Re: Luke 7:29-30 Jesus or Luke?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Apr 11 1999 - 17:06:14 EDT

At 12:57 PM -0700 4/11/99, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>There is some disagreement about Luke 7:29-30. Is this a comment by Luke
>or are these the words of Jesus? There are a list of competent scholars
>on both sides of this issue.
>Words of Jesus:
>A. Plummer, F. Godet, H.A.W. Meyer, DeWette, and some more recent
>Germans cited in Fitzmyer (Luke, AB p670) are R.A. Edwards,
>G. Schneider, H. Schurmann.
>Luke's comment:
>H. Alford, I.H. Marshall, J. Fitzmyer, A.B. Bruce.
>The most telling evidence in favor of the Luke's comment view is the
>phrase KAI PAS hO LAOS in 7:29. When PAS + LAOS is used in the role of
>AGENT in Luke/Acts it is imbedded in Luke's narrative, not in reported
>speech (See Luke 18:43, 21:38, and Acts 3:9,11 etc.). PAS + LAOS
>is used in reported speech (e.g., Acts 4:10) but not in the role of
>Well this is the most obvious evidence, but what about the TEXTURE of
>Luke 7:18-35. Are their any patterns in this span of text that set Luke
>7:29,30 apart from the background? I had time to look at only one issue
>concerning TEXTURE and that was verb attribute distribution. I isolated
>the verb characteristics and looked for breaks in the pattern that would
>set apart Luke 7:29,30. I found several patterns that curiously jump
>over LK 7:29,30. These patterns include verbs with the following
>attributes: Singular, 1st Person, 2nd Person, Present Tense. These
>patterns don't prove anything, but the do lend some support to the
>notion of TEXTURE as an indicator of transitions in discourse structure.
>Here are the results. The positon of LK 7:29,30 is marked by ****.

I'd be willing to venture an opinion on this matter that this IS Luke's
comment, except that it strikes me that it is a text-critical question
rather than one that can be decided on the basis of the Greek text. Of
course the morphology and discourse features of the Greek do play a role
here--but wouldn't you be looking at the same features as you look at in a
translation of this passage into another language? It strikes me that this
question may be beyond definitive resolution: it may be that the evangelist
intends these verses to be understood as spoken by Jesus--but to determine
that requires making text-critical judgment, it seems to me, rather than a
judgment that is based strictly on the morphology and syntax of the Greek

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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