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Kavin Rowe
Early Narrative Christology: The Lord in the Gospel of Luke
Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fur die
neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
und die Kunde der alteren Kirche

Herausgegeben von
James D. G. Dunn· Carl R. Holladay
Hermann Lichtenberger· Jens Schroter
Gregory E. Sterling · Michael Wolter

Band 139

Walter de Gruyter · Berlin · New York

C. I<avin Rowe

Early Narrative Christology:

The Lord in the Gospel of Luke

Walter de Gruyter · Berlin · New York

@ Cedruckt auf saurcfreiem Papier,
das die US-ANSI-Norm iiber Haltbarkeit erfiillt.

ISBN-13: 978-3-11-018995-7
ISBN-10: 3-11-018995-X
ISSN 0171-6441

Jjbrary of Congre.r.r Cata!ogir(g-in- P~tb!ication Data

Rowe, Christopher Kavin, 1974-

Early narrative Christology : the Lord in the Gospel of Luke / C. Ka-
vin, Ro\ve.
p. em. - (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fi_ir die neutestamentliche \lCissen-
schaft und die Kunde der alteren Kirche ; Bd. 139)
r ncludes bibliographical references.
ISBN 3-11-018995-X (hardcover 23 X 15,5 em: alk. paper)
1. Bible. N. T. Luke - Criticism, interpretation, etc. 2. Jesus Christ
Person and offices - Biblical teaching. I. Tide. II. Series : Beihcfte
zur Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamendiche \X'issenschaft und die Kunde der
alteren Kirche ; Beihcft 139.
BS2595.52.R69 2006

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Die Deutsche Bibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen N ationalbibliografie;
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Einbandgestaltung: Christopher Schneider, Berlin
For Gabrielle and Isaac
Acknowledging the help one has received on such a project is a
daunting and humbling task. I want first to mention my wife, Gabrielle,
who has read every word of this book and whose relentless criticism
and passionate love form the base of the book's existence. Second, my
son Isaac's joy in life and play and his total indifference to this project
are a salutary reminder of the scope of one's work. Third, the members
of my dissertation committee deserve thanks for their criticism of and
engagement with an earlier version of this work: Professors Richard
Hays (chair), D. Moody Smith, Joel Marcus, Geoffrey Wainwright, and
Reinhard Hutter. Richard should receive particular recognition, for in
his capacity as my Advisor he read every chapter along the way and
provided countless suggestions for improvement, as well as much
encouragement and friendship.
During my research in Heidelberg, Professor Peter Lampe was an
ideal host; he created space for me to write and granted much time for
fruitful conversation. Thanks are also due to Professor Michael Wolter,
editor of the BZNW series, and Professor Gregory Sterling for their
insightful criticisms and for their acceptance of the manuscript. Among
my earlier teachers, Professor Ulrich Mauser should be mentioned as
one who embodied clearly the commitment to both rigorous,
technically informed exegesis and larger theological synthesis.
Duke University Divinity School is a marvelous place to prepare a
manuscript for publication. In this respect, thanks are due to Dean Greg
Jones and to David Toole for arranging support for key aspects of this
preparation. In particular, Brittany Wilson quickly and expertly
corrected tedious computer problems in the Greek font, and T.J. Lang
made the indices with good humor and lightning speed. T.J. also read
the entire manuscript and made helpful suggestions for improvement.
Anne Weston, senior editorial assistant to the faculty, worked tirelessly
and superbly on the entirety of this work and saved me from some
embarrassing errors.
Finally, I want to thank our parents: Dr. Tom and Betty Rowe, and
Dr. Joe and Pam Ponzi. They have done more than we can say to see us
through many tired days with love and generosity. My 95-year-old
grandfather, Ed Bullard, has waited patiently for this book, and it is
with utmost pleasure that- at long last- I can tell him it is finished.

Introduction ................................................................................................ 1
I. Justification for the Study ........................................................ 2
II. Interpretive Method .................................................................. 9
III. Identity ..................................................................................... 17
IV. Possible Objections? ................................................................ 23
V. The Argument .......................................................................... 27

Chapter 1: The Coming K0pwc; ....................................................... 31

Part 1: The Lord in the Womb ................................................... 31
I. Luke 1-2 and the Old Testament.. ....................................... 32
II. Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord ....................................... 34
III. Luke 2:11: Christ-Lord ............................................................ 49

Part 2: Preparation for the Coming Lord .............................. 56

I. Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord .................... 56
II. Luke 1:76: Preparing the Way of the Lord ........................... 68
III. Luke 3:4-6: John and the Lord ............................................... 70

Chapter 2: Mission in Galilee ........................................................... 78

I. Luke 4:14-21: The Year of the Lord ....................................... 78
II. Luke 5:1-11: Master or Lord? ................................................. 82
III. Luke 5:12-16: The Healing Lord ............................................ 89
IV. Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord .................................... 92
V. Luke 6:5: The Lord of the Sabbath ...................................... 105
VI. Luke 6:46: Lord, Lord ........................................................... 111
VII. Luke 7:1-10: Lord of the Gentiles ........................................ 114
VIII. Luke 7:11-17: The Lord of Death ......................................... 117
IX. Conclusion ............................................................................. 121

Chapter 3: Moving toward Jerusalem ........................................ 123

I. Luke 9:52-56: The Humble Lord .......................................... 123
II. Luke 9:57-62: The Lord and His Demands ........................ 127
Vlll Contents

III. Luke 10:1-20: The Lord of Mission ...................................... 133

IV. Luke 10:21-22: The Lord of Heaven and Earth .................. 136
v. Luke 10:38-42: Mary, Martha, and .................................... 142
VI. The Lord in the Parables ...................................................... 151
VII. Conclusion ............................................................................. 157

Chapter 4: Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection .. 158

I. Luke 19:28-40 (7:19; 13:35): Psalm 118:26: The Entry
of the Lord ............................................................................. 159
II. Luke 20:9-19: Parable as Prelude to the Passion:
The Lord, the Vineyard, and the Tenants .......................... 167
III. Luke 20:41-44: Psalm 110:1: The Two Lords ...................... 170
IV. Luke 22:33 and 22:61: Peter's Confidence and
Betrayal of the Lord .............................................................. 177
V. Luke 22:38 and 22:49: The Lord and the Sword ................ 180
VI. Luke 24: The Risen Lord ....................................................... 182
Excursus: Kupwc;, Identity, and Acts 2:36 ........................................ 189

Chapter 5: Synthesis: Kuptor; in the Gospel of Luke ............ 197

I. Kupwc; in the Gospel of Luke ............................................... 197
II. Kupwc; and Identity: 8£6c; and 'I11crouc; ................................ 199
III. Kupwc; and Identity: Kupwc; 'I11crouc; ................................... 202
IV. Kupwc; and History ............................................................... 208
V. Conclusion: Kupwc; and the Gospel.. .................................. 217

Concluding Postscript: Situating Lukan Christology ......... 219

I. Paul. ......................................................................................... 221
II. Gospel of John ....................................................................... 226
III. Concluding Reflections ........................................................ 230

Appendix I: Kupwc; in the Gospel of Luke ............................... 232

Appendix II: Kupwc; in Codex Bezae's Version of Luke ..... 234
Appendix III: Kupwr; and Lukan Miscellany .......................... 237
Selected Bibliography ........................................................................ 241
Index of Ancient Sources ....................................................... 263
Index of Modern Authors ...................................................... 273
If [biblical] criticism may be said to flourish among us at all, it certainly
flourishes immensely, for it flows through the periodical press like a river
that has burst its dikes. The quantity of it is prodigious, and it is a commod-
ity of which, however the demand be estimated, the supply will be sure to
be in any supposable extremity the last thing to fail us. 1

While on a bus ride home to the University Guesthouse in Heidelberg, I

was asked by a newly appointed theology professor about the topic of
my research. When I replied that I intended to write about Luke's use
of Kupwr;, he gave me a rather odd look and said something that
roughly translates as, "Hasn't that been done ad nauseam?"
I begin with this anecdote because it is my guess that this initial
reaction to my project is one that others could share. Indeed, this basic
experience was variously repeated a few times over in the course of my
year in Heidelberg. Perhaps these scholars had in mind Bousset' s
classic book Kyrios Christos and any number of the important articles on
the "origin" or "background" of the Kupwr; title. 2 Or perhaps they were
thinking of the pertinent sections in the widely-read christologies of the
fifties and sixties, 3 of such work as Eric Franklin's book, 4 G. D.

Henry James, "Criticism," in The Art of Fiction and Other Essays (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1948), 215-219 (215). I have substituted the adjective "biblical" for
"literary." Cf. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke (2 vols. Garden City:
Doubleday, 1981, 1985), 2.ix: "Secondary literature on the Lucan Gospel is enor-
mous"; and, Joseph Verheyden, "The Unity of Luke-Acts: What Are We Up To?" in
The Unity of Luke-Acts (ed. Joseph Verheyden; Leuven: University Press, 1999), 3-56:
"It has been said and repeated many times: the flood of publications on Lk and Acts
is overwhelming" (8).
2 The two most important articles are both by Fitzmyer, "New Testament Kyrios and
Maranatha and Their Aramaic Background," in To Advance the Gospel: New Testament
Studies (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 218-235; and "The Semitic Back-
ground of the New Testament Kyrios-Title," in A Wandering Aramean: Collected Ara-
maic Essays (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1979), 115-142 (also reprinted in The Semitic
Background of the New Testament). Cf. also, e.g., the relevant sections of Werner Foer-
ster's article in G. Quell and W. Foerster, "Jc6pwc; K'tA..," in TDNT 3.1039-98. Fitz-
myer also has a brief survey of Kuptoc; in the New Testament in EWNT 2.812-820.
3 E.g., Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament (rev. ed.; Philadelphia:
Westminster, 1963; German edition 1957), 195-237; Ferdinand Hahn, The Titles of Je-
sus in Christology: Their History in Early Christianity (New York: World Publishing
Company, 1969; German edition, 1963), 68-135; Vincent Taylor, The Names of Jesus
2 Introduction

Kilpatrick's text-critical articles, 5 or, if they were acquainted with

specialized Lukan studies, the essays of O'Neill, Maule, de la Potterie,
Jones, Schneider, or Dunn. 6 Regardless of the general basis of this
impression, the impression itself is mistaken. There has heretofore been
no monograph-length work on Luke's use of K0ptot;. One might still ask
whether such a study is necessary in light of the numerous specialized
studies that have touched on the topic in various ways. The answer, in
brief, is that no study has dealt adequately with the complexity in-
volved in attending to Luke's use of K'Uptot; and that, therefore, the use
to which he puts the word in his Gospel has not really been explored.
Yet, such exploration is essential, as to attend to Luke's use of KUptot;,
so I will argue, is to become attuned to the rhythm of the Lukan story.

I. Justification for the Study

In a recent study of Luke's christology, Douglas Buckwalter opined

that "[p ]erhaps the most common belief in regard to Luke's christology
sees his writing interests as closely associated with strengthening the
belief that Jesus is Lord." 7 Though certainly overstated, 8 this remark is

(London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1962); idem, The Person of Christ in New Testament
Teaching (London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1958). One may also list the relevant treat-
ment in Hans Conzelmann's Die Mille der Zeit: Studien zur Theologie des Lukas
(Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1954; ET The Theology of St. Luke [London: Fa-
ber and Faber, 1960]); and the book of Helmut Flender, St. Luke: Theologian of Redemp-
tive History (trans. R. H. and lise Fuller; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967).
4 Eric Franklin, Christ the Lord: A Study in the Purpose and Theology of Luke-Acts (Phila-
delphia: Westminster Press, 1975).
5 Three essays of G. D. Kilpatrick, all of which deal with Kupwc; in the Gospels, are
now published in chronological order in The Principles and Practice of New Testament
Textual Criticism: Collected Essays of G. D. Kilpatrick (BETL 96; ed. J. K. Elliott; Leuven:
University Press, 1990), 207-22.
6 J. C. O'Neill, "The Use of Kyrios in the Book of Acts," SJT 8 (1955): 155-74; C. F. D.
Moule, "The Christology of Acts," in Studies in Luke-Acts (eds. Leander Keck and J.
Louis Martyn; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966), 159-85; Gerhard Schneider, "Gott und
Christus als KYPIO:E nach der Apostelgeschichte," in Begegnung mit dem Wort (FS
Heinrich Zimmermann; BBB 53; eds. J. Zmijewski and E. Nellessen; Bonn: Peter
Hanstein Verlag, 1980), 161-74; James D. G. Dunn, "KYPIO:E in Acts," now in The
Christ and the Spirit. Volume 1: Christology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 241-53
(253). Dunn's essay originally appeared in 1997 in the FS for Otfried Hofius, Jesus
Christus als die Mitte der Schrift: Studien zur Hermeneutik des Evangeliums (eds. Christo£
Landmesser, Hans-Joachim Eckstein, and Hermann Lichtenberger; Berlin/New York:
Walter de Gruyter, 1997).
7 H. Douglas Buckwalter, The Character and Purpose of Luke's Christology (SNTSMS 89;
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 19.
Justification for the Study 3

nevertheless useful in that it helps draw attention to an interesting

anomaly in the study of Luke-Acts: many, if not most, Lukan scholars
recognize that in principle K:upw~ is an important word for Luke but
simultaneously downplay or ignore its potential significance in their
actual exegesis. The reasons for this "exegetical amnesia" vary, 9 but the
result is the same: Luke's use of K:uptO~ has not received sufficient
This situation is intriguing, if bizarre, since Luke has woven K:upw~
into the narrative with such frequency that scholars have regularly
noted the emphasis - but without pausing to understand its purpose
or meaning as part of the larger pattern. This anomaly can be seen
actually to conceal a contradictory position in NT studies with respect
to Luke's use of K:upto~. In rough terms this position can be stated in
this way: K:upto~ is obviously important for Luke (e.g., it occurs fre-
quently10), but K:upto~ is not thereby significant for Lukan exegesis (e.g.,

8 In fact, of the studies Buckwalter lists, none of them are extended studies that focus
directly on Luke's use of KUplO<; (Bock is the nearest exception: see, however, n. 33
below, which deals with Bock's thesis). Buckwalter's Forschungsbericht is concise and
deals with no less than eighteen proposed "controlling christologies." As the survey
shows, it is extraordinarily difficult to speak of a dominant model of Lukan christol-
ogy. Recent trends have perhaps emphasized "prophet" or a variation of "agent"
christology more than other christologies (e.g., Johnson, Kingsbury, Moessner,
Green), but Buckwalter's own book argues, in parallel to the hymn in Phil2:5-11, for
a controlling christology that sees Jesus as fully divine but with the character of a
servant. Buckwalter does speak frequently of Jesus' "Lordship," but he does not ac-
tually treat Luke's use of KUplO<; in any detail (though, e.g., the paragraph on 186
that deals with the ambiguity of KUplO<; in Acts is sound in general; and he does
note, 186 n. 46, that Luke 1:43 and 2:11 can possibly be coordinated with Luke's am-
biguous use of KUplO<;).
9 I borrow the phrase "exegetical amnesia" from the title of a lecture given by Dale C.
Allison at the Divinity School of Duke University in the spring of 2001 (Allison's re-
marks were directed toward the lamentable tendency to forget past scholarly work
in the discipline, but the phrase itself is nevertheless apropos here). E.g., the as-
sumption that the vocative KUptE is insignificant or irrelevant for Lukan christology
(see, e.g., n. 20 in chapter two), the general view that Luke's christology is "low"
rather than "high" (see, e.g., nn. 29 and 95 below), the emphasis upon X,pto"t6<;
(Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.197-200; Christopher M. Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts,"
in The Unity of Luke-Acts [ed. Joseph Verheyden; Leuven: University Press, 1999],
133-64 [161-64]) or upon Jesus as prophet (seen. 8 above), and so forth.
10 Cf. R. Alan Culpepper, The Gospel of Luke (NIB 9; Nashville: Abingdon, 1995), 16:
"The importance of the title 'Lord' in Luke is evident first by its frequency."
Culpepper makes several worthy observations in his brief overview of KUplO<; (one
and a half pages), but these observations are rarely pursued in the actual exegesis.
For example, where many other commentators do not, Culpepper senses the signifi-
cance of the occurrence of KUplO<; in 1:43 (see my discussion in chapter one), but
then in the exegesis of 1:43 he makes little to nothing of it (pp. 16, 55 respectively).
4 Introduction

statistics are not that relevant to christology 11 ). The import, in other

words, which Luke himself attempted to give Kupwr; has been ne-
To say this, however, is not of course to deny that Luke's use of
Kuptot; has received some attention in modern criticism. It is rather to
say that such criticism has been inadequate on a fundamental level in
that it has not yet grappled with Luke's use of Kupwr; as a constitutive
dynamic of the Third Gospel. At the beginning of the twentieth cen-
tury, for example, Bousset saw in Luke's pervasive use of the word
further evidence of the early church's move into a hellenistic environ-
ment and, in addition, endeavored in a separate article to ferret out
Luke's sources in Acts on the basis of the distribution of Kuptot;. 13 Cad-
bury differed substantially from Bousset (and others) on the question of
our ability to detect Luke's sources 14 and thus offered in 1933 a treat-

11 Cf. in this connection Conzelmann's remark that "the special elements in Luke's
Christology cannot be set out by a statistical analysis of the titles applied to Jesus"
(The Theology of St. Luke, 170).
12 I do not wish to engage here in the complex debates regarding authorial intention
(for a stimulating discussion, see Francis Watson, Text and Truth: Redefining Biblical
Theology [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997], 95-126) but rather, for the purposes of this
book, shall indicate what I mean by intention with the following analogy. It may
well be true that we cannot know in a scientific sense what Conrad himself intended
through his use of the word "darkness" and its cognates, but, after reading Heart of
Darkness, it would be sheer folly to assert that we could not know that he intended to
develop the story through such language, that attending to the language of "dark-
ness" was indispensable for understanding the work, and so on. In point of fact, if
one did not know it ahead of time, one could probably come up with the title of the
work (or something very similar) simply on the basis of the way "darkness" works
in the story. In this sense, it is hardly unreasonable (philosophically or otherwise) in
a discussion of the work to use "Conrad" as the subject of verbs (e.g., Conrad first
introduces darkness in such a way that it already adumbrates its role as a constitu-
tive dynamic of the work, etc.). Likewise, without maintaining that we can deter-
mine Luke's "intention" in an overly specific sense (his "one point," as it were), we
will not shrink from using Luke as the subject of verbs. Cf. Cadbury's remark in n.
15 below, and the important observations of Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in
the Letters of Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 201 n. 90, on the famous
- but frequently misunderstood - essay of W. K. Wimsatt, Jr., and Monroe C.
Beardsley, "The Intentional Fallacy," in The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Po-
etry (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1954).
13 Wilhelm Bousset, "Der Gebrauch des Kyriostitels als Kriterium fiir die
Quellenscheidung in der ersten Halfte der Apostelgeschichte," ZNW 15 (1914): 141-
63. Kuptoc; was also used in source-criticism of the Gospel. See, e.g., Bernhard Weiss,
Die Quellen der synoptischen Uberlieferung (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs'sche Buchhandlung,
1908), 134, 137, 144; B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels: A Study of Origins (London:
Macmillan and Co., 1951), 212-14; and Vincent Taylor, Behind the Third Gospel: A
Study of the Proto-Luke Hypothesis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926), 265.
14 Henry J. Cad bury, "The Titles of Jesus in Acts," in The Beginnings of Christianity. Part
I. The Acts of the Apostles. Volume V: Additional Notes to the Commentary (eds. Kirsopp
Justification for the Study 5

ment of the title in Acts wherein he focused with more literary sensi-
tivity on the different forms of phrase or incidence. In this respect,
Cadbury attempted to distinguish the use of KUplOt; "in narrative from
its use in discourse, and in the latter its use in direct address to Jesus." 15
In so doing, Cadbury saw clearly certain aspects of the narrative con-
tour (as will become apparent, it matters who says what to whom), but
his method simultaneously obscured the connection between and
continuity in the diverse uses of Kupwt; (the question of identity).
Mid-twentieth century saw an article by J. C. O'Neill in the Scottish
Journal of Theology which was significant for its perception and theo-
logical treatment of ambiguity in the referent of KUptot; in Luke-Acts,
though exegetical substantiation was minimal to non-existent.l 6 C. F. D.
Maule's essay in the excellent collection Studies in Luke-Acts appeared
in 1966 and pressed with considerable acuity the question of history in
relation to Luke's christological uses of Kupwt;; it did not, however,
attend to narrative development. 17 Four years later Ignace de la Potterie
published what is still the most extensive study to date, much lauded
by Bovon but criticized by Fitzmyer and others, which dealt in some
detail with KUplOt; in Luke's Gospel by means of thematic division
(Royal Messiah, Resurrected Lord, Lord of the church, etc. ). 18 Yet, as

Lake and Henry J. Cadbury; London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1933), 354-75: "An
adequate explanation of the occurrences of KUptoc; would be found in the author's
own free and unconscious use of the term, rather than in any systematic derivation
from sources" (361). As will become apparent, I agree with Cadbury that KUptoc; is
used by the author himself and that an adequate explanation does not issue from a
consideration of possible sources, but I disagree radically that this use is "uncon-
15 Cadbury, "Titles of Jesus in Acts," 359: "It is necessary to distinguish its use in
narrative from its use in discourse, and in the latter its use in direct address to Je-
16 J. C. O'Neill, "The Use of Kyrios in the Book of Acts." Cadbury, too, had noticed this
feature of Acts: "Many cases of KUptoc; in Acts, perhaps the majority, are quite am-
biguous, since they could mean either God or Jesus" ("Titles in Acts," 359). Interest-
ingly, Cadbury then made the choice to omit these cases from his analysis: the
ambiguous cases "and the cases when it plainly means God may well be omitted
from consideration" (359). This mistake mars significantly Cadbury's study, for am-
biguity is a significant Lukan theological medium. O'Neill himself later modified
substantially or even abandoned his initial position in 1955. See the criticisms and
discussion of O'Neill's shift in Fran<;ois Bovon, Luke the Theologian: Thirty-Three Years
of Research (1950-1983) (PTMS 12; trans. Ken McKinney; Allison Park, PA: Pickwick
Publications, 1987), 190-191.
17 C. F. D. Moule, "The Christology of Acts." For other problems with Maule's essay,
see section IV (K uptoc; and History) in chapter five of this work.
18 Ignace de Ia Potterie, "Le titre Kuptoc; applique a Jesus dans l'Evangile de Luc," in
Melanges Bibliques en hommage au R. P. Beda Rigaux (ed. Albert Descamps; Gembloux,
1970), 117-46.
6 Introduction

noted by his critics, 19 de la Potterie so reduced Kupw~ to "messiah" that

in many respects he might well have been writing about xptcr't6~ rather
than K\Jpw~.2o Donald Jones' 1974 SBL seminar paper attempted far too
much for its short length, but it is noteworthy nevertheless for its few
pages that sought to interpret KUptO~ in the narrative sequence of the
Gospel.2 1 The following year Franklin's Christ, the Lord seemed to
promise in the title something that went unfulfilled in the book: the
treatment of the identity of Jesus as xptcr'to~ Kupto~ was relatively thin
in what was otherwise a discussion of Lukan eschatology.22
Moving into the last quarter of this past century, in "Gott und
Christus als KYPIO:E nach der Apostelgeschichte,"23 Gerhard Schnei-
der took full cognizance of the many ambiguous uses of KUpto~ in Acts
but then proceeded to dismantle systematically this ambiguity: a single
referent of KUptO~ was thought determinable in every case. Schneider's
either-or exegesis, however, was predicated upon the contestable idea
that ambiguity is ipso facto confusing to readers and that, therefore,
Luke could not consciously have intended it. Luke, in other words, did
not confuse his readers intentionally - he confused them unintention-
ally. At the end of the article, moreover, Schneider undermined his
own position as he reopened the question of ambiguity with his em-
phasis on God's self-revelation in Christ. 24
James Dunn, in a brief piece of only a few years ago, drew more or
less the same conclusion as Schneider regarding the unhelpful and
perplexing nature of the ambiguous occurrences of KUptoc; in Acts. It
"may be that Luke was rather na'ive in his readiness to continue speak-
ing in such a confusing way ... [b]ut it would probably be fairer to see
his usage as indicative of an unreflective stage in early christology .... "25

19 See Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.203-4.

20 It should be noted, however, tha t for de la Potterie, "le Roi-Messie" belongs "a la
sphere proprement divine" (120), and that de Ia Potterie stresses Luke's view of
"messianisme royal" as a "n!interp retation chnltienne" (146).
21 Donald L. Jones, "The Title Kyrios in Lu ke-Acts," SBLSP 74/2 (1974): 85-101, esp. 88-
22 Seen. 4 above.
23 In Begegnung mit dem Wort (FS Heinrich Zimmermann; BBB 53; eds. J. Zmijewski and
E. Nellessen; Bonn: Peter Hanstein Verlag, 1980), 161-74.
24 Cf., too, in the excu rsus on christology in Schneider's commentary on Acts, the
remark that seems to run against the thesis of his article: "Die Bezeichnung KVptec;
teilt Jesus mit Gott. Nicht liberal! ist einwandfrei zu entscheiden, ob Gott oder Jesus
Christus gemeint ist" (Die Apostelgeschichte I. Teil [Freiburg: Herder, 1980], 1.333).
25 Dunn, "KYPIOL. in Acts," 253. Dunn does, however, also note the bizarre lack of
scholarship on Luke's use of Kvptac;. See his brief and lucid treatment of the history
of research (242-45).
Justification for the Study 7

So, too, Christopher Tuckett, basing his conclusions on Schneider's

article, noted that the idea that "the difficulty modern interpreters
might have in deciding whether 6 Kupto<; is God or Jesus reflects a
deliberate ambiguity on Luke's part and a conscious intermingling of
the two is very dubious. Just because we have difficulty deciding does
not mean that Luke intended us to have that difficulty!" 26
In contrast to this account of Luke's usage as unintentional-
unreflective,27 both Joseph Fitzmyer and, to an even greater extent,
Darrell Bock see Luke's use of KUpto<; as purposive and theologically or
christologically motivated. Within the pages devoted to KUplO<; in his
learned commentary, Fitzmyer writes three times of Luke's "retrojec-
tion" of KuplO<; into the earthly life of Jesus and characterizes this retro-
jection as "a form of Lukan foreshadowing." 28 The life of Jesus is
enveloped in "an aura more characteristic of the third phase of his
existence [ascension through parousia]," and Luke "may well be in-
tending the religious sense even of the vocative." 29 Unfortunately,
Fitzmyer' s insights here rarely find their way into his actual exegetical
enterprise in the pages of his commentary and, furthermore, are
blunted time and again by hermeneutical and methodological confu-
sion (see esp. section IV in chapter five of this work).

26 Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," 157 and n. 89. There are some, however,
who allow for the possibility of "intentional ambiguity." See, e.g., Jenny Read-
Heimerdinger, The Bezan Text of Acts: A Contribution of Discourse Analysis to Textual
Criticism (JSNTSup 236; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002), 281: "It is quite
possible that the ambiguity is intentional, indicating that Yahweh and Jesus share at
least equal power and status, if not the same identity."
27 Cf. also Cadbury's remark that "[t]he situation with regard to KUptot; in Acts
seems ... to be almost the reverse of that in regard to XPlO''t6t;. For 6 KUptot; when
used of Jesus in Luke-Acts is a stereotyped title rather than a conscious ascription of
Lordship" ("Titles of Jesus in Acts," 360). Though cited appreciatively by Martin
Rese, Alttestamentliche Motive in der Christologie des Lukas (SZNT 1; Gi.itersloh: Gerd
Mohn, 1969), 127, it is worth noting that Cadbury's remark stands in some tension
with his overall evaluation of Luke's role as an author. Cf., too, Flender, St. Luke, 52:
"The fifteen occurrences of the title [6 KUptot;] in the Gospels [sic] do not...suggest
any systematic use of it."
28 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.203 ("retrojection": 202, 203[2]).
29 Ibid. Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," 142, also challenges the common
reading of the vocative as prima facie "low" on the basis of the astute - and ulti-
mately correct - observation that "Luke does sometimes juxtapose references to Je-
sus as 6 KUptot; with an address to him by characters in the story as KUplE ... thus
suggesting that the use of the vocative may be more than simply a polite address:
the one addressed as KUpte is 6 KUptot;" (emphasis original). It is unfortunate, espe-
cially given the insight of his concluding sentence, that Tuckett's observation did not
lead him to consider Luke's purpose in such juxtaposition or how the vocative and
non-vocative might be related to each other in the story.
8 Introduction

In his 1987 work Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern, Bock

argues that KUptO<; is the "supreme christological concept for Luke," the
"consummate christological title under which all other titles are sub-
sumed."30 His attempt to support this conclusion is rooted in an alleged
christological shift of the narrative from an initial emphasis on Jesus as
"Messiah-Servant" to the "climatic declaration that Jesus is Lord," 31 a
scheme which requires a christological development from xptcr't6<;
toward KuptO<; in the course of Luke-Acts (or at least until Acts 13). 32
Bock's thesis of a development depends upon the notion that KUptO<; is
relatively unimportant in the earlier portions of Luke-Acts (its impor-
tance grows as the narrative progresses). Thus Bock misses entirely the
significance of KUptO<; in the movement of the Gospel's opening chap-
ters and overlooks the hermeneutical importance of the shape that
Luke's beginning gives to the rest of his story. As a result, Bock's larger
interpretation of Kupw<; suffers irreparable damage. 33
For all of their contributions, none of these studies - or any others
of which I am aware 34 - attend with sufficient sensitivity to the narra-

30 Darrell L. Bock, Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern: Lucan Old Testament Christol-
ogy (JSNTSup 12; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1987), 265, 270, respectively. Bock here uses
consummate rather literally: "[T]he messianic picture of Jesus is consumed by the
description of him as Lord" (270).
31 Ibid., 262.
32 Bock notes that, on his view, OT christological development stops at Acts 13. Its total
absence from Acts 14-28 is not, however, a problem for his thesis. Bock's reason is
that Luke has now justified the Gentile mission with the claim that Jesus is Lord of
all. There is therefore no necessity to develop christology any further.
33 Bock himself comes close to acknowledging that if it can be shown that KUptoc; is
important in the early parts of the story (especially the birth-infancy narrative), his
thesis will not hold: "The virgin birth for Luke places Jesus in a 'more than messiah'
category from his birth in the infancy narrative"; with respect to 2:11 one can see
"that Luke had this high view of Jesus very early on." (266): Bock attempts to deflect
potential criticism on this point by averring that the focus is not really on KUptoc;, no
effort is made to define Lord in 2:11, 2:11 is really only a foretaste of later develop-
ments, and so on (266). In light of chapter one of this work, these attempts will be
seen to be ineffective (e.g., Bock does not even mention 1:43 or take note of the narra-
tive connection between 1:17, 76; 3:4). Cf. the critique by Tuckett, "The Christology
of Luke-Acts," 149-53, who notes that "Bock's theory has the effect of making Luke-
Acts into something of an enormous exercise in Christological self-correction" (150).
34 Stephen S. Smalley, for example, has published two short though interesting articles
on KUptoc; in Acts: "The Christology of Acts," ExpTim 73 (1961/62): 358-62, and "The
Christology of Acts Again," in Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament (FS C. F. D.
Maule; eds. Barnabas Lindars and Stephen S. Smalley; Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, 1973), 79-93; and Tuckett's article mentioned above ("The Christology
of Luke-Acts") contains a critique of Bock and Buckwalter, as well as some observa-
tions on the meaning of KUptoc; for Luke, but the essay itself does not make construc-
tive proposals for how we are to read KUptoc; in Luke.
Interpretive Method 9

tive sophistication with which Luke develops the meaning of Kupwc;. It

comes as no great surprise, therefore, that they concomitantly fail to
deal deeply enough with the meaning of Kupwc; for Lukan christology.
Several of the pieces treat Luke's use of Kupwc; as a subsidiary issue, a
means by which to get at something else, whether that something else
be Luke's hellenism (Bousset), his sources (B. Weiss, Bousset), his
historical competency (Moule), or his eschatology (Franklin). Others
look more directly at Kupwc; in Luke but carve up the narrative in such
a way as to prevent perception of the unity of Jesus' identity and the
essential continuity in the use of Kupwc; (Cadbury), or drown KUptOc; in
meaning piped in from another title (de la Potterie), or make basic
mistakes in the interpretation of narrative (Bock). Still others refuse
Luke the role of intelligent author (Schneider, Dunn, Tuckett), or,
distracted by hermeneutical confusion, lose track of their own worthy
observations when exegeting the text (Fitzmyer).
The upshot of this brief Forschungsgeschichte is that the efforts
mentioned above lack the focus or the length, or the narrative or her-
meneutical clarity required to interpret Luke's use of Kupwc;. Given
such deficiencies, I would hasten to say that the task at hand is not
merely a corrective to past Lukan research. It is also a constructive
attempt to articulate a robustly christological reading of the Gospel: to
miss Luke's use of Kupwc; is to miss Luke's christology, and, hence, in a
general sense, the point of the story.

II. Interpretive Method

In order to make some sense of Luke's use of Kupwc;, this study will
adopt what is essentially a narrative methodology but will leave the
majority of the theoretical reflection in the background at the level of
informing presuppositions. 35 The animating conviction here is not that
theory matters little, but rather that an exegetical work is most compel-
ling when it moves actual exegesis up from an after dinner mint to the
main course of the meal. I agree, in other words, with Hans Frei that in

35 Cf. the remark of Robert Alter in the Preface to The Art of Biblical Narrative (New
York: Basic Books, 1981): Students of narrative "will find no more than a couple of
passing allusions to the new narratology that has flourished in France and America
over the last decade because, quite frankly, I find its usefulness limited, and I am
particularly suspicious of the value of elaborate taxonomies and skeptical as to
whether our understanding of narrative is really advanced by the deployment of
bristling neologisms like analepsis, intradiegetic, actantial" (x).
10 Introduction

a book of exegesis "[t]here should be enough [theory] to elucidate what

is actually being done in exegesis, and no more." 36 Such a conviction,
however, does not alleviate the need for at least some basic methodo-
logical explanation at the outset.
The narrative interpretation offered here is focused on the ques-
tion of the identity of the KUpto~ and is sequential in its orientation and
presentation. 37 This focus arises first of all from the character of the
Gospel text itself, in which there occurs a mode of narration entirely
unique to Luke. In contrast to the other canonical Gospels, Luke con-
sistently writes of Jesus as 6 KUpto~ prior to his resurrection. "And after
these things," writes Luke, "6 KUpto~ appointed seventy (two) oth-
ers ... " (10:1). 38 Neither Mark nor Matthew writes in this way, and of
the three places where John does (4:1; 6:23; 11:2), two are textually
dubious (4:1; 6:23). 39 But for Luke, to narrate the life of Jesus is to write
of 6 KUpto~.
This manner of narration not only constructs the identity of Jesus
as "the Lord" but also gives a particular significance to the other occur-
rences of KUpto~ in the Gospel. That is to say, for example, that the

36 Hans W. Frei, The Identity of Jesus Christ: The Hermeneutical Bases of Dogmatic Theology
(Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 1997), 61. Two pages later Frei also says that he
will appeal "to just enough theory to describe the rules and principles used in an ac-
tual exegesis, and no more, even if it means that we have only fragments of one or
several theories rather than a single all-inclusive theory of interpretation" (63). I cite
Frei here not to engage in debate over the usefulness of "general theory," but rather
simply to speak about the amount of theory that should ideally appear in an exegeti-
cal work. For a brief discussion of Frei's later reflections on the hermeneutical possi-
bility or impossibility of "general theory," see David Lee, Luke's Stories of Jesus:
Theological Reading of Gospel Narrative and the Legacy of Hans Frei (JSNTSup 185; Shef-
field: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), esp. 33-37. One may also think here in a
somewhat different key of the remark of Clifford Geertz in his famous essay "Thick
Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture," in idem, The Interpretation of
Cultures: Selected Essays (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 3-30: "A good interpretation
of anything-a poem, a person, a history, a ritual, an institution, a society-takes us
into the heart of that of which it is the interpretation. When it does not do that, but
leads us instead somewhere else-into an admiration of its own elegance, of its au-
thor's cleverness, or of the beauties of Euclidean order-it may have its intrinsic
charms; but it is something else than what the task at hand ... calls for" (18).
37 For the centrality of the question of Jesus' identity in Luke, see the concise state-
ments in Joel B. Green, The Theolop; of the Gospel of Luke (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1997), 57-58.
38 See also 7:19, 31 (very weak; not mentioned in NA2 7 ); 10:39, 41; 11:39; 12:42; 13:15;
17:5, 6; 18:6; 19:8; 22:31app (much stronger here), 61; 24:3. Thus, depending on one's
evaluation of 7:31 and 22:31, the authorial 6 Kupwc; occurs between thirteen to fif-
teen times in the Gospel alone.
39 For a brief discussion of John's use of KUptec;, see the Concluding Postscript. See also
n. 37 in chapter five.
Interpretive Method 11

mundane KUptE occurs in Luke's Gospel within the larger christological

framework generated by Luke's use of 6 Kupwc;. In terms of authorial
strategy, Luke does not confine his christology to certain key state-
ments (e.g., 2:11) but instead develops his christological perspective via
the intricate interplay between the use of 6 Kuptoc; and the utterances of
certain characters in the narrative. 40 Treating the pericopae in which
Kuptoc; occurs in isolation from one another - as in, e.g., a form-critical
investigation - is thus interpretively precluded, for such isolation
prevents in principle the apprehension of the christological identity
developed through the interconnection between the manifold uses of
KUptoc; in the wider Gospel narrative. With respect to an analysis of
Luke's deployment of KUptoc;, the Gospel must be taken as a whole.
Despite this breadth, the total material of the Gospel is not ar-
ranged thematically, as it is, e.g., in the work of Tannehill or de la
Potterie. 41 Nor are the different uses of Kuptoc; siphoned off from one
another, as they are, e.g., in Cadbury's treatment. 42 Instead, attending
to the way in which Luke develops his christology narratively through
the word Kuptoc; requires that the occurrences of Kuptoc; in the Gospel be
followed from beginning to end. 43
The impulse for this way of reading derives from both ancient and
contemporary sources: on the one side, from the Lukan npoOtJ.UOV in
which Luke claims to have written his narrative (8tl]yT]<nc; 44 ) in order

40 The focus here is thus upon how Luke uses K'Upu: in the mouths of certain characters
to help construct narratively his christology. As will become apparent, with a few
exceptions (Peter, Mary/Martha), the narrative dynamics and ambiguity of the voca-
tive render it exceedingly difficult to say anything specific - on the basis of KUptE
itself - about the characters who address Jesus as KUptE (see, e.g., the remarks in
chapter three on 9:52-56, or in chapter two on the use of the vocative in 5:12-16 or
7:1-10). The parables, of course, have a different dynamic (on this point, see chapter
41 Robert C. Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation (2 vols.;
Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986, 1990); Ignace de Ia Potterie, "Le titre KUptoc;."
42 See nn. 15 and 16 above.
43 Perhaps regrettably, one has to divide a work into chapters. My chapters follow the
more or less traditional divisions of the Gospel, though it should be noted that I do
not use the term "travel narrative." Reinhard von Bendemann, Zwischen LlOEA und
ITA YPOI: Eine exegetische Untersuchung der Texte des sogenannten Reiseberichts im
Lukasevangelium (BZNW 101; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2001), has problematized
this term (cf. the highly positive review of Markus Oehler of Vienna in Review of Bib-
lical Literature [online, August 2003]). Yet, I would maintain that Luke 9:51 (aU'tO<; 'tO
np6crconov Ecr'ti]ptcrEv 'tOU nopEUEcr8at Eic; 'IEpoucraA.i]J.l) still indicates a signifi-
cant shift in the narrative - in orientation if nothing else - and thus serves as a use-
ful place to divide the material for the sake of presentation.
44 In its usual context 8tiJyllcrtc; basically means narrative or narrative account or
report (see, e.g., 8ti]y11crtc; in BAGD, 245). The word is used frequently in the ancient
12 Introduction

(Ka8£~f]~ 45 ),
and, on the other, from the hermeneutical work that em-
phasizes narrative itself as the bearer of theological meaning. 46 The

world (with perhaps the most well-known examples for NT scholars being those of
Lucian's Historia in which he devotes a small section to how one should construct a
8ti]yrptv, and the opening of the Epistle of Aristeas).
45 The adverb Ka8e~l1<; has several shades of meaning depending on the particular
context, but as a whole Luke uses it to mean "in order" or "in sequence." The charac-
terization of the narrative as 1<a8e~7l<; yields, from Luke's perspective at least, a
8ti]yT)crt<; that is written in order, meaning in this case a narrative that is written in a
certain sequence. That such a sequence is accurate in Luke's view is implied by the
use of aKptj3oo<; to modify napT)KOAOU8T)K6n. Such a claim raises all manner of in-
teresting questions regarding Luke's view and treatment of his sources, but for our
study the aspect that should be seen most clearly is that this accurate investigation
gave rise to a particular sequence for the narrative. Thus does the order in which
things occur or appear matter for our interpretation. For Ka8e~l1<; in particular, see
esp. Loveday Alexander, The Preface to Luke's Gospel: Literary Convention and Social
Context in Luke 1.1-4 and Acts 1.1 (SNTSMS 78; Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1993), 131-32, 136; or David P. Moessner, "The Meaning of KA8E3HL in the
Lukan Prologue as a Key to the Distinctive Contribution of Luke's Narrative among
the 'Many'," in The Four Gospels 1992 (3 vols.; FS Frans Neirynck; eds. F. Van Seg-
broeck et al.; Leuven: University Press, 1992), 2.1513-1528; and idem, "The Appeal
and Power of Poetics (Luke 1:1-4): Luke's Superior Credentials (napT)KOA01l-
8T)K6'tt), Narrative Sequence (Ka8e~l1<;), and Firmness of Understanding (i']
acr<j>aA.eta) for the Reader," in Jesus and the Heritage of Israel: Luke's Narrative Claim
upon Israel's Legacy (ed. David P. Moessner; Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press Interna-
tional, 1999), 84-123.
Strictly speaking, it is possible to take aKptj3oo<; with ypciljfat rather than
napT)KOAOU8T)K6'tt, though this option is regularly rejected (I myself entertained it
in an earlier publication, though it was not determinative for my thesis: C. Kavin
Rowe, "The God of Israel and Jesus Christ: Luke, Marcion, and the Unity of the
Canon," Nova et Vetera, English Edition 1 [2003]: 359-80, 364 n. 16; cf. also Erich Din-
kier, "The Idea of History in Earliest Christianity," 333: "The prefaces to the Gospel
and the Acts of the Apostles reveal a writer. .. who will relate that which has occurred
accurately [aKptj3oo<;] and orderly [Ka8e~l1<;]"). Alexander, Preface, 127, for example,
notes that aKptj3oo<; "in terms of sense could go with either ypciljfat or napT)KOA01l-
8T)K6n; but it would be clumsy to take both adverbs with ypciljlat, and therefore it
seems better to read napT)KOAOU8T)K6'tt avoo8ev nacrtV aKptj3oo<; as a unitary
phrase. This means that both avw8ev and aKptj3oo<; modify napT)KOAOU8T)K6n, but
Luke has carefully cushioned them by placing nacrw between them" (cf. e.g., I.
Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text [Exeter: Pater-
noster Press, 1978], 43: "a1<pti3oo<; ... should certainly also be taken with napT)KOAOu-
8T)K6'tt [and not with ypciljfat]"). Alexander's judgment seems somewhat subjective
(i.e., is it really "clumsy" to take aKptj3oo<; with ypciljfat? Has Luke really "carefully
cushioned" avoo8EV and aKptj3oo<;?), but the hermeneutical point for this work rests
upon the coordination of Ka8E~ll<; with 8ti]yT)crt<; and thus actually remains the
same regardless of whether one reads aKptj3oo<; with ypciljfat or napT)KOAOU8T)K6'tt.
46 See, e.g., Paul Ricoeur, "Interpretative Narrative," in The Book and the Text: The Bible
and Literary Theory (ed. Regina M. Schwartz; Cambridge, Mass.: Basil Blackwell,
1990), 237-57, or the work of Hans Frei. Cf. the discussion by Eric Auerbach, Mimesis:
The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (trans. Willard R. Trask; Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1953), 14-15, in which he states: "Doctrine and promise
Interpretive Method 13

ancient and (post-)modern directives together forcefully make the point

that the order in which things occur or appear in the narrative matters
for the interpretation of K:uptoc;. 47 For example, the first two occurrences
of K:uptoc; for Jesus (1:43; 2:11) appear rather startlingly within the
context of the multiple uses of K:uptoc; for the God of Israel in the birth-
infancy narrative (ca. twenty-three times). This manner of appearance
creates the possibility of ambiguity in the referent of the single word
K:uptoc; (e.g., 1:76). The ambiguity created in Luke 1-2 is then given
explicit narrative-theological weight in the opening of the body of the
Gospel in 3:4-6, in which the reader - primed by the careful use of
K:uptoc; thus far - is encouraged to discern in the ensuing story of Jesus'
life the way of the K:uptoc; spoken of in Isaiah 40. 48
Because of its sequential presentation, my interpretation gains (or
suffers loss) in its plausibility as the book progresses through the Gos-

are incarnate in [the biblical stories] and inseparable from them." One may contrast
here Jacob Jervell's view that Luke's "theology is to be found not within, but behind
his narrative account, where we have his theological presuppositions" (The Theology
of the Acts of the Apostle [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996], 10; cf., too,
on a more general level, James Barr, The Concept of Biblical Theology: An Old Testament
Perspective [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999], 354-61]). Jervell is not wrong in what
he affirms - that Luke's presuppositions have to do with his theology - but in
what he denies: that the narrative itself does not bring forth Lukan theology. Indeed,
Luke's theological presuppositions are what enables him to write what he wrote -
the Gospel, in other words, is a narrativizing of his theological presuppositions;
moreover, we have access to Luke's theological presuppositions only on the basis of
an understanding of the meaning generated by the narrative: the narrative itself is
what allows us to discern what judgments Luke must have made in order to write
what he wrote. Ricoeur's remark in another context (that of semiotics) captures well
this relation between narrative and theological presuppositions: "To explain more is
to understand better what has already been pre-understood" ("Interpretative Narra-
tive," 245).
47 Cf. the astute observation of Scholes and Kellogg regarding ll~Vtv (wrath, anger) as
the first word of the opening poem of the Iliad: "Homer's Achilles ... is a masterly
characterization which is neither typical nor probable, neither inclusive nor detailed.
Achilles is presented to us almost exclusively in terms of one facet of life - the emo-
tion of anger. From the invocation, when the poet asks the muse to sing of the anger
of Achilles (Anger, Menin, is actually the first word of the poem) to the final mo-
ment ... his character is presented perpetually through the waxing and waning of his
anger" (Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg, The Nature of Narrative [New York: Ox-
ford University Press, 1966], 161-62). See Iliad 1.1, "The wrath sing, goddess, of Pe-
leus' son Achilles ... " (ll~VtV aEtOE Sea IlT]AT]tcXOEco 'AX,tA~O~ ... ).
48 See chapter one for a thorough discussion of this reading. Though the use of the
word "only" is mistaken, Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis, "The Jesus Birth Stories," in Lit-
erary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives. Volume II (ed. Kenneth R. R. Gras Louis with
James S. Ackerman; Nashville: Abingdon, 1982), 273-84, puts into interrogative form
the literary significance of beginning with the beginning, as it were: "In what ways
should the birth set the pattern and tone of the rest of the narrative, for this is, after
all, only the introduction to a longer account of Jesus?" (275).
14 Introduction

pel. There is a cumulative aspect to the argument, one which depends

on the work as a whole and, therefore, begs of the reader patience
through the various pericopae (some of which are of course clearer
than others) through to the end. Needless repetition is of course
avoided. Yet, to grasp the similarities in Lukan narrative technique
requires exegetical exploration on a "case by case" basis. The signifi-
cance of Luke's technique cannot be seen other than through its par-
Relying thus on argumentative accumulation is in the service of
fuller interpretation: only when we attend to the way in which K:uplOI; is
used in the movement of the Gospel can we begin to discern Luke's
christological project and convictions, and only when we arrive at the
end can we look back to divine the whole, the complex connotations
engendered through repetition. This does not mean that we have to
treat individually every single one of the one hundred or so times
where K:upwc; occurs. 49 But the narrative approach does mean that, for
those who would dispute the interpretation, pressure is created to
dispute it on the widest scale possible: the use of K:upwc; in the total
Gospel narrative.
It is often the case that narrative treatments of the Gospels are at
best ahistorical. While ahistorical narrative interpretation is a possibil-
ity (texts do of course have meaning beyond their historical origins 50 ), it
is not a necessity. 51 In fact, I would want to claim at least one important

49 In order to establish the thesis of this study, it is not strictly necessary to treat every
use of Kupwc;. Several of my discussions are representative in that they draw out the
significance of a certain kind or type of use that is found in much the same way
elsewhere in the Gospel (though obviously with different nuance here and there).
The representative treatment is as follows (with varying degree of detail for each
discussion, as well as some overlap). In relation to Luke's authorial/editorial use of 6
Kupwc;, I discuss 7:13, 19; 10:1, 39, 41; 12:42. These discussions are representative of
the occurrence of KUptoc; in 11:39; 13:15; 17:5, 6; and 18:6. In relation to Luke's use of
the vocative, I discuss 5:8, 12; 6:46; 7:6; 9:54, 59, 61; 10:17, 21, 40; 12:41; 22:33, 38, 49.
These discussions are representative of the occurrence of Kupwc; in 11:1; 17:37; and
18:35-43. In relation to Luke's use of KUptoc; in the parables, I discuss 12:35-48. This
discussion is representative of the occurrence of KUptoc; in 13:6-9; 13:22-30; 14:15-24;
16:1-13; 19:11-27; 20:9-18.
50 See Stephen D. Moore, Literan; Criticism and the Gospels: The Theoretical Challenge
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
51 On the necessity of historical research for literary interpretation of ancient texts, see
Stefan Alkier, "Intertextualitat- Annaherungen an ein texttheoretisches Paradigma,"
in Heiligkeit und Herrschaft: Intertextuelle Studien zu Heiligkeitsvorstellungen und zu
Psalm 110 (ed. Dieter Sanger; Biblisch-Theologische Studien 55; Neukirchen-Vluyn:
Neukirchener Verlag, 2003), 1-26. Drawing on Umberto Eco's concept of a "cultural
encyclopedia," Alkier argues that intertextual interpretations must simultaneously
make use of the wider cultural presuppositional or knowledge base (political, social,
Interpretive Method 15

historical advantage for my particular narrative approach vis-a-vis a

strictly diachronic or source-critical investigation: late first- or early
second-century readers/auditors would have read/heard the Gospel
JCC£8£~i]<;, in order - or so Luke at least evidently would have desired
(see above on JCa8£~i]<;). Justin Martyr's famous remark near the end of
his first Apologia is not only revealing but sensible. Stories written as
stories are probably meant to be read as such. 52
Moreover, calling attention to the effects of techniques such as
repetition or paronomasia, for example, is not so much to spin a post-
modern web of interpretive cleverness as it is to become aware of the
literary way in which the ancients did things with words. Narrative
analysis of the kind I have in mind is thus in reality more historical on a
certain hermeneutical level than diachronic digging, in that the former
takes seriously the way Luke's Gospel might have been shaped for a
first-century audience and gives attention to the story as one which is
replete with techniques that enable a more effective communication of

religious, etc.) of the time at which the interpretation takes place. Thus, to interpret a
text at the time of its genesis is to work on the level of "text production" and re-
quires for intelligible interpretation the cultural encyclopedia relevant to the time of
its genesis (in our case, roughly the first century AD). To focus on later readings of
the text (say, in the patristic period) is to work on the level of the reception history of
the text and requires the cultural encyclopedia relevant to the time at which the later
readings took place. One may also compare here Eco's "cultural encyclopedia" to
Hans Robert Jauss's emphasis on the necessity of historically situated cultural
knowledge for interpretation (the original "horizon of expectations") or Wolfgang
Iser's stress upon "the reader's repertoire." Cf. from within the field of Lukan stud-
ies, Charles H. Talbert's focus upon the "authorial audience" as a way to read liter-
arily a text at the time of its genesis or "production" ("On Reading Luke and Acts,"
in, Reading Luke-Acts in Its Mediterranean Milieu [NovTSup 107; Leiden: Brill, 2003], 1-
52 Apol. 1.67: "The memoirs of the apostles [c'otOI!VT]IlOVEUI!CI.'tCI. 'tWV c'mocr't6A.cov]
... are read as long as possible [I!EX.Pt<;]." Though it is somewhat difficult to translate
precisely the sense of I!E;(pt<;, unless Justin was referring to an early Gospel har-
mony (which seems excluded by his use of the plurals "memoirs" and "apostles";
elsewhere, moreover, he refers to the euayyi::A.ta), it seems obvious that the reading
in question was continuous within the Gospels. One may think here both of time
constraints and of the chaos that ensues if one reads aloud from a synopsis. Eric Os-
borne, Justin Martyr (Tiibingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1973), 123-24, argues for a Gospel
harmony in Justin. Graham N. Stanton, "The Fourfold Gospel," NTS 43 (1997): 317-
46 (330-32), has, however, made the case convincingly that Justin does not anticipate
his pupil Tatian but rather Irenaeus and the fourfold gospel. (Incidentally, Tatian's
Diatessaron attests to the fact that if one is going to read the Gospels together as a
single story then a harmonization is necessary.) Cf. Aristotle, Rhetoric, 3.1407b:
"Generally speaking, a written work should be easy to read aloud and to deliver,
which is really the same thing."
16 Introduction

Yet, Luke did have sources, and to ignore known sources is actu-
ally to forfeit insight into Luke's narrative. 53 One need not think in the
manner of "old-school" Redaktionsgeschichte that we can detect Luke's
theology - broken up, no less, into pericope-size theologies - solely
on the basis of his departure from Mark to recognize that Luke's de-
parture from Mark is of potential interpretive significance. Since the
focus of this study is on the Gospel, I will note Luke's use of Mark
where it does in fact help to draw out the significance of Luke. 54 How-
ever, as I have serious doubts about Q as a single, written document, I
will refrain from using this hypothesized "source." 55 But I am also
unsure about Luke's use of Matthew! 56 Some would probably see in
this unstable position a contradiction. I would rather see a large ques-
tion mark and advocate the need for serious complexity and flexibility
in any attempt to deal with the material of the double tradition. In any
case, I have dealt with the dilemma by using Matthew - at least we
have Matthew - as a comparison where appropriate; that is, I do not
assume that Luke knew Matthew in its more or less present form (and
hence draw no conclusions on the basis of Luke's alteration of Mat-
thew), but I nevertheless compare Luke and Matthew when the juxta-
position of these texts helps to illuminate distinctive features of Luke's
use of K0pt01;. Having taken Mark and Matthew into account for their

53 Cadbury once made the insightful remark that if we did not have Mark we would
not know that Luke used it. The response to Cad bury, however, is that, well, we do
have Mark!
54 I am unconvinced by Griesbachians of one form or another and continue to assume
Markan priority.
55 For an excellent overview, see E. P. Sanders and Margaret Davies, Studying the
Synoptic Gospels (London: SCM Press, 1989), 51-119; and for a recent and detailed
study of the double tradition material, see Stephen J. Hultgren, Narrative Elements in
the Double Tradition: A Study of Their Place within the Framework of the Gospel Narrative
(BZNW 113; New York/Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2002). In relation to the subject of
the present book, it is interesting to note that David Catchpole and Christopher
Tuckett come to opposite conclusions on the question of the importance of KuptO~ in
Q. Catchpole believes KUptO~ to be "the dominant christological category of Q,"
while Tuckett thinks that KuptO~ "does not appear to be a term of great Christologi-
cal significance" (Christopher M. Tuckett, Q and the History of Early Christianity: Stud-
ies on Q [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1996], 214-18 [218]). See also Marco
Frenschkowski, "Kyrios in Context: Q 6:46, the Emperor as 'Lord,' and the Political
Implications of Christology in Q" in Zwischen den Reichen: Neues Testament und
Riimische Herrschaft: Vortriige auf der Ersten Konferenz der European Association for Bibli-
cal Studies (TANZ 36; eds. Michael Labahn and Jiirgen Zangenburg; Tiibingen:
Francke Verlag, 2002), 95-118.
56 See the discussion of Hultgren, Narrative Elements in the Double Tradition, 329-50. In
relation to KuptO~ in particular, seen. 19 in chapter three of this book.
Identity 17

exegetical aid, as it were, the focus will nonetheless remain on Luke

and his narrative construal of the identity of the Kupwt;.

III. Identity

The focus upon the identity of the Kuptot; immediately involves the
rather prickly matter of what is meant by "identity." Fortunately we
can avoid many of the philosophical contortions involved in answering
this difficult question, as such debates add little to the point necessary
for understanding the exegesis. 57
In previous investigations of Luke's use of KUptot;, scholars have
operated (if unwittingly) with a rather simple, if not simplistic, concept
of identity in which the assumption that governs the thought about the
identity of Jesus or God (or any other character) is what we may call
static - as opposed to narrative and dynamic - in its structure. Iden-
tity in this sense is conceptualized as a static entity which can, in turn,
be related to other static entities (with, for example, an= or "' or"# sign).
The static structure of this assumption about identity can be seen, for
example, in Fitzmyer' s treatment of Luke's use of Kupwt;. In several
places in his commentary, Fitzmyer states that the use of KUplOt; for
Jesus would have meant "putting him on the same level with Yah-

[In] using kyrios of both Yahweh and Jesus in his writings Luke continues
the sense of the title already being used in the early Christian community,
which in some sense regarded Jesus as on a level with Yahweh. This is not
yet to be regarded as an expression of divinity, but it speaks at least of his
otherness, his transcendent character. The sense of lordship that kyrios, 'fldon
or mare' would have carried among Palestinian Jews for Yahweh is now ex-
tended to Jesus .... It is expressive of the dominion that both figures are
thought to have over human beings. 59

The problem here is not that the historical trajectory outlined in Fitz-
myer' s remarks is wrong - indeed, it is probably correct 60 - but
rather that KUptot; is treated as a simple title in relation to two different

57 See, e.g., Paul Ricoeur, Oneself as Another (trans. Kathleen Blarney; Chicago: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, 1992).
58 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.202 (cf., e.g., 1.203, 365, etc.).
59 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.202.
60 Fitzmyer has demonstrated elsewhere that the use of Kuptoc; for Jesus does have
Palestinian roots. See his articles mentioned inn. 2 above.
18 Introduction

figures whose identity is posited apart from Luke's narrative depiction.

Kupwr; is related to God and Jesus in terms of "levels," with God on
one level and Jesus on another. The use of x:upwr; somehow raises Jesus
to God's level, which then supposedly allows for (rather vague) conclu-
sions about Jesus' status ("transcendent," "other," etc.). 61 Kupwr; is thus
the "' sign that stands between the God-level and the Jesus-level and
relates them to one another. 62 In this way, the title is, as such, inde-
pendent of God and of Jesus, non-constitutive for their identity and
their relation, a word that functions as a mere sign for the nature of the
interface between the different levels of status. Fitzmyer, that is, does
not speak about the way Luke actually uses x:upwr; to narrate the iden-
tity of God or Jesus but speaks about the word x:upwr; as a "title" in
abstraction from Luke's narrative development or construction of
"God" and "Jesus."
Fitzmyer's static approach to the question of identity is predicated,
first, upon a philosophical mistake in the area of semantics in which the
word x:upwr; is extracted from its specific context (which gives a word
its meaning) and assigned general meaning garnered from elsewhere.
As a consequence, this approach commits, second, an epistemological

61 Angels, for example, are also "transcendent" and "other" (cf. the reaction of Zecha-
riah, Mary, and the shepherds, as well as the angels' "do not fear" response [1:13;
1:30; 2:10]).
62 Elsewhere, drawing on the language of Cullmann and Conzelmann, Fitzmyer has
spoken about the relation of Jesus to God expressed through KUptoc; in terms of a
Gleichsetzung rather than an Identifizierung (because Jesus is not Abba). See Fitzmyer,
"New Testament Kyrios and Maranatha and Their Aramaic Background," esp. 223.
Cf. idem, "The Semitic Background of the New Testament Kyrios-Title," esp. 130,
and nn. 36 and 90. In my judgment, this language also evidences a static understand-
ing of identity (against which I argue above, though it is somewhat closer to an =
sign): both Jesus and God have an identity, but Jesus' equality with God does not
threaten the latter's identity since they are not identified but only made equal (apro-
pos of his remarks about Jesus' transcendence, etc., one might wonder here how
someone could be equal with the God of Israel and not be "divine." Barth's incisive
remark puts the crucial matter plainly: "Wie wenig hatte der das Wort 'Gott' im Sinn
des Alten Testaments verstanden, der meinen konnte ... , daB ein Mensch wirklich
zum Gott werden konne" [Die Kirchliche Dogmatik, I/1, 426]). With respect to KUptoc;
in Luke's Gospel, identity (cf. Identifizierung) is precisely that which is up for ques-
tion, that which is formed, or constructed, by the story itself rather than that which is
a given. It is not the case that one has and knows ahead of time God's identity on the
one hand and Jesus' on the other, that they can be talked about either independently
of one another or in terms of "equality," or that if one speaks of identity in relation
to both one will of necessity be led to identify Jesus with the Father (cf. my criticism
of Conzelmann's Vermischung in the discussion of Luke 2:11 in chapter two of the
present book). For a perspicacious discussion of "identity" in relation to Second
Temple Jewish texts, see Richard Bauckham, God Crucified: Monotheism and Christol-
ogy in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 6-9.
Identity 19

error that involves a false notion of identity in which the identity of a

character is somehow "out there," outside of the narrative and accessi-
ble by other means of reflection. 63 In this way the identity of the K:Uptoc;
"is given a status independent of, prior to ... " and at best "only tenu-
ously connected with the story." 64 Fitzmyer is unable, therefore, to deal
adequately with the complexity surrounding the use KUptoc; in the
narrative. 65
By contrast, this study rejects the notion that the question "who is
the K:upwc;?" can be settled beforehand, as if we can arrive at the answer
in abstraction from the narrative, without the story. Instead, the con-
cept of "identity" that guides the analysis in this work is formed pri-
marily by the intersection of the question "who?" with the narrative
medium. Whether or not Henry James was completely right in sug-
gesting that character is "but the determination of incident" and inci-
dent "the illustration of character," 66 his famous remark helps
considerably to focus our vision, for it stresses, albeit somewhat
obliquely, the inseparability of the question of identity from narrative.
In other words, I deal here with something Ricoeur, picking up on
James, has called narrative identity.67

63 For those who would at this point worry about ontology: with such formulation I
am not hereby denying that God or Jesus exists outside of the text, but rather simply
pointing out that there is no way we can know who the Kuptoc; in Luke's Gospel is
apart from the story.
64 Hans Frei, The Identity of Jesus Christ, 135. Frei's reflections in chapter nine (Identity
Description and Jesus Christ) are of fundamental importance for this section, though
my focus on Kuptac; is an obvious difference. Above, by adding "at best" I have
modified Frei's statement only slightly. His entire sentence reads: "Identity is given
a status independent of, prior to, and only tenuously connected with the story"
(135). For a recent discussion of Frei's work specifically in relation to Luke's Gospel,
see Lee, Luke's Stories of Jesus. As a whole, Lee's book is deficient in two ways: on the
one hand, he unnecessarily rehearses basic issues of literary and gospel criticism,
and on the other, he strains the Lukan pericopae through a theoretical filter to the
point that virtually nothing of the Lukan text itself comes through - the exegesis
never really amounts to much more than a chance to talk about "theory."
65 So, too, Schneider on the one hand, who dissembles the ambiguity into a clear
either/or, and Conzelmann on the other, who speaks incorrectly - as we will see -
of a Vermischung between God and Jesus, cannot deal adequately with the complex-
ity of the narrative.
66 Henry James, "The Art of Fiction," in The Art of Fiction and Other Essays (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1948), 3-23 (13).
67 Ricoeur, "Interpretative Narrative," 241. See also, e.g., Ricoeur's Oneself as Another,
esp. the "Fifth" and "Sixth" studies, which are entitled "Personal Identity and Narra-
tive Identity" and "The Self and Narrative Identity," respectively; and Time and Nar-
rative (trans. Kathleen Blarney and David Pellauer; Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1988 [French, 1985]), 3.246-49. Though they have their differences, Hans Frei
of course also spoke of narrative identity. For Frei's objections to Ricoeur's herme-
20 Introduction

To deal with narrative identity is to engage in a mode of inquiry in

which the answer to the question "who?" is sought in or, more pre-
cisely, through the narrative itself. As Hannah Arendt noted in another
context: the question "who?" is to be answered with a story: "Who
somebody is or was we can know only by knowing the story of which
he is himself the hero-his biography, in other words." 68 Or, to put it
with Ricoeur, who makes reference to Arendt, "To answer the question
'Who?' .. .is to tell the story of a life." 69
Ricoeur helps us to integrate this understanding of identity with
the Gospels when he insists that, whatever Mark's particular appro-
priation of historical Jesus tradition, "[i]t is in narrating that [Mark]
interprets the identity of Jesus." 70 Hans Frei, too, takes seriously the
interlocking nature of identity and narrative for Gospel christology,
and he presses for christological understanding through the unity of
character and story. The identity of Jesus is known "by means of the
story told about him." 71
If we extend the insights of Ricoeur and Frei for our particular
study of the Gospel of Luke, we may say that it is in narrating that
Luke interprets the identity of "the Lord" and, hence, presents the
readers of his Gospel with the story of who the Lord is. "The Lord," in
other words, is narrativized in the sense that to apprehend the identity

neutics, see "The 'Literal Reading' of Biblical Narrative in the Christian Tradition:
Does It Stretch or Will It Break?" in The Bible and the Narrative Tradition (ed. Frank
McConnell; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 36-77.
68 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958),
section 25, esp. 184-86 (186, emphasis original).
69 Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, 3.246. Cf. Robert W. Jenson, "Christ as Culture 3: Christ
as Drama," IJST 6 (2004): 194-201, esp. 194-95, who notes that when "we move even
to the most guarded of propositions about the person, we must begin to narrate"
(194). Jenson uses as his interrogative "what?" rather than "who?" (e.g., "What is
Robert Jenson?"), but his overall point is the same. In this context, it is important to
emphasize that I do not mean to argue that narrative says all there is to say about a
person. Yet, as Jenson recognizes, even "propositions" about a person involve (at
least implicitly) narrative. On this matter in general, see Robert A. Krieg, Story-
Shaped Christology: The Role of Narratives in Identifijing Jesus Christ (New York: Paulist
Press, 1988), esp. 4, 20-21.
70 Ricoeur, "Interpretative Narrative," 241. In relying upon Ricoeur where I find him
helpful, I do not mean to imply that I endorse all aspects of his theory. For example,
in the case of the Gospels I do not think it necessary to oppose the "process of narra-
tivization" and "christological intention," as Ricoeur seems to do when he suggests
that the "autonomy of the process of narrativization ... escapes the control of the
christological intention" ("Interpretative Narrative," 242).
71 Frei, The Identity of Jesus Christ, 133. For a systematic project along essentially
narrative lines, see Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology (2 vols.; New York: Oxford
University Press, 1997, 1999).
Identity 21

of the Lord is to read the story of the Kuptoc;, to attend to the way in
which the word is used in the narrative. The identity of the Kuptoc; is
thus, to play off of Wilhelm Schapp' s clever title, in einer Geschichte
verstrickt. 72
This focus on narrative allows the insight that identity need not be
static but can be dynamic or even relational, in the sense that certain
characters may indeed be so aligned with one another that they can be
said to share an identity. Leander Keck grasped the importance of this
point, if implicitly, when he saw that "Christology, even when it fo-
cuses attention on the person of Christ, never concerns Christ alone,
like a Kantian Ding an sich, but always understands him in specific
relationships or correlations." 73 Thus in the case of the present study, to
put the simple question "who is the Kuptoc;?" to the Gospel of Luke is to
elicit a complex answer, one which involves both Jesus and God and
not one without the other. The reasons for such mutual involvement
are not metaphysically formulated by Luke but are instead narratively
based.74 The impetus for this Verbindung, that is, comes directly from
the use of Kuptoc; within the movement of the story: the narrative itself
suggests (better, discloses) the complexity of the identity of the Lord.75
Thus Ricoeur insisted that narrative identity can overcome what Locke
took to be opposites, namely, identity and diversity.76 For in fact one

72 Wilhelm Schapp, In Geschichten Verstrickt: Zum Sein von Mensch und Ding (3rd ed.;
Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1985).
73 Leander E. Keck, "New Testament Christology: What, Then, Is New Testament
Christology?" in Who Do You Say That I Am?: Essays on Christology (FS Jack Dean
Kingsbury; eds. Mark Allan Powell and David R. Bauer; Louisville: Westminster
John Knox, 1999), 185-200 (193). Cf. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, 3.247, who notes that
narrative identity may be applied to communities (e.g., "biblical Israel").
74 Cf. Foakes Jackson and Lake, "The Internal Evidence of Acts," 192: "There is a
noteworthy absence of any metaphysical speculation as to the original relation be-
tween God and the Lord." Cf., too, Bovon, Luke the Theologian, 164: "The manner
which Luke connects Jesus to Yahweh is not metaphysical reflection (hypostasis),
but Scriptural intuition (Son of God)." Bovon here obviously focuses upon Son of
God rather than KUptoc;, but his point remains on target. Yet, we must be quick to
say that in no way does "scriptural intuition" and the like preclude metaphysical
developments - indeed, the narrative logic may well press for their necessity.
75 Cf. the pertinent remarks of Frei, Identity of jesus Christ, 161. Frei's point is more
general in its focus (all the Gospels, dogmatic constitution of christology, etc.) but
nevertheless remains helpful in its comparative value: in reading the Gospels, one
sees that there is "an irreducibly complex pattern of interrelation between God's ac-
tion and that of Jesus" (cf. 162).
76 Ricoeur, Oneself as Another, 143. See chapter 27 in Book 2 of Locke's An Essay Con-
cerning Human Understanding. The difficulty of allowing both unity and distinction
within a concept of identity still plagues NT scholarship to the extent that the opera-
tive conception of God prevents even theologically sophisticated interpreters from
22 Introduction

can distinguish between 8£6s and 'I11crous 77 - they are not, as we will
see, vermischt - and yet they can and do share an identity as KUPtos. 78
To think about the identity of the KUPlOs narratively is thus, so the
exegesis will show, to be able to incorporate coherently both the clear
distinction between 8£6s and 'I11crous and the indissoluble unity inher-
ent in the story's answer to the question, Who is the Lord?
Finally, the medium of narrative provides a way to deal with the
old problem of change in relation to sameness, how, that is, a person or
character can undergo profound change and yet remain the same
person or character. 79 Narrative construes the continuity in identity

making good sense out of Jesus' relation to the God of the OT. Opening one's con-
cept of God to be shaped by narrative - and thus to allow both unity and distinc-
tion - reduces, if not eliminates, the confusion that attends the attempt to speak
theologically about Luke's use of Kuptoc;. Barrett's "christology" section in the intro-
duction to his Acts commentary in the ICC series can serve as an example. Barrett
argues that "[i]t is not correct to say that since in the LXX KUptoc; is the rendering of
m:-1' the use of the word in Acts .. .in itself implies the divinity of Jesus. At least it
does not imply that Jesus is to be identified with, or placed on the same level as, the
God of the OT" (lxxxv-lxxxvi). Yet, one page later Barrett moves on to say that Jesus'
resurrection "proved that he belonged essentially to the same order of being as the
Creator, the Lord (m:-1') of the OT, though within that order secondary" (lxxxvii,
emphasis added).
77 One can, that is, "pick out" 8e6c; and 'ITJaouc;. The expression "pick out" in relation
to identity is borrowed from theologian Bruce D. Marshall, "Israel," in Knowing the
Triune God: The Work of the Spirit in the Practices of the Church (eds. James J. Buckley
and David S. Yeago; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 231-64. Though his essay is
concerned with a different topic ("supersessionism" and the doctrine of the Trinity),
his discussion of identity is relevant to the concerns above.
78 Cf. Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," 156-57, whose logic rests on the
assumption that, in relation to identity, unity and distinction are mutually exclusive
(cf. "distinguish between two people ... without ... confusion of their identities"):
"[W]hilst it is very probable that Greek-speaking Jews referred to Yahweh as KUptoc;,
one cannot simply reverse this and say that any reference to someone else as a
KUptoc; figure was implicitly equating that person with Yahweh. The very use of Ps
110 itself in Greek ensures that Luke could distinguish between two people, both of
whom could be appropriately referred to as KUptoc;, albeit with different nuances,
without necessarily any confusion of their identities of characteristics." See n. 37 in
chapter one and the discussion of Ps 110 in chapter four for further response to
Tuckett's view of Luke's reading of Ps 110.
79 See, e.g., Ricoeur's Oneself as Another, much of which is built around the distinction
between what he calls the identity of "sameness" (idem) and "selfhood" (ipse). While
completing the revision of this chapter, I ran across the sophisticated essay of Kevin
J. Vanhoozer, "Does the Trinity Belong in a Theology of Religions? On Angling in
the Rubicon and the 'Identity' of God," in The Trinity in a Pluralistic Age: Theological
Essays on Culture and Religion (ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
1997), 41-71. Vanhoozer's essay obviously addresses a different topic than this book
does, but I find interesting his use of Ricoeur's narrative identity (along with that of
Robert Jenson) for the attempt to identify God. If I understand him correctly, my one
quibble would be over the role of so-called idem identity. Vanhoozer seems to cast
Possible Objections? 23

through change in terms of the continuation of the story; the ongoing

story allows us to describe both "the continuity of the person who acts
and is acted upon through a stretch of time" and "the genuine changes,
sometimes to the very core of a person's being, that occur both in that
person's character and in the circumstances of a story." 80 Where the
story continues, so does the character: the narrative continuity of char-
acter persists through any and all manner of change, even- so in Luke
- death and resurrection.

