what the devil is the Devil "up to" in the wilderness temptation narrative?
- Apologies for cross posting, but I'd like to have as many people as
possible see the questions and requests I'm posting in this message.
I'm revising some older work on what commentators have said with
respect to the question of what the Devil is "up to" in the Matthean and
Lukan versions of the story of Jesus Wilderness "temptation" (Mt.
4:1-11//Lk. 4:1-13). So far as I can see, there are five positions.
In the Matthean and Lukan versions of the Wilderness "temptation" story
the devil is trying to discover:
(1) if Jesus would act to his own advantage, and independently of God,
with respect to his physical needs, particularly his need for
sustenance, and thus fall prey to such forbidden things as "the lust of
the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life";
(2) if Jesus would act to his own advantage with respect to his
psychological needs, particularly the need to be certain that he was
"the Son of God", and thus show a profound mistrust in God;
(3) if Jesus would be willing to compel others through Schauwunderen,,
and more particularly ones that would instantly be recognizable and
accepted as a phenomenon authenticating a claim to Messiahship, to
accept him as "the Son of God", and thus not only make concessions to
unbelief, but render unlikely, if not impossible, the response of
radical faith which later in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke Jesus
demands from all who are confronted by what he says and does.
(4) if, in the interest of securing what God wishes him to secure, if
Jesus would be willing to chose a way of being God's Son that is not
God's way and would attempt to use means of obtaining what God has
determined he would obtain that are not, according to Matthew and Luke,
(5) how resolved Jesus is to hold on to a particular costly and
seemingly foolish pattern of sonship -- that of the εἰρηνοποιός -- with
which he is already familiar and to which he is presented at the time of
his Wilderness "temptation" as having already been called.
I'd be glad to hear from List Members if there are any other scholarly
positions I haven't listed. I'd also like to be as complete as possible
about who stands where. So I'd be grateful as well if List members
would give me the names of those you know to be advocates of one or the
other (or of several) of the listed (and unlisted) stances.
With thanks in advance for help with this.
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
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