Modelling Early Christianity: Social-Scientific Studies of the New Testament in Its Context

By Philip F. Esler | Go to book overview

NOTES
1
For a more complete review of the concept in the New Testament see: Malina 1993a; Malina and Neyrey 199la.
2
J.W. 1.194; 1.199; 1.358; 1.396; 1.607; 3.408; Life 423; J.A. 7.117; 6.168; 6.251; 13.102; 14.152; 19.292.
3
J.W. 4.149; 7.82; J. A 4.215; 10.92; 11.309; 15.217.
4
Migr. 172; Leg. All. 3.87; Del. 33; 157; Post. 112; Abr. 185; 263.
5
Cf. the Arabic Wajh, meaning to have a flushed face, i.e. to be shamed.
6
Plutarch makes a modest attempt at exploring the semantic field of honour by commenting on Greek equivalents for the Latin term honor. He suggests doxa and time as appropriate substitutes for his Greek readers (Moralia 4. 266). For a much more substantial semantic field see Malina and Neyrey (199la: 46). We shall have occasion to review some of these terms in more detail as our study of Luke 4 proceeds.
7
In using the term ‘rhetorical strategy’ we are pointing to one of the central concerns of sociological exegesis. By it we mean the social impact a text is designed to have upon its readers. As John Elliott (1990b: 10 11) has put it, ‘I prefer the term “strategy” rather than “purpose” or “intention” because, as in the strategy of a game plan or the tactics of military warfare, strategy implies not simply the communication of ideas but the deliberate design of a document calculated to have a specific social effect on its intended hearers or readers. Sociological exegesis thus seeks to discover the manner in which a given document has been designed as a response to a given situation, and how it has been composed to elicit a social response on the part of its audience.’
8
For an excellent discussion of the trouble caused by social anomalies and the strategies for dealing with them, see Malina 1993a: 154 159.
9
We shall leave aside the many critical questions relating to the origin of the genealogy, including its historicity, its relation to Matthew and its purported numerology. These questions have been studied often and are reviewed by Fitzmyer 1981, Hood 1961 et al.
10
Much of the following discussion is taken from Hood 1961, including a number of the primary sources which he cites. He describes six important functions of genealogical lists in antiquity.
11
Note that Josephus does the same thing in J.W. 1.3 and Apion. 1.54.
12
Tobit provides a similar example. He first gives his ascribed honour status (genealogy) and then claims to have acquired additional honour by walking in the ways of truth and righteousness and performing numerous acts of charity to family and countrymen (1:1 4).
13
As Rodney Hood points out, an incipient genealogy (Joshua, Son of Nun, Simon; Son of Jonah) could function as a personal name (1961:3).
14
For the importance of character in those held up as models to emulate (modal personality), see Malina and Neyrey 1991b.
15
A fact which may provide sufficient explanation for the curious phrase has enomizeto (3:23). The usual explanation is that Luke edited in the comment at the time the infancy narratives were added in order to harmonize the genealogy with his story of the virgin birth (so Danker 1972:53; Marshall 1978:162). But the verb namizo can refer to something habitual or customary, hence Hood (1961:12) speculates that it might be translated ‘as his genealogy was ordinarily reckoned’. If that is appropriate, and if the clause modifies only ‘the son of Joseph’, as has been argued (Fitzmyer 1981:499), it could be understood as a reference to the stereotyping of Jesus commonly prevailing among those who knew his father.
16
It should now be clear that the connection between 3:21 38 and 4:1 13 is both direct and crucial to Luke’s rhetorical strategy.
17
As we look at 4:1 13 it should be clear that in a short article on Luke’s use of social

-196-

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