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Luke 3:22 — More on What Luke Would Have Written

In yesterday’s post I started to discuss the “intrinsic probabilities” that can help us establish the text of Luke 3:22.  This kind of probability looks to determine what an author himself (as opposed to a scribe copying his text) would have been likely to write.  That is determined by considering his writing style, vocabulary, theological views, narrative interests and so on, and determining which of the available readings fits with these established patterns of usage better than the other(s).   What I’’ll be arguing in this post, again, taken from The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, is that the reading found only in Codex Bezae coincides more closely with the view of Jesus’ baptism that can be found elsewhere in the two-volume work of Luke-Acts.  The first paragraph below is the one that ended yesterday’s post, to provide some context for the following observations.


More fruitful is an assessment of the other references to Jesus’ baptism throughout Luke’s work, “backward glances,” as it were, that provide clues concerning what happened at that point of the narrative. What is striking is that these other references to Jesus’ baptism do not appear to presuppose a simple “identification formula” by which Jesus is acknowledged to be the Son of God (“You are my beloved Son” – the text found in virtually all the manuscripts). They instead assume that God actually did something at that moment, that he actually conferred a special status upon Jesus (“Today I have begotten you” – the text found in Codex Bezae).

A reasonable place to begin is with the second occurrence of a voice from heaven, that on the Mount of Transfiguration. It is commonly known that for Luke’s source, the Gospel of Mark, the heavenly voice at the transfiguration echoes the heavenly voice at the baptism. But whereas the first makes its pronouncement in the second person, apparently addressing only Jesus (“You are my beloved Son,” Mark 1:11), the latter occurs in the third person, confirming this disclosure to the disciples (“This is my beloved Son,” Mark 9:7). Luke of course used Mark’s account in creating his own, and no attempt to reconstruct the heavenly words of Luke’s baptism scene can afford to overlook the voice at the transfiguration.  Here the textual situation is much clearer. Luke has changed Mark’s heavenly voice in the second instance, so that now rather than confirming to the disciples that Jesus is the “beloved” Son, it confirms that Jesus is the “elect” Son: “This is my Son, my chosen one” (ὁ υ ἱ ό ς μ ο υ ὁ ἐ κ λ ε λ ε γ μ έ ν ο ς ; Luke 9:35).


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A Final Post (!) on Luke 3:22
Luke 3:22 — What Luke Himself Would Have Written



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    RonaldTaska  August 14, 2013

    The main point about Codex Bezae most likely being the text having the original Luke 3:22 verse is interesting, but the details of this proof are way over my head.

  2. cheito
    cheito  August 18, 2013

    Since we don’t have the original letters written to Theophilus It’s obvious to me that the copies of the books of Luke and Acts we do have have been altered.

    Luke himself was not an eyewitness of the baptism of Jesus. He received his account from the Apostles who were the eyewitnesses. Therefore it’s more likely that Luke would have written what the Apostles related to him concerning what took place at the baptism of Jesus.

    The main reason for altering all the texts you point out in Luke and Acts is to prove that Jesus did not exist with God before He was born, and that he’s just a man whom God glorified later on.

    However since The Apostles clearly taught that Jesus did exist before he was born and that God created all things through him, And Luke wrote down what the Apostles told him, it’s more likely that the reading of the majority of the Greek LuKan manuscripts of Luke 3:22-“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” is what Luke most likely originally wrote.

    NOTE: Establishing what the Apostles, who knew Jesus personally, taught and preached concerning what happened when Jesus was baptized with water, will better assist us at arriving at a more reasonable conclusion as to what Luke most likely wrote. Luke’s writing style, vocabulary, theological views, or narrative interests are not as important in determining which version of Luke 3:22 is the original. After all Luke only wrote down what he was told by the eyewitnesses.

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