D. The Gospel of Luke
1. The Nativities of Jesus and John (1:1-2:52)
The fundamental source of Luke’s double nativity story is the nativity of Samuel. Eli becomes Simeon (and perhaps also Zachariah), while barren Hannah becomes old Elizabeth (and Mary, too, if we accept the majority of manuscripts’ attribution of the Magnificat to her instead of Elizabeth, 1:46-55). The Magnificat is clearly a paraphrase of Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 1-10. The repeated refrain of Jesus’ continuing growth in wisdom and favor with God and men (2:40, 52, cf., 1:80) comes directly from 1 Samuel 2:26, “Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men.”
The birth annunciation to Mary recalls those of Isaac (Genesis 17:19, “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name...”; 18:9-15) and Samson (Judges 13:2-5, “you shall conceive and bear a son... and he shall begin to deliver Israel...”). The story also borrows from the commissioning stories of Moses (Exodus 3:10-12) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-8), where the servant of God objects to the divine summons and his objection is overruled (see Luke 1:18, 34).
A less familiar source for the Lukan nativity story is the nativity of Moses as told in Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities, where we read that, during Pharaoh’s persecution of the Hebrew babies, Amram has determined to defy Pharaoh by having a son. God makes known his will by sending an angel to the virgin Miriam. “And the Spirit of God came upon Miriam one night, and she saw a dream and told it to her parents in the morning, saying, ‘I have seen this night, and behold a man in a linen garment stood and said to me, “Go, and say to your parents, ‘Behold, he who will be born from you will be cast forth into the water; likewise through him the water will be dried up. And I will work signs through him and save my people, and he will exercise leadership always’”’” (9:10).
The angel Gabriel’s predictions in Luke 1:32-33, 35 derive from an Aramaic version of Daniel: “[And when the Spirit] came to rest up[on] him, he fell before the throne. [Then Daniel rose and said,] ‘O king, why are you angry; why do you [grind] your teeth? [The G]reat [God] has revealed to you [that which is to come.] ... [Peoples will make war,] and battles shall multiply among the nations, until [the king of the people of God arises... [All the peoples will serve him,] and he shall become gre[at] upon the earth... He will be called [son of the Gr]eat [God;] by his Name shall he be designated. He will be called the son of God. They will call him son of the Most High... His kingdom will be an eternal kingdom, and he will be righteous in all his ways” (4Q246, The Son of God).
When Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, the latter’s unborn child, John the Baptizer, leaps in the womb in greeting to acknowledge the greater glory of the unborn Jesus. Here, as G.R. Driver pointed out, Luke refers to Genesis 25:22 LXX, where Rebecca is in pain because her two rival sons strive within her as a sign of fraternal discord to come: “And the babes leaped within her.” This precedent Luke seeks to reverse by having the older cousin, John, already deferring in the womb to his younger cousin. Here he has an eye on the rival John the Baptist sect whom he thus tries to conciliate and coopt.
2. The Centurion’s Child and the Son of the Widow of Nain (7:1-17)
Luke has used 1 Kings 17 as the basis for the two-miracle sequence here (Brodie, pp. 136-137 ). The original Elijah version stipulates (1 Kings 17:1) how the famine shall be relieved only by the prophetic word, just as the mere word of Jesus is enough to heal the centurion’s servant/child at a distance (Luke 7:7b). Elijah journeys to the Transjordan where he will meet a Gentile in need, the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:5, 10a), just as Jesus arrives in Capernaum to encounter a Roman centurion. Both Gentiles are in dire need, the widow about to succumb to starvation with her son (17:12), the centurion desperate to avert his son’s/servant’s imminent death (7:2-3). Once the facts are made known to the miracle worker, there is a series of commands (1 Kings 17:10c-13; Luke 7:8), and divine deliverance is secured, the multiplication of food in the one case (17:6), the return of health in the other (7:10).
It appears that Luke has drawn the story of the centurion’s son from the wider gospel tradition, as it appears in both Matthew 8:513 (hence in Q) and John 4:46-54. It had already been derived from the Elijah story by early Christian scribes. But Luke has decided as well to add a new Jesus tale, unparalleled in other gospels, modeled upon the 1 Kings sequel to the story of Elijah and the widow. Whereas Elijah later raises from the dead the widow’s son, Jesus next comes upon a funeral procession and raises the man about to be buried, again a widow’s son, this time from Nain. Luke has decided to reserve one feature from the first Elijah episode to use in his second Jesus episode: the initial meeting with the widow at the city gate of Zarephath, which he makes the gate of Nain (even though historical Ain had no gate!).
But before this, Luke opens his second episode with the same opening from 1 Kings 17:17a: “And it happened afterward” // “after this...” The widow’s son is dead (1 Kings 17:17b; Luke 7:12b). Elijah cried out in anguish (1 Kings 17:19-20), unlike Jesus, who, however, tells the widow not to cry (Luke 7:13). After a gesture (Elijah prays for the boy’s spirit to return, v. 21; Jesus commands the boy to rise, 7:14), the dead rises, proving his reanimation by crying out (1 Kings 17:22; Luke 7:15). His service rendered, the wonder-worker “gave him to his mother” (1 Kings 17:24; Luke 7:15b, verbatim identical). Those present glorify the hero (1 Kings 17:24; Luke 7:16-17).
If Luke himself (as Brodie thinks, pp. 136-152) composed the first episode directly from the first Elijah episode, instead of taking it from Q, he will have also transferred the widow’s lament that Elijah has come to punish her sins into the centurion’s confession that he is unworthy to have Jesus come under his roof.
3. The Sinful Woman (7:36-50)
According to Brodie (pp. 174-184), Luke has created his rather cumbersome story of the sinful woman from a pair of Elisha’s miracles, the never-failing cruse of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7) and the raising of the Shunammite’s son (2 Kings 4:8-37). The widow of Elisha’s disciple is in financial debt, with her creditors about to take her two children in payment (2 Kings 4:1). In Luke’s version, her arrears have become a debt of sin (Luke 7:37, 40-42). Elisha causes her oil to multiply, becoming enough to pay her debt. Jesus’ cancellation of the woman’s debt is less material but no less miraculous, as he pronounces her forgiven (Luke 7:44-50). As for the oil, it has become the myrrh with which the woman anoints Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:38). In Luke’s version, Simon the Pharisee has invited the itinerant Jesus to dine (Luke 7:36), a reflection of the Shunammite’s invitation of Elisha to stay and eat with her whenever passing by (2 Kings 4:8-11). As a reward, Elisha grants her to conceive a son. Years later, he dies of sunstroke, whereupon she journeys to Elisha for help, falling at his feet (2 Kings 4:27), just as the suppliant woman anoints the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:38). There is no need to posit Luke’s creation of the whole anointing story, the core of which he got from Mark 14:3-9, but he has substantially rewritten it in light of 2 Kings.
