The present article proposes what can be labeled an ecclesiological interpretation of the highly debated parable of the unjust steward. Jesus (probably the Historical Jesus) adhorts his followers to practice solidarity – also in financial matters – towards each other, something that obviously works pretty well among criminals (who keep together since one knows about the skeletons in the closet of the other and vice versa). It is typical of the narrative humor of the Historical Jesus that he makes his audience learn from criminal subjects; learning from others, even criminals is a Jesuanic strategy that should not be underrated in research on the Historical Jesus. Apart from presenting a new interpretation of the parable of the unjust steward, this article aims at documenting forgotten research about this text, especially from the 19th century and from some patristic sources, e.g. an exegetical tradition attributed to Theophilus of Antioch cited by Jerome (see n. 2).
In Lk 17:1–10, the evangelist has combined three logia from Q and another of uncertain origin into a new literary unit. At first glance, this composition seems to have no internal connection with the preceding and following narratives. The state of affairs forces us to ask about the editorial intention. Luke takes the three pieces of tradition and forms a parenesis for his current Christian readers. The latter live in an already socially tiered community of all social classes, from poor to rich, young and old, free and slave, male and female, Jews and Non-Jews. Mindful of their own moral frailty, they are to learn to live together harmoniously and to trust in the power of their faith. Especially their leaders from the upper class are supposed to be aware of their status definition thus traced back to Jesus: to be and to remain slaves of God in all their actions. In the literary process, motifs from the entire middle section of the gospel are taken up throughout the text and applied to the new community situation. The so-called “Reisebericht” is altogether no journal, but parenesis.
The brazen freedom of God’s children as Jesus has announced it – being free like the “birds of the air” or carefree like the “lilies of the field” (Matt 6:25–33) – is induced by Jesus’ optimism that the reign of Satan has already been broken. This leads him to a Copernican turn in the paradigm of purity: Not impurity is contagious, but the purity of God’s upcoming reign will pervade everything and enables Jesus to touch impure persons and even dine with them. Jesus’ optimism could be helpful for today’s church, to lose reservations against modern developments in our society as also in human sciences. A development of church’s doctrine in these points is already projected by the biblical encyclicals since Leo XIII. and should not cause fears anymore.
In Ezekiel’s argument about idolatrous inquirers and persuadable prophets (Ez 14,1–11), how – if at all – does the restoration envisioned in V. 11 relate to the punishment envisioned in V. 10? In this essay I will assess a variety of older arguments about the relation of V. 11 to the preceding verses. In light of its outlook and vocabulary, I will argue that V. 11 has been composed in light of other passages in the book that emphasize divine transformation in the process of spiritual restoration.
Deuteronomy connects three covenants, of the Fathers, that at Horeb, and that at Moab. These have different views on the future pardon of Israel, should it transgress the prohibitions of images and of foreign gods, and should the wrath of God and the covenant curses be realised. With reference to J. J. Krause’s “Die Bedingungen des Bundes”, this contribution demonstrates that neither Deuteronomy nor the Ancient Near East know any automatism regarding blessing and curse, and that YHWH is the free Lord and Partner of the covenant. Yet, He remains true to the covenant that He has sworn to the Patriarchs (Dt 4:31; 9:27). Therefore, He will enable Israel in exile to turn to Him (4:30) and on experiencing the logic of the covenant, He will circumcise their hearts (30:6). Then Israel will keep the foremost commandment of love for God and the provisions of the Deuteronomic Torah (30:6, 10) and live in abundant blessing. The Mosaic prophecy of Israel’s pardon surpasses the future turn in salvation history predicted in the epilogue of the Holiness Code (Lev 26:42–45).