be a large chiasmus. See below:

In the past twenty years, a number of scholars have shown that chiasmus is a structural tool of biblical rhetoric. Scholars readily acknowledge their prevalence even though they often find it hard to determine the shape of particular chiasmus. The documentation has not been persuasive because neither a good definition has been established nor a set of rules developed that can be uniformly applied. Consequently, chiastic structures that were apparent to ancient listeners are difficult for modern interpreters to define exactly even in the same pericopes. Furthermore, Ian Thomson has questioned whether chiastic structures can be shown to exist in macro settings which he defines as more than 15 verses. Thomson, Porter and Reed have asserted to date a convincing set of criteria for how to identify chiasm has not been developed. [footnotes omitted] [copyrighted 2005]

Consequently the achievement of Michael Turton is quite impressive and I am especially happy you discussed his masterpiece.

I do not know, because after all, I am only blogging, whether or not, my idea [Rewriting Sacred History] is truly original. I think it is. Thank you again for your comments.

thanks again.

Richard H. Anderson

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Two dressed in dazzling white

Lee Dahn has identified the two men in the tomb dressed in “dazzling whites”:

Johanna, a person of means

“Johanna, Disciple of the Lord or Jailbait?” II

Ben Witherington, III has suggested in his article which appeared in the Spring 2005 issue of BR that Joanna supplied the Jesus movement with food and provision taken from Chuza who was Herod’s epitropos. As epitropos, Chuza was responsible for Herod’s financial affairs and was in charge of all of Herod’s properties and estates.[i] He was the King’s personal representative.[ii]

Would Johanna as the wife of Chuza been able to supply the Jesus movement with food and provisions if she were just the wife of Chuza? Would Jesus have permitted the provisioning of his movement with food taken without permission from Herod? It is more likely that Johanna was wealthy independent of her marriage to Chuza. Being a retainer Chuza had power and prestige but no spare money. The codex Bezae in Lk 8:3 states something interesting about the women: "ek tôn uparkontôn autôn (with the genitive and not autais, a dative)= from their goods". These women helped Jesus and the Apostles with their own properties, with goods belonging to them "in title" (genitive).[iii]

Before concluding that Johanna really did contribute to the Jesus movement out of her possessions, we need to examine the provisions for Jewish daughters in the first century at the time of their marriage. There are several observations made by Tal Ilan[iv] relevant to this issue:

"Marriage into priestly families was considered to be a great honor. This had a practical side. We find that the court of priests in Jerusalem would levy for priestly daughters marrying into non‑priestly families a ketubbah of 400 zuz, in other words, if they are divorced or widowed priestly daughters receive an amount equivalent to twice that of an Israelite daughter (mKet. 1.5); this ensured that only sons of well to do families would marry into the priesthood.[v]

Throughout the Hellenistic‑Roman period, and according to all relevant sources, marriage was a matter to be settled by the parents of the bride and groom, on the basis of social connection and status.[vi]

The transfer of the woman from the authority of her father to the authority of her husband was viewed conceptually as the transfer of property by purchase.[vii]

The marriage contract (ketubbah) is not mentioned in the Bible; yet a ketubbah is mentioned already in Tobit (7.14), dated as early as the beginning of the Second Temple period. The ketubbah was essentially a monetary arrangement between the bride and groom with the purpose of ensuring the bride's maintenance in the event of divorce or the husband's death."[viii]

At the time of the betrothal the parties would also settle the matter of the bridal-gift, the property given by the bride’s father or such as was previously hers. According to Ecclesiasticus XXV:21-22, the bridal-gift remains in the control of the wife. It was held that “she may sell them or give them away and her act is valid.”[ix] These observations strongly suggest that Jewish custom and law provided financial protection for their daughters as they entered marriage. Obviously these provisions are only relevant for persons of means and are not generally applicable to the daughters of the poor agrarian class that constituted the vast majority of society. Thus it can be said codex Bezae is consistent with Jewish custom and law in that Yohanah used her own assets and she did not help Jesus and the Apostles with the money of her husband Chuza at her disposal.

Since the preceding paragraphs establish that Johanna had the means to donate her own property which she had acquired from her father to the Jesus movement, the Johanna of Luke 8:3 was a person of means.

[i] H. Hoehner, Herod Antipas, Cambridge (1972), 304.
[ii] Stegemann and Stegemann, The Jesus Movement, Minneapolis (1999), 131.
[iii] Kim, Stewardship and Almsgiving in Luke’s Theology, (Sheffield 1998), 104 notes: The woman “made use of material possession of their own” quoting Plummer, Luke, 216, in support thereof, “Probably the scale of their expenses would have been large, the whole band of wandering followers around Jesus being duly calculated; this would indicate that ‘they were persons of substance.’”
[iv] Jewish Women in Greco‑Roman Palestine: an Inquiry into Image and Status, Tubingen, (1995).
[v] Ilan at 72.
[vi] Ilan at 79.
[vii] Ilan at 88.
[viii] Ilan at 89.
[ix] M. Kethuboth VIII 1.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

"Johanna, Apostle of the Lord or Jailbait?"

