Interweaving innocence : a rhetorical analysis of Luke's passion narrative.




Gorman, Heather M.

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At least three issues remain unsettled with regard to the interpretation of Luke’s passion narrative: (1) the sources that Luke employed when composing his narrative; (2) how best to translate δίκαιος in 23:47 and how this confession contributes to Luke’s characterization of Jesus; and (3) the function of the parallels between Jesus in his passion narrative and characters in Acts. Past and current approaches to these issues—source, redaction, and literary criticism—have left the conversation at somewhat of an impasse. This dissertation approaches Luke’s passion narrative (Luke 22:66–23:49) and the issues associated with it with a compositional-rhetorical method. It explores Luke’s use of Mark as well as Luke’s final product with insights gained through the ancient rhetorical tradition. Several techniques and exercises described in the rhetorical handbooks and progymnasmata—refutation and confirmation, rhetorical figures, synkrisis, narration, and paraphrase—help elucidate Luke’s compositional techniques, characterization of Jesus, and the function of the parallels between Luke and Acts. Thus, this study entails a new approach to old problems. This dissertation works toward solutions to the interpretive questions by first describing the interpretive questions and the various solutions proposed in recent years. It then describes and justifies the compositional-rhetorical methodology employed in the study. Next, it discusses the tools needed for a compositional-rhetorical analysis, including an understanding of ancient education and the relevant exercises described in the rhetorical tradition. That understanding provides the necessary foundation for the analysis of Luke 22:66–23:49, which the dissertation treats in two smaller units: 22:66–23:25 (the formal trial) and 23:26-49 (the informal trial). These sections follow the argument of Luke’s passion narrative, noting how Luke’s structure, style, and use of sources relate to the techniques previously described. The dissertation concludes by synthesizing the material in the previous chapters and ultimately argues that (1) Luke did not use a non-canonical written source when composing his passion narrative; (2) a translation and interpretation of the centurion’s confession must acknowledge the political implications of δίκαιος; and (3) through the parallels between Jesus, Stephen, and Paul, Luke sets up these characters as models for his audience to imitate.



Luke., Rhetoric., Mark., Progymnasmata., Passion narrative., Rhetorical criticism., Source criticism., Synoptic problem.