IV. Possible Objections?

Before embarking upon the actual exegesis it seems wise to deal with a
few objections that might be raised in relation to the project as a whole.
One might object that it is illegitimate to focus on a title as a means to
understand christology. Leander Keck put this point pithily in his
programmatic paper for the SNTS twenty years ago: "christology must
be liberated from the tyranny of titles." 81 Keck's main objections, how-
ever, to "title-dominated" christological studies dealt with what he
called the "palaeontology" of titles, the attempts to reconstruct the
history of words like Kupwc;, XPlcr't6c;, crw'tflp and so on. In addition to
running other risks, 82 such studies reflect "an inadequate view of lan-
guage, because [they assume] that meaning resides in words like
'Lord'," 83 a point which I have also underscored above. Applied, how-
ever, not to diachronic word-studies but to narrative interpretation, this
charge misses the mark (see section II above).
In fact, not one of Keck' s objections disallows a focus on the narra-
tive use of a title in which the Gospel narrative determines the meaning
and significance of the word, 84 so long as one avoids grandiose claims

this way of thinking about identity in a one-sidedly negative light, though it should
be admitted that he acknowledges Ricoeur's attempt to deal positively with idem
identity through the notion of character (49 n. 26).
80 Frei, Identity, 133. Cf. Ricoeur, Oneself as Another, 140: "The specific model of the
interconnection of events constituted by emplotment allows us to integrate with
permanence in time what seems to be its contrary in the domain of sameness-
identity, namely, diversity, variability, discontinuity, and instability."
81 Leander E. Keck, "Toward the Renewal of New Testament Christology," NTS 32
(1986): 362-77 (370). Cf. his brief remarks in "Christology of the New Testament:
What, Then, Is New Testament Christology," 196-97.
82 Ibid., 368-70.
83 Ibid., 368-69.
84 Keck identifies five problems with studies that focus on titles. Such studies are
unable (1) to deal with christologically important passages where no title appears,
24 Introduction

to a totalizing chris to logy. 85 Moreover, despite the uncontestable so-

phistication of his reflections, Keck seems to overlook a simple matter
in the christological interpretation of a Gospel: the Gospel writers
themselves privilege certain titles. 86 This is nowhere more evident than
in the case of Luke and KUptO<;. Keck' s critique of palaeontology is
basically sound, but if the emphasis is upon narrative christology, we
miss much of Luke's point if we make Kupw<; out to be just another
title, or even merely the first among equals. Consideration of the story,
of Luke's composition, and of matters as basic as numerical frequency
actually demand instead that we pay attention to Kupto<; as a word that
carries substantial christological conviction. In a word, the reason we
can and should concentrate on Kupw<; in Luke is that Luke did. 87

and (2) with the plurality of titles in given context. Their narrow focus can, further,
(3) lead one to miss the christology which is in the text, or to see (4) only half of the
christological hermeneutic, where titles are supposed to do the interpreting (but in
fact the other half needs to be brought in: the Jesus-event interprets the titles). Fi-
nally, these studies (5) objectify and concentrate the identity and significance of Jesus
in relation to the OT in a way that shortchanges truly significant christological issues
(ibid., 369-70). Of interest in this connection is Jack Dean Kingsbury's work, which as
whole, despite its focus on titles, does not seem to run afoul of these problems.
85 Though I will claim great significance for KUptac;, I do not thereby intend to suggest
that the entirety of Lukan christology is expressed through his use of this word. Cf.
in another context, Martin Hengel, "Christology and New Testament Chronology,"
in Between Jesus and Paul: Studies in the Earliest History of Christianity (Philadelphia:
Fortress, 1983), 30-47, 156-66: "The ultimate aim of a meaningful account of the earli-
est Christian christology must be an overall view and not the isolated consideration
of the individual christological ciphers" (38). Hengel's concern in this essay is not
that of the study of christological titles, but his point is nonetheless important to
mention in relation to our study here, in this way in particular: I am not attempting
to provide an "overall view" - and do not think that a study of KUptoc; could give
an overall view - and yet I maintain that KUptoc; is, for Luke at least, dramatically
more than something like a christological cipher.
86 "Son," e.g., is the most characteristic title of Jesus in John's Gospel. Cf. Tuckett,
"Christology of Luke-Acts," 139, who takes note of Keck's objections but maintains
that "[t]he fact remains that certain key 'titles' or terms were used by early Chris-
tians to refer to Jesus in a potentially significant way means that these terms do pro-
vide an important part of the evidence for seeking to uncover Christological ideas of
early Christians." Cf., too, Stephen G. Wilson, Luke and the Pastoral Epistles (London:
SPCK, 1979), who accepts Conzelmann's remark regarding the unimportance of
christological titles for Luke (see n. 11 above), but then goes on to add: "Conzel-
mann's judgment needs to be qualified only to the degree that the numerical domi-
nance of kurios as a title in Luke-Acts is indicative of Luke's concentration on the
exalted Jesus as his major christological theme" (69; emphasis original). Wilson's fur-
ther characterization of Luke's christology as an "exaltation christology" is to be dis-
puted (he takes it as the "consensus," 69), but his recognition of the importance of
Kuptoc; is worth noting.
87 See also, e.g., Bovon, Thirty-Three Years, 177, who opines: "We do not think that the
Christological titles are the principal manner of getting at the Lucan Christ." This is
Possible Objections? 25

One might also object that treating Kupwc; in the Gospel alone is
illegitimate in light of the literary unity that is Luke-Acts. Such a limi-
tation would seem to degenerate into an interpretation of the first half
of the story apart from the second half, surely a misleading way to
understand a narrative. 88 My initial response is that the limitation is
one of actual exegesis - due to the size of the material (Luke-Acts is
about one-fourth of the entire NT) - and not of interpretation; on a
literary-critical level, the second volume of Luke's work will figure into
my interpretation of the first. s9
There are also, however, three further matters that allow the focus
upon the Gospel. First and most importantly, literarily speaking the
Gospel provides the basis for the use of Kupwc; in Acts. Kup we; in Acts,
that is, becomes intelligible in light of Kuptoc; in the Gospel. Thus, to
move immediately into integrative interpretation is to miss the dis-
tinctiveness of the Gospel's preparation for Acts (especially the ambi-
guity of Kupwc;). 90 Second, the Gospel was written before Acts and,
presumably, meant to be intelligible to the Christians for whom it was
written. 91 Acts 1:1-2, of course, presupposes that the first volume of

not to be taken lightly; yet, the proper response at this point seems to be that with
respect to KUptoc; Luke, at least, thought this word something like a "principal man-
ner." But the validity of this response can only be established through the outwork-
ing of the book.
88 The concise reflections of Luke Timothy Johnson, "The Christo logy of Luke-Acts," in
Who Do You Say That I Am?: Essays on Christology (FS Jack Dean Kingsbury; eds.
Mark Allan Powell and David R. Bauer; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999),
49-65, esp. 49-54, on the methodological necessity of reading Luke-Acts together are
generally on target, even if his own attempt at a "christology" of Luke-Acts is to be
89 A monograph length treatment of KUptoc; in Acts would indeed be useful to have. It
would give us a sense of how Luke develops his Leitwort across two volumes.
90 The underside to this claim is one that cannot in this work be substantiated in detail,
namely, that the use of KUptoc; in Acts is a confirmation of - indeed a kind of com-
mentary upon - the use in the Gospel. If we may amend Luke Johnson's remarks,
the unity of Luke-Acts in terms of the use of KUptoc; is well-expressed: "What [Luke]
has to say about [KUptoc;] in the Gospel looks forward to Acts, and what [Luke] has
to say about [Kuptoc;] in Acts looks back to the Gospel" ("The Christology of Luke-
Acts," 53).
91 I will not offer a conjecture as to the Lukan "audience." Popular guesses both
modern and ancient have included locations as diverse as Rome, Caesarea, the
whole of Achaia, etc. (for a brief list, see, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.57). Even if one is still
inclined to argue, as would Philip Esler and David Sim, for example, that the Gos-
pels reflect specific communities to which they were addressed, the ability to pin
precisely Luke or Acts on a map of the Mediterranean world is seriously lacking
(Esler, "Community and Gospel in Early Christianity: A Response to Richard
Bauckham's Gospels for All Christians," SJT 51 [1998]: 235-48; Sim, "The Gospels for
All Christians? A Response to Richard Bauckham," JSNT 84 [2001]: 3-27). See now,
26 Introduction

Luke's work has been read and that it could be understood on its own.
Third, although, as the above remarks indicate, I do not for a moment
question the literary unity of Luke-Acts (Acts 1:1-2 also precludes a
total separation), I do want to do some justice to the impression created
from attention to the history of reception, in which it seems that by and
large Luke was received as a "Gospel" and Acts as something else. 92
Acts obviously shows in many different ways (style, vocabulary, struc-
ture, etc.) that a literary unity with the Gospel was intended, but we
have virtually no evidence that Luke-Acts was read as Luke-Acts in the
earliest period 93 ; the majority of the evidence indicates that Luke was
grouped with other Gospels rather than with Acts. These three points,
together with the qualifications in the previous paragraph, suggest that
exegetical focus upon the identity of the Kupwc; in the Gospel is justi-

too, Margaret M. Mitchell, "Patristic Counter-Evidence to the Claim that 'The Gos-
pels Were Written for All Christians'," NTS 51 (2005): 36-79. For the issue of Gospel
communities in general, see, e.g., the concise remarks of Stephen C. Barton, "Can We
Identify the Gospel Audiences?" in The Gospels for All Christians: Rethinking Gospel
Audiences (ed. Richard Bauckham; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 173-94, esp. 186-
88. It is important at this point to note with Graham N. Stanton, "The Fourfold Gos-
pel," NTS 43 (1997): 317-46, that "the older view that the individual gospels circu-
lated only in limited geographical areas is no longer tenable: the papyri. .. indicate
clearly that there was a great deal of contact between different regions around the
Mediterranean" (336). See, e.g., the essay of Michael B. Thompson, "The Holy Inter-
net: Communication between Churches in the First Christian Generation," in The
Gospels for All Christians, 49-70. With respect to the circulation of texts in the ancient
world, Loveday Alexander is willing to speak of "interweaving networks" ("Ancient
Book Production and the Circulation of the Gospels," in Gospels for All Christians, 71-
112 [104]). In a general sense, while they by no means prove its impossibility, such
studies decrease the likelihood of a specifically Lukan community that would have
read Luke's writings in isolation.
92 This is not intended as a statement about genre but rather about the other early
Christian narratives of Jesus with which the Gospel of Luke was associated. On the
reception of Luke-Acts in the second century, see now the massive study by Andrew
Gregory, The Reception of Luke and Acts in the Period before Irenaeus: Looking for Luke in
the Second Century (WUNT 2/169; Ti.ibingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003). For issues of ca-
nonical interpretation, see Brevard S. Childs, The New Testament as Canon: An Intro-
duction (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), 218-40.
93 Gregory, Reception, is able to adduce only the Muratorian Fragment and Irenaeus,
and even these two exceptions can be disputed. See C. Kavin Rowe, "History, Her-
meneutics, and the Unity of Luke-Acts," JSNT 28/2 (2005): 131-57 and the responses
of Luke Timothy Johnson and Markus Bockmuehl thereto.
The Argument 27

V. The Argument

Against the background of the relevant history of scholarship, we have

sketched the need for such a study, developed in two separate sections
the larger method by which it will be undertaken, and considered
briefly possible objections that could be raised against the attempt to
write about Luke's use of Kuptoc; in the Gospel. It is now time to give a
short preview of the thesis to be argued in this work.
The linking of the question of narrative identity with the question of
the use of Kuptoc; in the Gospel of Luke enables the complexity of
Luke's christological - and theological - claims about the identity of
the Lord to emerge. In the first place, Luke positions KDptoc; within the
movement of the narrative in such a way as to narrate the relation
between God and Jesus as one of inseparability, to the point that they
are bound together in a shared identity as KDptoc; (Verbindungsiden-
titiit).94 In the second place, the development of KDptoc; throughout the
entire Gospel narrative serves to tell the human or earthly story of the
heavenly Lord. Luke uses Kuptoc;, in other words, to unify the earthly
and resurrected Jesus at the point of his identity as Lord. There are not
two figures, one Jesus of "history," as it were, and another exalted
Lord, but rather only one: the Lord who was Kuptoc; even from the
Attention to Luke's literary skill with KDptoc; pays (at least) two
additional and significant historical dividends, one of which will be
demonstrated throughout the book, the other of which can be taken up
only briefly at the end (but it points toward the need for further work,
with particular benefit for New Testament theology). First, if my read-

94 Throughout this work I will retain the use of Verbindungsidentitiit rather than attempt
to translate this word into English. As will become clear, Luke's view of the identity
of the Kupto~ is best expressed by this - coined, to be sure - German word espe-
cially in light of the alternative: a repeated series of affirmations and qualifications in
English each time the word is needed (e.g., a shared, narratively established identity
in which there is unity without confusion as well as distinction without separation).
Insofar as I am aware, it is just not possible to say in English with precision and
economy of expression what one can say with this one German word. Moreover,
when situated within the history of Lukan studies in the modern period, this expres-
sion has a polemical edge, which would be lost in English, vis-a-vis Conzelmann's
influential view of the implications of Luke's use of Kupto~ (Verbindungsidentitiit
rather than Vermischungsidentitiit). Let it be noted now that by employing these terms
I am not attempting to deal in metaphysics. I do not deny that narratives raise meta-
physical questions - or even that narratives presuppose a certain type metaphysics
for their intelligibility - but the point with the terminology is rather to describe cer-
tain coherent patterns of characterization.
28 Introduction

ing of KUpto~ in Luke is correct, then the commonly espoused position

that Luke has overall a rather "low" christology (an, e.g., "agent" or
"prophetic" christology 95 ) becomes impossible to maintain. 96 As a
comprehensive (or near comprehensive) position, it should be jetti-
soned altogether. This is in no way to deny Luke's emphasis on Jesus'
humanity (cf. esp. 2:52) - in fact, as we will see, the humanity of the
KUpto~ is one of Luke's central points - but it is to insist that future
study of Luke's Gospel will have to deal with a christology that, narra-
tively speaking, binds the identity of Jesus to the identity of the God of
Second, in light of this reading of Luke's christology, it becomes
possible to situate Luke in closer proximity to Paul and John than is
usual in modern NT scholarship. 97 It is obviously not impossible that

95 See e.g., Jack Dean Kingsbury, Conflict in Luke: Jesus, Authorities, Disciples (Minneapo-
lis: Fortress, 1991), 18 (Jesus is God's "supreme agent"); idem, "Jesus as the 'Pro-
phetic Messiah' in Luke's Gospel," in The Future of Christology: Essays in Honor of
Leander E. Keck (eds. Abraham J. Malherbe and Wayne A. Meeks; Minneapolis: For-
tress, 1993), 29-42, or Emmeram Krankl, Jesus der Knecht Gottes: Die heilsgeschichtliche
Stellung Jesu in den Reden der Apostelgeschichte (BU 8; Regensburg: Pustet Verlag,
1972). Cf., too, Conzelmann, Die Mitte, 161. The influence of the position that Luke
has a "low" christology is powerful enough that it has made its way into a variety of
non-Lukan studies as well. To take only one of many possible examples, see William
R. Telford, The Theology of the Gospel of Mark (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1999), 177: "Luke is generally regarded as having a 'lower' Christology than
the other evangelists, lacking in this respect the 'innovative' thrust of Mark, the 're-
actionary' emphasis of Matthew, or the 'sublime' quality of John." This is not to
deny altogether, however, that prophetic or agent-like elements exist in the Lukan
texts but rather to affirm that these are not the driving convictions of Lukan christol-
ogy. Telford makes reference to John Drury's article in a standard dictionary "Luke,
Gospel of," in A Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation (eds. R. J. Coggins and J. L. Haul-
den; London: SCM Press, 1990), 410-13. Drury writes, "It has long been noticed that
[Luke] has a 'lower' christology than the other evangelists, and a much lower one
than John .... Jesus is somewhat leveled down by Luke in terms of doctrine and a ver-
tical view of the world's relation to God .... [Luke's]lower christology, wealth of real-
istic detail, and historical plausibility have exercised a strong appeal to modern
scholars at a level deeper and less conscious than their professional work" (413).
96 Contra, e.g., Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," 149-57, who argues against the
possibility of a "high" Lukan christology. Indeed, to sharpen the contrast, it is worth
noting that this section of Tuckett's argument is entitled: "Luke-Acts: A 'High'
Christology? Jesus as Lord." As noted above, Tuckett actually deals primarily with
the theses of Bock and Buckwalter and makes only a handful of observations about
Luke's use of KUptac; itself.
97 This is true not only in specialist studies (cf. the widely influential essay of Philipp
Vielhauer, "On the 'Paulinism' of Acts," in Studies in Luke-Acts [eds. Leander Keck
and J. Louis Martyn; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966], 33-50) but also in New Testament
theologies (cf. the tripartite structure of Bultmann's Theologie des Neuen Testaments,
for example, in which Paul and John constitute the center and Luke along with the
Pastorals represents the sharp decline toward Fruhkatholizismus [the tripartite struc-
The Argument 29

Paul influenced Luke - though whether Luke actually knew Paul's

letters is certainly debatable - and it is also not impossible that Luke
knew some form of John's Gospel, though this (admittedly more tenu-
ous) hypothesis, too, escapes indisputable verification. 98 Regardless of
such influence, however, to understand the implications of Luke's use
of KUpto~ for the construal of Jesus' identity is to join hands with Paul
and John. There are differences, of course, in expression. Although
Paul's letters most likely presuppose a narrative, 99 the letters them-
selves, to state the obvious, are not actual stories but letters to particu-
lar communities; John, though he writes a narrative, may be said to
write something more like a propositional narrative in the sense that
Jesus himself speaks christology in the language of propositions (e.g., "I
and the Father are one"; "I am the Light of the world," etc.). Luke chose
a different way to express the identity of Jesus, one much more like
Mark and Matthew, but he shares with Paul and John a remarkably
similar - if not the same - underlying judgment about the identity of
Jesus, namely, that as Kupto~ he is the human presence of the heavenly
Kupto~ of Israel.
Luke builds this understanding into the narrative itself not so
much with theological propositions 100 but with a panoply of literary
and rhetorical devices that range from relatively simple, though signifi-
cant, alterations of his Markan source to complex and extended paro-
nomasia. Throughout the story Luke uses Kupto~ so repeatedly that its
reverberation within the narrative becomes the rhythm of the Gospel.
Kupto~ is thus somewhat like the famous Leitmotiv of Beethoven's Fifth
Symphony, which not only opens the piece in a dramatic fashion but
also can be heard clearly - with intricate variation - in all four
movements, directing, as it were, our listening to and experience of the
piece. This idea of a directing Leitmotiv was transposed ingeniously into

ture of the German version is obscured in the English translation by the separation
of Paul and John into volumes one and two respectively]).
98 Andrew Gregory, Reception, 56-69, has a judicious discussion of the important work
on this problem and concludes that at present the status quaestionis is that of "a con-
tinuing debate." See Mark Matson, In Dialogue with Another Gospel? The Influence of
the Fourth Gospel on the Passion Narrative of the Gospel of Luke (Atlanta: Society of Bibli-
cal Literature, 2001), and Barbara Shellard, New Light on Luke: Its Purpose, Sources and
Literary Context (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002) on one side, and the work
of Frans Neirynck on the other.
99 See, e.g., the collection of essays in Narrative Dynamics in Paul: A Critical Assessment
(ed. Bruce W. Longenecker; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002) and the review
article by Richard B. Hays, "Is Paul's Gospel Narratable?" JSNT 27/2 (2004): 217-39.
100 The closest Luke comes to something like a proposition is the Johannine "meteor" in
10:21-22. See the discussion of this passage in chapter three below.
30 Introduction

the literary realm by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig with the
coining of the term Leitwort. 101 Though their work together was focused
on the Pentateuch, their insight is no less applicable to the present
study: KUptot; is indeed a "leading-word" that, in a way analogous to a
Leitmotiv, guides the reader's movement through the Gospel of Luke.

101 On the coining of Leitwort, see the brief discussion in Yairah Arnit, "The Multi-
Purpose 'Leading Word' and the Problems of Its Usage," Prooftexts 9 (1989): 99-114,
esp. 100 and 111 nn. 1 and 2. The term Leitmotiv was evidently not employed until
the late nineteenth century (first used specifically in relation to Wagner), but the
"thing" for which the name was coined predates Wagner by millennia. This is yet
another case in which a later term helps to illumine a much earlier practice. As T. J.
Reed notes, "In the case of the leitmotiv ... we are not dealing with a specifically mu-
sical device at all. The name itself may have been new in the nineteenth cen-
tury ... but the thing itself-the repetition of identical material as a means of
characterization or as a structural 'reminder' -was a literary device as old as litera-
ture itself, going back to the tapas of early epic poetry. Wagner's appropriation of the
technique for his music drama was late and nobody who was at all well read could
be struck by it as something new ... [E]ven without the recollection of Horner, it was
impossible not to learn the method from more modern sources [e.g., Tolstoy] ... [T]he
use of leitmotiv needed no cue from Wagner" (Terence James Reed, Thomas Mann-
The Uses of Tradition [2nd ed.; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996], 74; emphasis original).
Cf., to take but one relevant example, Vickie Ziegler's study of the use of Leitwiirter
in medieval German Minnesang (Vickie Ziegler, The Leitword [sic] in Minnesang: Sty-
listic Analysis and Textual Criticism [University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State
University Press, 1975]). On the significance of the term Leitwort for Luke and
KUplO<;, see esp. chapter five of the present work.
Chapter 1

The Coming K upto~

In accordance with the methodological convictions outlined in the In-
troduction, the exegetical investigations will begin at the beginning.
This hermeneutical decision reflects the position that, in general, the
order in which things occur in a narrative matters for interpretation
and that, in specific, the opening of the Lukan Gospel gives decisive
shape to the way in which we should understand Luke's use of K:uptot;. 1
In contrast to many standard treatments of the birth-infancy narra-
tive, which end their discussion with the young Jesus in the temple
(2:52), a focus on K:upwt; requires that we follow the narrative through
to the arrival of John the Baptist from the wilderness and his initial
proclamation in 3:4-6. Tracing the arc of the narrative out to 3:4-6 will
allow us to discern the significance of K:upwt; in connection to the actual
movement of the story. Yet, for the sake of presentation, such signifi-
cance can best be seen through a two-part division in which the discus-
sion of Lukan OT hermeneutics, Luke 1:43, and Luke 2:11 (Part 1)
brings into view the meaning of K:UptOt; within the narrative sequence
(Part 2).

Part 1: The Lord in the Womb

In the birth-infancy narrative alone K:uptot; is used approximately

twenty-five times. 2 Of these twenty-five uses, only two refer directly to
Jesus (1:43; 2:11). Yet these two instances carry such weight that they

Cf. Mark Coleridge, The Birth of the Lukan Narrative: Narrative as Christology in Luke 1-
2 (JSNTSup 88; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993), 22-23: "The general claim of this study is
that the first two chapters of the Third Gospel set the Lukan narrative in motion and
lay the ground for all that follows by articulating in narrative form a vision of both
the divine visitation and the human recognition of it, and this as a way of preparing
for the birth of a distinctively Lukan christology ."
2 There are minor text-critical problems at 1:9, 15, 66, 68.
32 The Coming Kyrios

shape profoundly the interpretation of the rest of the narrative. Indeed,

if one misses the significance of these two verses, the distinctive fea-
tures of the Lukan KUpto~ phenomenon will go undetected. In order to
comprehend precisely in what way 1:43 and 2:11 can bear such weight,
it is necessary first to grasp certain aspects of Luke's reading of Jewish

I. Luke 1-2 and the Old Testament

It has become well-known in contemporary Lukan exegesis that Luke

1-2 displays a remarkable concern for continuity with the events,
prophecies, and promises of the history of Israel. Such continuity is fre-
quently, and rightly in my view, seen primarily in terms of Luke's use
of the Old Testament.3 Luke Johnson may be correct that in its finer
details Luke's method in using the Old Testament is subtle and
"eludes ... detection"; 4 nonetheless, there are a number of important
observations for us to make about Lukan Old Testament hermeneutics
here in chapters 1-2 that have immediate bearing upon the interpreta-
tion of KUpto~ in the birth-infancy narrative.
Luke cites Scripture directly only twice (2:23, 24: both times pref-
aced with £v ['tc\)] v6Jlq> Kup'tou), but the entire birth-infancy narrative is
richly allusive, 5 even to the point that Nils Dahl suggested Luke's in-
tention was to "write the continuation of the biblical history." 6 Over

3 See, e.g., Joel B. Green's excellent essay, "The Problem of a Beginning: Israel's Scrip-
tures in Luke 1-2," BBR 4 (1994): 61-85.
4 Luke Timothy Johnson, "Luke-Acts," ABO 4.409. For a comprehensive review of the
treatment of Luke's use of the Old Testament, see most recently Dietrich Rusam's
Bonn Habilitation, Das Alte Testament bei Lukas (BZNW 112; Berlin: Walter de
Gruyter, 2003), esp. 7-26.
5 E.g., Gen 11-21 (Luke 1:5-2:52); 1 Sam 1:1-2:10 (Luke 1:5-2:52, esp. 1:46-55);
Judg 13:2-25 (Luke 1:5-24); Dan 7-10 (1:5-2:52); Zeph 3:14-17 (Luke 1:26-33); Isa
2:9-12 (Luke 1:46-55); Isa 7:14 (Luke 1:27); Isa 9:6-7 (Luke 1:26-38); Isa 42:6 (Luke 1:79;
2:32); 49:6 (Luke 2:32); 52:10 (2:30-31); 2 Sam 7:12-16 (Luke 1:32-33); Mic 4:7-5:5
(Luke 2:1-14); Mal3:1 (Luke 1:17, 76); Mal4:5-6 (Luke 1:17).
6 Nils A. Dahl, "The Story of Abraham in Luke-Acts," in Studies in Luke-Acts (eds.
Leander Keck and J. Louis Martyn; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966), 139-58 (153). Cf. Jo-
seph A. Fitzmyer, "The Use of the Old Testament in Luke-Acts," in To Advance the
Gospel (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 310 n. 1: "[A]nyone who considers
the purpose of Luke-Acts soon realizes that this imitation of biblical history is one of
the main reasons why Luke has composed this two-volume work." This issue, how-
ever, is not necessarily the same as that of genre. On this point, see Charles H.
Talbert, "The Acts of the Apostles: Monograph or 'Bios'?" in History, Literature and
Society in the Book of Acts (ed. Ben Witherington III; New York: Cambridge University
Luke 1-2 and the Old Testament 33

against Raymond Brown's bridge metaphor/ which fails because for

Luke there is no gulf between the old and the new, Dahl's choice of the
word "continuation" is apt. This is, in fact, the very point of Luke's
numerous Old Testament allusions. However, the promises in the Old
Testament and their fulfillment in Luke's time are not perfectly bal-
anced or correlated. Luke does not work from a rigid proph-
ecy/fulfillment scheme; 8 nor are the prefigurations in the Old Testa-
ment of character and event (e.g., Abraham, Sarah, Hannah) read in
simple typological correspondence with the characters and events of
Luke's time. Rather, Luke's reading of the LXX 9 enables him to shape
his story to exert pressure upon the reader by means of atmospheric
resonance. The characters and events of the Old Testament are every-
where present and nowhere mentioned. For those who have ears to
hear, the stories of Abraham and Sarah and Isaac, Hannah and Samuel,
Sampson, King David, and the prophecies and promises of Isaiah,
Daniel, Zephaniah, Micah, and Malachi echo throughout the birth-
infancy narrative, thereby rendering direct citation of the LXX super-

Press, 1996), 58-72, esp. 70-71: "The ... reservation is associated with those who view
Luke-Acts as the continuation of biblical history, that is, a continuation of the salva-
tion history that is described in the Old Testament narratives and elsewhere. This is
not so much a genre description as a statement of the contents of the Lucan writings.
I agree, Luke and Acts tell the continuing story of salvation history. Let us remem-
ber, however, that salvation history narrows at the point of Jesus to the story of one
individual. At that point, the history of salvation is best told by the literary genre bi-
ography" (70).
7 Raymond E. Brown, "Luke's Method in the Annunciation Narratives of Chapter
One," in No Famine in the Land: Studies in Honor of John L. McKenzie (eds. James
Flanagan and Anita W. Robinson; Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1975), 179-94.
8 Martin Rese, Alttestamentliche Motive in der Christologie des Lukas (SZNT 1; Gi.itersloh:
Gi.itersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1969), 37-41, 134-35, is correct when he argues
in relation to the Luke-Acts as a whole that a rigid prophecy/fulfillment scheme can
obscure the distinctiveness and uniqueness of Luke's Old Testament citations. Rese
purposefully does not treat allusions to the Old Testament, but his point holds here
as well. This is not to deny the strong elements of prophecy and fulfillment that are
obviously apparent (e.g., Paul Schubert's essay, "The Structure and Significance of
Luke 24," in Neutestamentliche Studien fiir Rudolf Bultmann zu seinem siebzigsten Ge-
burtstag [BZNW 21; ed. Walther Eltester; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1957]: 165-86] is
still worth careful consideration) but is instead to point to Luke's varied and multi-
faceted use of the Old Testament.
9 In light of recent septuagintal studies it is necessary to clarify in what way the term
Septuagint/LXX is being used. At this point in this book, "the LXX" (the article is
grammatically preferable in normal English usage) is used in the very general sense
of the Greek-language Old Testament (assuming here that Luke's Old Testament
texts were in Greek). Elsewhere, when citing from the Greek Old Testament, I will
use "the LXX" to mean the critically reconstructed text of the Gi:ittingen edition LXX.
Where the edition is not yet available, I will use the text printed in the Rahlfs edition
(reprinted in 1979).
34 The Coming Kyrios

fluous. The hallowed past extends into the hallowed present even as
this present reaches backward into the past. The promises and their
fulfillment form a single narrative grounded in the God of Israel's act in
Jesus. As Paul Minear wrote nearly forty years ago: the "stories in Luke
1-2 unfold in such a way as to disclose a single skein of events, all of
which stem from the marvelous fulfillment by God of his covenant
promises to Israel." 10
Minear and others 11 have seen clearly as a result of Luke's use of
the Old Testament in chapters 1-2 that the unity of the birth-infancy
narrative itself and the continuity of the "new" events with the "old"
depend upon the purpose and action of God. Thus is such unity and
continuity theological in the strict sense of the word, as it is the same
God who provides the continuation of that which had been promised
in the Scriptures of Israel: fulfillment and unity rest upon divine iden-
tity and purpose.
In light of this stress upon continuity, what is crucial to note for this
study is the primary way in which Luke writes of 8E6c;. The divine
identity as narrated in the opening of the Gospel is one in which to be
God is to be K0ptoc; 6 8Eoc; 'tOU 'Icrpail"- (1:16, 32, 68), or simply and
more frequently, 6 K:uptoc; (1:6, 9, 11, 17, 25, 28, 38, 45, 46, 58, 66, 76; 2:9
[2], 15, 22, 23, 24, 26, 39). 12 To write, therefore, of fulfillment and unity
is to write of the act and purpose of the K:Uptoc;. The God whose life is
depicted in Israel's Scripture and who acts now in fulfillment of his
purpose is, for Luke, the Lord.

II. Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord

As mentioned just above, in the birth-infancy narrative, K:Uptoc; is used

frequently in an unambiguous way to refer to the God of Israel, and

10 Paul Minear, "Luke's Use of the Birth Stories," in Studies in Luke-Acts, 111-30 (129).
11 E.g., Robert L. Brawley, Centering on God (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,
1990); Green, Luke, 51-58.
12 Note especially, e.g., the first occurrence of KUptO<;, in which the interchangeability
of 8£6<; and KUptO<; is immediately established: Tjcrav 8E OtKalOl cq.t<)btcpOl
evav-t1ov -rov Beov nop~::u6~.t~::vot ev m:icrat<; 'tat<; ev'<; Kat OtKatcb~.tacrw
-rov Kt.ptov ci~.t£1.l1t'tOl (1:6). Luke does not really seem to prefer the articular over
the anarthrous form or vice-versa: 1:6, 9, 28, 46; 2:15, 22, 24 are articular, while 1:11,
17, 25, 38, 45, 58, 66, 76; 2:9 [2], 23, 26, 39 are anarthrous. With respect to 8£6<;, which
occurs 17 times in the birth-infancy narrative (excluding the compound form KUptO<;
6 8£6<; in 1:16, 32, 68), Luke uses the articular form more frequently: 1:6, 8, 19, 26 30,
37, 47, 64; 2:13, 20, 28, 38 (articular); 1:35, 78; 2:14, 40, 52 (anarthrous).
Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord 35

this usage normally displays septuagintal influence in both tone and

diction. Luke writes, for example, in 1:6 of Zechariah and Elizabeth that
they were righteous before God, rropEOO!lEVOt EV n:acrcxu; 'text~ EV'toA.cii~
Kat OtKcxtcD!lCXcrtv 'tOU KUptou cXIlEiliT'tOt, and in 1:9 that Zechariah en-
tered 'tOV vcxbv 'tOU Kuptou to perform his priestly service. The use of
Kupto~ for God that began in 1:6 extends through Gabriel's visit to
Zechariah and the narration of the conception of John the Baptist
through 1:38.
On a broad level, Gabriel's appearance to Zechariah is quite de-
tailed. The setting is carefully sketched: Zechariah, chosen by lot, has
entered the sanctuary of the Lord; it is the time of the incense offering;
the people are outside praying. Then the angel Gabriel appears and
stands at the right side of the altar of incense, delivering his well-
known message to the terrified Zechariah: Zechariah's elderly wife
Elizabeth, heretofore barren (as we know from 1:7), will bear him a son
(~ yuvi] crou 'EA. tcra f3E't yEvvi]cret ui6v crot). 13
Consistent with this particularized account, Luke writes of the end
of Zechariah's temple service and of his return home. When Luke tells
of Elizabeth's pregnancy, he prefixes the news with "and after these

and it happened that as the days of his Temple service were fulfilled, he
went back to his house. And after these days, his wife Elizabeth became
pregnant and hid herself for five months ....

There can be no doubt as to the "natural" means of John the Baptist's

conception. Though Luke does not follow Zechariah and Elizabeth into
their bedroom, as it were, he does provide space and time for their sex-
ual union. Zechariah went away "into his house" (literally, an:fiA.8Ev Ei~
'tOV olKov mhou), and after a seemly lapse of time, it becomes clear that
Elizabeth is pregnant (1:24-25). Thus the information crucial to a consis-
tent flow in narration is there, and there are no irregularities or surpris-
ing jumps in narrative time or order. The narrative moves seamlessly
forward, and the anticipations to which the story gives rise and their
fulfillment are in sync.

13 Kenneth R. R. Gras Louis, "The Jesus Birth Stories," in Literary Interpretations of Bibli-
cal Narratives. Volume II (ed. Kenneth R. R. Gras Louis with James S. Ackerman;
Nashville: Abingdon, 1982), 273-84, also notes the detail of the entire Zechariah
scene: "Luke does not have to tell us, for example, that Zachariah is of the division of
Abijah or that the angel is on the right side of the altar ... " (281). A few witnesses
omit crot (0, 11, 579), but it is better to retain it in light of the majority of the best
Greek MSS and lack of internal reasons for its omission.
36 The Coming Kyrios

This detailed seamlessness contrasts with the annunciation scene,

where there is a comparative sparseness of detail. 14 We are given
names and lineage, yet for setting we have only a town. But the most
striking narrative difference occurs after we encounter Mary's famous
response to the news that she will bear God's Son:

i8ou i] 8ouA.11 K:up'tou yE:von6 f..LOt Ka:t<i 1:6 pijf..L<i crou

With this response we are prepared for a narration of the concep-

tion and the fleshing out of Gabriel's good news. But instead, Mary's
words mark the end of the annunciation scene: "The angel departed
from her."
There follows absolutely no narration of Mary's conception. In-
stead, the narrative suddenly shifts. From her closeted encounter with
the angel Gabriel, Mary is next seen hastening to a small Judaean town.
The shift is from private to public, and its effect is to create a profound
silence regarding what has happened or not yet happened in the secret
of Mary's womb.
We have been told with Mary how she as a virgin is to conceive
("power of most high"), but the text is remarkably incommunicative
regarding the particulars of the conception. 15 There is no room for
doubt that God will make good on his promise (Mary seeks out the
woman of whom the angel spoke of being miraculously pregnant), but
also no certainty that he has already done so:

14 The contrast gains more force in light of the well-known birth-infancy diptych. See
the figure in Part 2, section 1 below. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke
(2 vols. Garden City: Doubleday, 1981, 1985), 1.313-14, gives an outline of the struc-
ture of Luke 1-2 in which he sees Zechariah's return and Gabriel's departure from
Mary as parallel "refrains" (both 1:23 and 1:38 use cotijA.8Ev). This parallelism of
similarity, however, is only true at a very general level and breaks down at the level
of narrative movement, in which there is a considerable difference between the nar-
ration of John's and Jesus' conception (see above).
15 Though there are many differences between the Lukan Gospel and the Genesis nar-
rative of the binding of Isaac, and between Luke and the Odyssey, Erich Auerbach's
famous discussion of the difference between the "free expression" of Homer and the
"unexpressed" character of the biblical story in the first chapter of Mimesis: The Rep-
resentation of Reality in Western Literature (trans. Willard R. Trask; Princeton: Univer-
sity Press, 1953) is instructive here. In contrast to the biblical style, in Homer's epic a
"continuous rhythmic procession of phenomena passes by, and never is there a form
left fragmentary or half-illuminated, never a lacuna, never a gap, never a glimpse of
unplumbed depths" (6-7).
Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord 37

In those days Mary rose and went with haste into a town in the
Judean hill country, and she went into the house of Zechariah and
greeted Elizabeth ....

Certain strands of literary theory of the last twenty or thirty years

have made much of such gaps or silences. 16 The focus, as in Wolfgang
Iser' s work, 17 has usually been on the reader's role in filling in the gap.
That the reader is involved in the reading process at the point of filling
in gaps and silences is beyond question. But it does not follow that all
gap-filling is entirely and only subjectively constructed interpretation,
located arbitrarily - as far as the actual preferred interpretation of the
text is concerned - and solely in the mind of the reader, or in the
strategies of the community. Rather, to follow Meir Sternberg, a text
itself has certain norms and directives, and in order for an interpreta-
tion to gain plausibility, it must be legitimated by the text's own
norms. 18 No interpretation can claim cogency, therefore, if it clashes

16 For a concise overview see Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction (2nd ed.;
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), esp. 65-78. In relation to biblical
interpretation in particular, the relevant sections of Anthony C. Thiselton, New Hori-
zons in Hermeneutics: The Theory and Practice of Transforming Biblical Reading (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), give a helpful orientation to the basic issues. It is note-
worthy that Gros Louis, "The Jesus Birth Stories," 280, overlooks this moment of si-
lence or gap in his otherwise close reading of the text and apt characterization of Lu-
kan style: "[I]nstead of having characters suddenly appear somewhere or being
directed to go elsewhere, as in Matthew, Luke moves his characters from place to
place with narrative logic. Zachariah has a reason for being in the temple and for
coming out of it, Mary's trip to Elizabeth is described, there is movement among
Zachariah's neighbors and kinfolk, Joseph has a specific reason for going to Bethle-
hem, the shepherds discuss their decision to visit the manager [sic] after the angel's
announcement to them. Events in Luke are connected, in other words-history, or
the reporting of history, or the creation of literature involves not only recording
events or their causes, but also describing what happens to people in time and space
as events unravel." Cf., too, his remarks on 282 in which he skips over the narrative
gap: "Notice the narrative neatness of Luke-the scene at the temple has its begin-
ning, middle, and end, Mary's going to and from Elizabeth's house is mentioned, the
amazement at Zachariah's writing the name John is discussed in the countryside ... "
(emphasis original).
17 See Wolfgang Iser, The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response (Baltimore: The
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), esp. 182-203.
18 Meir Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of
Reading (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985), esp. 188. Danna Nolan Fewell
and David M. Gunn, "Tipping the Balance: Sternberg's Reader and the Rape of
Dinah," JBL 110/2 (1991): 193-211, attempted to critique Sternberg's statement that
the Bible uses "foolproof composition" (e.g., Poetics, 48-56), but their article was re-
buffed as "counterreading" in a withering critique by Sternberg himself ("Biblical
Poetics and Sexual Politics: From Reading to Counterreading," JBL 111/3 [1992]: 462-
88). In connection to the position that texts do have "norms and directives," cf. the
remark of Coleridge, The Birth of the Lukan Narrative, 17: "One of the underlying as-
38 The Coming Kyrios

with some of the givens of the text, or fills in what the text itself rules
out, or ignores textual particulars, for example. Instead, the success of
gap-filling as a hermeneutical process depends on its "congruity" with
the text's own norms and directives. 19
For Sternberg and others narrative gaps are not only indicative of
but are also in an important way constituted by absence (a lack of in-
formation, a break or jump in the narrative flow or order, etc.), 20 which
is to say that, as a whole, there is really nothing in the gap. Yet here in
Luke, the relationship between what is left unsaid in the movement of
the story to the characterization of this gap as "absence" is somewhat
problematic. For when we look carefully at the word KUptoc; within the
norms and directives of the text, we discover that in the movement of
the story - that which creates the gap - there is in fact presence rather
than simple absence. This is a presence which from the beginning of
Israel's Scripture is coupled with mystery, darkness, and creation. The
angel said to Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the

sumptions of such an approach is that the evangelist is in control of his material, that
however much he may use received sources and traditions he is more master than
slave of the elements of his text. This would mean, for instance, that were fissures,
gaps or elisions to appear in the text, the initial assumption would be that the author
wants them to be there, and the critical question is therefore 'why?' There will of
course be times when the critic can no longer maintain an assumption of this kind.
At that point, there is no choice but to abandon the initial assumption and to assume
instead either a failure of the author to master his sources or corruption in the tex-
tual tradition. But it is a question of what initial assumption the critic brings to the
task; and narrative criticism begins with the assumption that the evangelist has over
his material a control which if not absolute is nonetheless real." Though there are
points worth disputing (it is not only a question of what initial assumption one
brings: the identity of the author, the type of text etc., to put the matter in a chicken
and egg sort of way, help to shape our initial assumptions and to guide us in what to
look for), Coleridge's general point seems sound.
19 Ibid., 188. There is also the danger of "elevating blanks to gaps." Though the bound-
ary between gaps and blanks is admittedly hard to fix, Sternberg characterizes
blanks as "irrelevancies" (rather than "relevancies"), as that which was omitted for
"lack of interest" (rather than for sake of interest), and as that which can be disre-
garded without a loss (rather than that which demands closure) (236). He then takes
as his example modern biblical studies, which is "[p]rofessionally bent on wringing
from the text every bit of information," and thereby frequently elevates blanks to
gaps (236). In light of such a charge, it will be all the more important to see if our in-
terpretation receives substantiation from the rest of the Lukan narrative. We might
also mention that, in The Act of Reading, Iser's use of "blank" is closer to what Stern-
berg characterizes as "gaps" than it is to Sternberg's "blanks" - though a complete
terminological rapproachment is obviously impossible given that their larger em-
phasis is somewhat different (Iser focuses more on the reader as "co-author" and
Sternberg upon the narrative or hermeneutical significance of gaps).
20 See, e.g., Iser's discussion of "textual segments" (The Act of Reading, esp. 196), and,
Sternberg, Poetics, 237.
Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord 39

Power of the Most High will overshadow you .... " There follows si-
lence. The Spirit comes upon (£n£pxollat) and overshadows - or dark-
ens - Mary in the conception of Jesus, and it is this darkening pres-
ence, the ouvallt~ \.nvtcr'tou (d. Luke 24:49), to which the gap in the
narrative points. As the shade of the Holy Spirit is thrown over the
mother-to-be, Luke covers the scene of the conception with silence. 21
Thus we may say that the character of the gap at this point in the narra-
tive is ultimately not that of vacancy but of silence constituted by un-
speakable Presence.
Such a reading is possible only with narrative hindsight. Until
1:42ff. the withholding of crucial information hides the Spirit from
view. The key to this interpretation lies in what is, in my judgment, the
most startling verse in the birth-infancy narrative and perhaps in the
entire Gospel, Luke 1:43.

And it happened that as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in
her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [nVEU!l<X'tO~
aytou] and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"

And why does i] llll'tTlP 'tOU KUptou !lOU come to me?

And with that Jesus himself appears in the narrative for the first time: 6
Kupw~ in the womb. Thus the presence of the Holy Spirit emerges from
the narrative gap as the Power of the Most High in constituting the
human life of the holy baby in Mary's womb. In the lacuna provided by
the shade of the Spirit, Mary conceives. 22

21 'EmcrKt<il;oo is literally to throw a shadow or shade (crKt<i) upon (i::n\.), or to darken

(as O"Kt<il;oo). Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah (Garden City, NY: Double-
day, 1977), 290, 314-15, 327, notes the connection to the transfiguration scene in Luke
9 and to the Old Testament, where i::mcrKt<il;oo is used to describe the presence of
God (e.g., the cloud of God's glory overshadowed the Tabernacle in the wilderness
[Exod 40:35]; the cloud overshadowed the renewed Mt. Zion [!sa 4:5]; God over-
shadowed his chosen ones [Deut 33:12; Ps 91:4], etc.). Cf. Quintilian, Institutio aratoria
2.13.12-13: "Are there not in speech some details to be concealed, whether they must
not be shown, or whether they cannot be expressed for the sake of dignity?" On "si-
lence" in ancient rhetoric (with special reference to the end of Acts), see Daniel Mar-
guerat, "The End of Acts (28.16-31) and the Rhetoric of Silence," in Rhetoric and the
New Testament: Essays from the 1992 Heidelberg Conference (JSNTSup 90; eds. Stanley E.
Porter and Thomas H. Olbricht; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993), 74-89. On the general
narrative-descriptive difference of "public" versus "private" in the conception/birth
of John and Jesus respectively, see Louis Gros, "The Jesus Birth Stories," 282-83.
22 Cf. W. Barnes Tatum, "The Epoch of Israel: Luke I-ll and the Theological Plan of
Luke-Acts," NTS 13/2 (1967): 184-95: "[T]he Spirit acts as the divine creative power-
acting upon matter and producing the life of this unique child. Through the 'over-
40 The Coming Kyrios

As mentioned above, prior to 1:43 Kupwc_; is used of the God of Is-

rael (ten times; on 1:17 see below), but now as Jesus himself enters the
narrative he is given the name/title 6 Kupwc_;. Elizabeth then continues:

Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was
spoken to her n:ap<i KUptou.

In this crucial moment of Jesus' introduction, Elizabeth's confession

effects a duality in the referent of the word Kupwc_; between the as yet
unborn and human Kupwc_; of Mary's womb and the Kupwc_; of heaven,
who has taken away Elizabeth's shame (1:25 Kupwc_;; the only other time
Elizabeth speaks in the Gospel).
Perhaps the fact that an overlap now exists between Kupwc_; and
Kupwc_; is a rather obvious linguistic observation. If one were to hear the
Gospel read aloud (as would have been the case in the ancient world 23 ),

shadowing' of the Spirit, the virgin Mary conceives a son" (187, emphasis removed).
For an interesting article which argues that Mary becomes pregnant in the chrono-
logical gap between 1:80 and 2:1, instead of immediately after Gabriel's visit, see Mi-
chael Wolter, '"Wann wurde Maria schwanger?' Eine vernachlassigte Frage und ihre
Bedeutung fUr das Verstandnis der lukanischen Vorgeschichte (Lk 1-2)," in Von Jesus
zum Christus: Christologische Studien (BZNW 93; FS Paul Hoffmann; eds. R. Hoppe
and U. Busse; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1998), 405-22. Wolter's thesis depends upon
a reading of ev 'tat~ fJJlEpat~ EKetvat~ in 2:1 that takes this phrase to refer princi-
pally to 1:80 rather than the events of Luke 1 as a whole (or, for example, to 1:5 in
particular). The thesis requires, further, a rejection of the widely recognized diptych
structure (or "step-parallelism") of the birth-infancy narrative (see recently, e.g., Karl
A. Kuhn, "The Point of the Step-Parallelism in Luke 1-2," NTS 47 [2001]: 38-49) and
a restructuring of the birth-infancy narrative into two thematic - as opposed to
chronological - "Hauptphasen" ("John" and "Jesus" in Luke 1 and 2 respectively).
Wolter's argument deserves consideration, not least because it removes the historical
problem associated with Luke's dating of Jesus' birth (the space between 1:80 and
2:1 should be understood as encompassing many years). Yet, it is not clear (a) that ev
'tat~ EKEtVat~ in 2:1 should be directed to 1:80 rather than to Luke 1 more
broadly, (b) that the literary structure of the diptych is awkward, (c) that Elizabeth's
statement in 1:42-43 makes clear sense as a prophecy about a future conception
("Blessed is the fruit"; cf., too, the use of JlOU - from Ps 110:1 - as a kind of chris-
tological marker), or (d) that we should think of Mary as engaged to Joseph (1:26-27)
for a period of many years before she conceived (as we are required to do if there is a
gap of many years between 1:80 and 2:1). This last point would also seem to make
meaningless Luke's stress on Mary's virginty (1:27, 34). I thus prefer to remain
within the majority of exegetes - Origen, Nolland, Fitzmyer, Schurmann, Johnson,
Dibelius, Klostermann, Grundmann, Ernst, Kozar, et a!. - who continue to see
Mary's pregnancy as earlier.
23 For an excellent discussion of early Christian literacy, see Harry Y. Gamble, Books
and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts (New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press, 1995). Gamble estimates the literacy rate at "not more than
about 10 percent in any given setting, and perhaps fewer in the many small and
provincial congregations that were characteristic of early Christianity" (5). This illit-
Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord 41

one would not be able to hear a difference between KUplOt; and Kupwt;
but would instead experience a resonance, especially if the occasion
were a Christian gathering for (charismatic) worship and edification in
the late first century 24:

1:6: 'tOU KUplOU

1:9: 'tOU KuplOU
1:11: Kup1ou
1:15: 'tOU K:UplOU
1:16: KUplOV 'tOV 8E6v
1:17: K:Uplcp
1:25: KUplOt;
1:28: 6 KUplOt;
1:32: KUplOt; 6 8E6t;
1:38: K:UptOU
1:43: 'tOU K:UplOU
1:45: K:UplOU
1:46: 'tOV K:UplOv
1:58: KuplOt;
1:66: KuplOU
1:68: KUplOt; ...

eracy does not mean, however, that the early Christians were unfamiliar with their
Scriptures. In this regard it is interesting to take note again (see Introduction) of
Justin Martyr: "The memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read
as long as time permits" (Apol. 1.67).
24 With regard to christological origins and development, I presuppose here the overall
correctness of the view that in general high christology could well have been early
rather than late and that in particular, on the basis of such passages as 1 Cor 16:22,
Phi12:5-11, Rom 10:9, 13, 1 Cor 12:3, 2 Cor 4:5, etc., the confession and worship of Je-
sus as Kuptoc; is extremely early. Allowing for some variety or inconsistency in ec-
clesial practice, by the time Luke would have been writing, Christian communities
would thus have been confessing Jesus as Kuptoc; for several decades. On this entire
phenomenon, see now Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earli-
est Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003). Though his article is in part in-
tended to challenge certain aspects of the "New Religionsgeschichtliche Schule" on
the basis of some of the methodological principles and findings of the old Religions-
geschichtliche Schule, Dieter Zeller nevertheless agrees on this point with more re-
cent criticism: "While W. Bousset contended that cultic veneration of the KUptoc; first
arose in Hellenistic Christianity, today it is generally agreed that, along with the
Aramaic acclamation Mariinii' tii', it probably goes back to the primitive community"
("New Testament Christology in its Hellenistic Reception," NTS 47/3 [2001]: 312-33
42 The Coming Kyrios

Yet the force of this resonance has not been drawn out25 but instead has
frequently been denied or misunderstood. A major part of the problem
is that at this point Lukan interpreters have failed to give sufficient
weight both to the narrative as narrative and to the resonance of the
Old Testament within the narrative. Instead, they have often begun
with preconceived notions of what Luke meant to say with his use of
Kupto~, 26 or focused on Mary, 27 or dismissed the potential force with
remarks about "oriental" custom, 28 or simply missed the significance. 29
The narrative has not yet been allowed the first move; nor has the Old
Testament had its proper say.
In order to see properly the implications of the use of Kupto~ in 1:43,
it is necessary to take into account five different but interrelated mat-
1. Literarily speaking, it would be hard to overstress the importance
of a character's first introduction into what Harvey called "the web of

25 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.365, makes suggestive remarks about where such KUptOc; usage
might lead.
26 E.g., Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to
St. Luke (ICC; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898), 29, translates KUplOc; as
Christ or Messiah and thus obscures the point. Luke 2:11 (see below) should have
prevented Plummer from this mistake. Cf. M.-J. Lagrange, Evangile selon Saint Luc
(Paris, 1948), 43: "Elisabeth a compris par !'inspiration de !'Esprit-Saint que Marie est
deja Ia mere du Messie, et elle le nomme 'monSeigneur"'; Alfred Loisy, L'Evangile
selon Luc (Paris, 1924), 94: "Le mot 'Seigneur' designe le Messie"; Ceslas Spicq,
"Kupwc;," TLNT 2.349, n. 49. In common with such interpreters, Heikki Raisanen,
Die Mutter ]esu im Neuen Testament (2nd ed. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia,
1989), 109, asserts that "Im Mund der Elisabeth di.irfte Kupwc; zwar in erster Linie
den Sinn von 'Messias' haben. Der christliche Leser hort jedoch aus dem Wort
unschwer die Klange der nachosterlichen Zeit heraus." Though here he draws the
wrong conclusions about the relationship between KDpwc; and xptcr't6c;, Raisanen's
earlier attention to the arresting nature of 1:43 within the flow of the narrative is
nevertheless commendable: "V. 43 scheint den gedanklichen Zusammenhang
zwischen V. 42 und 44 zu unterbrechen und ist vielleicht ganz als lukanischer
Zusatz zu beurteilen" (109). Several scholars have held that Mary's meeting with
Elizabeth is one of many places in which Luke introduces his own material (vari-
ously understood) into an older tradition/legend (see, e.g., Martin Dibelius, From
Tradition to Gospel [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, n.d.], 125). Once again, such
hypotheses draw attention to the distinctiveness of the meeting and possible signifi-
cance for Lukan theology.
27 E.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.358, 364.
28 E.g., Werner Foerster in G. Quell and W. Foerster, "Kuptoc; K'tA.," ThWNT 3.1038-98:
"In orientalischer Hoflichkeit mag (rein auf den Sprachgebrauch gesehen) Elisabeth
die Maria 'Mutter meines Herrn' nennen" (1085) = TDNT 3.1039-98: "It is probably
with oriental politeness, so far as linguistic usage is concerned, that Elisabeth can
call Mary 'the mother of my Lord'" (1086).
29 E.g., Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 96.
Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord 43

human relationships." 30 Prior to this scene, we have heard great things

about the baby to be born, but only through angelic pronouncement:
Jesus himself does not yet exist in the narrative because he has not been
conceived. But now, in 1:42 we learn that Mary is pregnant, and in 1:43
Jesus is identified as 6 K:Upto~. Thus with Mary's visit to Elizabeth two
notable developments have occurred. First, Jesus himself now actually
exists in the narrative. Second, Jesus is now spoken of on the human
plane, in a greeting to his mother from her relative.
In light of these two developments, the personal pronoun J.lOU in
Elizabeth's confession can be seen to bear specific significance. As Har-
vey rightly notes, much of who we are can only be understood in rela-
tion to other people. This is obviously no less true of characters in
works of literature. They receive their form and contour from the other
characters in the story with whom they come into contact. Thus is Jesus
- ab initio - K:Upto~ in relation to others, K:Upto~, that is, within the web
of human relationships that helps to construct his identity (just as
Elizabeth's identity is simultaneously shaped as one who responds to
the Lordship of Jesus 31 ). Such an introduction should profoundly shape
the way we conceive of Lukan christology and how we interpret Luke's
use of K:Upto~ in the rest of Luke-Acts, for it is in fact as Kupto~ that Luke
first brings Jesus into the human realm. 32

30 W. J. Harvey, Character and the Novel (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press,
1965), 52. For the expression "web of human relationships," cf. Hannah Arendt, The
Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958), 184, who speaks of
the beginning of a human life as the "fall" of the newcomer "into an already existing
web of human relationships." Of course, in a general sense a character's first appear-
ance often - if not universally - shapes the way in which we are to understand
that character. Cf., e.g., Pi:ischl's remarks on the first appearance of Turnus in the Ae-
neid: "That Turnus appears for the first time at midnight (VII.414) is an indication
that his destiny belongs to the powers of darkness" (Viktor Posch!, The Art of Vergil:
Image and Symbol in the Aeneid [trans. Gerda Seligson; Ann Arbor: University of
Michigan Press, 1962], 91). Posch! also notes the hermeneutical importance of a char-
acter's first appearance in relation to Aeneas himself (particularly his first speeches)
and in the Iliad and Odyssey (42-43).
31 Cf. Wolfgang Wiefel, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (THKNT; Berlin: Evangelische Ver-
lagsanstalt, 1988), 55: "Es wird hier nicht nur Jesus zum ersten Mal Kupwc; genannt,
sondern im persi:inlichen Bekenntnis von 'meinem Herrn' gesprochen." For Eliza-
beth as the narrator's "reliable vehicle," see Joseph Vlcek Kozar, "The Function of
the Character Elizabeth as the Omniscient Narrator's Reliable Vehicle in the First
Chapter of the Gospel of Luke," PEMBS 10 (1990): 214-22, esp. 216.
32 The importance of Jesus' introduction for Lukan christology is supported by Luke's
own preference for speaking of Jesus in the Gospel narrative: 6 Kupwc;. See in par-
ticular the section in chapter two of this book on 7:11-17.
44 The Coming Kyrios

2. Jesus is K0ptoc; from the inception of his life. This is not simply an
"anticipation" or foreshadowing of Acts 2:34-36, 33 though it is that.
More importantly, that Jesus' very existence and his identification as
KUptoc; are coextensive means that K:uptoc; is in a crucial way constitutive
of his identity. The root idem in identity is proper here: for Luke there is
no point at which Jesus is not K:uptoc;. Lukan christology, therefore, does
not allow for a separation between Jesus and his identity as 6 K:uptoc;. 34
3. In light of the fact that K:uptoc; was, if not written in the LXX MSS
around the time of the NT, 35 at least the qere for the tetragrammaton
among Greek speaking Jews and Christians, and in light of the fact that
Luke reflects this and even makes explicit use of it for his "christologi-
cal" exegesis of the Old Testament/6 it is all the more startling that he

33 See Green, Luke, 96. Elizabeth does not say, "the mother of my Lord to be."
34 This statement obviously appears to be in tension with Acts 2:34-36. On this matter,
see the Excursus in chapter four and the discussion of narrative identity.
35 This matter is extraordinarily complex, the debate far from settled, and the pertinent
literature vast in scope. See, in general, W. W. Graf Baudissin, KYRIOS als Gottesname
im Judentum und seine Stelle in der Religionsgeschichte: Erster Teil: Der Gebrauch des Got-
tesname Kyrios in Septuaginta (Giessen: Ti:ipelmann, 1929); Fitzmyer, "The Semitic
Background of the New Testament Kyrios-Title," in A Wandering Aramean: Collected
Aramaic Essays (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1979), 115-42; George Howard, "The Tet-
ragram and the New Testament," JBL 96 (1977): 63-83; Albert Pietersma, "Kyrios or
Tetragram: A Renewed Quest for the Original LXX," in De Septuaginta: Studies in
Honour of John William Wevers on His Sixty-fifth Birthday (eds. Albert Pietersma and
Claude Cox; Mississauga, Ontario: Benben Publications, 1984), 85-101; Colin H. Rob-
erts, Manuscript, Society and Belief in Early Christian Egypt (London: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1979); and, W. G. Waddell, "The Tetragrammaton in the LXX," JTS 45
(1944): 158-61.
36 Luke's exegetical appropriation of the "septuagintal" KUplO<; (whether kethib or qere)
can be illustrated from Acts 2:25 in which Luke cites Ps 15:8-11 (LXX; cf. in the same
speech: Acts 2:21 citing Joel 3:5 [LXX]; 2:31 citing Ps 15:10 [LXX]). In Acts 2:24 Peter
speaks about Jesus' resurrection: "God raised him up, having freed him from the
pains of death because it was not possible for him [au1:6v] to be held by it." Peter
follows this statement with a citation of Ps 15:8: !\.8 yap Aioyet et<; au1:6v npo-
opcb~T]V 1:6v KDptov Evcbm6v ~ou 8ta nav1:6<; iht EK 8e~u:ilv ~ou Ecntv tva ~1'1
craA.eu8oo. That the au't6V in the citation formula of 2:25 (!\.8 yap MyEt El<;
au't6v) refers to Jesus and is the antecedent to which the 'tOV KUplOV refers is incon-
testable. Grammatically the reference makes perfect sense, but more important is the
content: Peter's interpretation of Psalm 15 is focused on the resurrection of Jesus,
and it is to Jesus that the npoopcb~T]V of Psalm 15 pertains (the NRSV's translation of
npoopcb~T]V as "saw" ignores the prefix np6 and thus obscures the significance of
Luke's interpretation of Psalm 15 as prophecy). Jesus is the KUplO<; who was "fore-
seen" by David the "Prophet" (Acts 2:30; npolj>f]'tT]<;) as always before him. Thus did
David prophesy Jesus' resurrection. Lest this interpretation should be in doubt, the
second citation of Ps 15 (vs. 10) in Acts 2:31 provides clear confirmation of Luke's
understanding of KUplO<; in 2:25, for Peter blatantly states his understanding of the
Psalm and further proceeds to demonstrate Jesus' resurrection from Scripture:
"Foreseeing this he [David the Prophet] spoke about the resurrection of the Christ:
Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord 45

interjects KUpto~ for Jesus in the middle of numerous uses of Kupto~ that
refer clearly to YHWH:

1:38: Mary: "i8ou Tj OOUAT] KUptou."

1:43: Elizabeth: "Tj 1-·L1l'tT]p 'tOU KUptOU J..LOU."
1:45: Elizabeth: "'tot~ A.EA.a.A.T]J..L£vot~ napa Kupl.ou."
1:46: Mary: "J..Lqa.A.uva T] \j/UXTJ 'tOV KUptov."

Taking into account Luke's frequent use of Kupto~ for the God of Israel
(both within and outside of biblical citations) and the movement of the
Lukan narrative, it becomes possible to draw the conclusion that the
dramatic moment of 1:43 in the narrative bespeaks a kind of unity of
identity between YHWH and the human Jesus within Mary's womb by
means of the resonance of KUpto~. This interpretation involves an ex-
tremely strong claim - one that is perhaps tempting to resist - so it is
necessary to explain more precisely in what way this interpretation is
First, unlike John, Luke does not write anything that approaches a
propositional statement that posits a unity of identity between Jesus
and the God of Israel. Nor does Luke seem to think in these terms. In-
stead, by means of a single word variously set within the flow of the
narrative, he creates a space wherein an overlap cannot help but take
place, and this overlap results in a doubleness in the referent of Kupto~.
Second, the mere usage of the word Kupto~ does not necessarily
signify a shared identity of any sort. 37 In the ancient Mediterranean

'He was not abandoned to Hades .... "' The hermeneutical move in Luke's interpreta-
tion of Ps 15:8 presupposes, therefore, KUptOc; as Luke's understanding of the sep-
tuagintal text, both because KUptOc; is the Stichwort of Luke's interpretation and be-
cause the resurrection foreseen in the Psalm applies to the person of Jesus of
Nazareth, the Lord. Without Kupwc; as the word that Luke heard/read within Psalm
15, there is little reason to think that Luke (or the early church) would have ever
seized upon Psalm 15 as prophecy. The exegetical attempt reflected here is to read
Scripture in light of the resurrection and confession of Jesus as KUptOc; and to discern
where in Scripture this event and its subsequent confession are prefigured. For a
treatment of Acts 2:1-41 that emphasizes well the connection between Peter's speech
and the sophisticated hermeneutical appropriation of Joel 3 (LXX), Psalm 15 (LXX),
and Psalm 109 (LXX), see David P. Moessner, "Two Lords 'at the Right Hand'? The
Psalms and an Intertextual Reading of Peter's Pentecost Speech (Acts 2:14-36)," in
Literan; Studies in Luke-Acts: Essays in Honor of Joseph B. Tyson (eds. Richard P.
Thompson and Thomas E. Phillips; Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1998), 215-
37 See, e.g., Christopher M. Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," in The Unity of
Luke-Acts [ed. Joseph Verheyden; Leuven: University Press, 1999), 133-64: "[W]hilst
it is very probable that Greek-speaking Jews referred to Yahweh as KUptOc;, one can-
46 The Coming Kyrios

world, the word Kupw<; was used in a variety of ways to refer to rulers,
deities, slave masters, animal owners, etc., 38 and Greek speakers would
have been able to differentiate between the different uses of Kupto<;, just
as Latin speakers could differentiate between different uses of domi-
nus39 and modern day German speakers between the different uses of
"Herr." In point of fact, Luke uses Kupto<; for Nero in Acts 25:26, for
example, 40 and one can quite naturally assume that no identification
between Jesus (or God) and Nero is intended (though there is ulti-
mately a contrast 41 ). The crucial factor in determining word meaning is
of course context, including both the immediate company the word
keeps in Luke 1 and the larger context of the Luke-Acts narrative. 42 In

not simply reverse this and say that any reference to someone else as a Kupto~ figure
was implicitly equating that person with Yahweh. The very use of Ps 110 itself in
Greek ensures that Luke could distinguish between two people, both of whom could
be appropriately referred to as KUpto~, albeit with different nuances, without neces-
sarily any confusion of their identities of characteristics" (156-57). Tuckett's observa-
tions here are of course correct in general. With respect to Luke in particular, how-
ever, Tuckett misses entirely the distinctive Lukan exegetical logic in which Luke
takes Psalm 110 as his scriptural Ausgangspunkt for the construction of the identity of
the Kupto~ in the narrative. That is to say, seen narratively, Luke uses the mention of
the two Kuptot in Psalm 110 to establish both unity and distinction. Part of the prob-
lem is, as we noted in the Introduction, an inadequate understanding of "identity" in
which unity and distinction are mutually exclusive (cf. "distinguish between two
people ... without ... confusion of their identities").
38 See, inter alia, the concise article "Kyrios," by Gerhard Thiir in Der Neue Pauly
VI.lOll-1013; Eleanor Dickey, Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian (Ox-
ford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 100-101; or Spicq, "Kupto~,'' TLNT 2.341-44.
39 See Tertullian, Apologeticum 34.1: "Augustus, the founder of the Empire, did not
wish to have the title 'dominum.' For this, too, is a name of Deity. I will plainly call
the emperor 'dominum,' but only in the common sense of the word, and when I am
not forced to call him 'dominum' in the sense of God" (Corpus Christianorum, Series
Latina I. Tertulliani Opera I. p. 144: "Augustus, imperii forma tor, ne dominum
quidem dici se [omit Migne] uolebat. Et hoc enim Dei est cognomen. Dicam plane
imperatorem dominum, sed more communi, sed quando non cogor, ut dominum dei
uice dicam"; Migne, PL, 1.512D).
40 Cf. also, e.g., the use of oi Kuptot for the owners of the colt in 19:33.
41 See C. Kavin Rowe, "Luke-Acts and the Imperial Cult: A Way through the Conun-
drum?" JSNT 27/3 (2005): 279-300.
42 Here I speak purposefully of "context" rather than use the terms employed in "dis-
course analysis." Green, Luke, 13-14, delineates helpfully the differences between
"co-text" ("string of linguistic data within which a text is set ... the relationship of,
say, a sentence to a paragraph, a pericope in Luke's Gospel to the larger Lukan nar-
rative"), "intertext" ("location of a text within the larger linguistic frame of reference
on which it consciously or unconsciously draws for meaning"; e.g., for Luke the LXX
- hence intertextuality), and "context" ("socio-historical realities of the Lukan
text"). I actually do not have any theoretical disagreements regarding terminology.
Instead, this choice of "context" to refer to what discourse analysis would call "co-
text" (not context!) is based on the rather practical concern to avoid confusion: given
common usage in the secondary literature of the field, it is probably not unsound to
Luke 1:43: The Mother of My Lord 47

the immediate context of Luke 1, Luke speaks of the KUptO~ of Israel

and the Old Testament with the aim or purpose of presenting a strong
theological continuity between the events surrounding Jesus and those
of the Old Testament. For the larger context, we would need to see evi-
dence in other parts of the narrative that would confirm the binding of
the same word to these two different persons/characters in the narra-
tive in particular. In other words, we will need to see evidence that our
interpretation plays out in the rest of the narrative.
4. Luke's justification for this KuptO~ overlap is the Holy Spirit. Per-
haps more than in any other NT writing, the Spirit in Luke-Acts is a
distinct entity, a character in the narrative, 43 or, in later theological ter-
minology, a person. The Spirit "reveals," "descends," "teaches," "for-
bids," "leads," and even "speaks" twice in the first person (Acts 10:20:
"I myself have sent them ... "; 13:2: "I have called ... "). At least for Luke,
K. L. Schmidt was correct when he wrote that "l'Esprit est compris
comme le Saint Espirit, comme une personne": 44 ayw~ does function as
personal identification in relation to n:vEUJ.lCX..
And yet, as a distinct entity in itself, the Holy Spirit is not distinct
from God, but - one must say it carefully - distinct within God. In
contrast to Gabriel, for example, or the heavenly host in Luke 2:13-14,
there is no hint in Luke that the Holy Spirit is other than God, one of
God's creatures or a semi-divine being. To the contrary, the Holy Spirit
is God, but in the character of his animating activity. The Spirit, in other
words, is God's Power, as we see in the parallelism of Luke 1:35 (d.

say that most scholars (to say nothing of non-scholars) understand by "context"
what discourse analysis means by "co-text." And when they want to talk about what
discourse analysis means by "context," if using this term at all, they generally pref-
ace it with the adjective "historical" (i.e., historical context).
43 See William H. Shepherd, Jr., The Narrative Function of the Holy Spirit as a Character in
Luke-Acts (SBLDS 147; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994): "Insofar as Luke presents the
Holy Spirit as an actor in the plot, Luke presents the Spirit as a character. And inas-
much as Luke presents the Spirit in conflict with other characters, again, the Spirit
can be considered a character" (66). Shepherd's book deals admirably with the char-
acterization of the Holy Spirit in Luke's narrative in terms of literary-critical theory.
Given the recent publication date, however, his polemic against "theology" and the
way he sets narrative over against doctrine is odd. That doctrinal and systematic
theologians such as Hans Frei and George Lindbeck have worked explicitly with
narrative and doctrine should have alerted Shepherd to the possibility that "literary"
or "narrative" and "doctrine" or "theology" are not by nature antithetical.
44 K. L. Schmidt, "Le probleme du Christianisme primitive," RHPR 18 (1938): 126-73
48 The Coming Kyrios

Such dynamism within the life of God 45 is played out in the move-
ment of the narrative, as God's Spirit is indeed God himself but in repe-
tition or doubleness in the conception of Jesus: God remains God
"above" the world and at the same time in the Holy Spirit "comes
upon" and "overshadows" the earthly woman Mary. The silence re-
garding Mary's pregnancy is broken with the introduction of Jesus in
the narrative, and the life-giving activity within the gap is the presence
of the Holy Spirit. Thus is there now a K:upwc; 'IT]crouc;.
The reason, therefore, that K:upwc; is now constitutive of Jesus' iden-
tity and that the one word K:upwc; has a twofold referent is the work of
the Holy Spirit in the conception of Jesus. In the birth-infancy narrative
of Luke, Jesus' life cannot be thought of apart from the Power of the
Most High, because it is the Holy Spirit, God in his life-giving
Seinsweise, 46 or 'tp6n:oc; umip~cwc;, 47 who begins the new baby's life as 6
K:upwc;. God's life is now bound up with Jesus' life to such a great extent
and with such intensity that they share the name/title K:upwc;. Thus, the
possibility of the shared identity lies within the activity of God's own

45 Luke's formulation owes much to the picture of God in the Old Testament (wherein
God is not represented as a monad but rather as a deity that has an ongoing life
within). See, e.g., Gen 1:2; Ps 33:6; 51; 104:30; 139:7; !sa 11:2; 32:15; 42:1; 44:3-5; 63:10-
14; Ezek 36:27; 37:1-14; Hag 2:5, Zech 4:6; Joel3:1-5, etc. An older but still interesting
study that deals with God's dynamism in the Old Testament is G. A. F. Knight, A
Biblical Approach to the Doctrine of the Trinity (SJT Occasional Papers 1; Edinburgh:
Oliver and Boyd, Ltd., 1953). For this matter in the Second Temple texts see, among
many others, Richard Bauckham, God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the
New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998); Martin Hengel, "Early Christianity
as a Jewish-Messianic, Universalistic Movement," in Conflicts and Challenges in Early
Christianity (Martin Hengel and C. K. Barrett; ed. D. Hagner; Harrisburg, PA: Trinity
Press, 1999); Larry Hurtado, One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient
Jewish Monotheism (2nd ed.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1998); the collection of essays
in Carey C. Newman, James R. Davila, and Gladys S. Lewis, eds., The Jewish Roots of
Christological Monotheism: Papers from the St. Andrews Conference on the Historical Ori-
gins of the Worship of Jesus (Leiden: Brill, 1999); N. T. Wright, The Climax of the Cove-
nant (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 120-36; idem, The New Testament and the People of
God: Christian Origins and the Question of God (vol. 1; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992).
46 Karl Barth, Die Kirchliche Dogmatik l/1 §9.2, pp. 379ff.
47 Basil of Caesarea, De Spiritu Sancto, 46 (Migne, PG, 32.152B; cf., e.g., Gregory of
Nyssa, Contra Eunomium, 1 [Migne, PG, 45.316C]). In citing Barth and the Cappado-
cians I do not intend to imply that Luke was aware of the grand theological debates
of later times. This is obviously not the case. Yet I know of no better language than
"way of existence/being" within God that seems to express how Luke conceives of
the Holy Spirit.
Luke 2:11: Christ-Lord 49

life4s and is realized through the movement of God in the conception of

5. The overlap created by the particular context and use of KUptO<;
does not in any way imply that Jesus is the same character or person as
God the Father. God the Father is alone 6E6<; and ncccljp for Luke, and it
is the heavenly purpose of the Father that animates the events of Jesus'
life expressed in abbreviated form with the characteristic Lukan 88.
Thus, Fitzmyer is correct: there is no simple identification of Jesus with
his Father. 49 Yet the lack of direct identification of Jesus with the Father
does not preclude a continuity in their identity. In fact, the KUpto<; dual-
ity necessitates thinking of the identity of the Lord as constructed in the
Lukan narrative in a much more complex and dynamic way than only
in terms of simple, direct identification. The contours of Luke's distinc-
tion within identity in terms of his use of KUptO<; begin clearly in 2:11.

III. Luke 2:11: Christ-Lord

Much like a scene in a film that begins with a panorama and then
slowly narrows in upon the main characters and action, Luke 2 shifts
our perspective as it begins with the widest view possible (Caesar Au-
gustus and n&crav 1:r,v otKOUJ.lEVTJV) and moves inward toward a manger
and the birth of one child. But we hear no word about the child other
than that he was the firstborn (npw1:01:6Ko<;). Suddenly the scene shifts
again, and we are taken outside to hear about this child once again
from those who inhabit the heavens.
That the general form of the ensuing heavenly birth-announcement,
as it were, was well-known in the ancient world has been shown by
Benjamin J. Hubbard. 5° The centerpiece is, of course, the arresting news

48 Cf. Eduard Schweizer, The Good News according to Luke (Atlanta: John Knox Press,
1984), 66, who calls the Holy Spirit the "life of God."
49 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.202. Cf. idem, "The Semitic Background of the New Testament
Kyrios-Title," 130 and nn. 36, 90; and "New Testament Kyrios and Maranatha and
their Aramaic Background," in To Advance the Gospel: New Testament Studies (2nd ed.;
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 218-35, esp. 223.
50 See Benjamin J. Hubbard, "Commissioning Stories in Luke-Acts: A Study of Their
Antecedents, Form and Content," Semeia 8 (1977): 103-26. Cf. the extensive article by
Dieter Zeller, "Geburtsanki.indigung und Geburtsverki.indigung: Formgeschichtliche
Untersuchung im Blick auf Mt lf., Lk lf.," in Studien und Texte zur Formgeschichte
(TANZ 7; eds. Klaus Berger et a!.; Ti.ibingen/Basel: Francke Verlag, 1992), 59-134.
Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.436, asserts that the temple scene "is the only episode in the Lucan
infancy narrative which may fall into a standard form-critical category." This com-
ment should probably be understood to reflect (a somewhat wooden dependence
50 The Coming Kyrios

about the newly born baby, in which we hear that he is crCD'tllP, who is
XPtcr'toc; Kupwc;. 51 Looking outward, toward the oiKOU!lEVT], we can ob-
serve that in general the combination of these three words suggests an
audience both Jewish and Gentile. Looking inward, toward narrative
structure and logic, we come immediately to the question of Luke's use
of Kupwc; and, to be more precise, the relation between Kupwc; and
This rather strange juxtaposition of the nominatives is unique in the
NT, 52 and, indeed, may only occur one or two other times in the ancient
world. 53 Once one has decided against the reading xptcr'toc; Kup'Lou, 54 the

upon) Bultmann's standard formgeschichtliche categories, but it is nevertheless diffi-

cult to understand in light of Hubbard's pervasive evidence (Zeller's piece had not
yet appeared).
51 This point is correctly implied in Charles H. Talbert, "Prophecies of Future Great-
ness: The Contributions of Greco-Roman Biographies to an Understanding of Luke
1:5-4:1," now in Reading Luke-Acts in its Mediterranean Milieu (NovTSup 107; Leiden:
Brill, 2003), 65-77 (67).
52 Cf., however, Rom 16:18 (oi yap 'tOtou'tOl 1:ci} KUpt(() TU.J.ciiv XPt<nc\) ou
8ou/cEuoucrw) and Col 3:24 ('tc\) KUpt(() XPlO"'tc\) OOUAEUE'tE). Cf. also 1 Pet 3:15
(Kuptov 81: 'tOV XPlO"'tOV ayuicrCX.'tE EV ';; UI.J.ciiV).
53 Cf. Lam 4:20 and Pss. Sol. 17:32 (cf., however, e.g., Deut 9:26; Ps 28:10; 1 Sam 24:9;
26:16, 17 for Kuptoc; together with j3a.crtlcEuc;). Lamentations 4:20 adds nothing to
our understanding of Luke's use at this point, and the LXX text is almost certainly a
mistranslation of the construct ;mp n'1V~ (MT). Pss. Sol. 17:32, however, presents
much more interesting possibilities, though the precise relationship to Luke is im-
possible to determine: "And he shall be a righteous king over them, taught by God,
and there shall not be any unrighteousness among them in his days. And they will
all be holy and their king will be XPlO"'tOt; KUptoc;." Psalms of Solomon are usually
dated to the second half of the first century B.C. (see, e.g., the reference to Pompey in
Pss. Sol. 2:1-2, 25-27) and its status as precious evidence for pre-Christian Jewish
Messianism is well established. The Psalms of Solomon 17 and 18 deal explicitly with
the Messiah, and, indeed, there are some interesting parallels to the birth narrative
in Luke (e.g., 17:1a, 3, 4, 21, 32, 34b, 36; 18:2). Yet some of these parallels are probably
due simply to a common influence by Jewish Scripture upon both the author of these
texts and upon Luke. Aside from the brief mention of "the nations" in 17:34b ("He
[the XPlO"'tOt; Kuptoc;] shall be compassionate to all the nations who reverently stand
before him"), the Messianism of Pss. Sol. 17 and 18 does not involve Gentiles in the
hope for restoration. In this way, there is a rather serious difference between Pss. Sol.
and Luke. In any event, it is doubtful, if not certain, that Luke drew the expression
XPlO"'tOt; KUptoc; or his view of the Messiah from Pss. Sol. 17 and 18.
On the reading XPlO"'tOt; KUptoc; in PsSol 17:32, see Robert R. Hann, "Christos
Kyrios in Pss. Sol. 17:32: 'The Lord's anointed' Reconsidered" NTS 31 (1985): 620-27.
Though several scholars (e.g., Rahlfs), in light of the widely accepted view that Pss.
Sol. evidence a Hebrew Vorlage, would amend 17:32 to XPlO"'tOt; KUptou, Hann ar-
gues that the text should stand as is. In this connection, it is important to remember,
of course, that there are no extant Hebrew MSS; the only extant MSS are in Greek
and Syriac, and, where the text is actually preserved, they all read XPlO"'tOt; KUptoc;.
Moreover, as Hann notes (625-26, 627 n. 31), the two occurrences of XPlO"'tOU KUptou
in the following psalm (the superscription and 18:7) do not necessarily push the ar-
Luke 2:11: Christ-Lord 51

initial question is grammatical: how should one read two words to-
gether? "Christ, the Lord" is the most common reading, but the
"anointed Lord" (taking xptcr't6s as an adjective) is also possible. One
might also propose the "lordly Messiah" as the meaning, though this is
obviously somewhat awkward. The first rendering keeps the titles
separate and distinct; the latter two bring them together. 55
Frequently, the interpretation of these words has depended on the
view of Luke's perceived audience. Schiirmann, for example, following
a path trod by Dalman, Dibelius, Schlatter, and Hahn, thinks that
KUPtos here explains and interprets xptcr't6s for hellenistic ears. 56 De-
spite the plausibility of such a thesis, we must once again warn of an
aspect of the semantic fallacy - words are not containers into which
we can pour meaning irrespective of textual context, whether that
meaning comes from a perceived target audience or from the other uses
of the word in the Umwelt, etc. 57 Thus we must look beyond these two
words in isolation toward the larger Lukan context and, in particular,

gument one way or the other since both times both words are in the genitive case
and since these individual psalms may have been composed independently of one
another. One might, however, raise questions of a unified reading in the later redac-
tion of the Psalms of Solomon as a whole. For a clear and concise introduction to the
Psalms of Solomon as a whole from a scholar who has worked extensively on the
Syriac MSS, see Joseph L. Trafton, "Solomon, Psalms of," ABD 6.115-17.
54 Many exegetes (e.g., W. Bousset, J. Weiss, P. Winter, D. Jones) have opted for
X.Pt<J'tO<; Kupl.ou, the reading of the Palestinian Syriac tradition. Donald Jones, "The
Title Christos in Luke-Acts," CBQ 30 (1970): 69-76, summarized the arguments in fa-
vor of x_ptcr'tO<; Kuptou: (a) x_ptcr'tO<; KUplO<; is not used elsewhere by Luke, (b)
x_ptcr'tO<; Kup\.ou has support of 2:26, and (c) the agreement of the message of angel
and witness of Simeon - Jesus is x_ptcr'tO<; Kup\.ou (76). We may add the view of
some (e.g., Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christos: A History of the Belief in Christ from the
Beginnings of Christianity to Irenaeus [Nashville: Abingdon, 1970], 124) that Luke 1-2
derive from a Semitic source in which, as in Lam 4:20, there would have been the
construct ;"11;"1' n'l!lb. Against this reading are the arguments of (a) the best Greek
MSS, (b) Acts 2:36 (Kupto<; x_ptcr't6<;), (c) x_ptcr'tO<; KUplO<; as the lectio difficilior, (d)
the unlikelihood of a semitic source for Luke 1-2, and (e) the reading in Pss. Sol.
17:32 (see above note).
55 Cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.410, and Paul Winter, "Lukanische Miszellen," ZNW 49 (1958):
56 Heinz Schiirmann, Das Lukasevangelium. Kommentar zu Kap. 1,1-9,50 (HTKNT 3;
Frieburg: Herder, 1982), 1.111.
57 This is by no means to deny the influence or importance of the Umwelt upon linguis-
tic particularities but rather to speak about the direction in which interpretation
must proceed in order to understand the meaning of words as they are used within
specific contexts. In this connection, it is useful to remember James Barr's devastat-
ing critique of Kittel's Worterbuch: "We may sum up these criticisms of TWNT by
saying that the great weakness is a failure to get to grips with the semantic value of
words in their contexts" (The Semantics of Biblical Language [London: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1961], 231).
52 The Coming Kyrios

toward the importance and use of xptcrt6t; in Luke's narrative when it

occurs in conjunction with Kupwr;. Such a move will help us then to see
more clearly the significance of this rare juxtaposition.
Two other passages from the Gospel (2:26; 20:41-44) shed light on
the significance of the joint occurrence of XPtcrt6t; and Kupwr; here in
2:11. In 2:26 Luke uses the expression 6 XPtcrt6t; Kuptou of Jesus. Many
commentators have noticed the important fact that, as in the case of
Zechariah, we are dealing again with a pious and righteous Jew
(EuA-o:[3l]r;/8tKcxtor;; cf. 23:47 of Jesus). 58 The placement of the Temple in
Jerusalem as the spatial and religious backdrop of the Simeon scene
also parallels the opening scene with Zechariah. The Jerusalem Temple,
the piousness/righteousness of Simeon, and his longing for the consola-
tion of 'Icrpm']A, form the context in which 6 xptcrtbt; KUptou is to be in-
terpreted. In such a Jewish context the connotations are primarily royal
and, even more specifically, Davidic. 59 Though xptcrt6t; can occasionally
refer to a priest (and even less frequently to a prophet), it was pre-
dominately applied to kings. For example, "the Lord's anointed" ap-
pears in David's mouth for King Saul in the narrative cycles in 1 Sam-
uel (1 Kgdms) and is taken then to refer to David himself both in 1 and
2 Samuel (1-2 Kgdms) and in the Psalms. 60
Lest we come to a hasty conclusion about the Old Testament's use
of xptcrt6t; in relation to the Lukan narrative, however, we should heed
the warning remarks of J. J. M. Roberts regarding n~lVi'.), which would
apply to xptcrt6t; as well: "A discussion of the Old Testament's contri-
bution to the development of the later messianic expectation can hardly
be focused on the Hebrew word for messiah, n~lVi'.)." He continues: "In
the original context not one of the thirty-nine occurrences of n~lVi'.) in
the Hebrew canon refers to an expected figure of the future whose
coming will coincide with the inauguration of an era of salvation." 61
Yet Luke was not as concerned with the "original context" as we
might be, and, furthermore, as Dahl notes in the same collection of es-
says, Luke shaped his picture of 6 xptcrt6t; "into a coherent 'Old Testa-
ment concept of the Messiah,' which exactly corresponds to the story of

58 Fitzmyer, Green, eta!.

59 The connection with the Old Testament would not have been missed. Indeed, as we
will see later in the book, it is part of the point.
60 See, e.g., 1 Sam 16:6; 24:7, 11; 26:9, 11, etc.; 2 Sam 1:14, 16; 2:5; 19:22; Ps 17:51; 88:39,
52; 131:10, 17 (LXX).
61 J. J. M. Roberts, "The Old Testament's Contribution to Messianic Expectations," in
The Messiah: Developments in Earliest Judaism and Christianity (ed. James H.
Charlesworth; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), 39-51 (39).
Luke 2:11: Christ-Lord 53

Jesus." 62 Thus, to risk a tautology, Luke's use of XPtcr1:6~ is christologi-

cal, by which I mean that he did not first pull xptcr1:6~ from out of the
air of general messianic expectation 63 or fit Jesus into an existing messi-
anic T0n:o~, 64 but rather used xptcr1:6~ in accordance with his larger un-
derstanding of the identity and significance of Jesus and wove such
usage into the fabric of his narrative. 65 This observation is important
because it alerts us to the fact that for Luke xptcr,;6~ belongs with
Kupw~. Luke 2:26 is the second time xptcr1:6~ occurs in the narrative, and
once again it is paired with Kupw~. Here in 2:26 Luke emphasizes that
the connection between Jesus and the heavenly Kupw~ is one of royal
anointing and mission. Jesus is the Davidic Messiah whom the Lord
has anointed, and, as such, the messianic vocation has its origin in the
purpose of God.
An important question emerges from the conjunction of Luke's use
of 6 xptcr'to~ Kuptou here in 2:26 and the fact that Jesus himself is Kupw~
in 1:43 and xptcr'to~ Kupw~ in 2:11: how can Jesus be both the Lord
(Kupw~) and the Christ of the Lord (Kup1ou)? Precisely this matter is at
issue in Luke 20:41-44, where it is the Lord who raises the same ques-
tion: "David therefore calls him Kupw~; how then is he his son?" (20:44).
Since we will come to this passage in chapter four, we need now to
note only two points of significance. First, in 20:41-44 Luke preserves a
distinction between the messianic Kupw~ (David's son, 6 xptcr1:6~) and
the Kupw~ in heaven ([o] Kupw~ 66 ) at whose right hand the exalted Mes-
siah will sit. Second, this distinction between the messianic and heav-
enly Kupto~ (or Son and Father) is grounded in an Old Testament text
(Ps 110:1), which is to say that there is scriptural impetus and justifica-
tion for Luke's use of Kupw~ for both the God of Israel and for Jesus
with different emphases.
In light of its context within the birth-infancy narrative and with
the help of these two passages, the meaning of 2:11 begins to come into

62 Nils A. Dahl, "Messianic Ideas and the Crucifixion of Jesus," in The Messiah, 382-403
63 See the learned book of William Horbury, Jewish Messianism and the Cult of Christ
(London: SCM Press, Ltd., 1998).
64 It is interesting to note that one of the unanimous agreements of the participants in
the Princeton Theological Seminary conference that produced the volume The Mes-
siah cited above was that a "single, discernable role description for a 'Messiah' into
which a historical figure like Jesus could be fit" did not exist (xv).
65 The two classic passages for this point are the scene on the road to Emmaus (24:27)
and Jesus' final commission (24:46).
66 For the text-critical problem involved with the definite article, see the discussion of
this passage in chapter four.
54 The Coming Kyrios

focus. It is quite significant in itself that the first time xpta't6c; occurs in
the Gospel narrative it occurs with Kupwc;. Luke does not write, as he is
perfectly capable of writing elsewhere, xpta't6c; or 6 XPtm6c; and leave it
at that. Instead, he evidently wants the reader/auditor to read/hear
XPta't6c; together with Kupwc; from the outset. Whatever their various
etymological and cultural histories, 67 therefore, it appears that Luke
here uses both words together in a mutually determinative manner:
xpta't6c; conveys which and what kind of Kupwc; Jesus is, and Kupwc;
discloses the depth of Jesus' messianic identity. 68 This way of putting it
would seem to require, in English at least, translating in a rather jarring
way such that both titles are given equal weight and remain intact as
nominative nouns: "Christ-Lord." This somewhat irregular translation
points immediately toward a larger narrative interpretation that would
bring the words together (the messianic Kuptoc; and the Lord who is the
At this point in the narrative, 2:11 serves to maintain both a distinc-
tion and a unity. On the one hand, Jesus is not the same person in the
narrative as the Kupwc; who remains Kupwc; n:a'tf]p in heaven (d. in this

67 Xptcr1:6~ is obviously Palestinian-Jewish in origin. The case with the Lukan use of
KDpto~ is more complex. Contra Bousset (Kyrios Christos), Bultmann (esp. Theology of
the New Testament [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951, 1955], 1.51-53, 124-128),
et a!., Fitzmyer has demonstrated persuasively that in its initial application to Jesus,
KUptO<; is Palestinian-Jewish in origin (see "The Semitic Background of the New Tes-
tament Kyrios-Title"). But Luke's situation is a different one than the pre-Pauline
Palestinian church. If Fitzmyer is correct that Luke inherited these titles in 2:11 from
the Palestinian community (Luke, 1.409) - they are not hellenistic additions - this
still does not settle the Lukan question. That is, the question of origin is not necessar-
ily the same as that of use or meaning for Luke. Moreover, I am not convinced that
the Jewish/hellenistic dichotomy is very helpful in relation to Luke (particularly if
the author of the Third Gospel was a Greek sympathizer with Judaism). Yet, there
are three crucial and interrelated ways in which Luke's use of Kupto<; is emphati-
cally "Jewish" rather than "hellenistic": (1) Luke's theological framework is not
polytheistic. In no way does he think of Jesus, in analogy to a mystery deity for ex-
ample, as simply one among many KuptOt. (2) Luke does not derive his use of
KUpta<; from hellenistic deities but rather from the early church confession (the roots
of which are Jewish). (3) Luke is concerned to relate the figure of Jesus to the God of
Israel precisely at the point of the KDptO<; acclamation. The christological outworking
thus takes shape within the Jewish commitment to the oneness of God.
68 Cf. Green, Luke, 135, who writes that "the particular meaning of 'Lord' is further
conditioned by its close association with 'Messiah,' with the result that we are to un-
derstand them as complementary concepts." Some scholars evidently feel compelled
to choose between KDptO<; and :x,ptcr1:6<; as to which word should receive the defini-
tive weight here in 2:11, but this choice is unnecessary and also strange given Luke's
obvious concern to use the two terms together (see, e.g., Darrell L. Bock, Proclamation
from Prophecy and Pattern: Lucan Old Testament Christology [JSNTSup 12; Sheffield:
JSOT Press, 1987], 81-82).
Luke 2:11: Christ-Lord 55

context 2:9, 15, 26); Jesus is the messianic KuptOI;, who is born on earth.
Thus in terms of the question of identity, Conzelmann's description of
Luke's use of x:uptoc; for God and for Jesus as a Vermischung is seen to
be inaccurate. 69 Even within the single word x:uptoc; Luke is careful to
preserve a distinction between the x:uptoc; X,pt<n6c; and the x:uptoc; n:cx.'tilP
or 6 8E6c; (d. 1:16, 32, 68; 4:8, 12; 10:27, 20:37, etc.). On the other hand, in
light of 1:43 there is a unity between the heavenly and the earthly
x:uptoc; such that they are both x:uptoc; with respect to their basic iden-
Of interest in this connection is Dibelius' s suggestion that Luke
added oc; EO"'tlV XPlO"'tOc; KUptoc; with its titles to the pre-Lucan message
E'tEX,8T] UJ..LtV crilJ..LEpov crco'tijp n:6A.Et Llcx.u18 and thus created some ten-
sion with the other nearby uses of x:uptoc; which refer to God (2:9, 15,
26).7° Whether Dibelius' hypothesis is true or not is difficult to know, 71
but his recognition of the tension speaks again for, or at least points
toward, a narrative overlap between Jesus and the God of Israel that
arises out of the word x:uptoc;. But in light of this preserved distinction
in 2:11, the doubleness in the referent of the word x:uptoc; should not be
understood in terms of a confusion or mixing together of two different
persons/characters (as Vermischung implies), but rather in terms of what
we might call a Verbindung, the binding together of X,ptcr't6c; and 8E6c; in
their identity via the word x:uptoc;.72

69 See Die Mille der Zeit: Studien zur Theologie des Lukas (Tiibingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul
Siebeck], 1954), 4.!.2 "Vater, Sohn, Geist," esp. 165 and 172. Thus those who would
render 1:43 as "mother of my God" mistranslate, as does P. Didon, e.g.: "Comment
se fait il que Ia mere de mon Dieu vienne a moi" (cited in Plummer, Luke, 29 n. 1).
This mistranslation can be seen as a kind of counterpart mistake to that of translat-
ing KUptoc; in 1:43 essentially as X,ptcr't6c; (e.g., Plummer eta!.).
70 Martin Dibelius, "Jungfrauensohn und Krippenkind," in Botschaft und Geschichte:
Gesammelte Aufsiitze (2 vols.; ed. Gunther Bornkamm; Tiibingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul
Siebeck], 1953 and 1956), 1.1-78 (62-63).
71 H. J. Cadbury's judgment is prudent: Luke's "personal style is never so totally want-
ing as to prove alien origins for a passage, and is never so persuasive as to exclude
the possibility that a written source existed, although the source be no longer capa-
ble of detection by any residual difference in style" (The Making of Luke-Acts [Lon-
don: Macmillan, 1927], 67). Though with a slightly different emphasis, Brown, Birth,
246, cites this passage from Cadbury in order to assess the current state of the ques-
tion: "The linguistic opponents have fought one another to a draw at the present
moment of our scientific research."
72 This discussion will naturally raise questions about how to interpret Acts 2:36,
where both KUptoc; and X,ptcr't6c; play a prominent role, and where - it has long
been believed - Luke's exaltation christology receives explicit and clear expression
(cw¢; ouv ytvcocrKE'tco mic; olKoc; 'Jcrpm'lA. ou Kat Kupwv a.u'tov Kat
X,ptcr'tov £notT]O"EV 6 8Eoc; 'tOU'tOV 'tOV 'JT]crouv ov UIJ.Elt; £cr'taupcbcra'tE). It would
be premature, however, to explain at this juncture how Luke 2:11 and Acts 2:36 re-
56 The Coming Kyrios

Part 2: Preparation for the Coming Lord

When analyzing the structure of the Gospel, the normal procedure
among Lukan scholars is to divide the birth-infancy narrative of Luke
1-2 from the body of the Gospel, which begins at 3:1.73 Marcion did
something rather similar - though much more radical in nature - in
the second century, but for reasons that were very different from those
of most moderns.74 In any case, investigation of Luke's use of K'upto<;
requires the opposite procedure. Luke 1:16-17, 1:76, and 3:4 exhibit the
literary device of repetition and belong together on the grounds of
similarity of style, continuity of theme, and a promise-fulfillment
movement in content. Despite the sequence of their occurrence, the dis-
cussions of 1:43 and 2:11 were necessary before turning to Luke 1:16-17
and 1:76, for it is only as we have begun to see the complexity of Luke's
use of KUpto<; that the interesting narrative dynamic of 1:16-17, 1:76, and
3:4 can appear with its proper significance.

I. Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord

Narratively speaking, 1:16-17 and 1:76 prepare us for 3:4-6, where John
the Baptist bursts forth from the wilderness with the words of Isaiah
and fulfills the prophecies of the angel Gabriel and his father Zecha-
riah. These repetitions, the two prophecies and their fulfillment, are not
mere reiteration, but instead create a space in which Luke develops in
an ever more suggestive way the theme of John's preparation for the
coming Lord.

late to one another and, moreover, how Acts 2:36 relates to the christology of the
larger Gospel. Only after this larger christological perspective has been developed
can we read Acts 2:36 with understanding and discern the continuity with Luke's
KUptOc; christology in the Gospel (see the Excursus on Acts 2:36 at the end of chapter
73 Charles H. Talbert's Reading Luke: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Third
Gospel (New York: Crossroad, 1982), which treats the first major unit as 1:5-4:15, is
a notable exception here.
74 In asserting that Marcion did in fact know of Luke with chapters 1-2, I follow such
scholars as Harnack, Loisy, Metzger, Zahn et a!. For the opposite position see, e.g.,
F. C. Conybeare, "Ein Zeugnis Ephrams iiber das Fehlen von c. 1 und 2 im Texte des
Lucas," ZNW 3 (1902): 192-97; and, John Knox, Marcion and the New Testament Canon
(Chicago: University Press, 1942). Whereas the reason for Marcion's excision plausi-
bly lay in an objection to the decidedly Jewish character of Luke 1-2 (see C. Kavin
Rowe, "The God of Israel and Jesus Christ: Luke, Marcion, and the Unity of the
Canon," Nova et Vetera, English Edition 1 [2003]: 359-80), modern scholars have
tended to focus more on structural and/or stylistic concerns.
Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord 57

Verses 16-17 of Luke 1 each contain a heavenly, prophetic pro-

nouncement about Zechariah's son-to-be. Verse 16 continues the sen-
tence begun in 1:15 and declares that John will turn many of the sons of
Israel £n:'t K:upwv ,;ov 8£ov m),;wv. Verse 17 then proclaims that John will
go £vcimwv cxu,;ou in the spirit and power of Elijah ... E'tOtJ..Lcicrcxt K:up\.cp
A.cxov KCX't£crK£UCXcrJ.lEVOV. As part of the same angelic announcement, the
Kup\.cp of 1:17 clearly refers back through the cxu1:ou of 1:17 to the K:upwv
,;ov 8£ov of 1:16; hence, the K:upto<; of 1:17 is the God of Israel.75
This reading of K:uptOI; is fully compelling and would remain suffi-
cient in itself if not for the infinitive E'tOtJ..Lcicrext and the structure of the
Lukan narrative. 'E,;otJ..Lcisco is also used of John's relationship to a
K:upwc; in 1:76 and 3:4 and thus, whatever the case in a putative pre-
Lukan source, it appears in Luke's Gospel as a stylized way of talking
about John's role in relation to a coming Lord.76 The recognition of this
stylized phrase gains considerable force in connection to the structure
of the birth-infancy narrative, in which it is clear that John, in a two-
step parallelism (announcement and birth), does "prepare" for Jesus,
and in connection to the beginning of the body of the Gospel, where
John precedes and thus prepares for Jesus.77

75 So, e.g., Darrell L. Bock, Luke: Volume 1. 1:1-9:50 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994),
90; H. J. Boltzmann, Hand-Commentar zum Neuen Testament. Erster Band: Die
Synoptiker-Die Apostelgeschichte (Freiburg im Breisgau: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck],
1889), 29; and, Lagrange, Saint Luc, 18.
76 Brown, Birth, 380-81, in agreement with Dibelius et a!., argues that 1:76-77 is the
Lukan insertion in the Benedictus pertinent to John the Baptist. Though the focus is
quite different, Brown's point lends support to the connection between E:tot!l<il;co
and Kupwc; as Luke's way to speak about John and Jesus. Probably, Luke drew the
E'tot!l<il;co language from his reading of Isa 40:3, as we see in Luke 3:4. This does not
so much support Brown's point (though it could be used in this way) as it shows us
the likely "source" of Luke's language here, thereby rendering hypothetical source-
reconstructions unnecessary to explain the Lukan text at this point.
77 See, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.313-14. If in fact Luke composed chs. 1-2 in hindsight, as
Fitzmyer (Luke 1.310-12) and Brown among others have argued (Birth, esp. 240), then
this fact, too, would strengthen the possible christological reference of Kuptoc; (Fitz-
myer, Luke 1.385, sees this point with reference to 1:76 but fails to carry it back to
1:17). Rusam, Das Alte Testament bei Lukas, 73 n. 133, notes that the intratextual
references to 1:76 and 3:4 would allow Jesus as the referent of KUptoc;: "Mit 'Kupwc;'
dlirfte in diesem Zusammenhang nicht Gott, sondern Jesus gemeint sein." Cf. Josef
Ernst, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Regensburger Neues Testament; Regensburg:
Friedrich Pustet, 1993), 55. On the widely-accepted parallelism between John and Je-
sus, Augustin George, "Le parallele entre Jean-Baptiste et Jesus en Lc 1-2," in Me-
langes Bibliques en hommage au R. P. Beda Rigaux (eds. A. Descamps and A. de
Halleux; Gembloux: Duculot, 1970), is still worth consulting.
58 The Coming Kyrios

I. Heralded Birth

1. Announcement of the Birth 2. Announcement of the Birth

of John (1:5-25) of Jesus (1:26-38)

Transition: Elizabeth and Mary, John and Jesus (1:39-56)

II. Birth, Circumcision, and Appearance

1. Birth, Circumcision, and 2. Birth, Circumcision, and

Appearance of John (1:59-80) Appearance of Jesus (2:1-40)

One might also argue compellingly that KDptoc; in 1:17 refers to God
because we have not yet heard of Jesus as KUptoc; in the narrative.78 Yet,
once examined, on grounds both historical and narratological this im-
portant point is not so conclusive as it appears. It is probably sound to
assume that, by the time Luke was writing, if one had heard the Chris-
tian proclamation of Jesus, one would also have heard of him as
Kuptoc;. 79 Further, it is highly likely that the basic outline of the Jesus
story given to a community like that of "Theophilus" (1:4: "concerning
the things about which you have been instructed") would have in-
cluded something about John's relation to Jesus, and probable that John

78 So, e.g., Brown, Birth, 261-62; and Fitzrnyer, Luke 1.327. In point of fact, we have not
even heard of Jesus at all.
79 The J.!O:pava Sa preserved in 1 Cor 16:22 (cf. Rev 22:20b; Did. 10:6), the occurrence
of Kuptoc; in early liturgical elements (e.g., the pre-Pauline hY.rnn in Phil 2:5-11 [cf. 1
Cor 12:3], the baptismal formula tic; 'tO OVOJ.!O: 'tOU Kup\.ou IT]crOU in Acts 8:16 and
19:5), the description of Christian communities in 1 Cor 1:2 (those who call on 'tO
OVOJ.!O: 'tOU Kup\.ou YJJ.!CDV 'IT]crOu Xptcr'tOU), the early use of Ps 110:1 for christologi-
cal reflection (see Hengel eta!.), the basic confession of Rom 10:9 (cf. Paul and Silas
to the jailer in Acts 16:31: 1tt<J'tEUcrov E1tt 'tOV KUptOv 'IT]crouv [there is a play here
with the KUptot of 16:30]), the occurrence of Kuptoc; for Jesus in the speeches in Acts
(2:34, 36; 10:36; 22:10; 26:15; cf. 4:33), etc., all speak on the side of the importance of
,1)/Kupwc; for Christians from a very early period (cf. Fitzrnyer on Palestinian con-
text). Also significant is the fact that KUptoc; occurs for Jesus in every NT writing ex-
cept for Titus and the Johannine epistles. It is curious that Brown and Fitzrnyer, both
of whom are normally so intent on taking into account factors external to the narra-
tive world, ignore the historical probabilities and resort to arguments that have only
to do with external or internal narrative order: external-Brown: the reader does not
yet know of the corning birth of Jesus; internal-Fitzrnyer: Zechariah does not know
of the corning birth of Jesus.
Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord 59

would have been seen as a forerunner. 80 Thus for almost every

reader/auditor, whether first time through the Gospel or not, the refer-
ence to a KUplOt; as one for whom John "prepared" (see just above and
also the remarks at 1:76 and 3:4-6) would very likely bring Jesus to
mind. Nevertheless, the observation - itself independent of historical
concerns - that we have not yet heard of Jesus in Luke's Gospel brings
us near to the dynamic of the repetition within the narrative itself.
Anyone who has experienced a great literary work is aware of the
way such repetition functions. Words read/heard once are experienced
as laden with new, deeper meaning as one reads/hears them again. Yet,
under the hermeneutical pressure of form- and tradition-critical exer-
cises, Lukan scholars can too easily miss precisely this aspect of Luke's
narrative. Turning to other texts in order to learn again how to discern
the significance of repetition may thus help to increase our understand-
ing of the importance of this technique for the interpretation of Luke
(and other biblical texts). The aim here is not so much to remind biblical
scholars that repetition is frequently a constitutive feature of literarily
sophisticated texts - irrespective of chronological or linguistic differ-
ences - or that the recurrence of similar language does not have to be
"wooden" to be repetition; rather, the diverse examples below are em-
ployed primarily to illustrate how actually to recognize such a feature
and discern its profound importance for the text's meaning. For our
first example, we will take the opening scenes of Macbeth, where Shake-
speare uses the repetition of the words "fair" and "foul" to adumbrate
the coming turn of events.
The first scene ends as the three witches chant: "Fair is foul, and
foul is fair/Hover through the fog and filthy air." The second scene
opens with King Duncan's request for a battle report and the captain's
response of praise for "noble Macbeth." In the third scene, Macbeth
himself enters and speaks his first words: "So foul and fair a day I have
not seen." It is the first repetition of either word, and this strange pair-
ing and combining of opposites signifies Macbeth's tie to the witches. It
is no surprise, then, that when encountered a moment later, they speak
to him, rather than to his companion, though they are first addressed
by the latter.

80 See the references to John in Acts (1:5; 10:37; 13:24£.; 19:3f.). One might infer from the
appearance of John in the missionary speeches that Luke thought Christians were in-
formed about him from the very beginning (I owe this point to a conversation with
D. Moody Smith). It is certainly pre-Lukan at any rate (we see it in Mark).
60 The Coming Kyrios

Witch 1: All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!

Witch 2: All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!

Witch 3: All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!

Banquo: Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear

Things that do sound so fair?

Here we have the third repetition - subtle - but there nonetheless.

The tidings are good; Macbeth shall be king. Yet the foul is in Mac-
beth's reaction, as Banquo perceives. This reaction shows that the news
- innocent in itself - has touched some cord of guilt or evil in Mac-
beth. He has thought already of becoming king and, indeed, contem-
plated the murder he will commit.
As is seen above, it is certainly not necessary to the working of
repetition that the speaker knows the significance of what is spoken.
Neither is it necessary that the reader has some sort of privileged
knowledge so as to be able to recognize beforehand the depth of mean-
ing. Flannery O'Connor's short story "Good Country People" is a mar-
velous example of a work in which the recurring phrase "good country
people" involves increasingly complex discernment. 81
The first several times the phrase occurs, it is used by Mrs. Hope-
well to denote the simple and honest hired folk. Yet in Mrs. Hopewell's
mouth these words carry the bite of condescension. Good country peo-
ple are people to be appreciated - even if they are not quite of the
same quality.
The daughter (Hulga) adopts her mother's phrase but uses it ironi-
cally to express disdain for her mother's world: "[Hulga] had made it
plain that if it had not been for this [heart] condition, she would be far
from these red hills and good country people. She would be in a uni-
versity lecturing to people who knew what she was talking about." Yet
Hulga shares her mother's belief in the "primordial" or basic goodness
of the simple, uneducated human, even as she surveys them from the
height of an enlightened mind.
Then Manley Porter, the Bible salesman, arrives at the Hopewell
house and announces, ''I'm just a country boy." Mrs. Hopewell says of
Manley Porter: '"He [is] just good country people, you know ... just the
salt of the earth."' For Hulga, however, this innocent Bible salesman is

81 "Good Country People" can be found in The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor
(New York: The Noonday Press, 1993).
Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord 61

contemptible for his moral naivete and philosophical ignorance. She

half-plans to seduce him in order to destroy and reshape his pitiably
small worldview.
But in a dramatic reversal, Hulga finds herself seduced. Rather than
removing Manley's crutches (i.e., his belief in a good compatible with
his own goodness), Hulga literally loses her own (her eyeglasses and
wooden leg). It is in this climactic scene that the irony of the phrase
"good country people" turns back upon those who speak it, most scath-
ingly Hulga, and opens the door to O'Connor's typical existential
punch. Those who smugly consider themselves in the know are re-
vealed, and painfully so, as the simple-minded. The self-exalted are
brought low: 82

The boy was unscrewing the top of the flask. He stopped and pointed,
with a smile, to the deck of cards. It was not an ordinary deck but one with
an obscene picture on the back of each card. "Take a swig," he said, offer-
ing her the bottle first. He held it in front of her, but like one mesmerized,
she did not move. Her voice when she spoke had almost a pleading sound.
"Aren't you," she murmured, "aren't you just good country people?" The
boy cocked his head. He looked as if he were just beginning to understand
that she might be trying to insult him. "Yeah," he said, curling his lip
slightly, "but it ain't held me back none. I'm as good as you any day in the

Hulga thus suffers a double devastation. She discovers not only that
the simple are not naturally good, but that her very position is a false
one. Her university education has not provided a place from which to
judge the good-ness, i.e., the quality, of another human.
Repetition is, of course, hardly limited to Elizabethan and modern
American literature. Ancient authors, too, employed the literary tech-
nique. To take a sophisticated example from the classical world, Aes-
chylus's Oresteia (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides 83 ) is to a large
extent animated through the repeated use of 8tKll and its cognates, as
Peter Burian has persuasively argued. 84 By attending to the recurring

82 For this theme in O'Connor's work, see Ralph C. Wood, The Comedy of Redemption:
Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists (Notre Dame, Indiana:
University Press, 1988), 80-106.
83 The Oresteia is the only extant Greek tragic trilogy.
84 Another interesting comparison could be made, for example, with Euripides' use of
cro<)>ta and its compounds in his Bacchae. Prof. Peter Burian of Duke University
(Classics Department) alerted me to the repetition in these texts and provided time
to discuss these matters. My remarks on OtKT] and the Oresteia are dependent upon
his insights. See, e.g., his discussion of this theme in the Introduction to his recent
62 The Coming Kyrios

use of 81K11 the reader/auditor is alerted to the theme of justice that

drives the movement in the trilogy from the seemingly inescapable and
violent cycle of retributive justice toward the establishment of the court
of law in the Athenian polis. Through this movement, Aeschylus makes
it clear that the "old world of vendetta ... can offer no solution to the di-
lemma of dike, which in its retributive form is incompatible with stable
and prosperous human communities." 85 Thus Aegisthus' speech on his
just murder of the King at the end of Agamemnon gives way immedi-
ately to Electra's poignant questions and just prayer at the beginning of
Libation Bearers:

Aegisthus: I'm the one who planned this murder,

planned it with Justice [8\.Kato~], for he [Agamemnon]
drove us out,
my wretched father and myself ...
But when I grew to manhood, Justice [rl OtKll] brought
me back again,
and from afar I carefully laid my hand upon this man ...
So even death would please me, now that I've caught
him here at last in the net that Justice ['tll~ OlKll~l spread. 86

At the opening of Libation Bearers, Electra appears at the grave of her

father Agamemnon and asks for instruction on how to pray "for who-
ever hates Aegis thus":

Electra: Say what? I'm just a child, untutored. Tell me -

Chorus Leader: A prayer for some god or man to come against


Electra: Someone to judge [OtKa<:ni]v] them, or do justice

[8tK11¢6pov] to them?

Chorus Leader: Say it straight: someone who'll take a life for a


Electra: Can it be right for me to ask this of the gods?

Chorus Leader: Can it be wrong to pay back hurt with hurt? 87

translation of the Oresteia with the poet Alan Shapiro (Greek Tragedy in New Trans-
lations; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 3-38. I use this translation here.
However, for the sake of easy comparison with the Greek text, the line numbers
given are those of the text in the LCL.
85 Burian, "Introduction," 18.
86 Agamemnon, lines 1604-11.
Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord 63

Electra is then able to pray:

Electra: And for our enemies, I pray that someone soon

appear and avenge you, father, killing the killers,
exacting justice [8\xn], paying life for life ...
draw up your blessing now
into the daylight, graced by ...
justice [8tK11] that brings triumph in the end. 88

Electra's prayer is granted, as her brother Orestes has returned from

exile and avenges their father's death by killing Aegisthus and his con-
sort, their own mother, Clytemnestra: "not without justice [8tK11c;] did I
kill my mother." 89 Yet the Erinyes, the "bloodhounds of my mother's
anger," 90 spring immediately from Clytemnestra's blood and on her
behalf begin to pursue Orestes, seeking justice through vengeance -
8\.Kll. And so the cycle of retribution continues. "The question of how to
achieve a lasting balance, one that preserves rather than destroys the
social order still lacks an answer." 91 The Chorus concludes the play:
"Where will it end? When will it all be lulled back into sleep, and cease,
the bloody hatred, the destruction?" 92
These final words of Libation Bearers set the stage for Eumenides, in
which Aeschylus complicates profoundly the question of justice while
simultaneously removing it from the sphere of personal retribution and
setting it "firmly into the world of the polis." 93 This transposition is
accomplished by means of a skillfully orchestrated court scene in which
the Erinyes have the opportunity to cry out for justice on multiple occa-
sions, even as Apollo and Athena ensure Orestes's just acquittal:

Chorus: We keep straight on the path of justice [eu6m81KCXlOl 8'

oi6!le6' dva:t]

87 Libation Bearers, lines 118-23. The English reader may at first suspect that 8\.Katoc; is
behind the use of "right" in Electra's final question ("Can it be right..."). However,
this is actually Shapiro and Burian's translation of E\Jcrei3T,c; (normally, "pious"). Cf.
Smyth, who translates eucrei3T,c; here as "righteous."
88 Libation Bearers, lines 142-48.
89 Libation Bearers, line 1027.
90 Libation Bearers, line 1054. The Erinyes were furies, "female spirits of the underworld
who spring from the blood spilt by victims of homicide and pursue vengeance on
their behalf" (Shapiro and Burian, "Glossary," 273).
91 Burian, "Introduction," 18.
92 Libation Bearers, lines 1075-1076. Cf. Burian, "Introduction," 17, who cites this pas-
sage and remarks that "[t]he Chorus is left to reflect that the justice they prayed for
and welcomed has resolved nothing."
93 Burian, "Introduction," 20.
64 The Coming Kyrios

that's our belief:

our wrath is never aimed at the one
who holds up hands no blood has stained-

Chorus Leader: He [Orestes] won't swear he's innocent, or yield if I

swear to his guilt.

Athena: So you would rather seem just [D'tKatOc;] than act with justice

Orestes then speaks to Athena:

Orestes: But it's all up to you now to decide whether I've acted justly
[Ei 8tKatwc;] or not [Eh£ l.!iJ 8tKllV]. However the case turns
out, I will accept your ruling. 95

Having heard Orestes, Athena exits to summon the jurors, and the Er-
inyes sing out in a plea of lament:

Chorus: From now on let no one

Struck by disaster cry
for help, call out in terror:
'0 Justice! [cO 8tKa] 0 Erinyes ... '
Caught unaware by pain,
some father or mother now
will cry like this, because
the house of Justice [OtKac;] falls. 96

The court is then called to order, as it were, and Athena admonishes the

Athena: For what man

who feels no fear is able to be just [EVOtKoc;]?
And if you fear and justly [EVOtKwc;] revere this court,
then you will have a bulwark for your land,
the city's guardian, the like of which
nobody else on earth possesses ...

94 Eumenides, lines 312 and 429-30 respectively. Strictly speaking, it should be noted
that 8tKa.tO~ actually occurs only once in Athena's question: KAU£tV 8tKa.tO~
~ciA.A.ov Tj :n:pci~a.t 8£<:; (1. 430). The reason is because 8\ is simply "under-
stood" in relation to :n:pci~a.t (i.e., KAUElV OlKa.tO~ ~ciA.A.ov Tj :n:pci~a.t
8£A.n~). Shapiro and Burian's translation thus captures superbly (and poetically) the
sense and force of Athena's question (even if the English reader might initially sus-
pect for the second occurrence of justice, i.e., "act justly").
95 Eumenides, lines 468-69.
96 Eumenides, lines 511-16.
Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord 65

This council I establish will be immune

from greed, majestic, poised for wrath, the country's
wakeful watchman over those who sleep. 97

After Apollo's testimony (d. "He acted justly [8tK<Xtco~]" 98 ) and

Athena's deciding vote - the jurors were evenly divided 99 - Orestes
is acquitted and restored to his house. The Erinyes, however, are en-
raged, believing that the ancient law of justice has collapsed:

Chorus: You have trampled down the age-old laws ...

now I will squeeze out all the poison in my heart...
And out of it pale fungus
blighting leaf and child (0 Justice! [teO OtK<X])
will quicken across
the land to cover it and all the people. 100

Athena responds, not angrily, but with kind words of persuasion:

Athena: Let me persuade you not to shoulder such

a burden of grief-because you weren't defeated,
the voting in the trial was truly equal;
I swear wholeheartedly to you, in justice [n:av8tKCO~],
that you will have your seat in a vast cavern
Deep in this land of justice [EVOtKOU] ...
Forever honored by my citizens. 101

I'll lead you by the dancing light of torches

to your deep chamber underneath the earth,
accompanied by my attendants, the women appointed
in justice [OtK<XtCO~] to guard my image. I invite you
into the very heart of Theseus' land.1° 2

Athena's persuasion and invitation shows that the insight inscribed in

the Erinyes' old law is not erased. 103 Murderers are still called to an-

97 Eumenides, lines 699-706.

98 Eumenides, lines 614-15. Shapiro and Burian, rightly in my view, take ouw.tooc; here
to be Apollo's judgment ("I say to all of you ... [he acted] justly"). Cf., however, the
translation of Smyth (LCL), who takes OtKcttooc; to be Apollo's characterization of his
own speech ("I will speak as justice bids ... ").
99 Interestingly, Burian, "Introduction," 25, notes that the equal division and mode of
argument creates room for the audience to disagree about Orestes's acquittal.
100 Eumenides, lines 778-87.
101 Eumenides, lines 794-807.
102 Eumenides, lines 1021-27.
66 The Coming Kyrios

swer for their action. Yet, there is a substantial transformation, as OtK:T]

is now encompassed in the democratic process. It has been moved into
a different world, that is, from the destructive and imprisoning cycle of
personal retribution: Erinyes are transformed into Eumenides. 104 It is
therefore the process embodied in the court of the polis that ensures
"peace forever among the people of Pallas [Athena]." 105 The "change in
dike" is tied "to a change in political structure." 106
Thus, there is a cumulative, transforming connotation of OtK:T]
through repetition in which the reader/auditor is required to discern in
the connections between this word and its cognates different and more
complex meanings by the end of the trilogy. In the sense in which it is
first introduced, OtK:T] cannot sustain or nourish common human life.
Yet, to follow the word through the rest of the story is to see that Aes-
chylus uses the theme of justice to provide a "new understanding of
human communities as political entities, and how they might survive
and flourish." 107 In this way, to focus upon the repetition and connota-
tive transformation of OtK:T] is to trace something fundamental to the
telos of the trilogy as a whole.
Finally, moving now closer to Luke's more immediate literary for-
bearers, as Martin Buber, Robert Alter, and others have long and mas-
terfully demonstrated, the "pervasive repetitions" in various sections of
the Old Testament are constitutive of "the Bible's narrative art." 108 The
authors and tradents of the "biblical narratives astutely discovered how
the slightest strategic variations in the pattern of repetitions could serve
the purposes of commentary, analysis, foreshadowing, thematic asser-

103 The Erinyes' "suit is defeated in court, but they are neither demolished nor dis-
missed. They are coopted and made to serve the interests of the polis, rather than the
narrower ones determined by ties of blood" (Burian, "Introduction," 24).
104 Eumenides ("kindly ones") was a cult name of the Erinyes. Cf. Burian, "Introduc-
tion," 28: "The symbolism is both obvious and effective. The Erinyes have become
honored guests, essential to the civic cohesion and good order of the new polis."
105 Eumenides, lines 1044-45.
106 Burian, "Introduction," 21.
107 Ibid.
108 Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 1981), 113. See
also, e.g., Martin Buber, "Leitwortstil in der Erzahlung des Pentateuchs," in Werke:
Zweiter Band: Schriften zur Bibel (Mtinchen: Kosel Verlag, 1964), 1131-49; and Michael
A. Fishbane, Text and Texture: Close Readings of Selected Biblical Texts (New York:
Schocken Books, 1979). Cf. Alter's remark at the opening of his chapter that deals
with the "Techniques of Repetition": "One of the most imposing barriers that stands
between the modern reader and the imaginative subtlety of biblical narrative is the
extraordinary prominence of verbatim repetition in the Bible" (88).
Luke 1:16-17: Preparing a People for the Lord 67

tion, with a wonderful combination of subtle understatement and dra-

matic force." 109
To affirm the significance of biblical repetition is not, however, to
ignore the vicissitudes involved in the transmission of the text, insist-
ing, for example, that "deep" meaning should be wrung out of what
may only be scribal error; nor is it to say that even every larger scale
repetition is purposeful and substantive. 110 But it is to maintain that,
where plausible, attention must be given to the "organischen
erzahlerischen Zusammenhang" that exists between the words and
phrases as they are repeated throughout the text. m Put negatively, to
miss the significance created through the organic narrative interrelation
of similar words and phrases is in fact to miss much, if not all, of the
meaning of the text. m
Of the many possible examples that could be taken to illustrate the
importance of repetition within the Old Testament, we shall simply cite
Buber's treatment of ~!J1V~ in the well-known story of Abraham's inter-
cession for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18 (see 18:19, 25). Regard-
ing the "peculiar recurrence" of ~!J1V~ in Genesis 18, Buber wrote:

The habit of the casual reader is to treat this recurrence as something ordi-
nary; to avoid this, we have first to realize that the word mishpat in Genesis
is, with the exception of a single occurrence in chapter 40, to be found only
in these two occurrences [18:19, 25], separated by only six verses. The first
is in the divine soliloquy in which God speaks to himself of the promise
that in Abraham and in his "nation," "all the nations of the earth" will be
blessed. God says, "I have known him," meaning in biblical lan-
guage ... that he has drawn [Abraham] into an intimacy of reciprocal rela-
tion ... "so that he may charge his sons and his household after him ... to
keep the way of :11:1', to do what is right and just," i.e., ... mishpat. 113

109 Alter, Art of Biblical Narrative, 91.

110 See, e.g., Alter's discussion of the "two competing etiological tales" in 1 Sam 10 and
19, both of which attempt to account for the saying, "Is Saul, too, among the proph-
ets?" (Art of Biblical Narrative, 89; in this connection, see, however, 102-4, in which
Alter defends against the charge that what he has been proposing "as a sophisticated
convention of purposeful minute variation of verbatim repetition is in fact an acci-
dental product of ancient texts").
111 Buber, "Leitwortstil," 1148.
112 For the sake of emphasis, I have translated Suber's Zusammenhang as "interrelation"
rather than the normal "connection," though this latter translation is perfectly ac-
ceptable (for "connection," see Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, Scripture and
Translation [trans. Lawrence Rosenwald with Everett Fox; Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1994], 114-28 [128]). In point of fact, as in "Good Country People"
treated above, the entire thrust of the story can rest on the repetition of a phrase.
113 For the sake of convenience I cite both here and below the translation by Rosenwald
and Fox (127-28) with only slight changes (e.g., they translate Wellhausen's
68 The Coming Kyrios

Having thus noted the first occurrence of ~:JlV~ and its explicit connec-
tion to the way of God, Buber continues:

It is for this reason- for the sake, that is, of reciprocity, that God will not
conceal from Abraham what he is about to do; he tells Abraham that
judgment will be made on Sodom .... With this announcement ... [God]
evokes Abraham's haggling plea, by which Abraham becomes the first
person in the Bible to address God spontaneously. And now develops that
remarkable dialogue that Wellhausen considers a late "accretion." At issue,
finally, is whether a group of innocent people ... can make it possible for
God to "bear" the guilt of the guilty community admidst which the inno-
cent live .... [Abraham's] first question ... closes with a remark that in sim-
ple, concentrated audacity surpasses even the Book of Job: 'the judge of all
the earth-will he not do what is just?' 'What is just' is mishpat. The play on
the first mishpat is, for the attentive reader, unmistakable. This is no "accre-
tion" but an organic narrative interrelation. Abraham has not heard God's
soliloquy and is not alluding to it; but the narrator keeps hold of the Leit-
wort, and reintroduces it in such a way that we, struck by the connection
between the two passages, perceive the reversal of meaning. There God
commands men to do justice; here a man ... challenges God to do the same.

Thus, in contrast to Wellhausen, for whom the two occurrences of ~:JlV~

are divided from one another by stages of early and late, for Buber, to
attend literarily to the repetition of this word is to discern the pro-
foundly troubling theological question displayed through the interrela-
tion of the term's two occurrences.
It comes as no surprise that, as a conscious and able imitator of the
Old Testament here in the opening of his narrative, 114 Luke plays heir
to such a literary tradition. Indeed, the technique of repetition is the
literary necessity for the theological meaning engendered by the inter-
relation of 1:17, 76: 3:4 within the movement of the story.

II. Luke 1:76: Preparing the Way of the Lord

In 1:76 Zechariah prophesies in accordance with what he heard from

Gabriel and declares that John will be called a prophet of the Most

Wucherung as "excrescence," which is technically unproblematic, but biblical schol-

ars are likely to be more familiar with "accretion").
114 Cf. Dahl and Fitzmyer's remarks inn. 6 above.
Luke 1:76: Preparing the Way of the Lord 69

High, for he will go Evcbrnov Kuptou E'tOtJ..Lacrat 68ou~ au'tou. 115 The lin-
guistic continuity fashioned between 1:76 and 1:17 is immediately evi-
dent through the connection of E' and KUpto~. 116 We will now
examine how Luke re-sets this language in the first repetition and what
effect this variation must begin to have on our interpretation.
Luke 1:76 is situated in the second of Luke's three hymns in the
birth-infancy narrative. In the opening blessing of the hymn, Zechariah
addresses God explicitly as KUpto~ 6 8eo~ 'Icrpw']A. (1:68) and thereby
determines the beginning of the hymn as one to the KUpto~ of Israel.
The content of 1:68-75 clearly accords with Zechariah's address, where
God is said, among other things, to have looked favorably upon "his
people" ('tcP\) au'tou; d. 1:77), to have "spoken through the mouth
of his holy prophets of old," and to have remembered "his holy cove-
nant," the "oath that he swore to our father Abraham." 117 The repeti-
tion of the phrase 'tcP\) au'tou in 1:77, where it seems the au'tou refers
back to the Kup'Lou of 1:76, supports the idea that Zechariah is address-
ing God.
But in 1:76 the hymn takes a decisive turn as Zechariah now ad-
dresses his son John directly, 118 speaks of God in the third person as the
Most High, and shifts the verbal tense from aorist to future: Kat cru 8£
n:at81ov rrpoqn'l'tll~ U\jftcr'tou KA1181'lcrn. 119 Furthermore, the content of 1:77,

115 A, C, D, eta!. read npo npocrcimou rather than evcbmov (as in P4 , ~~ B, W, et a!.). The
latter is the better reading as the former is easily explained as a result of scribal al-
teration toward greater conformity with Mal3:1 and/or Mark 1:2.
116 There is also a connection through evcbmov to 1:15. We cannot place any weight on
the 'tOU Kup\.ou printed in NA271:15 because of the text-critical problems here.
117 Among many others, Philipp Vielhauer, "Das Benedictus des Zacharias," in Aufsiitze
zum Neuen Testament (Theologische Biicherei 31; Munich: Chr. Kaiser, 1965), 28-46,
takes the Benedictus to be an adopted Jewish hymn. In addition to a "brief" history
of research (given the amount of scholarly work done in this vein) on the origin of
the infancy hymns, Stephen Farris, The Hymns of Luke's Infancy Narratives: Their Ori-
gin, Meaning and Significance (JSNTSup 9; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985), 97-98, treats
perceptively the question of what is meant by "Jewish" (and "Christian") in relation
to questions of origin.
118 Farris, The Hymns of Luke's Infancy Narratives, 129, probably goes too far when he
calls the movement in 1:76 an "utter change of direction" (129), but the general point
is indisputable.
119 The shift in 1:76 has of course long been noticed and has suggested to many scholars
(Bultmann, Dibelius, Brown et a!.) that this verse is a Lukan addition to an earlier
hymn (usually along with 1:77; cf. the connection to the larger Gospel and to Acts
mentioned in n. 120 immediately below). This matter is obviously debatable (see
Farris, The Hymns of Luke's Infancy Narratives, 128-33), but in any case draws attention
to 1:76 as a particularly important verse within the larger context of the hymn. Given
the literary connection to 1:16-17 and 3:4 (for which I argue in this chapter), the
70 The Coming Kyrios

that for which John is to prepare (E'tOtJ.Lcicrcn), fits exactly the purpose,
action and effect of Jesus in the Gospel and in Acts, namely, crCD'tllPt<X
and cX<jJ£crU; cXJ.!O:p'ttcOV .120
Thus far in the birth-infancy narrative KUptoc; has been used fre-
quently and exclusively for the God of Israel (14 or 15 times depending
on the evaluation of the text at 1:15), but with one very important and
indisputable exception. In contrast to the situation in 1:17 where Jesus
himself did not yet exist in the narrative, by 1:76 he does, and he has
already been referred to as KUptoc; in 1:43. Luke 1:43 thus creates the
presence of another KUptoc; who actually now exists in the narrative.
With this new presence and repetition it is becoming ever more diffi-
cult to determine exegetically whether the KUptoc; for whom John is
preparing is the God of Abraham or the babe yet to be born.

III. Luke 3:4-6: John and the Lord

The transition from the temple scene at the end of chapter 2 to the be-
ginning of chapter 3 is often regarded as somewhat awkward. Luke 3:1
looks rather like an original beginning of some type, and there is a
jump in the story from the childhood of Jesus to the appearance of
John. 121 Yet as Talbert has noted, if viewed structurally in relation to
Luke 1-2, this next movement of the story in Luke 3 makes logical and
sequential sense, for it is again indicative of the John before Jesus pat-
tern of Luke 1-2. m
It is here, with the shift in time from the birth-infancy narrative to
the beginning of his mission, that John embodies the role given to him
even before his birth and actually goes £vc.6mov Kuptou botJ.Lcicrcn 68ouc;
amou. The internal movement of the narrative, then, is one of prophecy
and fulfillment, or prefiguration and embodiment, intimation and re-
alization. Luke 1:16-17 and 1:76 are brought to life here in Luke 3:4-6, as
John the Baptist appears from the wilderness as a prophet, fulfilling his

probability that Luke himself is responsible in a direct way for the language of 1:76
is very high.
120 For direct thematic connection, see, e.g., Luke 2:11, 30; 19:9; Acts 4:12; 5:31; 13:23, 26;
16:17; 28:28 (O'CO'tT]p\.a); and Luke 5:20-24; 7:47-49; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 7:60; 10:43; 13:38;
22:16; 26:18 (allap,;\.a).
121 See, among many possible examples from an earlier generation, the concise state-
ments of Vincent Taylor, Behind the Third Gospel: A Study of the Proto-Luke Hypothesis
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926), 164-66, who relates this awkwardness to the at-
tempts to reconstruct a special Lukan source.
122 See Talbert, "Prophecies of Future Greatness," 65-66.
Luke 3:4-6: John and the Lord 71

vocation as a herald by trumpeting forth anew the words of the

prophet Isaiah:

¢wvil j3owv'toc; £v 'tfi £pru..tcp

E'tOtJ. tcicra'tE 'tllV 68ov Kuptou
EU8Etac; 1tOtEt'tE 'td:c; 'tplj3ouc; au'tou
micra ¢apay~ nA.. T]pwBilcrE't<Xt
lCCXtmXV opoc; lCCXl j3ouvoc; 'tCX1tElVCD8ilcrE't<Xl
Kat E:cr'tat 'td: crJCoA..tCx de; EuBdav
Kat ai 'tpaxdm de; 68ouc; A..E1ac;
!CCX1 0\j/E't<Xl micra crap~ 'tO crCD'tllPlOV 'tOU 8EOU .

In the Isaiah quotation itself the Kuptou of 40:3 (Luke 3:4) clearly refers
to YHWH. In Luke's narrative, however, the referent of the Kuptou is
once again ambiguous. Because 3:4-6 is an Old Testament quotation the
KUptoc; in 3:4 is unquestionably the Kuptoc; of the Old Testament; be-
cause John the Baptist in Luke's narrative literally does prepare the
way for Jesus structurally, sequentially, and as his prophet, the Kuptoc;
indubitably refers to Jesus (the absolute 6 Kuptoc; is used for Jesus a
minimum of thirteen times in Luke's Gospel). As a result, exegesis that
would see here only a reference to Jesus simply ignores the multiple
uses of Kuptoc; for God earlier in the narrative and the force of the point
that this passage is an indisputable citation from the Old Testament. 123
Conversely, exegesis that would see here only a reference to God sim-
ply ignores the structure and movement of the Gospel and the force of
Luke 1:43 and 2:11.124
Furthermore, as in Mark 1:3, in Isa 40:3 (Luke 3:4) there is a small
but significant difference between the septuagintal text and Luke's cita-
tion of this same text. Where the LXX reads Eu8Etac; 7tOtEt'tE 'td:c; 'tptj3ouc;
'tou 8Eou ~JlcDV, "make straight the paths of our God" (Isa 40:3), Luke
reads Eu8Etac; 7tOtEt'tE 'td:c; 'tplj3ouc; au'tou, "make straight his paths"
(Luke 3:4). 125 It is tempting to argue with Bovon, Green, Schneider,
Schi.irmann, et al. that the ainou adds clarity and provides the interpre-

123 So, e.g., I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Exe-
ter: Paternoster Press, 1978), 136, who identifies the Kupwc; as Jesus, "not as God."
124 So, e.g., Friedrich Bleek, Synoptische Erkliirung der drei ersten Evangelien (Leipzig:
Wilhelm Engelmann, 1862), 159, who gives the complete weight to the Old Testa-
ment quotation and speaks of a people prepared for YHWH.
125 On the reading of Codex Bezae, seen. 128 below.
72 The Coming Kyrios

tative key. 126 The exegetical move would then be to assert on this basis
that Luke, with Mark, intends that the K:Upto~ of 3:4 refer clearly to Jesus
- hence the substitution of au·tou for 1:ou 8Eou lJJlcDV. 127 This argument,
however, moves in the wrong direction. In reality, in the Lukan text the
mhou produces precisely the reverse effect. It removes clarity and cre-
ates ambiguity, as it removes the noun and substitutes a pronoun, thus
throwing all the weight back upon K:Upto~. As a result the referent of the
au1:ou in itself is unclear and is dependent upon whom one takes the
K:Upto~ to be.
An early confirmation of this ambiguity from the domain of
Wirkungsgeschichte is the reading found at this point in Codex Bezae
(0). 128 The best way to see the significance is to compare the relevant
parts of the text of the LXX, the best Lukan reading, and D.

126 Franc;:ois Bovon, Das Evangelium nach Lukas 1,1-9,50 (EKK III/1; Neukirchen-Vluyn:
Neukirchener Verlag, 1989), 1.170.; Green, Luke, 171; Gerhard Schneider, "Gott und
Christus als KYPIO:E nach der Apostelgeschichte," in Begegnung mit dem Wort (FS
Heinrich Zimmermann; BBB 53; eds. J. Zmijewski and E. Nellessen; Bonn: Peter
Hanstein Verlag, 1980), 161-74, 167 n. 36; Schtirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.160 n. 98. So
also, e.g., H. Douglas Buckwalter, The Character and Purpose of Luke's Christology
(SNTMS 89; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 263; C. F. Evans, Saint
Luke (London: SCM Press, 1990), 106; Lagrange, Saint Luc, 105; John Nolland, Luke (3
vols.; WBC; Dallas: Word Books, 1989-93), 1.143; and, Plummer, Luke, 87. Theodor
Zahn, Das Evangelium des Lucas (Leipzig: A. Deichert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung,
1913), 190-91, discusses the textual difference between 'tou 8Eou T]~oov and c:dnou
but takes no note of the bearing of this matter upon the referent of the KUptO~ (Zahn
assumes that the referent is God). Leaney, Luke, 106, notes that "his paths" evidences
"an interesting indication of the growing tendency to blur the distinction between
God and the Messiah."
127 Mark is clearer here than Luke. Mark begins outright with Jesus and John the Bap-
tist, and there are no other previous occurrences of KDptO~, as in the Lukan text, that
cause one to wonder about the referent of KDpto~. Yet this interpretation is not with-
out its critics, especially in light of what a Christian auditor might have heard. See
the discussion in Joel Marcus, The Way of the Lord: Christological Exegesis of the Old
Testament in the Gospel of Mark (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992), esp.
128 Codex Bezae and the text of Luke-Acts is obviously a complex subject in its own
right. For a collection of essays that, when taken together, highlight the complexity
in studying Codex Bezae in general, see Codex Bezae: Studies for the Lunel Colloquium
June 1994 (NTTS 22; eds. David C. Parker and Christian-B. Amphoux; Leiden: E. J.
Brill, 1996).
Luke 3:4-6: John and the Lord 73

q>wvi] !)owv,;oc; £v ,;f\ EPllllC9

£,;otwxcrcnE ,;i]v 68ov Kvptov
t:u8t:1ac; n:otEt'tE ,;ac; ,;pll3ouc; ,;ou 8t:ou TJilcOV
... K:at 0\jfE'tat micra crap~ ,;o crCD'tllPlOV ,;ou 8t:ou (LXX129)

q>wvi] !)owv,;oc; £v ,;f\ EPllllC9

E'tOtllacra,;E ,;i]v 680v KVptov
EU8E1ac; n:otEt'tE ,;ac; ,;p1!)ouc; amou
... Kat 0\jfE'tat micra crap~ 1:0 crCD'tllPlOV 'tOU 8t:ou (Luke)

q>wvi] !)owv,;oc; £v ,;f\ EPllllC9

E'tOtllacra,;E ,;i]v 680v Kvptov
t:u8t:1ac; n:otEt'tE ,;ac; ,;p1!)ouc; UllcOV
... K:at 0\jfE'tat micra crap~ 1:0 crCD'tllPlOV K:Uptou (0)

The differences of 0 are striking. Whereas in the septuagintal text the

Kuptoc; ambiguity does not exist - both because of the clear continuity
of 8t:6c; (,;ou 8t:ou TJilcOV to ,;ou 8t:ou) and because the possibility of ambi-
guity did not yet exist - in the 0 text, the ambiguity does not exist be-
cause of the change to direct address (the significance of the UllcOV 130 )
and scribal adjustment toward K:uptoc;. Thus, in the Bezae reading the
removal of 8t:6c; 131 and the second use of K:Uptoc;, coupled with John's
direct address to the crowds, clearly points toward a scribe's chris-

129 The MT and the relevant Judaean desert biblical texts (e.g., 1Qisa') are very close
here, and they differ from the LXX, which Mark and Luke follow. The MT reads:
:1:J1l7:J 11\V' :11:1' 111 1l!:l 1:J,I:l:J l\11j;> ':>1p 1l':1'tl\';> :-t':>CI:l (40:3)
:-lllj;>:J':> C'C::l1:11 11\V'I:l':> :Jj;>ll:-1 :1':11 1't!:ltV' :1l7:J~1 1:1 't::l1 1\tVl' !\'~ 't::l (40:4)
:11:-t' ,1:J::l ;,?~J1 1::1,] :11:1' '!:1 '::l 1,n, 1tV:J ?::l 11\11 (40:5)
But cf. the four dots in 1QS 8:14 where the tetragrammaton would normally stand:
1l':11?1\? :-t?CI:l :-l:JW:J 11tV' .... 11, 1l!:l 1:J,I:l:J :J1li::l 1\VI\::l (I cite here the text in Millar
Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery. Volume II. Fascicle 2: Plates and
Transcription of the Manual of Discipline [New Haven: The American Schools of Orien-
tal Research, 1951], pl. VIII, line 14).
130 So, rightly, George Edward Rice, "The Alterations of Luke's Tradition by the Textual
Variants in Codex Bezae" (Ph.D. dissertation, Case Western Reserve University,
1974), 44. Rice treats only Isa 40:3 and argues that the purpose of the Bezae scribes
was to heighten the role of John the Baptist. That such a tendency exists in 0 may
well be the case. But if one looks at the entire quotation from Isaiah (40:3-5), the
more immediate explanation here is that of an alteration for christological purposes.
131 If one were simply to read the 0 text without knowledge of the LXX text, it might
appear that Kupto~ was fully ambiguous. However, given the LXX text, there can be
little doubt that if the scribe(s) had intended God as a possible referent, 8E6~ would
not have been removed. The removal of 8E6~ is a clear sign of an attempt at clarifica-
74 The Coming Kyrios

tological interpretation of Kupwc;. The Lord of whom John speaks in D

is Jesus.
Many readings in Dare very old, but here, as elsewhere, it is much
more logical to assume that the scribes desired to introduce clarity
rather than that the scribes of all the other witnesses decided to intro-
duce ambiguity.13 2 And, in fact, the clarifying tendency of the Bezae
scribes surrounding other uses Kupwc; can be observed in several differ-
ent places (though one cannot speak of a systematic clarification). 133
The upshot of the matter is that it is once again exegetically impos-
sible to resolve the ambiguity of the Kuptoc;. And yet it is also true that
the weight of the ambiguity, so to speak, has shifted.
Looking back from 3:4-6 through 1:76 to 1:16-17 we can discern
both the ambiguity in terms of the referent of Kuptoc; and how such am-
biguity shifts in referential probability from God to Jesus as we move
from 1:17 back out to 3:4. In 1:17 we find only an intimation of Jesus'
coming. In 1:76 the weight is more balanced, particularly as Jesus now
exists in the Lukan text as Kuptoc;. By Luke's final repetition in 3:4, Je-
sus' coming as the Lord and John's preparation for him are no longer
intimations but events in the process of being fulfilled.
In each case the ambiguity remains final - we cannot mold KUptoc;
into 6E6c; or 'Irpouc; through an interpretive will to power - but due to
the movement of the narrative, our initial tendencies to resolve the am-
biguity move from God in 1:17 to Jesus by 3:4: 134 the coherence of the

132 In the reading of 0 at Matt 21:7, e.g., the disciples put the garments E1t' cdn6v
("upon it") instead of E1t' a\.n;wv ("upon them"; best MSS). This change is clearly an
attempt to overcome the two-animal awkwardness in the Matthean picture of Jesus'
entry into Jerusalem and bring it into line with the picture of Mark/Luke.
133 In the Gospel alone, a similar christological tendency can also been seen, for exam-
ple, at 7:13; 13:15; and 22:61, where 0 reads 'I11crouc; in place of Kupwc;. Cf. also Luke
1:9 where 0 reads 8Eou instead of KUptou and 24:3 where 0 omits 'tOU
Kupl.ou 'I11crou altogether. An exception to this practice (which, of course, depends
on the assumption that Bezae does not preserve the original reading in any of these
cases) comes, e.g., in Luke 10:39 where 0 supports the reading of Kupwc; over
against several strong MSS that read 'I11crouc; (see the discussion of this passage in
chapter three). See my Appendix II for a list of other KUptoc; anomalies in Codex
Bezae's version of Luke.
134 Though the following list of scholars is by no means exhaustive, it is nevertheless
sufficiently instructive for the tendency to resolve the KUptoc; ambiguity in favor of
God or Jesus. For 1:17, most scholars take KUplOc; to refer to God. See, e.g., Bock,
Luke, 90; Carl Joachim Classen, Rhetorical Criticism of the New Testament (Tiibingen:
Mohr Siebeck, 2000), 85: "To me there seems to be no indication in favour of the lat-
ter interpretation [Christ], not even in the sense of God as manifested in Christ"; H.
J. Holtzmann, Hand-Commentar, 29; and, Lagrange, Saint Luc, 18. On Kupwc; as refer-
ring to Jesus in 1:17, cf. Josef, Lukas, 55; and Rusam, Oas Alte Testament bei Lukas, 73 n.
Luke 3:4-6: john and the Lord 75

structure and movement of the narrative moves the explicit focus from
the God of Israel to Jesus even as it skillfully presents and maintains an
overlap in the identity of the coming Kupwc;. 135 Retaining the ambiguity

For 1:76 scholarly opinion is quite evenly divided. On KUptO<; as referring to

God in 1:76, see, e.g., Bleek, Synoptische Erkliirung, 63; Brown, Birth, 380; C. F. Evans,
Saint Luke (London: SCM Press, 1990), 186; Holtzmann, Hand-Commentar, 36; Erich
Klostermann, Das Lukasevangelium (HNT; Tiibingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck],
1919), 388; Lagrange, Saint Luc, 61; Plummer, St. Luke, 42; Gerhard Schneider, "Gott
und Christus nach der Apostelgeschichte," 167; Schiirmann, Lukas, 1.91; Vielhauer,
"Das Benedictus des Zacharias," 40; Bernhard Weiss, Die Evangelien des Markus und
Lukas (Meyer Kritisch exegesticher Kommentar tiber das Neue Testament; 9th ed.;
Giittingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1901), 294; Johannes Weiss, Die Schriften des
Neuen Testament. Erster Band: Die drei iilteren Evangelien. Die Apostelgeschichte (Giittin-
gen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1906), 392. On KUptoc; as referring to Jesus in 1:76,
see, e.g., Bovon, Lukas, 1.108; James M. Dawsey, "What's in a Name?" Biblical Theol-
ogy Bulletin 16 (1986): 143-47 (145); Farris, Hymns, 139; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.379, 385-86;
Joachim Jeremias, Die Sprache des Lukasevangeliums: Redaktion und Tradition im Nicht-
Markusstoff des dritten Evangeliums (Giittingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1980), 23;
Jacob Kremer, Lukasevangelium (Die Neue Echter Bibel; Wiirzburg: Echter Verlag,
1988), 34; A. R. C. Leaney, A Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Luke (BNTC;
London: Adam and Charles Black, 1958), 90; William Manson, The Gospel of Luke
(MNTC; London: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., 1930), 15; and, Marshall, Luke, 93. A
few scholars do not resolve the ambiguity in 1:76. Nolland, Luke, 1.89, recognizes
that "for Luke this visitation by God takes the form of the coming of Jesus," and on
this basis cautiously allows that "there may ... be a happy ambiguity about the refer-
ence of 'Lord' (KuptO<;) here." He also refers the reader to 1:17 and 3:4. Unfortu-
nately, Nolland does not pursue his insight in these other places. Rene Laurentin,
Structure et Theologie de Luc I-ll (Paris: J. Gabalda, 1957), 38, sees the "ambigu'ite"
clearly but goes too far when he asserts that Luke suggests "ici confusement une
identification entre Jesus et le 'Seigneur Dieu."' As argued above, even within the
ambiguity, the distinction remains between KUptO<; 6 9t::6<; and KUptoc; X,PtO"t6c;. De-
spite going too far in this regard, Laurentin's book is still extremely helpful in its
consistent insistence that we not lose sight of the diptych structure as a primary ve-
hicle for Lukan theology in Luke 1-2 (hence the title of the book). Mark L. Strauss,
The Davidic Messiah in Luke-Acts: The Promise and Its Fulfillment in Lukan Christology
(JSNTSup 110; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 102-3, sees the ambiguity
of 1:76 clearly and notes that either Jesus or God as the referent would be appropri-
ate. Yet the "either/or" formulation is insufficient. A little better is Wiefel, Lukas, 65,
who asserts that KUptO<; refers "zunachst auf Gott, sekundar christlich auf Jesus."
But even this attempt is muddled: one should simply press through the tentative-
ness to the point that KUptoc; refers to both.
For 3:4 most scholars take KUptO<; to refer to Jesus. See, e.g., Bovon, Lukas,
1.170.; Dawsey, "What's in a Name?" 145; Green, Luke, 171; Schneider, "Gott und
Christus," 167 n. 36; Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.160 n. 98. So also, e.g., Evans,
Saint Luke, 106; Lagrange, Saint Luc, 105; Nolland, Luke, 1.143; and, Plummer, Luke,
87. On KUptoc; as referring to God in 3:4, see Bleek, Synoptische Erkliirung, 159, and
Zahn, Das Evangelium des Lucas, 190-91.
135 Cf. Coleridge, The Birth of the Lukan Narrative, 231: "The shift enacted from the first to
the last episode ... is a shift from theology to christology. In that sense, it is better to
say that the infancy narrative becomes christocentric as theology gives way to chris-
tology rather than that it is from the first christocentric." Robert F. O'Toole, Luke's
76 The Coming Kyrios

while simultaneously recognizing the swing in resolution tendencies

thus corresponds to Luke's theology of resonance and to his shift of
The strong repetition within the passages 1:16-17, 1:76 and 3:4-6 in
connection with the structure of the beginning of the Gospel is simply
too significant to be coincidental. Rather, we should take it as part of
Luke's carefully crafted point, or narrative-theological program. In this
light the ambiguity in the referent expresses the fundamental correla-
tion and continuity between the God of Israel and Jesus. 136 Eduard
Schweizer captured the significance and meaning well when he wrote
that "the eschatological coming of God is thus identified with the com-
ing of Jesus." 137 But this coming is not primarily a theology of represen-
tation (as in the case of the Shekinah, for example). 138 Nor, contrary to

Presentation of Jesus: A Christology (Rome: Editrice Pontifico Istituto Biblico, 2004),

181-84, also notes the ambiguity in KUplO<; in the birth-infancy narrative. O'Toole's
pages on Jesus as the Lord (181-205) are relevant to the thesis of this work. Unfortu-
nately, O'Toole's book did not reach our library in time for me to make note of the
places of agreement.
136 Cf. Kuhn, "The Point of the Step-Parallelism in Luke 1-2," 38-49, who notes that
Luke's "portrayal of Jesus as KUplO<; and crco'ti]p seems to be of a piece with his pres-
entation of Jesus as the Spirit-conceived divine son (1.31-5): i.e., it further indicates
the close relation between Jesus and Yahweh as it blurs the lines of distinction be-
tween them." Kuhn's article had not yet been published when I wrote "Luke and the
Trinity," though this essay did not appear until 2003 ("Luke and the Trinity: An Es-
say in Ecclesial Biblical Theology," SJT 56/l [2003]: 1-26). My overall concern in that
piece is somewhat different than Kuhn's, but I find it very interesting that our exe-
getical arguments, done independently, generally support each other at the point of
the theological force of KUpto<; and crco'ti]p in the Lukan birth-infancy narrative. The
argument presented here with respect to 3:4-6 in particular draws much from my
earlier SJT piece.
137 Schweizer, Luke, 65. Cf. Kuhn, "The Point of the Step-Parallelism." Though the focus
on KUplO<; in particular is an obvious difference, Kuhn's general thesis is similar to
mine in that he argues that the point of the step-parallelism is "to show that in pre-
paring the way for God, John is really preparing the way for Jesus because Jesus
represents Yahweh in his mission and person" (38; see 48 n. 30 for his view of
Kupwc;). I do not argue, however, that John "really" prepares the way for Jesus but
rather that the movement - or preparation - is that of a both/and. Precisely in pre-
paring the way for God does John prepare the way for Jesus and vice-versa.
138 Kuhn's otherwise insightful piece mentioned in the notes above is problematic at
this point in that his terminology reflects a less than precise grasp of the nature of
the shared identity. Kuhn writes that the step-parallelism converges "the characters
of Yahweh and Jesus. The point of the step-parallelism is that Jesus is the one for
whom John prepares because Jesus ... represents Yahweh ... " (49). In my judgment,
Kuhn's formulations would fair much better without the use of representation lan-
guage. This is not to deny that for Luke Jesus represents God in some sense, but
rather to affirm the uniqueness of the relation between them. That is, Jesus does not
"represent" God in the way that various agents of the OT do or represent God's
presence in a kind of unembodied way (analogous to the Shekinah). Kuhn sees some-
Luke 3:4-6: John and the Lord 77

Gnostic speculation, is it an unhuman one. Rather, Luke's KUpto~

XPt<J't6~ is a real human being (cf. Luke 2:52 139 ), and thus is the Jewish
God's eschatological coming a human, and therefore embodied, one.
The doubleness and ambiguity of the KUpto~ at the beginning of the
narrative creates a shared identity, and the structure and movement of
the story prepares us to follow the way of the Lord of Israel as his com-
ing is embodied in the life and person of the Lord Jesus. Thus as the
narrative advances and the focus shifts formally from promise to active
fulfillment, we know that in the life of Jesus we can also see the God of
Israel's presence and visitation to his people.140

thing of this point earlier in the essay (Jesus is the "embodiment ... of God's awaited
salvation," 48) but does not continue with this line of thought.
139 Though the thesis regarding the Lukan purpose, and indeed of Gospel purpose, is
certainly disputable (as Talbert himself acknowledges in "Reading Chance, Moess-
ner, and Parsons," in Cadbury, Knox, and Talbert: American Contributions to the Study of
Acts [Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992], 229-40 [229-30]), Charles H. Talbert, Luke and the
Gnostics: An Examination of the Lucan Purpose (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1966), is
still instructive on the point of Jesus' humanity in Luke.
140 Cf. Coleridge, The Birth of the Lukan Narrative, 233.
Chapter 2

Mission in Galilee: Luke 4:14-9:50

The treatment in the previous chapter of Luke's use of Kupwc; in 1:43
and 2:11 within the context of the birth-infancy narrative and the dis-
cernment of the link between 1:16-17; 1:76; and 3:4-6 allowed us both to
apprehend the Verbindung between God and Jesus through the use of
Kupwc; and to see the shift in the focus of the narrative from God to
Jesus. The way of the Kupwc; is prepared - his coming is at hand. The
anticipation created by this movement of the narrative from promise to
fulfillment begins its realization with the inaugural scene in Nazareth.
The explicit narrative focus is now upon the Lord Jesus as he embarks
upon his ministry.

I. Luke 4:14-21: The Year of the Lord

The "programmatic" character of the Nazareth-synagogue episode for

the rest of the narrative has been recognized frequently. 1 The scene nar-

Already fifteen years ago, Bart J. Koet, Five Studies on Interpretation of Scripture in
Luke-Acts (SNTA 14; Leuven: University Press, 1989), 24, noted that the recognition
of the programmatic nature of this scene was a point of agreement in an otherwise
diverse body of secondary literature (cf. Jack T. Sanders, The Jews in Luke-Acts [Lon-
don: SCM Press Ltd., 1987], 165: "This scene is programmatic for Luke-Acts, as one
grows almost tired of reading in the literature on the passage"). For a different view,
see Christopher M. Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," in The Unity of Luke-
Acts (ed. Joseph Verheyden; Leuven: University Press, 1999), 133-64 (143-44). In my
judgment, Tuckett is tied far too closely to a kind of literal fulfillment of the program
in the ensuing story. Thus, for example, he thinks that "the idea of the Spirit being
'on' Jesus is ... notorious by its absence in the subsequent Lukan story" (144). Yet, the
Spirit is constitutive of Jesus' existence: in Luke's story it is impossible to think of the
character of Jesus apart from his existence by the power of the Spirit. Moreover,
though Tuckett rejects Brawley's interpretation on the grounds that it assumes a nar-
rative unity in Luke-Acts, the remark of Robert L. Brawley, Luke-Acts and the Jews:
Conflict, Apology, and Conciliation (SBLMS 33; Atlanta, 1987), 19, remains on target:
"Because Luke so strongly establishes the identity of Jesus as one anointed with the
Spirit at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, he is able to assume it through the rest of
his gospel with little need for additional references." For a Forschungsbericht on the
Luke 4:14-21: The Year of the Lord 79

rates Jesus' public debut, foreshadowing the character of his mission as

well as the subsequent rejection by his own people. Within this sketch
of things to come, Luke continues his emphasis upon the inseparability
of Jesus' action from that of the Holy Spirit of the God of Israel, a theme
which Luke consistently develops not only in Jesus' conception (1:35),
but also in his baptism (3:22), entrance into the wilderness (4:1), and
return to Galilee (4:14).
In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus appropriates Isa 61:1f.2 and later applies the
passage to himself:

1IVEU!-HX l('UptOU E1I' EJ..LE

EmyyEA.tcra:cr8a:t mcoxo'i~
c'mecr't<XAKEV J..LE
KllPU~a: 1 a i xJ..La:A.c.i:>'tot~ a¢Ecrt v
Ka:'L 'tu¢A.ot~ c'waf3A.E\)/tv
an:ocr'tEtA.a:t 'tE8pa:ucrJ..Ltvou~ £v a¢tcrEt
KllPU~a:t £vta:mov Kuptou 0EK't6v

Though the word xptcr't6~ is not used and nothing overtly Davidic is
mentioned, it is possible to minimize the messianic overtones of this
anointing, as Fitzmyer and others do, 3 only by ignoring what we al-
ready know about Jesus from the narrative.
One would be hard pressed to deny the inter-narrative and verbal
connection of £xptcrtv with XPtcr't6~: because Jesus is already explicitly
named as the Messiah (e.g., 2:11, xptcr't6~), this anointing (£xptcrEv) is
clearly related to his identity as 6 xptcr't6~ - its public manifestation, in
fact. This is not to restrict the anointing exclusively to the messianic
overtones (elements of a prophetic anointing are also clearly there 4 ),

vast quantity of research from 1973 to 1988 in relation to the passage, see the well-
written account of Christopher J. Schreck, "The Nazareth Pericope: Luke 4:16-30 in
Recent Study," in L'evangile de Luc- The Gospel of Luke (2nd ed.; ed. Frans Neirynck;
Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1989), 399-471.
2 The entire citation from Second Isaiah is a conflation of !sa 61:1a, b, d; 58:6d; 61:2a.
!sa 61:1c ("to heal the broken-hearted") and 61:2b ("the day of vengeance of our
God") are omitted. See Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke (2 vols.; Gar-
den City: Doubleday, 1981, 1985), 1.532. There is also an allusion to Lev 25:10. See,
e.g., James A. Sanders, "Isaiah in Luke," in Luke and Scripture: The Function of Sacred
Tradition in Luke-Acts (eds. Craig A. Evans and James A. Sanders; Minneapolis: For-
tress, 1993).
3 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.529-530. See Schreck, "The Nazareth Pericope," 439-43.
4 Xptw obviously does not have to mean anoint in a messianic sense; it could be, e.g.,
prophetic (this is Fitzmyer's preferred interpretation in Luke, 1.529-30).
80 Mission in Galilee

but rather to note simply that the messianic overtones are indeed
presents Thus the "programmatic" character of Jesus' proclamation is
programmatic both in that it outlines Jesus' ministry and in that it sets
forth his status as he undertakes this ministry - 6 XPtcr't6c;, the
Anointed One.
This anointing is fundamentally pneumatological, which is to say
that Jesus is the Anointed One precisely as he is the one conceived,
baptized, and led in and by the Holy Spirit, and as the one who himself
speaks and acts in the Spirit. Now as he begins his public ministry in
his home town synagogue, he does so in continuation of his life as one
joined with the 1WEUJl<X KUplOU.
The expression n:vEUJl<X Kup1ou contains the first occurrence of
Kupwc; within this section. That Kupwc; refers properly to God in this
case is not to be doubted. Jesus speaks in the first person of the 7t:VEUJl<X
of another Kupwc; that is upon him, and he receives the anointing as one
who is acted upon: "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has
anointed me .... " That this could be construed to mean something akin
to "my own spirit is upon me because I have anointed myself" is mani-
festly absurd.
The second occurrence of Kupwc; - KT]pu~m £vtamov Kup1ou OEK't6v
- also refers to God (4:19). Since Jesus is continuing in the reading one
can naturally assume that he is still speaking of someone else, as he did
just a few lines earlier, rather than of himself. Moreover, the phrase
£vtamov Kup1ou OEK't6v cites Isa 61:2 directly and alludes to other Old
Testament passages associated with the jubilee year (e.g., Lev 25:10). 6
Thus, the Kupwc; of the jubilee year is the God of the Scripture from
which Jesus reads.
Yet, as Rusam notes, £vtamoc; Kup1ou OEK't6t; functions within
Luke's Gospel as a "Schliisselbezeichnung" for the proclamation of
Jesus, and, further, the Isaianic citation as a whole describes "das

5 Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 212 n. 34,
writes, "The debate over whether Jesus' anointing is that of a prophet or messiah ... is
of little consequence. In light of 1:32-35; 2:11; 3:21-22; 4:24-27, neither can be ruled
out." Green is correct, I think, that both motifs are present in the anointing. Green is
incorrect, however, in seeing the debate as one of little consequence. Narratively
speaking, whether or not Jesus is (re)introduced here at his public manifestation as
the Messiah will shape the way in which we understand his messianic identity and
6 See Green, Luke, 212. Cf. Robert Bryan Sloan, The Favorable Year of the Lord: A Study of
Jubilary Theology in the Gospel of Luke (Austin: Schola Press, 1977).
Luke 4:14-21: The Year of the Lord 81

gesamte irdische Wirken Jesu." 7 In this sense Jesus embodies the

evw:u'tbc; Kuptou OEK't6c; in his ministry, a point which Luke underscores
here at the beginning through Jesus' amazing announcement that
cn'UlEpov 1I£1IAllPCO'tat Tj ypcx<jn1 CXU'"CTJ ev 'tote; cbcrt v UllcDV (4:21). 8 The
fulfillment is thus tied to the person of Jesus even as it is tied to the
coming events of his ministry.
Upon close inspection the phrase evtcxu'tov Kuptou OEK't6v thus takes
on a double meaning. In the first and most obvious sense, Kupwc; refers
to God, and the year of God's favor is proclaimed by Jesus as having
arrived. In the second and more subtle sense, Kupwc; refers also to Jesus,
and evtcxmov KUptou 8cn6v expresses the nature of his ministry as
Kupwc; in the succeeding story - the year of the Lord's favor is in fact
the ministry of the Lord. In contrast to 4:18, in 4:19 it is not absurd for
Jesus to speak of himself as Kupwc; with respect to his coming ministry.
Indeed, much later in the Gospel Jesus does refer to himself as 6 Kupwc;
in the phrase 6 Kupwc; cx1nou XPEtcxv £xn (19:31),9 and in 6:46 and
13:25 10 he speaks of himself as KUpt£.
This double meaning of evtcxu'tbv Kuptou OEK't6v carries forward the
main themes traced in chapter one: Luke's theology of resonance and
his christological focus. There is a unity between God of Israel and
Jesus to the degree that the "way of the Lord" (3:4) is manifested in the
year of the Lord's favor precisely as it is worked out or actualized
through the mission and life of the Anointed Lord. Through the Spirit's
anointing (4:18), Jesus' public debut and the inauguration of God's ju-
bilee year coincide (4:19). In this way it is through the mission and life
of Jesus that the Spirit of the Lord (4:18) makes possible the year of the
Lord's favor (4:19). 11

7 See Dietrich Rusam, Das Alte Testament bei Lukas (BZNW 112; Berlin: Walter de
Gruyter, 2003), 195 and 200, respectively.
8 Many commentators rightly note the stress on cn'u.tEpov, but EV 'tOte; cilcrtv also
heightens the intensity of the scene, for it emphasizes the fulfillment as beginning to
take place as Jesus reads.
9 Verse 19:31 is (purposefully) ambiguous and therefore can also be understood as a
reference to God. On this point and the paronomasia of 19:31-34, see the discussion
of this passage in chapter four.
10 That KUplE in 13:25 refers to Jesus is signaled by the KUplE address of "someone"
('ttc;) in 13:23. Such an "allegorical" extension in the referent of Kupwc; is typical of
the Lukan parables. On this point, see the discussion of Kupwc; and the parables in
chapter three.
11 It is extremely doubtful that the narrative can support the interpretation of an
intended literal application of the jubilary legislation of Leviticus 25. Rather, the jubi-
lary emphasis, like that of Isaiah 58 and 61 (cf. 11QMelchizedek), is upon eschato-
82 Mission in Galilee

The actualization of the year of the Lord's favor in and through the
life and ministry of the Lord Jesus can be seen throughout the entire
Gospel narrative. The contour of this narrative fulfillment of Luke
4:18££., however, receives its form from the person ("character" in nar-
rative terms) of Jesus, so that the reading process moves first from per-
son to manner of fulfillment. Thus it is less important to look for, say,
exact verbal correspondence between 4:18££. and the subsequent narra-
tive than it is to pay close attention to the person of Jesus himself to see
how and in what way Luke narrates the enactment of the Lord's "pro-
gram." The seven pericopae below, then, do not represent the entire
narrative fulfillment even within the Galilean ministry. 12 Rather, they
were chosen for their particular placement within the order of the nar-
rative (Ka8E~ll<;) and for their representative significance in relation to
Luke's use of JCUpto<; elsewhere in the Gospel.

II. Luke 5:1-11: Master or Lord?

The typical Lukan transitions at 5:1 and 5:12 (£y£vE'tO 8£ and JCa't
£y£vE'tO respectively) mark Luke 5:1-11 as a distinct unit with a par-
ticular focus. 13 The focus within this small story is the call of Simon
Peter, 14 and thus what Peter himself says assumes fundamental signifi-
cance for the understanding and interpretation of the pericope.
If the larger concern in this passage is ecclesiological, 15 this concern
in no way diminishes the christological significance of Peter's words.
To the contrary, Peter's christological confession reveals the ground

logical release, albeit with profound socio-political implications (cf. Green, Luke,
12 See chapters three and four for other relevant passages from later in the narrative.
13 On the relation to Mark 1:16-20 and 4:1-2, see Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.560; or Heinz
mann, Das Lukasevangelium. Kommentar zu Kap. 1,1-9,50 (HTKNT 3; Freiburg:
Herder, 1982); and for a comparison of all the canonical versions of Peter's call, see
S. 0. Abogunrin, "The Three Variant Accounts of Peter's Call: A Critical and Theo-
logical Examination of the Texts," NTS 31 (1985): 587-602.
14 As a whole, Luke's view of Simon Peter is overwhelmingly positive. See esp. the
chapter "Peter in the Gospel of Luke," in Peter in the New Testament: A Collaborative
Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars (eds. Raymond Brown et a!.;
New York: Paulist Press, 1973), 109-28; and the recent evaluation in Joachim Gnilka,
Petrus und Rom: Das Petrusbild in den ersten zwei Jahrhunderten (Freiburg: Herder,
2002), 161-69. Gnilka's book also has a brief and up-to-date Forschungsbericht on
Petrusforschung (9-18).
15 So, e.g., Heinz Schi.irmann, "Die Verheissung an Simon Petrus: Auslegung von Lk 5,
1-11," in Ursprung und Gestalt: Eriirterungen und Besinnungen zum Neuen Testament
(Dusseldorf: Patmos-Verlag, 1970), 268-73.
Luke 5:1-11: Master or Lord? 83

upon which the church is to stand. Peter speaks twice in this passage
(5:5, 8), once before the miraculous catch of fish and once afterward,
and each time Simon addresses Jesus directly. In the first case, Simon
addresses Jesus as bncr1:ci'ta, and in the second as KUptE. The narrative
sequence appears thus:

5:5: £mcr'ta'ta ...

