Early Narrative Christology

The Lord in the Gospel of Luke

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Recipient of the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise 2009
"A compelling study that will serve as the point of departure for subsequent analyses of Luke's Christology. . . . Exemplary for its methodological focus, exegetical prowess, and theological maturity."--Joel B. Green, Review of Biblical Literature

Despite the striking frequency with which the Greek word for kyrios (Lord) occurs in Luke's Gospel, this study is the first comprehensive analysis of Luke's use of this word. Rowe offers a careful exegetical discussion of all the passages in the Gospel that use kyrios for Jesus in order to trace the complex and deliberate development in Luke's narrative of Jesus's identity as Lord. Detailed attention to Luke's artistry and use of Mark demonstrates that Luke has a nuanced and sophisticated christology. For Rowe, Luke's use of kyrios for Jesus not only after the resurrection but throughout shows Jesus's close association with the God of Israel. This book, now available in paperback, was first published in hardcover by Walter de Gruyter.

The Author

  1. C. Kavin Rowe

    C. Kavin Rowe

    C. Kavin Rowe (PhD, Duke University) is assistant professor of New Testament at Duke University Divinity School. His research focuses primarily on the New Testament, both in its historical particularity and in its relation to the later Christian theological...

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Recipient of the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise 2009

"[This book] rests solidly on the foundation of extensive exegesis of the Gospel of Luke. . . . At points where Rowe disagrees with noted Lucan scholars, he argues convincingly, appealing to exegesis and lexical comparisons across the Gospel. . . . Whereas earlier scholars have found Luke's ambiguous use of 'Lord' confusing or 'unintentional-unreflective,' Rowe demonstrates that careful attention to exegesis coupled with critical reflection on the narrative development of the term across the Gospel provides the hermeneutical key to Lucan christology. . . . A second work that takes Rowe's christological insights and trains them on Acts would be welcome."--Laurie Brink, OP, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"Lukan Christology has provided the focus of a number of monographs of late, but none has had this particular methodological focus on narrative criticism nor centered on the extensive use of the title kyrios by the Third Evangelist. In setting as his research focus the narrative development of the meaning of kyrios in the Gospel of Luke, then, Rowe fills a surprising lacuna in Lukan scholarship. More importantly, his project allows him to explore what is undeniably a central ingredient of Luke's Christology. . . . [Rowe] grasps clearly the hospitality of a narrative orientation toward ambiguity along with dynamic development. . . . This is a compelling study that will serve as the point of departure for subsequent analyses of Luke's Christology. . . . Early Narrative Christology is exemplary for its methodological focus, exegetical prowess, and theological maturity."--Joel B. Green, Review of Biblical Literature

"There is no space in a single review to do full justice to the detail and richness of Rowe's analysis. . . . If there are questions, at least in this reviewer's mind, they must be seen in the context of grateful thanks for an analysis of Luke's Gospel, and Christology, that is sensitive to both narrative and theological issues. . . . [This study] is clearly articulated, consistently worked out on the basis of a line of argument that is careful, subtle, and sensitive. . . . Rowe is to be thanked for providing an immensely stimulating study that will undoubtedly become part of the standard literature on Luke's Gospel and Luke's Christology. Certainly this will be a 'must' for all serious students of Luke's work in the future."--Christopher Tuckett, Review of Biblical Literature

"A fine monograph. . . . Unlike so many versions of New Testament Christology that focus on titles, this work understands that the use of kurios in Luke can only be understood by carefully working through the ways in which this term is used in the narrative of the Gospel as a whole. . . . Rowe artfully displays Luke's sophisticated and subtle uses of kurios to identify Jesus. . . . One of the great strengths of this volume is that it displays methodological rigor and clarity without an overbearing theoretical apparatus. By the end of the volume, one has a very clear sense of the precise contours of Rowe's argument. . . . This volume represents the very best sort of New Testament theology. By moving sequentially through Luke, Rowe displays the ways in which Luke plots and narrates the identity of Jesus. . . . Rowe offers a powerful reading of Luke's Christology. . . . [Rowe] shows the intellectual power and the rhetorical grace to be part of any attempts to rejoin biblical studies and theology."--Stephen Fowl, Pro Ecclesia

"[This] fine monograph . . . addresses an important but relatively neglected element of Luke's Christology: his use of kurios, 'Lord.'. . . This is a significant and sophisticated study that makes an important contribution to our understanding of Luke's Christology."--Andrew Gregory, Expository Times

"Luke's use of kyrios has been the subject of numerous short studies in modern New Testament scholarship. But, in addition to there being no previous book-length treatment on the topic, few have recognized the theological and literary sophistication with which the Third Evangelist used the term. . . . Rowe remedies this lacuna by exploring the way that Luke applied kyrios to both God and Jesus throughout the Gospel in an effort to apprehend the 'narrative identity' of Jesus and ultimately to demonstrate the continuity that extends to God and Jesus through the title. . . . Rowe successfully utilizes his narrative hermeneutic to sketch a portrait of Jesus that in the end will not allow the Messiah to be separated from the God of Israel. . . . This paperback version is a welcome addition to Lukan Christology and makes Rowe's work both more affordable and accessible for the English-speaking world. Early Narrative Christology is recommended for anybody interested in the Lukan portrayal of Jesus and theological readings of the Gospels."--John K. Goodrich, Theological Book Review

"C. Kavin Rose is . . . a scholar of real promise, as this particular study shows. . . . Rowe's careful research, perceptive exegesis, and precise methodological focus make this book a compelling argument and an exceptional contribution to Lukan studies. . . . This brief review cannot do justice to the sophistication and precision of Rowe's analysis. The book engages current scholarship with remarkable awareness and theological maturity, yet conveys a clear and compelling argument in readable prose. Rowe's book meets a significant need in Lukan Christology: a study that takes seriously the christological claims of Luke's narrative as a coherent proclamation. . . . Rowe's focus on literary development allows his study of [kyrios] to do what few others have done before, namely, to appreciate ambiguity. . . . Rowe's study offers refined exegesis, focused methodology, and a credible argument that challenges traditional concepts of Lukan Christology. . . . The consistency of Rowe's careful exegesis merits consideration by all. Early Narrative Christology will take its place among the most significant works of Lukan Christology, and rightly so."--Troy Troftgruben, Review of Biblical Literature

"After an exhaustive survey of the approximately one hundred uses of 'Lord' in Luke's narrative, Rowe concludes that Luke binds the identity of Jesus to that of God as Lord. . . . Rowe offers a suggestive reading of Luke's narrative, well worth engaging and pondering."--John T. Carroll, Interpretation

"A substantial, readable, engaging, and subtle contribution to Lukan theology. Rowe's work elicits dialogue, and will remain a necessary tool in a scholar's kit. It should be in the Library of any institution that takes Lukan studies seriously, and in the hands of students, teachers, and preachers who want to understand Luke-Acts better."--Peter Doble, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"Rowe leaves no exegetical stone unturned. He looks at every occurrence of [Lord] in Luke, engages past and present scholarship through extensive footnotes, offering fair criticism where it is due, and maintains his focus throughout the entire book. In many cases, Rowe shows the importance of variant readings of the Greek text, adeptly making use of the critical apparatus. Also helpful are several appendices. . . . From beginning to end, Rowe provides ample evidence in support of his thesis that in the Gospel of Luke, the title [Lord] is developed in such a way as to bind the identity of Jesus to the identity of the God of Israel. Readers of this volume will not be disappointed."--Paul L. Beisel, Concordia Theological Quarterly