Friday, March 16, 2012

Gospel of Luke 1-5 The Devil is in the Details

Luke 1-5

We get the third version of the Jesus chronicles.  Rashomon anyone?  Just kidding, Luke tells the same story as Matthew and Mark.

So far, Luke seems (to me) to be a better storyteller.  It's nice to get a little more background on Jesus.

I'm amused and confused by chapter 2.  Mary and Joseph don't notice that their 12 year old kid isn't with them on the way home?!?!  Someone call DCFS!

Then we get this line from Jesus in the temple;

2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
It's my understanding from reading Matthew and Mark that Jesus didn't know he was the son of God until he was baptized by John.

We do get a ton of historical references, which some state is proof that the events in the book are real.  But we have to keep in mind that these gospels were written well after the events occurred and these names could have been inserted to add credibility.

The last part of chapter three gives us another asinine listing of begats.  Useless information. 

While reading chapter five, I was struck by something that I didn't pick up on while reading Matthew and Mark.  The story of the fishermen Peter, James and John seems more like one of Jesus' parable and less like an actual event.  Did the author(s) confuse the fiction with the non-fiction?  Was it lost over the time between the life of Jesus and the writing of the books?

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  1. Luke 1:46-55. This is known as the Magnificat. It has been set to music by dozens of times by various composers over the past several centuries. I have sung several versions in various choirs and never knew exactly where the words came from. Now I do.

  2. and Luke 1: 68-79 is know as the Benedictus, used in the Book of Common Prayer since 1662. Recited or sung - i can still intone this from memory, despite not having set foot in a church in 20 years. I never knew where this came from either.

  3. Luke 2:29-32. The Nunc Dimittis, or Song of Simeon, also in the Book of Common Prayer. Funny all this stuff came straight from the gospels and although i could (and can still) recite or sing it, i never knew where it came from or what any of it meant. Sort of demonstrates the degree of indoctrination and mindless brainwashing of children. I'm having fun now just reading through it all and figuring it out.

  4. @Dorothy,
    Finding these little nuggets is one of my favorite things in reading the Bible. I guess it shouldn't surprise me how often I find cultural or artistic references considering it's the most popular book in the english speaking world!

  5. I find it interesting that you skipped Mark, it has the most historical evidence of Jesus, which is why its in.

    HarperCollins Study Bible pages 1841-1854. And 1915-1917.

    But your post-Darwin approach dis-regards evidence found in cannonical text anyway so perhaps that's part of the reason for skipping.

  6. Chapter 2 is a great reason why King James and Shakespeare should not have interpreted the NT
    but when you are the King and you want to rush to change things to fit your needs, you rush through other "less important" areas of the Bible.

    Mary, Joseph, and Jesus went to the festival of Passover, to celebrate Israel's liberation from Egyptian slavery (see Exodus), as they were leaving, Mary and Joseph assumed Jesus was with relatives and friends, when Mary and Joseph met up with them, Jesus was not with them so back to Jerusalem to find him.

    Bruce, is this not in the King James version?

    and regarding 2:49...He did not call Himself The Son Of God, he simply said His Fathers House, it was common for Jewish to call God, Father.

    I will read Ch. 5 soon.

    1. Mary and Joseph intended Him to be is the caravan.

      Kind of like take my kid for the weekend thing.

  7. Chapter 5 is written like this because Luke's plot is written to focus on the Divine necessity of Jesus' mission. Luke also focuses on a historical person in the midst of conflicts of Israel... so Luke-Acts and the Holy Spirit had to write Jesus to stand out more than your typical Rabbi.
    The question: Is Luke more of an Anti-Jewish story or a conflict of Jesus being the Messiah?

  8. @Bruce
    All that info. from 3 23-38 that you claim is useless is actually proving that Jesus is the Son of David in the line of Adam, Son of God, thus emphasizing His significance for all humankind.

    1. that may have been the author's intention, but it is a ridiculous claim and proves nothing

  9. @Tom,
    I was kidding about Mary and Joseph being irresponsible parents.
    I agree that chapter 5 is written for drama and emphasis. I don't think it's anti-jewish in terms of race but it does highlight Jesus' displeasure with whats happened to the faith. It sets up the conflict to make Jesus' crucifixion more dramatic. Good writing.

    If Adam and Eve and other OT stories are parables (as you've stated in the past) then the begets are fiction and useless. Again, I understand they are included to give Jesus credibility but the fact the they are Joseph's relatives make it even more pointless!

  10. Also, if Jesus was the son of God, created/conceived with the holy spirit, how does Joseph's lineage matter? He's not Joseph's son, after all...

  11. Actually the different ancestors lists are interesting because they may give ideas on what the writers of Matthew and Luke intended. Matthew gives ancestry back to Abraham and Luke back to Adam son of God. Matthew can't count (and he skips a couple of people in the list from David to Jeconiah). Matthew also mentions women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (though not by name), and Mary. Luke mentions no women in his list, not even Mary. Matthew has most of the kings of Judah in the ancestry; Luke goes through another son of David.

    The traditional accounting for the differences in the two lists is to say that Luke (or, less often, Matthew) is giving Mary's ancestry not Joseph's though the plain reading certainly doesn't suggest this.

  12. @ Bruce

    Just because Adam and Eve is a parable does not mean that there is not a true scientific story behind it.
    As far as Joseph line goes, Matthew from chapter 1 verse 1-17 covered Mary. Perhaps Luke covered the foster dad side.

    Chapter 4 is proof the devil owns this planet but perhaps that's a discussion for Revelation.

  13. @Tom,
    You're correct, science can show that anything is possible!
    Just because Santa is fictional doesn't mean he didn't exist.