Did Jesus Exit? – Part 17

Does L, the special source used by the author of the Gospel of Luke, represent Jesus as a male descendant of the Hebrew people?

Like Mark and Q, L uses masculine nouns, pronouns and verbs of Jesus:

L 7:11b-15 “his disciples” “with him” “As he approached” “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion” “he came forward” “And he said” “He gave him”
L 7:36-47 “asked him” “He went” “took his place” “he was eating” “his feet” “this man” “he would have known” “touching him” ” ‘Teacher’ ” “he said”
L 10:39-42 “the Lord’s feet” “he was saying” “came to him” ” ‘Lord, do you not care…’ ” “the Lord answered her”
L 13:1b-5 “He asked them”
L 13:10-17b “he was teaching” “he called her over” “he laid his hands on her” “he said this” “The Lord answered him”
L 13: 31b-32 “He said to them”
L 14:2-5 “in front of him” “He said to them”
L 14:8-10 & 12-14 “He said also”
L 15:11-32 “He said”
L 17:12-18 “As he entered” “approached him” “when he saw them, he said” “thanked him”
L 18: 2-8a “He said” “And the Lord said”
L 19:2-10 “to see him” “he looked up” “to welcome him” “He has gone to” “said to the Lord”

Also, as with Mark and Q, the main character in the L source is referred to as ‘Jesus’ (or Yeshua):

L 7:36-47 “Jesus spoke up”
L 10:30-37a “Jesus said to him”
L 13:10-17b “When Jesus saw her, he called her over”
L 14:2-5 “Jesus asked” “So Jesus took”
L 17:12-18 ” ‘Jesus, Master…’ ” “Then Jesus asked”
L 19:2-10 “He was trying to see who Jesus was” “When Jesus came to the place” “Jesus said to him”

‘Jesus’ or ‘Yeshua’ was one of the more common names for a Jewish male (a male descendant of the Hebrew people) in Palestine in the First century.

As with Mark and Q, L places Jesus in Palestine:

L 10:30-37a “Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by the other side. …But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. …’ ”

L 13:1b-5 [told him about the] “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He [Jesus] asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you: but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them–do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’ ”

L 13:31b-32 ” ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ ” (words spoken to Jesus).

‘Herod’ here is presumably Herod Antipas (‘Herod’ being a dynastic title) who killed John the Baptist around the time Jesus started his own ministry. Antipas was appointed tetrarch over Galilee and Perea in 4 BCE, and he ruled there until 39 CE. Even if the above passage refers to some other ‘Herod’ in the dynasty, the various ‘Herods’ ruled over various areas in Palestine.

L 17:12-18 “As he [Jesus] entered a village, ten lepers approached him. …He [one of the lepers] prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. …”

Samaritans originate from Samaria, and Samaria was located in Palestine between Galilee (in the North) and Judea (in the South). So, this story suggests that Jesus met these lepers when he was visiting a village somewhere in Palestine.

L 18:10-14a ” ‘Two men came up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.’ ” [The phrase "the temple" here clearly refers to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem].

Representing Jesus as a man who was an adherent of the Jewish faith who was living in Palestine in the First Century (at about the time of Pilate) suggests that Jesus was a male descendant of the Hebrew people.

One final passage provides additional confirmation that Jesus was a descendant of the Hebrew people, or at least that L represented him as such:

L 17:12-18 “As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at his [Jesus'] feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ ”

In the above passage, Jesus refers to the ‘Samaritan’ man as a ‘foreigner’. Why? Consider the following commentary on Jesus’ parable about the ‘Good Samaritan’(in Luke 10:29-37):

By making the hero of the story a Samaritan, Jesus challenged the longstanding enmity between Jews and Samaritans. The latter were regarded as unclean people, descendants of the mixed marriages that followed from the Assyrian settlement of people from various regions in the fallen northern kingdom (2 Kgs 17:6, 24).
(The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume IX, “Luke” by R. Alan Culpepper, p.229)

When Jesus refers to the grateful Samaritan (in the ten lepers incident) as a ‘foreigner’, Jesus means that this man was a descendant “of the mixed marriages that followed from the Assyrian settlement…”. In other words, Jesus is implying that the grateful man was racially impure, not a purebred descendant of the Hebrew people. But in using the term ‘foreigner’ Jesus is also implying that he (Jesus) was racially pure, was a purebred descendant of the Hebrew people, and NOT a product of “the mixed marriages….”. So, in this passage, Jesus strongly implies that he is a descendant of the Hebrew people.

My conclusion is that L, like Mark and Q, represents Jesus as being a male descendant of the Hebrew people.

  • staircaseghost

    “Does L, the special source used by the author of the Gospel of Luke, represent Jesus as a male descendant of the Hebrew people?”

    Color me flummoxed.

    Against whom are you arguing?

    • Bradley Bowen

      I’m not taking a position yet, so I’m not arguing against anyone.

      I’m critically examining Bart Ehrman’s first argument for the existence of Jesus.

      Ehrman’s argument seems OK logically, if one accepts the assumption that Mark, Q, M, L, and some other non-canonical sources are independent of each other. But, Ehrman neglected to provide the facts and data necessary to evaluate the premises of his first argument, so I’m doing the intellectual work necessary to see whether the relevant facts and data support those premises. So far, his premises are holding up.

      I also did a bit of clarification of Ehrman’s argument, making explicit the claims involved in the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis, which I believe to be the conclusion that is the target of the key claims of his first argument. Specifically, Mark, Q, L, M and some other non-canonical sources agree with each other about several basic attributes or characteristics of Jesus; they all fully support the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis, according to Ehrman.

      However, I will be doing a post soon that will point out a significant weakness in the evidence I have generated and considered to date. I also still expect that there will be some issues with some of the factual claims implied or assumed by Ehrman’s premises, issues that will show up as I continue my investigation into other alleged attributes of the historical Jesus (that are part of the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis).

      So, at this point my efforts provide some support for Ehrman’s argument, but I believe that the support is weaker than it first appears, and I suspect that further investigation is likely to produce some grounds for doubt about the premises of Ehrman’s first argument for the existence of Jesus.


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