Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Significance of Miletus

Paul delivers his farewell speech to the elders of the Ephesian church. This form of speech is well established in the Gentile and Jewish literature. The numerous parallels in this address to the Pauline letters have been well documented.

As Paul prepared to depart from Ephesus for his voyage to Jerusalem he warned the flock about the dangers they would face. His departing speech included words which make a compelling statement about Luke’s familiarity about Paul’s teachings.

Yet there may be an even stronger example.

John Bligh has suggested that Paul saw himself as Joseph and further that Luke saw a resemblance between Paul and Joseph “because Acts 20:37 sounds like a deliberate reminiscence of Genesis 50:1.”

Compare these two verses:

“Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him.”

“All wept much, and falling upon Paul’s neck, they kissed him.”

Why would the above be evidence of familiarity?

In Genesis 50:18-19, after the death of Israel, his sons the patriarchs came to Joseph “and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we your servants.’” But Joseph said to them, “Fear not, for am I in the place of God?” The Septuagint reads, “for I am of God,” that is to say, I am a servant of God. Philo explained, “He declared that he had not received his commission at the hands of men but had been appointed by God.” This is a remarkable parallel to Gal. 1:1!

Bligh in a footnote then tells how Joseph accused his brothers of spying on him. Likewise, Paul in Gal. 2:4 accused Jerusalem of spying on him.

Both Paul and Luke considered Paul to be a new Joseph. After all did not Paul bring famine relief to the brothers in Jerusalem just as Joseph provided famine relief to his brothers who came to Egypt for help?

In claiming for Paul, with an allusion to Genesis 50, a resemblance with Joseph, one of the patriarchs, Luke was implicitly confirming that Paul was one of the Apostles.

Copyrighted 2006


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