Saturday, May 19, 2007

Unintentional Cognitive Association?

Richard and I have been working on possible associations between Ezra and Luke. Richard has posted here, here, here, here, and here, and I here on the possible parallels. I cannot help but think that there is a link the the "friends" of Luke 16.8-9 and the "friends" of Artaxerxes who gave Ezra the permissions and blessing and resources for trekking to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 8.11, 13, 26; cf. Jos. Ant. 11.5.2, where Ezra gained "great favor" from Artaxerxes).

Might there also be a correlation between the twelve priests Ezra chose (1 Esdras 8.54) and the twelve disciples Jesus chose? (Though Richard does not agree with my assertion that Luke is portraying Jesus as the new high priest, I think this detail, if valid, may strengthen my case. We both agree that the primary significance of Jesus' choosing of the twelve has more to do with the twelve tribes of Israel.) I believe that Jesus is condemning the temple establishment, and against that backdrop of condemnation, he is admonishing his disciples to be faithful in those areas in which the priests have failed. If there is something to this possible correlation between Luke and Ezra (1 Esdras), I'm convinced it has to do with Jesus' condemnation of the temple and admonition to his followers. But that might be a point at which my imagination has taken over.

I have considered one other possibility. I know that when I recall stories of my childhood (whether stories of my lifetime or stories of old), and intend to relate those stories to others or to my current situation, I (often unintentionally) use the same rhetoric used by those who related the stories to me from the beginning, whether in print or oral. Applied to Luke, I wonder if perhaps Luke (or Jesus?) has intentionally pointed to Ezra by way of allusion (as with the parallels of intermarriage, divorce, choosing of the twelve, and the identical offerings in identical measures), but unintentionally included certain details which might lead one to believe that Jesus means to apply that story to himself and his followers (as with the mention of "friends"). I don't know of a technical term for this phenomenon, but I imagine it has something to do with unintentional cognative association. Is there such a thing?

I intend to post on the details of my initial assertions that Luke's Jesus alludes to Ezra's narrative in his parables. These include both verbal and conceptual allusions: intermarriage, divorce, choosing of twelve, identical offerings in identical measures. I also intend to further investigate the idea of unintentional cognitive association.

Copyright 2007

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