5:6-7: catch of fish
5:8: ... KuptE

There is, then, an obvious change in the christological title. But sur-
prisingly little has been offered in the way of explanation for this
change; moreover, actual arguments supporting what suggestions have
been made are hardly to be found.
Though it is frequently noted that Luke alone of the NT writers
employs £mcr't<i1:11~, 16 the particular way in which he uses it has often
been misunderstood, ignored, or even declared insoluble. 17 In my judg-
ment, the most interesting attempt to understand the Lukan use of
bctcr't<i'tll~ is that of Fitzmyer.

16 The usual reason given for the use of the vocative E.mcr,;cha is one variation or
another on Luke's desire to render the gospel for his hellenistic audience in terms
more understandable than pal3l3\. and 8uScicrKaA£ (see, e.g., the remarks of Albrecht
Oepke, "Entcr'tci'tllc;," ThWNT 2.619-20). For the view that Luke uses Entcr'tci'tT]c; for
his hellenistic audience but in a rather polemical way to set Christianity apart from a
philosophical school, see Otto Glombitza, "Die Titel 8t8cicrKaA.oc; und E.mcr1:ci1:T]c;
fiir Jesus bei Lukas," ZNW 49 (1958): 275-78.
17 Cf. F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake, "Christology," in The Beginnings of
Christianity. Part I. The Acts of the Apostles. Volume 1. Prolegomena: The Jewish, Gentile
and Christian Backgrounds (eds. F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake; London:
MacMillan and Co., Ltd., 1920), 345-418: "The remaining point [from the discussion
above], which cannot be cleared up, is why Luke, who used KDptac; so freely in redac-
torial passages, or in those from his special tradition, did not replace 8t8cicrKaA£ in
the mouth of the disciples by KDpt£ but by f.ntcr1:ci1:a ....The obvious explanation
would be the assumption of a 'f.mcr1:ci1:a redaction' which affected the tradition be-
fore the final editor, whose personal preference was for KDptac;. But in the absence of
supporting evidence this theory is precarious .... Possibly the editor thought that
f.mcr1:ci1:T]c; was a more suitable title than 8t8cicrKaA.oc;, which had more the conno-
tation of schoolmaster than of religious leader" (415; emphasis added). The bewil-
derment of Foakes Jackson and Lake evidences the failure to consider two basic
factors (on which, see the discussion in the main text): (a) the context in which
f.mcr1:ci1:a occurs, and what the disciples actually say when using f.mcr1:ci1:a (Luke's
point with f.mcr,;ci,;a), and (b) the significance of KUptac; for Luke (or "the final re-
dactor"), which shows quite clearly that KDptac; is not equivalent to 8t8cicrKaA.oc;
(why Luke would not use KDptoc; to replace 8t8cicrKaA.oc;).
84 Mission in Galilee

In general, Fitzmyer treats emcr'tcX'tll~ as "teacher" and avers that

this title "attributes to Jesus authority in speaking of God and his sal-
vation." Along with 8t8acrJ(<XAO~, emcr'tcX'tll~ implies "a relationship to
Jesus' disciples," which "continues even after his earthly ministry is
over, as the absolute use of the expression, 'the disciples,' makes clear
in Acts 6:1-2, 7, etc." 18 In particular, Fitzmyer views emcr'ta'"Ca in Luke
5:5 as more appropriate than 8tMmmA£ to "the context of the miracle
to be wrought." 19
Fitzmyer' s interpretation is interesting because he rightly recog-
nizes that emcr'tcX'tll~ is used to characterize the disciples' relation to
Jesus. But he then goes on to get the explanation of that characteriza-
tion exactly backwards - as is seen both in his general and particular
view of the appropriateness of emcr'tcX'tll~ in Luke 5:1-11.
Rather than signifying a relation between Jesus and his disciples
that continues into Acts, or being the more appropriate word for the
miracle at hand, emcr'tcX'"Cll~ is actually used by Luke to convey in the
speaker some sense of distance from Jesus and his purposes. In the five
other instances where emcr'tcX'tll~ occurs, it conveys either misunder-
standing or insufficient faith (which is not to indicate condemnation of
the disciples or culpability on their part). The only occurrence that
might initially be thought to display authentic faith is the appeal of the
ten lepers in 17:13: 'I11crou emcr'ta'"Ca EA£11crov rJ!lcX~. Yet only one of the
lepers returns to give thanks, and it is only on this basis that Jesus
makes a positive statement about the faith of this leper in particular
(17:19). The other nine are clearly rebuked: "Were not ten made clean?
But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return
and give praise to God except this foreigner?" (17:17-18).
Otherwise, Peter himself twice more addresses Jesus as bttcr'"Ca'"Ca,
once in doubt as to the reasonableness of Jesus' question (8:45: "Who
touched me?"), and once during the transfiguration: "bttcr'tcX't<X, it is
good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for
Moses, and one for Elijah" (9:33). To Peter's bizarre suggestion Luke
appends his own explicit judgment: Peter did not know what he was
saying (9:33, !lTJ £i8w~ A-tyct). John addresses Jesus as emcr'"Ca'ta in his
explanation of why the disciples attempted to restrain a wayward exor-
cist (8:49). Jesus' response - "Do not stop him; for whoever is not
against you is for you" - could not be any plainer in its negation of the
disciples' misguided action. And in the stilling of the storm in Luke

18 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.218.

19 Ibid., 1.566. Dreads 8t8acJK:a/.,E here.
Luke 5:1-11: Master or Lord? 85

8:22-25, when the disciples awaken Jesus with cries of £mcr't:cX't:a

£mcr't:cX't:a, Jesus responds, nou ~ n'lcr't:tt; D!lcDV (8:24-25). Moreover, in
light of its consistent link in the Gospel with subtle forms of doubt and
denial, it is crucial to note that precisely this characterization of the
Jesus-disciples relation does not continue in Acts - the word
£mcr't:cX't:l]t; never occurs in Luke's second volume.
We thus have good reason on lexical grounds alone to be suspi-
cious of an interpretation of Luke 5:1-11 that reads Peter's £mcncX't:a
address within the narrative as worthy of commendation. The use of
KUptOt; confirms such a suspicion, even as it also provides the key to the
interpretation of the change in Peter's words.
It is well known that New Testament scholars often take the voca-
tive form of KUptOt; to be something of a polite or respectful address
("sir" or "milord"). This reading has deep roots and is widespread
among the various sub-disciplines within the field. 20 But when it comes
to Luke 5:8, most scholars are not persuaded by this mundane reading
and instead assign a "divine," "religious," or "numinous," quality to
the use of KUpt£. 21 Nolland, for example, writes that KUptOt; "is here
probably not Luke's usual 'Sir'," for Luke's concern "is more to set
forth an experience of the numinous as present in Jesus and his
deeds." 22

20 See, e.g., Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christos: A History of the Belief in Christ from the
Beginnings of Christianity to Irenaeus (Nashville: Abingdon, 1970), 121-29; Rudolf
Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951,
1955), 1.51; Cadbury, "Titles," 360: "K6ptE in the vocative is the least significant use
of the word. It is much the same as 'sir"'; Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New
Testament (rev. ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963), 232: KUplE "in the Synop-
tics .. .is used simply as a form of politeness which has no theological significance."
Foakes Jackson and Lake, Beginnings, Part I, Vol. I, prolegomena I, 408-17; G. D.
Kilpatrick, "KYPIO:E in the Gospels," in The Principles and Practice of New Testament
Textual Criticism: Collected Essays of G. D. Kilpatrick (BETL 96; ed. J. K. Elliott; Leuven:
Leuven University Press, 1990), 207-12, esp. 210; Moule, The Origin of Christology
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 35-36. Vincent Taylor, Behind the
Third Gospel: A Study of the Proto-Luke Hypothesis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926),
21 E.g., Abogunrin, "Accounts of Peter's Call," 591; Schneider, Lukas, 1.125; Schiirmann,
"Verheissung," 271. A slight variation on this view is Green, Luke, 233, who holds
that Peter recognized in Jesus the "agency of God" and Jesus' "profound status" as
"teacher-prophet." Though he opts for the meaning "Lord," Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.568,
asserts that KUPlE in an "unemphatic final position," would in another context de-
note a form of polite address. This positioning of KUplE thus reflects the more origi-
nal setting of the miracle-story and is only retained here because of the "evangelist's
hindsight." This blending of hermeneutically distinct levels leads to Fitzmyer's con-
fusion over what to do with cq.w:p'tcoMc; (seen. 26 below).
22 John Nolland, Luke (3 vols.; WBC; Dallas: Word Books, 1989-93), 1.222.
86 Mission in Galilee

Unfortunately, however, such theological readings of the vocative

are generally not defended and only minimal attempts have been made
to relate them to the larger narrative. 23 Giving a brief interpretation of
the change from £mcr'ta'ta to K:uptE will give us occasion both to account
for a "religious" reading of K:uptE and, in this regard, to see the connec-
tions to Luke's other uses of K:upwc;.
The occurrence of the miracle (5:6-7) between the two vocatives ef-
fects a change in Simon's perception of Jesus. Prior to the miracle,
Simon is obedient (£n:'t 81:: 1:4} Pilllct'tt crou) to his £mcr't<i'tTJc; ("master"),
but he is evidently quite doubtful about the reasonableness of Jesus'
request and makes sure the latter knows of the unrewarded intensity of
the previous efforts: Ot' OATJc; VUK:'tOc; K:omacrctV'tEc; ou8tv £A.a!)OilEV. Sub-
sequent to the miracle, Simon "sees" (i8cbv), falls to the ground at the
knees of Jesus, proclaims himself as a sinner, and acclaims Jesus as
The contrast in the picture of Simon before and after the catch of
fish should be apparent. Such a change corresponds to the change in
christological title from £mcr'tcX'tTJc; to K:upwc;, wherein, on the basis of
the miracle, Peter sees who Jesus is and responds accordingly: Jesus is
in fact the Kupwc; who deals with sinners. Thus the switch from
£mcr'ta'ta to K:uptE is made for a christological reason, in which the
claim in the christology of the narrative is heightened as "master" is
raised to "Lord."24

23 See, e.g., Nolland, Luke, 1.222, who correctly notes the connection to 1:43; 2:11 and
Luke's "own narrational designation of Jesus as Lord," but then moves on to say that
Luke "offers no clear picture of the development of Christological awareness." See,
also I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentan; on the Greek Text (Exeter:
Paternoster Press, 1978), 204: Peter's reaction is "appropriate before a person ad-
dressed as Kupwc;, which here presumably has a deeper meaning than emcr'tcX't1lc;
and is not simply equivalent to 'Sir' .... But no precise connotation (e.g., of divinity)
can necessarily be attached to it." Theodor Zahn, Das Evangelium des Lucas (Leipzig:
A. Deichert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1913), 252: Peter sees that Jesus is "mehr als
ein gewohnlicher Rabbi, namlich ein KDptoc;, ein von Gott mit auf5erordentlicher,
auch das Naturleben mitumfassender Vollmacht ausgestattet ist .... "
24 Cf. Wolfgang Dietrich, Das Petrusbild der lukanischen Schriften (BWANT 5/14;
Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1972), 53: "Der in V. Sff. beschriebene Vorgang hates also,
aufs Ganze gesehen, mit einer Art 'Offenbarung' zu tun: Simon erkennt Jesus jetzt in
einer von ihm bislang nicht erfaf5ten Dimension, die auf Jesu gottliche Dignitat
("Kyrios") abzielt. Der besondere Zug lief5 sich an Hand der sprachlichen
Ausgestaltung nachweisen. Es zeigte sich namlich in diesem Teil ein
ausgesprochenes Wortfeld ftir eine 'Offenbarungs'-Vorgang, bzw. es handelte sich,
aus der Perspektive Simons, urn einen 'Erkenntnis'-Prozef5." With Dietrich,
Plummer comes closest to a correct understanding of the passage, though the latter's
emphasis on "orders" is misplaced: "The change from emcr'tci'ta ... is remarkable,
and quite in harmony with the change of circumstances. It is the 'Master' whose or-
Luke 5:1-11: Master or Lord? 87

Several intertwined considerations undergird this reading of the

vocative. First, Peter's use of KUpt£ is linked with a confession of sin:
Peter characterizes himself as a cq.tap'twM<; at the knees of the KUptO<;.
This self-characterization simply does not make any sense on the sup-
position that KUpt£ is a polite address - the categories are all wrong,
and the exclamatory force is missed. By my count, Luke uses C:q..tap't-
cognates thirty-seven other times in Luke-Acts, 25 and in every case
"sin," "sinner" is a moral-theological category related to the need for
repentance, forgiveness, and salvation: "I have come to call not the
righteous [8tKa1ouc;] but sinners [cq.tap'tw/couc;] to repentance" (5:32).
Furthermore, it is the person of Jesus Christ who answers the need for
such repentance, forgiveness, and salvation: "Everyone who believes in
him receives forgiveness of sins [ci<jlmtv 6.J..Lapnwv] through his name"
(Acts 10:43; see also below on Luke 5:17-26). Narratively speaking,
then, Peter's self-characterization fits well only within a moral-theo-
logical framework, and to understand "sir" as an address within this
framework - paired with aJ..L<:xp'twM<; - is nonsensicaP 6 Would Peter,

ders must be obeyed, the 'Lord' whose holiness causes moral agony to the sinner"
(Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St.
Luke [ICC; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898], 145). Picking up on Plummer's
interpretation, Leon Morris, Luke: An Introduction and Commentary (rev. ed.; Tynda-
leNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), suggests that the change in address is
"probably connected with [Peter's] heightened apprehension" (125). Luke Johnson's
normal attention to detail is missing here: "Peter's designation of Jesus as 'Lord'
(kyrios) is equivalent here to 'Master' in verse 5" (The Gospel of Luke [SacPag 3; Col-
legeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991], 88; cf. 90: "The attentive reader therefore may
legitimately hear in Peter's designation of Jesus as 'Master' and 'Lord' hints of a
fuller resurrection resonance to this story").
25 Luke 1:77; 3:3; 5:20-24, 30, 32; 6:32-34; 7:34, 37, 39, 47-49; 11:4; 13:2; 15:1, 2, 7, 19; 17:3,
4; 18:13; 19:7; 24:7, 47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 7:60; 10:43; 13:38; 22:16; 26:18.
26 Fitzmyer is unable to make anything out of verse 8 and resorts to explanations of a
"suture-verse" or what Peter really should have said in this context: "[V.] 8 reveals
itself as a suture-verse. Peter's reaction to Jesus after the haul of fish seems strange;
one would expect a comment of awe or gratitude toward the wonder-worker rather
than a confession of unworthiness. Or, one might expect Peter to defend his ability
as a fisherman rather than apologize [sic!] for his sinfulness ... " (561). Part of Fitz-
myer's argument in this section has to do with the common conviction that this epi-
sode is actually more appropriate to a post-resurrection setting (cf. John 21:1-11). In
terms of origin, this may well be the case. However, there is yet again a methodo-
logical confusion when scholars interpret this passage of the Lukan narrative in light
of a "more appropriate" post-resurrection setting. Such confusion attributes to Luke
the incapability of arranging his narrative in the way he thought fit ("in sequence")
and leads to the virtual inability to make any interpretative proposals about this pas-
sage for Lukan theology. Culpepper, Luke, 16, notes the juxtaposition of KUptOt; with
<':q.lap'tCtlA6t;, but he does not return to this observation in the later exegesis of the
passage. Schi.irmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.270, interprets Peter's experience as that of
"kreati.irliche Nichtigkeit." Existentially and theologically, this interpretation is
88 Mission in Galilee

the Galilean fisherman, really cry out, "Sir," or "Milord, go away from
me because I am sinful"? Would it not make more sense to say, with
Wolfgang Dietrich, that the "Kyrios-Sein Jesu und Siinder-Sein Simons
sind ... sachliche Korrelate"?27
Moreover, though Jesus' J.lll (jlo(3ou response does not lend specific-
ity to the understanding of the vocative, it does seem to set the scene,
form-critically speaking, as something like an "epiphany" and, hence,
to argue against the use of KUpt£ as simply a polite address. 28 The
meaning "sir" simply does not add up to Simon's fear or to Jesus'
Second, whatever the meaning of the vocative outside of the Lukan
context (and there are various meanings), in Luke's context KUptE oc-
curs within the explicitly KUptoc; -oriented christology. Here it is crucial
to note that the occurrence of KUpwc; for Jesus early and in key places in
the narrative (1:43; 2:11) influences substantially the way the later oc-
currences must be interpreted.
Finally, we must note that Peter gets the title right for Lukan narra-
tive christology (Jesus is KUptoc; from the womb), but we do not there-
fore have to understand Peter's "seeing" as once and for all. To put it
crudely, Peter obviously has his ups and downs in terms of his percep-
tion and commitment. But this reality should not push us away from
the christological interpretation of KUptE in the narrative line. The nar-
rative force of KUptE remains regardless of Peter's later stumbling. In-
deed, such vacillation on Peter's part opens the possibility of recogniz-
ing the inherent ambiguity in the vocative.

powerful, but it is closer to a demythologizing or theologizing of Luke's use of

cq.tap't- rather than a reading of these words in their contexts (cf. Schurmann, "Ver-
heissung," 271). For a discussion of the "sinners" of the NT as the "wicked," see E. P.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (London: SCM Press, Ltd., 1985), 174-211.
27 Dietrich, Petrusbild, 51. It is interesting to note that this passage from Luke is paired
with !sa 6:1-8 in the Revised Common Lectionary: both Peter and Isaiah experience
their own sinfulness in the presence of the KUptO~. See Richard B. Hays, "Netted," in
The Art of Reading Scripture (eds. Ellen F. Davis and Richard B. Hays; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2003), 311-16, for an exploration of the impact of this intracanonical echo.
Others have also noted the connection to Isaiah (e.g., Pheme Perkins, Peter: Apostle
for the Whole Church [Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1994], 84; Fitz-
myer, Luke, 1.567).
28 Mr, <jlo[3ou is a typical reaction of angels, e.g., to humans' fear before them (cf. Luke
1:13; 2:10). On the entire scene as "angelomorphic," see Crispin H. T. Fletcher-Louis,
Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology and Soteriology (WUNT 2.94; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck,
1997), 35-38, 222-23. See also the previous note on Isaiah 6. Cf., too, Num 22:31; Ezek
1:28; Matt 28:9.
Luke 5:12-16: The Healing Lord 89

Establishing solid ground on which to treat the vocative K0pu: is

crucially important, as this form of K0pwc; occurs multiple times in the
Gospel narrative. Luke 5:8 is the first time K:upt£ is used, and this usage
sets the tone, as it were, for the reader's encounter with and under-
standing of the other vocatives. 29 This passage thus alerts the reader to
potential christological purpose or significance in Luke's careful de-
ployment of the vocative in the story, while simultaneously leaving
open the possibility that the one in whose mouth K:upt£ occurs need not
possess "post-resurrection" fullness of knowledge at every point in the
story - or, indeed, at any point prior to the resurrection. The particular
Lukan narrative strategy, that is, at once establishes the christological
significance of K:upt£ and makes use of its inherent ambiguity. In this
way Luke both connects K:upt£ to the faith of early Christians in "the
Lord" and situates the vocative within its wider semantic field. This
both/and character of the vocative gains in its narrative significance as
the story progresses.

III. Luke 5:12-16: The Healing Lord

Kupt£ in 5:12 is the second occurrence of the vocative K:uptoc; in the

Gospel: "While [Jesus] was in one of the cities, there came a man full of
leprosy. And seeing Jesus, he fell upon his face and implored him,
'K:upt£, if you will, you are able to make me clean'."
In contrast to the common "religious" reading of K:upt£ in 5:8, many
scholars interpret this next occurrence of K:upt£ in 5:12 in its everyday
sense, i.e., as "sir," "milord," etc. Marshall, for example, writes that
here K:upt£ "is a respectful form of address, perhaps regarded as appro-
priate in addressing one who was known to have special powers from
God." 30 The passage itself certainly admits to this reading, inasmuch as,
or even especially because, the semantic range and concomitant ambi-
guity of the vocative leave the exact meaning of the address within the
world of the story somewhat uncertain. Indeed, when speaking of pre-
resurrection history, at least in the sense of an epistemological corre-
spondence on the part of the leper to pre-resurrection knowledge and

29 Hahn, Titles, 82, therefore radically underestimates the significance of 5:1-11 when
he writes that it is "an exception, and is not really characteristic of [Luke's] view-
30 Marshall, Luke, 209. Cf., e.g., William Manson, The Gospel of Luke (MNTC; London:
Hodder and Stoughton, 1930), 48; and, E. J. Tinsley, The Gospel according to Luke
(CBC; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965), 58.
90 Mission in Galilee

confession of Jesus as Kupwc;, a less than full reading of the vocative is

almost certainly correct. But at the level of the Lukan narrative things
become more complex.
In the previous chapter we saw that Luke creates a dual referent for
the word Kupwc;, and in the previous section of this chapter (5:1-11), we
saw his strategic and carefully crafted introduction of vocative case.
The intentionality with which he develops the significance of this word
makes it improbable that he would now begin to use it willy-nilly, as it
were. We should think, rather, that Luke is not only deliberate in his
development of Kupwc; and his introduction of the vocative case but
also that he continues to weave the word through the narrative in such
a way that the different uses of the word are meaningfully related to
each other rather than strewn about the narrative in a here-and-there
fashion as separate, self-contained entities. In other words, to put the
thesis formulaically, because Luke writes a narrative, all the chris-
tological uses of KUptoc; are closely related to one another, as they are
part of the same story about the same Lord Jesus. 31
In particular, several factors serve to bind together the first and sec-
ond use of the vocative. The general similarity between 5:1-11 and 5:12-
16 - that Jesus Kuptoc; performs a miracle - speaks for their thematic
connection, and such a connection obviously makes good narrative
sense in light of their juxtaposition. Given Luke's commitment to con-
structing a story that is Ka8E~ilc; (1:3), the immediate proximity of the
two pericopae can hardly be taken as accidental. Furthermore, there are
three small but noteworthy similarities between Peter in 5:8 and the
leper in 5:12 that add force to the supposition that Luke is purposefully
linking these episodes. Both Peter and the leper are said to "see" (i8c6v);
both fall down before Jesus (n:pocrbrEcrEv 'tote; y6vacrtv/n:Ecrci:Jv £n:\.
n:p6crwn:ov); both then address Jesus as KuptE.
The overall effect of the juxtaposition of and the specific similarities
between the two stories is that the reader moves through the vocative
in 5:12 with the resonance or overtones from the vocative in 5:8, just
four verses prior. It thus appears unlikely that Luke would introduce
the christological reading of KuptE in 5:8 in continuity with the earlier
use of Kuptoc; only to exclude this reading a few verses later with no
narrative markers that he is so doing. To the contrary, via the unity and

31 This way of putting the matter not only derives from what we have seen of Luke's
use of KUptec;; so far, but also points forward to the rest of the book in which the ac-
curacy of the thesis will be demonstrated both on a case by case basis and in light of
the narrative taken as a whole.
Luke 5:12-16: The Healing Lord 91

order of the narrative, the second vocative of the Gospel moves along
the christologicalline indicated by the first. 32
There are of course no indications of a change in the leper's percep-
tion which would correspond to Peter's. Indeed, since the KUptE ad-
dress is given at the beginning of the pericope and the leper speaks
only one time, Luke leaves no room for such a development. This fact
occasions the need for an important methodological observation: what
the leper theoretically knew or did not know about Jesus does not affect
the way we should interpret KUptE at the level of Lukan christology.
Because we do not have substantial access to the "leper" narratively -
he appears nowhere else in the story 33 -his knowledge about Jesus on
the basis of his one spoken line is an unrewarding field of speculation. 34
Indeed, to understand the use of KUptE in the Lukan narrative, both
here and in the larger story, we must draw explicit attention to Luke's
use of dramatic irony, that is, the literary technique that allows for
characters to say more than they know or more than they can retain. 35

32 Cf. Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.276, e.g., who is consistent with his evaluation of
Luke 5:8 when he writes, "Auch die Kyrios-Anrede macht das hoheitliche Wesen
Jesu sichtbar." Nolland, Luke, 1.227, is again aware of narrative connections, but un-
fortunately he does not press through a certain tentativeness to a firm argument or
interpretation and thus can only make a "suggestion": "The connection with Peter's
use in 5:8 of the same address suggests that more is involved than a polite 'Sir."'
Fitzmyer is again involved in a methodological confusion. He translates KUplc in
5:12 as "Sir" (571), and then in the Notes he writes: "The translation, 'Sir,' suits the
Gospel tradition in Stage I; for Luke, writing at Stage III, it may have the connotation
of 'Lord'" (574). On this confusion in general, see section IV of chapter five of the
present work.
33 Another instructive contrast may be with Nicodemus in the Gospel of John, whose
reappearances after John 3:1-21 to defend and later bury Jesus probably indicate a
movement in faith toward Jesus (7:50-52; 19:39). See, e.g., D. Moody Smith, John
(ANTC; Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999), 367-68: "Joseph of Arimathea and proba-
bly Nicodemus appear as would-be disciples of Jesus, apparently believing but not
yet confessing, for fear of the Jews. Perhaps significantly, they appear on this side of
his resurrection, putting the lifeless body in the tomb. Whether they will emerge on
the other, as disciples of the risen Jesus, is at this point left to the imagination of the
34 Cf., e.g., Marshall, Luke, 209: "The leper's request indicates that he believes in the
ability of Jesus to help him; he will have heard of Jesus' earlier healing activity, but
the fact that cleansing a leper was known to be difficult may indicate that he was
prepared to be daring in his faith. He addresses Jesus with a polite request for heal-
ing." Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.574, for example, also speculates about the leper's knowledge
-basing it on the reports concerning Jesus.
35 There are of course many types of "irony." The "classic mode" of dramatic irony is
best captured by Allen Tate, who defines it as "that arrangement of experience, ei-
ther premeditated by art or accidentally appearing in the affairs of men, which per-
mits to the spectator an insight superior to that of the actor" (cited in W. J. Harvey,
Character and the Novel [Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1965], 78, who
92 Mission in Galilee

However much it causes a difficulty for the English translator (on this
point, see chapter five), we must be content both to retain the ambigu-
ity in K0ptE - avoiding the attempt to press through the text to the
depth of the leper's spiritual insight - and to hear in the same word a
Lukan christological declaration about the power of the Kuptoc; to heal.
This observation is also relevant to the coming sections on Luke 6:46;
7:1-10; and 10:38-42 (in the next chapter), where we will have better
occasion - due to the cumulative effect of the passages - to work out
more fully its implications. 36

IV. Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord

A. OVI/af.llt; KVpiov

Luke 5:17-26 constitutes the third discrete unit of Luke 5. But in con-
trast to the two previous pericopae, Kuptoc; does not occur for Jesus in
5:17-26 in the vocative form. Indeed, given the majority interpretation
of 5:17c, Kuptoc; does not occur for Jesus at all in this passage.J7
In light of l'\, B, L, W, etc., NA27 prints 5:17c thus: Kat 8uvaJ.ttc;
Kup'Lou i'jv Eic; 'tO icicr8at a\n6v. The common interpretation of this sen-
tence takes a\n6v as the subject of the infinitive. The subsequent Eng-
lish translation is usually something like "and the power of the Lord
was with him to heal" (so, e.g., the NRSV).
The confidence that mh6v should be read as the subject of the in-
finitive is strong enough to underlie the typical text-critical explanation

himself cites Kenneth Burke's book, A Grammar of Motives [Berkeley: University of

California Press, 1969]). We must quickly note, too, that the "superior insight" of the
spectator can work on different levels: the audience may, for example, have superior
insight in relation to all the characters in the story; or, one character in the story may
have superior insight in relation to another; or, both of these may happen simultane-
ously. Harvey, Character and the Novel, 71, opines that dramatic irony "easily be-
comes oppressive, obvious or over-schematic." He is probably correct, but his
remark does not apply to Luke, whose subtlety and sophistication with Kupto~ can-
not be characterized as ham-fisted repetitiveness and/or obviousness (as can be seen
easily from modern scholarship's failure to explore this technique with respect to
Luke and Kupto~).
36 Our exposition of the centurion pericope (Luke 7:1-10) will also shed light on the
other Gospel pericopae similar to those of Peter and the leper, namely, Luke 18:35-
43. In Luke 18:35-43 a blind beggar, with hope for healing, addresses Jesus twice as
ui.i: ~aui8 (18:38, 39), but when Jesus actually approaches the man, the latter ad-
dresses him as KUPlE (18:41). Jesus then responds: avaj3AEijiOV i] 1tlO''tl~ 0'0\J
37 Bovon, Fitzmyer, Green, Marshall, Schiirmann, etc.
Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord 93

of a well-attested variant - A, C, D, E>, f113, the entire Latin tradition,

etc. read a\ywu~ instead of atYt6v. 38 In Metzger's Textual Commentary of
1971, we find, for example, that "[t]he failure to see that atl't6v is the
subject, not the object of 1:0 icicr8at led copyists to replace it with a plu-
ral form, as au1:ou~ .... " 39 In slightly different ways, Plummer, Marshall,
N olland, et al. all offer the same explanation. 40
Syntactically speaking, however, in this sentence au't6V can be ei-
ther the subject or the object of the infinitive, as Bovon rightly notes
(though he, too, treats it as the subject). 41 Furthermore, grammatically
speaking, a purpose infinitive with d~ by no means requires a subject
in the accusative case (cf., e.g., Matt 26:2, 6 uio~ 1:ou av8pc6n:ou), and the
construction d~ 1:6 + infinitive can certainly take an object in the accu-
sative case (cf., e.g., Mark 14:55, au1:6v). 42 Thus, there are neither syntac-
tical nor grammatical reasons to avoid reading a1n6v as the object.
In fact, as the proponents of the majority opinion have noticed, the
textual traditions that read au1:ou~ (or n:cina~, etc.) actually presume
the reading of au1:6v as object of the infinitive. The general view is that
these traditions illustrate "failure" to understand the sentence correctly
(see Metzger et al. above). But the evidence is open to a different con-
strual, namely, that the reading traditions constitute relatively early
wirkungsgeschichtliche support for a correct understanding of the sen-
tence. That is, the very fact that the traditions exist at all speaks on the
side of an interpretation that takes atl't6v as the object. In this case, the
readings of au1:ou~, etc., rather than as failure, can be seen to extend or
heighten the power of Jesus, 43 or to connect this pericope to the larger
context (foreshadowing 6:6-11; 6:19; 7:1-10; 11-17, etc.), 44 or both. 45

38 There are other possibilities: nav'ta~ (K, Cyril), au'tOU~ nav'ta~ (syrpal), etc., but
these are really variations of aU'tOU~ and are best explained as "embellishments" of
au'tOU~ (see Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.582).
39 Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (London:
United Bible Societies, 1971), 138. The {B) evaluation of 1971 was upgraded to an {A}
in the 1994 edition of the Textual Commentary, but with the verbatim explanation
from 1971.
40 Plummer, Luke, 152; Marshall, Luke, 212; Nolland, Luke, 1.230. Cf., e.g., B. Weiss,
Lukas6, 340.
41 Fran-;:ois Bovon, Das Evangelium nach Lukas 1,1-9,50 (EKK III/1; Neukirchen-Vluyn:
Neukirchener Verlag, 1989), 1.243 n. 3.
42 On these two points see, e.g., BDF, 207 (§ 402) and MHT, 3.142-43, and the examples
therein. It is also important to note that the readings of A, C, D, etc. illustrate these
43 So Peter M. Head, "Christology and Textual Transmission: Reverential Alterations in
the Synoptic Gospels," NovT 35 (1993): 105-29 (120).
44 B. Weiss, Lukas6, 340, thinks au'tOU~ "ware Object mit ungenauer Beziehung auf die
unter den Anwesenden befindlichen Leidenden." Weiss is certainly correct that
94 Mission in Galilee

There is a further and connected point to note, one which, despite

its subtlety, brings us to the crux of the matter: the explanation of a
"failure" on the part of later scribes presupposes a decision about the
proper referent of Kupwc;. In other words, to construe the reading
a.u'touc; as a "failure" to understand a.u't6V as the subject of the infinitive
is already to have made a prior decision about how to read Kupwc;. If
syntactically and grammatically a.u't6v can be taken either as the subject
or as the object of the infinitive, it follows that our interpretative deci-
sion must be influenced by something else other than word order
and/or linguistic rules. For those who offer explanations for their read-
ing of a.u't6v as the subject, this something else turns out to be the refer-
ent of Kupwc;. 46
Marshall, adding to the explanation of Metzger's Textual Commen-
tary (to which he refers), suggests that "[t]he variants for a.u't6v in the
MSS are due to scribes taking Kup\.ou to mean Jesus and the pronoun to
be the object of iacr8a.t." 47 Marshall believes the readings in the MS
variants to be in error since "Kupwc; when used without the article
means God." 48 This explanation reveals that Marshall actually takes

au1:6v has a more direct relation to those who are present, specifically, of course, to
the man whom Jesus heals (see my argument above). Yet later scribes may well have
been more concerned to tie the introductory statement of 5:17 to the larger context
and cared not about how exact the relation of au'touc; would be to those who were
immediately present.
45 This paragraph depends on the point that au'touc; is not original. In this I agree with
the common opinion against, e.g., Fitzmyer (who reads au'touc; as original on
grounds of the lectio difficilior) and others who follow the Majority text at this point.
The principal reasons I take au't6V to be the original reading are that (a) the best
Greek MSS clearly support au1:6v (D, e.g., the best MS which contains au'touc;, reads
Kat 'iou8atac; 'tOU 'iacr8at au'touc;, omitting entirely 8uva1-nc; KUptou i;v etc; 't6).
(b) It is difficult to conceive of a scribe creating the subject/object ambiguity that ex-
ists with au1:6v (and even more difficult to conceive of multiple scribes doing this
independently), but it is very easy to conceive of alterations from au't6V to au'tOUt;,
etc. because of the ambiguity. (c) Au'touc; can be understood to extend or heighten
Jesus' power. (d) Au'touc; can be understood to connect this statement with the lar-
ger context of Jesus' healings. Whether or not au1:ouc; is the lectio difficilior is also de-
batable, for in fact this reading clears up the problems encountered when reading
au't6V. Incidentally, Fitzmyer's translation" ... the power of the Lord happened to be
with him that he might heal people" attempts to have it both ways, as it were (Luke
1.575). He translates "heal people" as if reading au'touc; and "with him" as if reading
au't6V. The problem, of course, is that without the au'touc; the "people" is not pre-
sent, and without the au't6V the "him" is not present.
46 Explanations and/or arguments for reading au1:6v as the subject are hard to find.
Most commentators simply assert that au1:6v is the subject (e.g., Nolland, Luke,
1.230; Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.281 n. 11 ).
47 Marshall, Luke, 212.
48 Ibid.
Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord 95

Kuptoc; to refer to God the Father and bases his suggestion about the
variants upon this prior decision. Thus, the logic here is that if one
takes Kuptoc; to refer to God, then one will clearly see that at'rt6v is the
subject of i&cr6at.
Many years earlier, Plummer offered a similar explanation, though,
in contrast to Marshall, Plummer placed the interpretation of Kuptoc; as
Jesus at the end of the textual process rather than at the beginning:

'The power of Jehovah was present for Him to heal with' .... The failure to
see that at'rt6v is the subject, not the object, of iacr6at produced the cor-
rupt reading at'rmuc; .... This corrupt reading produced the erroneous
interpretation of Kup1ou as meaning Christ. Lk. often calls Christ 'the
Lord'; but in such cases Kuptoc; always has the article .... Kuptoc; without
the article means Jehovah. 49

The logic here - though it is laid out in a somewhat roundabout man-

ner - is that because KUptoc; (without the article) refers to Jehovah,
at'n6v is seen to be the subject of the infinitive which, in turn, excludes
the reading of KUptoc; as Jesus.
Both Marshall and Plummer, then, explicitly coordinate their read-
ing of at'rt6v as the subject of the infinitive with a position on the refer-
ent of Kuptoc;. In both cases these scholars begin with the decision to
treat God as the referent of KUptoc; and conclude with the decision about
at'rt6v. Kuptoc; refers to God not to Jesus; therefore, at'n6v should be
read as the subject of iacr6at. Indeed, their final justification for reading
ai.n:6v as the subject of the infinitive is basically identical: an anarthrous
use of Kuptoc; must refer to God.
It is remarkable that in the discussions of at'n:6v Plummer and Mar-
shall do not actually argue for reading am6v as the subject. Instead,
they give an argument for the referent of Kuptoc;. They locate the chris-
tological reading of KUptoc; in different places in the transmission of the
text, but the judgment that underlies both hypotheses is the same:
KUptoc; cannot refer to Jesus. This argument is then applied to the syn-
tactical and grammatical problem in an attempt to solve it.
Marshall and Plummer are correct to discern the relationship be-
tween the referent of KUptoc; and the reading of au't6V. Furthermore, it is
true that if au't6v is the subject of iacr6at, a christological reading of

49 Plummer, Luke, 152. With reference to the "erroneous" christological interpretation,

Plummer does not mention anyone in particular, but one could see, e.g., Heinrich
Ewald, Die drei ersten Evangelien und die Apostelgeschichte (Gottingen: Dieterichsche
Buchhandlung, 1871), 246.
96 Mission in Galilee

Kupwc; becomes untenable. At just this point, however, we should no-

tice that while their presentations move in one direction, from a\rt6v as
the subject to the exclusion of a christological reading, their logic runs
in the other: the christological reading is excluded - Kupwc; is
anarthrous - so a\rt6v must be the subject.
The first problem here is factual. The blanket assertion about the
anarthrous use of KUpwc; is manifestly false. The importance of the an-
gelic announcement in 2:11 for Luke's Gospel can hardly be over-
stressed, and just here Jesus is named XPta'toc; Kupwc; (anarthrous). The
same is true of the climax of Peter's speech in Acts 2 where he declares
that God has made the crucified Jesus both Kupwc; and XPta't6c;. We may
think also of Luke 6:5 (see immediately below), 20:44 (see chapter four),
the ambiguous uses in 1:17; 1:76; 3:4, the double referent in 4:19, and
another centrally important text in Acts, Acts 10:36: Kupwc; miv1:wv. 50
The second problem is methodological. Whether we should read au1:6v
as an object or subject of the infinitive has to be established on grounds
other than those of the referent of KUpwc; because Kupwc; is ambiguous
- it can refer to God and to Jesus. This is, as Leaney puts it, "[a]nother
Lucan touch, remarkable for the ambiguous use of the word Lord." 51
There is, in addition, no interpretive leverage to be gained from
8uva1-uc;. We know of 8uvaf.!tc; as the Holy Spirit precisely as the Spirit is
the Power "of the Most High" (1:35; 24:49; d. Acts 1:8). This fact would
argue for a reading that interprets 8uvaf.!tc; pneumatologically and

50 On the importance of OU't6<; Ecr'ttv rtciV'tCOV KUptO<; in Acts 10:36 - often wrongly
read as a parenthetical remark - see C. Kavin Rowe, "Luke-Acts and the Imperial
Cult: A Way through the Conundrum?" JSNT27/3 (2005): 279-300.
51 A. R. C. Leaney, A Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Luke (BNTC; London:
Adam and Charles Black, 1958), 124. Leaney continues: "[I]n the context it may be
taken to refer to God, but there are some passages which make one think that the
ambiguity is deliberate. Cf. the note on Christ the Lord." It is hard to know how to
understand Leaney's "may be taken." If he means to resolve the ambiguity, then this
is pure assertion. In any case, he rightly intuits the purposefulness of the ambiguity,
but unfortunately does not specify the passages in question, and in the note on 2:11
he says that Luke has "unthinkingly adopted" l(ptcr'tO<; KUptO<;. This tension (con-
tradiction) in Leaney's reading is regrettable, for his intuition about 5:17 ("Lucan
touch" and "deliberate" ambiguity) might have led him to consider other ambigu-
ous uses of KUptO<; as evidence of a Lukan program. Frederick W. Danker, Jesus and
the New Age: A Commentary on St. Luke's Gospel (rev. ed.; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988),
121, also notes the ambiguous use of Lord. Yet his translation, in which he takes
a\n:6v as the subject of the infinitive, rules this ambiguity out (it does not make
much sense to think that "the power of the Lord was with him to heal" means "the
power of the Lord Jesus was with Jesus to heal"). In believing the christological read-
ing of KUptO<; to be the cause of the textual variants, Marshall, too, implicitly ac-
knowledges the ambiguity of the referent.
Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord 97

Kupwc; as the "Most High," that is, God the Father. But we also have the
statement in Luke 6:19 that "power [ouvo:!-nc;] went out from him [Jesus]
and healed them all" (cf. Luke 8:46), the description of Jesus' ministry
as one filled with "deeds of power" (Luke 10:13; 19:37; Acts 2:22), other
ambiguous Kupwc; texts (1:17; 1:76; 3:4; cf. 4:19) and the reality that Jesus
is called Kupwc; throughout Luke-Acts. These conglomerate facts would
argue for a reading that interprets OUVO:Iltc; generally and Kupwc; chris-
tologically: the power that is in Jesus the Lord to heal. 52 Kupwc; in this
case would correspond to Luke's programmatic and consistent redac-
tional/authorial use of Kuptoc; for the earthly Jesus (e.g., 7:13, 19; 10:39,
etc.). 53
This breadth of meaning of OUVO:Iltc; reflects the deeper Lukan
theme we noted at the beginning of this chapter, one to which Luke
gives careful and consistent attention. That is to say, the possibility of
the ambiguity in the referent of Kupwc; derives from the power
(8uvo:11tc;) that is the Spirit: Jesus' life as Lord is in the Power that is the
Lord's Holy Spirit.
In itself, then, the sentence KO:t 8uvo:11tc; Kupiou Tiv de; 1:0 icicr8o:t
mh6v confronts the reader with an irresolvable ambiguity in the refer-
ent of Kuptoc; and in the interpretation of o:u1:6v as the subject or object
of the infinitive. The ambiguity of Kupwc; and the syntactical and
grammatical openness of o:u1:6v play off of one another, and we are thus
unable to force Kupwc; in one direction or the other in order to resolve
the question of how to read o:u1:6v. The decision, rather, as to how to
read o:u1:6v derives from the movement of the story, the logic of the nar-
rative. The key to the conundrum of this verse most likely is that no one
has as yet appeared to whom the o:1n6v could reasonably refer (i.e., the
paralytic), so that o:u1:6v is in fact to be taken as the subject of the infini-
tive. 54 Only thus, in light of the unfolding narrative, can we move back

52 One could then translate, "The Lord's power was for the purpose of healing him." A
more general interpretation of 8uva1-w; does not, however, lead to "magical" under-
standings of Jesus' miracle-working ability. On this point, see esp. Max Turner, "The
Spirit and the Power of Jesus' Miracles in the Lucan Conception," NovT 33 (1991):
53 Furthermore, it is possible to combine elements from the observations above and
read 8uva1-nc; as referring to the Spirit while reading Kupwc; as referring to Jesus -
the Spirit is the power of the Lord which is for the purpose of healing. Regardless,
the Kupwc; ambiguity remains.
54 It is possible, though probably somewhat of a stretch, to argue that reading au't6V as
the object makes sense out of the sentence as a "set-up" for the coming healing. In
the immediate context au't6V refers to the paralytic - the "him" whom Jesus heals.
In 5:18, the man who will be healed is described as an av8pconov oc; ~v napaAE-
AU!J.Evoc;, and Luke notes that the men who carried this man sought to bring au1:6v
98 Mission in Galilee

through the initial ambiguity to determine the proper referent of

KUptoc;: "The power of the Lord was with him to heal."
At this point, then, the narrative once again names God as KUptoc;.
Yet, the ambiguity encountered in the initial reading of the sentence
recalls earlier occurrences of KUptoc; (e.g., 2:11; 3:4, etc.), thereby simul-
taneously creating a resonance in which a christological interpretation
of KUptoc; becomes, if only for the moment, necessary to entertain. Luke
5:17 thus fastens the activity of Jesus to the identity of God precisely as
KUptoc;. This is the basic Lukan judgment that makes possible the scene
of the forgiveness of sins here in 5:17-26.

B. f.16vor; r:5 8t:6r;

The scene in 5:17-26 quite obviously centers upon a conflict between

Jesus and oi ypcq.lJ.lCX'tEtt; and oi <jlaptcrciiot (5:21). 55 The high-point of the
conflict comes with the carefully crafted objection in 5:21, where Jesus'
opponents accuse him of blasphemy and ask: 'ttt; 8\Jva'tat cXJ.lCXp'ttac;
a<jlEtvat Ei J.ll'j J.16voc; 6 8E6t;? The freight of this question is carried in the
phrase J.16voc; 6 8E6t;.

in. Further, in 5:19 Luke writes that the men did not find a way to bring au1:6v in
through the crowd and thus resorted to lowering au't6V through the tiles. The se-
quence in 5:17-19, pronoun-noun-pronoun, is all the more significant in light of the
carefully placed i8ou in 5:18. This i8ou functions as a marker, as it did in the imme-
diately preceding pericope (5:12-16, Kat i8ou avi]p), in order to say "And, Look!
there comes the man now." We thus have the statement in 5:17 that the power of the
Lord was for healing "him" with the immediate marker that the "him" who is to be
healed has come onto the stage, as it were: ... Eic; 'tO iacr8at au1:6v. Kat i8ou
... av8pwnov ... au't6V ... au't6V ... au't6V .... For i8ou as a Lukan "marker," and, in-
deed, the close link between i8ou and civ8pwnoc;, etc. in Lukan style, see esp. Luke
2:25; 5:12 (avi]p); 7:34, 37 (with yuvi]); 8:41 (avilP); and 14:2; 23:50 (avi]p); 24:4
Though strictly speaking, of course, au't6V in 5:17 is not a "proleptic pronoun" - as
in rabbinic Hebrew or Aramaic - but the sense is not entirely dissimilar and the
analogy may nevertheless be somewhat helpful (simply for the reason that the actual
referent of au't6V comes after rather than before the pronoun). In a different context
(that of his comment on the position of "the Son of Man" in 24:7), Fitzmyer, Luke,
2.1545, denies the need to posit an underlying Aramaic expression and notes that
"proleptic position" is "simply a Lucan usage" (citing also Luke 9:31 [E~o8ov]; Acts
13:32-33 ['t<XU'tTJV]). To these examples, in addition to taking note of 5:17, one may
add 1:13 in which au't6V precedes Zaxap\.ac; (Et1tEV OE npoc; C(U'tOV 6 ciyyEA.oc; llTJ
<jloj3ou Zaxap\.a). On "proleptic pronouns" and the language of the NT, see Mat-
thew Black, An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts (3rd ed.; Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1967), 96-100.
55 Oi YP<XIlll<X'tEtc; were the VO!lOOt8cicrKaA.ot in 5:17.
Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord 99

The phrase 116voc; 6 8t:6c; - the Only God - is a fundamental Jew-

ish affirmation which expresses in thetic form the God of Israel's
uniqueness and, to use OT language, jealousy. The coupling of 116voc;
and 8t:6c; into a specific declaration pervades the LXX, the Second Tem-
ple Jewish literature, and the New Testament. 56 A few examples will
illustrate briefly its importance:

4 Kgdms 19:15: cru d 6 8t:oc; 116voc; tv :n:<icrcnc; 'tate; j3acrtA-t:1cnc; 'tTjc;


Psalm 85:10 [86:10 MT]: cru t:l 6 8t:oc; 116voc; 6 1-iEyac;

Isaiah 37:16: cru 8t:oc; 116voc; d rc<icrT]c; j3acrtA.t:1ac; 'tf]c; oh::owtvT]c;

2 Mace 7:37: E~O!lOAOyl'jcracrecn 8t6'tl !16voc; amoc; 8t:6c; Ecr'tlV 57

Philo: 'tOV 116vov crco'tf]pa 8t:6vss

Ep. Arist. 132: 116voc; 6 8t:6c; 6o

56 See esp. Gerhard Delling, "MONOS THEOS," in Studien zum Neuen Testament und
zum hellenistischen ]udentum: Gesammelte Aufsiitze (eds. Ferdinand Hahn, et al.;
Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970), 391-400; and Ulrich Mauser, "Heis Theos
und Monos Theos in Biblischer Theologie," ]ahrbuchfur Biblische Theologie 1 (1986): 71-
87. Eduard Norden, Agnostos Theos: Untersuchungen zur Formengeschichte religiiiser
Rede (Berlin: B. G. Teubner, 1913), 245-46 n. 1, is particularly useful for several pagan
texts where 116voc; and 9E6c; have been joined together in at least some fashion. See
also Erik Peterson's wide-ranging study ElL 8EOL: Epigraphische, formgeschichtliche
und religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht,
57 Cf. 2 Mace 1:25: KuptE KuptE 6 9E6c; 6 ncwcCJJv K-ctcr-c11c; 6 ¢oj3Ep6c; Kat icrxupoc;
Kat 8tKatoc; Kat EAEll!lCJJV 6 !l6voc; j3acrtAE'iJc; Kat XPllO"'toc; 6 !l6voc; xopmoc; 6
116voc; 81.Katoc; Kat nav-coKpc:hCJJp Kat aic:iivtoc;; 4 Mace 5:24: Kat 8tKatocruv11v
nat8EuEt cilcr-cE 8td. nav-cCJJv -cwv iJ9c:Ov icrovollEtv Kat Eucrej3Etav eK8t8acrKEt
[Swete: 8t8acrKEtv] OlO"'tE !l6VOV 'tOV OV'ta 9EOV crej3Etv ll£YaA01tpE7tOOc;.
58 De Confusione Linguarum, 93. Cf. Quod Deterius Potiori insidiari solet, 138: -cou 116vou
¢tA.o8c:iipou 9Eou; De Somniis, 2.193: -cov 116vov 8\.Katov 9E6v; Quis Rerum Divinarum
Heres, 60: 'tOU 116vou crCJJ-cilpoc; 9EOU; Fuga 47: 'tOU 116vou cro¢ou.
59 Ant. 8.13.5 §335. Cf. Ant. 8.13.5 §337: -cov EYX<iiptov 9EOV aA.ll9ll Kat 116vov; Ant.
8.13.6 §343: Kat 1tp00"EKUVOUV EVa 9EOV Kat !-!Eytcr'tOV Kat aAll9ll 116vov
anoKaAOUV'tEc;; Ant. 3.5.5 §91: "first word" of the Decalogue teaches that "God is
one [de;]" and that "he alone [116vov] must be worshipped": 9E6c; ecr-ctv de; Kat
'tOU'tOV 8Et crej3Ecr9at !l6vov; ].W. 7.10.1 §410: the Sicarii "esteemed God alone as
their despot" [9EOV 8/o !l6VOV Tjycicr9at 8Ecr1t6'tllV].
100 Mission in Galilee

John 5:44: 'tou 116vou 8eou 61

Sib. Or. 3.760: au'tb~ yap 116vo~ ecr't\. 8e6~

In view of the importance of this affirmation for Jews throughout the

Mediterranean world over a period of several hundred years, 62 it is re-
grettable that many commentators miss its significance for the under-
standing of this passage. A brief synoptic comparison, moreover, could
have alerted scholars to the fact that Luke's use of 116vo~ is more than
an unreflective grasp for a well-known adjective. At this point in the
story, Luke follows Mark very closely, except for the significant fact
that Luke writes 116vo~ where Mark has ek
El~ 6 8e6~ was also a widespread declaration around the time of the
NT and most likely made allusion to the Shema (Deut 6:4 [LXX]). 63

60 The translation of the relevant portion of the text in R. J. H. Schutt (OTP) is in error
here. The Greek text reads npovni::liu~£ yap nav'tcoV npw1:ov on ~-t6voc; 6 8£6c;
£cnt, Kat litO: miV'tcov r\ liuva~-ttc; mhou ¢av£pa yl.v£'tat K'tA. Schutt translates
that (Eleazar) "began first of all by demonstrating that God is one." Herbert An-
drews's translation (APOI) is a little better but still not sufficient: "For he [Eleazar]
proved first of all that there is only one God." The problem with both these transla-
tions is that they conflate the other widespread basic affirmation, that of God's one-
ness (de; 6 8£6c;; see Mauser) with that of his uniqueness or exclusivity (~-t6voc;). This
mistake is common, probably due to the similarity of thought involved in each dec-
laration (d. e.g., Henry G. Meecham, The Oldest Version of the Bible: "Aristeas" on its
Traditional Origin. A Study in Early Apologetic [London: Holborn Publishing House,
1932], 246). In order to preserve the distinctiveness of each affirmation, one ought to
translate Ep. Arist. 132 with something like: "He proved first of all that God is the
only God." This translation also makes better sense of the following narration, a
condemnation of idolatry, which praises Moses for his role in helping to prevent the
Jews from worshipping anything other than 'tOV ~-t6vov 8£0V Ka't liuva'tOV
cr£136~-tEVOt nap' OAT]V 'ti]V micrav K'ttcrtv (Ep. Arist. 139; Schutt's translation at this
point is to be preferred to that of Andrews).
61 Cf. John 17:3; Rom 16:27; 1 Tim 1:17; 6:15: Jude 25; Rev 15:4. Cf. the famous passage
in Tacitus, Hist. 5.5, who knows that in contrast to the Egyptians, who worship
"many animals and monstrous images," the Jews "conceive of one god only, and
that with the mind alone" [Iudaei mente sola unumque numen intellegunt].
62 Larry W. Hurtado, "Pre-70 CE Jewish Opposition to Christ-Devotion," JTS 50 (1999):
35-58, goes so far as to say that the "uniqueness of God" was "the most important
teaching of Torah among devout Jews of the Roman period" (58).
63 See, e.g., Josephus, Ant., 4.200ff; 5.112, 343; Ag. Ap. 2.193; Philo, Opif. 171-72; Spec.
1.67; Conf. 171; Legat. 115; Cf. Mark 12:29; Rom 3:30; 1 Cor 8:4, 6; Gal 3:20; Eph 4:6; 1
Tim 2:5; Jas 2:19; d. also m. Ber l.lff. Though perhaps overstated, Vernon Neufeld's
remark is worth recalling: from 200 B.C. until A.D. 100, "de; 6 8£6c; was the basic
homologia of Judaism, epitomizing the longer Shema" (The Earliest Christian Confes-
sions [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963]). See also, e.g., Ferdinand Hahn, "The Confes-
sion of the One God in the New Testament," HBT 2 (1980): 69-84 n. 12, who believes
Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord 101

Luke, too, was aware of the de; 6 8c,6c; affirmation, as is evidenced by

his choice to copy verbatim Mark 10:18b-c where de; 6 8e6c; occurs in
the so-called rich young ruler pericope (Luke 18:19: 'tt llE A.£yEtc;
aya86v; ou8E'Lc; aya8oc; El llll Elc; 6 8e6c;). 64

Mark 2:7: Luke 5:21:

'tt m)'toc; oihwc; A.aA.Et; 'ttc; £cr'ttv omoc; oc; A.aA.£1
13A.acr<pTJilEt 13A.acr<PTJ!lt<Xc;;
'ttc; 8uva'tm a<J>ttvm 'ttc; OUV<X't<Xl cXIl<XP'tt<Xc;
cXIl<XP'ttac; Ei llll cX<j>ElV<Xl El llll
de; 6 8c,6c; 1.16voc; 6 8c,6c;

Mark 10:18: Luke 18:19:

6 8£ 'IT]crouc; dnc,v ain4) dnc,v 8£ <XU'tcP 6 'IT]<YOuc;
'tl llE A.£ync; aya86v; 'tl 1.1£ A.£ync; aya86v;
ou8E'Lc; aya8oc; Ei llll ou8E'Lc; aya8oc; Ei llll
de; 6 8c,6c; Etc; 6 8e6c;

Noting Luke's use of Mark helps to draw attention to the importance of

1.16voc; 6 8c,6c; for Luke in 5:17-26. Whereas Mark uses the same affirma-
tion (de; 6 8c,6c;) in both pericopae - the healing of the paralytic and
the rich young ruler 65 - Luke has gone to the trouble to shift the affir-
mation in the first. It is not unreasonable, then, to surmise that Luke's
change speaks for the weight the phrase 1.16voc; 6 8c,6c; carries in the
setting of the passage.
By far the most frequent interpretation of the function of 1.16voc; 6
8c,6c; in this Lukan pericope is a variation of the theme that, as Bock
puts it, "[f]orgiving sin is God's work only." 66 Jesus, it is held, en-

Jesus' opponents in Mark 2:7 par. to be referring to the Shema (of course, in the paral-
lel passage, Luke has ~6vo~ rather than d~).
64 It is also interesting to compare Matthew to Mark and Luke at these points. Matthew
omits entirely Mark's el~ 6 9e6~ allusion to the Shema the first time it occurs. And
the second time it occurs, Matthew takes only the d~, omitting the 6 9e6~. Mat-
thew's care here might indicate his sensitivity to the strongly Jewish sensibilities of
his community. Yet Matt 23:9 might count as an allusion to the Shema (d~ 6 na·n']p
0 oupcivta~).
65 On Mark's versions, see Joel Marcus," Authority to Forgive Sins upon the Earth: The
Shema in the Gospel of Mark," in The Gospels and the Scriptures of Israel (JSNTSup 104;
eds. Craig A. Evans and William Richard Stegner; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic
Press, 1994), 196-211.
66 Darrell L. Bock, Luke: Volume 1. 1:1-9:50 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), 1.483.
Bock even adds in parentheses "~6vo~, monos, is somewhat emphatic" (emphasis
mine). Marshall, Luke, 214, writes that "only God can forgive sin, for only the of-
102 Mission in Galilee

croaches upon the prerogative of GodY This dominant line of thinking

comes through in the translation of the NRSV: "Who can forgive sins
but God alone?"
The problem with this translation - and the thought that lies be-
hind it - is not that it is grammatically impossible or fully incorrect,
but rather that it is too vague and, as such, smothers the passion that
would have been expressed in the scribes' and Pharisees' weighted and
specific accusation. Even more to the point, in concealing the Jewish
declaration this generality has in effect skipped over the base of the
charge against Jesus and failed to take well enough into account the
significance of the profession 116vo~ 6 6£6~. This oversight, in turn, ac-
tually leaves the meaning of the "blasphemy" accusation unex-
Recognizing 116vo~ 6 6£6~ as a Jewish declaration allows the central
issue to surface: Jesus is accused of placing himself alongside God, not
simply charged with encroaching upon the prerogative of God. These
two matters are obviously related, but the blasphemy pertains to Jesus'
identity: he is viewed as a rival to the God of Israel. The forgiveness of
sins derives from the person of Jesus in such a way as to rival God's
uniqueness and in this way to arouse - quite understandably - the
opposition of those who are jealous on behalf of the only God. 69 It is not
the bare fact of the forgiveness of sins but rather that the person of
Jesus himself seemingly threatens b 116vo~ 6£6~ who brooks no rivals.7°

fended person can forgive the offender" (cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.584, for a similar ex-
planation). Schiirmann and Green barely mention the issue at all.
67 Cf., e.g., R. Alan Culpepper, The Gospel of Luke (NIB 9; Nashville: Abingdon, 1995),
124; or Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.283: "Siindenvergebung is ausschlieiS!ich
Sache Gottes, und ein Mensch, der Absolutionsworte zu sagen wagt, redet
68 For a discussion of the charge of "blasphemy" at the level of the actual opponents of
Jesus, see E. P. Sanders, Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah: Five Studies (London:
SCM Press, 1990), 60-63.
69 On this basis it would seem that this passage reflects "Christ-devotion." Hurtado,
"Pre-70 Jewish Opposition," is correct, therefore, to include it (albeit briefly) in his
study, though one may quibble about the date. Cf. the remarks of Marcus, "Author-
ity to Forgive Sins," in relation to the Markan version: "If, as many scholars think,
the whole discussion of forgiveness of sins in 2.5b-10 is a secondary intrusion into
the miracle story, one that reflects not the ministry of the historical Jesus but the con-
cerns of the early church, then the scribes' Shema-based objection may very well
mirror acrimonious first-century debates in which Jewish religious authorities ac-
cused Christians of blasphemy because of their claims about Jesus, which in these
authorities' eyes threatened the unity of God" (199; see as well199 nn. 1 and 2).
70 Putting it in this way makes more sense out of the difficult problem of what exactly
the "blasphemy" is. On OT grounds alone, the blasphemy cannot consist in the mere
fact of forgiving sins, as God appoints/allows certain agents to do this on his behalf
Luke 5:17-26: The Power of the Lord 103

This brings us to the question of what Luke might be doing by in-

cluding such thetic language. Whatever the source, it is hardly possible
that he was unaware of the freight behind the phrase 116vo~ 6 8£6~ or
the import of its setting in this pericope. It is thus rather doubtful that
the christology that underlies the portrayal of this first face-off with the
scribes and Pharisees is an agent christology 71 -Jesus is God's agent in
the same way as, for example, the prophet Nathan in 2 Sam 12 and in
this capacity can forgive sins. 72 Or, differently put, the charge would
never have arisen in this precise form on the presupposition of an
agent-like christology.73 An agent of God does not constitute a rival to
God's uniqueness as the only God. Luke is making a much stronger

(cf. also the Jewish exorcist in 4Q242 ["The Prayer of Nabonidus"] who forgave
Nabonidus' sins on God's behalf). This is why a "divine passive" interpretation of
Cx.¢£oov'tat ultimately falls short (i.e., Jesus does not himself forgive sins but instead
asserts that God has forgiven the man's sins). The question of whether or not Jesus
was God's agent of forgiveness is of course implicit in the passage, but this issue
does not suffice to explain the specific 116vor; 6 9e6t; charge. However, if the person
of Jesus is seen as a rival to the one God's uniqueness and jealousy, then the charge
of blasphemy makes very good sense on the basis of the OT, and it fits well within
the emerging christology of the early church. See, too, the remarks of Thiselton in n.
75 below.
71 See, e.g., Green, Luke, 241.
72 Second Sam 12:13: "David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' Nathan
said to David, 'Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die."'
73 Cf. the interesting discussion in A. E. Harvey's well-known Jesus and the Constraints
of History (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1982), 161-73, in which Harvey carefully
treats the significance of "agency" in relation to Jesus' (self-) acclamation as Son of
God. Harvey notes, on the one hand, the helpfulness of the agent-motif in which a
son acts on the authority of and represents his father. On the other hand, however,
Harvey goes on at least partly to undermine the usefulness of this way of thinking in
connection to the early Christian claims by stressing the difference between the
claims made about Jesus and those made about God's other "agents": "Divine au-
thorization had of course been given to the great teachers of Israel - Moses and the
prophets- to disobey was to disobey God himself. Yet such disobedience was inevi-
table, as inevitable as sin itself. The Bible therefore stops short of regarding these
figures as the actual representatives of God on earth, for in that case disobedience
would have amounted to a blasphemous repudiation of God's authority and would
have surely been followed by death" (165; emphasis original). In a sense, the useful-
ness of the agency-motif for Lukan christology is a matter of definition and centers
on the claims made about Jesus vis-a-vis other agents of God: if to be an agent of
God is not yet to be God's representative on earth, then Jesus clearly breaks thecate-
gory of "agent." If, however, the idea of agency with respect to Jesus involves ac-
knowledging Jesus "as God's actual representative on earth, to whom the same
homage and obedience would be due as if one were suddenly in the presence of God
himself" (165), then the concept would not seem to apply to "Moses and the proph-
ets," who do not have the same claim made about them. Thus, on Harvey's terms,
agency seems to be a good fit either for Jesus or for Moses but not for Jesus and for
104 Mission in Galilee

claim - if indirectly 74 - about the person of Jesus, one capable both of

eliciting and answering the charge levied against him. 75
Grasping the christological underpinnings of this pericope entails
reading the declaration in 5:24 that 6 uioc; 'tOU cwepc.On:ou E~OUO'lO:V EX£t
E1Il 'tllt; yTjc; a<jltEVCXl cX!lO:P'tlO:t; in light of the introduction of the OUVO:!llt;
Kupiou in 5:17. Succinctly stated, 5:17 is the ground of 5:24. The initial
ambiguity in the referent of the Kupwc; represents the Lord of Israel as
present through the person and action of the Lord Jesus: it is the year of
the Lord's favor (4:19). The person of Jesus embodies in his action the
Lord of Israel: by the power of the Lord are the paralytic's sins forgiven
- ouva:11tc; Kuptou is the theological response to 1:ic; ouva:1:a:t. Yet again,
however, there is a distinction between heaven and earth: Jesus is the
Son of Man who has authority to forgive on earth.76 But the reason that

74 Note the irony: J..L6voc; 6 8~::6c; appears in the mouth of Jesus' opponents. They are
rightly incensed but speak in their accusation more truth about Jesus than they
75 Cf. Anthony C. Thiselton, "Christology in Luke, Speech-Act Theory, and the Prob-
lem of Dualism in Christology after Kant," in Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ. Essays
on the Historical Jesus and New Testament Theology (eds. Joel B. Green and Max Turner;
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 453-72: "In christological terms, the operative effec-
tiveness of 'My son, your sins are forgiven' (Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20; cf. Matt 9:2) de-
pends on a state of affairs about the identity, role, and authority of Jesus" (461;
emphasis removed). Drawing on the work of J. L. Austin, John R. Searle and others,
Thiselton's point here depends upon the insightful notion that for "speech-acts" to
be effective (or true), certain presuppositions or pre-conditions must be in place (see
also Thiselton's New Horizons, 283-312). Thiselton's point is important not only for
larger issues of "implicit" christology in relation to the historical Jesus, but also for
this passage, in three ways in particular: (1) Jesus' statement about the forgiveness of
sins does in fact presuppose a "state of affairs about his identity." (2) This same pre-
supposition or pre-condition is at work elsewhere in the Lukan narrative, in the
command to let the dead bury their own dead, for example (see chapter three for a
discussion of 9:57-62). (3) The J..L6voc; 6 8~::6c; charge from Jesus' opponents has to be
coordinated with a christological pre-condition for its existence. This christological
pre-condition or presupposition must then not only cohere with the textual particu-
lars of the immediate passage but also must make both narrative and historical
sense. That is, in order to claim plausibility the presupposition must fit with Luke's
particular narrative christology (and make sense of Luke's redaction of Mark), and it
must fit within the christology of the late-first century. My contention is that Luke's
use of Kupwc; meets these criteria exceptionally well, indeed, better than anything
else. Cf. the remark of Leander Keck in a different context, "Toward the Renewal of
New Testament Christology," NTS 32/3 (1986): 362-77: "Jesus' significance must be
grounded in his identity" (363).
76 On the extremely complicated 6 uioc; 1:ou c'x.v8pcimou problem, see recently Joel
Marcus's two-part article, "Son of Man as Son of Adam," and "Son of Man as Son of
Adam. Part II. Exegesis," RevBib 110/1 (2003): 38-61 and RevBib 110/3 (2003): 370-86.
For this passage, it is clear that Luke takes Jesus and the Son of Man to be the same
figure. Jesus speaks of the Son of Man and then speaks in the first person: "So that
Luke 6:5: The Lord of the Sabbath 105

Jesus has authority on earth to forgive sins inheres in his identity as one
who expresses in his life and person the power of the Lord. 77 Thus the
christological judgment that underlies Luke's justification of Jesus in
the face of the 116vo~ 6 8£6~ declaration is that which we see at work in
his use of K:upw~ in Luke 3:4-6.
Jesus does not, then, constitute a final threat to 116vo~ 6 8£6~, as Je-
sus embodies the only God of Israel in the power of the Lord and lives
out this unity in the power to forgive sins. The congruity is confirmed
in the conclusion of the passage as, on the basis of the action of Jesus,
the paralytic and the people in turn glorify God (8o~<i~wv/£86~a~ov ,;ov
8£6v) and speak in their fear (¢6[3o~) of having seen n:ap<i8o~a.

V. Luke 6:5: The Lord of the Sabbath

The first of the four "Sabbath controversies" occurs in Luke 6:1-5. The
passage falls within a large chunk of triple tradition material, which
began for Luke in 5:12. In Luke's presentation in particular, this first
Sabbath controversy serves as a continuing christological justification
in view of Jesus' accusers.
Here we must distinguish between the halakhic debate in which
Jesus might have engaged and Luke's own explicitly christological fo-
cus. The easiest way to make this distinction is to look closely at Luke's
careful alterations of the Markan parallel:

you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth .. .I say to you .... "
mann, Lukasevangelium, 1.284, is also helpful on the Son of Man for this passage.
77 Though at this point his focus is upon Acts (primarily 10:36), I note with consider-
able interest Bock's remark that "[t]he tension of Jesus' authority to forgive sin as
Son of Man in Luke 5.24 is resolved once he is conceived of as Lord" (Proclamation
from Prophecy and Pattern: Lucan Old Testament Christology [JSNTSup 12; Sheffield:
JSOT Press, 1987], 236). Cf., too, Marcus' statement that in Mark Jesus' "goodness
does not impugn the radicalized form of the Shema that attributes goodness only to
God, because his goodness is God's goodness" (210; emphasis original).
106 Mission in Galilee

Mark 2:25-28 Luke 6:3-5

And [Jesus] said to them, "Have And Jesus answered, "Have you
you never read what David did ... not read what David did ...
how he entered the house of how he entered the house of
God ... and ate the bread of the God ... and ate the bread of the
Presence ... Presence ...

Ka't EAEYEV at'n:ot~

'tO crci[3[3a1:ov 8ta 1:ov dv8pwn:ov
Ka't OUX, 6 av8pwn:o~ 8ta 'tO
crci [3 [3a'tOV
c.Ocr't£ Kupt6~ £cr1:tv d vio~ -roiJ K0pt6~ £cr'ttv -roiJ acif3{3a-rov
all(}pc6trOV Kat 'rOV aaf3j3drov d vio~ -roiJ a11{}pc6trov

In the Markan version, Jesus' pronouncement in 2:28 follows from

his statement about the relation between human beings and the Sab-
bath in 2:27. That is to say that the closing sentence Kupt6~ £crnv 6 uio~
'tOU av8pcbn:ou Ka't 'tOU cra[3[3ci'tou is actually assigned a derivative role
in the argument, in the sense that what carries the weight of authoriza-
tion is the tie between the "pretty fair defense" of the Davidic prece-
dent78 and the conclusion to which it leads: the Sabbath was made for
human beings and not human beings for the Sabbath. "Therefore
(c.Ocr't£)," writes Mark, "the Son of Man is Lord even (Kat) of the Sab-
Luke may well be aware of the general halakhic issues surrounding
Sabbath observance/9 but his emendations place the emphasis of his
version of the story elsewhere. In point of fact, Luke removes altogether
the Markan tour de force, the scripturally buttressed statement about
the relation of importance between human beings and the Sabbath
(Mark 2:27), a "principle with which most would have agreed." 80 In so
doing Luke also excises the connecting c.Ocr't£, which in Mark's text links
explicitly Jesus' final pronouncement to the preceding defense which
justifies its utterance. With these deletions Luke has removed the logi-
cal fulcrum upon which the argument in the Markan text pivots. With-

78 Sanders, Jewish Law, 20: the Davidic precedent is "a pretty fair defence: it is a prece-
dent for allowing hunger to override the law."
79 He does, for example, retain the Markan defense of the Davidic precedent.
80 Sanders, Jewish Law, 21.
Luke 6:5: The Lord of the Sabbath 107

out Mark 2:27, the "exegetical" conclusion that authorizes Jesus' pro-
nouncement and the action of his disciples is missing.
Furthermore, Luke removes KCX181 and in this way joins together
more closely Kuptor; and 6 uior; 1:ou av8pcbn:ou. 82 He also reverses the
Markan order and rewrites K0pt6t; £cruv 6 uior; 1:ou av8pcbn:ou Kat 1:ou
craj3j3ci'tou as Kupt6r; £cr1:tv 1:ou crcil3l3a't:ou 6 uior; 1:ou av8pcbn:ou.
The net result of the Lukan redaction is an intensification of the fo-
cus upon Jesus' authority that is established via the narrative move-
ment of the passage. Luke foregrounds Kuptot; 83 and trains the spotlight
on the identity of Jesus as the justification of the disciples' action by
reversing 1:ou crcil3l3a't:ou and 6 uior; 1:ou av8pcbn:ou and by deleting three
key elements of Mark's text: (1) the "biblically derived" principle re-
garding the relation of importance between humans and the Sabbath
(2) the conjunction (wcr't£) that tied this principle to Jesus' pronounce-
ment, and (3) the adverb Ka't.
The focus on the identity of Jesus as Kuptot; of the Sabbath comes
through powerfully in the movement of the Lukan text in which Jesus'
pronouncement subverts the expectations created by his initial answer
to the Pharisees. After the Pharisees ask what is a perfectly valid ques-
tion given Jewish practice and belief (6:2: "Why do you do what is not
permitted to do on the Sabbath?"), Jesus responds in a typically Jewish
way: he appeals to the Torah (1 Sam 21, 7; cf. Lev 24:5-9) to justify the
behavior that seemed prima facie to run counter to it.
With this mode of response, the expectation is created for some-
thing that the Markan text nicely fulfills: a principle or ruling, derived
(somehow) from the Torah itself, that justifies or authorizes the behav-
ior of the accused to the accusers. 84 But in the Lukan text this expecta-
tion goes unfulfilled. Indeed, given Luke's deletion of Mark 2:27, the
possibility of its fulfillment seems to have been intentionally elimi-
nated. Instead of a principle or a ruling - to wit, one with which the
Jewish interlocutors might have agreed - Luke interrupts the normal

81 Like Luke, Matthew also removes Kat; however, as Luke does not, Matthew inserts
ycip between Kupwc; and ecntv (Matt 12:8).
82 I take the reading in A, L, etc. to reflect assimilation to Mark.
83 Plummer, Luke, 168, observes that in "all three accounts Kupwc; comes first with
emphasis." Plummer is correct in this regard, but he misses the significance of the
specifically Lukan alterations.
84 An expected answer might run, "In view of the Davidic precedent given in the Law,
we know that God permits our walking, and our plucking and eating of the grain
because - look at what it says here - if the two conflict, God allows human
need/life to overrule Sabbath law" (i.e., the rabbinic "it is permitted" [1ll1~]; in Greek
108 Mission in Galilee

halakhic sequence and moves directly to Jesus' pronouncement. 85 This

christological mode of presentation is something quite different from
halakhic debate or, at a minimum, is quite a different way to settle a
halakhic debate. The authoritative view or interpretation, as it were,
rests finally not in argument and appeal but in the person of Jesus as
the KUplOt; of the Sabbath. Thus does the pericope hinge on Kupwt; and
how we are to understand Jesus' claim.
Fitzmyer, the NRSV, et al. read Kupwt; without christological speci-
fication, in the relatively ordinary meaning of "lord." 86 Green, e.g.,
speaks of Jesus' "lordship over the sabbath." 87 This common reading
assigns the rather general meaning of authority to Kupwt;: Jesus has
authority over the Sabbath.
However, this rather general meaning of authority actually does
not explain anything whatsoever about Jesus' authority. Instead, it
simply restates the question in the form of an assertion. Thus, on this
interpretation, the reader of the Lukan text would have no idea why
the Son of Man has authority over the Sabbath and would be left with
the initial question that the passage sets out to address. 88
Yet just here paying close attention both to Luke's redaction and to
the movement within the Lukan story itself discloses a way of reading
Luke 6:5 that takes account of such problems. In Mark the principle that
negotiates the relation between human beings and the Sabbath allows
him to emphasize that the Son of Man is Lord even (Kat) of the Sabbath.
By contrast, Luke emphasizes that the Lord of the Sabbath is the Son of
Man. That is to say, the alterations and movement of the Lukan text
itself press for a way of reading the sentence which recognizes and em-
phasizes the authority of the Son of Man over the Sabbath precisely in
his identity as Kupwt;.s9

85 Cf. Stephen G. Wilson, Luke and the Law (SNTSMS 50; Cambridge: University Press,
1983), 34: "Perhaps the simplest explanation for the absence of 2:27 is that it allows
all our attention to be focused on the bold christological assertion which follows."
86 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.604; NRSV.
87 Green, Luke, 254.
88 Furthermore, one wonders what is meant by Jesus as "lord" of the Sabbath or Jesus'
"lordship" over the Sabbath. Jesus as "Sir" over the Sabbath is completely meaning-
less, so this is certainly not what is intended. Yet other possible options - master,
one with authority, etc. - do little better, as they either beg the question (as in the
case of master) or restate it (as in the general sense of one with authority).
89 I agree with Fitzmyer that the Son of Man predication is here used by Luke in a
"titular" sense (Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.610). However, the Son of Man title does not serve
to justify the action of Jesus' disciples. It receives emphasis as that which identifies
the Lord of the Sabbath, but the justification lies in the fact that Jesus is Lord of the
Sabbath, not Son of Man of the Sabbath. Thus Fitzmyer's statement that Jesus is
Luke 6:5: The Lord of the Sabbath 109

The best English translation, therefore, of the Lukan version, Kupt6c;

£mtv 1:0u aa:l3l3ci'tou 6 uioc; 1:ou av8p<i:Jn:ou, is not the common "the Son
of Man is lord of the Sabbath," but rather "the Lord of the sabbath is
the Son of Man." 90 This latter translation captures better the particulari-
ties of the Lukan text and thereby allows the potential theological reso-
nance to be heard.
The primary point of Luke's compositional care here depends upon
the knowledge that the Jewish characters within the story would know
of only one Kupwc; of the Sabbath, namely God. They could therefore
easily be expected - especially with the Davidic story and Levitical
law in their ears - to hear in the opening of the sentence "the Lord of
the sabbath is ... " a reference to the God who established the Sabbath,
setting it apart as a holy day:

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy .... For in six days the Lord
[:11:1'/Kupwc;] made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but
rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord [:11:1'/Kupwc;] blessed the Sab-
bath day and consecrated it (Exod 20:10). 91

Yet, Luke does not move to complete the pronouncement with a refer-
ence to the God of Israel (and a following precept) but speaks instead of
the Son of Man. Rather than an obscure pronouncement that misses its
(Markan) ground, Luke's Jesus makes a startling claim and equates his

'"lord' precisely as the 'Son of Man"' is actually backwards, though in any case
rather difficult given the use of "lord" (Luke 1.606). One might wonder about the
connection between the use of KUptac; and the Davidic precedent. I take it as follows,
to put it quite simply: as the KUptac; of the Sabbath the Son of Man authorizes the
disciples in the matter of Sabbath observance. Interestingly, in Luke when "Son of
Man" occurs, KUptac; appears to occur with it (e.g., 17:37f.; 19:8f.).
90 Cf. Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.302: "Herr des Sabbats ist der Menschensohn." It
is difficult to know what significance to assign to Schiirmann's translation, as his
interpretation of the point in question is a bit unclear: "Hier wird dem
Zusammenhang nach die Abrogation des Sabbatgebotes im Herrentum des
'Menschensohns' begriindet" (1.305). Apparently, I am not the only one to find his
use of "Herrentum" less than satisfying. In the copy of Schiirmann's commentary
that belongs to the Wissenschaftlich-Theologisches Seminar at the Universihit Hei-
delberg, someone has enclosed this word in brackets and written at the bottom:
"gibt's da nicht einen besseren Ausdruck?" Cf. Gerhard Schneider, "Gott und Chris-
tus," 165, who gets it exactly backwards when he classifies this use of KUptac; as a
"Pradikatsnomen." Schneider could perhaps make recourse to the grammatical pos-
sibilities here (cf., e.g., BDF §273); yet this is precisely where a close reading of
Luke's redaction together with his larger narrative artistry pushes one to translate in
a way that captures the particular Lukan emphasis.
91 Elsewhere in Israel's Scripture we hear, for example, of the Sabbaths of the Lord
('tcDV cml3!3c:hcov Kup\.ou, Lev 23:38).
110 Mission in Galilee

authority with God's precisely in his identity as Kuptoc;. Jesus' pro-

nouncement that the Kupwc; of the Sabbath is the Son of Man thus in-
troduces an astonishing substitution in referent. "The Kupwc; of the
Sabbath is ... Jesus."n
Through the use of the word Kupwc;, Luke does, then, actually pro-
vide a justification for the Son of Man's authority over the Sabbath
rather than simply asserting that he has this authority. As has been de-
veloped in the Gospel narrative to this point, there exists a continuity in
identity between the God of Israel and Jesus such that the latter is in-
vested with the authority of the former through the former's constitu-
tion of and action in the life of the latter. Jesus, the Kupwc; of the Sab-
bath, has the ability, therefore, to authorize his disciples in the manner
of Sabbath observance and to reply to his accusers with reference to his
person. 93 The authority of Jesus the Son of Man is explained in terms of
his identity as Kupwc;. Thus is the stage set not only for the very next
scene (6:6-11), in which Jesus is immediately involved in another Sab-
bath controversy (EYEVE1:0 8£ EV E1:Epq:> cral3!3ci1:q:> K1:A..), but also for the
two other Sabbath controversies in the Gospel. 94

92 The translation "The Lord of the Sabbath is the Son of Man" also guards against
smothering the distinctiveness of the Luke's version of the controversy. By contrast,
the typical translation permits too much Markan influence over the interpretation of
Luke's text, as we see in the case of Plummer (Luke, 168), who reads Luke with Mar-
kan eyes: "[I]f the sabbath gives way to man, much more to the Son of Man" (cf.
Marshall, Luke, 232). But this reading obviously adds from Mark to Luke exactly
what Luke decided to take out of Mark. The first translation retains the emphasis
upon the KUptoc; identity of the Son of Man while simultaneously providing a theo-
logical justification for Jesus' authority.
93 It is interesting to note the underlying theological similarity to the justification in
John 5:17: "My Father is still working, and I am also working."
94 There are, strictly speaking, four Sabbath controversies or disputes in Luke's Gospel.
Luke 6:1-5 is the first and 6:6-11 is the second (cf. Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-6; and Matt 12:1-
8; 9-14). Given their sequence, Jesus' pronouncement in 6:5 functions as a kind of
narrative hinge between the two episodes: it works to explain or justify his authority
in 6:1-4 and to ground his action in 6:6-11 in his identity as KUptoc; of the Sabbath.
Moreover, as Wilson correctly observes, Luke 6:1-5 "because it is the first" of the
four disputes, "sets the tone for the interpretation of the other three" (Luke and the
Law, 31). In this light, we should note, too, the careful use of 6 KUptoc; for Jesus in the
third Sabbath dispute (unique to Luke), in which Jesus heals a crippled woman
(Luke 13:10-17). In Luke 13:14, the "indignant" ap:x_tcruvayooyoc; says to the people,
"There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be
healed, and not on the sabbath day." Luke then writes a1tEKpt6Tl 8e a\n:c\) 6 KUptoc;
Kat dnev. The following defense is thus here, too, grounded in his authority as
KUptoc;. Read narratively, 13:15 reaches back to 6:5 and recalls Jesus' identity as
KUptoc; of the Sabbath.
Moreover, by ending the immediately preceding scene with Ps 118:26 (Luke 13:35),
Luke prefaces the scene of the fourth and final Sabbath controversy (14:1-6, also
Luke 6:46: Lord, Lord 111

On the one hand, Luke is surely concerned to portray Jesus as act-

ing in accordance with the Law, as we can see, for example, in the peri-
cope dealing with the healing of the leper (5:12-16; cf. 17:14). 95 On the
other, Luke portrays Jesus and his disciples as being accused of acting
in conflict with the Torah, as we see here. In 6:1-5 (and elsewhere) Luke
presents a christological judgment about Jesus that justifies the subor-
dination of the Law to his person. 96 Jesus' authority thus derives from
his identity, and his identity is the basis for the remarkable self-affir-
mations in relation to the Law.

