Date of Award
Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion
Gregory A. Robbins, Ph.D.
Pamela M. Eisenbaum
Gospel, Intertextuality, Literary criticism, Luke, Sword, Tradition criticism
Jesus' charge in Luke 22:35-38 that his apostles should buy swords is one of the most enigmatic texts in the gospels. Although previous studies made use of a wide range of standard critical methods, none of these approaches satisfactorily revealed the pericope's meaning. In a fresh re-examination of Luke's sword-logion this project interweaves biblical and cultural intertextuality and asserts that the sword-logion is a Lukan literary foil that repudiates a well-known hagiographic tale. The provenance for this legendary saga (i.e., the "two-sword" traditum) was Gen 34 whose routine refraction in later Jewish writings led to its inclusion as part of the broader cultural milieu of the first century C.E. Based on that premise I argue that Luke 22:35-38 was Luke's censure of a minor, but familiar HB tradition that informed and shaped the identity of Luke's community. While this project employs an eclectic mix of standard historical critical methods, tradition and literary criticism serve as the two principal methodological strategies.
Chapter two examines the provenance of the "two-sword" traditum and identifies four motifs: family identity and honor; vindication of an honored one; national identity and honor; and justified vengeance. Using the story's main protagonists and these four motifs, the tradition's reappearance and subsequent development in the HB is tracked. Chapter three traces the refraction of the "two-sword" traditum in extracanonical writings. Particular attention is given to the amplifications of the tradition as it is retold and rewritten in Jewish writings of the Second Temple Period. After establishing that Luke routinely made use of oblique allusions and that he and his community knew Israel's scriptures and traditions, chapter four analyzes Luke 22:35-38 in light of that celebrated tradition. In the exegesis I argue that Luke exploits the "two-sword" traditum in order to exhort his community to reject a renowned HB tradition from their shared narrative universe. A hypothetical reading of the gospel illustrates how Luke attempted to persuade his readers to renounce the "two-sword" traditum and pursue peace instead of violence. Chapter five reviews the project and assesses its significance for future research.
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Kevin Lee Moore
Received from ProQuest
Moore, Kevin Lee, "Why Two Swords Were Enough: Israelite Tradition History Behind Luke 22:35-38" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 445.