Exonerating Luke from an Ancestral Exegetical and Theological Burden
1. THE BIRTH NARRATIVE: Imperial edict and divine fulfilment
1.1 Greek Text
1.2 English Translation
2. The context of the birth narrative
The Lukan birth narrative is situated between the birth of John the Baptist and the pilgrimage of Jesus and his parents to Jerusalem. Beginning with the information about the census (Lk 2:1), it ends with the statement that the child advanced in wisdom and in strength, with God’s favour (χάρις) being upon him (Lk 2:40). Of exegetical importance for the topic is the appearance of three high Christological titles for Jesus in the eleventh verse of the second chapter of the gospel of Luke: σωτήρ, χριστός and κύριος. Luke not only reserves these titles for Jesus, he also contrasts Jesus with Augustus. The titles, σωτήρ and κύριος remind the reader of the Magnificat, where Mary praised God as his lord and saviour. The God who acts for and on behalf of the lowly in Magnificat 1:48 is now born in a lowly stable.1 That the shepherds received the revelation of the birth of Jesus initiates already the fulfilment of raising the lowly in 1:55.2 The topics in the birth narrative important for the discussion are the elements involved in the contrast theology of Luke. The opposing dynamics between the emperor and Jesus will be discussed from the perspective of σωτήρ and εὐαγγέλια:
In v. 10, Luke uses the verb for bringing the “good news” (εὐαγγελίζομαι) of the birth of Jesus. A...
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