Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Step Progression Method

Krodel claims that “Luke never says everything at once, but expands and unfolds earlier themes as he moves step by step from one episode to another.”

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. Eckhard Reinmuth has demonstrated, based on his detailed study of Liber biblicarum antiquitatum of Pseudo-Philo, that Luke, in recalling material not previously mentioned, is using an established Jewish literary technique.

“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 return to this matter which I addressed last April 24th to note that Nahum Sarna published “The Anticipatory Use of Information as a Literary Feature of the Genesis Narratives.” Sarna provided a number of examples in the Hebrew text such Genesis 9:18, 22 and 13:10 where the phrase “This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah” appears to be an added insertion. Sarna states that these examples of “introducing a parenthetic note not immediately germane” are part of a literary technique of the author. These literary features are retained by the Septuagint.

Copyrighted 2007


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