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9391RE: [Synoptic-L] Re: Luke to Theophilus

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  • Richard H. Anderson
    Nov 3 9:33 AM
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      Karel Hanhart, greetings:

      Karel wrote:  I fail to see the logic here.  Perhaps Paul received his letters to persecute the Judean Christians from Jonathan or Theophilus (Acts 8:1), but that certainly does not make Theophilus the large hearted high priest to whom one could make an appeal. Luke too states emophatically, like Mark and Matthew that "the high priests" were to reject the Son of Man.
      Johanna may well have been a highly placed lady, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, who became a follower of Jesus (Lk. 8:3). . . . Based on information from his sources Luke may have had good reasons to mention Johanna especially among Jesus' women followers.
      Richard Anderson 
       You deny the validity of my proposal and the claims I have asserted yet you fail to address the evidence presented by the existence of the ossuary with the inscription
        The ossuary is a weak argument. The name Johanna, the feminine counterpart of the common Hebrew name Johanan (John) was certainly not unusual.   

       or the double chiasmus centered on Johanna.  
      Karel:   The chiasmus construction is indeed interesting and important, as I wrote before. However, the difficulties of equating Luke's Theophilus (a honorific title), and your very early dating of his Gospel and of his Acts are enormous, turning synoptic scholarship upside down. One would need IMHO better literary and historical proof than merely a suggestion that the Johanna in Luke's resurrection story might be the same as the granddaughter of a high priest from the house of Annas, that bitterly persecuted the ecclesia. 

      When Theophilus: A Proposal” was first published as an article in Evangelical Quarterly the most common objection raised was that there was no evidence apart from Josephus of the existence of the High Priest Theophilus.  The discovery of the ossuary of Johanna, granddaughter of the High Priest Theophilus and the publication of the archaeological findings puts this objection to rest.
      You sem to think it was illogical for Luke to write, let alone make an irenical presentation to Theophilus, the High Priest.  Millions of Americans wrote to Franklin and/or Eleanor during the seventeen years they lived in the White House.  These letters are only now beginning to be analyzed.  They no doubt paint a rich mosaic of the dreams and hopes of Americans during the Great Depression years.  Were these letters illogical?
      A communication addressed to the High Priest is not preposterous. Justin Martyr's First Apology was addressed to the Roman Emperor. The recently published Halakhic Letter [miqsat ma'ase ha-Torah] known as MMT was sent to the High Priest by the Dead Sea Scroll Community.  Were these letters illogical?

      You assert that the argument with respect to the ossuary is a weak argument because Johanna is a common name.  You however have not probably considered the argument.  Although Johanna is a common name (the fifth most common female Jewish name; but only represents 3.24% of the total sample), it appears only in the Gospel of Luke and nowhere else in the NT. The Aramaic variant of the name is Yohanah. Barag and Flusser gives three examples of Yohanah: one published by Sukenik, another by Puech and third by Benoit which are identical with the Yohanah found in Luke 8:3 and 24:10.  It also appears on an ossuary identifying Johanna in Aramaic as the granddaughter of Theophilus the High priest.  Joanna in Aramaic is not a common name.

      Theophilus is a rare Jewish male name appearing only three times in a collection of 2040 male Jewish names from 300 BCE to 300 CE.  See lexicon by Tal Illan.  More importantly Johanna appears in combination with Theophilus in only two places, the Gospel of Luke and the ossuary.  However the two name combination of Johanna and Theophilus appearing together on the ossuary and also appearing in the Gospel of Luke when considered together with the rarity of the Theophilus name in Palestine is strong circumstantial evidence that the proposed identification is correct. The strength of the two name combinationÂ’ is shown by the fact that J.T. Milik used a two name ossuary inscribed with "Alexander son of Simon", two admittedly common names in Palestine and the whole context of the inscriptions to propose that the tomb in question belongs to the family of him who helped Jesus to carry the cross.  Therefore this combination of Johanna in Aramaic and Theophilus is highly significant and when this evidence is combined with the double chiasmus in Luke 24 which you have acknowledged to be "indeed interesting and important", the conclusion is escapeable that Theophilus is the High Priest and Johanna is his granddaughter.

      Luke made an irenical presentation.  What was the attitude of Jesus toward the Sadducees?

      According to Mark (12:18-27), Jesus said to the Sadducees: "How wrong you are! And do you know why? it is because you don't know Scriptures, or God's power. You are completely wrong!"

      Matthew's Jesus (22:23-33) says some of the same: "How wrong you are! It is because you don't know the Scriptures, or God's power." Not found are the phrases, "And do you know why?", and the emphatic, dogmatic, "You are completely wrong!" is also missing.


      Luke (20:27-40) records none of these put downs. How come? The Theophilus Proposal provides us with an answer.  Luke was writing to Theophilus, the High Priest, a Sadducee!


      Richard H. Anderson



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