I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Kenneth E. Bailey recently. The title, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels is an accurate description of the contents. Bailey has spent decades in the Middle East and he brings a very different perspective on many stories and ideas—such as the parables of Jesus, the Beatitudes, etc. It’s a book well worth reading.
I came across this throwaway comment in the book:
In Luke’s Gospel, I have identified twenty-seven cases in the text of the pairing of men and women.
This was an intriguing idea I had never heard before. In a quick skip through the Gospel of Luke over a period of about an hour, I found fifteen of them. Here are some examples:
An angel appears to Zechariah before the conception of John the Baptist
An angel appears to Mary before the conception of Jesus
Simeon and Anna in the Temple.
Jesus gives the example of Elijah and the widow, and Elisha and Namaan—both Gentiles–one a man and the other a woman.
The healing of a demon-possessed man and the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law.
The parables of a patch on a garment and wine in new wineskins
The healing of the centurion’s servant and the raising from the dead of the widow’s son
The deliverance of the Gerasene demoniac and the raising from the dead of Jairus’ daughter
The parable of the lost coin and the parable of the lost sheep
There are so many of these examples that I wonder if it has to have been a deliberate policy on the part of Luke. Fascinating, huh? What do you think?