4. Appointment in Samaria (9:51-56)
The connection between Luke 9:51-56 and 2 Kings 1:1-2:1 is obvious to all in view of the explicit allusion in the one to the other (Luke 9:54). But Brodie shows (pp. 207-214) how the Lukan story is simply rewritten from its prototype. Luke has transferred the anticipation of the hero’s being taken up into heaven from the end of the section of Elijah’s clash with the Samaritan troops (2 Kings 2:1) to the beginning of the story of Jesus and the Samaritan village (Luke 9:51a). The king of Samaria has sent messengers to inquire of the oracle of Baal-zebub in Philistine Ekron, but Elijah meets them and turns them back (2 Kings 1:2-5). In Luke this has become the turning back of Jesus’ messengers sent ahead to secure the night’s accommodations in Samaria. The Samaritans are no longer those turned back but those who turn others back in their travels. The prophet is now the sender of the messengers, not their interceptor. Once the king of Samaria sends troops to apprehend Elijah, the latter calls down fire from the sky to consume them (2 Kings 1:9-10). The scene is repeated (vv. 1-12). The third time Elijah relents and comes along quietly (1 Kings 1:13-15). James and John want to repeat Elijah’s miraculous destruction of the Samaritans (now villagers, not troops), but Jesus will have none of it. Instead he takes the role of the angel of the LORD who bade Elijah show mercy.
5. Calling a Ploughman (9:59-62)
The stories of Jesus’ calling Peter, Andrew, James, and John (Mark 1:16-20) and Levi (Mark 2:14) all seem to stem from Elijah summoning Elisha to become his disciple and successor (1 Kings 19:19-21). But Luke seems (Brodie, pp. 216-227) to have created another discipleship paradigm which implicitly critiques the prototype. In Luke 9:59-62, Jesus forbids what Elijah allows, that the new recruit should delay long enough to pay filial respects. Also, whereas ploughing was for Elisha the worldly pursuit he must abandon for the prophetic ministry, for Luke ploughing becomes the very metaphor for that ministry.
6. The Central Section (10:1-18:14)
Based on Mark’s Transfiguration scene, which both take over directly (Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36), Matthew and Luke depict Jesus as the Prophet like unto Moses, and each has him promulgating a new Torah. Matthew presents a whole new Pentateuch by organizing the teaching of Jesus into five great blocks: the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7), the Mission Charge (chapter 10), the Parables chapter (13), the Manual of Discipline (chapters 18-19), and the denunciation on the Pharisees plus the Olivet Discourse (chapters 23-26; the cramming together of two themes in the fifth section only underlines his determination to squeeze the whole thing into five divisions, no matter how snug the fit!). By contrast, Luke thought it sufficient to have Jesus present a Deutero-Deuteronomy, a “second law” such as Moses offers in the Book of Deuteronomy. C.F. Evans (“The Central Section of St. Luke’s Gospel,” 1967) was the first to point this out. Just as Matthew did, Luke has both simply organized some traditional materials and also created some of his own based on suggestions in the scripture text he was emulating.
a. Sending out Emissaries (Deuteronomy 1; Luke 10:1-3, 17-30)
Just as Moses had chosen twelve spies to reconnoiter the land which stretched “before your face,” sending them through the cities of the land of Canaan, so does Jesus send a second group, after the twelve, a group of seventy, whose number symbolizes the nations of the earth who are to be conquered, so to speak, with the gospel in the Acts of the Apostles. He sends them out “before his face” to every city he plans to visit (in Canaan, too, obviously).
To match the image of the spies returning with samples of the fruit of the land (Deuteronomy 1:25), Luke has placed here the Q saying (Luke 10:2//Matthew 9:37-38), “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few; therefore beg the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into his harvest.”
And Jesus’ emissaries return with a glowing report, just as Moses’ did.
b. Judgment for Rejection (Deuteronomy 2-3:22; Luke 10:4-16)
Just as Moses sent messengers to Kings Og of Bashan and Sihon of Heshbon with terms of peace, so does Jesus send his seventy out with the offer of blessing: “Peace be to this house.” The Israelite messengers are rebuffed, and God punishes them by sending Israel to decimate them. Jesus warns that in case of rejection (which does not in fact occur), the aloof cities will face divine judgment some time in the future. This mission charge material comes from Q (cf. Matthew 10). That it did not originate here with Luke borrowing it directly from Deuteronomy is evident from the fact that the hypothetical doom of the unresponsive towns is compared with those of Tyre and Sidon, not of Bashan and Heshbon. Perhaps Luke decided to use the Q material here because it uses the image of the missionaries “shaking the dust” (i.e., the contagion) of the village “from the soles of their feet” (Luke 10:1), matching the mention of “the sole of the foot” in Deuteronomy 2:5.
c. Praying to the Lord of Heaven and Earth (Deuteronomy 3:23-4:40; Luke 10:21-24)
“At that time” Moses prayed to God, like unto whom there is none “in heaven or on earth” (Deuteronomy 2:23-24). In the Q saying Luke 10:21-24//Matthew 11:25-27, perhaps itself suggested originally by the Deuteronomy text, Jesus “at that time” praised his divine Father, “Lord of heaven and earth” (Luke 10:21). Jesus thanks God for revealing his wonders to “children,” not to the ostensibly “wise.” In some measure this reflects the wording of Deuteronomy 4:6, where Moses reminds his people to cherish the commandments as their wisdom and 4:9, there he bids them tell what they have seen to their children. The Deuteronomic recital of all the wonders their eyes have seen (4:3, 9, 34, 36) may have inspired the Q blessing of the disciples for having seen the saving acts the ancient prophets and kings did not live to witness (Luke 10:23-24). Only note the antitypological reversal of Deuteronomy: for Q it is the ancients who failed to see what their remote heirs did see.
