Is The Gospel of Luke Geared Toward Only the Rich?

The American Ruling Class
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First, in Luke 1:1-4, Mosala suggests that the intended audience is a dead giveaway at the outset. “Theophilus, his excellency” as the person whom the letter is intended means that Luke’s Gospel is for the elite, ruling class (174).”

For more, read Mosala’s Postcolonial Interpretation of Luke 1 & 2

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18 Replies to “Is The Gospel of Luke Geared Toward Only the Rich?”

    1. Ummm, yes, but if you read the post, Luke is addressed to the elite, Theophilus. And Mosala makes a few other points as well, esp. comparing Essene-lite John the Baptist with Jesus, making Jesus look more acceptable.

        1. He would probably say, given the audience it was geared toward (the priestly scribes and the Roman overlords of Judah & Israel in those days) that the Sermon on the Hill was a way of attracting those persons to Christianity. Remember, if scholars are correct and Luke was written during sometime between 80-85 C.E., it would make sense for Christians to want to make peace with Rome, which was its persecutor.

          1. Would probably say? Which passages does he treat as possible objections?

            Rodney, that is assuming the consequent. My question was how the sermon fits the audience Mosala is suggesting, which I am assuming for the sake of argument (but am consequently not buying one bit). It’s like you’re saying – “It fits that audience because that was the audience.”

  1. Luke is following the tradition of the wisdom literature. Proverbs – My son/s listen to me.
    Ecclesiastes – My son fear the Lord.
    Luke – My dear son nephew I have written, so you fear the Lord.

    1. Even if what you say is true, there are criticisms of the Wisdom literature, of similar notions, since many think wisdom books and letter were primarily addressed to the rich and elite as well.

  2. Some might say this Rod..but they are wrong 🙂

    I am working on a paper at the moment on Proverbs – I am saying its a subversive book – written in the same style and intent as Job and Ecclesiastes. Their hidden references to Torah – shows that its written to the nation as a whole.

    Job I believe is an allegory of the excillic experience.

  3. @Jeremy,

    At this point, you would probably have to ask him. I think I am pretty close to what he would say, but I am not for sure. He would probably come up with some notion of the Sermon on the Hill as a Priestly Theology, based on Leviticus in a negative way (while John Howard yoder, theologian, sees it in a positive light).

    1. Rod,
      Ask him? I shouldn’t need to ask someone what the potential objections are to their positions. A good scholar anticipates objections and addresses them. If he doesn’t do so in the article, there is no nice way of putting it but to say it is shoddy scholarship. Does he really not treat the Sermon on the Plain/Hill? Or does he not treat:

      18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
      because he has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor.
      He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
      and recovery of sight to the blind,
      to let the oppressed go free,
      19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
      Now, I’m not making a value judgment of your views of the Gospel of Luke because you didn’t publish yours in a journal. And from what you say your thoughts are still in process.

      That really doesn’t seem like a message a rich oppressor would be keen on hearing, at least to me (especially “let the oppressed go free”).

      Now, I’m not criticizing your views on Luke because you didn’t publish them in an academic journal. And from what you say, you’re still in the process of working them out. But, the description I saw in your post and the replies you’ve given here really don’t make me want to run out and get a copy of this article.

      1. Shoddy scholarship?

        Jeremy,

        The entire book is geared more towards the Hebrew Bible. He does the entire book of Micah. He only added the first TWO chapters of Luke at the very end.

        The book is more about methodology than a Christian commentary. The book is entitled, “Biblical hermeneutics in black theology in south africa” and it was written during apartheid, where, you know, oppression and the co-opting of religious texts as oppressive would be a concern (South African dutch reformed movement).

        And his problem with interpretations of Luke 4:18, etc. would be one cannot say that the entire book of Luke, let alone the bible is about liberation for the oppressed. (Thus his piece on Cain and Abel).

  4. Hey Fellas,

    I do not agree with everything that Mosala is offering here, in fact I offer my criticism in the post, that he is anti-priest everything, as if the prophetic tradition does not have any problems. His criticism I think does hold weight with me, especially in light of many mainline Protestant churches who use the Lectionary that exclusively highlights the gospel of Luke. It feeds my suspicion.

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