Rewriting Moses and Mark: The Composition of Luke’s Gospel in Light of Rewritten Scriptural Narratives Restricted; Files Only

Potter, Jonathan M. (Spring 2019)

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Uniquely among New Testament gospels, the Gospel of Luke begins with an authorial preface

acknowledging the use of previous tradition. Taking this as an invitation to read this text in

relation to its probable sources, this dissertation considers the compositional process Luke used

in creating a new story of Jesus based on an earlier one (the Gospel of Mark). How would a first-

century writer like Luke—probably a Hellenistic Jewish Christ-follower living in the

diaspora—go about this endeavor? What compositional models would have been available to

him? Why does Luke use Mark the way he does, adopting its structure and frequently its

wording, while also freely omitting sections, rearranging material, and adding new episodes?

And finally, what does this tell us about how Luke viewed Mark’s Gospel?

Moving beyond the traditional approach of reading Luke as a “gentile” gospel composed using

methods of Greco-Roman history and biography writing, I argue that Luke’s use of Mark makes

better sense in the context of a group of contemporaneous early Jewish writings known as

“Rewritten Scripture.” These texts, such as the Book of Jubilees and Josephus’s Antiquities,

interpret Scripture by rewriting it in such a way that ambiguities and contradictions are

diminished, while also adapting it to contemporary beliefs and practices. A similar strategy of

interpretation through rewriting best explains Luke’s reworking of Mark. Although Mark is not

yet “scripture” in the first century CE, Luke’s manner of rewriting Mark may suggest that Luke

views Mark as an authoritative narrative about Jesus that merits interpretive clarification and

expansion rather than rejection or critique.

Because “Rewritten Scripture” is a debated category, this dissertation begins with an analysis

and critique of the category. The following two chapters examine of the Book of Jubilees and

Josephus, Antiquities 1, focusing especially on their rewriting of Genesis at both macrostructural

and micro levels. The final main chapter then evaluates Luke’s rewriting of Mark from the same

perspective, culminating in a comparison of Luke’s rewriting techniques compared with those

evident in Jubilees and Josephus. Despite some variation, all three evince a common,

comprehensive approach to interpretation through rewriting.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1

1.1. Contextualizing Luke’s Compositional Use of Mark 1

1.2. Previous Comparative Approaches to the Synoptic Gospels 11

1.2.1. Greco-Roman Compositions 11

1.2.2. From Gospels as Midrash to the Gospels as Rewritten Scripture 16

1.3. Rewritten Scriptural Narratives as a Comparative Lens for Understanding Luke’s Rewriting of Mark 28

1.4. Contribution and Aims 36

1.5. Overview 40

2. Redefining Rewritten Scripture 42

2.1. Introduction: Terminology and Summary 42

2.2. The Debate over Rewritten Scripture 48

2.2.1. Geza Vermes and the Genesis of “Rewritten Bible” 48

2.2.2. Broadening the Category: Rewritten Scripture as a Textual Process or Strategy 54

2.2.3. Toward a More Precise Definition: Rewritten Scripture as a “Genre” 63

2.2.4. Rewritten Scripture and the Dead Sea Scrolls 89

2.2.5. Challenges to “Rewritten Bible” and Rewritten Scripture 92

2.2.6. Exegetical Function: Rewritten Scripture and Early Jewish Scriptural Interpretation 95

Excursus: The Exegetical Function of Jubilees 99

2.2.7. Summary: Main Lines of Consensus and Outstanding Questions 105

2.3. Defining Rewritten Scripture: Composition, Form, and Function 106

2.3.1. Composition 107

2.3.2. Form 110

2.3.3. Function 112

2.3.4. Definition and Terminology 116

2.4. Conclusion 118

3. The Book of Jubilees: Rewriting Scripture in Hebrew 120

3.1. The Book of Jubilees: Introduction 121

3.2. Overview and Outline 126

3.3 Jubilees as Rewritten Scripture: Interpreting the Mosaic Torah 131

3.3.1. Jubilees’ Relationship to Other Texts 131

3.3.2. The Overall Interpretive Character of Jubilees: Macrostructural Rewriting 138

3.3.3. Micro-level Rewriting in Jubilees: Exegetical Paraphrase, Abbreviation, Expansion, and Omission 164

3.4 Summary: The Interpretive Profile of Jubilees 183

4. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities: Rewriting Scripture in Greek 188

4.1. Introduction to Josephus and the Jewish Antiquities 189

4.1.1. The Context of the Jewish Antiquities in the Life and Career of Josephus 191

4.1.2. The Claims of the Preface to the Antiquities (1.1–26) 194

4.1.3. The Aims and Audience(s) of the Jewish Antiquities 205

4.2. The Jewish Antiquities as Rewritten Scripture 207

4.3. Macro-Level Rewriting in the Antiquities 214

4.3.1. The Structure of the Antiquities as a Whole 214

4.3.2. Macro-Level Rewriting of Genesis in Antiquities 1 217

4.4. Micro-Level Rewriting in Antiquities 1 237

4.4.1. The Conclusion and Aftermath of the Flood (A.J. 1.89–103) 237

4.4.2. Summary of Josephus’s Micro-Rewriting Techniques 248

4.5. Conclusion: The Aims of Josephus’s Rewritten Scripture 257

5. Luke’s Rewritten Gospel 262

5.1. The Gospel according to Luke: Introductory Questions 263

5.2. The Gospel of Luke on the Landscape of Early Jewish and Christian Literature 268

5.2.1. Luke, Scripture, and Early Jewish Interpretation 269

5.2.2. Luke’s Gospel Predecessors and the Claims of the Preface (Luke 1:1–4) 275

5.3. Luke’s Rewriting of Mark Compared with Rewritten Scripture 282

5.3.1. Macrostructural Rewriting 282

5.3.2. Micro-level Rewriting 320

5.3.3. Luke’s Micro-Rewriting Techniques Compared with Rewritten Scripture 345

5.4. Chapter Conclusions 347

6. Conclusions: Moses and Mark Rewritten 350

6.1. Argument 350

6.2. Results and Prospects 354

List of Abbreviations 360

Bibliography 363

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