The rest of the Q passage, Luke 10:22, may derive from Akhenaten’s Hymn to the Sun: “O Aten, no man knoweth thee, save for thy son Akhenaten.”
d. The Commandments and the Shema (Deuteronomy 5-6; Luke 10:25-27)
These two chapters of Deuteronomy present both the Decalogue and the Shema. Luke presents but the tip of the iceberg when Jesus asks a scribe what he considers the gist of the Torah and the man replies with the Shema (adding Leviticus 19:18). Here Luke has rewritten Mark 12:28-34, which did list some of the Ten Commandments, albeit loosely. Luke’s closing comment, “Do this and you will live,” comes from Leviticus 18:5, “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my ordinances, by doing which a man shall live.” It is not a case of Jesus being quoted as quoting the Leviticus text; rather it is evident Luke has refashioned the unacknowledged Levitical original into a fictive saying of Jesus.
e. (No) Mercy to the Foreigner (Deuteronomy 7; Luke 10:29-37)
To Deuteronomy’s stern charge to eradicate the heathen of Canaan without mercy (7:2), itself a piece of long-after-the-fact jingoism, not an historical incitement to genocide, Luke poses this uniquely Lukan parable, that of the Good Samaritan, in which the despised foreigner/heretic is filled with mercy (Luke 10:33) for a Jew victimized by thugs. Like all the uniquely Lukan parables, this one is the evangelist’s own creation. By contrast, Matthew knew of no such sympathy of Jesus for Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). This parable, like the uniquely Lukan narrative of the Samaritan leper (17:1-19), reflects Luke’s interest in the Samaritan mission (Acts 8:5-17 ff.), shared with John (John 4:1-42). The parable of the Good Samaritan, like most of Luke’s, is a genuine story, no mere extended simile, and it compares two type-characters, in this case the indifferent priest and Levite versus the compassionate Samaritan, just as Luke elsewhere contrasts the Prodigal and his straight-arrow brother, Lazarus and the Rich Man, the Pharisee and the Publican, the Widow and the Unjust Judge, Mary and Martha, the Importunate Friend and his Unresponsive Friend. The contrast with Moses’ mercilessness is of a piece with Luke’s Elijah/Jesus contrast in Luke 9:54, where Jesus shows mercy to Samaritans, unlike his counterpart Elijah who barbecued them (2 Kings 1:10, 12).
f. Not by Bread Alone (Deuteronomy 8:1-3; Luke 10:38-42)
Luke has created the story of Mary and Martha as a commentary on Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone, but... man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” Luke has opposed the contemplative Mary who hungers for Jesus’ (“the Lord’s”) “words” with the harried Martha (“Lady of the House,” hence an ideal, fictive character), whose preoccupation with domestic chores, especially cooking and serving, threatens to crowd out spiritual sustenance (cf. Deuteronomy 8:11-14). It is not unlikely that the passage is intended to comment in some way on the issue of celibate women and their various roles in the church of Luke’s day (cf. 1 Timothy 5:3-16).
g. Fatherly Provision (Deuteronomy 8:4-20; Luke 11:1-13)
Deuteronomy compares the discipline meted out to Israel by God with the training a father gives his son, then reminds the reader of the fatherly provision of God for his children in the wilderness and promises security, prosperity, and sufficient food in their new land. Luke matches this with his version of the Q Lord’s Prayer, sharing the same general themes of fatherly provision and asking God to spare his children “the test,” recalling the “tests” sent upon the people by God in the wilderness. Luke adds the Q material about God giving good gifts to his children (Luke 11:9-13//Matthew 7:7-11), certainly the point of the Deuteronomy text, together with his own parable of the Importunate Friend, which (like its twin, the parable of the Unjust Judge, 18:1-8, also uniquely Lukan) urges the seeker not to give up praying “How long, O Lord?”
h. Vanquishing Strong Enemies (Deuteronomy 9:1-10:11; Luke 11:14-26)
On the eve of Israel’s entrance into the land, Moses reviews their fathers’ sorry history of rebellion yet promises victory over stronger nations including the half-mythical Anakim, descended from a race of titans. Later haggadah made these Sons of Anak descendants of the miscegenation between the Sons of God understood as fallen angels and the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-6). Thus it is no surprise for Luke to discern a parallel between this text and the Q/Mark account of the Beel-zebul controversy, where Jesus exorcises demons (fallen angels?), despoiling Satan, the strong man, of his captives. According to the analogy, the poor hapless demoniacs are like the promised land of Canaan, while the demons possessing the wretches are like the Anakim holding the land until God casts them out because of their wickedness, even though like Satan their chief they are far stronger than any mere mortal.
As noted in the discussion of the Beel-zebul controversy in Mark (section B.11 above), the Q comparison of Jesus with the “sons” of the Pharisees and his own use of “the finger of God” to cast out demons must derive from a midrash upon the Exodus contest between Moses and the priest-magicians of Pharaoh. But Luke anchors it precisely at this point because of the Deuteronomic reference to “the finger of God” writing the commandments upon the stone tables. The “strong man” element of both Markan and Q versions of the Beel-zebul episode also originated elsewhere, in Isaiah 49:24, but it seemed to fit the Deuteronomic reference to stronger nations here. That is, though the Beel-zebul controversy does stem from scriptural sources, it was pre-Lukan material which he then placed at a particular point in his sequence because of its perceived analogy to the piece of Deuteronomy he needed to parallel.
i. Impartiality and Clear Vision (Deuteronomy 10:12-11:32; Luke 11:27-36)
Again, Luke has done his best to match up previously existing gospel traditions with themes from the next bit of Deuteronomy. To the exaltation of God as impartial to all, no respector of persons, Luke matches (and, not unlikely, creates on the basis of Mark 3::31-35) an anecdote showing that not even the mother of Jesus is higher in God’s sight than the average faithful disciple.
Corresponding to the warning for Israel not to repeat the sins of the Canaanites and so repeat their doom, Luke matches the Q material on how even ancient non-Israelites better appreciated the divine witness of their day than did Jesus’ contemporaries (Luke 11:29-32//Matthew12:39-42).
