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Title: The commonplace of precocity in Luke 2.46-47
Author: Lowery, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 574X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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This study seeks to recover the various ways that the commonplace of the precocious child might have been understood in antiquity by utilizing rhetorical education and related texts as a basic framework for understanding communication strategies in ancient literature. Commonplace characterizations contributed to verisimilar depictions. The commonplace of precocity typically functioned to assist the audience in evaluating a person through an emphatic characterization. It is therefore often relevant to the purposes and themes of a given work. The depiction of Jesus as precociously insightful (Lk 2.46-47) is apropos to Luke's purpose of characterizing Jesus as uniquely attuned to the divine will. In the Gospel, only Jesus fully understands the extent of his own role in the divine plan. It is only when the one with insight—that is, Jesus—enlightens his disciples climactically in the final chapter of the Gospel that things change (Lk 24.45). Thereafter, those involved in the new Judaean school are presented as the sole possessors of insight into scripture and the outworking of God's plan in the world. Authors sometimes relied on thematically significant characterizations that were external to their work when constructing the commonplace of precocity. While admittedly the attribute of “understanding” is widespread among significant figures of the Septuagint (including messianic figures, e.g., Isa 11.2), I recommend Isa 52.13-53.12 as a possible context for Luke's characterization of Jesus as having precocious understanding for two primary reasons. Firstly, “understanding” is one of a few positive attributes used to describe the servant (LXX Isa 52.13; 53.11). Secondly, often uniquely among the Synoptists, Luke depicts Jesus in terms drawn from Isaiah (e.g., Acts 8.26-40). If the image of the exalted Isaianic servant was influential to Luke in his depiction of Jesus, it may have inspired the attribution of this notable characteristic in Lk 2.4.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen School of Medicine
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Exceptional children in literature