Rank Speculation and Circularity
I suppose that I should place the title in quotation marks.
I am very much interested in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. I suspect that you are also.
There are several undisputed facts. With one exception the high priests named in the New Testament are members of the Family of Ananus. Bauckham said: “It is noteworthy that in every known case action against the
Ananus served as High Priest from 6 to 15 CE and five of his sons and one famous son-in-law, beginning with Eleazar served over the next fifty years: Eleazar, 16-17 CE, Ant. 18:34; Caiaphas, 18-37 CE, 18:35, 95; Jonathan, 3 or 5 months in 37 CE, Ant. 18:195, 123; Theophilus, 37-41 CE, Ant. 18:123; Matthias, Ant. 19:316, 342; and Ananus, short time in 62 CE, Ant. 20:223. A grandson served as the next to the last High Priest: Matthias, son of Theophilus, 65-67,
Nelson had stated that “Precisely because priests were seen as custodians of the faith, the issue of unfaithful and disobedient priests became a recurring literary theme: . . . .” Nelson was discussing the prophetic literature of the Old Testament.
In the parable, the rich man “was clothed in purple and linen.” William Barclay said: “That is the description of the robes of the High Priests, . . . .” Although Barclay provides no citations, Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews states: “and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing.” These citations are ultimately based upon Exodus 28 where we find the instructions given to Aaron for making the high priest's garments; "blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen" (Exodus 28:5-8,15,31,39). I concede purple was also the clothing of royalty.
Nickelsburg and Grensted have noted the parallelism between Luke 16 and 1 Enoch while others have noted the parallels with the deuteronomic injunctions against oppressive treatment of the poor in
Andre Lacocque initially proposed that “the vision in Chapter 7 has the
Luke’s use of the term “the Righteous One” in Acts 3:13-15; 7:51-53 and 22:14-15 is probably based upon 1 Enoch 38 since in all of these passages “the Righteous One” is the eschatological agent of God. Richard Hays states: “The term appears in these passages in direct association with apocalyptic motifs of resurrection and judgment and it also highlights the awful injustice of Jesus’ death.
In the story about the Transfiguration, Matthew and Mark have replaced “my
With this background with its Enochic connection, it is my contention that the reading audience of the first century, without specifying the first audience, would have recognized that one or more of the Lucan parables are about priests and that this parable has a High Priest as one of its characters. Furthermore the reading audience would have recognized that the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus has a message about resurrection and judgment.
Is it rank speculation and circularity to identify the person in the parable wearing purple as a High Priest and member of the Family of Ananus? The identification of Caiaphas as the High Priest is a common type of biblical exegesis which I understand to be is arriving at “a reasonable and coherent sense of the meaning and message of a biblical passage.”
I happen to think that the person dressed in purple is Eleazar, son of Ananus, not Caiaphas. I suppose if two or more persons could be identified as the man in purple, this may be proof of rank speculation.
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