BR (Spring 2005) has done it again. But you should be aware that the author, although thanking his friend for his insight, has not cited the article about the ossuary bearing the inscription, “Johanna, granddaughter of the High Priest Theophilus”, although his friend did cite this article in his book. I guess we can’t base any arguments on ossuaries this year. Neither Ben Witherington III in his article nor Richard J. Bauckham in his book, Gospel Women, was willing to discuss the possible relationship between Johanna and the recipient of the gospel or the possibility that Johanna was wealthy independent of Chuza. After all the two of them only appear in the Gospel of Luke.

Even apart from the ossuary, it is necessary to discuss the possible relationship between Johanna and Theophilus because Johanna occupies the center position of a chiasmus that serves to introduce a second chiasmus. This chiastic structure is extremely important because Johanna is a witness to the resurrection. Luke, with this two-part chiastic structure, has directed the attention of most excellent Theophilus to the most important part of the gospel.

With this background, one can now understand the significance of the chiastic structure of Luke 24:8-11 and 24: 13-35. The importance of Johanna is revealed through a literary device, the chiasmus. Lee Dahn[i] not only noted that Luke 24:8-11 is a chiasmus but also that Johanna is the center and climax of the chiasmus. This point is highlighted by the chiastic pattern of the text itself. Recall that a chiasmus is a literary device that arranges words and ideas into two parallel and inverted passages, with an odd member placed at the vertex, where the two passages intersect (ABCB'A'). The odd, seemingly out of place word or phrase found at the vertex (X) helps the reader locate the passage's principal idea. Consider verses 8‑11 in this light:

A Then they remembered his words and returning from the tomb,

B they reported all this to the Eleven and all the others.

X Now it was Mary of Magdala and Johanna, and Mary the mother of James,

B' and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.

A' But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.[ii]

Johanna was previously identified in Lk 8:3 as the wife of Chuza, a steward of Herod's. Johanna is also the center of Lk. 8:3 and is provided "the most specific description, the content of which seems particularly important."[iii] Earlier, it was stated that Luke has made Johanna one of his eyewitnesses to the resurrection. Professor Fred Long has pointed out the seeming odd or repetitive narrative material included by the author to create the chiasmus: "and the other women with them."[iv] The significance of this proclamation is further heightened by the chiastic structure contained in Luke 24:13-35 that immediately follows this one.

A That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem (13), and talking with each other about all these things that had happened (14).

B While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them (15).

C But their eyes were kept from recognizing him (16).

D And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad (17).

E Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" (18-19a)

F And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. (19b-21)

G Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. (22a)

X They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. (22b-23)

G' Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." (24)

F' And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (25-26)

E' And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (27)

D' So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. (28-30)

C' And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. (31)

B' They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" (32)

A' And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (33-35)

This second chiasmus detailing the experiences of the Two Men on the Road to Emmaus is like an example provided by Kenneth Bailey in that the women and in particular Johanna are at the climax of the chiasmus in the first stanza and featured prominently in G, X and G' of the second stanza.

Luke 24:8-11 forms a chiasmus that when read in conjunction with Luke 24:13-35, another chiasmus, makes Johanna a witness to the resurrection with Johanna at the vertex of the first stanza and together with the women are treated prominently in the second stanza of the two part chiasmus. This is additional evidence that Johanna is someone important to Theophilus if an otherwise unknown person is the vertex of a chiasmus.

So the question is, does most excellent Theophilus know who Johanna is? Is she someone important to him?

[i] Correspondence with the author.
[ii] Revised Standard Version.
[iii] Professor Fred Long, correspondence with the author, July 26, 2002.
[iv] Private correspondence with the author, July 26, 2002.

Death of the High priest

A dear friend asked me whether I recognized the death of John Paul II as the death the High Priest. Margaret Barker, in one of her writings, mentioned that when a person is installed as a bishop in the Greek Orthodox Church, he is also installed in a separate ceremony as a high priest. So I cannot say that the thought has never occurred to me. It however is still a strange thought for me to contemplate.

John Paul II was a truly unusual man. May he rest in peace.

A kingdom of priests

I was planning on adding a few comments to yesterday’s blog but instead I leave you with these words that I am contemplating today.