VI. Luke 6:46: Lord, Lord

Jesus' question "Why do you call me KUpt£ KUpt£ and not do what I tell
you?" (6:46) introduces the final parable of the so-called Sermon on the
Plain and contains the third and the fourth use of the vocative in the
Gospel. In contrast to Matthew, where the double vocative KUpt£ KUpt£
occurs three times (Matt 7:21, 22; 25:11), this is the only occurrence of
the double KUpt£ in Luke. At first glance, especially in light of the ear-
lier occurrences of KUpt£ in 5:8 and 5:12, the use of KUpt£ here in 6:46
appears to require a robust christological interpretation: Jesus 6 KUptoc;
speaks of himself as Kupt£. And indeed that is who he is in Luke's Gos-
pel. Two other elements of the parable serve to buttress this initial im-
First, the double vocative is connected to KaA-tw (KCXA£t't£), a root
common to early Christian liturgy or devotion (cf., e.g., Joel3:5 in Rom
10:13 and Acts 2:21; 1 Cor 1:2, etc.). This connection of KUpt£ Kupt£ to
KCXAEl't£ could suggest either prayer 97 or confession, 98 neither of which

unique to Luke) with Jesus' citation of Ps 118:26, "Blessed is he who comes EV

6v6~a'tt KUptou." The paronomasia is striking and, given the role of Kuptoc; and Ps
118:26 in the Gospel, too significant to be accidental: 6 Kuptoc; is the one who comes
ev 6v6~an Kup\.ou (on the connection between Kuptoc; and Ps 118:26 in Luke's
Gospel, see the discussion in chapter four). Via narrative proximity and sequence (cf.
Ka9e~T;c;) Luke thus, once again, relates Jesus' behavior on the Sabbath to his iden-
tity as the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
95 See Lev 13:49; 14:2-32.
96 Though he prefers the traditional (basically Markan) translation of 6:5, Wilson, Luke
and the Law, 35, nevertheless rightly sees the consequence of the christological focus
and saying; it "ultimately subordinates the sabbath to Jesus and does not merely es-
tablish him as the arbiter of sabbath disputes." Cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.610: "Without
formally abolishing the Sabbath regulations, Jesus subordinates them to his person
and mission."
97 So Bovon, Lukas 1.340 (following Hahn).
112 Mission in Galilee

corresponds particularly well to a mundane meaning of the vocative,

but both of which correspond exceptionally well to an early Christian
milieu in which it was common to call upon, confess, and refer to Jesus
as Kupwc; (Phil 2:5-11; Rom 10:9, 1 Cor 16:22; Acts 8:16; 19:5; Rev 22:20,
etc.). 99 This observation cuts two ways. In the first place, it shows that
the double vocative would fit well within the christology of the post-
resurrection church, and, in the second, it suggests what a Christian
auditor of Luke's Gospel in the late first century would have heard -
Lord, Lord!
Second, Jesus' question introduces a parable that has to do with
eschatological judgment and salvation. 10° Frenschkowski comes close to
the crux when he writes that "[t]he 'Lord' .. .is not just a teacher like
others: doing or not doing his words is decisive for eschatological sal-
vation."101 We come closer still when we see that rather than turning on
a view of Jesus as "Teacher," the eschatological dimension of the par-
able presupposes a christology in which the person of Jesus 102 is seen as
the eschatological savior. In this way the parable he tells and the person
of Jesus correspond to one another, as to build one's house on the rock
is to obey Jesus and to withstand the raging river is to be saved at the
time of judgment.
In light of these aspects of the passage, it is no small wonder that
the majority of modern scholars, while divided over the meaning of the
double vocative in a pre-Lukan setting, 103 are agreed that Kupt£ Kupt£

98 So, e.g., Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.381.

99 Bultmann's assertion that Luke 6:46 has "no specifically Christian ring at all" is
extremely difficult to understand precisely at this point (History of the Synoptic Tradi-
tion [rev. ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1963], 151).
100 Ferdinand Hahn, The Titles of Jesus in Christology: Their History in Early Christianity
(New York: World Publishing Company), 91, thinks that Luke has deprived the say-
ing of its "eschatological bearing." Hahn is correct that in comparison to the
Matthean "entry into the kingdom of heaven" the KUptE KuptE seems less eschato-
logical in Luke. But if we take Luke on its own terms, the parable is quite eschato-
logical in orientation (if allegorically so), as Luke makes clear with the emphasis on
doing Jesus' words (in Matthew, incidentally, the emphasis is on doing the will of the
Father). Cf. Nolland, Luke, 1.310: "The crisis anticipated will be that of the judgment
of God and not that of times of difficulty and danger"; Green, Luke, 281 ("final
judgment"), et a!.
101 Marco Frenschkowski, "Kyrios in Context: Q 6:46, The Emperor as 'Lord,' and the
Political Implications of Christology in Q," in Zwischen den Reichen: Neues Testament
und Romische Herrschaft (TANZ 36; eds. Michael Labahn and Jiirgen Zangenberg;
Tiibingen: Francke Verlag, 2002), 95-118 (108).
102 a
Bovon, Lukas, 1.340, is correct to say that "Mit A.i::yco meint Lukas die ganze Lehre
Jesu, die er in seinem Buch festzuhalten sucht."
103 Cf., e.g., Christopher M. Tuckett, Q and the History of Early Christianity: Studies on Q
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1996), 214-15. For the position that Luke 6:46 had a reli-
Luke 6:46: Lord, Lord 113

should be interpreted with an exalted meaning in its present Lukan

context. Nolland expresses well the general opinion: "As in Luke
5:8 .. .'Lord' and not 'Sir' is clearly the correct translation for KuptE." 104
Yet, in discussing Luke 6:46, no less a scholar than Bultmann could
write that "in Luke the address is only to the teacher." 105 As we will see
momentarily, Bultmann's view by itself is ultimately inadequate, but
his remark nevertheless usefully directs our attention to a further fea-
ture of Jesus' statement. Without discounting any of the above obser-
vations regarding the religious reading of the vocative, it is nonetheless
possible to read KUptE KUptE in a rather mundane sense, as an address
that falls well short of a christologically charged vocative.
Such a reading would find its linguistic anchor in the common dou-
bling of vocatives in Jewish literature. 106 In Luke's Gospel itself we see
it again, for example, in 10:41 ("Martha, Martha") and 22:31 ("Simon,
Simon"; cf. 13:34).107
Moreover, and perhaps even more importantly, within the world of
the story it is by no means necessary to presuppose that those to whom
Jesus is speaking 108 would hear KUpt£ KUpt£ in a christological sense.
Indeed, the (rebuking) content of his question suggests that precisely
those who call him KUpt£ KUpt£ do not truly understand him: "Why do
you call me Kupt£ KUpt£ and not do what I tell you?" Indeed, the phrasing
of the question itself suggests "Master" - the one who tells others

gious meaning even in pre-Lukan traditions, see recently, e.g., Dieter Zeller, "Eine
weisheitliche Grundschrift," in The Four Gospels 1992 (FS Frans Neirynck; eds. F. Van
Segbroeck et al.; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1992), 389-401 (esp. 398-400); or,
Marco Frenschkowski, "Kyrios in Context."
104 Nolland, Luke, 1.309.
105 Bultmann, History of the Synoptic Tradition, 116* n. 2. Green, Luke, 280, might also be
an exception, but it is hard to tell exactly what he means by "a great term of respect,"
even if we take this to mean "a term of great respect" (in this section he also consis-
tently writes "lord" rather than "Lord"). Cf. Cullmann, Christology, 202, who says
that the "double form 'Lord, Lord' (Mari, Mari), like double 'Rabbi, Rabbi,' indicates
very special respect. But even this use is still far removed from the absolute sense."
Cullmann mentions only Matt 7:21 in this connection, but presumably Luke 6:46
would also be of relevance.
106 See Bovon, Lukas, 1.339 n. 57; or the secondary literature cited in Siegfried Schulz, Q:
Die Spruchquelle der Evangelisten (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag Zurich, 1972), 428 n.
189. Matthew in particular is fond of doubling. See, e.g., the doubling of KUplE listed
above (7:21, 22; 25:11).
107 For a brief discussion of parallels in Jewish literature (early and late, biblical and
nonbiblical) and Graeco-Roman literature, see Frenschkowski, "Kyrios in Context,"
108 The exact audience for Jesus' "sayings" (7:1) is difficult to determine. See 6:17 (great
crowd of his disciples and great multitude of people); 6:20 (disciples); 7:1 (all the
114 Mission in Galilee

what to do - as a likely sense of the vocative, though "Teacher" is not

to be ruled out. 109 The addressees within the world of the story, there-
fore, need not hear "Lord, Lord," as would the early Christians, but
could well be imagined to hear "Master" or "Teacher."
Luke's employment of the vocative in 6:46 is thus similar to his us-
age in passages we have already seen (5:8, 12) and to those we shall
encounter later (e.g., 7:1-10; 10:38-42). Here, as before, Luke simultane-
ously shapes the text such that the reader can perceive both the KUptoc;
christology at work in the narrative of the Gospel - the Lord speaks of
himself as Lord and tells a parable in which it is clear that he is the es-
chatological Savior - and the historical verisimilitude within the (pre-
resurrection) world of the story. Kupt£ KUpt£, in other words, is both
"high" and "low." In this way Nolland, on the one hand, and Bultmann
on the other, see different sides of the same coin, though neither scholar
seems to be aware of the other side. That is to say, when Nolland de-
nies that KUpt£ can be read in an everyday sense ("'Lord' and not 'Sir' is
clearly the correct translation") and Bultmann asserts that KUpt£ is only
Teacher ("in Luke the address is only to the teacher"), they have each
seen one side of Luke's literary technique but concurrently ignored the
other. The problem, of course, is that to see but one side of the tech-
nique is really to miss its larger import altogether: the Lukan use of the
vocative KUpt£ is not "either/or" but instead "both/and."

VII. Luke 7:1-10: Lord of the Gentiles

As we have seen, for many scholars the vocative case alone speaks for a
translation of "sir," or "lord," etc. In the New Testament, Luke 7:6 is a
locus classicus for this mundane reading of KUpt£ (cf. Matt 8:5-13; John
4:46b-53). In this case KUpt£ occurs as the address of a Gentile (in the
mouth of his delegates 110 ) and thus reflects a respectful greeting typical
of the Graeco-Roman world. Hence, Fitzmyer, for example, translates
"sir" and writes that "[t]he voc. kyrie is present here and in Matt 8:8
(derived from 'Q'). There is no need to give it any nuance other than a

109 Cf. John 13:14 and the brief discussion of this passage in the Concluding Postscript.
110 On the awkwardness of the two delegations, see, Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.647-50 for a
concise discussion of the form- and source-critical proposals, and, Green, Luke, 287,
for narrative gap-filling (acknowledged) speculation on their function.
Luke 7:1-10: Lord of the Gentiles 115

secular greeting." 111 Similarly, Marshall asserts that here Kupw<; is "the
Gentile equivalent for 'Rabbi."' 112
In part, Fitzmyer and Marshall have simply based their readings on
an incontrovertible fact: KUptE undoubtedly was an important way a
Gentile centurion in the ancient Mediterranean world could greet a
person to whom he would pay respect, and Luke's usage here shows
his awareness of this type of greeting. 113 Yet, this fact by itself is not
enough to determine exclusively the use or meaning of the vocative.
Nolland, for example, is also aware of the use of KUptE in the
Graeco-Roman world, but because of narrative sensibilities (the con-
nection with 5:8), he allows for a conclusion opposite from that of Fitz-
myer and Marshall:

It is difficult to know how to translate KuptE here. No more than a secular

greeting need be intended by the term ("Sir"). But the linking of such a
profound recognition of Jesus' authority with the centurion's own sense of
unworthiness ... suggests that more is intended (so, "Lord"). In the first in-
stance the centurion's unworthiness is as a Gentile ... , but after 5:8 we can-
not avoid seeing a connection between this sense of unworthiness and his
insight into the person of Jesus. 114

Nolland's preference for "Lord" here derives from the narrative con-
nection of KuptE (5:8) to KUptE (7:6) and the overall content of the pas-
sage, in which it is clear that Jesus praises the centurion. Yet, his hesita-
tion over this preference is warranted. It is not the case that the reading
"Sir" is excluded by narrative and/or contextual considerations.
In fact, the differences between Fitzmyer and Marshall on the one
hand and Nolland on the other are yet again - see the discussion of
6:46 directly above - two different sides of the same coin. And, once
again, excellent scholars have regrettably missed Luke's literary tech-
nique as they have endeavored to treat the vocative within an "ei-

111 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.647, 652.

112 Marshall, Luke, 281. Cf., e.g., Hahn, The Titles of Jesus (Christologische Hoheitstitel: Ihre
Geschichte im fruhen Christen tum [Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963], 82-83
[80]). See, too, Plummer, Luke, 195-96, who writes that the centurion "sees ... that the
great Rabbi and Prophet is really coming to him." Cf. the NEB: "Do not trouble fur-
ther, sir."
113 Cf. Acts 25:26 where Festus speaks of the Roman emperor as KUptoc; (cf., too, Luke
19:33; Acts 16:16, 19, 30; on these passages, see Appendix III). On this type of greet-
ing in the ancient world, see, e.g., the helpful compilation in Ceslas Spicq, "KUptoc;,"
TLNT 2.341-52, esp. 343-44.
114 Nolland, Luke, 1.317. In passing, Thomas Louis Brodie, "Towards Unravelling Luke's
Use of the Old Testament: Luke 7.11-17 as an Imitatio of 1 Kings 17.17-24," NTS 32
(1986): 247-67, also noted the importance of context for 7:6 (265 n. 33).
116 Mission in Galilee

ther/or" framework (either christological or mundane). Fitzmyer and

Marshall are correct: KUptE is a normal greeting of respect. It is perfectly
reasonable to hear the address as "Sir," etc. within the world of the
story. But Nolland is correct as well: the different uses of KuptE for Jesus
in the narrative are to be read in relation to one another. Because of this
narrative christological continuity, it is also reasonable to hear the ad-
dress as "Lord" in relation to Lukan christology and in relation to the
historical situation in the late first century, wherein the early Christians
were worshipping Jesus as K:upwc;. 115 As elsewhere, Luke here exploits
the semantic range and ambiguity of the vocative such that within the
same word readers can hear both "sir/master" and "Lord" simultane-
Thus is the possibility excluded that KuptE in 7:6 is to be read only
as "Sir" or only as "Lord." The division between KUplE and KUptoc; is
foreign to Lukan christology, because the continuity between the voca-
tive and the nominative is the person of Jesus. He is one and the same
character in the narrative whether he is called 6 Kupwc; by Elisabeth,
Kupwc; by an angel, or addressed as KuptE by Peter the Jew, a leper, or
the Gentile centurion. There exists no difference in the identity of Jesus
within the narrative that would correspond to a difference in meaning
between the vocative and nominative, genitive, etc. use of Kupwc;. At
the level of narrative christology, Jesus is the Lord who is addressed as
This affirmation does not, however, entail positing that the centu-
rion's speech instructions reveal his full grasp of Jesus' identity, for
Kupwc; narrative christology does not preclude historical verisimilitude
(on this point as a whole, see chapter five). The centurion thus says
more about Jesus than the former knows: the soldier's intended "sir"
carries with it, unbeknown to him, an abundance of meaning. In this
way, the character or person of Jesus in the Lukan narrative determines
the meaning of KUptE as applied to him, and KuptE, in turn, leaves room
in the world of the story for a character to be situated on the correct
side, epistemologically considered, of the transformation in christologi-
cal understanding engendered by the resurrection.
Reading KUptE here in 7:6 in view of the narrative continuity of the
identity of Jesus does not lead to Schi.irmann's analysis of the pericope

115 Cf. Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.389: "Glaubige, 'die den Namen des Kyrios
anrufen' und urn die absolute Exousia und den Heilandswillen des zu Gott erhohten
Kyrios Jesus wuBten, haben dieses ihr Wissen gewiB nie von diesem Wunderbericht
fernhalten konnen."
Luke 7:11-17: The Lord of Death 117

as a summons to recognize our own "Nichtigkeit," but rather points in

a different direction altogether. 116 The address KuptE from a Gentile
centurion (via his ¢1A.ot) serves to foreshadow or prefigure the success
of the Gentile mission in Acts, wherein it is the Gentiles who predomi-
nately come to believe in Jesus as Kupwt; (e.g., Acts 13:47-49). 117 The
centurion represents those who will respond in faith to Jesus and ac-
knowledge him as Kupwt; (e.g., Acts 10:36). This interpretation coordi-
nates the use of KUPlE with Jesus' statement in 7:9 that ou8£ EV
'tcP 'Icrpco'jA. 'tOcrctU'tTJV 1ttcr'tlV t:upov and the larger narrative unfolding of
the Gentile response to the gospel in Luke-Acts. Furthermore, the pre-
figuration of the Gentile response is congruent with the theological
claim made for the j..l6vot; 8t:6t; - the God of Israel is the only God for
Jews and Gentiles - as embodied in the person and mission of Jesus.
In acclaiming Jesus as Kupwt;, the Gentiles acknowledge the Kupwt; of
Israel, 6 j..l6vot; 8t:6t; (e.g., Acts 15:17).

VIII. Luke 7:11-17: The Lord of Death

Luke 7:11-17 shifts from Capernaum to Nain, and the scene is well-
placed in that it heightens Jesus' power from the ability to heal the sick
to the ability to resuscitate the dead. The story in Luke 7:11-17 is unique
to Luke, and it is here that we encounter Luke's first indisputable use of
6 Kuptot; in the authorial material within the body of the Gospel. 118

116 Ibid. Schurmann here looses the passage from its context and joins the ranks of those
who speculate about the centurion's knowledge, religious feeling, experience, etc.
117 On the Lukan view of the Gentile need for salvation, see Christoph W. Stenschke,
Luke's Portrait of Gentiles Prior to Their Coming to Faith (WUNT 2/108; Tubingen: Mohr
Siebeck, 1999).
118 See n. 38 in the Introduction. Yet again, D reads 'I11crou~ in place of KUpto~ at 7:13.
G. D. Kilpatrick, "KYPIOL in the Gospels," 209, thinks that "there is no reason for
changing 'I11crou~ to Kupto~ and so 'I11crou~ is probably genuine." This argument is
actually exactly backwards and overlooks the possible clarifying tendency in D as
well as Luke's manifest preference for KuplO~. It further presupposes that Luke
would not have written KuptO~ where he could have written 'I11crou~, but this pre-
supposition is manifestly in error. Joachim Jeremias, Die Sprache des
Lukasevangeliums: Redaktion und Tradition im Nicht-Markusstoff des dritten Evangeliums
(Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1980), 158, classifies Luke's use of the
absolute as "traditional" rather than "redactional." How one can distinguish redac-
tion from tradition in the non-Markan material is a difficult problem and has much
to do with one's view of Luke's non-Markan sources, Luke's authorial skill, and the
nature of ancient authorship. Also important is the way one defines "tradition" and
"redaction." For Jeremias, redaction is something that is specifically Lukan, while
tradition seems to be anything Luke has in common with pre-Lukan Christianity
118 Mission in Galilee

This authorial use of 6 K:uplOI; bears further discussion. To put it

simply: when writing about Jesus, Luke chose to write 6 K:upto<;, and
this choice reflects the way in which Luke thought of Jesus. That is, for
example, if one were to imagine a conversation with Luke, one could
well think of him talking rather naturally about Jesus in the third per-
son as "the Lord": "and when he saw the widow, the Lord had com-
passion on her" (7:13). Yet in its narrative context such usage ought not
to be seen as unreflective or accidental. 119 Luke is too careful, too delib-
erate with the word. He strategically lets us in on his conception of
Jesus and thereby influences our own christological assessment. '0
K:upto<; functions, therefore, as a particularly clear signpost for how
Luke wants us to read - christologically speaking - the text in ques-
Many scholars have detected a prophetic element in Luke's chris-
tology.120 The exclamation of the crowd in 7:16 - npoqn'l'tll<; J..ttya<;
i]ytp811 tv iJJ..t1v K:a't ou enmK:t\j/a'to 6 8£6<; 1:6v lvaov a\nou - and the
intertextual links in this passage to the Elijah-Elisha cycle naturally
contribute a great deal to one aspect of the prophetic interpretation of
Luke's christology, namely that Luke associates Jesus with Elijah. 121
Such scholars differ in their assessments of the intensity of the associa-

(see pp. 7-9). Thus, because 6 Kupto~ for Jesus can be found elsewhere, and because
"[n]irgendwo schreibt Lukas so im Markusstoff oder in der Apg., vielmehr finden
sich samtliche Lukasbelege im Nicht-Markusstoff," Luke "folgt also der Tradition."
In addition to the incredible difficulty in determining sources in Acts, the other main
problems here are that (a) Luke does alter Mark's text toward KUplO~ (cf., for exam-
ple, esp. 19:31-33//Mark 11:3-6), (b) Luke's alteration of Mark's vocatives toward
KUplE (e.g., Luke 18:41, KUptE//Mark 10:51, pa~~ouvt) should be given weight due
to the continuity in Luke's narrative between the vocative and non-vocative use of
KUplO~, and (c) KUplO~ in Luke is in fact both traditional and redactional. Luke cer-
tainly knows of the earlier Christian use of KUplO~ (traditional), but he is original in
his use and narrative development of the word (redactional; "authorial" is really a
better word for this aspect of Luke's use).
119 See, e.g., the citation of Dunn's essay "KYPIOI: in Acts," in the Introduction to the
present book.
120 See, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.213-15; Johnson, The Gospel of Luke; Kingsbury, "Jesus as
the 'Prophetic Messiah' in Luke's Gospel"; PaulS. Minear, To Heal and To Reveal: The
Prophetic Vocation According to Luke (New York: Seabury, 1976); and, David P.
Moessner, The Lord of the Banquet: The Literary and Theological Significance of the Lukan
Travel Narrative (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989).
121 See, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.656; and, Luke Timothy Johnson, "The Christology of
Luke-Acts," in Who Do You Say That I Am? Essays on Christology (eds. Mark Allan
Powell and David R. Bauer; Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1999), 49-65,
esp. 57; Marshall, Luke, 286.
Luke 7:11-17: The Lord of Death 119

tion, 122 but they are agreed in reading the comment in 7:16b as an accu-
rate expression of the Lukan christological thrust of this passage.
There is no doubt that the crowd's exclamation is, narratively
speaking, the high point of the passage: "Fear seized all of them, and
they glorified God, saying, 'A great prophet has risen among us!' and
'God has visited his people!' And this word [6 Myoc; ou·toc;] about him
went out into the whole of Judea and all of the surrounding country."
But it does not follow of necessity that the assessment of the oxA.oc; is
right- indeed, it seldom is. We may think readily of 9:18-20: "'Who do
the crowds say that I am?' They answered, 'John the Baptist; but others
Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.' He
said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' ... " (d. 11:14-23, 27; 12:13-
21). Yet, here in 7:16 the people's evaluation of Jesus as a rrpo<jn'J'tllc;
j..lEyo.c; is not in principle incorrect; Luke does use imagery, intertextual
echoes, etc. to characterize Jesus as a prophet, as Moessner, Johnson et
al. have emphasized. The problem is that in the narrative context the
essential judgment about Jesus' identity as that of "prophet" is one that
falls short. 123 A brief glance at the next peri cope regarding John the
Baptist (7:18-23) helps to make this clear.
In this section, John sends his disciples to Jesus on the basis of "this
word" (6 Myoc; ou'toc;) about a great prophet to inquire about the lat-
ter's identity (7:18). The ensuing dialogue shows, perhaps somewhat
elliptically, that "prophet" is not an adequate christological category
(7:19-23), as does Jesus' speech to the crowd (7:24-35): Jesus is greater
than John, but even John is "more than a prophet." In point of fact,
Jesus even asserts that "none of those born of women is greater than
John." 124
For our purposes, the most striking fact is that the scene is intro-
duced by Luke with a designation which is missing in the Matthean

122 E.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.656, argues that in this passage Luke presents Jesus as Elias
redivivus, while Luke Johnson, "Christology of Luke-Acts," 57, is content to see cor-
respondence in imagery or type.
123 Cf. Culpepper, Luke, 15. One might also note, as Schiirmann does (see n. 127 below),
the similarity here to Luke 24:19 in conjunction with 24:25. The disciples describe Je-
sus as a npocjn'l'tTJc; (the christological term in their description, 24:19) and then relate
the events of the crucifixion and the woman at the tomb. Jesus responds: "Oh, how
foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have de-
clared!" (24:25).
124 The theological point of Jesus' statement, however, pertains to the reversal of status
in the kingdom of God.
120 Mission in Galilee

parallel: John sends his disciples n:poc; 'tOV Kupwv (7:19). 125 By referring
to Jesus as 6 Kupwc; in the authorial material, Luke prefaces the dia-
logue with his own judgment about Jesus' identity, making it clear that
it is not just a prophet of whom John's disciples inquire. In this way
Luke parallels the preceding pericope, as in both cases he employs the
authorial use of K:upwc; when dealing with the question, Is Jesus simply
a prophet?
Luke has thus woven together two scenes that include an authorial
reference to Jesus as 6 K:upwc; in the introductory material and also deal
with prophetic categories. The people's prophetic-christological ap-
praisal in 7:16, then, should be interpreted in light of Luke's own chris-
tological judgment with which he introduces consecutive scenes. In this
light, we can see that Luke preserves the widespread view of Jesus as a
prophet (d. esp. the 6 A6yoc; ou'toc; of 7:17)1 26 but also directly intro-
duces his own basic christological judgment of K:uptoc;, thereby qualify-
ing the category of prophet as christologically insufficient. 127
Luke underscores the narrative and christological use of K:upwc;
with his selection of the verb crn:/canvt~OJlCXt to describe Jesus' reaction
to the sorrow of the widow, as Ecrn:/cayxvicr811 recalls Zechariah's de-
scription of the character of God as crn:/cayxvov £/ccoc; (1:78). 128 There is
thus a formal correspondence between the character of God and that of
Jesus: "In dem 'erbarmenden' Helfen Jesu ist Gott seinem Volke be-
gegnet."129 This correspondence is confirmed by the people's conclud-

125 Reading KUptO~ with B, L, etc. rather than 'Irpou~ with l'\, A, etc. See Metzger,
Textual Commentary, 143. Whether one assumes a two-source theory or that Luke
knew Matthew (see Introduction), the point would be the same: either Luke has
added KUptE to the material from Q or to the material from Matthew. See Foakes
Jackson and Lake, "Christology," in Beginnings, 413-414, eta!.
126 So, too, Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," 146, who is also aware that the
view of Jesus as a prophet is (at best) qualified in this passage (145-46).
127 Schi.irmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.402-403, sees the larger christological issue of the
passage clearly. The "Pradikation des Volkes ist den Evangelisten nati.irlich
ebenso unzulanglich wie das der beiden Emmaus-Ji.inger 24,19ff - wie das folgende
Selbstzeugnis Jesu 7,22f schon zeigen wird." He goes on to suggest that "vielleicht
hat Luk auch darum V 13 schon die ein Mehr andeutende Kyrios-Bezeichnung
einflieBen lassen." The commentary format does not allow Schi.irmann to pursue his
insights here, but our discussion above lends exegetical support to his suggestions.
Cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.213-14, who emphasizes "a double Elijah theme" in the Lukan
writings, one side of which is a clear rejection of the Elijah role.
128 Noted also by Schi.irmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.403, eta!.
129 Schi.irmann, Lukasevangelium, 1.403. This unity of act between God and Jesus is
developed in multiple and subtle ways in Luke's Gospel, all of which lend support
to the basic thesis argued in this work (see Johannes M. Ni.itze!, Jesus als Offenbarer
Gottes nach den lukanischen Schriften [FB 39; Wi.irzburg: Echter Verlag, 1980]). Regret-
tably, we cannot cover them all. We may, however, pause to note at least one strik-
Conclusion 121

ing acclamation in 7:16c that £m:crK:E\j/CX'tO 6 8Eot; 'tOV A.aov

au'tou. 'En:EcrKE\j/<X'tO is also drawn from 1:78 (£mcrKE\j/E'tat), as well as
from 1:68 (£n:EcrKE\j/CX'tO), where it describes God's redemptive and
salvific action, and there as here it foreshadows ironically Jesus' own
lament over Jerusalem in 19:44 ("You did not know the time of your
Luke 7:16c, then, is coordinated with Zechariah's prophecy in Luke
1 in such a way as to give implicit unity to the action of Jesus and the
God of Israel at the point of the power of their compassion. The justifi-
cation for this unity of action lies in the K:uptot; overlap that Luke cre-
ated at the beginning of the Gospel as it comes to expression in this
passage via the authorial use of 6 K:Uptot;.

IX. Conclusion

In this section of the body of the Gospel, we have seen how the reso-
nance and ambiguity developed in Luke 1-3:4££. are carried forward
and continue to bind together the K:uptot; of Israel and the life of Jesus
K:uptot;. The understanding of K:uptot; generated by the opening of
Luke's Gospel bears fruit as we read of his early ministry as the one
who embodies the year of the Lord's favor in his person as K:Uptot; and,
indeed, in his power to heal, in his ability to forgive sins, and in his
authority over the Sabbath. So, too, we were able to gain insight into
the Lukan use of the vocative and the narrative positioning and tech-
nique that enable both the christological significance (religious) and, as
it were, the epistemological reserve (mundane) to come through. And,
finally, through the careful placement of the authorial 6 Kuptot; we were
able to discern something of Luke's own preference vis-a-vis other
christological categories (e.g., "prophet").
In contrast to the tendency in past Lukan exegesis, which generally
treats the different uses of K:Uptot; separately from one another - K:uptE,
for example, is here "Lord" and there "sir" - I have stressed their in-
terconnection. The argument has been on the one hand that reading

ing example. After healing the Gerasene demoniac, Jesus instructs him to return to
his home and tell ocra crot E1t0lTJOEV 6 8E6~. Luke then writes that the demoniac
went away preaching to the whole city ocra ErtOlTJOEV a-lnc\) 6 'ITJOOU~ (8:30). The
grammatical similarity and structure of the sentences point to the continuity be-
tween God and Jesus, here at the point of the unity of salvific action (cf. the use of
crc.[>t;m in vs. 36). Cf. further, e.g., 9:42-43 (6 'ITJcrOu~ ... 6 8E6~); 17:15-19 (6
8E6~ ... a1rt6~ ... 6 'ITJcrOu~ ... 6 8E6~); 18:41-43 (KuptE ... 6 'ITJcrOu~ ... 6 8E6~ ... 6 8E6~).
122 Mission in Galilee

narratively allows us to see how Luke deftly weaves together the dif-
ferent uses of KUplOt; via sequence, style, and theme, and on the other
that it is the character of Jesus and his relation to God that binds the
various uses into a unity. This method of reading has a distinctive her-
meneutical advantage: it allows us to take the story and the word to-
gether.130 In this way, when working with Kupwt; we can move away
from an interpretive "atomism" 131 to see the continuity in Luke's usage
and the consistency with which he develops the coming of the Kupwt;
and the life of Jesus: the Lord is on his way through Galilee.

130 Cf. Leander E. Keck, "Toward the Renewal of New Testament Christo logy."
131 The term "atomism" is borrowed from Johnson, Luke, xii, though he uses it a bit
differently than I do here (Johnson is referring to the commentary format). See also
Meir Sternberg, "Biblical Poetics and Sexual Politics: From Reading to Counterread-
ing," JBL 111/3 (1992): 462-88 (468). Cf. H. H. Rowley, "The Relevance of Biblical In-
terpretation," Int 1 (1947), 5.
Chapter 3

Moving toward Jerusalem: Luke 9:51-19:27

In the last chapter we observed how Luke began to develop his use of
KUplOt; in the body of the Gospel in order to narrate the life of Jesus as
the coming of the Lord. Rather than sporadic or haphazard word sling-
ing, Luke's account in the first half of the Gospel displays an intercon-
nection between the richly varied uses of Kupwt; and a careful position-
ing of the word vis-a-vis the sequence of the narrative. The
interconnection and strategic positioning reflect a conscious and so-
phisticated effort to shape the meaning of the word Kupwt; so that it is
inseparably bound with the act of God that is the story of Jesus' life.
In this chapter we will further investigate the narrative shape of
KUplOt; in the attempt to discern more fully Luke's literary-christological
program. Our focus will be upon the most significant and/or represen-
tative uses of KUplOt; in the section of the Gospel that extends from Je-
sus' decision to go to Jerusalem to his actual approach to the city.

I. Luke 9:52-56: The Humble Lord

As is well-known, Jesus' resolution (1:6 n:p6crcon:ov £cr1:TjptcrEv) to go to

Jerusalem in Luke 9:51 constitutes something of a turning point in the
Gospel. 1 In 9:52-56 Luke portrays the first event after this momentous
decision. Jesus sends messengers before him into a KWflllV (or n:6hv 2 ) of
Samaria "to prepare" for him (!hOtfldcrat; d. 1:17, 76; 3:4), but the Sa-
maritans - evidently on account of Jesus' resolute purpose to go to
Jerusalem (9:53) - do not receive him. 3

The majority of NT scholars would see in 9:51 the beginning of Luke's "travel narra-
tive." For a recent challenge to the long-standing scholarly opinion that Luke con-
tains a "travel narrative," see Reinhard von Bendemann, Zwischen LIOEA und
ITA YPOI: Eine exegetische Untersuchung der Texte des sogenannten Reiseberichts im
Lukasevangelium (BZNW 101; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2001).
2 So~·. r, '¥eta!.
3 Whether or not Luke knows of the possibility of Jerusalem-bound Jewish pilgrims to
encounter trouble in Samaria is hard to know for sure. See Jos. Ant. 20.6.1 §§118-23;
124 Moving toward Jerusalem

It is widely acknowledged among modern scholars that this unique

Lukan scene has the Elijah narrative in 2 Kgs 1:1-16 as its subtext. 4 The
most explicit connection is quite obviously the disciples' question to
Jesus in 9:54, which is a loose citation of either 2 Kgs 1:10 or 1:12. 5
As noted in the last chapter, Luke's view of Elijah imagery or ty-
pology as an appropriate christological category is complex and varied.
Nevertheless, there is general agreement that in this pericope Luke at-
tempts to distance Jesus from Elijah, as he did in 9:18££. and 9:28ff. 6
Thus he portrays Jesus as unwilling to call down fire from heaven upon
the Samaritans as Elijah did. The negative force of this comparison is
thus readily apparent and has been clearly seen. Yet, the significance of
Luke's use of KUptoc; in connection to this negation has gone unnoticed.
In their question James and John address Jesus as KUpt£ and thereby
raise once again the general issue of the reading of the vocative as well
as the issue of the significance of the occurrence of KUptoc; in this par-
ticular passage. With respect to the first issue, I will simply recall the
main points of the previous chapter. (1) Because the character Jesus is
introduced, described, and called Kuptoc; throughout the narrative, be-
cause of the manner in which the vocative is introduced 5:8 and carried
forward in 5:12; 6:46; and 7:6, because we are dealing with the self-same
character in one continuous narrative, and because we should not sepa-
rate the reading of the Gospel from its hearing in the latter part of the
first-century, we may draw the following conclusion: in terms of the
construction of christology in the narrative, we should read KUpt£ here

cf. JW 2.12.3 §§232-233 (noted also in Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke
[2 vols.; Garden City: Doubleday, 1981, 1985], 1.829).
4 See, e.g., Thomas L. Brodie, "Luke the Literary Interpreter: Luke-Acts as a System-
atic Rewriting and Updating of the Elijah-Elisha Narrative" (Ph.D. diss., Rome: Pon-
tifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, 1981); Craig A. Evans: "The Function of the
Elisha/Elijah Narratives in Luke's Ethic of Election," in Luke and Scripture: The Func-
tion of Sacred Tradition in Luke-Acts (eds. Craig A. Evans and James A. Sanders; Min-
neapolis: Fortress, 1993), 70-83; idem, "Luke's Use of the Elisha/Elijah Narratives and
the Ethic of Election," JBL 106 (1987): 75-83; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.830; Joel B. Green, The
Gospel of Luke (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 406.
5 Moderns, of course, are not the first ones to have discovered this connection, as an
impressive reading tradition - seen in A, C, D, W, Q, etc. - is known to have
added cb<; Kat 'HA.ia<; ETCOtT]<JEV to the disciples' question.
6 Luke 9:18b-20: '"Who do the people say that I am?' And they answered, 'John the
Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.'
And he said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' .... " Luke 9:28-31: "And as he
was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment be-
came dazzling white. And, behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who
appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish in Jerusa-
lem." See the scholars inn. 4 above and the literature cited therein.
Luke 9:52-56: The Humble Lord 125

in continuity with the other uses of KUptot; for Jesus in the Lukan story.
K uptE in this christological sense receives its meaning from the person
to whom it is addressed, the Lord. (2) Discerning Luke's narrative
christology, however, does not entail the position that Luke portrays
the disciples (or whomever; in this case James and John) with post-
resurrection knowledge prior to the resurrection (indeed, here Jesus
explicitly rebukes them; 9:55), or the concomitant position that Luke
thereby abandons "history," in the sense of historical verisimilitude,
with his use of KuptE. KuptE in this sense receives its more mundane
meaning from the epistemological situation prior to the resurrection
(less than a full confession of Kuptot;) and the breadth inherent in the
semantic range of KuptE. Both (1) and (2) are simultaneously present in
Luke's use of the vocative.
With respect to the significance of this particular use of KUptot;, we
may make two central points. First, by including the disciples' KuptE
address, Luke continues the development of his KUptot; christology and
problematizes a direct correlation between Jesus and the prophet Elijah
at the point of the former's identity as Lord.? This move to distance Je-
sus from a prophetic figure recalls not only 9:18f. and 9:28f. but also the
earlier scene in 7:11-17 in which Luke introduces his own judgment of 6
Kuptot; to supplement and/or correct implicitly that of the crowd in 7:16
("npo¢fJ1:T]t; J..LEYat;"). In both 9:52-56 and 7:11-17 Luke creates a tension
between Jesus' identity as KUptot; and the "prophetic" associations
made by those around him.
In drawing this parallel, there are, to be sure, important differences
to note. In 9:52-56 Luke employs the vocative rather than the nomina-
tive, and the target of correction is more explicit in 9:52-56 than a gen-
eral view of Jesus as only a "prophet." Further, though in neither case
does Luke make a kind of blunt statement (in effect, "Look here, reader,

7 We would do well to remember that, within the story, James and John have just seen
Elijah during the transfiguration (9:28-36). It thus makes good narrative sense in
light of this experience both for these two characters to be thinking about Elijah, as it
were, and for Jesus to distance himself from Elijah's action. Whether or not there ex-
isted an actual group or a general christological view to whom or at which Luke
would have directed this scene is impossible to know. Yet, if mirror-reading has any
plausibility to it as a means by which historical reconstruction is to be done, then the
existence of such a group or view is not without possibility (and would make good
sense of Luke's careful negotiating of what should and should not be taken over
from the Elijah tradition), though of course one would need corroborating evidence
to establish these matters with any solidity. In any case, the passage certainly pre-
supposes a problematic Elijah-like christology, for it seeks to undermine just this
126 Moving toward Jerusalem

Jesus is not a n:po¢rp:T]c; or Elijah but 6 Kupwc;"), his literary technique

varies. In 7:1-11 the tension is created via his authorial 6 Kupwc;, which
functions as a signal for the reader (7:13, the first use of the absolute). In
9:52-56, however, the tension results not from a direct signal but from
Luke's use of dramatic irony. The disciples use the right word in their
address but evidence an obvious misunderstanding of what it means
for Jesus to be called Kupwc;.
In noting the dissimilarities of these passages, we may once again
caution against an exaggeration of the difference between the various
cases of Kupwc;. The interconnection between these cases of Kupwc; de-
pends not on rigid and unvaried usage - an ultimately unliterary way
to write - but on the continuity of the character Jesus through the
story. That is to say that the difference in literary technique is the dif-
ference of literary expression, of the effect of the narrative contour
given by a skilled storyteller who is able to weave nuance and differ-
ence into his portrayal of the earthly life of the Lord. To read the narra-
tive K<X8E~i]c;, to take note, that is, of the interconnection between the
different uses of Kupwc; in relation to larger narrative patterns, is thus to
see that the similarity of the passages rests in the identity of Jesus as the
Lord in contradistinction to a prophet on the one hand and Elijah on
the other.
Second, by introducing lCUptE in this passage in connection with this
undermining of the Elijah christology, Luke links the rejection of vio-
lence with what it means for Jesus to be Kupwc;. In so doing, Luke sub-
verts the normal associations of rule and power in which a lCUptOc; deals
with those who oppose him through means of massive strength and
violence 8 and paints a radically different picture, one in which to be
Lord is to experience denial and rejection and yet not to respond with
violent punishment. Thus James and John use the right term for the
identity of Jesus in Luke (Kupwc;) but precisely in so doing evidence
their misunderstanding of the word - hence Jesus' rebuke (£n:E't'q..tT]<JEV

8 One thinks immediately, for example, of KUptot; Augustus (6£6t; KO:t KUptot;
Ko:tcro:p o:\noKpcncop; BGU 1197 I 15), Kuptot; Nero (6 wu no:v'tOt; K60'J.!OU KUptot;
NE:pcov; Ditt., Syll3 II.814, Ins. 30-31), KUptot; Domitian ('tou Kup\.ou TJJ.!<DV; Ditt.,
Syll3 II.821 D, Ins. 1-2), or even KUptot; Herod the Great ([j3o:]crtA£t 'Hpcbli£t Kup\.c.p;
Ditt., Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, 425). The origin of inscriptions - Egypt,
Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, etc. - certainly makes a difference for the evaluation of
the development of the use of KUptot;, but the point here is simply to see the attach-
ment of KUptot; to outstanding public figures who were known for their rule
through the exercise of brute force. See further Foerster, "Kuptot; K'tA.," ThWNT
3.1038-98, esp. 1048-56; and Spicq, "Kuptot;," TLNT 2.345-46 and notes.
Luke 9:57-62: The Lord and His Demands 127

To be Lord in the Lukan story is not the same thing as to be able to

exercise violent strength as the Kupwr;/dominus in the power relation.
Indeed, to follow the narrative logic, power itself is being redefined so
that it is no longer construed in terms of the ability to destroy those
who stand in opposition. 9 A rather poor textual tradition got the chris-
tological title wrong for the pericope, but got right the general theologi-
cal sense, adding to the end of Jesus' rebuke the sentence, "the Son of
Man did not come to destroy the souls/lives of humans but to save
them." 10 Fitzmyer writes that "[i]n effect, [Jesus] is exemplifying a
teaching of the sermon on the plain (6:29)." 11 This, too, is not far from
the mark: for Luke, to be Kupwr; is in fact to turn the other cheek.

II. Luke 9:57-62: The Lord and His Demands

A. 1\Vpu:: MS Questions

As in the previous pericope, in 9:57-62 Jesus is addressed as Kupt£,

though the number of times - one, two, or three - is unclear. It is cer-
tain that Jesus is addressed by the third anonymous 12 and would-be
disciple as Kupt£ in 9:61; there are no significant MS problems here.
Close to the opposite end of the spectrum is the virtual certainty about
the absence of the vocative in 9:57. By far the best MSS do not read
KUpt£: P45• 75 !\, B, 0, etc. over against A, C, W, et al. The only counter-
argument that would seem to have any merit would rest upon larger
Lukan compositional procedure and practice - his preference for writ-
ing Kupwr;, frequent occurrence of Kupwr; in Luke 9 and 10, etc. But the
more likely explanation is that later scribes added Kupt£ for more or less
the same reasons, as well as to create a threefold KUpt£ parallelism be-
tween 9:57, 59, and 61, as in, for example, the case of A and C. More-

9 On the terms "violence," "power," "strength," "authority," and "force," see Hannah
Arendt, On Violence (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1969, 1970), esp. 43-
10 6 uioc; 'tOU av8pcimou OUK ~A.8EV \j/DXcic; av8pcimcov anoH:crat (a7tOK'tEtVat 700,
1006) crclicrat (8, f113, 205, 700, 1006 et al.). Cf. the 8\.Katoc;/a~ap'tcoA.6c; an-
tithesis of Luke 5:32. In these textual traditions, this "Son of Man" saying forms the
conclusion of 9:52-56 (it is the pronouncement). For Jesus as the "Peacemaker" in
Luke's Gospel, see Ulrich Mauser, The Gospel of Peace: A Scriptural Message for Today's
World (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992), esp. chapter three ("The
11 Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.830.
12 'ttc; (9:57), E'tEpoc; (9:59, 61).
128 Moving toward Jerusalem

over, it is difficult to conceive of a reason for the copyists of P 45· 75 N, L,

or 1342, for example, to have omitted KUpte in 9:57 but to have retained
it in 9:59 and 6L
Resting somewhere between the usual decisions made about 9:61
and 9:57 is the somewhat difficult case of 9:59. The reading Kupte re-
ceived a {C) in Metzger's Textual Commentary of 1971 and 1994 (re-
printed explanation), 13 and the reasons given there are representative.
The initial reason for the relatively low certainty rating has to do with
the omission of Kupte from the original reading of Vaticanus (B*), 0,
syrs, etc., which is admittedly difficult to explain: "what motive would
have prompted copyists to delete it?" 14 A second reason involves the
possibility of a scribal addition of KUpte "either from ver. 61 or from the
parallel in Mt 8.21." 15 The committee nevertheless retained KUpte within
the printed text, as "the absence of Kupte may have been due to a tran-
scriptional blunder."16
In my judgment, it is in fact best to retain Kupte in 9:59. In view of
the MSS that do include KUpte (P45· 75 N, A, B2, C, L, etc.), the original
reading of Vaticanus (B*) should probably be taken as an accidental
scribal omission, which was later corrected (B 2). Further, the omission
of 0 is not as significant as it otherwise might be due to the tendency of
the Bezae scribes to omit Kupw~ (see Appendix II). Moreover, contra
Fitzmyer, for exampleY given Luke's compositional tendencies it is
extremely unlikely that, knowing a text with Kupw~ (Q or Matthew), he
decided to omit it. This happens only once in Luke's appropriation of
Mark (Luke 9:33 has emo'tcha, as does Matt 17:4, where Mark has Kupte
in 9:5), which can be explained on other grounds. 18 And the "double
tradition" passages in which Luke's version lacks Kupw~ are, in terms
of verbal agreement, only vaguely related to each other - to the point
that it is impossible to detect Lukan omission of this particular word. 19

13 Metzger, Textual Commentary (1971), 149; (1994), 125.

14 Ibid.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid. (based presumably on the likelihood of a homoioteleuton: E 1nE KE En 1TPEtON).
17 E.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.833.
18 See the discussion of £mcr't6:ta in section II of chapter two of the present book. Here
in 9:33 KUptOc; is avoided so as to show clearly Peter's misunderstanding by means
of £mo'ta'ta (cf. Luke's opinion of what Peter said: ~-til d8cilc; A.i::yEt).
19 For likely candidates for this category, see Matt 7:22//Luke 13:26; Matt 8:6//Luke 7:2;
Matt 10:24-25//Luke 6:40; Matt 18:21//Luke 17:4; and in the so-called Parable of the
Talents/Pounds, Matt 25:19//Luke 19:15; Matt 25:21//Luke 19:17; Matt 25:23//Luke
19:19; Matt 25:26//Luke 19:22, all of which are listed by the Synoptic Concordance: A
Greek Concordance to the First Three Gospels in Synoptic Arrangement, statistically evalu-
ated, including occurrences in Acts!Griechische Konkordanz zu den ersten drei Evangelien
Luke 9:57-62: The Lord and His Demands 129

By contrast, in ways that are narratively significant, Luke adds or sub-

in synoptischer Darstellung, statistisch ausgewertet, mit Beriicksichtigung der Apostel-

geschichte, Volume 3 K- 0 (eds. Paul Hoffmann, Thomas Hieke, and Ulrich Bauer;
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000), as points in the double tradition where Matthew
has Kupto~ and Luke does not. The problems are too complicated to investigate in
detail. A few briefly considered examples will have to suffice. First, the Synoptic Con-
cordance lists Matt 7:22 as a parallel to Luke 13:26. In the former verse, Kupto~ occurs
twice in the vocative. In the latter, it does not occur at all. Here, then, we supposedly
have two times where Luke did not retain KUplO~ (Q or Matt) or, perhaps, where
Matthew added KuplO~ to Q. In fact, however, there is no verbatim agreement be-
tween the two passages (save the common and ultimately unrelated conjunction
Ked.), and the thought is only similar in a very general sense. Indeed, the Matthean
text corresponds equally well or better to portions of Luke 6. However, Luke 6:46
(KuptE KuptE) is listed as a parallel not to Matt 7:22 but to Matt 7:21, where KuptE
KUptE also occurs. Moreover, Luke 13:25 is at least as good a candidate for a parallel
to Matt 7:22 (cf. the Aland Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum) as it is to Matt 7:21 and
perhaps even to Matt 25:11, and in Luke 13:25 KUptE does occur, though it is proba-
bly not doubled (reading KuptE with P 7s, N, B, L, et a!. against KuptE KUplE with A,
D, W, Q et a!. - a likely scribal conformity to Luke 6:46 or the Matthean texts).
There is thus almost no chance that Luke actually copied any portion of Q or Matt
7:21 or 7:22 and left KuplO~ out twice. On a simplistic view of the synoptic problem,
the more likely assumption at this point is that Matthew expanded for different set-
tings, effect or style the KuptE KuptE that he found in "Q 6:46" (the double vocative
KuptE KuptE occurs three times in Matthew's Gospel [7:21, 22; 25:11], and the dou-
bling is characteristically Jewish in style; cf. The Critical Edition of Q [Hermeneia; eds.
James M. Robinson, Paul Hoffmann, John S. Kloppenborg; Minneapolis: Fortress
Press, 2000], 94). Yet, due to the complete lack of verbal agreement it seems both un-
necessary and unreasonable to posit literary dependence on a common written
source. By contrast it seems completely reasonable to assume that Matthew and
Luke are "creative" authors who simply know a common tradition and that (a) Luke
uses KuptE in the way that he frequently does, and (b) Matthew doubles the address
as he frequently does. Second, something very similar can be said for the Parable of
the Pounds, "where the percentage of verbal agreement is so low that a literary rela-
tionship between Matthew and Luke seems to be excluded, whether that relation-
ship be direct (Luke used Matthew) or indirect (Matthew and Luke both used Q)"
(Stephen J. Hultgren, Narrative Elements in the Double Tradition: A Study of Their Place
within the Framework of the Gospel Narrative [BZNW 113; New York/Berlin: Walter de
Gruyter, 2002], 336; d., inter alia, C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom [New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961], 114: "The extent to which they use the same words is
not sufficient to make it likely that both evangelists followed the same proximate
source; and there are differences in the actual story which make it probable that in
both cases the pericope had a history in tradition before it reached the evangelists").
Third, in Matt 10:24-25//Luke 6:40 Matthew and Luke have verbatim agreement with
respect to the saying OUK ecrnv J.l0:8T]"tll~ \mi::p "tOV 8t8cicrKaAOV, but then Matthew
continues ou8i:: 8oi:iAo~ \mi::p "tOV KUplOV au"tOU apKE"tOV "tci) J.l0:8T]"tijtva yi::VT]"tO:l
cb~ 6 8t8ci<JKO:AO~ O:U"tOU KO:l 6 8ouA.o~ cb~ 6 Kupto~ au"tOU, whereas Luke con-
cludes KO:"tT]p"tlcrJ.lEVO~ 8£ mi~ EO""tat cb~ 6 8t8cicrKaAO~ au"tOU. Once again, how-
ever, it is unnecessary to posit literary dependence in any direction: Matthew and
Luke preserve a pithy, well-known saying (cf. John 13:16; 15:20) but complete it in
their own way (Matthew with two additions and Luke with only one - they share
only 6 8t8cicrKaA-o~).
130 Moving toward Jerusalem

stitutes a form of Kuptoc; in passages from both the double (e.g., 7:19;
11:39; 12:42) and triple tradition (e.g., 18:41; 19:33, 34; 22:61), and Luke
has at least twenty-five unique passages with KUptoc; to Matthew's
seven. 20 One of these unique uses of Kuptoc; is in 9:61; it seems improb-
able that Luke would delete Kupt£ in 9:59 only to add it again in 9:61.
Finally, the fact that a few MSS (e.g., A, C) add Kupt£ in 9:57 may sug-
gest that it did in fact stand in 9:59 rather than that these scribes in-
serted Kupt£ twice where it did not exist. Such arguments are not con-
clusive, but taken together they nonetheless point toward a reading of
9:59 with Kupt£.

B. The Scene

The scene in 9:57-62 is obviously organized around the three would-be

disciples and Jesus' responses (the decision of the three is left unre-
solved). The general unifying theme is not difficult to discern: follow-
ing Jesus requires that one place him above everything else in life. To
put it this simply is not to trivialize the weight and force of the passage.
Indeed, one suspects that just as few today as in the first century would
be willing to be virtually homeless, to forego burial customs for their
parents, or to leave home without a word for the sake of following Je-
This passage can hardly be treated without at least a brief discus-
sion of Jesus' response to the second would-be disciple: a¢£c; 'tOUc; V£1(-
pouc; 8ci\lfat 1:ouc; £amwv v£Kpouc; (9:60). This saying has drawn consid-
erable attention in the secondary literature for its "shock-value" in both
the Jewish and pagan realms of the first century, 21 as well as for its high
worth in historical Jesus research. 22 Scholarly debate has focused pri-

20 Statistics vary for Luke depending on whether or not one counts parables, etc. These
numbers are taken from F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake, "Christology," in The
Beginnings of Christianity. Part I. The Acts of the Apostles. Volume 1. Prolegomena: The
Jewish, Gentile and Christian Backgrounds (eds. F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake;
London: MacMillan and Co., Ltd., 1920), 414, and are meant only to illustrate well
the discrepancy (for some reason Foakes Jackson and Lake do not count 1:43, for ex-
21 See, above all, Martin Hengel, The Charismatic Leader and His Followers (Edinburgh: T.
& T. Clark, 1981), and E. P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (London: SCM Press, Ltd.,
1985). For earlier views, see Hans G. Klemm, "Das Wort von der Selbstbestattung
der Toten: Beobachtungen zur Auslegungsgeschichte von Mt. viii. 22 par.," NTS 16
(1969-70): 60-75.
22 Cf. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 252: "I regard it [the saying] as being the most reveal-
ing passage in the synoptics for penetrating to Jesus' view of the law, next only to
Luke 9:57-62: The Lord and His Demands 131

marily upon what the saying reveals about Jesus' attitude toward To-
rah, and the "consensus" position seems to be that, in this case at least,
Jesus was willing to place himself above the Law. 23 Recently, however,
Markus Bockmuehl and Crispin Fletcher-Louis have written interesting
articles that sufficiently problematize the issue to the degree that many
questions assumed to have been closed have now been reopened. 24
Nevertheless, adequate clarity remains on two important and intercon-
nected points: (1) this saying belongs in a discussion about Jesus' rela-
tion to the Torah, and (2) the saying certainly carries with it implicit
self-claims on Jesus' part.
Yet these claims - if we can even specify them - are not necessar-
ily the same as the judgment that undergirds the Lukan presentation in
this pericope as a whole. Indeed, undue stress or focus on the second
exchange alone potentially creates problems for an understanding of
this passage within Luke's narrative context and in light of Luke's date
and predominately Gentile audience. 25
We do not need, therefore, to go as far as Wilson, who isolated the
second of Jesus' demands and asserted that Luke "shows no awareness
of the legal implications of this passage." 26 Yet it is true that in Luke
9:57-61 there is not a mishnaic-like argument:2 7 at this point at least,

the conflict over the temple." See also, e.g., Byron R. McCane, '"Let the Dead Bury
Their Own Dead': Secondary Burial and Matt 8:21-22," HTR 83/1 (1990): 31-43.
23 The clearest statement is probably the oft-quoted remark of Sanders in Jesus and
Judaism: "Jesus consciously requires disobedience of a commandment understood by
all Jews to have been given by God" (254; emphasis original). Cf. Sanders, Jewish Law
from Jesus to the Mishnah: Five Studies (London: SCM Press, 1990): "The passage on
the burial of the father shows ... that he was prepared in one instance to put follow-
ing him [Jesus] above observance of one of the ten commandments" (5).
24 Markus Bockmuehl, '"Let the Dead Bury Their Dead': Jesus and the Law Revisited,"
in Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2000), 23-48. The force of Bockmuehl's article lies, as he
himself acknowledges, primarily in his critique of the prevailing "consensus."
Bockmuehl's own interpretative proposal of an analogy to Nazirite practices has not
been without its critics. See Crispin H. T. Fletcher-Louis, " 'Leave the Dead to Bury
Their Own Dead': Q 9.60 and the Redefinition of the People of God," JSNT 26/1
(2003): 39-68, and the brief rejoinder or "clarification" of Bockmuehl, " 'Leave the
Dead to Bury Their Own Dead': A Brief Clarification in Reply to Crispin H. T.
Fletcher-Louis," JSNT 26/2 (2003): 241-42.
25 Something similar is true for the parallel in Matthew, though with a different audi-
ence, of course.
26 Stephen G. Wilson, Luke and the Law (SNTSMS 50; Cambridge: University Press,
1983), 40; followed by, e.g., Kalervo Salo, Luke's Treatment of the Law: A Redaction-
Critical Investigation (Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1991), 102.
27 Wilson is correct in that the passage simply does not narrate a scene which involves
the halakhic subtleties that would have been surrounded such a debate. This does
not mean, however, that Luke knew nothing about the Jewish legal matters involved
132 Moving toward Jerusalem

Luke does not deal with Jewish legal matters via exegetical-
hermeneutical debate but - if at all - through christology.
Jesus' astonishing pronouncements confront each disciple with a
choice, one that is focused exclusively upon Jesus himself: follow him
at high cost or do not follow him at all. No explanations for the de-
mands are given, and there is no attempt at persuasion in light of the
cost.28 Devoid of halakhic reasoning and cultural criticism, Luke's
mode of presentation directs the attention toward an authority that de-
rives from the identity of Jesus, making it clear that it is Jesus himself,
so to speak, who is the ground of the demand.29
While again - as with Peter, the centurion, etc. - one finds inter-
preters who read K0ptE solely on the basis of what the would-be disci-
ples could have known or meant with their address, 30 the primary nar-
rative point has to do with the continuity of Jesus Kupwc; through the
story in conjunction with the stark presentation of these radical de-
mands (though, to reiterate, there is of course plenty of room in the ad-
dress for the addressees to fall short christologically). From this angle
of vision, it can be seen that, in a way analogous to Luke 6:1-5 (Kupwc;
of the Sabbath), the occurrence of KUptE specifically focuses the author-
ity of the demands in the person of Jesus, broadening the perception of
just who it is that requires such things to include the larger story of Je-
sus KUptOc;.

here (or elsewhere), but rather that his approach to them is of a different character
(i.e., christology). Indeed, elsewhere Luke does evidence a multifaceted understand-
ing of Jewish law. See, e.g., Bockmuehl, "Let the Dead Bury Their Dead," 42-43, who
notes Luke's probable awareness of issues surrounding Nazirite vows (Acts 18:18;
21:23-26). Cf., inter alia, Fran<;ois Bovon, "The Law in Luke-Acts," in Studies in Early
Christianity (WUNT 161; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 59-73: "Though he has be-
come a Christian, Paul shows great respect in Acts for the temple, for circumcision,
for the taking of vows, and for the calendar of Jewish festivals" (70; citing Acts 16:1-
3; 18:18; 20:16; 24:14; 25:8; 26:22; 28:17). Bovon's article provides an excellent over-
view of the issues involved in the discussion of Luke and the Law (cf. Salo, Luke's
Treatment of the Law, 13-23).
28 Cf. Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1951, 1955), 1.9, with reference to Luke 9:60 and 9:62: "He in his own person
signifies the demand for decision."
29 Thus Thiselton, New Horizons, 285, is correct to note, as does Bultmann (though with
a different emphasis), that "the self-involving aspects of Jesus' pronouncements im-
ply Christological presuppositions" (Thiselton's comments are made in relation to
the Matthean parallel [Matt 8:22], but the point applies to Luke's version as well).
30 Green, Luke, 408, for example, writes that both would-be disciples "refer to Jesus as
'Lord,' recognizing him as a person whose beckoning was to be taken with serious-
Luke 10:1-20: The Lord of Mission 133

III. Luke 10:1-20: The Lord of Mission

Luke 10:1 follows 9:57-62 with a rather general transition- "after these
things" (J..Le'ta of:: 'tO:t>1:a). The unique Lukan introduction to this scene
uses the absolute 6 KUptoc; for Jesus in 10:1 and thus raises the question
of the referent of 'tOU Kup1ou 'tOU 8eptcrJ..LOU in 10:2.
By far the majority of modern commentators assume without ar-
gument that the Lord of the harvest is God. Bock, for example, writes
that the "emphasis on God's sovereignty .. .is seen in Jesus' use of the
title Lord of the harvest." 31 But Green, displaying a sensitivity to narra-
tive matters, notes the other nearby uses of Kuptoc; and interprets the
Lord of the harvest as Jesus.3z
In favor of the reading of Kuptoc; as "God" one might argue, first,
that Jesus is evidently speaking of someone else. Related to and in sup-
port of the first point is the observation that 8ei]8rp:e can be rendered
"pray," in which case it would only be natural that Jesus was referring
to his Father. Jesus' own prayer in 10:21, wherein he addresses the Fa-
ther as Kiipte, could then be seen in close relation to Jesus' injunction
here. Finally, though it is true that there is no exact parallel to "the Lord

31 Darrell L. Bock, Luke (2 vols. BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994-96), 2.295.
See also, e.g., Fran.;ois Bovon, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (3 vols. EKK III;
Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1989-), 2.50; Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.846; Norval
Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
1993), 299; M.-J. Lagrange, Evangile selon Saint Luc (Paris, 1948), 293; Marshall, Luke,
416; Gerhard Schneider, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (2 vols. OTKNT 3; Wiirzburg:
Echter Verlag, 1977), 1.236; Heinz Schiirmann, Das Lukasevangelium. Kommentar zu
Kap. 1,1-9,50 (HTKNT 3; Freiburg: Herder, 1982), 2.59. It is interesting to note in the
case of Hauck that he evidently felt the need to insert a clarifying "Gott" within
brackets into his translation/paraphrase: "Er sprach aber zu ihnen: Die Ernte [Gottes]
ist groB, die Arbeiter aber. .. " (Friedrich Hauck, Das Evangelium des Lukas [THKNT;
Leipzig: A. Deichertsche Verlagsbuchhandlung D. Werner Scholl, 1934], 138). So also
Grundmann added an extra clarifying phrase to the 1984 edition of his commentary,
which reads "die Ernte ist Gottes Sache, der 'der Herr der Ernte' ist," whereas in
1961 the phrase "der 'der Herr der Ernte' ist" is absent (Walter Grundmann, Evan-
gelium nach Lukas [THKNT 3; Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1961, 1984], 209).
32 Green, Luke, 411. Green observes that in 10:1-20 Jesus is identified as "Lord" "by the
narrator, by himself, and by the seventy-two." One occasionally runs across transla-
tions that render KDplO<; as "master" or "owner" of the harvest (e.g., A. R. C. Leaney,
A Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Luke [BNTC; London: Adam and Charles
Black, 1958], 175; and E. J. Tinsley, The Gospel according to Luke [CBC; Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1969], 111, respectively; cf. Fitzmyer's translation).
Such translations do not alter the issue here. The identity of the "master" or "owner"
of the harvest is the same question as the identity of the "Lord": all three English
words have the same Greek word as their base, and the question of identity remains
open in each case.
134 Moving toward Jerusalem

of the harvest" as a description of God, 33 the OT frequently portrays

God as the one who harvests (e.g., Isa 27:12).
But the decision - as I am wont to point out - is not so easy. In
favor of the reading of Kupwt; as "Jesus" one might note, as did Green,
the presence of an indisputable use of 6 Kupwt; for Jesus just one verse
prior. It seems perhaps more natural to read the two occurrences in
harmony. In this way Luke's use of KuptOt; in 10:1 alerts the reader to a
second level of interpretation in which Luke has explicitly identified
Jesus as 6 Kupwt;. Significantly, when 1:0u Kup'tou 1:ou 6£ptcrllOU is read in
light of this authorial guidance given in 10:1, it becomes - on this
hermeneutical level - immediately evident that as Jesus instructs his
disciples to ask 34 the Kupwt; of the harvest to send workers to the har-
vest, he is at that very moment actually sending workers himself. In-
deed, his next words are a command: umiy£1:£ i8ou 6.7roo'ttf,).. CD Ullat;
(10:3). And there can be no doubt in what capacity the seventy (two)
are sent, for Jesus uses once more the metaphor of a worker (6 £pya'tT]t;,
10:7; see £pya1:at;, 10:2), this time clearly in reference to those whom he
sends. Finally, it is surely noteworthy that when these workers return
from their mission with joy in 10:17, they address Jesus as KUptE. Thus,
the reading that takes its point of departure from Luke's clue in 10:1
leads, via the coordination of the harvest imagery with Jesus' own ac-
tion, to a christological interpretation of 1:0u Kup'tou 1:0u 6EptcrllOU.
When pressed, both the strictly christological and patriological ar-
guments stand, as both possess enough validity to remain as compel-
ling interpretations of the Kupwt; referent. We are, then, once more con-
fronted with the impossibility of closing off one or the other
interpretation. As earlier in the narrative (1:76; 3:4, etc.), an either/or
reading imposes a necessity of choice that is foreign to the text in which
just such a choice is undermined by the presence of irresolvable ambi-
guity and the simultaneous presence of two different interpretive levels
in the story. The idea of a single referent for the Kupwt; of the harvest
must give way under the pressure of the text toward two legitimate
interpretations. Such a reading is not only content to retain the twofold
referent of the Kupwt; of the harvest but also sees in this doubleness a
continuation of Luke's crucial judgment about the action of God in the
life of Jesus.

33 C. F. Evans, Saint Luke (London: SCM Press, 1990), 446.

34 tl.Elj8r11:E can also be translated simply as "ask." It would receive this translation if
'tOU Kup\.ou 'tOU 8EptcrJ.lOU is interpreted christologically. Cf. Gospel of Thomas 73:
"Jesus says, 'The harvest is plentiful but there are few workers. But beg the Lord that
he may send workers into the harvest."'
Luke 10:1-20: The Lord of Mission 135

The coming of Jesus - the pairs are sent n:po n:pocr<bn:ou cc&wu ti~
ncicrav n6hv Ka't 1:6n:ov ou TlllEAAEV au1:6~ E:pxmSat - is the coming of
the God of Israel, as the mission of the Lord Jesus is the mission of the
Lord God. In this way, the mission of Jesus through the seventy (two) is
the mission of the God of Israel through Jesus, hence the nature of the
progression in 10:16: the missionaries, the one who was sent, the one
who sends. Thus is the kingdom of God bound with the person of Jesus
and his coming, for the preaching of its nearness (TjyytKEV) by the mis-
sionaries before Jesus arrives refers to the coming of Jesus to every
n:6A-tv Ka't 1:6n:ov. 35
As the mission of the seventy (two) finds its commission and
ground in the sending of Jesus himself, so also the authority of the mis-
sionaries over the demons finds its ground in the authority of Jesus.
Upon their return the missionaries address Jesus as KUptE and exclaim,
Ka't 1:ci 8at!l6vta un:o'tacrcrE'tat TJ!llV Ev 1:c\} 6v6!lCX'tt crou! Yet again Luke
employs the vocative for his narrative christology: it is as Kupw~ (10:17),
who Jesus is by virtue of the Power of God in his conception, that he
has authority over the demons and that he is able to give to his disci-
ples 1:Tjv E~oucr't.av ... En:'t n:cicrav 1:Tjv 8\.JvalltV 1:ou EX,Spou (10:19). 36

35 As has often been noted, Dodd's well-known translation of TjyytKEV as "has come"
(Parables, 28-30) leans too heavily toward (over) realized eschatology. But the reac-
tion to Dodd has often been too strong and veered too far the other way, toward a
"primitive futurist eschatology of the early community" (Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.849). The
via media is not necessarily an interpretive good in itself, but here it seems the wis-
est path to follow. Luke-Acts attests both to the fact that Luke does not abandon talk
of the parousia and that it is not as imminent as, e.g., in the authentic Pauline epis-
tles. In relation to this context, Fitzmyer's remark, which reads somewhat like an af-
terthought, is on target: "Perhaps [Luke] also implies that the kingdom has drawn
near because Jesus himself is soon to stand at the gates of the towns" (Luke, 2.849).
Scholars who view the sending of the missionaries as a foreshadowing of the mis-
sion in Acts are almost certainly correct. See esp. Charles H. Talbert, Reading Luke: A
Literary and Theological Commentary on the Third Gospel (New York: Crossroad, 1982),
115. Cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.844; Green, Luke, 417.
36 Thus foreshadowing Peter's declaration in Acts 10:36 that Jesus is Kupto~ nav-twv.
Though one does find scholars (e.g., C. F. D. Maule, "The Christology of Acts," in
Studies in Luke-Acts [eds. Leander Keck and J. Louis Martyn; Philadelphia: Fortress,
1966], 159-85 [161]) who restrict naV'tWV to the human realm (i.e., Jew and Gentile,
taking naV'tWV as masculine), 10:38 mentions 6 8ta~oA.o~ and thus pushes strongly
for a reading that takes nav'tWV in a cosmic sense as well. Elsewhere (Die Mitte, 159),
Conzelmann acknowledges Jesus' Lordship over the cosmic realm: "Gewif5 ist Jesus
Herr iiber die Damonen, iiber jede Gewalt des Feindes, und zwar schon zu Leb-
zeiten Lc 10, 18ff." Yet, he asserts nevertheless that the "Kyrios-Titel [hat] keine
kosmologische Beziehung." Conzelmann then proceeds to discuss Luke's "Subordi-
nation" christology, which, one assumes, is supposed to buttress the claim against a
"kosmologische Beziehung." Acts 10:36, however, should be read as the christologi-
cal counterpart to Luke 10:21 (na'tEp KUptE 'tOU oupavou Kat 'tTl~ Yll~) and Acts
136 Moving toward Jerusalem

Thus there exists in the Lukan presentation a unity between the

mission, imaged as a harvest with the Lord and his workers, and the
overcoming of evil, portrayed as the power/authority of the Lord and
his missionaries over his enemies. This unity is the person of Jesus
Kupwc; who himself goes forth in the mission and is the content and
power of the disciples' preaching of God's kingdom ("Lord, in your

IV. Luke 10:21-22: The Lord of Heaven and Earth

Jesus' prayer in Luke 10:21-22 has a close temporal link to 10:1-20 (£v
a:t'ni\ 'ttl c.Op<;X), though the relation now foregrounded is that of Jesus
and his Father rather than Jesus and the disciples. While this general
emphasis is obvious in these two verses, the shift in focus that comes
between 10:21 and 22 has led some scholars to deny their cohesion and
treat them separatelyY However, such a division is not warranted, for
in fact 10:21 contains within it the presupposition for 10:22. 38
In 10:21 the Lord prays to his Father as Lord or, to turn it around, to
the Lord as his Father: both 1tcX'tEp and KUpt£ are vocatives. Though not
directly related semantically, Luke's use of ayya/ctc:Xw in 10:21 echoes
thematically his use of xapa in 10:1739 and thus helps to connect the
two verses. More important is the further and essential connection be-
tween the verses through KuptE: having accepted the title Kupwc; in such

17:4 (oupavou Kat yT;c; uncipxmv KUptoc;). Contra Conzelmann, Jesus' participation
in the Lordship of the Father is total, in the sense that there is no conflict between
them - they are both Kupwc;. Luke does not set the Lordship of God and Jesus over
against each other, as is implied by the move toward "subordination" (a way to re-
solve the conflict), but rather brings them together. To a great extent, such unity is
the point of the manifold ambiguous uses of Kupwc; in Acts. Conzelmann, it would
seem, filters Acts 10:36 through a subordinationist theology in order to arrive at the
negation of its cosmological significance. We should, instead, take Acts 10:36 seri-
ously in its cosmological dimension and seek to understand its connection to Luke's
view of God on that basis. In this light, we ought rather to say, with Karl Barth, that
the sphere of Yahweh and Jesus is the same (Church Dogmatics I/1 [Edinburgh: T. &
T. Clark, 1936], 400f.). On cosmology, demonology, etc. in Luke as a whole, see
Susan R. Garrett, The Demise of the Devil: Magic and the Demonic in Luke's Writings
(Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1989).
37 E.g., Rudolf Bultmann, History of the Synoptic Tradition (rev. ed., Oxford: Basil Black-
well, 1963), 159-60. See the concise discussion of this long-debated point in Marshall,
Luke, 431-32.
38 Cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.866. Cf. Schiirmann, Lukasevangelium, 2.116.
39 Cf. the double imperative in 10:20.
Luke 10:21-22: The Lord of Heaven and Earth 137

a decisively cosmic setting in 10:17 (d. 10:18), Jesus now gives the same
title to his Father:

KUptE Kat 'tci 8at!l6vta Un:o'tcicrcrE'tat TJillV £v 'tcP ov611a't'l crou (10:17)
n:chEp KUPlE 'tOU oupavou K<Xt 'tllt; yilc; 40 (10:21)

Thus, almost within the same breath Luke speaks of Jesus 6 KUpwc;,
portrays the disciples as addressing Jesus as KUptE and Jesus as address-
ing the Father as KUptE, and uses an expression, KUpwc; 'tOU 8EptcrllOU, in
which both Kupwc; 'Irpouc; and Kupwc; n:a'ti]p remain possible referents.
The tensive agility of Kupwc; in the movement of the narrative creates a
unity such that both Jesus and God the Father are Kupwc; with respect
to who they are in Luke's story (i.e., the narration of their character is
inseparable from their identity as Kupwc;). Yet, within this shared iden-
tity as KUpwc;, they are and remain n:a'ti]p and ui6c;.
As we saw in the treatment of Luke 2:11, the unitive or shared iden-
tity expressed through the use of Kupwc; should not be characterized in
terms of a Vermischung in which the element of distinction within iden-
tity is obscured and the persons/characters are mixed together. Quite to
the contrary, even within the unifying use of Kupwc; Luke is careful to
preserve a distinction between n:a'ti]p and ui6c;. In point of fact, n:a'tl'lp
Kupwc; here in 10:21 serves as the counterpoint to xptcr't6c; Kupwc; in 2:11.
The possibility of this relational notion of identity - unity and dis-
tinction - depends on a third presence, the Holy Spirit. 41 That the
Spirit is mentioned as Jesus addresses his Father in prayer as KUptE is of
substantial importance. It recalls the Spirit's vital presence in the con-
ception of Jesus and continued activity through his baptism, tempta-

40 The words oupav6~ and y~ do not signify particular realms as much as they repre-
sent a universal and exclusive claim. Significantly, Luke uses this expression of God
again in Paul's Areopagus speech in which Paul attempts to persuade the Athenians
to repent from idol worship. The Jewish God is KUplO~ oupavou Kat y~~. the crea-
tor who made 'tOV K6<JJ..LOV Kat nav'ta 'tcX EV au'tc\i (Acts 17:24). Such phrases evi-
dence Luke's awareness of a most basic Jewish view about the uniqueness and ex-
clusivity of God. Here he puts this view on the lips of Jesus himself. The implication
is that Luke's view of the identity of God is developed purposively in awareness
and affirmation of Jewish monotheistic theology (cf. J..L6Vo~ b 8E6~ in 5:21 and d~ b
8e6~ in 18:19). Hence, if we are to understand his use of Kupw~ we must understand
it in connection to such a framework.
41 Whether the best reading of 10:21 includes EV in the phrase ev 'tc\i nVEUJ..La'tl 'tc\i
ayl.cp or not is immaterial for our considerations here, as the point remains the same
in any case. The absence of 'tc\i aytqJ from A, W, et a!. is not to be preferred. See
Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.871; Marshall, Luke, 433; Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary
on the Greek New Testament (London: United Bible Societies, 1971), 152, etc.
138 Moving toward Jerusalem

tion, and programmatic scene in Nazareth. There is no moment of Je-

sus' life as ui6c; or Kupwc; when he exists apart from the Spirit, or when
his relation to the Father is not made possible by the Spirit. 42 The Spirit
is the Power between the Father and his Son that constitutes the Father-
Son relation itself. 43
Luke 10:22 44 makes explicit the Lukan view of the Father and the
Son that undergirds 10:21 and, indeed, the whole of his narrative, espe-
cially his use of Kupwc; for both the Father and the Son. If Jewish wis-
dom traditions lie somewhere behind the christological picture here, 45
they have been focused in a rather radical way onto one human being
in particular: the Father is made known by "the" Son. 46
The focus upon the Son's exclusive ability to make known his Fa-
ther depends upon and contains within it the notion that there is an
exclusive relation between the Son and his Father. This notion comes
forcefully to expression through the use of ou8£1c;. Ou8£1c; effectively

42 Cf. Brawley's statement in chapter two, n. 1 of this book: "Because Luke so strongly
establishes the identity of Jesus as one anointed with the Spirit at the beginning of
Jesus' ministry, he is able to assume it through the rest of his gospel with little need
for additional references" (Luke-Acts and the Jews, 19).
43 See, in addition, esp. section II of chapter one of this book.
44 This verse, a statement that "macht den Eindruck wie ein Aerolith aus dem johan-
neischen Himmel gefallen," to cite yet again Hase's gem of a remark, has received
enormous attention for its possible contribution to historical Jesus research and im-
plications for the question of John and the synoptics (Karl Hase, Geschichte Jesu
[Leipzig: Breitkopf und Hartel, 1876], 422; see e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.866; and Alfred
Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Luke [ICC;
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898], 286 [though the pagination in Plummer is
in error]. The citation taken here is from the first edition of Hase's Berlin lectures). In
addition to the vast literature cited in Bovon and Schurmann, for a discussion of the
main issues one should see in particular Joseph A. Fitzmyer, "Abba and Jesus' Rela-
tion to God," in A Cause de l'Evangile: Etudes les Synoptiques et les Actes (FS Dom
Jacques Dupont; Paris: Cerf, 1985), 15-38. With Fitzmyer, I think it likely that Jesus
"said or insinuated something similar to what is recorded here" (37). This opinion,
however, does not determine one way or the other the opinion about John and the
synoptics, as something like this saying could have grown up in both traditions side
by side without necessarily implying dependence. For a judicious assessment of
John and the synoptics, see D. Moody Smith, John among the Gospels (2nd ed.; Co-
lumbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001). Yet, a surprisingly strong case can
be made for Luke's use of John (seen. 98 in the Introduction).
45 So, e.g., Marshall, Luke, 437; Schurmann, Lukasevangelium, 2.111.
46 For an illuminating treatment of this passage, see Nutzel, Jesus als Offenbarer Gottes
nach den lukanischen Schriften, 139-75. Though it is somewhat overstated, Nutzel's
opening, perhaps intentionally provocative, claim is worth citation: "Wohl die am
deutlichsten sichtbaren Anknupfungspunkte fUr die Ubertragung der Eikon-
Vorstellung auf den irdischen Jesus finden sich im Lukasevangelium. Unubersehbar
zeichnet Lk 10,22 Jesus als Offenbarer des Vaters, der den einzigen Erk-
enntniszugang Gott bietet" (11).
Luke 10:21-22: The Lord of Heaven and Earth 139

bars from human access this relation between 6 ui6<; and 6 na'tflp (cf.
the doubled 11fJ; "except") and simultaneously helps to place emphasis
on the anoK<ilcu\jft<; (10:21, 22) as that which takes place from the side of
The content of the anoK<iA.u\jft<; has been frequently discussed, as
the exact sense of 1tcXV'tCX (as well as CXVtcX in 10:21) is difficult to deter-
mine. 48 Bovon, however, has made an important observation in connec-
tion with Luke's twofold use of 't'L<; that points us in the right general
direction-that the focus in the Lukan passage is upon the question of
identity: "Lukas [unterstreicht] mit seiner griechischen Wahrnehmung-
sart das individuelle Erkennen (die Identitat: 'wer der Sohn ist', 'wer der
Vater ist'). Wahrend die Tradition den beziehungshaften Charakter des
Erkennens aufdeckt, achtet die lukanische Redaktion auf die Identitat
der Personen." 49 If the question of identity rests in the center of the pas-
sage, then the revelation will have as its content the disclosure of an
identity. The concepts are inherently related as question and answer:
'tt<; as question requires the specification of someone as answer.
Seen in this light, the identity posited here as an answer to the ques-
tion implied in the word "'t'L<;" is rather startling, for the identity is that
of a relation. The Father is not specified as Father apart from the Son,
nor the Son as Son apart from the Father. Indeed, this is the point of the
use of the article. In no way can the saying be read along generic or
parabolic lines: just as a son knows his father and can make his father
known, so does Jesus know his father and make him known. 5° The rela-
tion, rather, is between "the" Father and "the" Son and, as mentioned
above, in its very uniqueness it is exclusive (ou8E'L<; ... d !lfJ). 51 Thus, the

47 Cf. Ni.itzel's emphasis upon the notion of "AusschlieBlichkeit" in 10:22 Uesus als
Offenbarer Gottes, 165-67).
48 Traditionally, the debate has involved a false either/or choice between power and
knowledge (see Marshall, Luke, 436). Following Reicke ("mic;, arcac;," TDNT V.886-
96 [895]), Marshall, Luke, 436, notes the possibility of dismantling such a dichotomy
and accepting a both/and solution (both power and knowledge). In view of the ab-
sence of a necessary exegetical opposition between power and knowledge, the pro-
posal of Reicke and Marshall makes excellent sense.
49 Bovon, Lukas, 2.67 (emphasis original). Bovon's remark perhaps implies too much of
a contrast between Luke and the "tradition," but the focus upon identity is indubita-
bly Lukan.
50 See, e.g., Marshall, Luke, 436.
51 Though his phrasing is debatable, Helmut Flender, St. Luke: Theologian of Redemptive
History (trans. Reginald H. and lise Fuller; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967), none-
theless grasps the basic uniqueness of the Father-Son relation: "For Luke Jesus lives
with heavenly Father in a personal relationship which has no analogy, as the doxol-
ogy in 10:21£ shows" (55).
140 Moving toward Jerusalem

only way human beings can know of such a relation is through a reve-
lation in which the awareness of this relation comes to them from out-
side, as it were. This matter is reflected clearly in the use of 13ouA.Of.W.l in
conjunction with c'x.1t01W.AU1t'tCD: the knowledge of the relation between
the Father and the Son comes only through the will to reveal it.5 2
If the relation itself is the content of the revelation - that which is
closed to humans save its opening from the inside out - then it is im-
portant to take note of the way in which the relation is characterized
and the implications thereof. To begin, we may observe that the KCXt
ouo£1~ ytvcbcrKtt introduces a parallelism pertaining to the identity of
the Son and the Father:

1:1~ £cr1:tv 6 uio~ d llTJ 6 ncx't'flp

'tl~ EO''tlV 6 1tCX'tTJP d llTJ 6 tit6~

Luke finishes the sentence, however, with "and the one to whom the
Son chooses to reveal him" (Kat c.?> £av l3ouA.T]'tcxt 6 uio~ c'x.noKCXAU\jfcxt 53 ).
There is no corresponding declaration that runs the other way: "and the
one to whom the Father chooses to reveal him." The emphasis, then, is
upon Jesus as the revealer of the Father. This emphasis corresponds
conceptually to the beginning of 10:22 where Jesus remarks that all
things have been given over to him by his Father (miv'tcx 1101 ncxpe868T]
uno 'tOU 1tCX'tp6~ f.lOU). Thus we have:

KCX l OUOEl~ ytvcbcrK:tt

52 Such is the theological significance of Jesus' "turn" to the disciples in 10:23 and dec-
laration, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see." The turning (cr'tpacjle\.c;) signi-
fies the opening, as it were, of the relation from the inside out.
53 Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.874, is correct, contra Paul Winter ("Mt XI 27 and Lk X 22 from the
First to the Fifth Century: Reflections on the Development of the Text," NovT 1
[1956]: 112-48), that the object pronoun "him" for the Father is simply understood.
Winter argues that the "only logically possible sense which the three lines, in their
succession, can have" forces the last line to be understood as "he to whom the Son
wishes to reveal himself' (131, emphasis original; cf. 132-34). Yet, as Winter acknowl-
edges, his argument applies only to a reconstructed form in which the lines ,;\.c;
£cntv 6 uioc; d llTJ 6 na,;i]p and 1:\.c; £cntv 6 na,;i]p d llTJ 6 uioc; were reversed.
In their present form, the sentences make perfect logical sense. Winter's suggestion
- that the lines were transposed in order to get them to make sense - is not entirely
without support, but it nevertheless seems rather unnecessary. If one simply under-
stands "him," as does Fitzmyer, the logical problem does not exist.
Luke 10:21-22: The Lord of Heaven and Earth 141

'tt<; £en tv 6 uio<; d 111'] 6 n:cm'jp

'tl<; EO"'tlV 6 TC<X't:Tjp Et llll 6 tit6<;

The direction of revelation in 10:22 - and continued through to the

disciples in 10:23 - mirrors the characterization of the mission in 10:16
where the movement is from the missionaries to Jesus to the Father. It
becomes clear, then, that the connection of the Father-Son relation to
the world is mediated through the Son (and furthered through the mis-
sionaries in the name of the Son; see 10:17, "in your name" 54 ).
That the revelation - the apocalyptic connection between God and
the world - comes through the Son implies, first, that the revelation
itself is bound up with a particular human life, that of Jesus. It implies,
second, that the revelation is therefore fundamentally historical and
narratable, because human life, as we learned from Arendt, Ricoeur
and others is "entangled" in (hi)stories. The revelation of the Father
through the Son in this way comes together at the point of narrative, in
which the narration of the life of Jesus is an apocalyptic 8tTJY1lO"l<; of the
life of God. 55
As noted at the outset, thinking through the significance of these
verses in relation to the larger Gospel allows one to note a profound
correspondence between the theology expressed in abbreviated form in
10:21-22 and Luke's use of KUpto<; for the Father and for Jesus. To put it
briefly: what it means for the Father to be the Kupto<; of heaven and
earth is fleshed out, or given content, in the sending of the Kupto<; Jesus
his Son - told via Luke's DlllYll<Jt<;. There is a correlation of ui6<; and
n:a1:l'jp through the word Kupto<; such that the former reveals the latter

54 Cf. the emphasis on Jesus' OVOlla in Acts (4:12; 8:16, etc.). Cf. the remark of Ni.itzel,
Jesus als Offenbarer Gottes, 169: "Die christlichen Verki.indiger handeln in einer Voll-
macht, die, durch Jesus vermittelt, von Gott ausgeht." See, too, Bovon's observation
in a different context: "There is a similarity, an analogy between the life of the
church and the life of its Lord: Jesus had been sent by God, the apostles in turn were
sent by the Lord ... " ("The Church in the New Testament, Servant and Victorious,"
in Studies in Early Christianity [WUNT 161; Ti.ibingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003], 132-43
55 Perhaps in the end, this is the theological reason that Luke writes a Gospel. Cf. Edu-
ard Schweizer, The Good News according to Luke (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984), 17,
who writes that "the life of God is such that it can take form in a human life," and
that, therefore, Luke "uses narrative form because God's salvation is found in a his-
torical human life." Cf., too, Harvey, Character and the Novel, 56, who, after noting the
admittedly obvious - that protagonists are the most important characters in novels
- moves on to say that "in a sense ... [the novel] exists to reveal them."
142 Moving toward Jerusalem

and, indeed, that the coming of the latter is embodied in the life of the
former. This mutually constitutive relation, turned outward in revela-
tion, is expressed through Luke's double use of KUPtos. That the rela-
tion of the ui6s and Jta'tijp is not fully reciprocal - see the lopsided
parallelism above - corresponds to the distinction between the Kuptos
Messiah and the Kuptos God, where the former is sent by the latter,
prays to the latter, and, ultimately, is dependent upon the latter for the
continuity of his identity as KUPtos through crucifixion and death (see
chapter four and the excursus on Acts 2:36).

