Thursday, November 14, 2013

Richard Bauckham On Luke's Genealogy And Raymond Brown's Work

Here are some comments Richard Bauckham just posted at Larry Hurtado's blog. Though he doesn't mention it in his post, my understanding is that Bauckham is in the process of writing a commentary on Luke's gospel. Keep that in mind as you read his comments:

Since the genealogies are now being discussed, may I mention that I have a detailed discussion of Luke’s genealogy in my book ‘Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church’, in which I argue in detail that Luke’s genealogy is the one that was used by the relatives of Jesus who (according to Julius Africanus, who had access to Palestinian Jewish Christian traditions) used a family genealogy in their preaching of the Christian message. I think it is very plausibly a traditional family genealogy that has been manipulated a bit to fit a numerical scheme (as often in OT and other ancient genealogies) of 77 generations. It is clearly the genealogy of a minor branch of the Davidic line and it is very likely that such a family would maintain the tradition of its Davidic descent.
But both genealogies now need to be studied in the light of the huge amount of information we now have about Jewish name usage in the Second Temple period. We ought now to be able to tell whether the names in the later parts of the genealogies fit plausibly into the pattern of name usage in those periods that we can now reconstruct. This work has still to be done. By the way, in my opinion, Raymond Brown’s book on the infancy narratives is much over-rated. Its strength is that he read nearly everything anyone has written about those biblical texts. Its weakness is that he never seems to read the relevant Jewish literature for himself but depends entirely on what other NT scholars say about it. This can lead to bad mistakes.

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