Daniel Marguerat: The Lukan Itineraries of Paul and Jesus

Daniel Marguerat, The First Christian Historian: Writing the ‘Acts of the Apostles,’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 233-234.

In no part of the New Testament is the reader more powerfully exposed to the world of travel than in the works ad Theophilum. It is an understatement to say that the author of Luke-Acts appreciates the travel theme. It would be closer to the truth to speak of a Lucan obsession with travel and travellers.

Already in Luke’s gospel (Luke 9.51 – 19.28), the importance given to Jesus’ journey from Galilee to Judaea is unusual within the Synoptic tradition. The long peregrination of the Lucan Jesus finds its counterpart in the itinerary of the Pauline mission in Acts; the orientation towards Rome covers a third of the narrative. Announced in Paul’s decision (Acts 19.21), the choice of Rome as destination is validated by a vision in 23.11 (‘Just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome’), confirmed during the storm (‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar…’ 27.24), and fulfilled in 28.14. Such a mirror effect, from Jesus to Paul, is not theologically irrelevant for Luke’s work. He shapes the fate of the disciple according to that of the Master and, in both cases, the voyage leads the hero to his death. From the point of view of narrative strategy, this procedure of syncrisis indicates that the author is able to confer on the travel motif a structuring function in the narration.

One Comment on “Daniel Marguerat: The Lukan Itineraries of Paul and Jesus

  1. Side note but I love the idea that Paul’s primary mission and destiny is to stand before Caesar. I think it speaks to the political ambitions of early Christianity. And Luke doesn’t even say if it happened or not!

    Liked by 1 person

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