[3] And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: [4] You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. [5] Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, [6] and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." [7] So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. [9] And the LORD said to Moses, "Lo, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you for ever." Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. [10] And the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, [11] and be ready by the third day; for on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

Translation from the RSV; emphasis added.

copyrighted 2005

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Luke 2:40-52 and I Samuel 2:26-3:19

Lee Dahn in his blog on March 30, 2005 with this title,, states: “A second reason Theophilus would have found this story significant is its strong parallel to that of I Samuel 2-3.”

I reviewed Luke 2:40-52 in Plummer’s Commentary on Luke and note his only comment on I Samuel is with respect to Lk. 2:52. He states: “The verse is very similar to 1 Sam. Ii 26, of which it is perhaps a quotation.” Plummer does not comment on the significance of this observation.

Bovon’s comments are more extensive. With verse to Luke 2:42 he states: “In both Greek and Jewish biography, there is the topos of the gifted hero, who at twelve years demonstrates his superior intelligence: Cyrus, Cambyses, Alexander, and Epicures-or Solomon, Samuel and Daniel (citing De Jonge, “Sonship,” 322-23). According to Josephus (citing Ant. 5.10.4 § 348), Samuel began to prophesy as a twelve-year old. Thus Luke intends to describe Jesus’ superiority by having him follow in the footstep of great heroes.”[i] Commenting on verse 46, Bovan states, inter alia: “The teachers’ acceptance of him in this manner testifies to Jesus’ wisdom, though this wisdom expresses itself in listening and questioning.”[ii]

Bovan’s detailed discussion of verse 49 includes these comments. “The biblical accounts of Samuel (1 Sam [LXX 1 Kgdms] 2:18-26) and of Daniel have left their mark. The footnote states in part, According to ancient witnesses, Daniel was twelve years old when he sat down with the elders and began to rule (citations omitted). .... Finally, many LXX mss. mention that Solomon was twelve when he ascended to the throne (1 Kgs [3 Kgdms] 2:12).”

Coleridge, The Birth of the Lukan Nartrative, Narrative as Christology in Luke 1-2, does not cite or mention 1 Samuel in discussing Luke 2:40-52.[iii]

I also checked Darrell Bock’s Commentary on Luke. With respect to 2:40 he states in part: “The language has both OT (Judg. 13:24; 1 Sam. 2:21, 26) and NT parallels (Acts 6:8; 7:10: Bovan 1989: 150 n. 79).”[iv] Bock’s only other comment is with respect to 2:52 where he states: “The wording is like 1 Sam. 2:21, 26.”[v]

It appears that Roger Aus’ book, Samuel, Saul, and Jesus: three early Palestinian Jewish Christian Gospel Haggadoth, published by Scholars Press, (1994), includes the only extended comparative analysis of Luke 2:40-52 and I Samuel 2:26-3:19.

Plummer, Bovan, Coleridge, Bock and Aus have not recognized the possible significance of Luke’s implicit comparison of Jesus to Samuel. Luke tells us that Jesus is a prophet like Moses. Both Jeremiah and Josephus consider Samuel to be one of the greatest prophets. Luke does not explicitly state that Jesus is a prophet like Samuel.[vi] Yet Bovan concludes: “Luke intends to describe Jesus’ superiority by having him follow in the footstep of great heroes.” Bovan does not state: “Luke intends to describe Jesus’ superiority by having him follow in the footstep of Moses and Samuel.”

Why then, if we accept Lee Dahn’s original and insightful observation, is Luke being subtle in comparing Jesus to Samuel, one of the greatest prophets, who resided in the temple at Shiloh from the age of two and according to 1 Samuel 2:35 is the fulfillment of God’s promise to “raise up for myself a faithful high priest”?

[i] Evangelium nach Lukas: 1. [English] Luke 1: a commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1-9:50 by François Bovon; tr. by Christine M. Thomas; ed. by Helmut Koester, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002), 111.
[ii] Bovan, 112.
[iii] Coleridge, 183-213.
[iv] Bock, 254.
[v] Bock, 274.
[vi] Moses appears 80 times in NT, (6 in Luke); Samuel three times in NT, twice in Acts and once in Hebrew.

Copyrighted 2005

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Book Reviews

PRAXAPOSTOLOS (Acts and General Letters)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Desolating Sacrilege

I have been wondering about the incident of the Roman shields mentioned by Philo and believed by some scholars to be the reference to the “desolating sacrilege” mentioned in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. Why is it that Luke does not include in Luke 21:20-24: “But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be?”

Can it be shown that Luke did not mention the “desolating sacrilege” because the incident of the shields and/or Caligula occurred after the crucifixion?

Other scholars cite the intention of Caligula to install his statute in the Temple as the “desolating sacrilege.”

Is this evidence that the Lucan pericope is the earliest or based on an earlier more accurate tradition than that utilized by Matthew and Mark?

copyrighted 2005