Friday, February 24, 2017

The Structure Of Luke 4:14–9:50

TWH: The Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20–49) is situated near the middle of the fourth section of Luke's Gospel. For the purposes of this content analysis, it is necessary to identify the point in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus delivers this discourse. While the unit and episode divisions are less important, identifying something about them assists in showing the sermon's context in Jesus' ministry leading to the cross. Donald Guthrie (New Testament Introduction, 133–34) points out two units before the SOP and two that follow:
1. 4:14–44. This section includes Jesus' inaugural message and rejection in Nazareth (4:16–30), Jesus' teaching and authority over demons in Capernaum (4:31–37), and other teaching and healings (4:38–39, 40–41, 42–44).
2. 5:1–6:16. This section includes Jesus' call of Peter, James, and John (5:1–11) and, later, Levi (also called Matthew; 5:27–32). It concludes with the selection of twelve disciples as apostles (6:12–16).
3. 7:1–8:56. This section includes teaching and healing episodes around Capernaum.
4. 9:1–50. This section includes the mission of the Twelve (9:1–6), Peter's confession that Jesus is "the Christ of God" (τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ; 9:20), two predictions concerning Jesus' approaching death and resurrection (9:22, 44–45), and the Transfiguration (9:28–45).
Robert H. Stein (Luke, 151) identifies six units, two preceding the SOP and four that follow it. The primary difference between Stein's and Guthrie's divisions pertains to Luke 7:1–8:56. Stein provides three divisions in place of Guthrie's single unit: (1) 7:1–50, (2) 8:1–21, and (3) 8:22–56. The first concentrates on who Jesus is, the second his teachings, and the third Jesus' demonstration of his authority over all things. Joel B. Green (Gospel of Luke, 27) has two divisions in place of Guthrie's unit: (1) 7:1–50 and (2) 8:1–56.13 Stein also concludes the second unit at 6:12, a move that has linguistic support.

Fearghus Ó Fearghail (The Introduction to Luke-Acts, 39–66) divides the unit slightly different: (1) 5:1–6:11; (2) 6:12–49; (3) 7:1–50; (4) 8:1–56; and (5) 9:1–50. He concentrates on Jesus' movements and characteristic ways in which Luke opens and closes units, especially his use of ἐγένετο δέ to identify the author-intended structure and to mark the openings of pericopes. He views 5:1—9:50 as the major unit. Despite not including 4:14, he recognizes the way Luke concludes in 4:44, using the periphrastic imperfect. He says it is "eminently suitable for the conclusion of a major section of Luke's work, given that it has the character of a general summary (cf. 24,53; Acts 28, 30–31) and represents a pause in the narrative" (42). He also notes how Luke tends to conclude pericopes "on a note of climactic opposition mingled with perplexity or the inability to act" (45). In 5:1–2 and 9:51–52, Luke uses ἐγένετο δέ, something Ó Fearghail considers an element "typical of Lucan pericope-openings" (42). In fact, this construction is unique to Luke in the NT, occurring seventeen times in the Gospel and twenty times in Acts; in the LXX this construction occurs primarily in Genesis. The ἐγένετο δέ construction and Jesus' movement mark the beginning of the SOP discourse unit (6:12), thus connecting the selection of the Twelve after an intense night of prayer with Luke's complement to the Sermon on the Mount. Identifying the end of the SOP is rather obvious given Luke's immediate geographical reference following Jesus' teaching (εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Καφαρναούμ, 7:1).

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