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67 3 Your Eye Is the Lamp of Your Body Luke and the Body-Soul Relationship It is tempting in a study such as this one, once a line of approach has been established, to search for evidence in every textual nook and cranny. By doing so, one can almost always find what one is looking for. As we search for evidence of ancient physiognomy in the Lukan writings , we will do well to make a crucial distinction between topics on which Luke touches and subjects about which Luke teaches.In the case of physiognomy,Luke does both.That is to say,in certain passages of Luke and Acts, knowledge of ancient physiognomic convention will shed additional light on the text.But that does not mean that these conventions represent what Luke thinks about the subject.So we begin by examining places where Luke touches on ancient physiognomy and conclude with a summary of what Luke teaches about the subject.That summary will then serve as an introduction to the second half of the book, where we treat passages in which Luke instructs his readers about the limitations of physiognomy. Parsons_LukeActs_JDE_djm.indd 67 9/15/06 1:27:27 PM 68 Body and Character in Luke and Acts Incidental Uses of Conventional Animal Imagery We focus here especially on the zoological and anatomical methods. Interest in the racial or ethnographical method of physiognomy,however, is not entirely missing from Luke/Acts.Luke frequently identifies characters by reference to some location. See for example, Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 10:38); Jesus the Nazarean (Luke 18:37; Acts 2:22); Peter the Galilean (Luke 22:59); Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:37); Disciples called Galileans (Acts 1:11; 2:7); Saul/Paul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3); Simon of Cyrene (Luke 23:26); Corinthians (Acts 18:8); Romans (Acts 2:10; 16:21, 37; 28:17); Samaritans (Luke 17:16); Aquila the Judean, native of Pontus (Acts 18:2); and Lydia of Thyatira (Acts 16:14). We cannot rule out the possibility that some of these places would have held symbolic meaning for Luke’s audience in the same way that references to animals and physical features resonated with certain stereotypes. The term “Samaria”(or Samaritan) is a good example. Enmity between Samaritans and Jews in the ancient world is well known. The writer of John states simply,“Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans” (John 4:9).The ancient Jewish historian,Josephus,identifies the Samaritans as “apostates from the Jewish nation” who still “profess themselves Jews”when it is to their advantage (Ant.11.340–41).An audience already accustomed to this kind of geographical stereotyping could easily accept the stereotyping of ethnic groups new to them. Thus Gentile readers who previously had no knowledge of the Samaritans could readily adopt the ethnic stereotyping assumed in the Jewish milieu that underlies the Gospels.Only one of the places named in Luke/Acts—Ethiopia—receives any appreciable attention in the handbooks and functions symbolically in Acts. In contrast, Corinthian and Leucadian ethnicity are mentioned in the handbooks, but take on no figurative meaning in Acts. We will deal with the symbolic meaning of “Ethiopian” in chapter 7. We turn now to the function of Lukan echoes of the zoological and anatomical methods. Pseudo-Aristotle observes, “It is also evident that the forms of the body are similar to the functions of the soul, so that all the similarities in animals are evidence of some identity” (808b27–30). The lion was a favorite animal when discussing the ideal “male type” (809b15). After discussing his bodily characteristics, pseudo-Aristotle draws inferences from those features: “in character he [the lion] is generous and liberal, . Cited by Malina and Neyrey, Portraits of Paul, 114. Parsons_LukeActs_JDE_djm.indd 68 9/15/06 1:27:27 PM 69 Your Eye Is the Lamp of Your Body magnanimous and with a will to win; he is gentle, just, and affectionate toward his associates”(809b34–36). Of course, not all animals conveyed such positive features. Three in particular—the fox, the viper, and the wolf—figure in Luke’s narrative.We focus on these three because each one is used figuratively in Luke to refer to a person or group of people. Luke is not suggesting (at least not explicitly) that these characters physically resemble the animals whose moral character they imitate. Nonetheless, it is instructive to read these texts in the light of the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781602584433
Related ISBN
9781602583801
MARC Record
OCLC
769189752
Pages
192
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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