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Luke, Gospel of

(2,195 words)

Author(s): Radl, Walter
[German Version] I. Composition – II. Theology – III. History The Gospel of Luke, the third canonical Gospel, is attested in full in the Greek manuscripts Sinaiticus and Vaticanus dating from the 4th century, but large portions are already attested in Papyri nos. 4, 45, and especially 75 dating from the 3rd century (Biblical manuscripts: II, 1 and 2). I. Composition 1. Content and structure The Gospel of Luke begins with a preamble (1:1–4) and narratives similar to a prologue, the birth and infancy narratives (1:5–2:52), in which Luke relates the origins o…

Elizabeth and Zachariah

(277 words)

Author(s): Radl, Walter
[German Version] The name Elizabeth (Gk ᾿Ελισάβετ, Hebrew אֱלִישֶׁבַע, elîscheba) means “God has sworn” or “God is fullness, perfection” and occurs only in Ex 6:23 in the OT. The name Zachariah (Gk Ζαχαρίας; Heb. זְכַרְיָה, zekharyāh) means “God remembers” and occurs more often in the OT. The NT tells of Elizabeth and Zachariah only in the legendary account in Luke 1:5–25, 39–80. According to this, Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron, and …

Infancy Narratives

(408 words)

Author(s): Radl, Walter
[German Version] In the literature of antiquity, the grandeur of important persons is already announced in the miraculous circumstances of their birth and childhood. These are not understood as personal proofs of divine favor for the child and the parents, but as signs for the benefit of the people or realm in question. The content of the mostly legendary sources includes: the child's noble or even divine origin (sometimes attested by a genealogy), his extraordinary conception, the announcement, p…

Virgin Birth

(1,601 words)

Author(s): Zeller, Dieter | Radl, Walter | Beinert, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The myths of many peoples speak of conception without a father. For the background of the virgin birth in the New Testament, the only examples of interest to religious studies are famous men whose special dignity or capacity is based on having been begotten by a god – especially rulers. A birth legend of the Egyptian king, for example, legitimates him as the “son of Re” (see II below). When Mesopotamian rulers are called the seed of a god and are born of a goddes…