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Moving Things Ahead

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A Lukan Redactional Technique and Its Implications for Gospel Origins

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Recent and influential proposals (Richard Bauckham; James Dunn) have emphasized the role of memory in the composition of the Gospels. Despite the diversity and sophistication of these proposals, they have led to a devaluation of source and redaction analysis among some interpreters. On the contrary, attention to Lukan redaction of Mark, particularly with respect to the sequence of pericopae, reveals both the value of source and redaction analysis and the limitations of memory-oriented accounts of Gospel origins. Lukan transposition manifests itself most clearly in four pericopae: Jesus in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30), the woman who anoints Jesus (7:36-50), the question of eternal life (10:25-37), and the tradition of the fig tree (13:6-9). Looking at these pericopae one by one, many interpreters debate whether Luke relies on independent traditions; taken as a group, they reveal Luke’s redactional and literary activity. In each instance (a) Luke neatly excises the pericope from its location in Mark’s sequence, (b) Luke changes fundamental dynamics of the pericope, and (c) Luke’s redactional activity favors widely accepted Lukan emphases. Memory-oriented interpretations will undervalue Luke’s emphases in these instances.

Affiliations: 1: Lancaster Theological Seminary, USA


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