Finally, Luke places the Q material about the eye being the lamp of the body (Luke 11:34-36//Matthew 6:22-23) in tandem with Deuteronomy 11:18’s charge to cherish the commandments in one’s heart and to place them as frontlets on one’s forehead. Presumably, the unstated middle term of transition from the one image to the other was Psalm 19:8 (“the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes”) or perhaps Psalm 119:105 (“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.”).
j. Clean and Unclean (Deuteronomy 12:1-16; Luke 11:37-12:12)
The substance of Deuteronomy 12:1-14’s prohibition of sacrifice on the traditional high places and restriction of worship to the (Jerusalem) Temple, finds no real echo in Luke, who waits to apply roughly parallel material to Deuteronomy 12:15-16, which allows for the preparation and eating of meat as a purely secular process at home. (I.e., no longer must every eating of meat be part of a sacrifice, traditionally offered at home.) Here we read that clean and unclean alike may eat meat in this way, and Luke has seized on this rubric to introduce the Q material on the inability of the Pharisees to tell the real difference between clean and unclean (Luke 11:39-52//Matthew 23:4-7, 23-36, as well as Mark 7:1-5 (//Luke 11:37-38) and the Q material Matthew 10:26-35//Luke 12:2-9. The connection is merely that of catchwords, as proves also to be the case when we notice that the Q phrase “the blood of all the prophets shed” (Luke 11:50//Matthew 23:35, ”all the righteous blood shed on earth”) just barely recalls the Deuteronomic phrase, “you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it out upon the earth” (12:16).
k. Inheritance (Deuteronomy 12:17-32; Luke 12:13-34)
Approached by someone in the crowd who seeks to have Jesus adjudicate an inheritance dispute, Jesus refuses to play the role of arbiter, one commonly played by itinerant Near Eastern holy men (who, having no earthly connections or interests, the theory went, must be impartial as well as inspired). His retort, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” (Luke 12:14), echoes and no doubt derives from Exodus 2:14a, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?” Moses had sought to interfere in his people’s worldly troubles, only to be rebuffed. Jesus’ intervention is sought, but he rebuffs the request. Here is another Moses-Jesus antitype, at the expense of Moses, since one greater than Moses is ostensibly here.
The ensuing parable, Luke 12:16-21, seems to be based on Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth 6:-2, “a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all he desires, yet God does not give him the opportunity to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them.” See also Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth 2:18-21.
l. Severe Punishments (Deuteronomy 13:1-11; Luke 12:35-53)
Deuteronomy takes aim at false prophets, prophets of rival deities, warning Israel not to heed their seductions. It is God who has sent them, and not the deities whom they think themselves to speaking for. God is in this way testing Israel’s fidelity. To match this theme, Luke has chosen to use parable material based on the Markan Apocalypse (Mark 13:34-37); note Luke’s expansion of Mark 13::37, “What I say to you I say to all: watch,” into a dialogue between Jesus and Peter: “Peter said, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable for us, or for all?’” (Luke 12:41 ff.). The Markan parable had the departing master set tasks for his servants; hence they functioned as tests to prove how well they would perform. For Luke, connecting the parable with Deuteronomy, the church’s job while their Lord is away in heaven is to remain faithful to his name as against the blandishments of other saviors and prophets (Luke 21:8).
Since Deuteronomy does not exempt even family members who may have fallen under the spell of forbidden gods (13:6-11), Luke adds the Q saying Luke 51-53//Matthew 10:34-36), largely based on an unacknowledged quotation of Micah 7:6, “for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are men of his own household.”
m. Judgment on this People (Deuteronomy 13:12-18; Luke 12:54-13:5)
Whole cities lapsing into pagan apostasy are to be eliminated, destroyed, Deuteronomy mandates, with nothing ever to be rebuilt on the desolation, so seriously does Israel’s God take spiritual infidelity. No less gravely does the Lukan Jesus take the lack of repentance on the part of Galileans and Jews. Past tragedies and atrocities will be seen as the mere beginning of the judgments to fall like the headsman’s ax on an unrepentant people. Of course, the Lukan Jesus prophesies long after the fact, referring to the bloody triumph of Rome in Galilee and Judea culminating in 73 CE.
n. The Third Year (Deuteronomy 14:28; Luke 13:6-9)
Luke has seen fit to skip Deuteronomy 14:1-31, a list of clean and unclean animals, and 14:22-27, which repeats 12:17-31.
Deuteronomy 14 stipulates a tithe of one’s produce every three years. Luke uses the law as a springboard for a retrospective parable accounting for the Roman defeat of Judea and Galilee, continuing his discussion from the preceding pericopae. The people of God is like a barren fig tree which has disappointed its owner three years straight, yielding nothing to offer God. The vinedresser pleads for an extra year’s grace period before the fruitless tree should be uprooted. Luke’s point: don’t say God didn’t go the second mile before exacting judgment.
o. Release of the Bondslave (Deuteronomy 15:1-18; Luke 13:10-21)
Deuteronomy calls for the cancellation of debts in the seventh year, a kind of release from bondage, as well as freedom for bondservants. The last case stipulated is that of the bondwoman (Deuteronomy 15:17). From this last, Luke has developed his story of a woman, a bondservant of Satan for eighteen years by virtue of a bent spine, being freed by Jesus.
Luke and Matthew, each using both Q and Mark, have inherited the Markan story of the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:1-6), a controversy about healing on the sabbath, and the Q saying “Which of you, having one sheep [Luke: “a son/ass or ox”] that falls into a pit [Luke: “well”] on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and pull it out?” (Matthew 12:11//Luke 1414:5). Matthew inserted the Q saying into the Markan story, while Luke chose to duplicated Mark’s story of the man with the withered hand as the healing of the man with dropsy (Luke 14:1-6) and to insert the Q saying into it at the equivalent spot. But he also created the story of the woman with the bent spine, basing it on a paraphrase of the same Q saying, adapted to the case suggested by Deuteronomy, the release from a bond, so that the parallel cited becomes releasing a farm animal from its tether on the sabbath.
p. Go to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:1-17:7; Luke 13:22-35)
Deuteronomy commands thrice-yearly pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Temple, and the Lukan Jesus declares nothing will deflect his inexorable progress to Jerusalem to die there as a prophet must. As the declaration presupposes the Lukan redactional agenda of the Central Section itself, as well as the distinctive Lukan prophet Christology, the saying is itself redactional.
q. Righteous Judges; Remembering the Poor (Deuteronomy 16:18-20; 17:8-18; Luke 14:1-14)
The fit here is loose, but the connection is nonetheless evident. Deuteronomy is concerned with people accepting the oracular verdict of priests and judges, and with limiting the prerogatives of the king. Luke, apparently simply to secure the parallel, has set his scene in the house of a “ruler” and tells the story of the dropsical man to exalt Jesus’ judgment over that of the scribes.