V. Luke 10:38-42: Mary, Martha, and ...

The exact connection to that which precedes Luke 10:38-42 is difficult to

discover, 56 and Luke's transition in 10:38 - tv o£ 1:c[3 7tOpEum8m
a\nous - simply indicates that the narrative of Jesus' ministry contin-
ues. Regardless, Luke 10:38-42 is intelligible as a distinct pericope,
though it has several textual problems. The most notable of these prob-
lems is the difficult matter of 10:42a, which has received considerable
scholarly attention. 57 More germane to our immediate study, however,
are the issues surrounding the occurrences of KUPtos in 10:39 and 10:41.
The text-critical difficulties here are impossible to resolve completely,
but consideration of such difficulties is highly instructive because it
sheds light on the importance of the complex Wirkungsgeschichte at this
point in the transmission of the text, as well as upon Luke's use of
KUPtos elsewhere.
Somewhat surprisingly, given the common attention to 10:42a, the
KUPtos textual problems are either ignored 58 or mentioned only briefly
by almost every major commentator, 59 most of whom follow a text

56 See Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.891-92. Bovon, Lukas, 2.98, makes the interesting suggestion
that the Martha/Mary pericope follows the parable of the Good Samaritan in order to
illustrate narratively, if inversely, the practice of the first and second command-
ments: the parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates the second commandment (cf.
10:27) and the Martha/Mary pericope illustrates the first.
57 See the discussion of Gordon D. Fee, "'One Thing Needful?' Luke 10:42," in New
Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis: Essay in Honour of Bruce M.
Metzger (eds. Eldon J. Epp and Gordon D. Fee; Oxford: Clarendon, 1981), 51-75.
58 E.g., Bovon, Green, Marshall, Plummer (though Plummer mentions 10:39). Neither
verse is treated in the TCGNT.
59 Bock, Luke, 2.1043, for example, treats the problem in 10:41 very briefly but has no
discussion of 10:39 (nor any indication that a problem exists), despite the fact that
Luke 10:38-42: Mary, Martha, and ... 143

similar to that which is printed, e.g., in Westcott-Hort (1890), 60 NA2 5• 26 •

27, etc. The reading here treats the occurrence of Kupwc; in this pericope
as follows:

10:39: Mary sat down at the feet "COU Kup\.ou ...

10:40: Martha said, Kupt£ ...
10:41: 6 Kupwc; answered and said to her. ..

This is the reading of P 3, N, B2, L, 579, 892, the Vulgate, et al. But there
are three other possibilities:

10:39: Mary sat down at the feet "COU 'Irpou ...

10:40: Martha said, Kupt£ ...
10:41: 'I11crouc; answered and said to her ...
(A, B*, c2, W, e, \f', f1.13)61

10:39 is probably the more difficult verse. Schi.irmann is somewhat of an exception.

He mentions the KUptac; textual problems and discusses them inn. 34 (2.156; Sinaiti-
cus is incorrectly mentioned as supporting 'IT]crouc; in 10:39), but he advances few
arguments for his reading and follows the commonly given text (he speaks of not
overturning the "standard text"; for the problems of such a designation see the brief
remarks of Moises Silva, "Modern Critical Editions and Apparatuses of the Greek
New Testament," in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on
the Status Quaestionis [SD 46; eds. Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes; Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995], 283-96 [290]). Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.893, also notes the problem
but does not give reasons for his choice, and he, too, follows the usual text. Given his
sophistication in such matters, it is somewhat surprising that Bernhard Weiss (Die
Evangelien des Markus und Lukas [9th ed., 1901], 456) in particular barely mentions the
variants (he, too, reads KUptac;). Johnson, Luke, 172, makes no mention of the prob-
lems but is evidently aware of them, for he reads 'tOU 'IT]O'OU in 10:39.
60 Westcott and Hort do, however, list "10:41f." as a probable "Western non-
interpolation" (B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, The New Testament in the Original
Greek: Introduction [London: Macmillan and Co., 1882], 176).
61 Because the Textus Receptus forms its collating base, this is the printed text in The
New Testament in Greek: The Gospel according to St. Luke (2 vols.; The New Testament
in Greek 3; ed. The American and British Committees of the International Greek
New Testament Project; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984, 1987). Cf. also, e.g., A. P.
Buttmann's 1886 edition.
144 Moving toward Jerusalem

10:39: Mary sat down at the feet [1:ou] 'IT]crou ...

10:40: Martha said, K:upt£ ...
10:41: 6 K:uptoc; answered and said to her. ..
(P45 and p75)62

10:39: Mary sat down at the feet 't:Ou K:up'lou ...

10:40: Martha said, K:uptc. ..
10:41: 'IT]crouc; answered and said to her. ..

Seeking to go behind continuous readings found in particular MSS to

construct a text prior to the extant MSS yields the following for each

10:39: Mary sat down at the feet of

1:0u K:up'lou: P 3, N, 8 2, D, L, 579, 892, lat

[1:ou] 'Irpou: p45,7s A, 8*, w, e, \f', f113

10:41: ... answered and said to her ...

6 K:upwc;: p3, 45 • 75, N, 8 2, L, 579, 892, lat

[6] 'IT]crouc;: A, 8*, D, W, 8, \f', fLB

A glance at the MS support for the reading K:uptoc; and/or 'Irpouc; in

each verse reveals the complexity of the situation. Just to mention
briefly the so-called Alexandrian (8-text) text type: it is very difficult, if
not impossible, to offer a cogent explanation on external grounds that
makes good sense out of the fact that for 10:39 P 75 and the original hand
of Vaticanus agree (as one might hope) but are opposed by P3, Sinaiti-
cus, a corrector of Vaticanus, and codex L, whereas for 10:41 P 3• 75, Si-
naiticus, a corrector of Vaticanus, and codex L are opposed by the

62 P 45 reads IH for the nomen sacrum whereas p7s reads IY (the former is articular; the
latter is anarthrous). The difference here is only orthographical. Both abbreviations
are for the genitive 'IT]O'OU: the first and second letter and the first and last letter re-
spectively. For P45 see The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and Texts of
Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible. Fasciculus II. The Gospels and Acts (ed.
Frederick Kenyon; London: Emery Walker Ltd., 1933 [text], 1934 [plates]), 19 and pl.
11. For P75 see Papyrus Bodmer XIV: Evangile de Luc chap. 3-24 (eds. Victor Martin and
Rodolphe Kasser; Cologny-Geneve: Bibliotheque Bodmer, 1961), 79 and pl. 25.
Luke 10:38-42: Mary, Martha, and ... 145

original hand of Vaticanus (this is, of course, not even to note the im-
portance of the Western reading at 10:39 and 41).
When we turn explicitly to considerations of scribal procedure, we
find, first, that the needed detailed analysis regarding the treatment of
Kupwc; in each MS has not yet been done (where possible, an area for
future research) and, second, that even on a general level, such consid-
erations do little to persuade. Perhaps, as Kilpatrick mentions, the ten-
dency through time would be to add Kupwc; for reasons of reverence. 63
Yet, we are dealing with Luke's Gospel, which is already quite unique
for its multiple (unproblematic) occurrences of Kupwc;, and, further, MS
support for Kupwc; is strong enough to rule this option out as a detect-
able scribal tendency. In addition, we might remark that if reverence
would enhance a tendency toward the addition of Kupwc;, it becomes
rather difficult to account for its excision. 64 Moreover, as Kilpatrick also
recognizes, the argument from sequence or repetition cuts both ways:
scribes may well have wished to avoid the repetition of Kupwc;, KUpte,
Kupwc; and so introduced 'I11crouc; in either 10:39 or 10:41, or both. On
the other hand, they might have found such repetition aesthetically
attractive - or in accord with larger Lukan style, particularly in light of
Kupte in 11:1 - and so added Kupwc; in one place or the other (though it
seems unlikely to have been added in both places). 65 We are thus led to

63 G. D. Kilpatrick, "KYPIO:E in the Gospels," The Principles and Practice of New Testa-
ment Textual Criticism: Collected Essays of G. D. Kilpatrick (BETL 96; ed. ]. K. Elliott;
Leuven: University Press, 1990), 209.
64 As would be the case with Codex Bezae in general, assuming its other altera-
tions/omissions of Kupto~ are not original (see n. 74 below and Appendix II of this
work). Cf. Kilpatrick's suggestion regarding aesthetics in n. 65 below. While it may
well be the case that in general reverence would enhance a tendency toward the ad-
dition of more "exalted" christological titles, this generality should not be treated as
a principle or law through which the evidence is sifted. Such a procedure would, in
this particular case at least, lead one to miss the complex texture of the evidence and
the problems it causes for an all too easy solution.
65 Ibid. Kilpatrick conjectures that "perhaps on the whole" replacing Kupto~
with 'Irpou~ for the aesthetic reason of wishing to avoid repetition "is the more
likely procedure" (note here that the principle of "reverence" would require the re-
verse conclusion). Even from a scholar such as Kilpatrick, this is really hardly more
than a wild guess at scribal aesthetic preferences, the latter being impossible to de-
duce for this passage. In "KYRIOS in the Gospels," 214, Kilpatrick believes Kupto~ to
be ("probably") original at 10:39 and 10:41, but the short essay leaves him no room
for explanation.
146 Moving toward Jerusalem

internal considerations of Lukan compositional procedure, style, 66 and

christology. 67
There are several textually unproblematic places to which we can
turn for aid in our analysis of internal matters. In particular, three
places in the Gospel and three places in Acts have direct bearing upon
the problem in 10:38-42.
(1) Luke 12:41-42: Within the double tradition material, we catch a
glimpse of Lukan redactional/compositional procedure regarding
Kupwc; in 12:41-42. In both Matthew and Luke, the small parable about
the watchful householder and the thief (Matt 24:43-44; Luke 12:39-40) is
followed by the parable of the good and wicked servant and their
Kupwc; (Matt 24:45-51; Luke 12:43-48). Luke, however, has two connect-
ing sentences between the two parables that are not in Matthew. Just
after the householder/thief parable, Luke has Peter say to Jesus, "KuptE,
are you telling this parable for us or for all?" Luke then writes, "And 6
Kupwc; said, 'Who then is faithful. .. whom 6 JCupwc; will appoint over
his household' " (12:41-42). In section VI below we will return to the
significance of this addition. At this point it is only necessary to notice
the close correlation of the vocative and nominative in unique Lukan
redactional material as evidence of specific procedure (adding sen-
tences with Kupwc;), style (alternating use of the vocative and non-
vocative), and christology (christological judgment about Jesus as
Kupwc; in his earthly ministry).
(2) Luke 14:21, 22, 23: Luke 14:15-24, the parable of the great ban-
quet, is part of the double tradition (Matt 22:1-14). Within this material
we are afforded yet another glimpse of the uniquely Lukan use of
JCupwc;. Luke's version of the parable differs in several ways from Mat-
thew's, but the one that interests us is Luke's alternating use of Kupwc;
in verses 21, 22, and 23:

66 See, however, the cautionary article of]. H. Petzer, "Author's Style and the Textual
Criticism of the New Testament," NeaTest 24/2 (1990): 185-97.
67 There are of course some scholars who would urge that such matters are the things
with which textual criticism is to begin. See, e.g., the essay of]. Keith Elliott, "Thor-
oughgoing Eclecticism in New Testament Textual Criticism," in The Text of the New
Testament in Contemporary Research, 321-35. In the same collection, the following es-
say by Michael W. Holmes, "Reasoned Eclecticism in New Testament Textual Criti-
cism," 336-60, is clear and balanced in its discussion of "eclecticism" in NT textual
Luke 10:38-42: Mary, Martha, and ... 147

14:21: the slave informed 'tq3 Kup\.cp ...

14:22: the slave said, Kupt£ ...
14:23: 6 Kuptoc; said to the slave ...

Here we may note the general similarity of the sequence within a short
narrative space -dative, vocative, nominative - to that which occurs
in 10:39-41. There are some obvious differences, too, among which is
the lack of an explicit naming of Jesus as Kuptoc; in his earthly ministry
in 14:21-23. Nevertheless, these verses prove valuable because in their
uniqueness they evidence yet again specific Lukan procedure (add-
ing/writing sentences with Kuptoc;) and style (alternating use of the non-
vocative and vocative).
(3) Luke 19:8: Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus, is unique to
Luke. The degree to which the story might derive from "L" is difficult
to determine and probably depends as much on one's view of Luke's
role as an author as it does on detecting alleged redaction. 68 In any case,
verse eight is certainly authorial in the fullest sense of the word 69 :

Zacchaeus said to 'tOV Kuptov, Look, half of my possessions, Kupt£,7° I

give to the poor ...

Zacchaeus' response to Jesus indicates a specific compositional proce-

dure (unique Lukan material with Kuptoc;), style (alternating use of the
non-vocative and vocative), and christology (christological judgment
about Jesus as KUptoc; in his earthly ministry).
(4) Acts 9:10-11; 22:10; 26:15: We can treat the three passages in Acts
together, as they are quite similar in form and all have to do with the
story of Saul's conversion. Though there are obviously minor differ-
ences,71 the three occurrences of Saul's conversion narrative in Acts
bear such similarity to one another that their Lukan authorship is be-
yond question. 72 Given this general likeness, it is hardly surprising that

68 See Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1218-19 and the literature cited therein.

69 So, rightly, Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1219, who notes the specifically Lukan theme and vo-
70 On the position of the vocative, cf. Luke 5:8; 19:18 (l't, B).
71 Robert C. Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation (2 vols.;
Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986, 1990), 2.115, makes too much of these differences,
though his focus on the role of Ananias is important.
72 E.g., C. K. Barrett, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Vol-
ume I (ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1994), 1.444, is representative when he writes
that the "view is now very generally abandoned that [Luke] used three distinct
sources in chs. 9, 22, 26." Barrett goes on to say that Luke is "probably ... composing
148 Moving toward Jerusalem

Luke's use of Kupwc; within the conversion narratives is broadly consis-

(a) Acts 9:10-11: That the Kupwc; spoken of in this passage is clearly
Jesus is established not only implicitly by the reference to the "name"
in 10:16-17, but also explicitly by Ananias' statement in 9:17 that "b
Kupwc; sent me, 'Il]oouc;, the one who appeared to you .... " 73 The alter-
nating use of Kuptoc; is as follows:

9:10b: 6 Kupwc; said to him in a vision, "Ananias ... "

9:10c: And he said, "Here I am, KUptE."
9:11: And 6 Kupwc; [said] to him, "Rise up ... "

(b) Acts 22:10: That Jesus is the Kuptoc; of this verse is established
explicitly two verses prior in 22:8 where Paul asks, "Who are you
KuptE?" and the response is, "I am 6 'Il]oouc; Ncd;,wpcx'ioc; .... " The alter-
nating use of Kuptoc; is as follows:

22:10a: And he said, "What should I do, KUptE?"

22:10b: And 6 KUptoc; said, "Rise up ... "

(c) Acts 26:15: That the Kuptoc; of whom Paul speaks here is estab-
lished explicitly by the verse itself. The alternating use of Kuptoc; is as

26:15ab: And I said, "Who are you, KUptE?"

26:15cd: And 6 Kupwc; said, "I am 'Il]oouc; ... "

These three examples from Acts confirm what we have already seen in
the Gospel and constitute further evidence, therefore, for a specific

on the basis of tradition" (1.445). This latter point is quite important in view of the
fact that authors in Mediterranean antiquity often recast sources in their own lan-
guage and style without any acknowledgement whatsoever of their source materi-
als. For a treatment of Paul's conversion stories that is sensitive to these aspects of
ancient authorship, see Charles H. Talbert, Reading Acts: A Literary and Theological
Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 1997), 93-103.
73 The NRSV translates "the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you ... " and obscures the
force of the KUptO<; identification: "the Lord, that is, Jesus .... " In the world of the
story, Paul of course would have heard 6 KDPtO<; with reference to God, as in "God
sent me." Thus Luke specifies 6 KUpto<; in this case as 'Irpou<;. In so doing he simul-
taneously evidences his awareness of the ambiguity of the word precisely as it is
used for both God and Jesus (contra Schneider, Dunn, and Tuckett, who think that
Luke does not show awareness of such ambiguity).
Luke 10:38-42: Mary, Martha, and ... 149

compositional procedure (unique Lukan material with KUptot;), style

(alternating use of the non-vocative and vocative), and christology
(christological judgment about Jesus as KUptot; - though in Acts the
resurrected Jesus is obviously exalted to the right hand of the Father).
In light of the close resemblance of these six examples to the text
that would read KUptot;, KUptE, KUptot; at Luke 10:39-41 (P 3, ~' B2, etc.), it
would seem on internal grounds most likely that Luke wrote KUptot; in
all these verses, as he did two verses later in 11:1, but that for reasons
we can no longer specify, this use was changed to 'Irpout; in the later
tradition.74 Yet, these internal considerations do not settle the textual
issue beyond dispute, as Luke was definitely not opposed to writ-
ing 'I11crout; and could have written it in either 10:39 or 10:41.75
The scene itself is ironic. For it is Mary who sits at Jesus' feeF 6 and
listens to his word, 77 in her position and receptiveness suggesting at
least an inchoate awareness of her guest's identity. Yet it is the dis-
tracted and busy Martha who addresses Jesus as KUptE, apparently
without understanding the larger significance of her address. Indeed,
in a manner analogous to 9:52-56 (James and John) and 22:38, 49 (the
disciples and the sword 78 ), Jesus' rebuke reveals her failure to do so.79 If
we include KUptot; in 10:39 and 10:41, this irony runs even deeper, as
within the pericope itself Luke ensures that the reader/auditor is privy
to the irony and knows it is 6 KUptot; whom Martha addresses. The use
of the non-vocative in 10:39 and 10:41 makes clear exactly who has
come to Martha's house.

74 Significantly, given the changes from KUptOc; to 'ITjcrouc; elsewhere in D (7:13; 13:15;
22:61a), such a practice would not be without precedent in the history of the trans-
mission of the text.
75 We may note that the lack of a clear threefold KUplE in 9:57-62 both illustrates that
Luke is not necessarily concerned with perfect symmetry at every point in the com-
position of his narrative and points clearly to the possibility that Luke would not
have written KUptOc; all three times here in 10:39-41.
76 In Luke's Gospel, sitting at the feet of Jesus is a posture that symbolizes faith (see
7:38, 44-46; 8:35, 41).
77 As Green, Luke, 435, notes, "For the Third Gospel, to listen to the word is to have
joined the road of discipleship (e.g., 6:47; 8:11, 21; 11:28)." One may also note here
the importance of "the word" in Acts.
78 See chapter four for a discussion of this passage.
79 For an interesting account of certain strands of the Auslegungsgeschichte of this pas-
sage, in which Martha - in contrast to Mary - actually came to be viewed as some-
thing of a paradigm for Christian action, see Blake R. Heffner, "Meister Eckhart and
a Millennium with Mary and Martha," in Biblical Hermeneutics in Historical Perspec-
tive: Studies in Honor of Karlfried Froehlich on His Sixtieth Birthday (eds. Mark S. Bur-
rows and Paul Rorem; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 117-30.
150 Moving toward Jerusalem

The examination of the Kupw~ textual problem in the Mary/Martha

passage again emphasizes something of the complexity of the Lukan
use of Kupto~ for the earthly Jesus in the Gospel and the complicated
textual history that surrounds this use. Further, it allows us to move
forward in our understanding of the unity between the vocative and
non-vocative at the level of Lukan narrative christology. In view of the
occurrence of the vocative in Luke 5:8, 12; 7:6; 9:54, 59, 61; 10:17 and the
interpretation of these passages given heretofore (cf. in the same cate-
gory, JCUpt£ in 13:23; 17:37; 18:41; 19:8; 22:33, 38, 49), four related points
are in order.
First, the initial point to stress is the obvious one, namely, that Luke
composes his narrative, time and time again, so that the vocative and
non-vocative are joined together by virtue of their immediate prox-
imity. To separate them for purposes of downgrading the vocative not
only ignores the importance of context for word-meaning but also in
fact destroys the narrative as narrative, as it dismantles the sequence
Luke has deliberately constructed.
Second, turning now again to late first-century auditors, passages
such as the Martha/Mary pericope and the six others considered above
simply eliminate the possibility of positing a distinction between Kupw~
and JCupt£ within the christology of the narrative. In this light, the read-
ing of Kupt£ as "sir," "milord," and the like that distinguishes between,
e.g., "the Lord" of 10:39 or 10:41 and the "sir" of 10:40, looks rather like
a modern scholarly or linguistic construct that has been misapplied to
the christology of the Lukan narrative. The identity of Jesus as the same
character throughout the narrative holds together the vocative and
non-vocative uses of Kupw~. At this level, 6 JCupw~ is appropriately ad-
dressed as Kupt£, for that indeed is who he is.
However, recognizing the christological unity in the narrative does
not, as we have seen elsewhere, necessitate the elimination of historical
verisimilitude. While the non-vocative uses of Kupw~ in 10:39 and 10:41
alert the reader to the fact that the vocative in 10:40 is christologically
significant on one level, the ambiguity of the vocative allows the "his-
torical" meaning of "sir/master" to be heard on another. The deftness
with which Luke exploits the ambiguity of the vocative allows that at
the level of historical verisimilitude JCUpt£ need not be taken in its full-
est christological sense. Thus, Martha may get the title right, but pre-
cisely in so doing says more than she knows. Her "master" is indeed
"Lord." The mundane JCUpt£ is, by virtue of Luke's placement of 6
Kupto~, christologically significant even as it remains, for Martha, an
The Lord in the Parables 151

everyday term of respect. The literary technique of dramatic irony

holds together both ways of reading (see especially chapter five).
Third, a narratively constituted identity as the philosophical or
hermeneutical underpinning of the continuity between Kupwc; and
Kupt£ is not an alien conceptual framework imposed upon the Lukan
narrative. Much to the contrary, in joining the vocative and non-
vocative through the actual writing of the narrative, Luke himself gives
the unity to the christological uses of Kupwc;.
Fourth, the amount of weight placed on the narrative continuity of
identity naturally raises the question of the use of Kupwc; in the par-
ables, as seen, for example, in the first and second examples from above
(Luke 12:41-42 and 14:21-23). It is to this concern that we now turn our

VI. The Lord in the Parables

A. Luke 12:35-48

Rather than examine in detail each of the seven principal parables in

which there is a Kuptoc; 80 figure, we will explore the way in which the
double signification of the word Kupwc; in Luke 12:35-48, the first of
these parables, relies on the interplay between the parable and its nar-
rative framing, between the story told as parable and the larger Lukan
Gospel. 81 From this analysis we will then be able to draw several con-
clusions regarding the use of Kupwc; in the Lukan parables. 82 These con-

80 See 12:35-48 (watchful servants); 13:6-9 (barren fig tree); 13:22-30 (narrow door);
14:15-24 (great banquet); 16:1-13 (dishonest manager); and 19:11-27 (pounds); 20:9-18
(vineyard and tenants).
81 For parables and narrative, see the brief and clear initial chapter in John R. Donahue,
The Gospel and Parable: Metaphor, Narrative, and Theology in the Synoptic Gospels (Phila-
delphia: Fortress, 1988).
82 The understanding of Jesus' parables in the synoptic gospels constitutes a field of
study in itself. The amount of energy that has been devoted to parabolic interpreta-
tion and meaning in only the time from Jiilicher's famous book Die Gleichnisreden
Jesu at the end of the nineteenth century until the present day is enormous (for an
evaluation of Jiilicher' s work, see the collection of essays in Die Gleichnisreden fesu
1899-1999: Beitriige zum Dialog mit Adolf Jillicher [BZNW 103; ed. Ulrich Mel!; Berlin:
Walter de Gruyter, 1999]; for a concise introduction to parable study in general, see
David B. Gowler, What Are They Saying about the Parables? [New York: Paulist Press,
2000]). If, following Jiilicher, the scholarly tendency was to mine particular parables
in themselves for their "one point," the more recent tendency has been to consider
the multivalent nature of a parable, especially in connection to its place within the
larger gospel narratives (see, e.g., Stephen Curkpatrick, "A Parable Frame-up and Its
152 Moving toward Jerusalem

elusions are, in turn, relevant to the majority of the occurrences of

KUptO<; in the narrative from 12:35-48 until Luke 19:27. 83
Kupw<; occurs nine times in Luke 12:35-48. The first two uses (12:36,
37) bring us into the world of the parable:

Be like those who are waiting for their KUplO<; to return from the wed-
ding banquet. ... Blessed are those slaves whom the KUplO<; finds alert
when he comes ... .

Within this world Kupw<; assumes the rather mundane meaning of

"master," particularly as it is juxtaposed with "slaves" (Kupw<;/
oouA.o<;). 84 The parable thus begins with the realistic and "everyday"
world that Luke's readers/auditors would have inhabited and necessi-
tates a reading of Kupw<; that is congruous with its ordinary Graeco-
Roman semantic field.
Yet by this point in Luke's Gospel, auditors/readers have heard
Kupw<; for Jesus so frequently that the word carries considerable reso-
nance. Luke is aware of the hermeneutical potential of this resonance

Audacious Reframing," NTS 49 [2003]: 22-38. Cf. the "preliminary remarks" of Luke
Timothy Johnson in "The Lukan Kingship Parable (LK. 19:11-27)," NovT 24 [1982]:
139-59 [esp. 141-43]; note, too, the combination of older "historical-critical" and
newer "literary" methodology in the extensive study of Arland J. Hultgren, The Par-
ables of Jesus: A Commentary [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000]). Parable study thus
turns out to have a close connection to larger gospel interpretation: as the earlier
tendency to separate and distill mirrored the developing source, form, etc. criticism,
so the later tendency to situate and expand mirrors the developments in literary in-
terpretation. Such developments are further tied to particular hermeneutical and
philosophical considerations about the nature of texts, levels of meaning, and so on.
In light of such remarks, it should be obvious that in our considerations of the par-
ables below we can hope only to make observations that are directly pertinent to our
theme. Yet, as the reader will quickly become aware, the rather narrow focus is not
without significance for larger matters of parable and gospel interpretation, as at-
tending to the use of Kupwc; within the parables immediately involves one in these
issues. For the specifically Lukan parables, see Greg W. Forbes, The God of Old: The
Role of the Lukan Parables in the Purpose of Luke's Gospel (JSNTSup 198; Sheffield: Shef-
field Academic Press, 2000), or the relevant portions of Kurt Erlemann, Das Bild Got-
tes in den synoptischen Gleichnissen (BW A[N]T 126; Stuttgart: Kohl hammer Verlag,
83 Kupwc; also occurs in 13:15; 17:5, 6, 37; 18:6, 41; and 19:8 (2). In every case, I have
already noted the connection of the use in question to other passages that are repre-
sentative (13:15 [in relation to 6:5]; 17:5, 6; 18:6 [in relation to 7:11-17]; 18:41 [in rela-
tion to 7:1-10]; 19:8 [in relation to 10:38-42]; 17:37 [in relation to 10:38-42]). We do not,
therefore, need to consider these uses individually but may instead simply note that
through them Luke continues to develop his use Kuptoc; in a narratively consistent
manner and that the narrative from 9:51-19:27 is replete with occurrences of
84 On the translation of 8ouA.oc;, see Hultgren, Parables, 473-76.
The Lord in the Parables 153

and makes clever use of it as a guide to understanding the parable's

thrust. Thus in 12:41-42 we are lifted out of the world of the parable
and put back into the larger Gospel narrative. This turn outward does
not happen in the Matthean parallel, and, hence, a brief comparison
with Matthew's narrative at this point is instructive. Matthew and Luke
run together from Luke 12:39 ("and know this") to Luke 12:46 (from
Matt 24:42-51). 85 They both place the material about the "hour of the
thief" (Luke 12:39-40; Matt 24:43-44) together with the material about
the "faithful manager/slave" (Luke 12:42b-48; Matt 24:45-51). 86 But
whereas Matthew simply juxtaposes the two sets of material, Luke
connects them with a question from Peter and sets the faithful house-
holder material as Jesus' answer and explication: "And Peter said,
'Kupt£, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?' And 6 Kuptoc;
said .... " The double tradition then picks up again, as Luke continues,
"Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom 6 Kuptoc; will put
in charge of his household .... " In Luke 12:41-42 we thus have an im-
mediate KUptoc; sequence in which the first two uses refer to Jesus and
the third use refers to the Kuptoc; of the parable:

And Peter said, "Kupt£, are you telling this parable for us or for eve-
ryone?" And 6 KUptoc; said, "Who then is the faithful and prudent
manager whom 6 KUptoc; will put in charge of his household?"

Luke's Kuptoc; sequence interrupts the flow of Jesus' parabolic teaching

to introduce Jesus himself as KUptoc; and in this way effects a blending
of narrative worlds:

Be like those who are waiting for their Kuptoc; to return from the wed-
ding banquet .... Blessed are those slaves whom the Kuptoc; finds alert
when he comes .... And Peter said, 'Kupt£, are you telling this parable
for us or for everyone?' And 6 Kuptoc; said, 'Who then is the faithful
and prudent manager whom 6 Kuptoc; will put in charge of his house-
hold ... .' Blessed is that slave whom his Kuptoc; will find at work when
he comes .... But if that slave says in his heart, 'My Kuptoc; is delayed in
coming' ... and begins to strike the manservants and maidservants, 6
KUptoc; of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him
and in an hour which he does not know .... And that slave, the one who
knew the will of his Kuptoc; but did not prepare or do his will, will re-
ceive a severe beating.

85 Luke also has an additional conclusion that is absent from Matthew (Luke 12:47-48).
86 Luke has oixov6~oc; where Matthew reads 8ouA.oc;.
154 Moving toward Jerusalem

If we pursue Luke's hermeneutical cue given in 12:41-42, we can see

that Jesus is here speaking of himself in his future parousia. 87 Aware
that his auditors might already think of Jesus Kupwc; in relation to the
parable, Luke - displaying both narrative artistry and a sensitivity to
the auditory experience of texts - makes use of such an echo and
guides the listener to complete the allegorical line between Jesus and
the returning Kupwc; of the parable. 88
Kupwc; is thus the Stichwort that binds together the two parts of the
parable and also ties the parable to the larger Lukan story. The move
toward the larger narrative in 12:41-42 shifts the focus of the story in
such a way as to require the inclusion of Jesus Kupwc; himself in the in-
terpretation of his parable. The story-world created by the narration of
the parable is intertwined with the Gospel narrative through the word
Kupwc; as it is read on both levels, as "master" in the world of the par-
able, and as "Lord" along the allegorical lines that Luke so clearly pro-

87 Since the same general interpretation can probably be gleaned from Matthew's ver-
sion (which lacks Luke's specific reading directive), it would seem that Luke's addi-
tion is all the more significant for what it communicates about Luke's intentionality
with respect to his use of K6pwc; and his composition of the Gospel.
88 On parables and allegory, see above all Hans-Josef Klauck's dissertation, Allegorie
und Allegorese in synoptischen Gleichnistexten (NA 13; Munster: Aschendorff, 1978). As
the title indicates, Klauck distinguishes between allegorical elements within the par-
ables and the allegorizing interpretation of later interpreters. (He also speaks of" Al-
legorisierung," by which he means the process in which a parable comes to accrue
allegorical elements through time - in translation, oral transmission, etc. Allegorie,
Allegorese, and Allegorisierung are treated together under the Sammelname "Alle-
gorik.") In contrast to Ji.ilicher, Dodd, et al., who argued that the presence of alle-
gorical elements within a parable likely precluded its origin at the level of the his-
torical Jesus, Klauck argues on the basis of a wide comparison with other ancient
literature that it is not unlikely that Jesus told parables with allegorical elements.
Klauck also makes the important point that "Die Auslegung eines allegorischen
Textes ist selbst nicht allegorisch, solange sie streng nach der intentionalen Textur
des exegetischen Objekts fragt, d. h. nach sprachlicher Struktur, Intention des Au tors
und Erwartungshorizont der Hi.irer" (354-55). Cf., too, Forbes, The God of Old, who
argues "on the basis of current research, it is legitimate to speak of allegorical fea-
tures in the parables" (328).
89 Cf. Petr Pokorny, Theologie der lukanischen Schriften (Gi.ittingen: Vandenhoeck & Ru-
precht, 1998), 116, "[I]n der lukanischen Fassung der Gleichnisse Jesu ist das Wort
Kupwc; doppeldeutig, und die Ebene des Gleichnisses mischt sich mit der kultischen
Ebene der liturgischen Akklamation 'Herr', wie wires z.B. in den Gleichnissen i.iber
die Wachsamkeit beobachten ki.innen (Lk 12,35-48, 7x [sic; it actually occurs nine
times])"; and de la Potterie, "Le titre KDptoc;," 142.
The Lord in the Parables 155

B. Kvpzo~ and the Parables

Luke 12:35-48 illustrates well what is perhaps the most distinctive as-
pect of Kupwc; within the Lukan parables, namely its movement be-
tween the story-world of the parable and the larger Gospel narrative.
So, for example, the question that provides the occasion for the parable
in 13:22-30 opens with the vocative KUptE: "Someone said to [Jesus],
'KuptE, will only a few be saved?"' (13:23). 90 When, immediately there-
after, the householder (6 oiKo8mrr61:1']c;) of the parable is addressed as
KUptE (13:25), the allegorical line is drawn and the world of the parable
blends with the wider story told in the Gospel.
Yet, true to parabolic style, Luke's use of KUptOc; within the parables
refuses to be tidy. It does not always occur in editorial remarks, and it
retains its stubborn ambiguity present elsewhere in the larger narra-
tive.91 In Luke's version of the parable of the great banquet (14:15-24),
for example, there is no explicitly editorial tie to the larger narrative
(such as we see in 12:35-48 and 13:22-30). But, in contrast to Matthew's
version, where Kupwc; does not occur at all, Luke uses the word three
times, and these occurrences form a typical conjunction of vocative and
non-vocative (see section V of this chapter): 92 "And the slave returned
and reported these things 1:4) Kup'tc.p au1:ou. Then the master of the
house became angry and said to his slave .... And the slave said,
'KuptE, 93 what you have ordered has been done, and yet there is room.'
And 6 Kupwc; said to his slave ... " (14:21-23). The reader/auditor is
thereby encouraged to discern in the parable a metaphor of the king-
dom in light of the larger Gospel story. 94 Though it is finally unclear

90 The coherence and makeup of Luke 13:22-30 has been variously discussed, and sev-
eral scholars would deny that the term parable is an appropriate description of the
pericope. Yet, as others have seen, such wholesale denial is unnecessary, as verses
25-27 are difficult to describe other than as a parable. See, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1021;
and John Nolland, Luke (3 vols.; WBC; Dallas: Word Books, 1989-93), 2.734-35.
91 Cf., e.g., Forbes, The God of Old, 260, who states that he "shall continue ... to speak of
the nature and character of God in the parables, with the understanding that, at
times, there is an overlap between the depiction of God and the person of Jesus that
enables a transfer of a particular metaphor from one to the other."
92 There are of course many substantial differences between the Matthean version of
this parable (Matt 22:1-14) and the Lukan one, and also between these two and the
version found in the Gospel of Thomas 64. The relation of these different versions to
one another has been the subject of much discussion. See, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke,
93 Again Codex Bezae omits KUplO~.
94 Johnson, Luke, 232, for example, writes of the parable as a "fairly transparent alle-
gory of Luke's narrative as a whole." For a concise essay on the earlier allegorical in-
terpretation of this parable (as well as the Matthean version), see Francis W. Beare,
156 Moving toward Jerusalem

whether the Kupw~ figure corresponds to God or to Jesus, 95 this ambi-

guity, too, reflects the wider story in which the coming of the kingdom
of God is bound to the person of Jesus. 96

"The Parable of the Guests at the Banquet: A Sketch of the History of Its Interpreta-
tion," in The Joy of Study: Papers on New Testament and Related Subjects Presented to
Honor Frederick Clifton Grant (ed. Sherman E. Johnson; New York: Macmillan, 1951),
95 E.g., while most commentators take KUptot; to signify God, David P. Moessner, The
Lord of the Banquet: The Literary and Theological Significance of the Lukan Travel Narrative
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989), 157-58 (and n. 275) makes a compelling case that
KUplOt; is used here to present Jesus as the Lord and host of the banquet. Green,
Luke, 554-63, offers a clever and perhaps ethically more palatable interpretation of
the parable, wherein the host is not to be identified with God. Instead, the host him-
self, as an exemplar of Jesus' message in 14:12-14, undergoes a "transformation" in
his understanding of "social relations." His parting words address "his peers with
an implicit challenge that they embrace social identity with the poor and destitute,
those incapable of participating in the social games of reciprocity and status aug-
mentation" (563). Though not entirely impossible, in light of the six other parables in
which KuplOt; refers by extension to God and/or Jesus, it is difficult to believe that
this one would constitute an exception (though, as Green correctly notes, not every
authority figure in Luke's Gospel is to be straightforwardly identified with God in
an allegorical sense [556 n. 145]). Citing Luke 6:35-36, Green asserts that if we take
this parable to give a picture of God, "such a portrait is fundamentally at odds with
Luke's theology" (emphasis original). Yet it is by no means clear that one has to set
God's mercy and judgment in opposition, even if the precise manner in which these
matters are to be related can be worked out in different ways.
96 Another interesting example of a case where the KuplOt; figure in the allegory gener-
ated by the parable remains ambiguous is in 16:1-9. This remains so even if one
reads 16:1-9 together with 16:10-13 (for this procedure as an interpretive necessity,
see Johnson, Luke, esp. 247). Schneider, Lukas 2.330-33, for example, reads KuplOt; in
16:8 as the figure in the parable and interprets the allegory christologically. Yet, the
use of KUplOt in 16:13 in conjunction with the stark alternative - 8E6t; or jlajlCOVat;
- introduces the possibility of a theological reading as well. Some scholars (e.g.,
Bultmann, History of the Synoptic Tradition, *175-76; Leaney, St. Luke, 220) would end
the parable proper at 16:7, thereby turning the 6 KuplOt; of 16:8 into a Lukan author-
ial/editorial use of KUplOt; for Jesus (similar to 12:42). Such a division is not entirely
impossible, but I find it unlikely, for it overlooks Luke's clear transitional signal in
16:9a: Kat Eyci:l UjltV lci::yco. This transition not only marks 16:9 as the place where
Jesus begins to speak, but also makes 16:8 look very awkward as an editorial inter-
jection intended to be read as such - an editorial explanation at this particular point
would serve only to interrupt considerably the flow of the parable, which in any case
receives explanation within the telling itself. Stating it this way purposefully avoids
the claim that 16:8 is traceable to Jesus' earthly ministry. If 16:1-7 or 16:1-8a go back
to Jesus, then 16:8 or 16:8b may well be an addition by Luke (though it could also be
pre-Lukan; we simply do not know). But, and this is the point, the addition is to the
parable as parable not to the parable as explanation. This is the significance of the
transition in 16:9. Moreover, the second on in 16:8 (on oi uioi 'tOU aimvot; ... )
makes perfect sense as an explanatory conjunction and thus moves rather nicely to-
ward the transition in 16:9: "The KUplOt; commended the unjust steward for acting
shrewdly because the sons of this age are more shrewd than the sons of light in deal-
ing with their own generation. And I say to you .... "
Conclusion 157

Because of the nature of parables themselves, Kupwc; as used within

them necessarily functions somewhat differently from its use in Luke's
more straightforward prose. Yet it is clear that Luke uses the word to
bring to the fore the allegorical significations of the parable by means of
a connection to the larger narrative, and, conversely, to open the di-
mensions of the identity of the KUptoc; by means of a parabolic "thicken-
ing" of character. To rephrase Ricoeur: parable and hermeneia go hand
in hand. 97 The KUptoc; parables within the Gospel are thus to be read in
light of the larger Ot1'WT]O'tc; even as they simultaneously contribute to
the understanding of the identity of the K0ptoc; - for the worlds of
which they tell are conjoined.

VII. Conclusion

In this chapter we have seen that with respect to Luke and K0ptoc;, unre-
flective, accidental use or addition has simply been ruled out. Entirely
to the contrary, the cumulative effect of the foregoing exegesis is to put
forcefully the point that Luke has employed KUptoc; in a sophisticated
and deliberate manner throughout the entire Gospel narrative so far.
From Jesus' resolution to go to Jerusalem in 9:51 until the moment
of his arrival, Luke uses KUptoc; with remarkable agility to distance Je-
sus from Elijah, to undergird Jesus' dramatic claims vis-a-vis Jewish
law, and to coordinate the revelation of the Father with the Son and his
mission. Furthermore, Luke makes use of the ambiguity of the vocative
KUpt£ for historical verisimilitude, while simultaneously juxtaposing
the vocative and non-vocative cases of KUptoc; to press for a unified
reading or continuity in the christology of the narrative; and by means
of this Stichwort he funds an allegorical interpretation of the parables
that knits them closely together with the larger story. Thus the contour
of this narrative development is not uniform in any rigid sense, but
rather displays the flexibility inherent to Luke's purpose: to narrate the
presence and visitation of God in the identity of Jesus as KUptOc;, along
with the attendant implications thereof, by weaving the word carefully
through the various and multifaceted aspects of the movement toward

97 Paul Ricoeur, "Biblical Hermeneutics," Semeia 4 (1975): 27-148: "Kerygma and herme-
neia go hand in hand" (35).
Chapter 4

Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection:

Luke 19:28-24:53
In the preceding chapter we investigated Luke's varied use of Kupwc;
throughout the body of the Gospel. Yet we also noted that such variety
nonetheless exhibits a basic consistency, both in terms of continuity
with the employment of Kupwc; in the first half of the Gospel and in
terms of the overall use to which Luke puts the word, that is, to narrate
the act of God in the identity of Jesus as Kupwc;.
In this chapter we will give attention to the use of Kupwc; in the final
large section of the Gospel, that of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, his pas-
sion, and his resurrection. Though, with good reason, a well-estab-
lished feature of modern critical scholarship is to treat the passion nar-
rative and resurrection narrative separately, 1 a discussion of the
meaning engendered by the use of Kupwc; requires that we read Luke
19:28-24:53 as one unbroken narrative in continuity with the earlier
story. Only in this way will we be able to discern the significance of
Kupwc; in relation to the presence and visitation of God in Jesus' pas-
sion, its total absence during the trial and crucifixion, and its reemer-
gence on the other side of Jesus' resurrection in the final moments of
the Gospel story.

Cf. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke (2 vols. Garden City: Doubleday,
1981, 1985), 2.1533: "Like the infancy narrative and the passion narrative, the resur-
rection narrative is a subform of the literary genre of gospel." Fitzmyer does note ex-
ceptions to the dominant trend (e.g., Vincent Taylor), but concludes that "given the
diversity of the gospel tradition found here, it [the resurrection narrative] deserves
separate treatment" (1533).
Luke 19:28-40 (7:19; 13:35): Psalm 118:26: The Entry of the Lord 159

I. Luke 19:28-40 (7:19; 13:35): Psalm 118:26:

The Entry of the Lord

A. d 1cvpw; rov 1nvA-ov

As in the Gospel of Mark, the so-called "Triumphal Entry" begins in

Luke with the procuring of a colt (n:c.OA.oc;). 2 In both Gospels Jesus sends
ouo 'tcDV J.lCX8rrcc.Ov into a KcOJ.ll] with instructions to bring back to him
what is evidently someone else's colt. Lest the disciples be taken for
thieves and prevented, Jesus gives them the words to say that will suf-
ficiently justify their action: 6 Kupwc; atl'tou XPEtav EXEt (Mark 11:3;
Luke 19:31).
In the Markan text the pronoun amou can be read either with refer-
ence to Kupwc; ("its Lord has need") or to XPEtav ("the Lord has need of
it"). In both readings the general thrust is the same. Taken on its own, 6
Kuptoc; au'tou XPEtav EXEt in the Lukan text seems to present the same
possibilities. Yet, Luke makes two important changes to Mark that,
while varying the story only very slightly, nevertheless shift the em-
phasis such that the former option better expresses the distinctiveness
and significance of the Lukan text.3
The first change, which has been frequently noted, 4 is from Mark's
description of those who question the disciples' action: 'ttvEc; 'tcDV EKEt
Ecr'tl]K6'twv. Rather than "some bystanders," Luke writes oi KUptOt
au'tou. 5 This description stands in contrast to or, more precisely, in a

2 Luke, of course, omits Mark's Ka\. EpX,OV'tat Ei.~ 'IEpocr6J,.;u~a (11:15), but it is clear
that Jesus enters Jerusalem on his way to the temple (the next major pericope -
Luke 19:41-44- is technically part of the approach to Jerusalem).
3 Luke makes more than two changes to Mark (e.g., he omits the promise of the return
of the animal), but the two mentioned above are those that are directly related to our
4 E.g., Gerhard Schneider, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (2 vols. OTKNT 3; Wi.irzburg:
Echter Verlag, 1977), 2.386. John Nolland, Luke (3 vols.; WBC; Dallas: Word Books,
1989-93), 3.925, calls this change "significant," but he does not explain the nature of
such significance.
5 Fitzmyer, Luke, 3.1250, attributes the plural to the colt's master and mistress. Such a
proposal seems prima facie far more likely than Buth's argument that oi. KUptot
au'tou is a Hebrew idiom which necessitates that the phrase be understood in the
singular (Randall Buth, "Luke 19:31-34, Mishnaic Hebrew, and Bible Translation: Is
KUptol ncbA.ou Singular?" JBL 104/4 [1985]: 680-85). Buth's article is rife with other
problems as well, such as the hypothesis of an underlying Hebrew source, the con-
venient dismissal of Kuptot in Acts 16:16 as non-Hebraic (with the concomitant ne-
glect of Lukan "style" and purposeful paronomasia), the lack of attention to the lar-
ger Graeco-Roman semantic field, a translation proposal of Luke 19:33 on the basis
of the alleged Hebrew rather than the Greek text, etc. Cf. Nolland, Luke, 3.925.
160 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

type of antithetical parallelism with Jesus' self-designation in 19:31: 6

K0ptec; cdYtou. 6
The second change, which is less frequently noticed/ pertains to
the narration of the disciples' response to their questioners. Mark
narrates the story in the third person - "and they said to them just
what Jesus said" - presumably feeling no need to repeat Jesus' words.
But Luke's technique is quite different. He shifts to direct speech -
"and they said" - and repeats verbatim: 6 K0ptec; cx:tl'toU XPE'Lav EX£1. 8
The comparison with Mark thus yields the following:

Mark 11:3-6 Luke 19:31-34

"6 Kupwc; a\nou" "6 Kuptec; amou"
'ttVEc; 'tcDV ElCEt EO''tT]lC6'tWV oi JCuptOt au'tou
drrav au'totc; JCa9wc; dn:Ev 6 'IT]crouc; "6 Kupwc; amou"

These are relatively small differences in general meaning between

Mark and Luke; it thus seems that it would have been rather easy for
Luke to follow Mark here. Luke's adjustments are in a strict sense nei-
ther theologically nor literarily necessary: the Markan text makes good
sense without them. Yet, the Lukan narrative sequence displays not
only Luke's knowledge and appropriation of the everyday use of
JCupwc; (d., in the Gospel, KUptE in 7:6, etc. 9 ) but also his conscious em-
ployment of this meaning of the word to contrast it with his use of
JCupwc; for Jesus. The compositional process illustrates the christological
shape of Kuptoc; - the person of Jesus controls the use and meaning of
JCuptoc; within the narrative. The character of Jesus in the narrative line
of the Gospel is not "master," but Lord.
This observation permits insight into the purpose of Luke's se-
quence and leads to the reading "6 JCupwc; of it has need," or, in

6 Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 685, sees
the contrast clearly.
7 Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1250, and Eduard Schweizer, The Good News according to Luke
(Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984), 298, at least note the repetition, but they do not see
the importance of the change from Mark. C. F. Evans, Saint Luke (London: SCM
Press, 1990), 679, also notes the change but describes its function all too generally; it
focuses "attention on the word of Jesus as predictive and effective."
8 I takeon here to mark direct speech (the so-called O'tt recitativum), as also in 19:31.
But if one translates "Because its Lord ... ," the point is not altered.
9 Cf., for example, Josephus, Ant. 4.8.36 §282, where the owner of an ox is called 6
KUptO<; !3o6<;, or Acts 16:16 and 16:19 where Luke writes oi KUptOt for the "lords" of
the soothsaying slave girl.
Luke 19:28-40 (7:19; 13:35): Psalm 118:26: The Entry of the Lord 161

smoother English, "its Lord has need" 10 (6 K:upwc; a1rtou XPEtav £xn) as
that which captures the force of Luke's word-play: 11

And if anyone asks you, "Why are you untying it?" you will say, "its Lord
[6 K:Uptoc; a1rcou] has need" .... And while they were untying the colt its
lords [oi K:Uptot a1rwu ] said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?"
And they said, "Its Lord [6 KUptoc; amou] has need."

With this reading Luke's effort to root the justification for the procuring
of the colt in the identity of Jesus as the Lord can be clearly seen. 12 The
animal finally belongs not to the K:Uptot of the village but to the one
who is K:Uptoc; from the womb, and it is his identity as K:Uptoc; that works
in this passage to authorize the disciples to bring the colt to its Lord. 13
Nolland is therefore correct to say that "[t]o Luke and to his readers
'the Lord' here is the 'Lord' of the full Christian affirmation (d. 7:13)."
But he confuses the matter when he continues "though in Luke's story
line, the terminology need mean no more than 'the master' (of the dis-
ciples), whose authority, nonetheless, comes with his disciples, who
speak the words that have been given to them by their master." 14 The
confusion arises over the meaning of "Luke's story line."
If by "Luke's story line" Nolland intends to speak of the Lukan
attempt to present pre-resurrection history - a kind of history qua
history - then he would be correct, should this in fact match Luke's
historiographical aim. 1s If, however, N olland intends to refer to the

10 Given that the articular use of 6 KUptoc; is Luke's particular narrative style, it is
unfortunate at this point that smooth English does not allow the force of the article
to come through.
11 Translations of oi KUplOt such as "owners" (so, e.g., RSV), while not incorrect in
meaning, blunt and thus obscure what Luke is at pains to develop. The passage was
overlooked by Elbert Russell in his forty-six page Chicago dissertation Paronomasia
and Kindred Phenomena in the New Testament (Chicago: University of Chicago Librar-
ies, 1920), 34.
12 Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1249, is generally correct when he writes that KUptoc; functions "to
assert Jesus' right to send for the animal." So, too, many others: e.g., Green, Luke,
685, "The claim of Jesus (as lord [sic!]) supersedes the rights of ownership" (though
Green's reading "lord" here falls short christologically).
13 Josef Ernst, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Regensburger Neues Testament; Regensburg:
Friedrich Pustet, 1993), 398, is right to say that 19:31, 33 are "vom Standpunkt eines
Mannes aus geschrieben, der die Macht des Herrn Jesus Christus i:isterlich erfahren
hat," though one could argue that this description could apply to the entire Gospel,
written as it was from an Easter-faith perspective.
14 Nolland, Luke, 3.925.
15 For recent work on Lukan historiography, see esp. Todd Penner, In Praise of Christian
Origins: Stephen and the Hellenists in Lukan Apologetic Historiography (New
York/London: T. & T. Clark International, 2004); and Clare K. Rothschild, Luke-Acts
162 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

presentation of the identity of Jesus in Luke's actual narrative, then he

gets it exactly backwards. It is precisely the Lukan story line in this
sense that brings forth the force of the christological claim: in the chris-
tology of Luke's story line, Jesus is Lord. 16
There is yet another facet to the Lukan paronomasia, one which
seems to seize upon the possibility of ambiguity in the Markan text and
which furthers Luke's theology of resonance initially developed in the
opening scenes of the Gospel. It is certainly true that 6 KUplO~ in Mark
11:3 can be taken as Jesus' self-designationY Yet the phrase 6 Kupw~
a\ywu XPEtav EXEt could just as easily be read as Jesus' theological justi-
fication for the apprehension of the colt. In this latter case, Jesus speaks
of God as 6 Kupw~: "The Lord (i.e., God) has need of it."
It is of course impossible to prove that Luke sensed the opportunity
in the Markan text, but his delicate adjustment of the pericope around
Kupw~ coupled with his larger purpose in using the ambiguity of KUplO~
suggest that he may well have. Regardless, as Marshall rightly saw, the
ambiguity in the referent of Kupto~ exists in the Lukan text as in the
Markan. 18
In fact, it makes excellent sense to think that Jesus claims that
"God" (6 Kupw~) has need. In this case, looking now into the story-
world itself, the KUplOt of the colt would hear that God was the one be-
hind that which required them to give up their animal - God is the
true Kupto~ of the colt and thus can demand its use. Yet the audi-
tor/reader of the Lukan text would possess the knowledge that 6 KUplO~
is the way in which the author of the Gospel refers to Jesus (7:13, etc.),
and, as argued just above, Luke's alterations of the Markan text serve to
focus the attention upon Jesus. The ambiguity is thus finally irresolv-
able exegetically: the "both/and" of the Kupto~ resonance presses the

and the Rhetoric of History: An Investigation of Early Christian Historiography (WUNT

2/175; Ti.ibingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004).
16 Though he opts for the translation "Lord," Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke
(SacPag 3; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), 296, believes "master" to be an
option. By retaining "master" as an option in narrative interpretation, Johnson has
confused historical verisimilitude with narrative identity. In Luke's story, the iden-
tity of Jesus is not "master" but rather "Lord."
17 Though, as is often noted, the nominative absolute would be unique in Mark's
Gospel as a reference to Jesus (cf., however, the citation of Ps 110:1 in Mark 12:36).
An interesting possibility for readers of Mark's Gospel is Jesus' reference to 6 KUptoc;
in Mark's version of the healing of the Gerasene demoniac. After healing the demo-
niac, Jesus instructs him to go and tell "how much 6 Kuptoc; has done for you." The
healed man then goes into the Decapolis and proclaims "how much Jesus [6 'IT]crouc;]
has done for him" (5:19-20).
18 Marshall, Luke, 713.
Luke 19:28-40 (7:19; 13:35): Psalm 118:26: The Entry of the Lord 163

point that the colt is God's colt precisely in that it is Jesus' colt. 19 God
the Kupwc; lays claim to the animal through Jesus the KUptoc;.

B. iv dv6J1a'rl Kvpiov

After the colt is brought to Jesus, he rides it toward Jerusalem, while

the "whole multitude of disciples began to praise God joyfully with a
loud voice" (19:37). In the opening chorus of their praise, the disciples
draw from Ps 118:26. Luke's use of Ps 118:26 (117:26 LXX) reaches back
through 13:35 to 7:19 and probably even to 3:16: 20

£uA-oyru..t£voc; 6 £px_61..l£voc; 6 l)acrtA-£uc; £v'tt Kup1ou (Luke 19:38)

EPX,£'tat 6 icrx_up6't£p6c; !lOU (Luke 3:16)

Rusam is correct that the Stichwort is obviously 6 £px_61..l£Voc;, which for

Luke has become something of a formal title. 21 John speaks of a might-
ier one who "is coming" and later sends his disciples to ask Jesus
whether or not he is this "Coming One." Jesus himself laments over
Jerusalem and, quoting Ps 118:26a, prophetically declares that the city
will not see him until they say, "Blessed is the One who comes in the
name of the Kupwc;." 22 Jesus' words are then narratively fulfilled as he

19 Cf. Petr Pokorny, Theologie der lukanischen Schriften (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck &
Ruprecht, 1998), 116-17: "In der Erzahlung i.iber den Einzug in Jerusa-
lem ... unterstreicht Lukas das Wort [1c6pt0~], indem er zweimal wiederholt (VV. 31
und 34 - nur bei Lukas), daB der Herr das Tier braucht, so daB hier drei Bedeutun-
gen des Wortes KuptO~ mitklingen: KUptO~ als Gottesbezeichnung (so im V. 38), als
christologischer Titel und als Bezeichnung eines irdischen Herrn."
20 So Dietrich Rusam, Das Alte Testament bei Lukas (BZNW 112; Berlin: Walter de
Gruyter, 2003), 228. For a thorough treatment of the use of Psalm 118 in Luke-Acts,
see J. Ross Wagner, "Psalm 118 in Luke-Acts: Tracing a Narrative Thread," in Early
Christian Interpretation of the Scriptures of Israel: Investigations and Proposals (eds. Craig
A. Evans and James A. Sanders; JSNTSup 148; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press,
1997): 154-78. Wagner also sees a connection to 3:16 (161).
21 See Darrell L. Bock, Proclamation from Prophecy and Pattern: Lucan Old Testament
Christology (JSNTSup 12; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1987), 118.
22 See Dale C. Allison, "Matt. 23:39 = Luke 13:35b as a Conditional Prophecy," JSNT 18
(1983): 75-84. Allison's argument - that Jesus' words hold out hope that Jerusalem
will welcome him in the name of the Lord and in so doing repent and be forgiven -
has found general acceptance (e.g., Green, Wagner).
164 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

enters Jerusalem to cries of "Blessed is the One who comes - the King
- in the name of the Kuptoc;!"23
The fulfillment of Jesus' words in 13:35 with his entry into Jerusa-
lem is at the same time a literal fulfillment of Ps 118:26a 24 and illus-
trates rather vividly Luke's messianic or christological interpretation of
the Jewish Scriptures. 25 As the Coming One, Jesus is the Royal Messiah
(hence Luke's insertion: 6 f3cxcrtAEut; 26 ) who enters the city £v ov611cxn
The phrase £v ov611cx'tl Kuptou is striking in view of Luke's chris-
tological word-play with KUptoc; in 19:31-34, and the authorial use of
Kuptoc; in 19:8 and in the so-called Parable of the Pounds immediately
preceding the approach to Jerusalem. The paronomasia within the
movement of the narrative creates a resonance in which Jesus' entry is

23 This is the last time the Stichwort is used in the Gospel and thus presumably indi-
cates that Jerusalem stands as the telos - in terms of place - of Jesus' messianic
24 Rusam, Das Alte Testament bei Lukas, is correct to treat this passage in his larger
section entitled "Das irdische Wirken Jesu als Erfli.llung des AT." There are some
scholars who argue that Luke 13:35 refers to the parousia because 13:35 is not ful-
filled with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (e.g., E. Earl Ellis, The Gospel of Luke [NCB;
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981], 191). But these scholars are surely reading Luke
with Matthean eyes. In Matthew, the lament over Jerusalem occurs after Jesus' tri-
umphal entry (Matt 21:9) - the (second) use of Ps 118:26a in the lament does then in
fact refer to the parousia (Matt 23:39), for it points past the end of the narrative to-
ward Jesus' return. But in Luke Jesus' lament over Jerusalem occurs before his trium-
phal entry. Thus in narrative logic the second time Ps 118:26 is cited, the whole
throng of the disciples is in fact fulfilling Jesus' prophecy in 13:35 as they cry out
with the words of Ps 118:26 in 19:38. How this prophecy is fulfilled is a different
question (acceptance or rejection) and turns on the Jewish leadership's rejection of
25 It seems that such an individualized messianic interpretation of the psalm did not
exist outside the early Christian communities. Yet Luke is not unique in his reading:
"While the evidence for a first-century messianic reading of Psalm 118 outside Chris-
tian circles is relatively slight, the widespread use of Psalm 118 in the New Testa-
ment suggests that the convention of interpreting the psalm messianically pre-dates
the writing of the Gospels. Psalm 118 is quoted in the Synoptics-in both double and
triple tradition and in Luke's unique material-in Acts, in John, and in 1 Peter. In all
of these instances, the psalm is used by the writers as a reference to Jesus" (Wagner,
"Psalm 118," 161). See also Wagner's discussion of the absence of Psalm 118 from the
extant extra-biblical Jewish literature which precedes the Mishnah (159-60).
26 This is the first time Jesus is explicitly named King in Luke, though Gabriel does
inform Mary that God will give to Jesus "the throne of his ancestor David," and that
Jesus "will reign [j3acrtAE"ilcrEt] over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom
[j3acrtA-E\.ac;] there will be no end" (Luke 1:32-33). Rusam, Das Alte Testament bei Lu-
kas, 228, rightly notes that 6 j3acrtAEuc; builds a bridge to the passion (23:2f.) and the
crucifixion (23:37f.).
27 Wagner, "Psalm 118 in Luke-Acts," emphasizes Luke's use of Ps 118:26a to prefigure
Jesus' rejection and vindication as Messiah (esp. 167-70, 175-76).
Luke 19:28-40 (7:19; 13:35): Psalm 118:26: The Entry of the Lord 165

theologically deepened and the God of Israel's name messianically

shaped. The Lord is coming: 6 Kupw~ rides into Jerusalem £v ov6f.lcx:tt
Kup1ou. 28 Through Luke's word-play and narrative technique, the royal
(6 l3acrtA-Eu~), messianic (6 £px6f.lEVo~) entry takes on the character of an
embodied coming of the God of Israel as JCupw~ through his xptcr'to~
JCupw~. In this way, the God of Israel, the 6£6~ whom the disciples
praise (19:37), does not remain far off (sending, as it were, only a mes-
senger) but instead comes into Jerusalem as Kupw~ in the person of his
Messiah and thus binds himself to the impending events in the capital
city. 29
The conclusion to the uniquely Lukan material that forms the end
of the approach to Jerusalem expresses in a terse and dramatic way the
coordination of the coming of the Kupw~ of Israel with the coming of
the Kupw~ Jesus to Jerusalem. After pronouncing judgment upon Jeru-
salem, Jesus gives the reason for the impending calamity: "because 30
you did not know the time of your bncrJCon:fj~ (19:44)." This echo carries
from Luke 1:68, 78, and 7:16, all of which speak explicitly of God's
visitation (d. Acts 15:14). 31 Whether or not picking up consciously

28 Perhaps this is to press it too much, but if we keep in mind that in Hebrew
YHWH/ldlptOc; would here be in the construct state (Kuptou/:11:1' 01V:J), then we
might note the possibility of reading the phrase as "in the name of 'Lord'," which of
course would work exceptionally well given Luke's consistent use of 6 KUptOc;.
29 Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1246, makes the interesting suggestion that the approach to
Jerusalem is the fulfillment of Mal 3:1 ("Behold, I am sending out my messenger and
he will prepare the way before me, and suddenly the Lord will come into his Temple, the
one whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant which you desire. Behold, I
am coming, says the Lord Almighty"; i8ou Eym E~a1tO<J'tEAA(J) 'tOV ayyEMV ~0'\J
Ka't E1tl(3AE\j!E'tat 686v npo npomcr1tO'\J ~0'\J Ka't E~at¢vT]c; lj~Et Eic; 'tOV vaov
KUptOc; ov U~Etc; ~T]'tEl'tE Ka't 6 ayyEAOc; 'tllt; 8ta8i]KT]c; ov U~Etc; 8EAE'tE i8ou
Ep;(E'tat AEYEt KUptOc; nav'toKpchwp). Rene Laurentin, Structure et Theologie de Luc
I-II (Paris: J. Gabalda, 1957), 56-63 (esp. 58-59), makes the same suggestion for Jesus'
presentation in (i.e., "entrance into") the temple in Luke 2:22-35. The inherent prob-
lem here is that both suggestions are equally plausible (one might even make good
cases for Luke 2:41-52 and/or the end of the Gospel narrative). This fact probably in-
dicates that Luke does have Malachi 3 in mind when constructing the narrative as a
whole (or in relation to the totality of the coming of Jesus - his life, in other words),
but that these particular scenes are not in their details shaped to fit a one to one cor-
respondence of promise and fulfillment. Robert C. Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of
Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation (2 vols.; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986, 1990), 1.158-
60, views the entry as the time for public revelation; in contrast to 9:20, Jesus no
longer rebukes his disciples for declaring publicly his identity as the Messiah (fol-
lowed, inter alios, by Wagner, "Psalm 118 in Luke-Acts," 167-68).
30 For the sense of av8' wv as "because," see also Luke 1:20 and Acts 12:23.
31 Luke 1:68: EUAOYTJ'tOc; KUptOc; 6 8E6c; 'tOU 'Jcrpai]A, on E1tE<JKE\jfa'tO Ka't E1tOtT]crEv
AU'tpwcrtv 'tql A,ac\) au'tou; 1:78: 8td. crn/.,d.nva £Moue; 8EOu f]~wv £v otc;
E1tl<JKE\jfE'tat/E1tE<JKE\jfa'tO f]~ac; ava'tOATJ E~ U\j/0'\Jt;; 7:16c: E1tE<JKE\jfa'tO 6 8E6c;
166 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

Jeremiah 6:15 (LXX), 32 this sense of £mcrKon:T] as God's visitation or

presence derives directly from the LXX, where the word is used multi-
ple times across various historical periods in precisely this way of the
God of Israel.33
Perhaps such matters underlie the NRSV's decision to add "from
God" to Jesus' statement in 19:44, as if Luke had written £mcrKon:Tj<; 1:ou
8~::ou. Yet, there are no textual traditions with this addition, and it is
Jesus who actually visits Jerusalem - Jesus, that is to say, is the one
who comes and rides to the city. Furthermore, the earlier statements
about God's £mcrKon:T] all relate such visitation to Jesus, whether by
prophetic intimation (1:68, 78) or by astonished reaction to his deeds
(7:16c). Luke's £mcrKon:T] in 19:44 is thus ambiguous because it is inclu-
sive of both God and Jesus. The visitation of Jesus is the presence of
God coming to Jerusalem as KUplO<;. 34

'tOV A,aov au'tou. The connection to the birth-infancy narrative is frequently noted.
See, e.g., Ernst, Lukas, 401; Green, Luke, 689 (though he misses 1:78); Johnson, Luke,
299; Marshall, Luke, 719 (though he misses 1:68); Schneider, Lukas, 2.389. By contrast,
Evans, Saint Luke, 685, makes no reference to the earlier verbal cognates and inter-
prets the passage in abstraction from the earlier narrative. Cf. Karl Heinrich
Rengstorf, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (NTD 3; Giittingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht,
1949), 211-12.
32 So, e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1259, and Nolland, Luke, 3.932. Cf. David L. Tiede, Prophecy
and History in Luke-Acts (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980), 82.
33 So also Joachim Jeremias, Die Sprache des Lukasevangeliums: Redaktion und Tradition im
Nicht-Markusstoff des dritten Evangeliums (Giittingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht,
1980), 73. See, e.g., Gen 50:24, 25; Exod 3:16; 13:19 (loosely citing Gen 50:24-25); Job
6:14; 7:18; 10:12; 24:12; 29:4; 34:9; !sa 23:17; 29:6. The cognate verb E1ttO'KE1t' is
also found frequently with the meaning of "to visit" in the sense of God's presence.
See, e.g., Gen 21:1: Kat Kuptoc; E1t£0'KE\jfa'to 'tllV Lappav Ka8a dnev Kat
EJtOtT]crev Kuptoc; 'tTl Lappa Ka8a EAcXATJO'EV.
34 Nolland, Luke, 3.932 asserts that "the time of visitation by God is not the entry to
Jerusalem as such, but the whole of the ministry of Jesus, now coming to its end."
Nolland is technically correct, of course, that for Luke the visitation of God encom-
passes the whole of Jesus' life. Yet, the clear emphasis given by the movement of the
narrative falls upon this climatic approach to the city - it is this visitation, the "tri-
umphal entry," that is rejected (see esp. Wagner, "Psalm 118 in Luke-Acts"). Indeed,
given Allison's analysis (seen. 22 above), in the narrative world, even as late as Luke
13:35, Jesus still holds out hope that Jerusalem will repent and accept him. Moreover,
Jesus' ministry is not coming to its end just yet - much of the story is left to be told
(parables, prophecies, confrontations, Passover, trial, etc.). Fitzmyer, Green, Tanne-
hill, Wagner, et a!. emphasize the failure of Jerusalem to recognize the things that
make for peace with the rejection of God's messiah who brings peace.
Luke 20:9-19: Parable as Prelude to the Passion 167

II. Luke 20:9-19: Parable as Prelude to the Passion:

The Lord, the Vineyard, and the Tenants

Whether or not the Parable of the Wicked Tenants is rooted in the life
of Jesus has been much debated. 35 What is not debated is that in its Lu-
kan form the parable serves as an allegory for the larger story of the
Gospel, wherein God, Jesus, Israel, and the leaders of Israel are readily
discernable. For the majority of the parable, Luke follows Mark rather
closely, though for our purposes the slight alterations are significant.
In Mark 12:9 we find the expression 6 Kupw~ -cou aJ.t:m:A.wvo~, which
derives ultimately from Isa 5:7 in the so-called Song of the Vineyard (6
a!>v Kup'lou mx[)awe). 36 At the parallel point in the Lukan version,
Luke is careful to copy this expression precisely (so, too, does Matthew
in 21:40): 6 Kupw~ -cou Cx.!ln:cA.wvo~ (Luke 20:15). But Luke also inserts
this exact designation into the parable two verses prior (20:13), where it
is absent in Mark (and in Matthew). There is, in addition, a difference at
this earlier point in narrative technique. Whereas Mark tells of the
sending of "the beloved son" 37 in the third person -"he [the land-
owner] still had one son, a beloved one; he sent him to them last of all"
- Luke moves the story into first person. "And 6 Kupw~ -cou
Cx.!ln:cA.wvo~ said, 'What shall I do? I will send -cov ui6v !lOU -cov
ayan:ll't6v'." Thus we have:

35 See the concise discussions in Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1278-81 (especially in relation to the
Gospel of Thomas) or Schneider, Lukas, 2.397-98. On the one hand, several scholars
have argued for a parable from Jesus as the basis of the Gospel tradition which was
later expanded allegorically (Dodd, Jeremias, etc.). On the other hand, many have
thought the allegory too deeply embedded in the parable to allow for an earlier
form. Evans, Saint Luke, 698, is representative of those who place the weight wholly
on allegory: "This story is so artificial and implausible as not to be intelligible by ref-
erence to actual conditions of life, or any likely course of events, but only as an alle-
gory .... "
36 A point noticed by the majority of modern commentators (e.g., Evans, Fitzmyer,
Green, Johnson, Nolland, Rengstorf, etc.).
37 Luke seems also to heighten this phrase christologically, probably to bring it into
exact conformity with Luke 3:22 (6 ut6~ !lOU 6 ayartT]'t6~). In Mark the text can be
read simply as: "He still had one son, a beloved one" (en eva dxev ui.ov
ayartT]'t6V). This would obviously be taken christologically in the allegory of the
parable (esp. in an early church community). But Luke writes 'tOV ui.6v !lOU 'tOV
ayartT]'t6V, "my beloved son." Situating the personal pronoun within the attributive
construction closes off a generic reading altogether.
168 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

Mark 12:6, 9 Luke 20:13, 15

E'tl£vex clX,EV uiov ayan:rrcov Eln:Ev 8£ 6 Kupto~ 'tOu <i!ln:EA.wvo~
an:E:cr'tEtAEV CXU't6V 'tt n:on'pw; ITE!l\j/CD 'tOV ui6v !lOU 'tOV

'tt ouv n:ot'llcrEt 'tt ouv n:ot'llcrEt au'tot~3s

6 KUpto~ 'tOU cX!ln:dwvo~ 6 KUpto~ 'tOU cX!liTEAWVO~

The differences here - adding Kupto~ and narrating in the first per-
son - are stylistically similar to those of the triumphal entry, treated in
the previous section. Yet the referent of Kupto~ is unambiguous.
As in several of the Lukan parables (see chapter three), the Kupto~
refers initially to the figure of the landowner within the world of the
parable, 39 but by extension includes another referent. In contrast to
other parables, however, there is no ambiguity here with respect to the
extended referent: it is certainly God. As Rengstorf notes, "Der
Weinberg ist seit Jesaia zum Bilde Israels geworden." 40 And in fact the
already-mentioned allusion of 6 Kupto~ 'tou cX!liTEA-wvo~ to Isa 5:7 is
readily apparent. Furthermore, 6 uio~ 6 ayarrl]'t6~ - an obvious refer-
ence to Jesus - is sent by the Kupto~ who is his father. Indeed, Luke
emphasizes this relation with the well-placed personal pronoun !lOU:
the Kupto~ sends his beloved son. In the allegory this relation can only
be that of God, the Lord of the Vineyard, and Jesus, God's beloved
son 41 : "Der Herr des Weinbergs, der mit sich selbst zu Rate geht und
sich zu dem EntschluB, den eigenen Sohn zu senden, durchringt, ist
kein anderer als Gott selbst." 42
The significance of the parable is usually, and understandably,
drawn out in terms of the question of Jesus and Israel. 43 Seldom, if ever,

38 D and a few other MSS omit a\rw'ic;. But this omission is almost certainly to conform
to the Markan text.
39 Cf. the use of Kuptoc; for the owner of a piece of farmland in Josephus, Ant. 4.8.19
40 Rengstorf, Lukas, 216. Cf. Hos 10:1; Jer 2:21; Ezek 19:10-14.
41 Nolland, Luke, 3.955, puts it in Schleiermacherian terms: "Clearly we are to find here
the same understanding of Jesus as one with a unique relationship to God as father."
42 Ernst, Lukas, 408. Somewhat abstractly - but no less profoundly - Ernst goes on to
note that "[d]as Geheimnis des absoluten Heilswillens Gottes und der Freiheit des
Menschen zum 'Nein' stoBen hier hart aufeinander." Ernst's proposal that Luke ad-
dresses this problem with his tcrcoc; (perhaps/vielleicht) is pure speculation (408-9),
but his perception of the general theological issue is not for that reason marred.
43 There is widespread agreement among modern commentators (e.g., Evans, Saint
Luke, 697; Johnson, Luke, 309; Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1281; Green, Luke, 705, 709; Schneider,
Luke 20:9-19: Parable as Prelude to the Passion 169

has the focus been upon what it might mean for God to be called Kupto~
at this point in the narrative. The placement of this (allegorical) appel-
lation suggests that God is active and present in the "passion" that be-
gins to happen even as the parable itself concludes: "And the scribes
and the chief priests tried to lay hands on him that very hour." 44 The
events of the passion are real for Luke - he has not over-spiritualized
the pathos of the road to crucifixion - but they are by no means con-
ceived of as events beyond God's control, as a tragic and wretched end
forced upon a beloved son. 45 Much to the contrary, God remains the
Kupto~ of that which will transpire (cf. Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23). Indeed, to
press the allegory, we even hear the Lord's voice: "I will send my be-
loved son .... " 46 And thus do the events go forward: we are prepared
for the ensuing story of crucifixion as the action of God the Lord in the
passion of Christ.

