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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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Chapter II: The Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1,68-79) 77


Chapter II: The Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1,68-79) The future of John, which Gabriel has already defined in terms of Elijah (Luke 1,15-17), is then specified by the prophecy of John’s father, Zechariah, in his Canticle, commonly called the Benedictus (Luke 1,68-79)219. Zechariah’s prophecy is found in the second part of the Benedictus (Luke 1,76-79). Since, from the point of view of narratology, the passage presents the second «narrative program» for the mission of John, it will be explained in more detail in the course of the following analysis. The first part of the Benedictus will only be dealt with summarily. Preliminary Remarks Context and Articulation of the Canticle The previous chapter was dedicated to the study of the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist, the first narrative in Luke’s work (Luke 1,5-25). The story is immediately followed by the annunciation of the birth of Jesus and then contin- ues with the visit of Jesus’ mother Mary to Zechariah’s house, where she meets Elisabeth (Luke 1,26-56). Before the people rejoice at John’s birth (Luke 1,58), another reason for joy announced as bursting forth at his birth emerges: the fruit of Mary’s womb, Jesus, the Son of the Most High, who will receive the throne of his father David and whose kingdom will have no end (Luke 1,30-33). John himself exults in the womb of Elizabeth at the voice of Mary (Luke 1,41.44), Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,...

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