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The Structural Themes Of The Story

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Chapter Summary

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is built around two narrative topoi; the reversal of fates after death and the possibility of receiving a message from the world of the dead. Of these two themes, the motif of reversal has largely dominated scholarship. Luke combines these two frequently occurring themes by emphasizing the finality of the reversal. According to the story, the fate of the dead is definitive, nothing can change it. However, there are some stories that speak explicitly of a reversal between rich and poor. The theme is central in many works of Lucian of Samosata, most notably in the Cataplus. The reversal motif is especially prominent in one Jewish text, namely the Epistle of Enoch. This writing depicts a struggle between two groups, the righteous and the sinners.

Keywords: Cataplus; Epistle of Enoch; fate of the dead; Lazarus; Lucian; Luke; reversal motif; Rich Man; sinners



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