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Journal Review: The Character of the Lame Mane in ACTS 3-4

The Character Of The Lame Mane In Acts 3-4 by Michael C. Parsons

By: Prasha Maharjan

Physiognomy is the study of the relationship between physical and moral characteristics. This method basically assumes that as the character of the soul altered, the form of the body changed too, and vice versa. The disabilities and deformities in the lower body were associated with being weak-hearted, effeminate, and cowardly. Physiognomy was prevalent in the ancient days as proven by an extant treatise and the influence it had on the genres of ancient literature.  Writers portrayed their characters following this convention. This era, as the author terms it, was the period of “physiognomic consciousness,” that permeated the Greco-Roman world. An example he gives is of Homer’s characters that may have shaped the development of physiognomic canons.

The author Mikeal C. Parsons, explores the passages in the book of Acts to give us the cultural context as to why Luke was so keen in using specific zoological terms and bodily disorders in his stories. Given the above context and Luke’s account for the healing of the lame man, did Luke too conform to the physiognomic convention? Did the joyous expression of healing communicate to Luke’s audience that the lame man had simply become manlier?   Yes, but not the way the people then assumed. Thus, Parsons’ purpose in writing the article is to show that vipers, foxes, wolves, eunuchs, lame, etc., are physiognomic words that Luke used to attract his audience with that mindset but eventually only to undermine their “physiognomic consciousness.” Luke, in fact, emphasized the point that physical appearance was not directly connected to moral character and this assumption needed to be rejected in his “story of membership in the eschatological community of the Way.” Though, “Luke has reluctantly used physiognomy as a community ‘entrance test’ he subtly but forcefully opposes the conventions of physiognomy being applied in this way” (Parsons, 5). Continue reading Journal Review: The Character of the Lame Mane in ACTS 3-4

Journal Review: Do the Synoptics Depend on Each Other?

by Prasha Maharjan

The gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the Synoptic Gospels that share lots in common in their literary relationships and at the same time have numerous differences. The differences and resemblances among these Gospels is the Synoptic problem. The author’s purpose of writing this article as he states is “to examine the theories which have been proposed in an attempt to arrive at an acceptable solution to the question of literary dependence in the Synoptic Gospels” (Dyer, 1). John 14:25-26 says,

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

But to the critical scholars who have had difficulties believing the Holy Spirit’s inspiration to help them write the Gospels, the author has made a remarkable effort to disprove their theories of the Synoptic problem. This subject was important to the author because he did not doubt the divine inspiration that guided the Gospels’ writers.

By way of explanation, author Charles Dyer provides a summary of Guthrie’s four aspects of the problem. The first problem is the similarity of arrangement in which the three gospels harmonize in their general outlines. The second is the similarity between the style and wording wherein two or three of the Gospels show similarity in their accounts. The third arises in the presence of accounts only in two gospels mainly in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark. The last problem is in the divergences in accounting the same material but at different settings.

Journal Review: What is the Gospel of John? by Marianee Meye Thompson

“What is the Gospel of John?” Marianee Meye Thompson

In this essay “What is the Gospel of John?” Marianee Meye Thompson has raised a literary and historical question, but the very purpose of the essay as Thompson says, is theological question: What is the gospel of John all about? What is it for? How does it serve us? Hence, the main point of the essay is what the gospel is, and how God is the one who determines the gospel’s truth.

The writer starts off her explanation with literary and historical observations. She argues that the distinction between the gospel of John and the Synoptic gospels as ‘John is theology and Synoptic are history’ is not particularly helpful. Firstly, all the gospels present Jesus’ earthly ministry and his mission. Secondly, John is a first-ordered account of the life of Jesus because John has presented the historical significance of Jesus just as it really was: God “dwelt among us.” Thirdly, she adds since “there is no such thing as theology in the abstract, it is not particularly helpful to speak of the gospel as theology versus history” (334, Thompson). Yet the characteristics of John are different from the Synoptic gospels. These characteristics, according to Thompson, ultimately illuminate what a gospel is and what the gospel is.

The writer further shows the distinction between a gospel and the gospel. According to Thompson, John is a gospel because it is a narrative account of God’s encounter with humankind through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. John also shows us that it is the gospel by demonstrating what a gospel does. The gospel presents an interpreted account of God’s encounter with humankind through Jesus and narrates how that embodied encounter engenders both belief and unbelief (335).