I’m not sure the Criterion of Contrary Tendency explains Luke’s use of Elijah/Elisha as much as Farrer/Mimetic does

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I’m in the middle of my break between drafts so I am catching up on reading, both personal and for reviews. One of these books is the one pictured to your left. It is a deeply insightful book and my comments before should not be taken as a negative.

I came across something that Le Donne (and others) labels the Criterion of Contrary Tendency (91). It is used to suggest that Luke is collecting real stories and so to have a divergent tradition of who is Elijah adds a more historical value to the story of Jesus. I’m not so sure I would go that way.

Let’s dispense with the divergent traditions and suppose that Luke is in fact reading Matthew and Mark. Matthew gives John the Baptist the role of the new Elijah. Jesus, in Matthew is the new Moses, after all, so you really don’t want to mix metaphors, I guess. Luke read Mark who notices the very thing that ]] has pointed out that Mark is using the Elijah/Elisha narratives as a topological undercurrent (Le Donne is correct that memory still plays an important role in this).

What is Luke to do? Why, he uses both!

The divergent traditions need be nothing more than Luke imitating both Mark and Matthew, which allows for us to once against prove the point of Farrer.



By the way, the Jesus, Criteria and the Demise of Authenticity conference will be held at United Theological Seminary, in conjunction with the University of Dayton (in Dayton, Ohio) October 4-5.

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