The rest of the Lukan passage refers back to the preceding Deuteronomic text, 16:14, whose ranking of various guests enables Luke to tack on a piece of table etiquette borrowed from Proverbs 25:6-7 (“Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of the prince.”). The specific inclusion of the widow and the sojourner in Deuteronomy 16:14 has inspired Luke’s admonition to invite the poor, the maimed, the blind, and the lame instead of one’s friends and relatives. While the Lukan version may seem a more radical suggestion than Deuteronomy’s inclusion of the poor alongside one’s family, it actually tends toward minimizing the discomfort of the situation: one can bask in playing the benefactor to one’s poor clients without having to embarrass one’s fellow sophisticates with the crude manners of the poor at the same table (though in 1 Corinthians 11:18-22 we learn some “solved” the problem by segregating the two groups at the same event!).
r. Excuses before Battle (Deuteronomy 20; Luke 14:15-35)
Luke has omitted Deuteronomy 19’s discussions of cities of refuge and of false witnesses.
Commentators commonly note the similarity between the excuses offered by those invited to the great supper in Q (Matthew 22:1-10//Luke 14:16-24), implicitly sneered at by the narrator, and those circumstances exempting an Israelite from serving in holy war in Deuteronomy 20, building a new house, planting a new vineyard, getting married. One can only suspect that Q represents a tightening up of what were considered by an enthusiastic sect to be too lax standards, just as the divorce rules were tightened by Christians. (Those standards were now seen to apply, no doubt, to the spiritual crusade of evangelism.)
The parable of the Great Supper is pre-Lukan, as it appears already in Q (Luke 14:16-24//Matthew 22:1-10 ff.) and the Gospel of Thomas, saying 64. It is very likely an adaptation of the rabbinic story of the tax-collector Bar-Majan, who sought to climb socially by inviting the respectable rich to a great feast. All, refusing to fall for the ploy, begged off, whereupon the tax-collector decided to share the food with the poor that it not go to waste. This act of charity did win him a stately funeral but was not enough to mitigate his punishment in hell (Jerusalem Talmud, Hagigah, II, 77d).
The rest of Luke 14:25-33 has perched here because of the treatment of warfare in the parallel section of Deuteronomy, though the connection is really only that of catchwords, as often in the Central Section.
s. Rights of the First-Born Versus Wicked Sons (Deuteronomy 21:15-22:4; Luke 15)
Luke leaves aside Deuteronomy 21:1-14, the treatment of corpses and female captives.
The great parable of the Prodigal Son is Luke’s own creation, as is evident not only from its juxtaposition of two type-characters, but also from the uniquely Lukan device of character introspection in a tight spot:, “What shall I do? I shall...” The Prodigal, having painted himself into a corner, reflects, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him...” (15:18), just as the Unjust Judge, exasperated, “said to himself, ‘I will vindicate her...’” (Luke 18:4-5). Similarly, the Dishonest Steward “said to himself, ‘What shall I do? ... I have decided what to do...’”(16:3-4). And the Rich Fool “thought to himself, ‘What shall I do...? I will do this...’” (12:17-18)
The parable’s theme was suggested to him by the Deuteronomic treatment of sons and their inheritance in 21:15-21. Luke has combined the elements of division of property between a pair of sons, the possibility of favoring the wrong one, and the problem of a rebellious son who shames his family. But, typically, Luke replaces the sternness of the original legal provision (no doubt because he writes for a Diaspora audience for whom some of these laws can no longer apply) with an example of mercy. Here the rebellious son is accepted in love, not executed.
Though the basic inspiration of the parable comes thus from Deuteronomy, Luke owes the building blocks from another source, the Odyssey. The character of the Prodigal was suggested by both the long-absent Odysseus himself and his son Telemachus who returns from his own long quest to find his father. Both the parable’s element of wandering far from home and of the father-son reunion stem from here. The cavorting of the Prodigal with loose women in far lands was suggested by Odysseus’ dalliance with Calypso. But the motif of the Prodigal’s having “devoured [his father’s] estate with loose living” is based on the similar judgment passed more than once by Telemachus and Eumaeus on the “gang of profligates” infesting Odysseus’ estate during his absence, the suitors.
The Prodigal’s taking a job as a swine herder, a galling “transformation” for a Jew, may reflect the transformation of Odysseus’ men into swine by Circe, especially since the hungry Prodigal would like to fill his stomach with the pods the pigs eat, i.e., act like a pig. Then again, his working as a swineherd may stem from Eumaeus’ having been one. The latter’s frequent characterization as a “righteous swineherd” may have suggested the depiction of the Prodigal as a repentant swineherd. The return of the Prodigal was suggested by the return of Odysseus, but no less of Telemachus, who together share the same actantial role. The Prodigal hopes to enter his father’s household as a mere slave, whereas the returning Odysseus actually disguises himself as a slave on his own estate. The glad reception afforded the Prodigal by his father recalls the reunion of Odysseus and Telemachus, also father and son, but even more the reunion of Telemachus and Eumaeus, his father’s faithful servant: “The last words were not out of his mouth when his [Odysseus’] own son appeared in the gateway. Eumaeus jumped up in amazement, and the bowls in which he had been busy mixing the sparkling wine tumbled out of his grasp. He ran forward to meet his young master. He kissed his lovely eyes and then kissed his right hand and his left, while the tears streamed down his cheeks. Like a fond father welcoming his son after nine years abroad, his only son, the apple of his eye and the centre of all his anxious cares, the admirable swineherd threw his arms around Prince Telemachus and showered kisses on him as though he had just escaped from death.”