Lukas, 2.398, etc.) that the target of the condemnation is those in charge, i.e., the lead-
ership of Israel (the tenants) rather than Israel as a whole (the vineyard). This view is
correct in my opinion and forms part of an interpretation of Luke's theology of are-
constituted - rather than rejected - Israel. A major exception is Rengstorf, Lukas,
216, who wrote that "Jesus spricht hier ... von Gott und seinem Volke." In light of the
people's response in 20:16 (flll yi:vOt'tO) Rengstorf continued: "Nun beginnt der
Widerspruch der Hi:irer (Volk! vgl. 19,48). Sie haben also verstanden, daB es im
Gleichnis urn das Volk als Ganzes und nicht nur urn seine Fuhrer geht." And, fur-
ther, in view of Jesus' citation of Ps 118:22 he concluded: "Damit setzt er den in V.16
ausgesprochenen Gedanken fort, daB die Zeit der Geduld Gottes mit seinem Volk
vorbei ist und daB er sich ein neues Volk berufen wird."
44 Johnson, Luke, 309, rightly notes that the parable "functions as a sort of 'self-fulfilling
45 Writing in a slightly different context, Nolland, Luke, 3.954, avers that the motif of
the parable "has to do with the perceived remoteness and therefore powerlessness of
God. In the end, the parable declares any thought of God's powerlessness to be a de-
lusion." Cf. Charles H. Cosgrove, "The Divine !lEI in Luke-Acts: Investigations into
the Lukan Understanding of God's Providence," NovT 26 (1984): 168-90: "[A]Ithough
Luke indeed conceives of God as the ground and author of history at the general
level, he also pictures God as one who enters history from the outside" (182-83).
Cosgrove's formulation needs nuance (for Luke, God is not "outside" a history
which he then enters, for example), but his insistence upon God's action within the
Gospel story is important and correct.
46 This, then, is the same voice we heard in Luke 3:22 at Jesus' baptism: "You are my
beloved son" (cru £l 6 ui.6c; j.lOU 6 ayCutTJ't6t;).
170 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

III. Luke 20:41-44: Psalm 110:1: The Two Lords

Much has rightly been made of the widespread use of Ps 110:1 (109:1,
LXX) in the New Testament.47 All three synoptic gospels picture Jesus
raising a messianic question via his quotation of Ps 110:1. 48 The Lukan

47 In his lengthy article, Martin Hengel notes that "Psalm 110:1 is the Old Testament
text which appears most often in direct quotations or in indirect references in the
New Testament." He then adds: "That is in any case the common opinion which is
based upon the assumption that all of the statements that speak of a sitting or a be-
ing of the exalted Christ 'at the right hand of God' are directly or indirectly depend-
ent upon Ps. 110:1. In my judgment this conjecture is justified" ("Sit at My Right
Hand!" in Studies in Early Christology [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1995], 119-225 [133]).
The secondary literature on Ps 110 is vast. In addition to Hengel, David M. Hay,
Glory at the Right Hand: Psalm 110 in Early Christianity (SBLMS 18; Nashville: Abing-
don, 1973), is still relevant, and the essays in Heiligkeit und Herrschaft: Intertextuelle
Studien zu Heiligkeitsvorstellungen und zu Psalm 110 (ed. Dieter Sanger; Biblisch-
Theologische Studien 55; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2003) provide
contemporary interpretations in light of recent intertextuality theory. For a concise
discussion of the place of Psalm 110 in early Christian interpretation of the Old Tes-
tament, see Donald Juel, Messianic Exegesis: Christo logical Interpretation of the Old Tes-
tament in Early Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988), 135-50.
48 For the first Kuptoc; NN 7 does not print the article, which exists in the LXX text of Ps
110:1 (o Kuptoc; -cci) KUptcp ~ou). The text-critical problem here is difficult to solve.
At least four factors are worth mentioning: (a) MS evidence: On the one hand, the
MSS B and D agree in their omission of the article, and this itself is surely significant.
On the other hand, the majority of the relatively strong MSS agree in their inclusion
of the article (!'!, A, L, W, et a!.). Moreover, Codex Bezae might be difficult to use
with confidence at this point when one takes into account the fact that the D scribes
have a noticeable tendency to alter uses of Kuptoc; throughout the Gospel text. Vati-
canus would then be the only remaining MS of first-order importance with an
anarthrous reading. (b) Scribal procedure: It seems much more likely that the scribes
of!'!, A, L, W, etc. altered the text to bring it into conformity with the LXX than that
the scribes of the differing MSS removed the article. (c) Synoptics: On the one hand,
if we allow that Luke is here following Mark, then the situation with the MS evi-
dence is virtually the same as discussed above (interestingly, however, the scribe[s]
of Sinaiticus either did not add or removed the article in the Matt 22:44). On the
other hand, if we allow that in following Mark Luke also made at least one "Septua-
gintal" correction to the Markan citation (1moTI68tov), it is not implausible that he
would have made another (adding the article). In this case, the scribes of!'!, A, L, W,
etc. would be viewed as bringing the Markan text into conformity with the Lukan
(and Septuagintal) one, but the scribes of B, D, et a!. would be viewed as bringing
the Lukan text into conformity with the Markan one. (One might then suppose that
the anarthrous reading of Sinaiticus at Matt 22:44 was simply an oversight, and that
the scribes of B and D brought all three synoptic accounts into anarthrous confor-
mity with one another.) (d) Articular/anarthrous: Luke is capable both of using and
of omitting the article when writing of 8E6c; as Kuptoc;, so it is extremely difficult if
not impossible to make a decision in light of his authorial procedure elsewhere. (In-
terestingly, even within this small unit itself, Luke uses both the articular [from the
psalm, -cci) Kuptcp ~ou] and the anarthrous form to speak of Jesus [Kuptov, 20:44].
Luke could easily have written D.aut8 ouv 'tOV Kuptov au-cov KO:AEt, but there is no
Luke 20:41-44: Psalm 110:1: The Two Lords 171

form of Jesus' interaction follows Mark's text (Matthew follows Mark,

too, but not as closely as Luke), though in the actual citation Luke alters
Mark's unm.:<i,;w (Mark 12:36) to un:on:68tov (Luke 20:43), presumably in
effort to cite correctly the LXX text.
Among Luke's small stylistic changes, one stands out as significant
for this study. In the punch line, as it were, where Mark has indirect
discourse, cn),;o~ L'la:u't8 A.ty£t a\nov K:uptov (12:37; dvm is implied),
Luke writes a simple statement: L'lau't8 ouv K:uptov m),;ov K:aA.c'i (20:44).
The significance lies in Luke's removal of Mark's repetition of m),;6~ (cf.
Mark 12:36) and the reversal of amov K:Uptov to K:upwv a:t'n6v. 49 These
moves shift the emphasis away from David - the importance of the
Markan a\n6~ (David himself> - and place it upon K:uptet;. It is rather
difficult to get this sense to come through felicitously in translation.
The awkwardness in the attempt is unavoidable: "David therefore Lord
calls him." 50 Mark, on the other hand, writes something like: "David
himself says he is lord/him (to be) lord." 51
The issue in the Lukan text, broadly speaking, is as Green puts it,
"how best to make sense of the Messiah's relationship to David." 52 At
times in the history of modern interpretation, scholars have sought to
explain this relationship with reference to other christological titles,
those which were supposedly implied by the logic of the passage or

evidence to suggest that he did so.) In light of such considerations, I find it difficult
to determine with any precision or solidity whether or not we should read the article
with the first KUptac; here in Luke 20:42. The narrative theological point, however,
remains the same regardless of the text-critical solution (see above). Cf. Fitzmyer,
Luke, 2.1315: "The sense is not affected."
49 Several MSS (A, B, L, etc.) read a-lrcov KUptov with Mark (and Matt 22:45), but these
are most likely scribal conformities to the Markan text (this development seems
more intelligible than positing that the scribes of N, D, W, 8, etc. metathesized the
two words in disagreement with Mark and Matthew). Matthew also removes the
a-lrc6c; that precedes L'lau\.8 in Mark's text, but he retains the Markan order of au'tov
Kuptov. Cf. the literary connection to Luke's use of Ps 110:1 in Acts 2:34-36, where he
also writes KUptOV au't6V (2:36).
50 Whether or not one should see Luke's (and Matthew's) change from AEYEt to Kaleel.
as liturgically motivated is difficult, if not impossible, to know, but it is an intriguing
possibility. Luke uses KaAECD more than any NT writer, ten times more than Mark
and almost twice as much as Matthew: Mark (4), Matt (26), Luke (43), John (2), Acts
(18), Paul (31). These statistics are taken from Frans Neirynck and Frans Van Seg-
broeck, New Testament Vocabulary: A Companion Volume to the Concordance (Leuven:
Leuven University Press, 1984), 120.
51 See Joel Marcus, The Way of the Lord: Christological Exegesis of the Old Testament in the
Gospel of Mark (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992), 130-52, for a discus-
sion of the significance of Ps 110:1 in its Markan context. Thanks are also due to Joel
Marcus for a brief but helpful conversation on this point.
52 Green, Luke, 724. Cf. Marcus, The Way of the Lord, 137.
172 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

which lay hidden in the background. 53 But the passage itself of course
does not even mention "Son of God" or "Son of Man." 54 And its thrust
is hardly to claim that Jesus is uiot; Llau'L8. Indeed, it is precisely this
relationship which Luke assumes (cf. 1:32, 69). 55 The seeming conun-
drum - that which generates the energy in Jesus' question - is rather
built around what is said explicitly: 6 X,ptcr't6t; is called K:upwt;.
The force of the jeu de mots created by the use of K:UplOt; in Psalm
110:1 is felt more intensely in Luke than in the other synoptics because
in Luke's Gospel it reflects the sound of the previous uses of K:upwt; for
Jesus and creates a resonance - incapable of being heard to the same
degree in Mark and Matthew - that hovers over the whole of the pre-
ceding narrative. The Lukan irony is unmistakable: it is the K:upwt; who
himself cites the Psalm and asks the question.
The literary or narrative shape and oral-aural weight help to
sharpen the significance of K:upwt; in this passage. Several scholars have
noticed the rather general, perhaps even obvious, point that with the
use of K:upwt; Luke opposes the view that 6 X,ptcr't6t; is simply or only
David's son. 56 Moreover, previous interpreters have also rightly seen
that to understand the nature and identity of the Messiah is to connect
them in some way to "lordship." Green, for instance, notes that Jesus

53 See the concise discussion in Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1312-1313. For the title "Son of God"
with reference to the role of this passage in Markan christology, see Marcus, The Way
of the Lord, 141-45.
54 Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1313 notes that "the importation of the title Son of Man into this
passage is as arbitrary as that of Son of God."
55 For this reason the remark of Luke Timothy Johnson, "The Christology of Luke-
Acts," in Who Do You Say that I Am? Essays on Christology (eds. Mark Allan Powell
and David R. Bauer; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999), 49-65 (62), is very dif-
ficult to understand: "Luke takes over from Mark 12:35-37 the pericope that claims,
through the use of LXX Psalm 109:1, that the Messiah is not David's son but David's Lord
(Luke 20:41-44). But Luke makes the point even more emphatically by invoking the
same verse in Acts 2:33 for the resurrection of Jesus as an enthronement at God's
right hand" (emphasis added). Psalm 110:1 is not used here, however, to deny that
Jesus is David's son but rather to say that he is not only - as in he is more than just
- David's son. Johnson seemed to recognize this point (earlier) in his commentary,
314: "There is an obvious sense in which Luke agrees that the Messiah is 'Son of
David' (1:32, 69; 2:11; 3:31; 18:38-39)." Cf. the strange assertion of Oscar Cullmann,
The Christology of the New Testament (rev. ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963), 204:
"The idea is at least in the background that human descent can be of no importance
whatever for the Messiah whom David calls Kyrios. The issue is whether the Messiah
is only an earthly descendent of David" (Luke, 314; emphasis original). Interestingly,
Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1311, notes that "the messianic interpretation of Psalm 110 does not
appear in rabbinic literature before the second half of the third century A.D"; fur-
thermore, "There is simply no evidence of the Davidic messianic interpretation of
Psalm 110 in pre-Christian Palestinian Judaism."
56 E.g., Johnson, Luke, 315; Nolland, Luke, 3.970, etc.
Luke 20:41-44: Psalm 110:1: The Two Lords 173

"hint[s] through his exegetical riddle that the better category for mak-
ing sense of the Messiah is 'Lord' (cf. 2:11)." 57 Yet such proposals have
not been developed with any substance or detail. Fitzmyer, for exam-
pk plainly recognizes the importance of JCuptec; but then, signaled
clearly by the use of parentheses, fails to press through to an interpre-
tation of the particular significance of the word: "The Messiah is not
merely David's son, but more (i.e., 'lord' in some sense, not yet de-
fined)."58 Narrative considerations allow us to be much more specific.
We may begin, however, by noting what is not said. In the Epistle of
Barnabas 12.10-11, Ps 110:1 is cited and then interpreted in light of Isa
45:1, which in Barnabas reads drrev lCUptOc; 'tcP xptcr'tc\) J..lOU 1Cuplcp. 59 The
alteration of the Septuagintal JCupcp (Cyrus) to 1Cuptcp coordinates 6
X,ptcr't6c; with JCupwc; to form an interpretation of Ps 110:1 wherein 'tcP
1Cuptcp J..lOU is read as 'tcP X,ptcr'tc\) J..lOU. In this way X,ptcr't6c; and JCuptec; are

57 Green, Luke, 724. Cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1310, 1313.

58 Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1315 (cf. "From the text itself in the Synoptics one can say only that
the 'something more' insinuates lordship [of some form]," 2.1313). These past defi-
ciencies are due in large part to the problem that arises when different levels of in-
terpretation are - no doubt unintentionally - confused. In conversation with
Bultmann, Taylor, Hahn, et a!., both Nolland and Fitzmyer, for example, discuss
"probability" at the level of the historical Jesus. Both conclude that it is not impossi-
ble for this passage to go back to Jesus in some form. This conclusion naturally en-
tails a judgment about the meaning of KUptot;. Fitzmyer writes, "What should above
all be noted is that the title 'lord' is not given its full resurrection-sense and that the
question in v. 44 is devoid of Christian explanation" (Luke, 2.1310). Similarly, in re-
sponse to Hahn (The Titles of jesus in Christology: Their History in Early Christianity
[New York: World Publishing Company, 1969], 105), Nolland, Luke, 3.971, argues
that "there is no reason to speak of a 'divine predicate' in connection with the use of
'lord' in the pericope: in the episode, 'lord' keeps the royal overtones that are pro-
vided for it by the use of 'my lord' in the psalm (cf. at 1:43)." (As we will see, the
connection to 1:43 is significant. It is regrettable that Nolland's insight here did not
lead him to further narrative considerations.) While such hypotheses - if capable of
substantiation - can be illuminatingly useful, a reconstructed meaning at the level
of the historical Jesus cannot be forced to do major hermeneutical work at the level
of narrative interpretation. When such attempt is made, the interpretive purchase is
inevitably rather minimal, if accurate at all.
59 The Gottingen LXX edition of Isaiah reads KUptot; 6 8Eot; 'tql :x,ptcr'tci) ~ou KUpq>. If
the Gi:ittingen reconstruction is taken to represent the LXX text around the time of
the composition of Barnabas, it is difficult to know whether the author of Barnabas in-
tentionally altered the LXX text, knew another form of the text, or simply left 6 8E6t;
out due to a lapse in memory. (Whether or not the Gi:ittingen text should be taken as
the basis for comparison in the first couple of centuries A.D. is another question al-
174 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

equated, or, better, KUptot; is subsumed under a messianic interpreta-

tion of the word. 6o
In contrast to the reading in Barnabas, 61 which creates a messianic
synonymity between xptcr't6t; and KUptot;, Luke's appropriation of Ps
110:1 leaves the relation of KUptot; to XPtcr't6t; open in such a way as to
avoid flattening out either word. 62 The effect is the creation of a juxta-
position in which the words - as they do in 2:11 and as they will in
Acts 2:36 - stand in a mutually interpretive relation to one another.
Kuptot;, to put it straightforwardly, is not for Luke just another word for
XPtcr't6t;. Rather xptcr't6t; receives a certain elevation, and KUptot;, in turn,
accepts a messianic impress; yet the words themselves and the direc-
tions in which they point remain separate. Such distinctiveness coupled
with mutual interpretation or influence finds its unity in the figure of
Jesus, who, narratively understood, is both XPtcr't6t; and KUptot;. Jesus,
that is, holds the titles together.
By placing xptcr't6t; in conjunction with KUptot; Luke thus reconfig-
ures the uiot; L\au18 expectation - he does not dismantle it - to allow
for a xptcr't6t; that is seen to be (much) more than even King David. 63

60 Ironically, or perhaps just bizarrely, this messianic interpretation is used in Barnabas

to prove, against Jewish error, that the Christ is not David's son: "David calls him
KUptOv and does not say ui6v."
61 Drawing on the work of Koester and Burger, Marcus, The Way of the Lord, 132, notes
that "it is best to view it [Ps 110:1 in Barnabas] as an independent version of the tradi-
tion found in Mark 12:35-37 par."
62 Contra, e.g., Hahn, Titles, 104, who equates XPtcr1:6c; and KUptoc;: " ... The predicate
'son of David' has been disconnected from its traditional equivalence with the title
'Messiah' and the latter has instead been made the equivalent of 'Kyrios."' (Hahn is
here speaking of Mark in particular, though he treats all three synoptic texts together
and explicitly states that Luke "in large measure adopted" Mark's account "without
modification," 104). Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah (Garden City, NY:
Doubleday, 1977), 344, also asserts that Luke uses Ps 110:1 to show that Jesus is the
63 In my view, this negotiation of the uioc; 8aut8 expectation (implied in Jesus'
questions) in terms of a KUptoc; appellation does locate this saying in the early
church (so Bultmann, Hahn, Titles, 104-5, et a!.). Nolland, as noted above in n. 58,
denies that Kuptoc; need be taken in a "high" sense, but his denial is unnecessary and
due, yet again, to the interpretive choice to read at a certain level, one which is re-
flected in his claim that "in the historical ministry of Jesus, the episode would not
constitute a messianic claim of any kind, but would be a provocative remark de-
signed to open up the question of the nature of the hoped-for ultimate intervention
of God ... " (3.971-72). Though one must obviously allow for considerable develop-
ment, it is also of interest in this connection to note the use of Ps 110:1 to argue for
"high" christology in the history of interpretation (see David M. Hay, Glory at the
Right Hand: Psalm 110 in Early Christianity (Nashville: Abingdon, 1973], esp. 48-49).
Luke 20:41-44: Psalm 110:1: The Two Lords 175

That this exalted Kuptoc; figure is Jesus himself in the Gospel of Luke
could not be any plainer. 64
This christological occurrence of Kupwc; in Ps 110:1 carries further
significance, in at least three interrelated ways. First, as many com-
mentators have noted, the possessive pronoun J.lOU in 1:c\) Kuptq:> J.lOU
provides a strong semantic link between 20:42 and the first use of
Kupwc; for Jesus in 1:43: 1:ou Kupl.ou J.lOU. 65 The crucial implication is
that, second, Luke's Kupwc; christology is wrought in intimate connec-
tion to the Jewish Scripture. 66 Whether the word-play of Ps 110:1 served
as the primary stimulus for Luke's reflection upon and use of the word
Kupwc; is impossible to know for certain (e.g., the early church confes-
sion also played a large role), but it is surely of considerable importance
that this OT text speaks of two figures each as Kupwc; and that the syn-
optic story understands these two figures obviously to correspond to
8£6c; and 'IYJcrouc; XPtcr1:6c;. 67 Third, then, the application of the same
word Kupwc; both to 8£6c; and to 'IYJcrouc; fits the larger Lukan composi-
tion and use wherein there exists both an overlap and a differentiation
of character or person through Kupwc;.
Luke's use of Ps 110:1 thus provides a window through which we
can perceive something of the nature of his use of Kupwc;. The twofold
Kupwc; in Ps 110:1, combined with the experience and knowledge of the
early Christian confession of Jesus as Kupwc;, provides Luke with a way
to write about continuity and distinction within identity. 68 Psalm 110:1
is, hence, the scriptural Ausgangspunkt for the construction of the iden-

64 As mentioned earlier, there exists here a narrative difference between Luke on the
one hand (in which KUpto~ has been used repeatedly for Jesus) and Matthew/Mark
on the other (in which the narrative identification of Jesus with the second KUpto~ of
the psalm would not come through with the same force). Yet, it is difficult to imag-
ine that even in Matthew and Mark's case first-century Christian auditors would
have missed the connection.
65 See, among many others, Brown, Birth, 344.
66 In this respect the commonly repeated position (see nn. 2, 3 and 13 in the Introduc-
tion to this book) that Luke's use of KUptO~ is "hellenistic" is misguided, at least in-
sofar as we take "hellenistic" to mean "non-Jewish." The connection with the OT
does not imply a total absence of hellenistic influence (indeed, such a dichotomy has
long been problematical), but it does show that Luke's KUpto~ christology is very
closely connected to Luke's reading of the biblical texts.
67 Interestingly, Hay, Glory at the Right Hand, 48-49, notes that Novatian "cites the
psalm text as proof that the Son must be differentiated from the Father (Trinity, 26)."
68 The way in which Luke employs the psalmist's words, however, is not slavish or
wooden, as can easily be seen through the nonsystematic use of the article in the
Gospel and the KUpto~-overlap in texts such as 3:4.
176 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

tity of the KUPtOt; in the larger story, 69 as Luke develops narratively the
potential theological and christological significance inherent in the
word-play. 70 In this way, Luke's use of Ps 110:1 not only points pro-
phetically to Jesus' resurrection 71 (and in particular to the many am-
biguous uses of K:UptOt; in Acts) but also gathers the earlier occurrences
of K:UptOt; for 8E6t; and for 'Irpout; - as well as those which are pur-
posefully ambiguous - and puts them into play in a startling manner:
Jesus exegetes the word-play with his identity. The KUptOt; who in
Luke's story is the presence of the K:UptOt; of Israel brings to life the text

69 Thus Martin Rese, Alttestamentliche Motive in der Christologie des Lukas (SZNT 1;
Gi.itersloh: Gi.itersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1969), 205, misses altogether the
significance of Ps 110:1 for Luke's use of KUpto~ in the larger Gospel narrative, even
if he is correct that the meaning of KUptO~ in Luke-Acts is not determined in any
kind of obvious way by the plain sense of Ps 110:1: "DaiS nach Meinung des Lk diese
Ps.stelle einen Schriftbeweis die Benennung Jesu als Kyrios hergibt, geht aus A
2,34f. hervor. Nun ist diese Tatsache aber nicht von grol5er Bedeutung das Ver-
standnis des Kyrios-Titels; lie/5 doch schon in der Apg sowohl die Untersuchung von
A 2,34f. ... als auch die Behandlung des Kyrios-Titels erkennen ... , daiS die Bedeutung
dieses Titles nicht durch die Aussagen von Ps 110,1 bestimmt ist. Nicht anders steht
es im LkEv. Die Verwendung der Kyrios-Titles ist auch hier in keiner Weise durch Ps 110,1
beeinfluflt" (emphasis added).
70 Of interest in this connection are the remarks of Vincent Taylor, The Gospel according
to St. Mark: The Greek Text with Notes, and Indexes (2nd ed.; New York: St. Martin's
Press, 1966), 493, who, when arguing against those who think this passage is a prod-
uct of the early Christians (e.g., Bultmann), opines, "It is difficult to think that the
doctrinal beliefs of a community could be expressed in this allusive manner. The in-
tention in a doctrinal statement is that it should be understood .... In the earliest
preaching and teaching there is nothing tentative, tantalizing, or allusive." Though
Taylor has a different question in view (whether or not the claim that Jesus is more
than David's Son goes back to Jesus himself), his statements serve nicely as a con-
trast to the point being made here. Whereas Taylor opposes "doctrine" and literary
technique (allusive, tantalizing, etc.), Luke holds them together. In fact, in Luke's
Gospel narrative or literary technique is precisely the way that doctrinal beliefs are
expressed. Taylor's inability to see this in the Gospels may be due to the method
perceived to be appropriate to his question (i.e., historical reconstruction), but the
point that to read the story is to encounter the "doctrinal beliefs" of Luke is essential.
We would do well at this juncture to recall the remark of Auerbach mentioned in the
Introduction to this work: "Doctrine and promise are incarnate in [the biblical sto-
ries] and inseparable from them" (Mimesis, 14-15).
71 Christoph Burger, Jesus als Davidssohn: Eine traditionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung
(FRLANT 98; Gi:ittingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970), 116, notes that "Nach der
Meinung des Lukas ist demnach die richtige Beantwortung der Davidssohnfrage vor
der Auferweckung Jesu gar nicht mi:iglich" (Burger's comment is mentioned also by
Schneider, Lukas, 2.408-9; cf. Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1313; Green, Luke, 724; and, Johnson,
Luke, 315). Burger's remark is accurate to the extent that within the story world of
the Gospel human beings cannot know if the Davidssohnfrage is true or not prior to
the resurrection. It is inaccurate to the extent that, narratively speaking, Jesus' iden-
tity as KUptO~ is there from the beginning.
Luke 22:33 and 22:61: Peter's Confidence and Betrayal of the Lord 177

which speaks of their identity and which points proleptically to their

victory through the coming passion and death.

IV. Luke 22:33 and 22:61: Peter's Confidence and

Betrayal of the Lord

That Peter is a centrally important figure in Luke's Gospel is evident

from the unique Lukan material that portrays this somewhat brash dis-
ciple's interaction with the K:Uptor;. This material includes the narration
of Peter's call in 5:1-11 (see chapter two), the added focus upon Peter in
Jesus' prediction of Peter's denial (22:31-34), and the moment when
"the Lord" turns and looks at Peter following the crow of the cock
(22:61 ).
Whether or not Luke introduces Jesus' prediction of Peter's failure
with Eln:Ev 8£ 6 K:uptot; is difficult to decide, but it would not be unchar-
acteristic of his style.72 In any case, the first word out of Peter's mouth
in his hasty response of 22:33 is K:upwr;: KuptE ... E'tOt!l6t; Ellll. In the im-
mediate course of events, Peter's E'tOt!l6t; Ellll is of course proved false
(though his larger statement serves to foreshadow his role in Acts).

72 The text-critical problem here is rather complicated. !\, A, 0, W, 8, '1', fL 13, etc.
include Elnev 8E: 6 KUptoc;, but P 75, B, L, T, 1241 (and some ancient versions) do not.
The MS evidence is difficult to adjudicate. Though they agree in their omission, P7 5,
B, L are all "Neutral" (B-text) text-types. This fact might make the Sinaiticus reading
somewhat more significant. Moreover, even though the 0 scribes tend to remove
KUptoc;, here Bezae agrees with Sinaiticus (and Alexandrinus). Internal considera-
tions having to do with Luke's composition and style certainly allow - if not argue
for - the presence of the variant. Thus on the grounds of external evidence and Lu-
kan style, it would seem best to include Elnev 8E: 6 KUptoc;. Yet, when we turn to
matters of scribal procedure, the balance shifts considerably. It is generally agreed
that, although it is Jesus who continues speaking, the transition from Luke 22:30 to
22:31 is rather abrupt (e.g., Ernst, Lukas, 458: "Ohne besondere Uberleitung folgt ein
an Simon gerichtetes Weissagungswort"; or Evans, Luke, 802: "Without any connecting
link [some mss have' And the Lord said'], attention is now focused on ... Peter" [em-
phasis mine]; contrast Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1424: "The transition here is really no more
abrupt than that at the beginning of the Lucan discourse"). This abruptness creates
two serious difficulties for the hypothesis that the phrase in question is original.
These difficulties are actually two sides of the same coin: First, the addition of dnev
8E: 6 KUptoc; eases the transition. For this reason it makes sense as a later scribal ad-
dition. Second, for precisely the same reason it is extremely difficult to conceive of a
scribal excision (one could, I suppose, think of a simple scribal oversight made mul-
tiple times over), which would, of course, then be seen to create the abruptness. Per-
haps it is in view of such considerations that Fitzmyer resorts to the rather common,
if at times simplistic, principle lectio brevior potior (Luke, 2.1424). In my view, it seems
best, however, to leave the question open (though in light of above-mentioned
scribal matters, I would tend to see the phrase as a latter addition).
178 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

After Jesus' arrest Peter is unable to admit his association with Jesus,
much less to remain faithful unto prison and death.
What is important to note for this study is that, as we have seen
previously, the christological sense of the vocative K0ptE is tied neither
to Peter's good intentions nor to his denial of association with Jesus.
Whether or not Peter's address indicates that "he relies upon Jesus as
Lord and so rejects the suggestion that he might lose faith,'' 73 the read-
ing of the address itself is determined via the narrative continuity and
weight that Jesus' self-same identity as 6 K0ptoc; places upon the word.
After Peter's third denial and the crow of the cock, he becomes
aware that the eyes of Jesus are upon him: Kat cr'tpacjlEtc; 6 Kuptoc;
EVE!}AE\j/EV 'tcp Ilt'tpq:> KCXt urcqw'hcr81l 6 Ilt'tpoc; 'tOU Pll!lCX'tO<; 'tOU Kllptou
(22:61).74 All three synoptic Gospels record Peter's recollection and the
crow of the cock/5 but whereas Matthew and Mark simply state the
fact, Luke prefaces this event with the poignant note that 6 Kuptoc; turns
toward Peter at just this moment. Moreover, within the triple tradition,
Luke writes KUptoc; where both Mark and Matthew write 'I11crouc;. In
Mark, Peter is reminded of 'tO Pll!lCX cbc; ElrcEv au'tcp 6 'I11crouc;, and for
Matthew 'tOU Pll!lCX'toc; 'Irpou Eip11K6'toc;. But in Luke, Peter is reminded
of the word of 6 Kuptoc;.
The two uses of KUptoc; here in 22:61 form something like an indusia
with 22:32-33, in that they repeat the word KUptoc; and close the scene of
Peter's abnegation which 22:32-33 open. Jesus' prediction and its ful-
fillment are, then, linked not only by theme but also through the spe-
cific word KUplOI;. The vocative in 22:33 and the two occurrences in
22:61 are thus to be read in light of each other. 76 The internal connection

73 Such is the suggestion offered by Pheme Perkins, Peter: Apostle for the Whole Church
(Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1994), 86, who draws on Wolfgang
Dietrich, Das Petrusbild der lukanischen Schriften (BWA[N]T 5/14; Stuttgart: Kohl-
hammer, 1972), 134-35.
74 D again substitutes 'ITJCJOU~ for the first KUpto~ in 22:61. Jeremias, Sprache, 297-98,
notes the similarity to Acts 11:16 in which Peter says, EllV1'1cr8TJV 8/o 'tOU Pllll'X'tO~
'tOU Kup\.ou cb~ EAEYEV (it is interesting here that the phrase occurs in Peter's
75 The agreement here in the triple tradition is almost verbatim (though there are a few
differences of course, e.g., Mark uses avalllllVTlCJKCO, Luke tl1tO!llllVTICJKCO, and Mat-
thew lllllVTICJKO!lat).
76 There may be yet more ambiguity in the phrase 'tOU Pillla'tO~ 'tOU Kup\.ou. Green,
Luke, 788, seems to read the phrase this way. Jesus' turn toward Peter "allows Luke
to certify that Jesus is an authentic prophet, whose word is 'the word of the Lord,'
and whose prediction is fulfilled exactly as he had pronounced it. In fact, for thenar-
rator, this is an important christological moment, which he highlights by employing
the designation 'Lord' twice in immediate proximity. The juxtaposition of these two
phrases, 'the Lord' and 'the word of the Lord' indicates that Luke thinks of Jesus as
Luke 22:33 and 22:61: Peter's Confidence and Betrayal of the Lord 179

of Kupu:: to Kuptoc; leaves no room for doubt as to the meaning of the

vocative at the level of narrative christology: it is with his "Lord" that
Peter has to deal, not with his "sir."
This aspect of Peter's relation to 6 Kuptoc; reaches back to the for-
mer's call to a life of discipleship in 5:1-11, and in particular to 5:8
where Peter addressed Jesus as KuptE. Perhaps such a linkage was per-
ceived by the translators of most modern English versions, since in
both passages KuptE is almost uniformly rendered "Lord." 77 Regardless,
the collocation of Luke's use of Kuptoc; in his narration of Peter's call
(5:1-11) and denial (22:33, 61) is significant in that it illustrates Luke's
ability to hold together realism in character portrayal with consistency
in narrative christology. Peter is allowed to waver in his faith to the
point of a threefold denial of Jesus, and yet the Jesus whom he acclaims
as KuptE in 5:8 and 22:33 remains the Kuptoc; whom he rejects in 22:54-
62. Jesus' identity as KUptoc;, that is, is not threatened by human fallibil-
ity, for christological truth (KuptE) depends not upon permanence in
human perception or depth of human faith but instead upon the on-
going story of the Lord.

more than a prophet who speaks on behalf of Yahweh. He is rather one who pos-
sesses divine agency, who speaks and acts for God with divine authority." It appears
as if Green takes 'tOU'toc; 'tOU Kuptou to be Luke's characterization of Jesus'
word to Peter as prophetic speech, i.e., as the word of God which Jesus spoke ('tOU'toc; 'tOU 9eou). As much as it would please me to read the phrase in this way, it
seems at this point more likely that Luke simply employs rather directly his custom-
ary authorial use of 6 KDptoc; to designate Jesus himself in light of his previous word
to Peter (i.e., Peter remembered 'tOU'toc; 'tOU 'ITlcrou). On a somewhat different
note, Green is certainly right that Luke's use of KUptOc; "indicates that Luke thinks of
Jesus as more than a prophet." Yet Green's description of "more than a prophet"
sounds rather like what a prophet is and does. Perhaps the problem lies in the ambi-
guity of the phrases "possesses divine agency" and "divine authority." On the one
hand, these phrases could mean something akin to "an agent of God" and "imbued
with God's authority." But if this is the case, then Green's description of Jesus as
"more" than a prophet is no different at all than the OT understanding of a prophet.
On the other hand, Green could mean that Jesus is a "divine agent" with "divine au-
thority." If this is the case, the meaning of "divine" would need more careful formu-
lation (divine in what sense?).
77 The constant switching from "Lord" to "Sir" in contemporary English translations
reflects the different options that attend the decision to read the Gospel at different
hermeneutical levels. On this point, see the discussion in section IV of chapter five.
Cf. Dietrich, Petrusbild, 155: "Die Analogie zu Luk. 5, 8 is uniibersehbar: Petrus er-
fahrt sich zum zweiten Mal in Angesicht Jesu als ein civi]p cXJ.lap'twA.6c;, wie im
jetzigen Fall seine Reaktion (V. 62) ausweist. Wiederum ist es Jesus, der durch sein in
diesem Fall ankiindigendes Wort (22,31£.; vgl. auch 5,10) dafiir Sorge tragt, daB
Petrus in einer solchen Situation, die ihn von Jesus zu trennen in der Lage ist (vgl.
5,8), vor einer falschen Konsequenz bewahrt wird."
180 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

V. Luke 22:38 and 22:49: The Lord and the Sword

At the conclusion of "the Last Ssupper," Jesus admonishes his disciples

who "have no sword" to sell their cloaks and, presumably with the
proceeds, buy a sword (22:36).78 After Jesus' affective citation of Isa
53:12 - KCXt fle'tci av6flWV £A-oy\.cr811 - the disciples respond: "Kupte,
look, here are two swords."
It is generally agreed among modern exegetes that Jesus' admoni-
tion to buy a sword is not to be taken literally.79 The disciples' re-
sponse, therefore, evidences their profound misunderstanding. In this
reading, Jesus' words to end the Last Supper - lxcxv6v Ecr'ttv - are
interpreted as expressing his exasperation at their incomprehension: "It
is enough!" or "Enough of that!" 80
The consensus reading derives considerable support from the well-
noted connection to the scene of Jesus' arrest in which "the sword" also
figures prominently. 81 Like Mark and Matthew (and John), Luke tells of
the cutting off of the ear of the High Priest's 8ouA-o~ (22:50 par.: Luke
and John specify it as the right ear). In contrast to the other Gospels,
however, Luke surrounds this incident with a question from Jesus' dis-
ciples - "Kupte, should we strike with the sword?" - and a subse-
quent rebuke from Jesus - "No more of this!" (22:51: £<i'te £w~ 'tOU'tou).
The focus upon the misuse of the flCXX,extpcx, Jesus' rebuke, and the dis-
ciples' KUpte address clearly parallel the end of the Last Supper. In
Luke's Gospel, the incident of 22:49-51 serves to complete the disciples'
misinterpretation of Jesus' words in 22:36. Perhaps Jesus' reiteration of
Isaiah's dvoflo~ (22:37) through A-ncr'ti]~ (22:52) serves also to remind the
disciples of the lesson he repeated twice at the supper: "This scripture
must be fulfilled in me" (22:37a, c). Jesus' arrest is a scriptural necessity.
It is surely significant that both 22:38 and 22:49 are unique to Luke
and use Kupte in the disciples' address. Both times the disciples get Je-
sus' identity right - he is 6 Kupto~ - but they misconstrue what this

78 On the translation of this particular phrase, see Marshall, Luke, 825.

79 Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1432; Green, Luke, 774-75; Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the
New Testament. Community, Cross, New Creation: A Contemporary Introduction to New
Testament Ethics (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996), 333; Marshall, Luke, 825,
etc. and the literature cited therein. For exceptions, see, e.g., Loisy, Luc, 524; and,
Nolland, Luke, 3.1076, who asserts that "the sword is thought of as part of the
equipment required for the self-sufficiency of any traveler in the Roman world.
Nothing more than protection of one's person is in view."
SO Green, Luke, 775, and Fitzmyer, Luke, 2.1434, respectively.
81 See the literature cited inn. 79.
Luke 22:38 and 22:49: The Lord and the Sword 181

identity means. 82 There exists a serious imbalance between the correct

identification of Jesus as KUptoc; and the disciples' misunderstanding of
the christological content of the word. The double reference to Isaiah 53
(dvo!loc;/A.ncr'tl'lc;) highlights the profundity of the misunderstanding, as
Jesus is identified, if "typologically," with the figure in Isaiah 53, the
one reckoned with 'tote; av611otc; (LXX) and led like a lamb to the
slaughter. 83 Through the use of the vocative KUpt£, Luke thus weaves a
profound tension into the fabric of these scenes and thereby creates a
certain dissonance that leads to a (re)consideration of the nature of Je-
sus' Lordship.
In general terms, Jesus' identity as KUptoc; as displayed in these two
Lukan passages deconstructs the normal association of power (Lord-
ship) with violence. The nature of Jesus' Lordship is radically misun-
derstood if interpreted as the power to destroy opponents by means of
the sword. In this way, the disciples, with their incomprehension and
rash action (22:38, 49), threaten to twist or, at best, obfuscate the mean-
ing of Jesus' identity as K0ptoc;. The similarity to Luke 9:52-56, which is
also unique to Luke, is obvious. 84 There as here, Jesus is addressed as
KUptE, the disciples misconstrue this identity in terms of raw power,
and Jesus rebukes them (see the discussion of this passage in chapter
three). 85
The immediate narrative impact of Luke's subversion of the under-
standing of Lordship as the power to destroy points toward the immi-
nent trial, crucifixion, and death of Jesus. For Luke the content of Jesus'
identity as 6 KUptoc; is bound with the movement toward Jerusalem. To
be Lord in Luke's Gospel is to reject violent retaliation against one's
enemies and, instead, to embrace the process that eventually leads to
the crucifixion. The Lord's way of being Lord, even if the disciples do

82 This is yet another illustration of a Lukan technique, which we have observed many
times over - not least of all in the previous pericope (Peter's denial) - wherein the
identification of Jesus as Kuptoc; does not depend on the characters' correct under-
standing, indefatigable faith, etc. but derives instead from Jesus' identity as Kuptoc;
throughout the narrative.
83 Whether or not a "suffering servant" category existed at the time of Jesus or Luke is
irrelevant to the point being made here. See Juel, Messianic Exegesis, 119-33.
84 Richard J. Cassidy, Jesus, Politics, and Society: A Study of Luke's Gospel (Maryknoll, NY:
Orbis Books, 1978), 46, notes very briefly the similarity but does not mention the oc-
currences of KuptE.
85 There are thus three passages that are unique to Luke either in whole or in part, each
one of which uses KuptE as an address from the disciples and involves their misun-
derstanding of the nature of Jesus' Lordship.
182 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

not yet understand it, inherently involves the suffering and death of his

VI. Luke 24: The Risen Lord

A. Luke 24:3: 'tou Kup1ou 'Irpou and the Absence ojKuptoc;

Kupto<; occurs twice in the resurrection account in Luke 24. The first of
these occurrences, 'tOU Kup1ou 'I11crou (24:3), is omitted in the translation
of the NRSV, RSV, et al. These translations reflect the reading of Codex
Bezae and a number of Old Latin witnesses in which the phrase is
missing. But the better decision, on a variety of grounds, is to include
the phrase as part of the text.8 6 Luke 24:3 should read, "But after they

86 Contra B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek: Text
and Introduction (2 vols.; London: Macmillan and Co., 1881, 1882), 2.176, who listed
24:3 as one of their "Western non-interpolations," NA27 is correct to include the
phrase in the printed text. The principal reasons are as follows: (1) MS evidence: (a)
The overwhelming majority of important Greek MSS (P75, 1\, A, B, C, W, Q, etc.) in-
clude the entire phrase. (b) The already noted tendency of Codex Bezae, the only
really strong MS without the phrase, to omit or adjust KUptac; both speaks for the
phrase's inclusion and renders much easier the problem of why a Bezan scribe
would omit it (without further work on this matter we may not know the answer
here, but precisely because this problem pertains to Bezae as a whole rather than to
just this verse). (2) Lukan authorship: (a) Even with the text-critical problems in
Luke 24, the long established Lukan authorship of this chapter is well known. There
are thus no objections that could be raised on stylistic or source-critical grounds. (b)
To the contrary, even the particular phrase itself reflects Lukan style (e.g., Acts 1:21;
4:33; 8:16). Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early
Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1993), 219, on the basis of the observation that the phrase "the Lord Je-
sus" occurs nowhere in the Gospels but only in Acts, asserts that the phrase "ap-
pears to run counter to established Lukan usage," by which he means to refer to the
Gospel alone. But this suggestion misses the literary/compositional technique in-
volved in 24:3. (c) Literarily, as we will see below, the phrase 6 KUptac; 'I11crouc; an-
ticipates the beginning of Acts (1:21, etc.) and thus functions as a "chain-link" (see
Lucian, Historia, 55, and Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 9.4.129; on this phenomenon as
a constitutive feature of the Lukan texts, see Bruce W. Longenecker, "Lukan Aver-
sion to Humps and Hollows: The Case of Acts 11.27-12.25," NTS 50 [2004]: 185-
204). Recognizing ancient compositional technique mitigates strongly against Erh-
man's objection to authenticity, for in fact this "gesture" toward Acts here at the end
of the Gospel (Longenecker, "Lukan Aversion," 188) is exactly what one would ex-
pect in a two-volume work linked together "like a chain." Ehrman is certainly cor-
rect overall that theological concerns are deeply involved in the transmis-
sion/alteration of the NT texts, but it is unnecessary to posit (later) anti-docetic
influence at this point in light of the factors mentioned above (Ehrman is followed
by, e.g., David C. Parker, The Living Text of the Gospels [Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, 1997], 165-66, who also supplements Ehrman and suggests a "three-
Luke 24: The Risen Lord 183

went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." The absolute 6
Kuptoi; is thus used in the finding of the empty tomb in Luke's charac-
teristic authorial manner (7:13, etc.). Yet its coupling with 'Irpouc; is
The position of this novel expression in the Lukan narrative is
hardly accidental. It is, rather, placed so that its occurrence here at the
beginning of the resurrection story throws light upon the meaning of
the absence of Kuptoc; in the darkness of the crucifixion and death.
Prior to 24:3, the most recent occurrence of Kuptoc; is in 22:61, the
dramatic portrayal of Peter's confrontation with his own betrayal of
Jesus. Here the word is used twice: "And 6 KUptoc; turned and looked at
Peter, and Peter remembered 1:ou phJ.HX'tOt; 'tOU Kupl.ou, how he had said
to him, 'Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times'"
(22:61; cf. 22:34). In 22:62 Peter weeps bitterly and goes out - and with
him goes Luke's use of Kuptoc;.
Immediately after Peter's denial and exit, there is a cascading of
events, in which the story moves directly into the beating, insulting,
and mocking of Jesus (23:63-65), and from there, straight into his trial
(22:66-23:25), execution (23:26-49), and burial (23:50-56). Throughout
this movement of suffering and death, Luke emphasizes two themes. 87
The first is the innocence of Jesus. Neither Pilate nor Herod finds that
Jesus is worthy of death (esp. 23:15); one of the other men being cruci-
fied declares Jesus innocent (23:41, OU'tOt; ou8E:v 8E: chon:ov En:pCX~Ev)
while accepting his own punishment as just; and the centurion who
witnesses Jesus' death on the cross glorifies God (E86~a~EV 'tOV 8E6v)
and pronounces Jesus 8l.Kmoc; (23:47). The second, by contrast, is the
overall ignominious circumstance of the earthly demise of the Lord. In
the face of his innocence, he is denied by Peter, rejected by the chief
priests, the leaders, and the people (23:13), and, finally, executed along-
side two bona fide criminals (KaKoupyot, 23:32, 33), one of whom de-
rides him. 88
The departure of Kuptoc; in 22:61 and its complete absence through
the trial and crucifixion scenes take on considerable significance when

stage development" from "the body" through "the body of Jesus" to "the body of
the Lord Jesus." Though not impossible, Parker's suggestion is also unnecessary).
The majority of major commentators take the phrase as original (e.g., Fitzmyer, Luke,
2.1544; Nolland, Marshall, etc.).
87 Literarily speaking, the two themes strengthen one another through their opposition
and simultaneous development.
88 Interestingly, each of the criminals represents one of these themes: the first derides
Jesus (23:39) and the second, after rebuking the derider, proclaims Jesus' innocence
184 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

seen in conjunction with the tension created by the simultaneous de-

velopment of these two themes. Despite the innocence of Jesus, the
human verdict upon his life and ministry has been delivered, and the
identity of Jesus as 6 Kupto~ rejected - even by his most confident
disciple, who is, lest we miss the point, the first one in the narrative to
address Jesus directly as JCupt£. 89 This rejection of 6 Kupto~ is what is
powerfully signified by the absence of the word precisely during the
time in the narrative when the rejection of 6 81JCato~ Kupto~ is taking
Moreover, the silence created by the absence of KUpto~ is the silence
of Jesus' death. Death, the discontinuity of a human life, is the decisive
judgment upon and threat to Jesus' identity. The story of the Kupto~ is
halted. Indeed, when Joseph of Arimathea goes to ask Pilate for the
body, he receives only 1:0 crw~a 'Irpou (23:52). The phrase 1:0
crw~a 'Irpou obviously parallels 24:3 (1:0 crw~a 'tOU 1Cuptou 'I11crou), with
one striking difference: the absence of 6 KUpto~. 90 Thus we may say that
the removal of Kupto~, for Luke, corresponds to the identity-threatening
movement in the narrative that is the rejection and execution of the

B. Luke 24:3: The Reversal and the Earthly Jesus

In light of the reason for the absence of JCUpto~ in 22:61-24:3, the par-
ticular nature of its reintroduction into the narrative is all the more
significant. After resting on the Sabbath, the women returned to the
tomb and found (dipov) the stone rolled away from the entrance. Fur-
ther, to their utter confusion (an:optw, 24:4), they did not find (ouJC
t\)pov) 1:0 crw~a 'tOU Kuptou 'I110"0U. 91

89 De !a Potterie, "Le titre Kupwr;;," 137-39, interprets 22:61 as "un premier exemple de
conversion chretienne" (138). There is a sense, of course, in which one could inter-
pret Peter's weeping as repentance. Yet, both the context and the flow of the narra-
tive (see above on the cascading of events) suggest rather that the emphasis is not
upon Peter's repentance but upon his rejection of Jesus. The fact that KDptor;; leaves
with Peter, as it were, also pushes for a way of reading the verse that takes seriously
the coming events.
90 Cf. de !a Potterie, "Le titre Kupwr;;," 122, who also notices the connection and
difference between 23:52 and 24:3.
91 It is important here to take note of a significant feature of the beginning of the
resurrection narrative in Luke 24 that is often overlooked. Between 24:3 and 24:4
there is a slight pause that draws attention to the phrase 'tO O'cO!lCX 'tOU
Kuptou 'lllO'OU and emphasizes (implicitly) its significance. This emphasis is ob-
scured in English translations which leave out the typical Lukan transition (Kat
EYEVE'tO) that begins the sentence in 24:4 and, instead, start only with EV 't0
Luke 24: The Risen Lord 185

This is the first mention of the crucified one since his execution and
burial. Furthermore, as noted above, though Luke speaks of both 6
Kuptoc; and 'Ir]aouc; throughout his narrative, this is the first time in the
entire Gospel that he joins 6 Kupwc; together with the name 'Irpouc; in a
single formulation.
If the absence of Kupwc; from the suffering, death, and burial of
Jesus in 22:61-23:56 represents the human judgment upon the life of 6
Kupwc;, then the immediate reintroduction of Kupwc; as the first way to
speak about the resurrected one signifies the reversal of such judgment,
the rejection, as it were, of rejection. The human attempt to negate the
identity of Jesus as 6 Kupwc; has failed, and this negation has been
reversed through the ongoing story of the Lord.
Yet, within the movement of the story, the reader has not yet heard
the angelic proclamation that interprets the reversal as resurrection. In
this way, the actual texture of the occurrence is not itself proclamation
but intimation or adumbration and, as such, hints at and anticipates the
explicit statement treated below, f]yE.pBT] 6 Kupwc; (24:34).
The addition of 'IT]aouc; to the characteristically Lukan 6 Kupwc; also
bears significance in light of the connection to the preceding narrative,
and in particular, to the death of Jesus in relation to his resurrection. As
Charles Talbert has argued, an important function of the resurrection in
Luke is to establish or maintain a sense of continuity between "the
identity of the pre- and post-Easter Jesus," 92 to address any question of
a rupture between the earthly figure from Nazareth and the heavenly
Lord whom the church now worships. Thus does 'IT]aouc; hark back to
the foregoing narrative and reach from Jesus' resurrection through his
death to the character of the earlier story.
The fact that 1:0 O"cDJ..l<X is mentioned explicitly emphasizes this
continuity between the resurrected one and the character of the earlier
story. 93 The one whose acDJ..l<X is missing is in fact the same 'IT]aouc; who
was executed and whose O"cDJ..l<X was placed and seen lying in the tomb

c':otopetcr8o:t au'ta<; (e.g., the NRSV). In the Greek text the presence of the transi-
tional Kat £yi:VE't0 immediately following 'tO crm~a 'tOU KUptou 'lllO'OU indicates a
shift, if intentionally subtle, in the movement of the story (from a focus on the miss-
ing body to the angelic kerygma [OUK EO''ttv ciS8e, &,),).._6: ~yi:p811, 24:6]). This shift
reflects the importance of the phrase 'tO crm~a 'tOU KUptO'U 'lllO'OU.
92 Charles H. Talbert, "The Place of the Resurrection in the Theology of Luke," Int 46
(1992): 19-30 (esp. 21-22).
93 For the importance of the emphasis on the bodily nature of "resurrection," see the
massive work of N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Vol. 3 of Christian
Origins and the Question of God, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003).
186 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

(23:55). 94 The resurrected one whom the church recognizes as lCUplO<; is

thus not a different figure from the 'Irpou<; of the story told in the
Lukan Gospel but is in fact the same Lord as the Jesus about whose
birth, life, and death Luke writes.
The binding of the proper name 'I11crou<; with 6 lCUptO<; also points
ahead to Acts, 95 where the expression 6 Kupw<; 'I11crou<; occurs multiple
times (Acts 1:21; 4:33; 8:16; 11:17, 20; 15:11; 16:31; 19:5, 13, 17; 20:21, 24,
35; 21:13; cf. 7:59; 15:26; 28:31). Indeed, in Acts 1:21 and 4:33 6
Kupw<; 'I11crou<; is used explicitly to speak about the resurrected Lord
Jesus in his earthly ministry:

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that 6
lCUplO<; 'I11crou<; went in and out among us, beginning from the bap-
tism of John until the day when he was taken up from us - one of
these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection. (1:21)

And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resur-
rection 'tOU !Cuptou 'I11crou. (4:33)

The reintroduction and first occurrence of lCUplO<; in the resurrection

story thus ties this account to the earlier narrative in Luke's first vol-
ume and also to the stories yet to unfold in Acts. The expression 6
lCUptO<; 'I11crou<; functions as a kind of shorthand or abbreviated form to
express the reversal of death and the continuity of identity: the Lord
Jesus whose body is missing is the same as the Lord Jesus who trod the
soil of Palestine to his death.

94 Note here how Luke takes care to emphasize that Jesus' body really was in the tomb:
the women saw the tomb and "how his body was laid" (23:55).
95 Seen. 86 above on this expression as an explicit "chain-link" between Luke and Acts.
Incidentally, Longenecker, "Lukan Aversion," 187-88, notes that neither Lucian nor
Quintilian makes a claim for originality in technique; indeed they seem to presup-
pose a kind of basic ability on the part of their readers/auditors to recognize the
practice to which they refer. Longenecker also makes reference to his own larger
project, which will demonstrate the widespread nature of this technique "in a vari-
ety of texts from antiquity, spanning several centuries and genres, and showing no
uniformity of provenance" (188 and n. 5). Unfortunately, Longenecker's book (Rheto-
ric at the Boundaries: The Art and Theology of New Testament Chain-link Transitions
[Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2005]) reached me after this MS had already
been completed.
Luke 24: The Risen Lord 187

C. Luke 24:34: rjytp81J o1dpwc;: Inclusio and Identity

After Cleopas and his companion recognize Jesus, they return to Jeru-
salem and hear from the eleven and some others ('touc; cruv au'totc; 96 )
that "the Lord was raised" (24:33-34). This is the last time that anyone
speaks of Jesus in Luke's Gospel.
This last reference to Jesus as Kuptoc; recalls the first, where Eliza-
beth speaks of Jesus in the womb as 6 Kupwc; in 1:43. This first and last
use frame the Gospel with the identity of Jesus as 6 Kupwc; such that
Kuptoc; must become part of our basic christological perception. One
may not properly speak here of protology and eschatology (such as in
Rom 5:12-21, for example), but such language nevertheless creates a
useful image in that it captures something of the expanse of Luke's
view of 6 Kupwc; 'IT]crouc;: from beginning to end, Jesus is Kupwc;.
Yet this identity was not without threat. Indeed, such is the impor-
tance of the aorist passive i]y£p8T]. 97 As described in section A above,
Luke does not gnosticize the crucifixion at the point of Jesus' identity as
Lord - as if Jesus simply marched triumphantly through death as its
Lord and raised himself. 98 Rather Jesus' identity as Kupwc; is imperiled

96 On this Lukan expression, see Joseph Plevnik, " 'The Eleven and Those with Them'
according to Luke" CBQ 40 (1978): 205-11, who notes that "Luke mentions the asso-
ciates of the eleven apostles only when he speaks about the incompleteness of the
apostles .... [O]nce the college becomes complete, the associates are no longer men-
tioned" (206). From this observation about the end of Luke and beginning of Acts,
Plevnik draws the conclusion that Luke intended to include Matthias in the "associ-
ates of the eleven" to satisfy the concern "to root ... apostleship in the public life of
Jesus" (210).
97 Note, too, the move away from "prophet" in the Emmaus scene: In an obvious state
of incomprehension, Cleopas and his companion speak of Jesus as a npo<jlll'tT]~
(24:19), and Jesus responds by referring to himself as 6 X,ptcn6~ (24:26). Johnson,
"Christology of Luke-Acts," 50, seems to believe reading the narrative in this way
presupposes the view that Luke was trying to correct "messianic misperceptions."
But in fact it is the logic of the scene that creates the distance from npo<jll]'tT]~.
Whether this narratively-established distance has a historical counterpoint is, it
seems, a different question - and one that is probably impossible to answer. It is in-
teresting, too, that the Emmaus scene complicates Johnson's thesis (Jesus in the
christology of Luke-Acts is best understood as a prophet).
98 Cf. the well-known article of Herbert Braun, "Zur Terminologie der Acta von der
Auferstehung Jesu," TLZ 77/9 (1952): 533-36, who notes the "passive" character of
the resurrection in Acts (in contrast to statements such as we find, for example, in
Ignatius, Smyr. 2: "Jesus aVEO''tT]O'EV ECctJ't6V" [533]). Braun argues that this depend-
ence upon God is part and parcel of the "adoptianische, subordinatinische Charakter
der Christologie in den Acta" (533). Yet it is not the case that to understand Jesus'
resurrection as an act of God is to move of necessity into subordinationism, etc.
Whether or not one does probably depends much more on the "concept" of God
with which one is working than upon a strictly linguistic analysis (e.g., there is
188 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

by the fact that he was rejected and executed. Thus does the aorist
passive signify both the necessary dependence upon God in the face of
the crucifixion and God's vindication of Jesus' identity as Kupwc;. The
centurion at the cross was right: 6 Kuptoc; was 81Kextoc;. 99
This vindication, however, does not mark a return to or simple
continuation of Jesus' earthly life as Kupwc;, as if his crucifixion and
resurrection make no difference for the meaning of his identity as
Kupwc;. To the contrary, that Jesus is resurrected as Kuptoc; in the same,
unbroken narrative incorporates "indelibly" the crucifixion into what it
means for him to be Kupwc; 100 and concretizes a paradigm-shattering
understanding of Kupt6"CT]c; (cf. the discussion above in section V of this
The resurrection serves not only as the "historical" impetus for the
Kupwc; confession but also effects a movement within Jesus' identity as
Kupwc;. That is to say, the resurrection does make a difference for the
understanding of 6 Kupwc;. But this difference is not one of newness in
status or identity, as Marshall, for example, seems to hold: "The phrase
declares the new status of the risen Jesus; he is the Lord." 101 Such a mis-
perception likely reflects a substitution of a particular (narratively
abstracted) interpretation of Acts 2:36, or possibly of the historical
origin of the Kupwc; confession, for Luke's own narrative presentation.
Within the purview of Luke's narrative, it would cut entirely against
the grain to think that the resurrection effects a change such that Jesus
as Kupwc; is now something or someone he was not before. The resur-

plenty of room in traditional trinitarian theology to affirm that God raised Jesus
from the dead; indeed this basic affirmation has been incorporated into many "or-
thodox" Christian creedal statements and doctrinal confessions). See also Christo-
pher M. Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," in The Unity of Luke-Acts (ed. Jo-
seph Verheyden; Leuven: University Press, 1999), 133-64 (168-69).
99 Cf. Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14.
100 Hans W. Frei, The Identity of Jesus Christ: The Hermeneutical Bases of Dogmatic Theology
(Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 1997), 160: "The crucifixion remains indelibly a
part of his identity, an event or act that is an intrinsic part of him." Cf. from a
slightly different perspective, Leander E. Keck, Who is Jesus? History in Perfect Tense
(Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2000), 113-14: "For the whole Chris-
tian tradition and for those variously influenced by it [Jesus] has become the prism
through which one looks into that Reality called 'God.' Because Jesus' lifework
ended on the cross he is the fractured prism, and his 'brokenness' remains its essen-
tial feature. For Christian theology Jesus' resurrection did not 'heal' his brokenness
but made it permanently significant."
101 Marshall, Luke, 884-85 (emphasis added). Marshall writes at this point of the phrase
in 24:3, but his point obviously applies here as well.
Excursus: Kyrios, Identity, and Acts 2:36 189

rection, to the contrary, guarantees the continuity of the self-same

KUplO<; through rejection and death. 102
The impact, then, of the resurrection upon Jesus' identity as 6
Kupw<; makes sense only within a reading that reckons seriously with
this narrative continuity in identity. The resurrected Kupwc; is not
absent from his disciples, but neither is he present in the same way as
he was prior to the resurrection. His crwlla, indeed, is missing from the
tomb, and those who search for his earthly body cannot find it. Yet, he
is the same person, and his resurrected life for Luke is clearly somatic
The movement narrated in the closing chapter of the Gospel is thus
from a restricted somatic existence to an unrestricted somatic existence,
or, in simpler terms, from a bodily-earthly to a bodily-heavenly exis-
tence. Hence, the change is not in the identity of the Kupw<; but in his
somatic "location" and mode of existence. This change effected by the
resurrection prepares for Acts, where the ambiguity in Luke's use of
KUplO<; actually increases to reflect the locational reality of the Kupw<; in
heaven. 103

Excursus: Kyrios, Identity, and Acts 2:36

The use of Kupw<; in Acts is frequent and complex - an adequate

exposition would require another monograph. The main purpose of
this excursus is to address the apparent tension between Luke's use of
Kupw<; for Jesus in his Gospel and Peter's statement in Acts 2:36:

Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made him Lord and
Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

acrcpaA.w<; ouv ytVC.OO'KE'tC.O n:cic; olKO<; 'IcrpaT]A. cht Kat KUplOV atl'tOV
Kat xptcr'tov £n:o1rpEv 6 8Eo<; 'tOU'tov 'tov
'Irpouv ov

102 Cf. Green, Luke, 837: "His identity and status before God have not in any way been
negated or diminished by his shameful rejection and ignominious execution." Cf.
also Donald L. Jones, "The Title Kyrios in Luke-Acts," SBLSP 74/2 (1974): 85-101 (93,
94-95, 96); Eric Franklin, Christ the Lord: A Study in the Purpose and Theology of Luke-
Acts (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975), 52-54; and Frank J. Matera, New Testa-
ment Christology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1999), 63, all of whom
understand that no new status has been conferred.
103 See, among many other possibilities, the use of Kuptoc; in Acts 1:24; 2:47; 8:23, 25;
11:23, 24; 15:35, 36; 16:14; 19:10, etc.
190 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

The tension, of course, arises because the phrase Kupwv CXtYI;ov Kat
xptcnov £rco'tl]cr£v 6 8~::6~, when read in a certain way, suggests that
Jesus became KUplO~ and XPlO"'t6~ only at his resurrection and exaltation;
that is, God made Jesus something the latter was not before. 104
Whether and to what extent Peter's speech contains fragments of
earlier christology is difficult to discern. With respect to Acts 2:36 in
particular, it is impossible to know for certain whether this confession
is an early piece of kerygma adapted by Luke or an original part of the
Lukan speech-composition. 105 Regardless, to abstract this verse from
the larger narrative and read it in itself as an expression of Lukan
christology is mistaken.
Loosing a statement from its narrative mooring as a means to
determine specifically Lukan christology immediately involves a meth-
odological confusion. In the act of disengaging any statement or pas-

104 This interpretation of the meaning of the words is common enough that over forty
years ago Ulrich Wilckens could speak of the passage as a locus classicus "fUr eine
alte, primitive, 'adoptianische' Christologie" (Missionsreden der Apostelgeschichte:
Form- und Tradtionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen [WMANT 5; Neukirchen:
Neukirchener Verlag, 1961]), 170. For similar assessments, compare among many
others, C. K. Barrett, The Acts of the Apostles. Volume I (ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark,
1994), 1.151: "It is thus implied that there was once a time when the crucified Jesus
was not Kupwc; and Xplcr't6c;, and the questions arise when he was appointed to
these positions"; Wilhelm Bousset, Kyrios Christos: A History of the Belief in Christ from
the Beginnings of Christianity to Irenaeus (Nashville: Abingdon, 1970), 338, who speaks
of "adoptionist side-currents"; Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (New
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951, 1955), 1.27, who asserts on the basis of Acts 2:36
(and Rom 1:4) that "Jesus' messiahship was dated from the resurrection"; Hans
Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), 21:
"This has an adoptionist ring, as if Jesus were made Kupwc;, 'Lord,' and XPlCJ't6c;,
'Christ,' only through his resurrection"; Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts,"
155: "So too Acts 2.36 is more naturally taken in some 'adoptionist' sense .... God has
made Jesus into something he was not before"; and, of course, William Wrede, The
Messianic Secret (trans. J.C.G. Grieg; Cambridge/London: James Clarke & Co. Ltd.,
1971), 216. The other statement in Acts that, methodologically considered, could be
treated in this excursus is 5:31, where Luke writes that God exalted Jesus as apxT)y6c;
and crom']p ('tOU'tOV 6 8E6c; cXPXTlYOV Kat cronilpa D\j/W<JEV). :EW'tTlP appears in the
Gospel for Jesus (2:11), and apxT)y6c; in Acts 3:15.
105 Of the many contrasting evaluations, cf. Barrett, Acts, 1.151, who asserts that 2:36 is
"clear proof that Luke is at this point using a source; he would not have chosen to
express himself in this way"; and, Wilckens, Missionsreden der Apostelgeschichte, 174,
who, on the basis of his foregoing considerations (esp. 170-74), opines "daB dieser
Satz als ganzer von Lukas stammt." On the speeches in Acts as a whole, see Marion
L. Soards, The Speeches in Acts: Their Content, Context, and Concerns (Louisville:
Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994). On speeches in the Mediterranean world,
Charles H. Talbert, Reading Acts: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Acts of
the Apostles (New York: Crossroad, 1997), 45-47, is lucid and brief without over-
simplifying the matter (cf. Fitzmyer's concise paragraph in Acts, 249).
Excursus: Kyrios, Identity, and Acts 2:36 191

sage from the narrative, the means of identifying what is Lukan are
actually lost, for the Lukan context itself is rendered irrelevant as
meaning-determining discourse.
Reconstructing another context - the necessary condition of lin-
guistic intelligibility - in which to understand the statement of Acts
2:36 may in theory be possible, and it is certainly a legitimate undertak-
ing. (Whether or not such hypotheses are successful in this case is a
separate question.) The point, however, is that such a reconstruction
provides another, different interpretive context from the Lukan one.Jo6
To read, therefore, Acts 2:36 as a pre-Lukan piece of kerygma and
apply the earlier meaning to Lukan christology, whatever the recon-
structed context, is to confuse different levels of meaning-determining
discourse (or context) such that a non-Lukan context is substituted for
the Lukan one. James Barr's penetrating critique of Kittel's Worterbuch
applies mutatis mutandis here: context matters for what we make of
words. 107 Even to get off the ground with an analysis of the meaning of
Acts 2:36 for Luke's christology, we will have to work with the Lukan
context, that is, Luke-Acts.
Vestiges of an attempt to integrate Acts 2:36 with the larger narra-
tive are discernable in statements to the effect that Luke, in essence,
contradicts himself. Haenchen, to take a prominent example, argues
that "[t]he expressions [Kupw~ and xptcr't6~], taken from older tradi-
tion ... are at odds with Lucan Christology." 108 Such interpretations at

106 Cf. the remarks of Martin Rese, "Formeln und Lieder im Neuen Testament. Einige
notwendige Anmerkungen," Verkundigung und Forschung 15/2 (1970): 75-95: "Nie-
mand wird bestreiten wollen, daiS es im NT Formeln und Lieder gibt, die alter sind
als ihr jetziger Kontext" (75). However, in the closing critical questions, Rese notes
that skepticism regarding the original wording and context of earlier pieces of tradi-
tion arises, at least in part, from the reality "daB neutestamentliche Formeln und
Lieder immer nur in sekundaren Quellen uberliefert sind" (94).
107 An interesting confirmation of this point can be had by paying attention to the
history of interpretation: Acts 2:36 was read in an entirely different way in the patris-
tic period than in the modern. On one side, heterodox interpreters (Eunomius, for
example) took Acts 2:36 to speak about the creation of the Son (reading E1tOtT]O'EV
essentially as "created"). Yet, this creation was in eternity, i.e., before the foundation
of the world (and not, therefore, in relation to Jesus' resurrection/exaltation). On the
other side, in light of the phrase 'tOtrtov 'tOV 'IT]crOuv ovUJ.lEtc; EO''taupcbcrcxcE, or-
thodox interpreters such as Gregory of Nyssa read Acts 2:36 primarily in relation to
the Son's humanity (taking E1tOlT]O'EV to refer to Jesus' flesh). Thus in the patristic
period the dogmatic context helped to shape a reading of the verse that is radically
different from the standard modern interpretation that is determined by the creation
of a pre-Lukan interpretive context.
108 Ernst Haenchen, The Acts of the Apostles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971), 187.
For another important example, cf. the statement of Barrett in n. 105 above. James
D. G. Dunn's statement in The Acts of the Apostles (Epworth Commentaries; Peterbor-
192 jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

least presuppose a larger Lukan christology - obviously derived from

the Gospel and other parts of Acts - against which Acts 2:36 is read.
It is theoretically possible that Luke either recorded or composed
something that was in contradiction to his overall christology. Christo-
pher Tuckett, on the basis of the well-known statements about speech-
composition in Thucydides and Lucian, 109 likely presupposes just this
kind of procedure when he writes that "the speech in Acts 2 placed on
Peter's lips may not tell us so much about Luke's own views, but more
about what Luke thought were the kinds of things Peter said, or should
have said, in the context in which the speech is now placed within the
story." 110 The central problem with such a hypothesis is the necessarily
entailed view of Luke's sloppiness with his use of Kupwc; in conjunction
with Peter's particular statement and its location in Acts.
Derogatory remarks about Luke's intelligence or ability have of
course long been in circulation. 111 Condescension aside, it is extremely

ough: Epworth Press, 1996), 28, is perhaps worded with more subtlety, but his logic
nevertheless points toward Haenchen's position: "The christology itself seems
primitive at a number of points ... the resurrection/ascension as evidence that 'God
has made him both Lord and Messiah' (2.36). Given the more developed christology
at the period of Luke's writing, it is unlikely that he was wishing to promote these
emphases. It is more likely that he drew them from traditions or memories which his
inquiry (or common knowledge) had brought to light." Luke is thus seen as the
faithful and admirable historian - recording dutifully things with which he did not
necessarily agree or want to promote - but his own christology is thereby set in op-
position to that of Acts 2:36.
109 Thucydides, !.22: "As to the speeches that were made by different men, either when
they were about to begin the war or when they were already engaged therein, it has
been difficult to recall with strict accuracy the words actually spoke, both for me as
regards that which I myself heard, and for those who from various other sources
have brought me reports. Therefore the speeches are given in the language in which,
as it seemed to me, the several speakers would express, on the subjects under con-
sideration, the sentiments most befitting the occasion, though at the same time I
have adhered as closely as possible to the general sense of what was actually said"
(LCL translation). Lucian, Historia, 58: "If a person has to be introduced to make a
speech, above all let his language suit his person and his subject, and next let these
also be as clear as possible. It is then, however, that you can play the orator and
show your eloquence" (LCL translation; there is a typographical error in Tuckett's
article [p. 139]: Lucian's statement is from paragraph 58 in the Historia, not para-
graph 56).
110 Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," 141. Tuckett's larger point in this section of
his article is, however, correct (d. esp. KUptE in the mouth of Gentiles): "Luke may
thus be sensitive in writing his story in that he has his characters say things that he
thinks are appropriate both to themselves as individuals and to the contexts in
which they are speaking" (141).
111 Cf., e.g., Wrede's statement that "to show that Pauline conceptions are echoed in the
Gospel of Luke is really of little more interest to a history of early Christian belief
than evidence of Schleiermacher's influence upon some third-rate theologian would
Excursus: Kyrios, [den lily, and Acts 2:36 193

difficult to believe that Luke was not intelligent enough to notice when
he recorded or composed something that prima facie runs so evidently
counter to a major point of his meticulously crafted Kupwc; christology.
A Denkfehler in a matter of lesser significance is perhaps likely, but the
supposition that Luke did not know what he was doing with KUptec;
(and xptcr't6c;) or that he (accidentally or purposefully) contradicted
himself on this weighty matter is not. Moreover, that the two titles
Kupwc; and xptcr't6c; are joined in Luke 2:11 suggests a conscious linking
of them here. 112 Finally, as "the first of the missionary speeches in
Acts," 113 there is much at stake in Peter's initial message. Is it really
credible to assume that Luke would botch his own christology at the
climax of the first speech in his second volume, that he would craft a
sentence at just this point that runs directly counter to his christological
project in the Gospel?
Despite taking into account a larger view of Lukan christology,
readings that propose self-contradiction posit a problem where it is
likely that Luke did not see one. Fortunately, there exists an open
interpretive route, one which both reckons with Luke's overall christol-
ogy and sees this passage as strategically situated in the larger narra-
tive and thus seeks to discern its meaning and function in that connec-
Taking account of Luke's whole narrative excludes a christological
interpretation that reads Acts 2:36 in abstraction 114 and, instead, re-

be in a history of nineteenth-century theology" (William Wrede, "The Task and

Methods of 'New Testament Theology,"' in The Nature of New Testament Theology [ed.
Robert Morgan; Naperville, Ill.: Alec R. Allenson Inc., 1973], 68-116, 187-88 n. 31). For
this trend in general, see Kiimmel's classic article, "Lukas in der Anklage der heuti-
gen Theologie," which has appeared several places but can be found conveniently in
Werner Georg Kiimmel, Heilsgeschehen und Geschichte. Band 2. Gesammelte Aufsiitze
1965-1977 (eds. Erich Grasser and Otto Merk; MThSt 16; Marburg: N . G. Elwert Ver-
lag, 1978), 87-100 (see esp. 87-93). Diametrically opposite conclusions have also been
reached (cf., e.g., Samuel Sand mel, A fewisll Understanding of the New Testament [Cin-
cinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1956), 192: "No words are too extravagant to
praise Luke's literary art. Not only is his skill revealed in the technical aspects of fine
writing, but his warmth, his capacity for eliciting the responsive sympathy of the
reader, and his gift for characterization and for human touches are unmatched in the
New Testament and, indeed, are equaled in very few works o f literature"). For the
theological issue involved, see Kierkegaard's essay, "Of the Difference between a
Genius and an Apostle."
112 Luke has also used Kupto<; for jesus multiple times in the Acts narrative prior to
2:36; it seems unlikely that he would slip into carelessness so quickly and about such
a crucial matter.
113 Fitzmyer, Acts, 248.
114 In this respect Acts 2:36 stands in a kind of contrast to Acts 10:36, the la tter of which
works rather well as christological "summary" in light of the narrative as a whole
194 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

quires us to integrate the seemingly troublesome phrase into the chris-

tologicallogic generated by the wider narrative. Such integration does
not, as one might initially suspect, diminish the force of n:ou::'iv but
rather takes seriously 6 8£6~ as its subject. This focus allows an inter-
pretation in which the emphasis is placed upon God's continuous
action in the life of Jesus despite the latter's rejection and death. Acts
2:36, as Talbert puts it in a slightly different context, evidences "God's
reversal of the human no to Jesus." 115 Thus does the sentence KUptov
at'rcov Kat xptcr'tov £n:o1:rp£v 6 8£6~ 'to\l'tov 'tOV 'Irpouv ov Dll£t~
Ecr'taupcbcra't£ say explicitly, if thetically, what 24:3 and 24:34 say to-
gether through the movement of the Gospel narrative from Jesus'
rejection through his execution to his resurrection. God's plan (recall
the Lukan !)ouA:i] and Oct) is annulled neither by human resistance nor
by Jesus' death. Wilckens's "Von Anfang an" captures the significance
here particularly well, however much the rest of his remark needs
qualification: "Von Anfang an hat einerseits Gott in Erfi.illung der
Schrift diesen Jesus zum Herrn und Christus gemacht und ihn so in die
zentrale Funktion der Heilsgeschichte eingesetzt, wahrend andererseits
dieser so von Gott ausgezeichnete Jesus von den Juden angefeindet
und getotet worden ist." 116 Drawing on Wilckens's work, Conzelmann
puts it still more plainly: "Luke is not reflecting on the time of installa-
tion at all but simply sets forth God's action in opposition to the behav-
ior of the Jews."m
Thus the shift to which Acts 2:36 refers is not, to use typically
"Greek" language, an ontological shift, but is instead an epistemological
one. Luke stresses this point with the conjunction of cxcr<jlaA.w~ and the
imperative ytvcocrKE'tCD: the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus should
alter "assuredly" the knowledge of the "house of Israel" regarding
Jesus' identity. But God's action (£n:o1:rp£v 6 8£6~) does not alter Jesus'
identity itself; indeed, it confirms this identity - precisely as Kupto~
XPtcr't6~ (see also 2:11). As Frank Matera correctly notes, Peter's claim
"that God has made Jesus Messiah and Lord ... should be read in light
of the angel's announcement to the shepherds that a savior has been
born who is Messiah and Lord (Luke 2:11). Since the resurrection is the
moment when God enthrones his Son, Israel should now know who

(contra, e.g., Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," 152 n. 67, and many English
translations that take OU't6<; EO"'ttv naV'tCOV K'UptO<; in 10:36 as parenthetical).
115 Talbert, "The Place of the Resurrection," 21 (emphasis his).
116 Wilckens, Missionsreden, 174. The placing of the blame entirely on the Jews needs
qualification as does use of the term Heilsgeschichte.
117 Conzelmann, Acts, 21.
Excursus: Kyrios, Identity, and Acts 2:36 195

Jesus always was." 118 In the Lukan narrative, there was not when Jesus
was not K0pwt;. 119
God's reversal of the human rejection of Jesus is thus expressed in
terms of continuity of identity, which is to say with Ricoeur that the
narrative "appears as the path of character." 120 The story in Acts 2 that
involves "this Jesus" ('tOU'tOV 'tOV 'Irpouv) is the still-unfolding same
story that began with God's action in Luke 1-2. The unity of this story
constitutes narratively Jesus' identity through the single movement that
is conception, birth, ministry, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascen-
sion, and exaltation: the continuity in identity lies in the unity of the
story itself, as the story is the path of the character Jesus. Hence Jesus'
identity is anything but static, "some-thing" capable of being abstracted
from the ongoing story which renders it in the first place. Or, to state it
positively, as Ricoeur does in the last volume of Time and Narrative,
"Narrative identity ... can include change, mutability, within the cohe-
sion of one lifetime."J2J
On the other side of the matter, to put it with Hans Frei, is the fact
that "the abiding identity of Jesus in the crucifixion and resurrection is
held together by the unitary identity of him who is the same person
whether crucified or resurrected." 122 Jesus KUptot;, that is, is the same
character at every point in the movement of the narrative, whether in

118 Matera, New Testament Christology, 268 n. 44 (emphasis original). Cf. his earlier
remark, "Jesus did not become the Messiah and Lord in function of his resurrection;
he was already Messiah and Lord at his birth" (63).
119 Though I cannot prove it and do not find the invention of other contexts very
reliable (cf. the remarks of Barrett and Wilckens in n. 105 above), my own guess is
that with Acts 2:36 Luke adopts a piece of kerygma in order to reframe it and thus
shift ontology to epistemology. Perhaps he was somewhat worried about the conclu-
sions that could potentially be drawn from this statement and so sought to counter
them with his reframing: in general, the best way to do this kind of thing, of course,
is to take what seems to work against your argument and show how it actually
works well for your argument.
120 Paul Ricoeur, Oneself as Another (trans. Kathleen Blarney; Chicago: University Press,
1992), 146.
121 Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative (3 vols.; trans. Kathleen Blarney; Chicago: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, 1985), 3.246. Cf. Frei, The Identity of Jesus Christ, 133:
"[K]nowing the identity of any person involves describing the continuity of the per-
son who acts and is acted upon through a stretch of time. But it also involves de-
scribing the genuine changes ... that occur both in that person's character and in the
circumstances of a story." In citing Riceour and Frei I do not intend their statements
to describe a thoroughly worked out theological metaphysic of "being" (specifically,
one in which immutability is categorically denied) but rather to indicate in as simple
a way as possible the coordination narrative allows between constancy and change
with respect to character.
122 Frei, The Identity of Jesus Christ, 160.
196 Jerusalem, the Passion, and the Resurrection

death or resurrection. 123 Narratively speaking, there is only one Jesus.

