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[Synoptic-L] addendum to excisions in Lk 24...

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    Before going on to treat the additions made by Luke to the resurrection story as told by Matthew, which will constitute the postponed second part of my post on
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 2000
      Before going on to treat the additions made by Luke to the resurrection story
      as told by Matthew, which will constitute the postponed second part of my
      post on Lk 24 and Matt 28: macro-level considerations (II. Lukan additions
      to the resurrection narrative), I would like to return to Luke's removal of
      the entire sequence of narratives on the guards at the tomb and their
      dealings with the chief priests and elders, and indirectly with Pilate. I
      will recall first what I already wrote on the subject, and then add on an
      "argument by analogy":

      << I. Omissions by Luke of material in Matt
      1. Luke omits entirely from his resurrection narrative the motif of the
      guards at the tomb, which begins with Matt 27:62-66 and is woven throughout
      the narrative of Matt 28. When we look to where this motif leads in Matt,
      namely to 28:15b, we can get a first insight into the probable grounds for
      its omission by Luke: the dissemination within all of Judea of a
      counter-resurrection message, bought and paid for by the Jerusalem
      authorities, is hardly any longer of relevance to the Pauline communities
      Luke is addressing, even though it may plausibly have been quite relevant to
      Jewish Christian communities living in Palestine at the time Matthew wrote
      ("even to this day"). It should be noted, however, that many of the elements
      of this motif will appear in the stories of Acts: virulent opposition on the
      part of the Jerusalem authorities to the preaching of the resurrection; the
      guards who are symbolically put to death by God in Matthew's account for
      attempting to keep Jesus in the tomb (28:4) are, more realistically, executed
      by Herod in the story of Peter's resurrection from prison in Acts 12 (see
      12:19) which is patterned on that of Jesus; the motif of the earthquake and
      its devastating effect on the guards may have been transferred by Luke to the
      story of Paul's imprisonment in Acts 16 (see 16:26f), etc. It seems that Luke
      would rather devote the limited space he has available to him at the end of
      his Gospel to developing the positive and saving effects of Jesus'
      resurrection on the community of believers (see especially the Emmaus story)
      than to trumpeting its negative effects on unbelievers or reporting their
      opposition to the resurrection message. I regard this omission, then, as
      reasonable redactive activity on the part of Luke.>>

      In addition to these points I should have noted that Luke has made an
      analogous excision with regard to the material found in Matthew's infancy
      narrative, in Matt 2, where once again the local Jerusalem authorities (here
      referred to as the chief priests and scribes of the people) collude with the
      local Roman authority (in this case, the satellite king Herod) in opposing
      God's plan through mechanisms of lying and deceit. "All Jerusalem" is
      implicated here (Matt 2:3) as fearful of and inimical to the birth of their
      messiah, just as its leaders will be in Matt 28 in the way they oppose and
      counter the message of the resurrection. (In Matt's infancy narrative, the
      outsider King is the initiator of the mischief, and parallels the Pharao of
      Egypt in the Exodus story; in the resurrection story the initiators of
      mischief are the Jewish authorities who seek the help and collusion of Pilate
      and his guards.) Luke omits both of these negative stories about Jerusalem
      and its authorities -- both political and religious -- which would
      undoubtedly have spoken to the experiences of Matthew's Jewish-Christian
      Palestinian communities in a very concrete way. But from the perspective of
      the Greco-Roman world, these local authority-struggles and persecutions among
      sects of Palestinian Jews could have little resonance, and Jerusalem takes on
      a whole new look. In fact, in both Luke's infancy and resurrection accounts,
      Jerusalem receives a dramatic face-lift compared to the way it comes off in
      the Matthean accounts. Luke is undoubtedly concerned that his Gentile
      churches in the Pauline missionary territories properly appreciate the role
      of Jerusalem as the climax and goal of the eschatological promises of the OT
      and the origin of the Christian mission. The rhetoric of his Gospel story
      must in general cohere with an important aspect of the Pauline program: the
      Gentile Christians of Asia and Greece are being urged to financially support
      the "poor" in the mother church of Jerusalem so as to insure the unity of the
      church and the legitimacy of their own Christian communities.

      On the other hand, the divisions, hostility and the suffering that would be
      experienced by Christ himself and later by his disciples and witnesses is
      indicated by Luke, in both his infancy and resurrection narratives, by way of
      prophetic allusion (see Lk 2:34-35, 49-50; 24:7, 26, and perhaps 48: "you
      will be my martyres").

      Leonard Maluf

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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