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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 III: The Public Mission of John Narrated (Luke 3,1-20[22]) 101


Chapter III: The Public Mission of John Narrated (Luke 3,1-20[22]) In the previous chapters of this work we were concerned with two texts from Luke’s infancy narrative containing the speeches of Gabriel and Zechariah about the future of John the Baptist, which is presented in the spirit and power of Elijah. Let us turn now to the narrative about the public mission of John in Luke 3. From the point of view of narratology, it can be looked upon as a «performance» of the narrative program articulated in the speeches mentioned above. Therefore, we will pay attention to how the elements of this program, particularly those related to Elijah, are reflected in Luke’s presentation of the public mission of John. Preliminary Remarks Context and Delimitation of the Unit (Luke 3,1-20[22]) Once the infancy narrative as whole is finished (Luke 2,52), in chapter three305 Luke speaks of John the Baptist as preacher of baptism and salvation, beginning with an accurate description of a historical moment, «in the fifteenth year of...», and with a spatial indication, «the desert», for the coming of the word of God to John. «The desert», the place of the coming of the Divine word (Luke 3,2) which launches the mission of the preparer of the ways (cf. Luke 1,76; 3,1-6), has al- ready been proleptically indicated by the short summary statement closing the narrative of the infancy of John in Luke 1,80: «The child grew and became strong...

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