Saturday, May 12, 2007

Luke's Geneaology Revisited

I have previously tried to make sense of Luke's genealogy: here, here, and here. It seems to me that Luke has included a number of patriarchal and priestly names not present in Matthew's account. One detail mentioned by Goulder in Luke: A New Paradigm (pp. 289f.), referring to Jeremias' Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus (pp. 213-221, 275-302), caught my attention: "Jeremias gives evidence of contemporary keeping of genealogies; but this is mainly by priestly families for whom purity was important, and the presence of the names Levi, Simeon, Judah and Joseph is agreed by Jeremias to be unknown in the pre-exilic period." If it is true that genealogies are kept for the sake of purity, and if I have been correct to give significance to the priestly names in Luke's genealogy of Jesus, perhaps then Luke is in fact demonstrating Jesus' purity and right to fulfill the prophecy as told in 1 Samuel 2.35, among others.

Further, Goulder: "In any case the stylized pattern of the Geneaology forbids taking it as in any sense historical" (289). I am pleased to find scholars making such conclusions. I recall that Fitzmyer (AB, the source being away from me at present) suggests that Luke's genealogy is more accurate historically than Matthew on accounts of Luke's number of generations and Matthew's artificial patterns of 14 generations. Kuhn's delineation of two lists works, though I prefer my own explanation so far, with Zerubbabel holding a place of prominence among a string of otherwise unknown names. All of this considered, Luke's "stylized pattern" must be accounted for non-historically and in light of Luke's initial reader, whom I assert was the high priest of 37-41CE.

Finally, Goulder (p. 291) notes that in Luke 3.24, Jobed does not accord with the genealogies of 1Chron2.12 and Ruth4.21, which read Obed. However, Luke agrees with Matthew. After having searched briefly through Stoldt's History and Criticism of the Marcan Hypothesis, I am growing convinced of Lukan priority. The agreement between Matthew and Luke here against the OT records probably demonstrates dependence on the part of either writer. Of course, there could have been an addtional source known to both, but no known source precludes such a conclusion if another suits well. And, since Matthew's genealogy seems less strategic in name choice, Luke's reading of Jobed is most probably to be preferred. This suits well with what can be deduced from Luke's work.

Copyright 2007

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