Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem: In the Context of Lukan Theology and the Politics of His Day

By Modica, Joseph B. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 1999 | Go to article overview

Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem: In the Context of Lukan Theology and the Politics of His Day


Modica, Joseph B., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem: In the Context of Lukan Theology and the Politics of His Day. By Brent Kinman. New York: Brill, 1995, 223 pp., $75.00.

Kinman's slightly revised dissertation from the University of Cambridge (1993, supervised by M. Hooker) attempts to analyze both the context and content of Jesus' entry in Jerusalem in Luke's gospel (Luke 19:28-48). His contention is that Luke depoliticizes the event so that Jesus' entry has little if no specific political implications for the ruling Roman empire.

Kinman unfolds his thesis as follows: Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the purpose of this study, which is to demonstrate that "Luke has moulded both the context and content of his triumphal entry/Temple cleansing accounts so as to highlight those features by which his audience would come to see Jesus' entry as a parousia gone awry and to distance Jesus from Jewish nationalists" (p. 4). Chapter 2 ("Charismatic Jewish Leaders and the Lukan Dilemma") argues that although charismatic Jewish leaders were generally perceived as anti-Roman, Luke intentionally presents Jesus so as not to arouse political concerns. Chapter 3 (" `Triumphal Entries' in the GraecoRoman World") is perhaps the most original part of Kinman's study, where he delves into primary literature to reveal the characteristics of the three types of triumphal entries: (1) the arrival (or parousia) of the emperor or king, (2) the arrival of the governor and (3) the arrival of the Roman Triumph. Chapter 4 continues this delving into primary literature by exploring the "Jewish precedents" of the triumphal entry with the royal welcomes of Solomon (1 Kings 1), Zion's King (Zech 9:9-10), Jonathan Maccabeus (1 Macc 10:86-89; 11:60-61; 12:43) and Ps 118:26 (since every gospel writer applies this psalm to Jesus' entry).

Chapter 5 reviews the context of the entry, probing the pericope of the healing of the blind beggar (18:35-43), the call of Zaccheus (19:1-10) and the parable of the nobleman (19:11-27). Kinman concludes that Luke reworks the Markan tradition to minimize the possibility of misunderstanding Jesus' entry as a political event. Chapter 6 explores Jesus' entry in Luke 19:28-34 and concludes that Luke's depiction is not a rival to Caesar. It is a misrepresentation, Kinman asserts, to call this entry "triumphal" (thus he labels it Ka-triumphal"), since it bears few characteristics of a royal entry (see above chap. 3). Chapter 7 briefly outlines Lukan eschatology by examining what is not included in Luke's portrayal of Jesus' entry: the cursing of the fig tree (see Mark 11:12-14). Why Luke seemingly omitted this account is the question Kinman attempts to answer. After surveying the different options, Kinman proposes that Luke's omission is later replaced by Jesus' lament over Jerusalem (19:41-44), since Luke's eschatology is not as bleak as Mark's. Chapter 8 follows the findings of Chap. …

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