Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Importance of Allusions in Luke

More than twenty years ago, Cradock wrote an article about how to write a good sermon. Using examples from Luke, Craddock illustrated the point that it was better to use good allusions in your sermon than quotations. Initially, he indicated that the extensive use of allusions means that Luke and Theophilus shared a common body of information, in this instance the Septuagint. Craddock noted that using allusions was a time saving device in which the author writes something to trigger recollection. Luke’s use of allusions permits him to combine tradition with the story he loved to tell. The Lucan narrative is strengthened as the reader combines it with recollections of OT characters such as Samuel, Elijah, and Jonah.

When one reads that "the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip" (Acts 8:39), the reader may recall 1 Kg. 18:12 and 2 Kg. 2:16. Luke locates in Joppa, Peter's resistance to the Gentile mission (Acts 9-10), recalling a similar story involving Jonah in the same city (Jonah 1:3). Of the two examples, the second is more significant. The example not only strengthens the story of Peter and Cornelius, it may also provide additional insight to the understanding of the Sign of Jonah.

I noted that there were perhaps 18 Jeremiah allusions in Luke. Initially I assumed that the persons creating these lists had active imagination but I now concede that whether or not these allusions are recognized by me does not hinder my appreciation of Luke-Acts. In fact, most of these allusions are not necessary for our understanding but those that are appreciated enrich our understanding.

Copyrighted 2006


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