Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Hymns of Saint Luke: Lyricism and Narrative Strategy in Luke 1-2

Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Hymns of Saint Luke: Lyricism and Narrative Strategy in Luke 1-2

Article excerpt

THE HYMNS OF SAINT LUKE: LYRICISM AND NARRATIVE STRATEGY IN LUKE 1-2. By Richard J. Dillon. CBQMS 50. Washington: Catholic Biblical Association, 2013. Pp. x + 181. $15.

Building squarely upon his earlier study of the Benedictus (CBQ 68 [2006] 457-80), Dillon here offers a complete treatment of all the hymns in Luke's infancy narrative. While D. still considers the canticle of Zechariah to be a preexisting composition inherited from "members of the Baptist diaspora" (50), he reckons the Magnificat, Gloria, and Nunc Dimittis to be pieces original with Luke, and argues that all four hymns are fully integrated elements in Luke's narrative argument, not extraneous and ill-fitted ornamentation.

D.'s real divergence from exegetes like Raymond Brown and Hermann Gunkel is ultimately measured by their source-critical disagreements. Synchronically, the interpretative distance is harder to gauge. In any case, D.'s contextual reading is formulated on analogy with operatic arias, which elevate above the time and place of actual plot development yet resonate with the dramatic tensions of the story. D. rightly emphasizes the properly prophetic character of this narrative frame breaking (metasyntax) and calls needed attention to Luke the (centoist) poet. …

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