Re: [Synoptic-L] Luke, the rich, and the poor
- I think it can reasonably be argued that at least some of the material
concerned for the poor, and critical of the rich, reflects the period of
crisis in Jerusalem during the famine. This is dated to the time of
Claudius (41-54 CE) by Jos Ant 3.320 and Acts 11.27, and the latter
mentions relief being sent by Barnabas and Saul. Josephus also
mentions that Queen Helena of Adiabene, a convert to Judaism,
took swift action to obtain corn from Egypt and dried figs from Cyprus
for the hungry population in Jerusalem (Ant. 20.51). Tosefta Peah 4.18 says
Monobazus of Adiabene sent cash, and when criticized by his people said that
his fathers gathered treasures to a place over which hands can gain control
but he gathered treasures to a place where no hand can gain control.
(Compare Luke 12.33f and Matt. 6.19f on seeking "treasure" which does
not perish.) Jos. Ant. 20.53 says it was Izates who sent the cash from
Adiabene, but both men belonged to the royal family of Adiabene, so
there is no serious discrepancy here. All this and the Pauline evidence
for the "collection" fit well with dating this crisis to the period of the
late 40s CE. Acts dates it close to the time Herod Agrippa (41-44) had
James executed and Peter arrested.
That would favour at least some of the material in Luke critical of
the rich, and concerned for the poor and the hungry (especially the latter)
originating quite some time before Luke's writing c.75-95CE. Luke
presumably was content to include this material, probably to adapt it
as he adapted much else, and perhaps to have amplified it, though that
is harder to prove.
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
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