Luke's first eschatological discourse: Form, function and contextual integration of Luke 12:1-13:9

Arthur Philip Cholakis, Fordham University


This study employs narrative and rhetorical criticism in addition to the standard historical-critical methods to address one section of Luke's extensive account of Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem. A satisfying explanation of the kerygmatic function of this evangelist's unusually lengthy account of Jesus' last journey has never been presented. The portion of the journey under close examination, Luke 12:1-13:9, is shown to have been carefully integrated into an eschatological discourse. Comparison of this section with two later eschatological discourses in the journey account demonstrates that all three discourses were edited in light of one another. Analysis of the contents of this series of discourses suggests that the writer presented a progressive disclosure of Jesus' teachings about eschatological matters in a serial fashion. Each of the discourses is distinguished by its emphasis on certain aspects of eschatology, but one may also recognize a progressively more explicit instruction through the course of the series on themes which all three discourses address in common. The impression of a systematic thematic development in the gospel is bolstered by the recognition that the discourses are found at regular intervals in the gospel. This led to the question of whether the entire journey account gives evidence of a similar structuring pattern, based on a series of themes which are introduced, and developed further when they are revisited. A preliminary survey of the entire journey account suggested that such a line of inquiry was well warranted, and provided a number of observations of thematic patterns which call for more detailed study. A review of Luke's redactional devices which provide narrative continuity intimated that the evangelist's practice of arranging his sources into thematic groupings or patterns was not limited to the journey account, but was conferred upon his account of Jesus' Galilean ministry as well. These observations compelled the conclusion that future commentaries on the Gospel of Luke must include narrative-critical and rhetorical-critical perspectives if they intend to fully disclose its kerygmatic content.

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Recommended Citation

Cholakis, Arthur Philip, "Luke's first eschatological discourse: Form, function and contextual integration of Luke 12:1-13:9" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9730086.