We Have Been Visited : Divine Encounter through the Lukan Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79)


Recent discussions of the Benedictus have focused on its function in Luke- Acts. However, little if no attention has been given to the persuasive force of the passage and how it may have functioned to create a divine encounter for the implied audience. This study will address this gap. Following a brief survey of Luke’s purpose and a discussion of the nature of prophecy, I will argue, first, that divine revelation was often cast in poetic form. Second, I will describe the poetic features of the Benedictus, emphasizing its divine nature. Third, I will explain the ancient perception that deities had a superior ability to name persons, places, and objects. I will follow this discussion with a listing of the divinely authored names in the Benedictus. Fourth, I will contend that the Old Testament vocabulary and the tone of confidence in Zechariah’s prophecy further enhances its divine nature. Finally, considering the above, I will explain how a skilled lector reading the prophecy to Luke’s original audience may have allowed them to experience something of the aural presence of God.

Słowa kluczowe

Benedictus; Divine Encounter; Luke; Gospel of; Poetry; Prophecy

Alter, R., The Art of Biblical Poetry (New York: Basic Books 2011).

Bauer, W. et al. (ed.), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press 2010) (=BAGD).

Ben-Dov, J., “Language, Prayer and Prophecy: 1 Enoch, the Dead Sea Scrolls and 1 Corinthians,” Ancient Jewish Prayers and Emotions. Emotions associated with Jewish Prayer in and around the Second Temple Period (eds. S.C. Reif – R. Egger-Wenzel) (Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies 26; Berlin: De Gruyter 2015) 239–258.

Brown, F. – Driver, S.R. – Briggs, C.A., Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon 1977).

Brown, R.E., The Birth of the Messiah. A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, 2 ed. (Anchor Bible Reference Library; New York: Doubleday 1993).

Carter, W., “Zechariah and the Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79): Practicing What He Preaches,” Biblica 69 (1988) 239–247.

Dillon R.J., “The Benedictus in Micro- and Macrocontext,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 68 (2006) 457–480.

Dodson, J.R., The ‘Powers’ of Personification. Rhetorical Purpose in the ‘Book of Wisdom’ and the Letter to the Romans (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 161; Berlin: de Gruyter 2008).

Farris, S., The Hymns of Luke’s Infancy Narratives. Their Origin, Meaning and Significance (Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 9; Sheffield: Bloomsbury 1985).

Fitzmyer, J.A., The Gospel according to Luke I–IX. Introduction, Translation, and Notes (Anchor Bible 28; New Haven, CT – London: Yale University Press 2008).

Franke, W., “At the Creative Source of the Arts: Poetry as Prophecy in a Negative Theological Key,” Prophetic Witness and the Reimagining of the World. Poetry, Theology and Philosophy in Dialogue – Power of the Word V (eds. M.S. Burrows – H. Davies – J. von Zitzewitz) (Routledge Studies in Religion; New York: Routledge 2021) 26–56.

Geldenhuys, N., Commentary on the Gospel of Luke. The English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes (New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 1952).

Geller, S.A. “Were the Prophets Poets?” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History 3 (1983) 211–221.

Gera, D.L., Ancient Greek Ideas on Speech, Language, and Civilization (New York: Oxford University Press 2003).

Harris, W.V., Ancient Literacy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1989).

Heath, J., The Talking Greeks. Speech, Animals, and the Other in Homer, Aeschylus, and Plato (New York: Cambridge University Press 2005).

Heffelfinger, K.M., I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes. Lyric Cohesion and Conflict in Second Isaiah (Leiden: Brill 2011).

Heffelfinger, K.M., “More than Mere Ornamentation,” Proceedings of the Irish Biblical Association 36 (2013) 36–54.

Hezser, C., Jewish Literacy in Roman Palestine (Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum 81; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2001).

Holland, G.S., “Paul and Performance,” Paul in the Greco-Roman World. A Handbook (ed. J.P. Sampley) (London: Bloomsbury 2016) II, 239–269.

Le Feuvre, C., “Language of Gods, Pythian Apollo and Plato’s Cratylus,” When Gods Speak to Men. Divine Speech according to Textual Sources in the Ancient Mediterranean Basin (eds. S. Anthonioz – A. Mouton – D. Petit) (Orbis biblicus et orientalis 289; Leuven: Peeters 2019) 81–104.

