Friday, February 16, 2007

Bovon's Review of 20th Century Lukan Studies

Note: After I'm done, I should reread Bovon's introduction, pp. 11–13.

Bovon starts with Conzelmann, whose Die Mitte Der Zeit emphasized Luke as a writer of salvation history, divided into three parts: the time of the prophets and OT up through John, the time of Jesus up through the ascension, and the time of the church, which will end at the Parousia. So while for Mark the coming of Jesus marked the beginning of the end of history, for Luke it was the middle of history (14). A number of scholars have challenged the three-fold division of salvation history, saying that the only break is between the old covenant and the new. The ascension Marks the shift to the leadership of the Spirit, but it's not a new age in salvation history (31).

Harbsmeier (1950) offered a characteristically Germans critique of Luke, saying that he set aside Paul's notion that the consumation of history is in Christ (thus salvation history and world history become the same thing) and replaced it with a salvation history that is parallel to, but separate from, world history (17).

Käsemann also saw Luke as falling short of Pauline theology, setting forth a theology of glory in which the resurrection is a corrective to the misunderstanding of the cross, and Jesus is the founder of a new religion (19f). Schütz (1969) disagreed with both these, saying that (quoting Bovon) "There is but one history, and it is God's mediated by humans," and that Jesus' resurrection is a "pursuance" of God's will (along with allowing the crucifixion) rather than a corrected mistake (29).

Kaestli (1969) challenged the idea that Luke invented salvation history, pointing out that Paul and Mark both had such an idea; he also said that Luke made up for his neglect of the cross as a pivotal event by establishing a view of (de-eschatologized) history in which humans respond to Word and Spirit with ethical behavior (25). Geiger (1973) sees the present historical age of the church as corresponding to "the days" in Luke, whereas "the day" in Luke refers specifically to the eschaton, an event outside of time (26). So the end times have not begun, but the current days are advancing toward the end times (28).

Cullmann (1965) insists that Luke's salvation history is not a betrayal of the kerygma. Rather (quoting Bovon), "The present, marked by the resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is already the time of salvation which is not yet come to its fulfillment" (29). W. C. van Unnik (1960) emphasizes the kerygma in Acts functioning alongside Luke as two witnesses (30).

Some scholars question that Luke's project was driving by the need to explain the delay of the Parousia. Barrett (1961) says that Luke was opposing Gnosticism by emphasizing that Jesus' revelation took place in history and that Christians await a bodily resurrection (32). Braumann (1963) argues that the experience of persecution inspired Luke's project, as eschatology is pushed into the distant future and believers are urged to suffer as John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles did before them (32).

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