4159RE: The Gentile mission? RE: [Synoptic-L] Luke's Great Omission
- May 20, 2012Thanks Ernie for the great response. I don't know if I find the "gentile" symbolism all that much either... what I was citing was the "commonly cited" reasons for seeing it as that reference.
I am still not personally convinced, though, that 70/72 refers to the Sanhedrin, despite some variation in numbers in earlier sources. It just doesn't fit with the size of the council imagined in the gospels (which might well have been ad hoc groups anyway).
But I am intrigued by your references to the Sinai traditions... hadn't thought about that. That would be a reasonable intertextual reference / allusion that would fit with Luke.
Mark A. Matson
Ernest Pennells wrote:
Thank you, Mark. I find the conclusion that seventy is a symbolic reference to Gentiles unconvincing.
Unpacking the symbolism:
Seventy elders accompanied Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24.1,9).
Sinai was promptly followed by failure with the golden calf. Transfiguration was promptly followed by the disciples' failure with a convulsive boy. Jesus' protest echoes Moses' protest (Num. 11.11). "What an unbelieving and perverse generation!" (Lk. 9.41).
Jesus' appointment of seventy echoes the appointment of seventy elders to share the spirit bestowed on Moses (Num 11.16,24f.). Luke gives an ecstatic account of their mission (they shared the spirit of their Lord).
These links with Sinai are compelling.
Luke says that Moses and Elijah talked about Jesus' destiny in Jerusalem (Lk. 9.31).
Emphasis: "Jesus set his face resolutely toward Jerusalem" (Lk. 9.51), with recurrent reminders en route (Lk. 9.53; 13.32f; 17.11; 18.31ff; 19.11,28).
En route Jesus laments: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... ... your house is forsaken." (Lk.13.34f)
Upon setting foot in the Roman Province of Judaea, Jesus befriends Zacchaeus (an Agent of the Roman Governor). Jesus had previously silenced Peter's declaration of Messiah (Lk. 9.21). Ergo: this march on Jerusalem is not a march against Roman occupation.
Soon after arriving in Jerusalem Jesus publicly denounces the temple authorities as wicked husbandmen. They recognised his parable as directed against them (Lk. 20.19).
Moses – Sinai – seventy, and a heavy emphasis on target Jerusalem to denounce the presiding priesthood all say rulers (Sanhedrin) to me.
There are numerous references to ruling councils and representative bodies in ancient texts: War, Ant, Life, mSanh, tSuk, Boule, M.Hag, mZeb, mYad, Zebahim, Yadaim. The specific number varies (70,71,72).
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