Next, Luke splits Odysseus into two characters, the two brothers. The elder son also returns from being away, albeit only out in the field (the scene of conflict between another famous pair of brothers, Cain and Abel). Returning, he is dismayed, like Odysseus, to discover a feast in progress. (Here we must note also the echo of Exodus 32:18, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of... singing that I hear!”) It is a feast in honor of a profligate, as the elder brother is quick to point out, just like that of Penelope’s suitors. And, just as their feast is predicated upon the assumption of Odysseus’ death, the Prodigal’s father explains to the elder son that they must feast since the Prodigal was dead and has now returned alive, as Odysseus is about to do.
Deuteronomy 22:1-4 stipulates all manner of lost objects which must be returned if found, just as Luke 15:3-7 and 8-10 provide examples of lost things zealously sought and found. The first of these is an appropriate Q parable, that of the Lost Sheep (see also Matthew 18:10-14), while the second, the parable of the Lost Coin, is presumably Luke’s own creation, reminiscent of the uniquely Lukan parable of the Yeast (3:20-21) and his story of Martha (10:38-42), each with its busy housekeeper.
t. Masters, Slaves, Money, and Divorce (Deuteronomy 23:15-24:4; Luke 16:1-18)
Luke skips Deuteronomy 22:5-23:14, a catch-all.
Luke appears to have used the Deuteronomy 23 provision for the welcoming of an escaped slave to live in one’s midst as the basis for his parable of the Dishonest Steward, who must soon leave his master’s employ and so manipulates his master’s accounts as to assure he will be welcomed into his grateful clients’ midst after his dismissal.
Luke has nothing particular to say concerning cult prostitutes (“priestitutes,” one might call them) and vows, but the Deuteronomic discussion of debts and usury inspires him to accuse the Pharisees of being “lovers of money.” Greed like theirs is an “abomination” (bdelugma) before God, a word he has borrowed from the same Deuteronomic passage’s condemnation of a man remarrying his divorced wife after a second man has also divorced her. On the question of divorce, Luke oddly juxtaposes against the Deuteronomic provision the diametrically opposite Markan rejection of divorce, even while adding that the Torah cannot change!
u. Vindication of the Poor, of Lepers; Fair Judges (Deuteronomy 24:6-25:3; Luke 16:19-18:8)
Inspired by Deuteronomy’s injunctions concerning fair treatment of the poor, Luke has created the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, probably basing it upon both the Egyptian Tale of the Two Brothers, where the postmortem fates of two men are disclosed as a lesson for the living, and the rabbinic parable of the tax-collector Bar-Majan (Hagigah, II, 77d), whose single act of charity (inviting the poor to a banquet when his invited guests, the respectable rich, did not show up) accounted karmically for his sumptuous funeral, but failed to mitigate his torments in hell afterward.
Luke places the Q saying about the millstone (Luke 17:1-2//Matthew18:6-7) to match the Deuteronomic mention of a millstone as the irreplaceable tool of one’s trade (24:6), a mere catchword connection.
The provision for a leper’s cure and certification (Deuteronomy 24:8-9) prompts Luke to create another pro-Samaritan story (with Deuteronomy 24:14’s counsel to treat the sojourning foreigner fairly also in mind). It is the story of the nine Jewish lepers whom Jesus cures without thanks versus the single Samaritan who returns to thank Jesus. The centrality of the motif of praising/thanking God for a miracle, elsewhere Luke’s redactional addition to older miracle stories, brands this one as completely Lukan.
Deuteronomy 24:17-18, 25:1-3 concern fair judgments rendered on behalf of the poor and fair treatment of widows. Luke required no more inspiration than this to create his parable of the Unjust Judge who delays vindicating a widow too poor to bribe him till she finally wears him out. This he uses to advocate patience in prayer: if even a corrupt judge will at length give in to a just petition, cannot the righteous God be expected to answer just prayers in his own time?
v. Confessing One’s Righteousness (Deuteronomy 26; Luke 18:9-14)
Luke skips Deuteronomy 25:4-19, about Levirate marriage, false weights, etc.
Deuteronomy 26:12-15 allows that one offering the firstfruits of his crops may confess his own perfect obedience to the commandments, provided one has done so, and thus may rightly claim God’s blessing on the land. This must have struck Luke as pretentious and presumptuous, and he satirizes the section in his parable of the Pharisee (whose self-praise in the guise of prayer echoes that of Deuteronomy) and the Publican (counted righteous by virtue of his humble self-condemnation).
7. The Ascension (24:49-53)
Luke’s ascension narrative (the only one in the gospels) is based primarily upon the account of Elijah’s ascension in 2 Kings 2 (Brodie, p. 254-264), though he seems to have added elements of Josephus’ story of Moses’ ascension as well (“And as soon as they were come to the mountain called Abarim..., he was going to embrace Eleazar and Joshua, and was still discoursing with them, [when] a cloud stood over him on the sudden, and he disappeared in a certain valley” Antiquities V. 1. 48, Whiston trans.). In 2 Kings 2:9, Elijah and Elisha agree on the master’s bequest to his disciple: Elisha is to receive a double share of Elijah’s mighty spirit, i.e., power. Likewise, just before his own ascension, Jesus announces to his disciples his own bequest: “the promise of my father” (Luke 24:49). It will be a “clothing” with power, recalling Elijah’ miracle of parting the Jordan with his own rolled-up mantle (1 Kings 2:12). Both Elijah and Jesus are assumed into heaven (1 Kings 2:11; Luke 24:50-53: Acts 1:1-1), the former with the aid of Apollo’s chariot, but both are pointedly separated from their disciples (2 Kings 2:11; Luke 24:51). After this, the promised spirit comes, empowering the disciples (2 Kings 2:15; Acts 2:4). And just as Elijah’s ascent is witnessed by disciples, whose search failed to turn up his body (2 Kings 2:16-18), so is Jesus’ after they find only an empty tomb (Luke 24:3; Acts 1:9-11).
E. The Gospel of John
1. Nathaniel (1:43-51)
As all commentators agree, this episode is based on Jacob’s dream of the ladder/stairway between heaven and earth, with angels going up and down along it (Genesis 28:11-17ff). Nathaniel is to be a New Testament Jacob, lacking the shrewd worldliness of his prototype.
