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WASIAK Wojciech

Praise Miracle Stories in Luke (5,17-26; 7,11-17; 13,10-17; 17,11-19; 18,35-43)

Mod.: Prof. R.P. Dean BECHARD.

    The three topics named in the title of the dissertation (praise, miracle, and miracle story) have not been treated adequately in the exegesis of the Third Gospel. The motif of praise was not analyzed on its own until the year 2009 and has not yet received the attention it deserves. Furthermore, very few monographs are dedicated to the topic of miracles in Luke, even though the genre of miracle story was defined since at least the study of R. Bultmann and is commonly used in the analysis of the Gospels. The presence of miraculous deeds is so prominent in Luke that to understand fully Jesus’ mission, it seems to be necessary not only to take into consideration his teaching, mundane activities and passion, but also his mighty and wonder-provoking deeds. The miracle stories play an important role in the structure of the Lukan Gospel not only because of their quantity but also because of the association with the essential characteristics of Jesus’ identity and mission, as revealed in the programmatic Nazareth sermon. The dissertation deals, however, not with the genre of miracle stories as such but with the miracle stories in which the praise response occurs: Luke 5,17-26; 7,11-17; 13,10-17; 17,11-19; 18,35-43.
    The investigation mainly explores the narrative role of praise miracle stories, i.e., their contribution to the main plot of Luke. Thus, the dissertation adopts a narrative approach. However, some space will be dedicated also to providing a new definition of what constitutes a “miracle story”.
    It is further noted that the collective praise in miracle stories is given exclusively by the Jewish crowd and not by any other collective character. This generates an interesting question: if praise is the proper response to God’s plan, then why is the collective praise given only by the crowd and not by the disciples (or other groups, like publicans) before the entry to Jerusalem? Moreover, the crowd is the character most often named in all the miracle stories, more than the disciples and the Jewish leaders. The crowd’s responses to Jesus’ mission are narrated mainly in the miracle stories. The narrative question addressed in the dissertation is as follows: what is the role of the crowd in miracle stories that evoke a response of praise? why is the communal response of praise given only by the crowd during Jesus’ public ministry?

    The collective character of the Jewish crowd gives praise most frequently in Luke, so the analysis of this character shall be the main task of the study: Chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 2 will provide the analysis of the Jewish and Greco-Roman background for the Lukan use of the praise motif, leading to a comparative study of the interrelation between miracles and praise in the Jewish and Greco-Roman historical narratives. This comparison is necessary for a better understanding of the distinctive ways in which Luke includes acclamations of praise in his narrative, especially those which occur only in the middle part of the Gospel.