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4157RE: The Gentile mission? RE: [Synoptic-L] Luke's Great Omission

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    May 20, 2012
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      As I understand it, the reason that the mission of the 70/72 is taken as anticipating a Gentile mission comes from the symbolism of number 72.... so the number of nations in Gen. 10 is 72, and in 3 Enoch the number of princes of the world and languages is 72. So this number would refer to the larger gentile world. But, as I allueded to in a former post, this Gentile reference is future, it is anticipation, since in Luke's narrative construction, Jesus deliberately does not go into Gentile territory -- that awaits the coming of the Spirit and the work of the church in Acts (progressive movement, first to Samarians and then to Gentiles).

      If I understand your point, though, you maintain this would refer to the Sanhedrin. I certainly agree that the central narrative scheme from 9:51 on is the journey to Jerusalem. And whatever symbolism is in the 70/72 it is not made clear in the narrative, and your connecting it to Jerusalem is potentially attractive. But I have two concerns:

      1. The Great Sanhedrin in rabbinic literature is 71, not 70 or 72, I think. That is a pretty specific number.

      2. The Great Sanhedrin itself is a pretty narrowly specific concept that might never have actually existed. At any rate, the actual assembly of Jewish leaders (synedrion is only found once in Luke at 22:66, and is actually a downplayed theme in Luke ..notice that downgrades the nighttime trial to an informal hearing: Luke has no parallel to Mk 14:55) would seem to be only smaller group.

      So while this is tempting, I wonder if this would really be seen as the reference in Luke 10?

      Mark A. Matson
      Milligan College
      Ernie Pennels wrote:

      I can't resist this discussion.
      Whereas the mission of seventy(two) taken as a symbol of Gentile mission makes it a retrospective issue from a later era, the option of accepting it as referring to the number of the Sanhedrin gives it direct relevance to Jesus and his disciples. They were, after all, heading for Jerusalem, and Luke lays heavy emphasis upon this throughout his journeying motif.
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