Exonerating Luke from an Ancestral Exegetical and Theological Burden
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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