McNicol, A.J., “Rebuilding the House of David: The Function of the Benedictus in Luke-Acts,” Restoration Quarterly 40 (1998) 25–38.

Mendez, H.E., Canticles in Translation. The Treatment of Poetic Language in the Greek, Gothic, Classical Armenian, and Old Church Slavonic Gospels (Diss. The University of Georgia; Athens 2013).

Murray, P., “Poetic Inspiration,” Companion to Ancient Aesthetics (eds. P. Destrée – P. Murray) (Chichester: Wiley & Sons 2015) 158–174.

Newman Jr., B.M., A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft – United Bible Societies 1993).

Nolland J., Luke 1:1–9:20 (Word Biblical Commentary 35A; Dallas, TX: Word 1989).

Perelman, C. – Olbrechts-Tyteca, L., The New Rhetoric. A Treatise on Argumentation (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press 1969; 1973).

Plato, Cratylus. Parmenides. Greater Hippias. Lesser Hippias (trans. H.N. Fowler) (Loeb Classical Library 167; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1926).

Plato, Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo (trans. E. Jones – W. Preddy) (Loeb Classical Library 36; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 2017).

Plato, Statesman. Philebus. Ion (trans. H.N. Fowler – W.R.M. Lamb) (Loeb Classical Library 164; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1925).

Porter, S.E. – Pitts, A.W., Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 2015).

Ringgren, H., “Luke’s Use of the Old Testament,” Harvard Theological Review 79 (1986) 227–235. Stanley, C.D., “Paul and Homer: Greco-Roman Citation Practice in the First Century,” Novum Testamentum 32 (1990) 48–78.

Tannehill, R.C., The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts. A Literary Interpretation. I. The Gospel According to Luke (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress 1991).

Ward, R.F. – Trobisch, D., Bringing the Word to Life. Engaging the New Testament through Performing It (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 2013).

Wierzbicka, A., “The Semantics of Direct and Indirect Discourse,” Papers in Linguistics 7 (1974) 267–307.

Winsbury, R., The Roman Book. Books, Publishing and Performance in Classical Rome (London: Duckworth 2009).

Wright, B.J., Communal Reading in the Time of Jesus. A Window into Early Christian Reading Practices (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress 2017).

Opublikowane : 2021-03-30

Seal, D. (2021). We Have Been Visited : Divine Encounter through the Lukan Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79). The Biblical Annals. https://doi.org/10.31743/biban.11564

David Seal  david.seal@cornerstone.edu
Cornerstone University  Stany Zjednoczone

1. Zgodnie z ustawą o prawie autorskim i prawach pokrewnych z dnia 4 lutego 1994r., autor publikacji przekazuje autorskie prawa majątkowe dotyczące składanego dzieła wydawcy czasopisma the Biblical Annals. Przeniesienie praw autorskich do składanego dzieła następuje na wszystkich polach eksploatacji, w szczególności tych wymienionych w art. 50 ustawy o prawie autorskim i prawach pokrewnych:

  • W zakresie utrwalania i zwielokrotniania utworu – wytwarzanie określoną techniką egzemplarzy dzieła, w tym techniką drukarską, reprograficzną, zapisu magnetycznego oraz techniką cyfrową.
  • W zakresie obrotu oryginałem albo egzemplarzami , na których dzieło utrwalono – wprowadzanie do obrotu, użyczenie lub najem oryginału albo egzemplarzy.
  • W zakresie rozpowszechniania utworu w sposób inny niż określony w pkt. 2 – publiczne wykonanie, wystawienie, wyświetlenie, odtworzenie oraz nadawanie i reemitowanie, a także publiczne udostępnianie utworu, aby każdy mógł mieć do niego dostęp w miejscu i czasie przez siebie wybranym.

2. Za zgodą redakcji czasopisma opublikowane artykuły w Biblical Annals mogą być przedrukowywane w innych publikacjach.

3. Redakcja publikuje teksty on line na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa 4.0 - Międzynarodowe (CC BY 4.0).