Excellent Article on Luke and Judaism (and Anti-Judaism)

Joseph Tyson, Luke-Acts scholar and author of an excellent book on the dating of Luke-Acts (Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle [Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2006]), has graciously written on the subject that has been continuously debated in academia (and religious institutions) for some time:

Scholars of the New Testament (NT) have long given attention to the writings of Luke and his treatment of Jews and Judaism. This is so partly because these writings—the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles—constitute about 25% of the NT itself. A more important reason for this significant attention relates to the facts that early Christianity emerged from Judaism and the book of Acts is a narrative about this “parting of the ways.”

Although there is a long history of scholarship on this topic, attention has significantly increased during the last half-century. There is no question that the Holocaust of 1933-45 had a great deal to do with this increased attention. During World War II, the National Socialist party in Germany was responsible for the murder of six million Jews and about the same number of gypsies, homosexuals, and political dissidents. Although it is popular to think of scholars as living in ivory towers, the fact is that they are rarely isolated from what is going on around them. NT scholars, like most other people, were deeply shocked to learn of this European genocide. They knew that Germany had a long Christian tradition, and so they inevitably asked why Christians allowed the Nazi regime to execute its plan to exterminate European Jews. They did not think that Christians were responsible for the Holocaust, but they nevertheless became aware that major Christian teachings allowed the Nazis to defame Jews and even describe them as vermin. Drawing on these appalling characterizations, Nazis attempted to justify the extermination of Jews.

Read on here: http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/luke357926.shtml

Dennis R. MacDonald Defends Mimesis Criticism

He writes:

For more than two decades I have been investigating the influence of classical Greek literature on early Christian texts and have published four books and nearly a dozen articles on the topic, especially on the influence of the Homeric epics on the New Testament writings ascribed to Mark and Luke. I call this controversial methodology “mimesis criticism” to distinguish it from source, form, social-scientific, rhetorical, and literary criticisms. To this point I have not answered my critics directly, but two published reviews of The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark have picked a fight that I cannot avoid. One by Margaret M. Mitchell of the University of Chicago appeared in The Journal of Religion; Karl Olav Sandnes of Norway published an article on my methodology in The Journal of Biblical Literature.

Simply stated, a mimesis critic assesses a text for literary influences that one might classify as imitations instead of citations, paraphrases, allusions, echoes, or redactions. In ancient narratives such imitations usually obtain to characterizations, motifs, and plot—seldom to wording. Many such imitations disguise their dependence on an “antetext” (a term I prefer to the more ambiguous word “intertext”) by creating a hybrid that borrows from several models, what one might call “mimetic eclecticism.” Sophisticated imitations, on the other hand, may advertise their dependence so that readers benefit from a comparison of the text to its model. Such a rivalry or emulation may “transvalue” its target by replacing the perspective of the model with another.

It’s an engaging and provocative article.  Read on here: http://iac.cgu.edu/drm/My_Turn.pdf

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