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«He of Whom It Is Written»

John the Baptist and Elijah in Luke


Jaroslav Rindos

Scholarly discussion concerning Elijah in Luke is affected mainly by the detection of the many allusions to Elijah in connection with Jesus and, at the same time, by noting the absence of some associations of Elijah with John the Baptist familiar from the Gospel according to Mark. This twofold observation has brought many scholars to rethink whether or not Luke continues to present John as the Elijah who was to come. In Luke’s perspective, John is the Elijah promised by Malachi acting «in the spirit and power» of the Elijah of old. Luke, furthermore, agrees with Malachi that the promised messenger prepares for «the Lord». These and several other claims concerning the theme are proposed to the reader as the fruit both of the scholarly discussion and of an analysis of the appropriate Lucan texts in this monograph.


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Introduction 13


Introduction Theme Few Old Testament figures enjoy such great popularity in the New Testament1 as Elijah, the Hebrew prophet whose activity from around the middle of the 9th century B.C. was once perpetuated in the stories of 1Kgs 17 - 19; 21 and 2Kgs 1 - 2. The mysterious description of Elijah’s disappearance from this world (2Kgs 2,1.11) remained impressive (Sir 48,9; 1Macc 2,58)2. Mal 3,23-24 contains the promise that Elijah will play a special role in connection with the eschatological occurrences of the Day of the Lord. This tradition appears also in Sir 48,10 and looms largely in the NT. For the most part two synoptic gospels, the one accord- ing to Mark and the other according to Matthew, elaborate the association of Elijah with John the Baptist. Matthew is truly explicit as he records Jesus’ utter- ance concerning John the Baptist: «he is Elijah, the one who is coming» (Matt 11,14)3. The third synoptic gospel, the Gospel according to Luke is known for its elaboration of Elijah motifs in relation to Jesus. Many contemporary studies fo- cus exclusively on the description of Jesus’ mission, and/or his followers’, by means of the Elijah motifs in Luke4. 1 29 occurrences of the name Elijah in the NT place the importance of this prophet immedi- ately after such figures as Moses (80x), Abraham (73x) and David (59x). 2 Cf. R.E. MURPHY, «The Figure of Elias», 236-237; J. JEREMIAS, « () », 67-69. 3 There is the...

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