Naaman and the Centurion - 2 Kings 5 and Luke 7
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The Gospel of Luke’s is indebted to the Elijah-Elisha material from 1 and 2 Kings. The centurion story of Luke 7:1-10 shares several similar details with the Naaman story of 2 Kings 5. A few scholars have recognized the possibility that the centurion story may be another example of Luke’s reliance upon of Elijah-Elisha material. Yet, not much had been said regarding such a possible connection. The purpose of this dissertation was to analyse the centurion story and the Naaman story to determine if literary dependence existed between them. This dissertation began by reviewing scholarship regarding literary imitation in the Ancient Near East and the use of the Elijah-Elisha material in Luke-Acts. Based upon this review of scholarship, a methodology for establishing literary dependence was submitted. This methodology included categories of plausibility, similarities, and classifiable and interpretable differences. Using this methodology, the story of the centurion and the story of Naaman were analysed. Two other analyses of passages in Acts (the conversions of the Ethiopian eunuch and of Cornelius) revealed that the story of Naaman was employed in these stories as well. This not only helped establish precedence within the corpus of Luke-Acts for the use of the Naaman story by the centurion story in Luke 7, but this repeated use of the Naaman story also functions within Luke-Acts’ larger theme of the inclusion of the Gentiles. The dissertation concluded that Luke 7:1-10 is literarily dependent upon 2 Kings 5, and that this dependence is evidence of the greater use of the Naaman story found in key places in Luke-Acts.
2 Kings 5