2. Water into Wine (2:1-11)
Though the central feature of this miracle story, the transformation of one liquid into another, no doubt comes from the lore of Dionysus, the basic outline of the story owes much to the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17:8-24 LXX (Helms, p. 86). The widow of Zarephath, whose son has just died, upbraids the prophet: “What have I to do with you, O man of God?” (Ti emoi kai soi, 17:18). John has transferred this brusque address to the mouth of Jesus, rebuking his mother (2:4, Ti emoi kai soi, gunai). Jesus and Elijah both tell people in need of provisions to take empty pitchers (udria in 1 Kings 17:12, udriai in John 2:6-7), from which sustenance miraculously emerges. And just as this feat causes the woman to declare her faith in Elijah (“I know that you are a man of God,” v. 24), so does Jesus’ wine miracle cause his disciples to put their faith in him (v. 11).
3. The Samaritan Woman (4:1-44)
As Robert Alter notes (p. 48), this scene is a variant of the “type scene” which frequently recurs in the Bible of a young man leaving home and coming to a well where he meets young women, one of whom he marries. Other instances and variants include Genesis 24 (Abraham’s servant meets Rebecca), Genesis 29 (Jacob meets Rachel); Exodus 2 (Moses meets Zipporah): Ruth 2 (Ruth meets Boaz); and 1 Samuel 9 (Saul meets the maidens at Zuph). But Helms (pp. 89-90) adds 1 Kings 17, where, again, Elijah encounters the widow of Zarephath, and it is this story which seems to have supplied the immediate model for John 4. Elijah and Jesus alike leave home turf for foreign territory. Each is thirsty and meets a woman of whom he asks a drink of water. In both stories the woman departs from the pattern of the type scene because, though having no husband as in the type scene, she is mature and lacks a husband for other reasons. The woman of Zarephath is a widow, while the Samaritan woman has given up on marriage, having had five previous husbands, now dead or divorced, and is presently just cohabiting. In both stories it is really the woman who stands in need more than the prophet, and the latter offers the boon of a miraculously self-renewing supply of nourishment, Elijah that of physical food, Jesus that of the water of everlasting life. Just as the widow exclaims that Elijah must have come to disclose her past sins (“You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance,” 1 Kings 17:18), the Samaritan admits Jesus has the goods on her as well (“He told me all that I ever did,” John 4:39).
5. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene (20:1, 11-18)
This story owes much to the self-disclosure of the angel Raphael at the climax of the Book of Tobit (Helms, pp. 146-147). When Tobias first saw Raphael, he “did not know” he was really an angel (Tobit 5:5), just as when Mary, weeping outside the tomb, first saw Jesus there, she “did not know” who he really was (20:14). Having delivered Sarah from her curse, Raphael reveals himself to Tobit and his son Tobias and announces, his work being done, that “I am ascending to him who sent me” (Tobit 12:20), just as Jesus tells Mary, “I am ascending to my father and your father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17). Why does the risen Jesus warn Mary “Touch/hold me not, for I have not yet ascended to the father” (20:17a)? This is probably an indication of docetism, that Jesus (at least the risen Jesus) cannot be touched, not having (any longer?) a fleshly body (the story was not originally followed by the Doubting Thomas story with its tactile proofs, hence need not be consistent with it; note that in 20:17b Jesus seems to anticipate not seeing the disciples again). The reason for seeing docetism here is the parallel it would complete between John 20 and the Raphael revelation/ascension scene, where the angel explains (Tobit 12:19), “All these days I merely appeared to you and did not eat or drink, but you were seeing a vision” (i.e., a semblance).
F. Acts of the Apostles
1. Pentecost (2:1-4ff)
The whole scene comes, obviously, from the descent of the Mosaic spirit upon the seventy elders in Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25, with an assist from Euripides’ The Bacchae, where we read “Flames flickered in their curls and did not burn them” (757-758), just as tongues of fire blazed harmlessly above the heads of the apostles (Acts 2:3). Ecstatic speech caused some bystanders to question the sobriety of the disciples, but Peter defends them (“These are not drunk as you suppose” Acts 2:15a), as does Pentheus’ messenger: “Not, as you think, drunk with wine” (686-687).
2. Ananias and Sapphira; the Martyrdom of Stephen (5:1-11; 6:8-15)
The conspiracy of Ahab and Jezebel to cheat the pious Naboth out of his vineyard (1 Kings 20:1-21:21) has provided Luke the raw material for two of the most exciting episodes of Acts, those of Ananias and Sapphira and of Stephen (Brodie, pp. 271-275). Ahab finds himself obsessed with Naboth’s vineyard, which seems more desirable to him, since he cannot possess it, than all his royal possessions. Jezebel advises him to take what he wants by devious means. Luke has punningly made Naboth into the righteous Barnabas, and now it is the latter’s donation (rather than possession) of a field that excites a wicked couple’s jealousy. Ananias plays Ahab, Sapphira Jezebel. Only they do not conspire to murder anyone. That element Luke reserves for the martyrdom of Stephen. The crime of Ananias and Sapphira is borrowed instead from that of Achan (Judges 7), who appropriated for himself treasure ear-marked for God. Ananias and Sapphira have sold a field (wanting to be admired like Barnabas), but they have kept back some of the money while claiming to have donated the full price. They have no business keeping the rest: it is rightfully God’s since they have dedicated it as “devoted to the Lord.” Peter confronts Ananias and Sapphira, just as Joshua did Achan (Joshua 7:25) and as Elijah confronted Ahab (1 Kings 20:17-18). Luke takes the earlier note about Ahab’s disturbance in spirit (20:4) and makes it into the charge that Ananias and Sapphira had lied to the Spirit of God (Acts 5:3b-4, 9b). Elijah and Peter pronounce death sentences on the guilty, and those of Ananias and Sapphira (like Achan’s) transpire at once (Acts 5:5a, 10a), while those of Ahab and Jezebel delay for some time. Fear fell on all who heard of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s fate, recalling the fear of God sparked in poor indecisive Ahab by Elijah’s doom oracle (1 Kings 20:27-29). Not long after the Naboth incident we learn that the young men of Israel defeated the greedy Syrians (21:1-21), a tale which likely made Luke think of having the young men (never in evidence elsewhere in Acts) carry out and bury the bodies of the greedy couple (Acts 5:6, 10b).
