Reconciliation in the Gospel of Luke : a socio-historical study

Etukumana, Godwin Akpan (2016-08-18)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigated the concept of reconciliation in the Gospel of Luke by using a sociohistorical approach. The interaction of Luke with both the Greco-Roman and the Jewish worlds necessitated that both be studied. The investigation of the concept of reconciliation in Greco-Roman society revealed that it occurred in all aspects of society. Giving a sacrifice, praying, sharing a meal, drinking from the same cup, exchanging a gift, and healings were identified as enactments of reconciliation. Gods and humans acted as mediators of reconciliation, which sought the common good for the empire and restored the wellbeing of everyone. The Jewish concept of reconciliation encompasses two intersectional expressions: a vertical reconciliation with God and a horizontal reconciliation with other people. The dichotomy between the sacred and the profane created a gulf which separated humanity from God. Rituals such as offerings for atonement, through which the profanity was removed, played an important part in restoring the relationship between God and Israel. In the prophetic tradition listening to the voice of God, as revealed by the prophets, became the means through which Israel could reconcile with God. In chapter 4 the Greco-Roman and the Old Testament understandings of reconciliation were compared. It was ascertained that actions like prayers, healings, giving sacrifices, sharing meals and exchanges occurred in both. In the Jewish world priests and prophets were mediating agents on behalf of the people, whereas in the Greco-Roman world the mediating agents were primarily the priests. In Greco-Roman society, the gods themselves acted as mediating agents. The motivations for reconciliation were also similar. Chapter 5 focused on Jesus’ missio reconciliatio in Luke 1:1-4:13; 4:14-9:50 and 9:51-19:27. It argued that Luke did not use any of the common terms of his time for reconciliation in order to develop an ethic of reconciliation. Luke 15:11-32 was analysed as an example of the teaching of Jesus. This parable reiterated that Luke indeed speaks about reconciliation even though he does not use the common Greek terms for reconciliation. The chapter also focused on Jesus’ enactments of reconciliation through the healing of those with leprosy (Luke 5:12- 16; 17:11-19). The final aspect of the Lukan understanding of reconciliation discussed was his narrative of the passion of Jesus (Luke 19:28-24:53). Chapter 6 argued that in the remembrance meal that Jesus carried out with his disciples, the cup he shared was a symbol of his blood. This was an allusion to the Old Testament practice of reconciliation through blood. The suffering of Jesus in the Passion Narrative depicts Jesus as the fulfilment of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, who was to take the transgression of his people on himself in order to reconcile them with God and to inaugurate the era of reconciliation through suffering. In terms of the research problem that this study set out to address, it is clear that Luke’s Gospel has a theology of reconciliation that is evident in its description of the actions and words of Jesus. For Luke, reconciliation implies the removal of the underlying cause, sin against God, and its effect on humanity. Jesus demonstrated to humanity through his teachings and actions what it means to be reconciled.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die konsep van versoening in die Evangelie volgens Lukas met behulp van 'n sosio-historiese benadering. Die blootstelling van Lukas aan beide die Grieks- Romeinse en Joodse wêreld het genoodsaak dat beide se verstaan van versoening bestudeer word. Die ondersoek na die konsep van versoening in die Grieks-Romeinse samelewing het aan die lig gebring dat dit in alle aspekte van die samelewing gefunksioneer het. Die gee van 'n offer, opsê van 'n gebed, die deel van 'n maaltyd, om uit dieselfde beker te drink, die gee van geskenke asook genesings is as uitdrukkings van versoening geïdentifiseer. Beide gode en mense het as bemiddelaars van versoening opgetree wat die algemene belang van die Romeinse Ryk en die welsyn van almal nagestreef het. Die Joodse konsep van versoening omvat sowel 'n vertikale versoening met God as 'n horisontale met ander mense. Die teenstelling tussen dit wat as heilig beskou is en dit wat as onheilig beskou is het 'n kloof geword wat die mensdom van God skei. Rituele soos offers vir versoening waardeur dié onreinheid verwyder is, het daarom 'n belangrike rol in die herstel van die verhouding tussen God en Israel gespeel. In die profetiese tradisie het gehoorsaamheid aan die wil van God, soos verkondig deur die profete, die wyse geword waardeur Israel met God kon versoen. In hoofstuk 4 is die Grieks-Romeinse en die Ou-Testamentiese verstaan van versoening met mekaar vergelyk. Daar is vasgestel dat aksies soos gebede, genesings, die gee van offers, saam eet en die uitruil van middele in beide voorgekom het. In die Joodse wêreld het priesters en profete as bemiddelaars tussen God en mense opgetree, terwyl dit in die Grieks-Romeinse wêreld hoofsaaklik priesters was wat as sodanig opgetree het. In die Grieks-Romeinse samelewing het van die gode self opgetree as bemiddelaars. Die motivering vir versoening was ook soortgelyk in beide kontekste. Hoofstuk 5 het op Jesus se missio reconciliatio in Lukas 1:1-4:13; 4:14-9:50 en 9:51-19:27 gefokus. Dit het aangevoer dat Lukas nie die algemene terme van sy tyd vir versoening gebruik het om 'n etiek van versoening te ontwikkel nie. Lukas 15:11-32 is verder ontleed as 'n voorbeeld van die lering van Jesus oor versoening. Dié gelykenis beklemtoon dat Lukas wel oor versoening geleer het selfs al het hy nie die algemene Griekse terme daarvoor gebruik nie. Die hoofstuk het ook uitvoerig op Jesus se bewerking van versoening deur die genesing van gefokus (Lukas 5:12-16; 17:11-19). Die finale aspek van Lukas se verstaan van versoening waarop gefokus is, is die lydingsverhaal van Jesus (Lukas 19:28-24:53). In hoofstuk 6 is aangetoon dat in die herinnering maaltyd Jesus met sy dissipels die beker gedeel het as 'n simbool van sy bloed. Laasgenoemde is 'n verwysing na die Ou-Testamentiese praktyk van versoening deur bloed. Die lyding van Jesus dien ook as die vervulling van die Lydende Kneg profesie van Jesaja. Die kneg sou die oortreding van sy volk op hom te neem ten einde hulle met God te versoen. In terme van die navorsingsprobleem wat hierdie studie wou ondersoek is dit duidelik dat die Lukasevangelie wel 'n teologie van versoening het wat na vore kom in die beskrywing van die dade en woorde van Jesus. Vir Lukas impliseer versoening die verwydering van die onderliggende oorsaak daarvan, wete sonde teen God, asook die uitwerking daarvan op die mensdom. Jesus toon dus wat versoening behels deur sy woorde en dade.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100023
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