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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