This continuity of character through story - the unity of the single
story on the one side, and the unity of the character Jesus on the other
- discloses the manner of God's "reversal": human rejection is itself
rejected precisely through the ongoing story of the messianic Kupw~. 124
If the "human no" had been the final word, the story would have
In one of his classic essays, Kasemann characterized the difference
between pre- and post-Easter as a "break." He further continued that it
is necessary to ask "whether the break in question signifies complete
disintegration or indicates a transformation which may be interpreted
as continuity within discontinuity." 125 Kasemann's probing question
can serve well to summarize the import of Acts 2:36. It is probably not
too much to suggest that if Acts 2:36 is read - in abstraction from the
narrative - as Luke's theology then his christology disintegrates. But it
can in fact be read as continuity within discontinuity, the continuity of
the identity of Jesus as JCuplO~ within the discontinuity of crucifixion
and death. Indeed, Kasemann moves on a sentence or two later to say:
"By designating Jesus as its Lord ... the primitive community was laying
claim to a continuity of history and of content," 126 to which Luke would
add - and indeed, stress - of character and person.

123 We must reckon seriously with the fact that readings of Acts 2:36 that posit contra-
diction between this verse and the rest of the narrative, when pressed, ultimately
sever the identity of Jesus. One must, in the final analysis, speak of two different
characters, two Jesuses: the Jesus, who, according to Luke, was Kupwc; from his con-
ception, and the Jesus, who, according to Acts 2:36, was not Kupwc; until after his
resurrection. But this is obviously to cut against the grain of Luke's basic christologi-
cal point: the Lord of the church is the same Lord as the man who walked the earth.
124 For Luke's claim to continuity in messianic identity, see Alexandru Neagoe, The Trial
of the Gospel: An Apologetic Reading of Luke's Trial Narratives (SNTSMS 116; Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), esp. 108-27. In focusing on God's vindi-
cation of Jesus' identity as xptcr't6c;, Neagoe provides a counterpoint here for the
other side of Luke 2:11 and Acts 2:36.
125 Ernst Kasemann, "Primitive Christian Apocalyptic," in New Testament Questions of
Today (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969), 108-37 (121 ).
126 Ibid.
Chapter 5

Synthesis: Kupw~ in the Gospel of Luke

The foregoing investigation offers a reading of Luke's use of KUpto<; in
the Gospel as a whole. The argument, that is, is cumulative in nature.
The exegesis of this or that pericope may be more or less convincing in
its particularities; indeed, disagreement over details or even readings of
entire pericopae is to be expected, as some passages are certainly
clearer than others. But the thesis that Luke uses and develops KUpto<;
constructively and with considerable purpose does not stand or fall
with my exegesis of any one particular passage, and disagreement here
or there does not render the exegesis as a whole implausible. To the
contrary: the plausibility of the interpretation is by the very nature of
the case bound up with the entire narrative. Those who wish, therefore,
to dispute the reading will need to do so at the macro-level: they will
need to offer a different, more compelling reading of the total Gospel
narrative precisely at the point of Luke's use of Kupto<;, or, alternatively,
argue persuasively that Luke's use of Kupto<; is haphazard or incoher-
The purpose of this final chapter is broadly synthetic. It attempts to
gather the import of the various pericopae together in order to present
a coherent and holistic picture of the multifaceted significance of Luke's
use of Kuptoc;.

I. Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

In a well-known presentation, Martin Buber drew from his translation

work with Franz Rosenzweig and introduced the term "Leitwortstil" as
a way to talk about the narrative phenomenon of verbal repetition
within the Pentateuch. A Leitwort, he began, is

ein Wort oder ein Wortstamm ... der sich innerhalb eines Textes, einer
Textfolge, eines Textzusammenhangs sinnreich wiederholt: wer diesen
198 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

Wiederholungen folgt, dem erschlieBt oder verdeutlicht sich ein Sinn des
Textes oder wird auch nur eindringlicher offenbar. 1

Buber immediately moved to characterize this repetition as "dyna-

misch," thus rejecting the notion that the connectedness of the same
word, or a root thereof, within a narrative is arbitrary or, worse, inci-
dental to the meaning of the story. In fact, precisely the opposite is the
case. He further explained:

Dynamisch nenne ich sie, wei! sich zwischen den so aufeinander

bezogenen Lautgefiigen gleichsam eine Bewegung vollzieht: wem das
Ganze gegenwartig ist, der fiihlt die Wellen hinuber and hertiber schlagen.
Die maBhafte Wiederholung, der inneren Rhythmik des Textes
entsprechend, vielmehr ihr entstromend, ist wohl uberhaupt das starkste
unter allen Mitteln, einen Sinncharakter kundzutun, ohne ihn
vorzutragen. 2

For Buber, therefore, verbal repetition - whether in immediate juxta-

position, or at a distance over a wide textual surface-area 3 - is intrinsi-

Martin Buber, "Leitwortstil in der Erzahlung des Pentateuchs," in Werke: Zweiter

Band: Schriften zur Bibel (Mlinchen: Kosel Verlag, 1964), 1131-49 (1131). The original
Vortrag was somewhat longer and was entitled "Die Bibel als Erzahler." An English
translation of the essay can be found in Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig,
Scripture and Translation (trans. Lawrence Rosenwald with Everett Fox; Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1994), 114-28, which contains the other essays that were
collected in the "methodology," as it were, of the Buber/Rosenzweig translation of
the Old Testament (Die Schrift und ihre Verdeutschung, 1934): "By Leitwort I
understand a word or word root that is meaningfully repeated within a text or
sequence of texts or complex of texts; those who attend to these repetitions will find
a meaning of the text revealed or clarified, or any rate made more emphatic" (114).
2 Ibid. Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 1981), esp.
92-97 and 148, also notes the importance of Buber's term and observations (Alter
also has an eloquent, if somewhat loose, translation of the pertinent passage).
Buber's essay has been cited frequently by Jewish scholars (e.g., Shimon Bar-Efrat,
Narrative Art in the Bible [Sheffield: Almond Press, 1984], 136, 212). Yairah Amit, "The
Multi-Purpose 'Leading Word' and the Problems of Its Usage," Prooftexts 9 (1989):
99-114, has written an essay that, with decent success, attempts to rein in (on Buber's
own grounds) some of the more undisciplined uses of the term. The Rosenwald/Fox
translation reads: "I say 'dynamic' because what takes place between the verbal
configurations thus related is in a way a movement; readers to whom the whole is
present feel the waves beating back and forth. Such measured repetition,
corresponding to the inner rhythm of the text-or rather issuing from it-is
probably the strongest of all techniques for making a meaning available without
articulating it explicitly" (114).
3 See the citation of Buber in section V of this chapter. One may immediately think of
Aeschylus's use of 8\.Kll as discussed in chapter one.
Kyrios and Identity: Theos and Iesous 199

cally related to the meaning of the narrative, even, or perhaps espe-

cially, if this meaning is not directly expressed.
Whether or not all of Buber's examples work equally well is ulti-
mately irrelevant. What matters for our project is the obvious, if no less
profound, heuristic usefulness of Buber' s insight into the dynamic of
verbal repetition, a word's recurrence and the intrinsic significance of
its unfolding pattern for meaning. Buber' s choice, moreover, of the
word "rhythm" is remarkably apropos, for it suggests subtlety and
variation in recurrence, a coherence that resists immediate comprehen-
sion but is discernable nonetheless. That there exists a kind of "inner
rhythm" to Luke's use of Kupwt; - a regular recurrence of similar fea-
tures variously put to use in the service of a coherent meaning - is
hardly to be doubted. Kupwt; in Luke's Gospel (and really, Luke-Acts)
constitutes something of a Leitwort for the Lukan narrative. Discerning
this coherence, however, requires us to bring together, on the basis of
the previous exegesis, several interrelated matters.

II. Kyrios and Identity: Theos and Iesous

In taking seriously the birth-infancy narrative as the place from which
to begin our interpretation of Luke's use of KUptot;, we presupposed the
general success of the efforts of Minear, Brown, et al. that attempted to
rehabilitate Luke 1-2 as significant for Lukan theology. 4 The essential
narrative insight correlated with this position is that the beginning of a
story matters crucially for what we make of it as it unfolds. This is true
not only with respect to the larger plot, but also with respect to charac-
ter. To put it into the terms of our study: the use of KUptot; at the begin-
ning of Luke's Gospel shapes fundamentally both the construction of

4 See, e.g., Raymond Brown, The Birth of the Messiah (Garden City, NY: Doubleday,
1977) 26-27.; 241-43; Joel Green, "The Problem of a Beginning: Israel's Scriptures in
Luke 1-2," BBR 4 (1994): 61-85; PaulS. Minear, "Luke's Use of the Birth Stories," in
Studies in Luke-Acts (eds. Leander Keck and J. Louis Martyn; Philadelphia: Fortress,
1966), 111-30 (129); and Robert C. Tannehill, Luke (ANTC; Nashville: Abingdon,
1996) 40-41. Cf., e.g., Hans-Josef Klauck, "Gottesfi.irchtige im Magnificat," in Religion
und Gesellschaft im friihen Christentum: Neutestamentliche Studien (WUNT 152;
Ti.ibingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 205-11: "Insofern kann der hier vorgelegte Versuch
zum Magnificat auch dazu beitragen, im Einklang mit einem neueren
Forschungstrend die Vorgeschichte in Lk 1-2 als wohlgeplanten, organischen,
unverzichtbaren Bestandteil des lukanischen Doppelwerks zu erweisen" (211). The
importance of Luke 1-2 was of course famously denied (with subsequent influence)
by Hans Conzelmann, Die Mitte der Zeit/The Theology of St. Luke.
200 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

the identity of God and Jesus in the Gospel narrative and our percep-
tion of it.
As demonstrated in chapter one, the Gospel opens with a theology
of resonance and a shift of focus. The manner of Jesus' introduction into
the story as Kupto<; in 1:43 ("the mother of my KUpto<;") effects a duality
in the referent of the word KUpto<;, which then allows the ambiguity of
1:17 ("to prepare for the KUpto<;"), 1:76 ("you will go before the KUpto<; to
prepare his ways"), and 3:4 ("prepare the way of the KUpto<;") to emerge
narratively with theological force. This ambiguity in the referent of
KUpto<; is permanent in each case: to ask after the identity of the KUpto<;
is to answer 8E6<; and 'IT]crOu<;. Yet within the ambiguity the structure
and movement of the story shift the focus from KUpto<; 6 8E6<; to the
KUpto<; xptcr't6<;. The narrative itself is the theology: the coming of the
KUpto<; xptcr't6<; is the coming of the KUpto<; 6 8E6<;. The opening of the
Gospel thus narrates, in the move from promise to active fulfillment,
the presence of the God of Israel in the life of Jesus.
The continuation of the story in the body of the Gospel carries for-
ward and develops this claim in subtle and various ways. The pro-
grammatic scene in the synagogue in Nazareth displays, through the
"double meaning" of the phrase KUptou 8EK't6v, remarkable
continuity with the preceding narrative: the year of the Lord's favor is
embodied, actualized, or worked out precisely through the life and
ministry of the Lord. The jubilee of God the Lord is his coming in the
Christ-Lord, and to the degree that the year of God's favor is the mis-
sion of Jesus, there is a unity between them.
So, too, the ambiguity in the phrase 8uvaflt<; Kuptou (5:17) serves to
represent the God of Israel's presence through Jesus and thereby to
justify Jesus' forgiveness of sins in light of the perceived threat to the 6
116vo<; 8E6<;. Thus does Jesus' healing incite the people to glorify God
and to speak of "paradox" (d. the discussions of Jesus' authority in the
sabbath controversy as KUpto<; 1:ou cral3l3chou, or in 9:57-62, or his ability
to procure the colt in 19:31-33). And the ambiguity in the expression 6
KUpto<; 1:ou 8EptcrflOU (10:2), particularly when read within its immediate
context of other KUpto<; uses (10:1, 17, 21), creates a space within the im-
age of the harvest in which the mission of Jesus is identified with the
mission of God. This identification of mission then finds dramatic ex-
pression through Jesus' entry into Jerusalem which fulfills Ps 118:26 in
an exact sense: the one who is quite literally the Lord comes in the
name of the Lord, 6 KUpto<; EV 6v6fl<X'tl Kuptou (d. 13:35). In this way the
EmcrKon:l, of God spoken of earlier in the story (1:68, 78; 7:16) is mani-
Kyrios and Identity: Theos and /esous 201

fested christologically in Jesus' own lament over the people's failure to

recognize the time of their £mcrKonijc; (19:44).
The visitation or coming of the God of Israel is thus so concentrated
in the figure of Jesus that they can share an identity as Kupwc;. Yet, for
Luke this unity in no way approaches a Vermischung, as Luke 2:11 and
the use of Ps 110:1 in Luke 20:41-44 make particularly clear: 8E6c;
and 'Irpouc; are never vermischt. Luke is not, to use patristic terms, an
early modalist. Rather, the sense is that of a narrative Verbindung, a co-
herent pattern of characterization that binds God and Jesus together
through the word Kupwc; such that they finally cannot be separated or
abstracted from one another in the story. To apprehend the identity of
Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is to include God, and the question, Who is
God in Luke?, of necessity places Jesus at the center of its answer.
This Verbindungsidentitiit as unity and differentiation is further im-
plicit in the na'ti]p-ui6c; language, which itself presupposes a mutually
constitutive relation (see the discussion of 10:21-22 in chapter three).
Luke does not think that the Father and the Son are the same person or
character, but he sees in the very relation that constitutes who they are
- their identity - a profound continuity that extends through the
word Kupwc; to the Father and to the Son. In the Lukan Gospel, the God
of Israel and Jesus are so joined in the narrative that to speak of 6
Kupwc; is to speak of 8E6c; and ;(ptcr't6c;, of na'tijp and ui6c;. Jesus is thus,
to modify Hans Frei, the presence of the God of Israel acting. 5
It is not surprising, then, that in Acts the fully ambiguous uses of
Kupwc; increase significantly, as Jesus has now been exalted to the right
hand of the Father. From the perspective of the Christian community
(the view from "below"), Jesus' "location" in heaven tightens, as it
were, the Verbindung between God and Christ in their acting as Kupwc;,
for the work of the Father and the Son in heaven appears from earth to
be undifferentiated. In this respect Conzelmann' s remark, when ap-
plied to the Kuptoc; ambiguity in Acts, remains on target: "Von der
Gemeinde aus ... erscheint Jesu Werk in volliger Einheit mit dem des
Vaters. So konnen beide als 'Herr' bezeichnet und als Urheber der
aktuellen Heilsereignisse dargestellt werden, welche die Gemeinde
erHi.hrt." 6 The difference between the use of Kupwc; in Acts and in the

5 Hans W. Frei, "The Identity of Jesus Christ," in Theology and Narrative: Selected Essays
(eds. George Hunsinger and William C. Placher; New York: Oxford University
Press, 1993), 74.
6 Conzelmann, Die Mitte der Zeit, 172 (ET, Theol. of St. Luke: "From the point of view of
the community ... the work of Jesus seems completely identical with that of the
202 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

Gospel can thus be conceived of as the difference between heaven and

Yet, in this case at least, difference is not rupture. Indeed, in a cru-
cial sense heaven and earth are joined through the word Kupwc;. Look-
ing back from the use of Kupwc; in Acts to the Gospel, it becomes possi-
ble to draw the conclusion that the ambiguity in heaven experienced by
the early Christian community has its origin on earth. That is to say
that the reality of Christian experience of the divine depicted in Acts
through the copious ambiguous uses of Kupwc; has as its ground the act
of God by the Spirit in the conception of Jesus as Kupwc;. The use of
Kupwc; in Acts, in other words, is to be explained in terms of the Gospel
narrative. In this way, Luke gives to church practice and experience a
theological and christological grounding in the narrative of the identity
of its Lord. Looking forward, then, from the Gospel to Acts, the move-
ment toward the recurrent ambiguity in Acts begins formally in the
opening of the Gospel with the binding of 8£6c; and 'Irpouc; through the
use of Kupwc; in the movement of the narrative.

III. Kyrios and Identity: Kyrios Iesous

The coordination of the question of identity with the Gospel narrative

yields the important insight that to understand a character's identity is
to receive it through the narrative. There is no character in abstraction
from the narrative to whom we have access and to whom certain quali-
ties, titles, etc. are then applied - a sort of genie-like figure floating
above the story who subsequently receives defining attributes. To the
contrary, a character is formed, or - to move to theological language
- revealed through the unfolding story that concurrently unfolds
identity. Identity inheres in the story.
With respect to the identity of Jesus, Luke constructs his Gospel in
such a way that it becomes impossible to conceive of Jesus apart from
the word Kuptoc;. As argued in chapter one, such is the implication of
Jesus' in utero introduction into the narrative as the Lord. Kuptoc; is, in
other words, constitutive of his identity, as his existence and identifica-
tion as Kupwc; are coextensive. Jesus begins his life as Kupwc; and moves
as Kupwc; through every twist and turn thereafter until the Gospel

Father, therefore both can be designated as 'Lord' and can be represented as the
instigator of the saving events which the community now experiences" [184]).
Kyrios and Identity: Kyrios Iesous 203

closes with the last words about Jesus from any character in the story:
r]y£p811 6 Kupw~.
Perhaps the most obvious way that Luke articulates this concomi-
tance is through his frequent authorial/editorial use of 6 KUplO~ for Je-
sus (between thirteen and sixteen times). Besides the proper
name 'Irpou~, 6 Kupw~ is in fact the predominate way that Luke as nar-
rator refers to Jesus.? The name and the title are narratively
interchangeable: in telling the story of 'IT]aou~, Luke writes about what
6 Kupw~ said or did. For Luke, Jesus is "the Lord" to the same extent
that he is Jesus.
Yet, 6 KUpto~ does not thereby lose its christological force - becom-
ing only a synonym for 'IT]aou~ -but instead bears weight as a herme-
neutical guide to Luke's basic christological convictions. 8 As argued in
chapter two, for example, Luke sets up clear signposts through the use
of 6 KUplO~ in 7:13 ("and after seeing her, 6 KUpto~ had compassion on
her") and 7:19 ("John sent two of his disciples to 6 Kupwt;") that direct
christologically our reading of the ensuing events so that the judgment
of "prophet" is seen as insufficient next to that of "Lord." So, too, to
take an example from chapter three, the insertion of 6 KUplO~ in Luke
12:41 includes Jesus Kupto~ himself within the interpretation of his par-
able, which then moves the auditor/reader to draw boldly the allegori-
cal line between Jesus and the returning Kupw~ spoken of in the parable
("And Peter said, 'Kupt£, are you telling this parable for us or for every-
one?' And 6 Kupw~ said 'Who then is the faithful and prudent manager
whom 6 Kupto~ will put in charge of his household ... "').
The entire Gospel narrative, moreover, reflects Luke's strategic
placement and artful use of KUplO~ in order to shape the
auditor/reader's perception of the identity of Jesus as Kupto~. Luke 1:43
has already been mentioned, but, as pointed out in chapter one, 2:11 is
also of cardinal significance: the first time the auditors hear of Jesus ex-
plicitly as X,pta't6~, they hear of him again, almost simultaneously, as
KUplO~. In fact, the X,pta'to~ KUplO~ juxtaposition in 2:11 is so immediate
that it creates a problem for the translator. Jesus is not simply X,pta't6~;

7 The exceptions are the use of 'tO rcat8tov in the infancy material of Luke 2, and c\
reate; once in 2:43. '0 xptcr't6c; is also used twice by the narrator (Luke 2:26; 4:41), but
the sense of a true narrative interchangeability with 'IT]O'Ouc; is absent in both places.
The important question of Ignace de Ia Potterie, "Le titre KUptac; applique a Jesus
dans l'Evangile de Luc," in Melanges Bibliques en hommage au R. P. Beda Rigaux (ed.
Albert Descamps; Gembloux, 1970), 117-46, gets at this point: "Pourquoi Luc
emploie-t-ille titre c\ KUptac; atel endroit, et le nom c\ 'IT]O'Ouc; a tel autre? (119).
8 Thus the response to de Ia Potterie's question in the previous note.
204 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

he is Christ-Lord. This yoking of xptcr't6~ to Kupw~ is developed further

not only in Acts (e.g., 2:36) but also in the Gospel through the use of Ps
110:1 in Luke 20:41-44. At this point in the narrative, the irony is all but
directly signaled: 6 Kupw~ himself quotes the text of the psalm and asks
the question - how can the Kupw~ be David's son? - that leads to a
reappraisal of the nature of xptcr't6~. Kupw~ is thus the word by which
Luke elevates xptcr't6~ to signify much more than uio~ ~auto. 9
Even the use of the (frequently devalued) vocative Kupt£ exhibits
purposeful christological positioning and, further, narrative consis-
tency with the non-vocatives. The very first occurrence of Kupt£, for ex-
ample, is indisputably far more than "sir" ("Go away from me Kupt£ for
I am a sinful man!"; Luke 5:8), and this first use discloses at the outset
the fuller sense that Kupt£ carries for Luke. This introduction of the
vocative in 5:8 is then immediately followed in the next pericope (5:12-
16) with a second use of the vocative in which the reader/auditor is en-
couraged, chiefly through the proximity and similarities to 5:1-11, to
discern a congruence with the first ("Kupt£, if you wish to, you are able
to make me clean"; 5:12). In addition, the third and fourth use of KUpt£
occur in the mouth of Jesus in Luke 6:46, where the speaker, the dou-
bling (Kupt£ KuptE) in connection to KalvE:w, and the eschatological tenor
of the parable render a mundane reading of the vocative inadequate on
its own.
The tactical importance of these initial occurrences of Kupt£ lies in
their ability to influence the reading of later vocatives. Cumulatively,
they create in the first one-fourth of the Gospel an understanding of
Kupt£ as "Lord." Thus, for example, as argued in chapter two, when the
next occurrence of Kupt£ (in 7:6) follows perfectly a standard Graeco-
Roman address ("sir"), the christology of "Lord" in the vocative has al-
ready been developed and guides the reader to make the narrative
connection: in the christology of the Gospel of Luke, Kupt£ means
Lord. 10
Furthermore, time and again, Luke writes in such a way as to unify
the vocative with the nominative and oblique cases of Kupw~. The
Kupt£-Kupw~ sequence in 12:41-42; 10:39-41 (see the text-critical discus-
sion in chapter three); 14:21-23; and 19:8, as well as the same sequence
in the stories of Saul's conversion in Acts, all evidence, by means of

9 As emphasized elsewhere, this is not to affirm with Darrell L. Bock, Proclamation

from Prophecy and Pattern: Lucan Old Testament Christology (JSNTSup 12; Sheffield:
JSOT Press, 1987), 270, that XPlO"t6~ has been "consumed" by KuplO~: "[T]he
messianic picture of Jesus is consumed by the description of him as Lord."
10 On what this means for Luke and "history," see section IV below.
Kyrios and Identity: Kyrios Iesous 205

proximity of case and similarity in style, a deliberate coordination of

KUptE with Kupwt;. The mundane vocative has at the narrative level
been employed in the service of christology. This transposition of a
standard Graeco-Roman salutation to a christological claim is part of
Luke's overall narrative formation of the identity of Jesus as Kupwt;: in
Luke, Jesus is the Kupwt; who is addressed as such, KUptE.
Luke does not, however, flatten his character with the emphasis on
the continuity of Kupwt;, as if the character Jesus is unaffected by the
movement of his story. 11 Rather, Luke's use of Kupwt; in 24:3
(Eicr£A.8oucra.t 8£ oux EUpov 1:0 crcDJ..ta. 1:ou Kuptou), the first mention of
Jesus after his crucifixion, and in 24:34 (l]ytp8T] 6 Kuptot;), the last words
of any character about Jesus, indicates Luke's awareness of the appar-
ent tension between Jesus' identity as Kupwt; and his trial and crucifix-
ion. Indeed, through the complete absence of Kupwt; from the trial and
crucifixion, especially in light of the thirty-plus occurrences of Kupwt;
for Jesus to that point, Luke himself builds such tension into the story.
The breaking of the silence of death with Kupwt; in Luke 24:3 and 24:34
does not resolve this tension but precisely through the stress on conti-
nuity of identity allows its incorporation into the meaning of Kupwt; in
the Lukan Gospel. To be 6 Kuptot; in the Lukan Gospel is not to wield
the force necessary to destroy one's enemies or to avoid death, but
rather it is to be able to love one's enemies and to absorb a violent
death. In this way, the reconstrual of power and the ethical thrust in
9:52-56 ("Kupt£," ask his disciples, "do you want us to command fire to
come down from heaven and consume them? And he turned andre-
buked them"; vv. 54-55) and 22:38, 49 ('"Kupt£, look, here are two
swords ... KuptE should we strike with the sword?' 'Enough of this!~~~)
are grounded fundamentally in the story of 6 Kupwt; 'IT]crout;, who by
God's power is the Lord even through rejection, suffering, and death.
The life of Jesus as Kuptot; is thus dependent upon God at its inception
and in its termination. God's action, that is, is constitutive of the iden-
tity of b Kupwt; 'IT]crout; at the point of his birth and through his death to
his resurrection (l]y£p8T] 6 Kupwt;). The ascension briefly narrated in the
final moment of the story locates heaven as the "place" from where the
KUptot; will now act on earth.
In its portrayal of the total life of Jesus as one in which he is 6
Kupwt; from beginning to end, Luke's Gospel gives flesh to the heav-

11 Though the focus here is primarily upon KUplO<;, it is worth noting that Luke is also
attentive to larger matters of character development. The importance of Luke 2:52,
for example, is difficult to overestimate.
206 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

enly Lord worshipped by the early church contemporaneous with the

composition of the Gospel. The exalted Lord, the one whom Luke will
call the KUpto~ rcav'tWV (Acts 10:36), lived as a human precisely in his
identity as Lord. It is highly doubtful that this move was made in the
face of a Gnostic threat; 12 yet, in substance Luke's move toward the hu-
manity of the exalted KUpto~ excludes all forms of Gnosticism. It is in
essence a historical claim about the divine figure whom the early
Christians worship, namely, that the one who is now in heaven is the
same, human Jesus who on earth lived and died, and was raised. 13 The
mission to the Gentiles, the power of healing, forgiveness in the mo-
ment of martyrdom, etc. all have their basis in a human life, that of
Jesus the Lord. Seen from this angle, the direction in the historical
move toward the human is from the heavenly Lord, present now in the
Christian community, to the earthly one.
On the other hand, in construing the identity of Jesus as KUpto~
even from the womb, Luke presents the totally human Jesus as the
heavenly Lord upon earth. Again, it is doubtful that this move was
made explicitly to combat a (generic) pagan view of apotheosis, in
which a mere human is divinized or deified after death; yet, in sub-
stance the theological move toward continuity in heavenly or divine
identity protects against a divinizing interpretation of Jesus KUpto~.
Jesus did not after his death and resurrection become something he was
not before, but rather was vindicated precisely in respect to or even be-
cause of his identity. 14 Through the depiction of the human Jesus as

12 With reference to his own Luke and the Gnostics: An Examination of the Lucan Purpose
(Nashville, Abingdon, 1966), see the retractions of Charles H. Talbert, Cadbury, Knox,
and Talbert, 229-30. Cf. N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Vol. 3 of
Christian Origins and the Question of God; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003), 659. Cf. also
the succinct statements of Alexandru Neagoe, The Trial of the Gospel: An Apologetic
Reading of Luke's Trial Narratives (SNTSMS 116; Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 2002), 13, who grants the criticisms that have been raised against Talbert but
then goes on to acknowledge that "it is commonly granted that certain features of
Luke-Acts could be understood along [anti-Gnostic] lines."
13 In this context it is interesting to recall Kasemann's remarks about the Gospels in
general and John (commonly thought the least historical) in particular: "[I]t seems to
me that if one has absolutely no interest in the historical Jesus, then one does not
write a Gospel, but, on the contrary, finds the Gospel form inadequate"; "The
historicizing design of the whole cries out for explanation!" ("The 'Jesus of History'
Controversy," in New Testament Questions of Today [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979], 41
and 49 respectively). To what degree we would evaluate Luke's historical claim as
"history" is a complex question and will be treated briefly below.
14 It may be instructive at this point to contrast my view with that of Eric Franklin, who
correctly discerns that "Luke's understanding, however, does not allow for any
deification; Jesus does not become other than what he was before." However,
Kyrios and Identity: Kyrios /esous 207

Kuptoc;, Luke shapes the understanding of "Lord" to include, by defini-

tion of his life on earth, misunderstanding, opposition, and even cruci-
fixion in the identity of the heavenly Lord. Seen from this angle, the
direction in Luke's christological move toward the divine is from the
earthly Lord, whose ministry ended in death, to the exalted one.
Luke's development of the identity of 'Irpouc; as Kuptoc; is thus dia-
lectical in the sense that there is a single, simultaneous movement with
two directions. The movement itself is Luke's consistent conceptualiza-
tion and depiction of the entirety of Jesus' life on earth (primarily Gos-
pel) and in heaven (primarily Acts) as KUptoc;. The directions within this
movement are, looking from Acts to the Gospel, the portrayal of the
heavenly Lord as a human figure, and, looking from the Gospel to Acts,
the portrayal of the human figure as the heavenly Lord.

disagreement arises when Franklin continues, "What happens is that his victory is
achieved and that his status as Lord over all is accomplished. But he himself remains
what he was before, the individual Christ, for the Third Gospel moves wholly within
the sphere of Old Testament thought. It is this which fashions ... the ideas suggested
by Psalm 110:1. This makes it possible for Luke to call both God and Jesus 'Lord',
and at times it is difficult to determine to whom he is referring. But this does not
mean that Jesus becomes God or that he is given a divine status by Luke. The
Psalmist calls both God and the king 'Lord' but he does not give equality to the two.
Luke sees Jesus as wholly subordinate to the Father, given a share in the Father's
authority, but one which is derived from the Father. He is still the instrument of the
Father and is still called his servant" (Christ the Lord: A Study in the Purpose and
Theology of Luke-Acts [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 54). There are two central
problems with Franklin's explanation. First, it is inadequate to base christological
judgments on a simple comparison of the psalmist's view of the king in his time
with the early Christians' view of Jesus in which he was worshipped as KUptOc;.
There is a world of difference between the two. Second, Franklin's remarks disclose
the assumption that proper trinitarian theology (which would obviously include the
claim that Jesus is divine) requires the denial of the idea that Jesus is the servant of
the Father. But this assumption is actually false, as, for example, reflection on the
economic implications of the patristic and Eastern Orthodox use of JtT]Yll or a:hta:
for the Father immediately shows (see, e.g., Thomas F. Torrance, Trinitarian
Perspectives: Toward Doctrinal Agreement [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1994], esp. 32f.).
Thus, we agree that Luke's Gospel excludes ideas of deification but disagree on what
this might mean for the relation between christology and theology proper (Jesus and
God). The difference, in my judgment, relates on the one hand to the need to pay
attention to the nuance within the narrative development of KUptOc; and, on the
other, to different conceptions of God that operate - whether consciously or not -
in the exegetical process.
208 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

IV. Kyrios and History

The preceding sections raise in an acute way the old but still funda-
mental questions regarding the relationship of Luke's Gospel to pre-
resurrection history, 15 Lukan historiographical method, and the herme-
neutical problem of the different levels at which one can read the Gos-
pel(s). These matters are themselves enormous and encompass vastly
more than issues of christology; a thorough treatment of them here is
obviously therefore impossible. Yet, Luke's use of K:upwc; relates so di-
rectly to these concerns that it may provide insights into their interrela-
tion that could be developed further in future work.
The basic problem has been seen by multiple scholars and can be
stated rather simply: did Luke "surpass" history in his use of K:upwc; for
Jesus in the Gospel? That is, did Luke simply "retroject" a post-resur-
rection acclamation into the life of Jesus? 16 And is he not, therefore,
guilty of serious anachronism?
The traditional historical-critical answer to such questions has of
course been "yes." In view of the comparative absence of K:upwc; from
the pre-resurrection accounts of Mark and Matthew, it is clear that
Luke does retroject the title, and, at this point at least, his historical
work is therefore anachronistic,~? But upon closer inspection, the matter

15 By "pre-resurrection history" I do not intend to refer to the "historical Jesus" or to

Ranke's elusive wie es eigentlich gewesen (Leopold von Ranke, Geschichten der
romanischen und germanischen Volker von 1494 bis 1514, in Siimmtliche Werke, 33-34
[Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1874], vii. The famous phrase is from the Vorrede to
the first edition of 1824: The historian "will bios zeigen, wie es eigentlich gewesen").
Instead I mean something like a sense of what is appropriate to the pre-resurrection
period as distinct from the post-resurrection experience of the church (perhaps
historical verisimilitude is the best characterization of the appropriateness to the
difference between the periods). Thus, for example, when thinking about KUptE in
7:6 in terms of pre- or post-resurrection history, I am not thereby trying to determine
whether the centurion event ever happened at all in the life of Jesus (what language
would have been spoken, etc.) but rather asking about the "fit" or "correspondence"
of the story to what Cook has called the "public processes of the real world" (Albert
Cook, History/Writing [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988], 1).
16 For the view of KUptoc; as a post-resurrection title, Fitzmyer, "The New Testament
Kyrios-Title," 128, is representative of a longstanding position in NT research: "In
sum, there is no real evidence pointing to the application of the religious title 6
KUptoc; to the earthly Jesus."
17 The judgment is so frequent as to obviate the need for copious citation. Cf., e.g., the
implications of Fitzmyer, Luke, 1.203: "In retrojecting the title born of the
resurrection back into the earlier parts of his story, Luke surrounds the character of
Jesus with an aura more characteristic of the third phase of his existence. This is
again a form of Lucan foreshadowing." Or from a more general work, cf. Georg
Strecker, Theology of the New Testament (ed. Friedrich Wilhelm; trans. M. Eugene
Kyrios and History 209

turns out to be much more complex, as Maule perceived nearly forty

years ago. 18 The best way into this complexity is through an elucidation
of certain methodological aspects of this book.
The concern throughout this work has been to understand the par-
ticularly Lukan christology, and even theology, expressed through the
use of the word K:Upto~ in the Gospel narrative. As emphasized in the
Excursus on Acts 2:36 in chapter four, the only way to understand
Lukan christology is to work with the Lukan context. The methodologi-
cal corollary is obvious: to understand Luke's use of K:Upto~ and its
meaning for Lukan christology, the Gospel must be read as a narrative
whole. An early form of the Benedictus, for example, should not be dis-
cussed as if it is Lukan theology. So doing leads to a confusion of con-
texts, to the substitution of a different, reconstructed context for that of
the Lukan one. Thus the referent of 1:76 - "you shall go £vcbmov
Kupiou to prepare his ways" - in the context of the Gospel is ambigu-
ous, regardless of the referent of KUpto~ at an earlier stage of tradition
(if indeed there was an earlier stage). 19 To substitute this (hypothetical)
earlier context for the Lukan one is to misread Luke 1:76. This confu-
sion of context involves, moreover, a basic linguistic-philosophical
mistake, in which the meaning of a word is thought to be directly trans-
ferable irrespective of its occurrence in a particular context. By contrast,
reading the Gospel narrative as a way to discover the meaning of
Luke's use of KUpto~ is methodologically consistent.2°
This methodological consistency reflects (at least in part) the
hermeneutical care to keep clear different levels of interpretation and
the different questions and answers that come with each level. Often

Boring; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2000), 403: "The KUptac;-concept is

projected back into the life of Jesus." (In light of Barr's critique of ThWNT it is
difficult to understand the persistence with which NT scholars speak of words as
concepts/ Begriffe.)
18 C. F. D. Maule, "The Christology of Acts," in Studies in Luke-Acts (eds. Leander Keck
and J. Louis Martyn; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966), 159-85. In my judgment, Maule's
essay remains the best treatment of these matters, though, as will become clear,
there are substantial differences between us. See also Stephen S. Smalley, "The
Christology of Acts," ExpTim 73 (1961/62): 358-62; idem, "The Christology of Acts
Again," in Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament (eds. Barnabas Lindars and
StephenS. Smalley; Cambridge: University Press, 1973), 79-93.
19 See Stephen Farris, The Hymns of Luke's Infancy Narratives: Their Origin, Meaning and
Significance (JSNTSup 9; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985), 128-33, for a summary of the
different proposals regarding 1:76 in the Benedictus.
20 Reading narratively has the further advantage of historical situation in the sense that
it works on the basis of the most likely setting for the reading of Luke's Gospel, a
worshipping Christian community(ies) in the late first century that would have
almost certainly heard "Lord."
210 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

these levels are confused in the exegetical process, even when their dif-
ference is recognized explicitly.
In relation to the Lukan use of Kuptoc;, Fitzmyer' s commentary af-
fords a particularly useful example of this hermeneutical confusion and
its influence in exegesis. In the preface to volume one, Fitzmyer help-
fully delineates three different stages of tradition: (1) historical Jesus,
(2) post-resurrection proclamation, and (3) written NT documents.
Situating his own project within these broad divisions, he states that
"[t]he primary concern of this commentary is to interpret the Lukan
form of Stage III." 21 Yet, to take but one example (see chapter two),
Fitzmyer translates Kupt£ in Luke 5:12 ("Kupt£, if you will, you can
make me clean") as "Sir," and then in the Notes writes, "The
translation, 'Sir,' suits the Gospel tradition in Stage I; for Luke, writing
at Stage III, it may have the connotation of 'Lord'." 22 The confusion -
or contradiction - here is between Fitzmyer' s stated aims and his
recognition of the meaning "Lord" at the level of the Gospel narrative
on the one hand, and his translation "sir" on the other: the translation
"sir" in effect interprets Stage III as Stage I and thus restrains the
meaning of the word in its Lukan context and literary development.2 3
Kupt£ in the Gospel is read on the historical level of pre-Gospel
tradition, independently of the other uses of Kuptoc; throughout the
This same confusion occurs any time the vocative Kupt£, when ad-
dressed to Jesus, is taken to mean "sir" or "master" in the christology of
the Gospel. Moule, for example, excludes altogether the vocatives from
his consideration of Luke's christology on exactly this basis: "Kupt£ as a
common form of respectful address hardly holds the same possibilities
as Kupwc;." 24 Here, however, Moule has confused hermeneutically
different levels of interpretation and has substituted pre-resurrection

21 Fitzmyer, Luke, l.viii.

22 Ibid., Luke, 1.571 and 1.574 respectively. Cf. Luke, 1.203: "During the course of the
ministry of Jesus many persons address Jesus with the vocative kyrie .... In these
instances it is not easy to decide how one should translate the title, 'sir' (in a secular
sense) or 'Lord' (in a religious sense) .... By the time Luke writes, he may well be
intending the religious sense even of the vocative." The problem of translation is
obviously not Fitzmyer's alone. Rather, it belongs to the English language. We will
return to this matter below.
23 Another from many possible examples of his hermeneutical confusion is Fitzmyer's
treatment of 19:11-27 in which he translates KUptE as "sir" but consistently writes
about "the Lord."
24 Moule, "The Christology of Acts," 160. See just below for the context of this
Kyrios and History 211

history for narrative christology. 25 Read narratively, K:UptE helps to con-

struct the K:upto~ christology in Luke's Gospel; at the level of Gospel
christology, K:uptE is heard not as "sir" but as "Lord." 26
However, Luke's narrative christology does not preclude the possi-
bility that his use of Kupto~ also displays an awareness of the difference
between pre-resurrection public history and post-resurrection theologi-
cal acclamation. In this respect a passage from Moule' s essay is impor-
tant enough to cite almost in full:

It is well-known that Luke, unlike the other Synoptists, sometimes refers to

Jesus in his Gospel as 6 Kupto~. It is not always stated that until the resur-
rection this is, with very rare exceptions, confined (on the lips of men) to
passages in which the evangelist is himself as the narrator alluding to Je-
sus. Except in the vocative-and Kupte as a common form of respectful ad-
dress hardly holds the same possibilities as Kupto~ - Kupto~ is not, until
the resurrection, applied to Jesus in Luke's Gospel by the human perform-
ers in the drama itself, except in Elizabeth's phrase ... Luke 1:76 (but only as
Christianly interpreted), and Christ's own phrase, Luke 19:31 (cf.
34) .... Angels are allowed it (Luke 2:11) but not men, with those two or, at
most, three exceptions. Thus Luke is, as a rule, not anachronously (if it is
anachronous) reading back into the historical situation of Jesus' ministry
what seems to have been a post-resurrection title. To use it in his own ca-
pacity as a narrator is different: a Christian narrator at any period might,
without incurring blame for anachronism, say, "The Lord was not styled
'Lord' while still on earth" and that is how Luke uses the title almost ex-
clusively up to the resurrectionY

25 The confusion of hermeneutical levels is also seen, e.g., in Franklin, Christ, the Lord,
51, who reads the vocatives first one way (5:12, etc., "contain little more than
respect"; note the linguistic-philosophical mistake: words are not "containers" of
meaning), then another (5:8, etc., come "very close to the full significance of ho
kurios"), and then still another (10:17: in light of 10:1, "the significance of the
[absolute] must be carried over into the [vocative]").
26 In this way my position regarding Luke's narrative christology is diametrically
opposite that of, for example, Gustav Dalman, who appears not only to relate Luke's
authorial/editorial use of Kupto~ to the "historical Jesus" but also to interpret it in
light of the proposed back-translation of the vocative into Aramaic: "When the
disciples spoke about Jesus, it cannot be supposed, despite the occurrence of the
simple 6 KUpto~ ... that they used ~11:l with no suffix. As in the Jewish usage ... so also
in the case we should expect only ~l11:l or )11:l. And thence it follows that Luke's
frequent use of 6 Kupto~ in his narrative when speaking about Jesus ... would have to
be altered into the same form, in order to agree with Aramaic idiom" (The Words of
Jesus: Considered in the Light of Post-Biblical Jewish Writings and the Aramaic Language
[Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1902], 328).
27 Moule, "The Christology of Acts," 160.
212 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

There are several problems with Maule's statements. He overlooks

K'0pwc; in 3:4 and 6:5 and gives far too little weight to 1:43, for exam-
ple.28 The most serious problem, however, is the failure to perceive the
connection between the various uses of K:upwc; in the Gospel, a connec-
tion which Luke himself is at pains to establish through exactly such
verses as 1:43; 2:11; and 1:76. Maule is unable, in other words, to read
narratively and isolates verses which are to be treated together. This
procedure, as will be seen below, causes him to miss the larger relation
of history and christology in the use of K:upwc; and, more specifically,
the way this relation takes shape through the use of the vocative.
For all these problems, however, Maule has seen something abso-
lutely crucial. Luke does seem to be aware in some sense of K:upwc; as a
post-resurrection affirmation, 29 and this awareness has in turn helped
to shape his use of the word. Elizabeth's confession in 1:43 is explicitly
made possible by the Holy Spirit's inspiration and forms part of the
prophetic foreshadowing that is so prominent in Luke 1-2 (1:41); in
19:34, the disciples are simply repeating what they have been told by
Jesus to say (19:31, ambiguous); and in 1:17, 76; 3:4; and 19:38 (Ps
118:26) there is manifest ambiguity in the referent of K:upwc;. Otherwise,
K:upwc; in the nominative and oblique cases is not applied to Jesus by
the disciples or any other humans before the resurrection. Maule's
clever sentence is thus indubitably correct: "A Christian narrator at any
period might, without incurring blame for anachronism, say, 'The Lord
was not styled "Lord" while still on earth."' 30 In Acts, however, this
situation changes rather dramatically (e.g., in 1:21 Peter speaks overtly
of Jesus as 6 K:upwc; 'Irpouc;). For this aspect of Luke's use of K:upwc;,

28 Cf. Christopher M. Tuckett, "The Christology of Luke-Acts," in The Unity of Luke-

Acts [ed. Joseph Verheyden; Leuven: University Press, 1999), 133-64, who speaks of
Maule's omission of 1:43 as a "slightly embarrassing exception," though Tuckett
himself wonders whether 1:43 might in fact be the exception that proves Maule's
rule (142).
29 In addition to the ensuing discussion above, one may adduce here the evidence of
Acts 2:36, which does not affect the question of continuity of identity (see below and
the Excursus in chapter four). Cf. Gerhard Schneider, Die Apostelgeschichte I. Teil
(Freiburg: Herder, 1980), 1.333: "Wenngleich Lukas schon den irdischen Jesus in der
Erzahlung gerne mit KuptO~ bezeichnet, weif5 er doch urn die Bedeutung des
Osterereignisses, das erst das Bekenntnis zu Jesus als dern 'Hernn' rnoglich rnacht."
In general, the Emmaus scene in Luke 24 is the clearest indication of Luke's
understanding of the shock of the resurrection. In this connection it may be useful to
recall Kasernann's remarks in another context: " ... [T]he crucifixion, as the Gospel
tradition still shows, shook the expectations of the disciples to their foundations;
more, it utterly destroyed them" ("Primitive Christian Apocalyptic," in NT Questions
ofToday, 114).
30 Maule, "The Christology of Acts," 160. Cf. de Ia Potterie, "Le titre KuptO~," 119.
Kyrios and His ton; 213

Maule is again basically right: "The mainly consistent restriction of

K:uptoc;, on the lips of human observers, to the post-resurrection context
is at least a hint that Luke may not have used his terms as indiscrimi-
nately as is sometimes supposed." 31 Luke's cautious use of the non-
vocative suggests his awareness of and respect for pre-resurrection
history. 32
But, one may ask, what about the vocatives? Indeed, has not this
book consistently pressed for the possibility of reading the vocatives in
the Gospel as "Lord," for the recognition, that is, that Luke also devel-
ops his christological perspective through the utterances of certain
characters? Is not Maule's dismissal of the vocative - criticized above
- simply logical in light of the restriction of the non-vocative? It is at
just this point that a reading fully conscious of the narrative dynamic
involved in Luke's use of K:uptoc; sheds otherwise unavailable light on
this complex matter. To move into this complexity, we need first briefly
to recall an obvious, but very important, linguistic detail.
The fact that one has to make a choice in English between the
translation of K:upt£ as "sir," "master," "lord," etc. and "Lord" poses an
artificial problem. It is artificial in the sense that the problem does not
exist in Greek (or, for that matter, in German: Herr is always capital-
ized).33 In Greek, "sir" and "Lord" are not different words as they are

31 Ibid., 161.
32 Contra Franklin, Christ, the Lord, 52, who confuses history with identity. In his
attempt to deal with Maule's essay, Franklin asserts that "Luke does not suggest that
Jesus was not recognized as Lord until after the resurrection." Luke may indeed
suggest that during the pre-resurrection period Jesus was not recognized in the post-
resurrection sense of Lord without compromising his own insistence on the
continuity of Jesus' identity as Lord. In this way, the continuation of Franklin's
sentence - "neither does it look as though he felt Lord to be an inappropriate
description of Jesus during his lifetime"- is obviously true.
33 For English language translations of the Bible, however, the problem is real in the
sense that it does seem that one has to make a choice. If we translate KUptot; the
same at every point, we are able to see the development within and connections
between the uses in the narrative. But we then obscure "history" in the sense that, in
terms of pre-resurrection epistemology at least, the centurion in Luke 7 did not
confess Jesus as Kuptot; in the fullest christological sense. Yet, if we translate Kuptot;
differently depending on its particular context, we not only obscure the literary
connection between the various uses of the word but also risk dismantling the unity
of christological identity around which Luke shapes his story. (When we come to the
parables, the problem is acute.) This issue is probably inseparable from larger and
more complex issues of translation philosophy but it nonetheless requires further
reflection. As a starting point, I would draw attention to George Steiner's
observation that "[b]etween verbal languages, however remote in setting and habits
of syntax, there is always the possibility of equivalence, even if actual translation can
only attain rough and approximate results" ("The Retreat from the Word," in
214 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

in English; rather, these two different translations attempt to

correspond to the meaning encompassed by a single Greek word.
Inherent in the Greek KUptE is a semantic ambiguity, a scale of meaning
on which one can slide through "master" toward "sir" or toward
"Lord," if the context so indicates. 34 It is also possible that the context
does not push to one side or the other but instead allows for "sir" and
"Lord" together. In Greek, that is, one need not make a choice but can
actually hear both "sir" and "Lord," or "master" and "Lord" in the
same word at the same time. In Luke's Gospel the vocatives addressed
directly to Jesus exhibit this both/and character, as Luke exploits the
full range of the vocative scale. Yet, the hermeneutical level at which
one is reading might nevertheless press for "Lord," "master," or "sir."
But this in itself does not abrogate the both/and character of the Lukan
vocatives. Indeed, recognizing the hermeneutical choice even helps to
clarify the issue.
When the question about the Lukan construal of the identity of Je-
sus is pursued at the level of the christology constructed through the
narrative, the attention to Luke's careful placement and development
of Kupwc; presses KuptE toward "Lord." By means of the non-vocatives
and the strategic placement of the vocatives (see above), Luke employs
JCUptE so that we hear more than only the mundane - or in view of the
present topic, historical - "sir" or respectful "master." The meaning
"Lord" corresponds, therefore, to the hermeneutical choice to read the
Gospel as a narrative when asking after Lukan christology. At this
level, criticism of Maule for ignoring the significance of the vocatives
for Lukan JCupwc; christology remains on target: for Luke, the vocatives
are christologically significant and form a key part of his larger narra-
tive project.
When, however, the question of pre-resurrection history is posed,
the vocative is pressed toward "sir" in some cases and "master" in oth-
ers. The centurion's address in 7:6 and the query from the unidentified
person in 13:23, for example, could easily ring as "sir" on the plane of
pre-resurrection history. 35 So, too, the disciples' request for instruction

Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature and the Inhuman [New York:
Atheneum, 1977; original essay 1961], 15).
34 Hence the frequent remarks of commentators regarding the difficulty of translating
KUptE. See, e.g., Fitzmyer inn. 22 above.
35 For Greek-speaking Christians (especially Gentiles) Luke has thus potentially
enlarged the normal meaning of KUptE: the Greek speakers would naturally think
KUptE the appropriate greeting, but now they would be able to hear a greater
christological meaning in this same word. In this way, Luke has stretched the word
in light of his purpose - KUptE is made to fit Jesus, not the other way round.
Kyrios and History 215

in prayer in 11:1 or Peter's brash assurance in 22:33 could, when the

question is posed in this way, be heard as "master" (cf. Martha's ad-
dress in 10:40). Even Peter's confession in 5:8, while unquestionably
more toward "Lord" than "sir," does not have to be taken in its fullest
christological sense. This sense emerges, rather, in the narrative chris-
tological reading described above. There is a change in Peter's percep-
tion of course, but the capaciousness in the vocative KUptE leaves space
for his degree of christological insight to remain underdetermined (cf.
22:33). Luke's use of dramatic irony is thus in fact the important literary
corollary to the room for "master" and "Lord" in the same address:
characters can say more than they fully understand, and readers are not
required to scrutinize a character's "faith" or lack thereof to determine
the meaning of KuptE. 36 The meaning "sir" or "master" corresponds,
therefore, to the hermeneutical choice to read the Gospel in light of
questions about pre-resurrection historyY At this level, those such as
Moule who would see in KuptE the potential for pre-resurrection history
have recognized an essential element of Luke's use of Kupto~. 38
The different hermeneutical levels - and their attendant questions
- can thus help us distinguish between different ways in which KUptE
can be heard. Yet, here distinction is not division. To divide KUptE from
KuptE would be to turn Greek into English and to miss entirely Luke's
ingenuity: in the actual reading of the Greek text of the Gospel one does

36 Indeed, because of the inherent ambiguity in the vocative and resultant breadth of
meaning, it is virtually impossible to determine with precision what the use of the
vocative says about the characters that use it. The exact meaning of the vocative
cannot be pinned down. And this, it may be said, is actually part of the point: the
literary technique of dramatic irony takes advantage of the ambiguity of the vocative
in such a way as to leave it open.
37 By this remark I do not intend to deny that our access to pre-resurrection history
rests on the basis of the Evangelists' narratives but rather simply to affirm that the
way in which they narrate this history suggests unavoidably that Jesus was not
recognized as KUptO<; in the fullest sense prior to his resurrection. Luke's use is
described above. Matthew and Mark do not speak editorially/authorially of Jesus as
6 KUptO<; prior to his resurrection (Mark 5:19; 11:3 are ambiguous but most likely,
even narratively, refer to God - Jesus is not called 6 KDplO<; in Mark aside from the
citation of Ps 110:1 in Mark 12:36-37; cf., however, 2:28 where Jesus is KUptO<; of the
Sabbath). And John, if we exclude the omission in Codex Bezae eta!. in 6:23, does so
for certain only once (11 :2; cf. 4:1; 6:23). John does speak of Jesus as 6 KDpto<;, but it
is after his resurrection (see Concluding Postscript below). So, too, 6 KUplO<; occurs
in the resurrection account of the longer ending of Mark (it does not occur in
38 Cf. the irony in 17:5-6: oi. cm6cn;oA.ot 'tqi Kup\.c.p np6cr8E<; TJ!J.lV n\.auv ElnEV 81:: 6
KDptO<; Ei. EXE'tE n\.auv w<; K6KKOV atvcinEw<; K'tA..: Luke twice tells his readers
that the apostles are speaking with 6 KUptO<; even as their content relates to the need
for an "increase" in their faith.
216 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

not have to choose between "sir" and "Lord," or "master" and "Lord."
It is only the hermeneutical decision we make for the purpose of critical
investigation (or English translation) that renders a choice necessary to
answer a particular question. What is read and heard is both/and -
that is to say, KUptE. This both/and is the character of the Lukan use of
Kuptc; its literary expression is dramatic irony. KuptE is thus both
christologically "Lord" and historically "sir/master."
With respect to KUplOt; Luke is thus neither theologically simple-
minded nor historically clumsy. Instead, his literary deftness displays
both a theological cleverness in his writing of history and a historical
concern in his christological use of Kupwt;. Through the narrative de-
velopment of KUplOt;, Luke introduces a dialectic into the relation be-
tween history and theology that makes simultaneous use of pre-
resurrection historical reality and post-resurrection theological profes-
sion. The dialectic is one in which we as readers can move between
history and christology noetically - we can perceive the difference;
and yet we can bring them together ontically - we can perceive conti-
nuity in the identity of Jesus. Luke uses a complex of literary devices
that respect the difference between public history and religious confes-
sion, and simultaneously honor the early church's claim that history
and theology are not to be separated with respect to the identity of Je-
sus. The life of the Lord, for Luke, is not written without explicit, post-
resurrection christological claims, but neither is pre-resurrection history
thereby annihilated anachronistically with spiritualizing theology. 39
The aims of Luke the Christian theologian and Luke the ancient histo-
rian overlap through the medium of narrative: post-resurrection chris-
tology and pre-resurrection history come together through the
expansive but careful use of Kupwt; and in the spacious ambiguity of
the vocative KuptE. 4o

39 Though the article is short and at times imprecise (e.g., "faith" versus "history" is
often a false dichotomy), Stephen S. Smalley, "The Christology of Acts Again,"
attempts to get at this same thing when he writes that Luke "is sensitive to the
distinction between history and faith, and at the same time aware of the continuity
between them" (82).
40 This way of putting the matter is not of course to suggest that the use of KUplOt; is
the only way that Luke negotiates the epistemological difference between the pre-
and post-resurrection situation (one can think, e.g., here of the role that the
Scriptures play in the Emmaus narrative in Luke 24). Yet, christologically speaking,
the use of Kupwt; is, in my judgment, the primary and unique way in which Luke
deals with this issue.
Conclusion: Kyrios and the Gospel 217

V. Conclusion: Kyrios and the Gospel

In describing further the nature of a Leitwort, Buber emphasized its ir-

replaceable significance for expression:

[O]b es sich urn die eigentliche 'Paronornasie' handelt, die innerhalb eines
einzelnen syntaktischen Zusarnrnenhangs erscheint, ob urn eine weiter
gerneinte, die Alliteration und Assonanz urnfaiSt, oder aber urn die
distantielle, also nicht irn Nebeneinander, sondern tiber einen groiSeren
Textraurn hin wirkende Paronornasie ... , irnrner kann sie ... einen
besonderen, durch nichts zu ersetzenden Auflerungswert gewinnen. 41

The Leitwort, then, does not stand for something which might easily
have been expressed otherwise, with other words. Rather, in its ar-
rangement and repetition within the text its significance as a particular
word becomes irreplaceable. 42
Reading KUplOt; as a kind of Lukan Leitwort is thus to affirm its im-
portance as more than one among several christological titles, though
of course it is a title. Attention to the manner of its introduction, reit-
eration, and indeed reverberation in the narrative discloses that KUplOt;
is in fact used in an irreplaceable way to express fundamental aspects
of Lukan thought in relation to Gospel composition itself.
Through narrative development, Luke uses Kupwt; to make an
essential claim about the relation between Jesus and the God of Israel:

41 Buber, "Leitwortstil," 1131 (emphasis original). The Rosenwald/Fox translation

reads: "This [referring to the entire phenomenon] may involve paronomasia in the
strict sense, occurring within an individual syntactic context; it may involve
paronomasia more generally, including alliteration and assonance; but it may also
involve the sort of paronomasia we are discussing here, paronomasia at a distance,
working not in immediate juxtaposition but over an extended stretch of text. In all of
these cases such repetition can achieve ... a special and irreplaceable value of
statement" (114).
42 The inability to recognize this irreplaceable nature is the deeper error in de Ia
Potterie's opinion that KDptoc; is fundamentally "messianic," i.e., that it basically
amounts to another way of saying XPHH6c;. De la Potterie begins with the excellent
question cited inn. 7 above, but moves so strongly toward a messianic interpretation
of Kupwc; that his exegesis raises the question, Why did Luke write 6 Kupwc; instead
of 6 XPl<J't6c;? Amit's essay ("The Multi-Purpose 'Leading Word'") also faces a
problem at just this point: "[T]he leading word only guides or brings out some
meaning inherent in the text; one could also arrive at that meaning by other methods
of analysis" (102). Despite the otherwise interesting discussion, Amit
misunderstands Buber here: it is not the case that a Leitwort discloses every facet of
the text's meaning, but it is the case that because a Leitwort is irreplaceable, one
cannot arrive at the same meaning via another route (as if, after all, a Leitwort really
makes no constitutive difference for the meaning at which one attempts to arrive).
218 Synthesis: Kyrios in the Gospel of Luke

Jesus of Nazareth is the movement of God in one human life so much

so that it is possible to speak of God and Jesus together as Kupwt;. In
confirming to "Theophilus" the solidity (acr¢ciA.£ta) of those things
which had been fulfilled (1:1-4), Luke does not stress Jesus' sayings or
teachings alone (as we see, e.g., in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas) or
"timeless" propositions (as has often been the case in the modern
period at least since Gabler), but rather the totality of the life of Jesus
Kupwt; as the embodied revelation of KUptOt; 6 8£6t;. This stress results
in a narrative, for a story is the way in which one tells of a total life of a
person. The narration of the life of Jesus is thus for Luke the revelation
of God, as story and revelation are woven together in the reading of the
Gospel. Lukan narrative catechesis (1:4) is divine disclosure.
Kup tOt; further expresses what it means to write a Gospel in that its
use points to the essence of the Lukan christological task: to write a pre-
resurrection life with post-resurrection theology and knowledge. In this
respect Luke uses Kupwt; to construct a unity in Jesus' identity so that
the resurrected Lord who is now worshipped is the same Lord as the
Jesus of Nazareth whose earthly career ended in death. Yet this unity is
fashioned in such a way as to respect historically the difference be-
tween pre- and post-resurrection claims.
If this analysis is anywhere near the mark, Luke's use of Kupwt; is
both coherent and sophisticated. Luke has employed the word to ne-
gotiate narratively some of the most complex issues in early christol-
ogy: the relation of the Jewish God to Jesus, and the relation between
the experience of the Risen Lord in the church and the figure of the past
who was born and executed in Palestine; he has, in addition, managed
to do so with both historical and theological integrity. Whatever the
other features of the Gospel, with Kupwt; Luke is both craftsman and
artist, fashioning skillfully with an aesthetic eye the life of the Lord.
Concluding Postscript

Situating Lukan Christology

A significant result of this study as a whole is the ability to compare
Luke's christology with the christologies of other NT writers. The
attempt here, rather than a reconstruction of origin or influence, is to
situate Luke within that rather broad category frequently called NT
Theology. Comparison of this kind, however, could quickly get out of
hand and turn into a full-blown NT christology. Such a project, though
a worthy one for the future, is beyond the reach of the present study. It
is thus necessary to restrict the scope of the assessment in two ways in
particular: first, to the two NT writers often thought to be farthest
removed from Luke in terms of christology (Paul and John),l and,
second, to their treatment of KUptoc;. With the second of these restric-
tions, I do not intend to suggest either that Kuptoc; represents the entire
web of complexes that constitutes the christological "doctrine" of a
certain author and/or in the various texts, 2 or - in contradiction to a
primary semantic-philosophical point of my thesis - that Kuptoc; can be

See, e.g., James D. G. Dunn, "Christology as an Aspect of Theology," in The Future of

Christology: Essays in Honor of Leander E. Keck (eds. Abraham J. Malherbe and Wayne
A. Meeks; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 202-12, who claims that "[o]f the Syn-
optics, Matthew clearly contains the 'highest' Christology," (207) and that besides
Paul and John, "the only other New Testament writing with a sustained 'high' Chris-
tology is the Revelation of John" (210). Cf. Christopher M. Tuckett, "The Christology
of Luke-Acts," in The Unity of Luke-Acts [ed. Joseph Verheyden; Leuven: University
Press, 1999), 133-64: "[F]ew would probably quarrel with the statement of Wilson
that 'the consensus is that the christology of Luke-Acts is fundamentally an exalta-
tion christology' .... Many have argued that, insofar as Luke's views can be discerned,
the picture is fundamentally a 'subordinationist' one: Jesus is presented as above all
a human being who is subordinate to God" (148-49).
2 In this respect, Keck's warnings against title-dominated christology remain on
target, though - historically and theologically - I tend to think Oscar Cullmann,
The Christology of the New Testament (rev. ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963), 236,
was not far from the mark when he opined that "if we are to understand the devel-
opment of New Testament Christology, we must centre our attention on the Kyrios
title, just as the first Christians themselves placed it at the centre of their confessions
and from that centre attempted to understand the other functions of Christ in the to-
tal Christ-event."
220 Situating Lukan Christology

abstracted from its specific use in context. Quite to the contrary, the
comparison assumes the analysis of K'Upto\; in each of its particular
Before we actually move toward this comparison, however, we
need to note three important points as informative background to the
discussion. The first point is literary-theological; the second is histori-
cal; the third draws a conclusion from points one and two.
(1) This study has shown that, contrary to Dunn, Schneider et al.,
Luke is neither nai:ve nor unreflective in his use of KUptO\; but is instead
remarkably sophisticated and purposeful in his construction of a KUpto\;
christology. While it does not exclude prophetic or agent-like elements
in the Lukan text, this KUpto\; christology is, to use the widespread
language of past debates, "high" rather than "low."
(2) With regard to christological origins and development, I presup-
pose here the overall correctness of the view such "high" christology
could well have been early rather than late; on the basis of such pas-
sages as 1 Cor 16:22, Phil2:5-ll, Rom 10:9, 13, 1 Cor 12:3, 2 Cor 4:5, etc.,
it appears that the confession and worship of Jesus as KUPto\; is ex-
tremely early. 3 Allowing for some variety or inconsistency in ecclesial
practice, by the time Luke wrote his Gospel, Christian communities
would thus have been confessing Jesus as KUPto\; for several decades.
(3) The implication of points (1) and (2) is fairly obvious. Luke has
both noticed and been shaped by the importance of the KUPto\; confes-
sion, and he has seized upon this importance in the effort to give the
confession a historical referent in the story of the life of Jesus from
Nazareth. To assume with Schneider and Dunn that Luke did not really
know what he was doing with KUpto\; or with various other Lukan
scholars that he has a "primitive" christology is to assume that this long
history of the KUPto\; confession had virtually no impact upon his
thinking and presentation. The findings of this work lead to the oppo-
site conclusion: Luke knew the confession, knew what he was doing
with the word in his narrative, and constructed a narrative christology
that fits well with the implications of the confession itself. Luke is, in
other words, not an antiquarian but a theologian of his own time who
builds on a historically well-established christological tradition.

3 Seen. 2 in the Introduction, and n. 24 in chapter one of this book.

Paul 221

I. Paul

The importance of Kuptoc; for Pauline christology has long been recog-
nized and does not need to be re-established here. We may instead
make several crucial and far-reaching observations regarding Paul's
use of Kuptec;, all of which help to skewer permanently Vielhauer' s
well-known claim that "the distinction between Luke and Paul was in
Christology." 4 In its place is the thesis that with respect to the implica-
tions of the "christological grammar" 5 that surrounds their use of
Kuptec;, Luke and Paul are remarkably similar.
First, we may note the basic but significant fact that Paul refers to
Jesus as KUptec; some 180 times in the Hauptbriefe alone. 6 In the majority
of its occurrences, Kupwc; is coupled with 'Irpouc;, 'Irpouc; Xptcr1:6c;, etc.,
but Paul also quite frequently calls Jesus simply 6 Kuptec;, as in the
admonition in 1 Cor 4:5 not to judge "until 6 Kuptec; comes." Though
Paul does speak of Jesus with the articular 6 xptcr't6c;/ his overwhelm-
ing preference when not using 'Irpouc; or 'I11crouc; Xptcr1:6c; (as a type of
compound name) is to speak of Jesus as "the Lord."

4 Philipp Vielhauer, "On the 'Paulinism' of Acts," in Studies in Luke-Acts (eds. Leander
Keck and J. Louis Martyn; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1966), 33-50 (43). Vielhauer's speci-
fication of this difference amounts to the opinion that "the author of Acts is in his
Christo logy pre-Pauline" (48). Cf. pg. 45: "Luke himself ... is closer to the Christo logy
of the earliest congregation, which is set forth in the speeches of Peter, than he is to
the Christology of Paul." Vielhauer's position has of course been subjected to much
criticism in the years since its first appearance. Bovon, for example, can now name
Paul as Luke's "theological mentor" ("The Law in Luke-Acts," 72). Of particular in-
terest for this study is Buckwalter's attempt to deal with Vielhauer's essay through a
comparison of Philippians and Luke-Acts that stresses their similarities particularly
in terms of the "close correlation between the 'humiliation-exaltation' christology of
Philippians and Luke-Acts" (The Character and Purpose of Luke's Christology [SNTSMS
89; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996], 231-72 [231]). Buckwalter does
not discuss at any length either Luke or Paul's use of KUptac; in particular. The ac-
cent of his treatment falls upon "ethics," by which he means the "summons to con-
form to [Jesus'] likeness" (241).
5 See the discussion of "theological grammar" in Frances Young and David F. Ford,
Meaning and Truth in 2 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 256-60. Cf. Nils
A. Dahl, "Sources for Christological Language," in Jesus the Christ: The Historical Ori-
gins ofChristological Doctrine (ed. Donald H. Juel; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 113-36
(115); and Keck, "Toward the Renewal of New Testament Christology," 364, 373.
6 Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 108.
7 Thus arguing against the idea that :x,ptcn6c; has become merely part of Jesus' full
name, as it were. See e.g., Rom 9:5; 15:3, 7; 2 Cor 1:5; 2:14, etc. Admittedly, however,
in some cases it is difficult to know when the article actually causes :x,ptcr't6c; to carry
titular weight.
222 Situating Lukan Christology

Second, there are (at least) four passages that illustrate clearly
Paul's self-consciousness with respect to the importance of the Kupwc;
confession and, hence, simultaneously help to open a window to the
underpinnings of his widespread use of 6 Kupwc; for Jesus noted just
above. In Rom 10:9, along with belief in Jesus' resurrection, Paul explic-
itly links salvation to the confession of Jesus as Kupwc;: "If you confess
[6!-ioA.oy!:w] with your mouth Kupwv 'lr]O'OUv ... you will be saved."
Similarly, in setting up his lengthy discussion of xaptcr!la'ta in
1 Cor 12-14, Paul opposes the false exclamation avci8E!lCX 'lr]O'OUc; with
that which exposes its self-contradiction: Kupwc; 'lr]O'ouc; (12:3). The
antithetical nature of the two exclamations is clearly expressed through
the structure of the sentence:

ou8E'tc; EV TCVEU!lCX'tl 8EOU ... avci8E!lCX 'lr]O'OU!;

ou8E'tc; .. Kupwc; 'lllO'OUc; ... ci !lll EV TCVEU!lCX'tl ayto;>

The Holy Spirit of God animates the Corinthians not toward blas-
phemy but rather toward its opposite: the confession Kupwc; 'I11crouc;.
Within the context of the introduction to chapters 12-14, this confes-
sion thus emerges as the basis of the xaptcr!la'ta, the sine qua non of
both their authenticity and variety.
In 2 Cor 4:5, in an implicit critique of his opponents, Paul claims
that "we preach not ourselves but 'I11crouv X,ptcr'tov Kupwv and ourselves
as your servants through Jesus." The statement reaches back to its
verbal counterpart in the opening chapter of the letter where Paul says,
oux cht KUplEUO'O!lEV U!lCDV 'tll!; TClO''tECDc; .. (1:24). The kerygma "Jesus

Christ Kupwc;" frames Paul's ministry as a 8ouA.oc; of Jesus and, there-

fore, constitutes - if paradoxically - the core of his apostolic defense
of weakness.
Finally, in what is arguably one of the most striking christological
passages in the NT, Paul voices over an earlier hymn to say to the
Philippians that "God exalted [Jesus] and gave him the Name that is
above every name so that at the name of 'I11crouc; every knee should
bend ... and every tongue confess [£~o!loA.oy!:w] that the Kupwc; is Jesus
Christ to the glory of God the Father" (Phil2:10-ll).
It is well-known that this declaration echoes Isa 45:22-23, one of the
most zealously monotheistic portions of the OT, in which YHWH

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there
is no other .... To me every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.
Paul 223

Remarkably, then, Paul here declares that (a) God has given his Name
to Jesus, and that (b) the submission and confession reserved for God
alone in the Isaianic text will actually take place through the figure of
Jesus. The point on which both of these affirmations turn is the K:upwt;
confession. Kuptot; is the Name (:1,:1') that God has given to Jesus, and
the acknowledgement of this reality - "the K:upwt; is Jesus" - is the
universal obedience and confession to God, i.e., the submission to his
The use of the K:upwt; confession in Phil 2:10-11 brings us rather
naturally to the third noteworthy aspect of Paul's use of K:upwt;, the
switch in the immediate referent of K:upwt; within OT citations. 8 A
particularly striking example comes from the citation of Joel 3:5 (2:32,
ET) in Rom 10:13: "For everyone who calls upon 1:0 K:up'tou will
be saved." Whereas in its original setting in Joel, K:uptot; refers to the
God of Israel, in Paul's resetting of the text in Romans, K:UplOt; refers to
Jesus. Indeed, given the context and flow of the argument at this point,
Paul's appropriation of Joel makes sense only if we read Joel 3:5/Rom
10:13 christologically - the hermeneutical move is dependent upon,
even as it presents, a unity of Jesus with the figure of whom Joel
spoke. 9
Fourth, texts such as Rom 10:13 might lead one to think that Paul
ceased to refer to God as Lord and instead employed K:upwt; solely for
Jesus. But this is not the case. Though the majority of the time K:upwt;
does refer to Jesus, Paul also refers to God as K:upwt; on several occa-
sions. The most obvious of these are the citations of the OT wherein
K:upwt; retains its original referent, as in Rom 4:8 for example: "Blessed
is man against whom the K:upwt; will not reckon sin" (cf. Rom 9:29, 1
Cor 3:20, etc.). Kupwt; for God, however, does not only occur within
explicit citations but is also added by Paul to OT citations where there

8 See David B. Capes, Old Testament Yahweh Texts in Paul's Christology (WUNT 2/47;
Tubingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1992). See esp. 1 Cor 1:31 (Jer 9:23-24); 2:16
(Isa 40:13); 10:26 (Ps 24:1); 2 Cor 10:17 (Jer 9:23-24). Capes argues that Rom 14:11 (Isa
45:23) also refers to Jesus (123-30 [esp. 128], but this position is dubious given the
immediate proximity of three occurrences of 8E6~ (14:10, 11, 12). Cf. Hurtado, Lord
Jesus Christ, 112, who correctly notes that "there are also a number of cases where
Paul alludes to Old Testament passages that mention Yahweh as the Kyrios and Paul
clearly makes Jesus the referent." In addition to Phil 2:10-11 treated above, Hurtado
lists 1 Cor 10:21 (Mal 1:7, 12); 10:22 (Deut 32:21); 2 Cor 3:16 (Exod 34:34); 1 Thess 3:13
(Zech 4:5); 4:6 (Ps 94:2).
9 See C. Kavin Rowe, "Romans 10:13: What Is the Name of the Lord?" HBT 22/2
(2000): 135-73.
224 Situating Lukan Christology

is no corresponding noun (Kupl0~/i1,i1') in the OT textual traditions. As

an illustration, we may mention Rom 11:3 in which Paul cites 1 Kgdms
19:10, 14. In the original context Kupto~ does not occur, but when Paul
cites the text, he prefaces his citation with a direct address to God as
KUplO~: "KuptE, 'they have killed your prophets' .... " Thus for Paul
KuplO~ is not only 'Irpou~ but also 8E6~. 10
Taken together, these four aspects of Paul's use of KuplO~ press for a
way of christological understanding that is remarkably similar to that
constructed in the Gospel of Luke. For Paul as for Luke, the KUplO~
'I11crou~ confession has made an indelible imprint upon christological
conceptuality both in the way of assumption (they assume Jesus is in
fact Kupto~) and construction (they make use of this belief in their
christological articulation). For Paul as for Luke, to speak of Jesus is to
speak of him as 6 Kupto~. KuplO~, that is to say, is constitutive of the
identity of Jesus both in the Pauline epistles and in the Lukan Gospel.
Furthermore, for Paul as for Luke there exists a twofold referent in
the one word KUplO~ - 8E6~ and 'I11crou~ - both within and beyond
OT citations. 11 With respect to the Pauline material, Larry Kreitzer has
spoken helpfully of a "conceptual overlap" between 8E6~ and 'I11crou~. 12
Such language bears a material similarity to what I have called Luke's
theology of resonance, in which the theological potential of the KUplO~
resonance is developed in the narrative of Jesus' life from the beginning
of the Gospel through to its end. While the christological correlation is
not necessarily perfectly symmetrical, it would not be too much to say
that Luke expresses narratively that which is said in hymnic form in
Philippians 2.13
Of course, differences between Paul and Luke remain, especially in
the area of genre: Paul wrote occasional epistles, and Luke wrote a

10 See also, e.g., Rom 12:19; 1 Cor 14:21.

11 Cf. Cullmann, Christology, 235 n. 1: "The self-evidence of this transference [OT
Kuptoc; texts] proves that the conviction of unity between God and Christ on the ba-
sis of Christ's character as Kyrios must have been deeply anchored in the conscious-
ness of the early Christian authors."
12 Larry J. Kreitzer, Jesus and God in Paul's Eschatology (JSNTSup 19; Sheffield: JSOT
Press, 1987), 116. Cf. Rowe, "What Is the Name of the Lord?" 160.
13 Precisely in this light it would be interesting to study the significance of "the Name"
in Acts. For the narrative character of Pauline hymnic material, see Stephen Fowl,
The Story of Jesus in the Letters of Paul (JSNTSup 36; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic
Press, 1990). In this respect, though from a different angle, this study converges in
general with Buckwalter's to support the idea of a correspondence between the
hymn in Phil2 and Lukan theology.
Paul 225

8u'wrp11;. 14 Yet this obvious difference may not be as significant as it

might look prima facie, since contemporary Pauline scholarship has
shown persuasively that Paul's letters presuppose a narrative. 15 No one
today would, I think, wish to maintain that Luke's Gospel is the narra-
tive that Paul presupposes. 16 But the remarkable similarity in the chris-
tological convictions about Kuptoc; 'Irpouc; in the writings of the two
people who wrote much of the NT is in itself striking.
Whether the christological similarity derives from Luke's personal
acquaintance with Paul is probably impossible to say for sure, but the
sophistication with which they both make use of Kuptec; implies that the
relationship is more than one of a shared stock of universal Christian
belief.I 7 It is doubtful - though not a closed case 18 - that Luke knew
Paul's letters, and even if one accepts that the author of the Third
Gospel was Paul's companion, we do not know how much the latter
taught the former in the way of christology. Yet, the attempt to work
out narratively the Pauline preaching of Jesus as Kuptec; is a suggestive
possibility as part of the basis for Luke's program (and perhaps worthy

14 For a recent study of Euayyf.A.tov, see James A. Kelhoffer, "'How Soon a Book'
Revisited: EYAITEAION as a Reference to 'Gospel' Materials in the First Half of the
Second Century," ZNW 95 (2004): 1-34, who argues that Euayyf.A,wv as a literary
designation predates Marcion, 2 Clem, and even the Didache. Kelhoffer places the
terminus a quo after the writing of the Synoptics, arguing that their authors did not
use the word to designate a writing, and thus sees the time-frame in which the des-
ignation emerged as chronologically rather narrow (between the composition of
Matthew and the Didache).
15 See Bruce W. Longenecker, ed., Narrative Dynamics in Paul: A Critical Assessment
(Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002), and the lengthy review essay of this vol-
ume by Richard B. Hays, "Is Paul's Gospel Narratable?" in JSNT 27/2 (2004): 217-39.
16 Luke's narrative, were it to be Pauline through and through, would have more
emphasis on apocalyptic and on the cross. This is perhaps a weakness in Buckwal-
ter's comparison in the sense that of the Pauline letters, Philippians has less empha-
sis on the cross per se: Buckwalter is aware of