Returning to the hapless Naboth, he has become Stephen, Acts’ proto-martyr. Naboth was railroaded by the schemes of Jezebel. She directed the elders and freemen to set up Naboth, condemning him through lying witnesses. Stephen suffers the same at the hands of the Synagogue of Freedmen. Stephen, like Naboth, is accused of double blasphemy (Naboth: God and king; Stephen: Moses and God) Both are carried outside the city limits and stoned to death. When Ahab heard of the fruit of his desires, he tore his garments in remorse. Luke has carried this over into the detail that young Saul of Tarsus checked the coats of the stoning mob.
3. The Ethiopian Eunuch (8:26-40)
The story of the Ethiopian eunuch and of Philip the evangelist recalls several key features of the story of Elijah and Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:1-14) (Brodie, pp. 316-327). The Elijah narrative depicts both healing (from leprosy) and conversion (from Syrian Rimmon-worship), while the Acts version tells only of conversion (from Godfearer to Christian). Luke was apparently reluctant to strain plausibility or good taste by having Philip physically restore a eunuch! Both Naaman and the Ethiopian are foreign officials of high status, both close to their monarchs (2 Kings 5:5; Acts 8:27c). Naaman came to Samaria to ask the king’s help in contacting the prophet Elisha. The Ethiopian for his part had journeyed to Jerusalem to seek God in the Temple worship, but the need of his heart remained unmet. This he was to find satisfied on his way home (like those other Lukan characters, the Emmaus disciples, Luke 24:13ff). The Israelite king fails to grasp the meaning of the letter Naaman presents to him, but a word from the prophet supplies the lack, just as Luke has the Ethiopian fail to grasp the true import of the prophetic scroll he reads till the hitchhiking evangelist offers commentary. In both cases salvation is to be sought by immersion. Naaman initially balks, but his servant persuades him. Luke has this temporizing in mind when he has the Ethiopian ask rhetorically, “What prevents me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36). Healing and/or conversion follow, though in both cases the official must return, alone in his faith, to his heathen court.
4. Paul’s Conversion (9:1-21)
As the great Tübingen critics already saw, the story of Paul’s visionary encounter with the risen Jesus not only has no real basis in the Pauline epistles but has been derived by Luke more or less directly from 2 Maccabees 3’s story of Heliodorus. In it one Benjaminite named Simon (3:4) tells Apollonius of Tarsus, governor of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia (3:5), that the Jerusalem Temple houses unimaginable wealth that the Seleucid king might want to appropriate for himself. Once the king learns of this, he sends his agent Heliodorus to confiscate the loot. The prospect of such a violation of the Temple causes universal wailing and praying among the Jews. But Heliodorus is miraculously turned back when a shining warrior angel appears on horseback. The stallion’s hooves knock Heliodorus to the ground, where two more angels lash him with whips (25-26). He is blinded and is unable to help himself, carried to safety on a stretcher. Pious Jews pray for his recovery, lest the people be held responsible for his condition. The angels reappear to Heliodorus, in answer to these prayers, and they announce God’s grace to him: Heliodorus will live and must henceforth proclaim the majesty of the true God. Heliodorus offers sacrifice to his Saviour (3:35) and departs again for Syria, where he reports all this to the king. In Acts the plunder of the Temple has become the persecution of the church by Saul (also called Paulus, an abbreviated form of Apollonius), a Benjaminite from Tarsus. Heliodorus’ appointed journey to Jerusalem from Syria has become Saul’s journey from Jerusalem to Syria. Saul is stopped in his tracks by a heavenly visitant, goes blind and must be taken into the city, where the prayers of his former enemies avail to raise him up. Just as Heliodorus offers sacrifice, Saul undergoes baptism. Then he is told henceforth to proclaim the risen Christ, which he does.
Luke has again added details from Euripides. In The Bacchae, in a sequence Luke has elsewhere rewritten into the story of Paul in Philippi (Portefaix, pp. 170), Dionysus has appeared in Thebes as an apparently mortal missionary for his own sect. He runs afoul of his cousin, King Pentheus who wants the licentious cult (as he views it) to be driven out of the country. He arrests and threatens Dionysus, only to find him freed from prison by an earthquake. Dionysus determines revenge against the proud and foolish king by magically compelling Pentheus to undergo conversion to faith in him (“Though hostile formerly, he now declares a truce and goes with us. You see what you could not when you were blind,” 922-924) and sending Pentheus, in woman’s guise, to spy upon the Maenads, his female revelers. He does so, is discovered, and is torn limb from limb by the women, led by his own mother. As the hapless Pentheus leaves, unwittingly, to meet his doom, Dionysus comments, “Punish this man. But first distract his wits; bewilder him with madness... After those threats with which he was so fierce, I want him made the laughingstock of Thebes” (850-851, 854-855). “He shall come to know Dionysus, son of Zeus, consummate god, most terrible, and yet most gentle, to mankind” (859-861). Pentheus must be made an example, as must poor Saul, despite himself. His conversion is a punishment, meting out to the persecutor his own medicine. Do we not detect a hint of ironic malice in Christ’s words to Ananias about Saul? “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:16).
5. Peter’s Vision (10:9-16)
To prime the reluctant apostle for his visit to the dwelling of the Roman Cornelius, God sends Peter a vision, one recycled from the early chapters of Ezekiel (Helms, pp. 20-21). First Peter beholds the heavens open (thn ouranon anewgmenon, 10:11), just like Ezekiel did (hnoicqhsan oi ouranoi, Ezekiel 1:1 LXX). Peter sees a vast sheet of sailcloth containing every kind of animal, ritually clean and unclean, and the heavenly voice commands him, “Eat!” (Fagh, Acts 10:13), just as Ezekiel is shown a scroll and told to “Eat!” (Fagh, Ezekiel 2:9 LXX). Peter is not eager to violate kosher laws and so balks at the command. “By no means, Lord!” (MhdamwV, Kurie, Acts 10:14), echoing Ezekiel verbatim, MhdamwV, Kurie (Ezekiel 4:14 LXX), when the latter is commanded to cook his food over a dung fire. Peter protests that he has never eaten anything unclean (akaqarton) before (10:14), nor has Ezekiel (akaqarsia, 4:14 LXX).
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