Luke 1,2 Is there a Pattern?

I have been preaching from the birth narratives (Luke 1,2; Matthew 1,2 and John 1 as well) for about 25 years.  There is always something new to see in them.  This year, after becoming more interested in narrative structure, I started to ask if there is some overall structure to Luke 1,2.  So I took a stab at an outline of sections, and then i checked what I did with some more academic works from the Library.

So first, here are the agreed on narrative units to Luke, 1,2.

  • Lk 1:1-4 (intro to Luke)
  • Lk 1:5-25
  • Lk 1:26-38
  • Lk 1:39-56
  • Lk 1:57-80
  • Lk 2:1-20
  • Lk 2:21-40
  • Lk 2:41-52

Now before you read on, why don’t you take a look at these sections and see how they might be related to each other.  Do you see inclusio, parallelism, chiasm, or chaos?

Now, here is my modified outline, which is very much influenced by J. A. Fitzmyer, Anchor Bible 28, The Gospel According to Luke I – IX.  He sees that the main literary structure is a parallel comparison of John and Jesus, but in every instance Jesus is shown to be superior.

A.  About John – Lk 1:5-25

   B.  About Jesus – Lk 1:26-38

     C.  The Visitation – Lk 1:39-56

A’  Birth of John – Lk 1:57-80

         (a.  v. 57-58 – birth

          b. v. 59-80 – circumcision, name, song

    B’  Lk 2:1-40

          a.  Birth, shepherds, song  2:1-20

          b.  Circumcision, naming, song  2:21-40

           C’   The Temple   2:41-52

the Annunciation sections A, B have numerous parallels, other sections are less exact.  The various “songs” appear in an inexact way.  So we can call this a loose parallel structure.

So how did you do, is your outline better than mine?

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