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The Apologetic Revisited

Exonerating Luke from an Ancestral Exegetical and Theological Burden

Series:

Innocent Emezie Ezeani

The trend in the scholarship of Luke has been that of presenting Luke as being interested in the survival of Christianity within the Power apparatus of the Roman world. To achieve this pivotal aim, he seems to overlook the abysmal social maladies and wrongdoings of the Powerful of his time hoping not to endanger the peace and tranquility of Christianity. The intention of this research, however, is to show the defiance and fearlessness of Luke in dealing with the rich and the Powerful. He did not compromise the basic teachings of Christianity even in his respect for the constituted profane Authorities of the Roman order. A second proper look beholds the critical dynamics of his Gospel and the Acts, beginning with the Magnificat running through the angelic Annunciation scene and the Temptation of Jesus and ending with the punishment of Herod Agrippa. The reader beholds a hitherto unknown Luke, who operates from a particular critical stance and distance to the Powerful from the sociological perspective of hidden transcripts.
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Chapter 2

Extract



1. The Magnificat and the theme of Power (Lk 1:46–55)

1.1 Greek Text

1.2 English Translation

2. The Context of the Magnificat

The Magnificat has an important position in the Gospel of Luke. Situated within the annunciation narrative of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, it represents the high point of Luke’s narrative and brings in a dramatic fashion both mothers and the separate Jesuanic and Baptist traditions together.1 Elizabeth praised Mary because of the role she plays in the fulfilment of God’s promise. A hymn with an anthological character,2 outlining with parallelisms the power of God manifested in his redeeming love and mercy, follows. It is the first text dealing with the subject of power and domination in the gospel of Luke. Especially vv.51–53 are of utmost importance as they talk about the power of God, the scattering of the proud and the pulling of the powerful from throne. All these aspects are summarised in the doctrine of reversal (περιπέτεια).

From a synchronic perspective, the Magnificat shows a reception of some of the phrases and words that occurred before it. Mary speaks as the “favoured one” of 1:28. In 1:48a, Luke picks up the handmaid-motif of 1:38: ἰδοὺ ἡ δούλη κυρίου. The reception of 1:45 (μακαρία ἡ πιστεύσασα) in 1:48b is evident. A careful reading of 1:49 and 1:50 shows three attributes of God:3 God is the mighty ὁ δυνατός, his ← 46 | 47...

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