Working on the Structure of Luke

I’m in the midst of writing a paper on Luke. When I first do a paper focusing on the narrative themes – something like a small biblical theology – I like to divide up the structure in what I think are natural narrative seams. From there you notice really interesting stuff, like a theme I will be addressing tentatively titled: “Narrative Subversion to Imperialism: The Prophetic Inheritance of John the Baptist for Jesus.” I think it is actually possible to make an argument from the text, without an historical argument, that Luke is subverting Empire in the way in which John the Baptist is understood and through Jesus who inherits John’s work. Granted Luke isn’t so great with women, but I do like his kingdom language.

Anyways, I decided to separate the book geographically, well mostly that is. And in doing so I can’t help but notice the mountain motif – that Jesus is consistently going up to Jerusalem – and this seems to mirror two themes that come to mind: 1. in the Hebrew Bible, going up to Sinai, or other mountains, is where one meets God, and 2. Jesus comes out of the wilderness and enters into Israel, migrates around and then on towards Jerusalem, again mirroring the entrance of Israel into the promise land. Or something like that.

I also noticed that the book seems to function linearly, but while Jesus is in Galilee, the narrative is rather cyclical. And When Jesus is on the road towards Jerusalem to die like all the prophets seemed to do, Jesus is constantly reversing the established order through healing, teaching/stories and prophecy, again, this happens in a somewhat circular fashion. Then again, part of me just wonders if there was a structure and then the author thought, “I’ve got all these other stories I said I’d put in, but I’m not sure where they’ll fit… aw hell, I’ll just throw some in there… some in there… and we’re good to go. Oh wait, I’ll just preface this section with ‘Some where along the road’ and that other story with ‘In some village.’ And we’re done.”

Anyways, whatcha think? Admittedly it is still a work in process.

Introduction: 1:1-4

Birth Narratives: 1:5-2:40
Setting and the barren problem: 1:5-7
Angel Visitation (1) and Conception (1) (of John): 1:8-25
Angel Visitation (2) and Conception (2) (of Jesus): 1:26-38
Mary and Elizabeth Together and Praise (1) (the Magnificant): 1:39-1:56
John’s Birth and Praise (2) (Zechariah praising): 1:57-80
Jesus’ Birth in Nazareth: 2:1-7
Angel Visitation (3) to the Shepards and Praise 3: 2:8-20
Jesus’ Circumcision: 2:21-24
Simeon and Anna: 2:25-40

Jerusalem Visit: 2:41-2:52

Re-introduction of John (Baptizing): 3:1-3:20
Setting (and in relation to power): 3:1-3:2
John Prophesying: 3:3-6
John Baptizing and Preaching the Good News: 3:7-18
John Jailed: 3:19-20

Re-introduction of Jesus (Baptized): 3:21-22

Jesus’ Genealogy: 3:23-37

Cosmic Conflict (1) between Jesus and Satan in the wilderness: 4:1-4:13

Jesus at Galilee: 4:14-9:50
Introduction/Setting: 4:14-15
Jesus rejected at Nazareth: 4:16-30
Demon Exercised (1) in Capernaum: 4:31-37
Simon’s Mom Healed (1) in Capernaum: 4:38-39
Healing (2) of the Sick and Exercising of Demons (2) in Capernaum: 4:40-41
Thesis – Jesus was there to Preach the Kingdom of God: 4:42-44
Making Disciples (1) – Fishermen at Lake Gennesaret: 5:1-11
Leprosy Healing (3): 5:12-16
Teaching (1) – Healing (4), Forgive Sins (1) and Confront Pharisees (1): 5:17-26
Making Disciples (2) – a Tax Collector and Confront Pharisees (2): 5:27-39
Confront Pharisees (3) – reversal of Sabbath (1) with eating: 6:1-5
Confront Pharisees (4) – reversal of Sabbath (2) with healing: 6:6-11
List of the 12: 6:12-16
Teaching (2) – sermon on the plain: 6:17-49
Centurion’s Faith and Healing (5): 7:1-10
Resurrection (1) of young man: 7:11-17
John’s Disciples: 7:18-23
Jesus Speaking on John: 7:24-35
Woman Sinner Forgiven (2): 7:36-50
List of Women: 8:1-3
Seed Parable: 8:4-21
Calming the Weather: 8:22-25
Gerasene Demoniac Exercised (3) and Sent Out: 8:26-39
Daughter Resurrected (2) and Bleeding Woman Healed (6): 8:40-56
The 12 Sent out, Herod is Confused and the 12 Return in Success: 9:1-10a
Feeding of the 5,000 (men? or people?): 9:10-17
Revelation and Eschatological Prediction with Death (1): 9:18-27
Transfiguration: 9.28-36
Demon cast out (4) and Prediction of Death (2): 9.37-44
The Positive Nature of Children and Friends – expanding relationships: 9:46-50

Jesus on the Road Towards Jerusalem: 9:51-19:28
Jesus Sparing Samaria: 9:51-56
Cost of Discipleship: 9:57-62
The 70 Sent Out and Returned in Success: 10:1-24
The Good Samaritan Parable: 10.25-37
Martha and Mary: 10:38-42
Teaching (3) on God and Relationship with the Divine: 11:1-13
Teaching (4) on Demons and where Jesus’ Power Comes From: 11:14-28
Prophecy on “this generation”: 11:29-36
Confronting Pharisees (5) – chastising: 11:37-54
Teaching (5): 12:1-13:9
Healing (7) a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath: 13:10-21
Teaching (6) – Eternal Reversal: 13:22-30
Prediction (3) of Death in Jerusalem, the prophet killer: 13:31-35
Confront Pharisees (6) – reversal of Sabbath (3) and the established order:14:1-17:10
Healing (8) of the 10 Lepers: 17:11-19
Teaching (8): 17:20-18:30
Prediction of Death (4): 18:31-34
Blind healing (9) near Jericho: 18:35-43
Zacchaeus: 19:1-10
Parable on the Kingdom: 19:11-28

Jesus in Jerusalem: 19:29-24:12
Entry (1) Triumphal: 19:29-40
Entry (2) Prophecy and Weeping: 19:41-44
Into the temple – Driving Out the Sellers: 19:45-46
Against the Religious Leaders (1): 19:47-20:26
Against the Religious Leaders (2): 20:27-47
Jesus Teaching on Trials, Apocalypse and Cosmic Conflict: 21:1-21:37
Passover Meal: 22:1-23
Dispute Over Greatness and Prediction of Peter’s Denials: 22:24-38
Prayer and Betrayal: 22:39-53
Peter’s Denials: 22:54-62
Sanhedrin: 22:63-71
Pilate – Herod – Pilate – Convicted: 23:1-25
Jesus Led Away: 23:26-31
Two Criminals on the Cross: 23:32-43
Jesus’ Death: 23:44-49
Burial and Holy Saturday: 23:50-56
Empty Tomb: 24:1-12

Appearance (1) on the Road to Emmaus and Emmaus: 24:13-35

Appearance (2) in Jerusalem and Commission: 24:36-43

Ascension at Bethany: 24:50-53


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