“Ὦ ἀνόητοι καὶ βραδεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ”

Luke, Aesop, and Reading Scripture

in Novum Testamentum
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Scholars have overlooked a direct parallel between Luke’s pericope of the Walk to Emmaus (24:13-35) and two Aesopic fables. This article investigates the parallel, which appears as a quotation on the lips of Jesus, and the direction of its literary dependence. Analysis of both internal and external evidence commends understanding the fables to reflect Luke due to its well-known status, but none of the arguments are definitive. The evidence also allows the possibility that Luke portrayed Jesus quoting Aesop, perhaps as an ironic hermeneutical critique. Both explanations for the direction of dependence are satisfactory in their own ways, and may only be resolved with further analysis or the appearance of more textual evidence.

“Ὦ ἀνόητοι καὶ βραδεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ”

Luke, Aesop, and Reading Scripture

in Novum Testamentum

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References

  • 6

    Leslie KurkeAesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition Cultural Dialogue and the Invention of Greek Prose (Princeton: Princeton University Press2011) 2-3.

  • 9

    Ben Edwin PerryAesopicavii.

  • 11

    Morten NøjgaardLa fable antique (Copenhagen: Nyt Nordisk1964) 1:471-75 cited in Kurke Conversations 44 n. 132.

  • 12

    PerryBabrius and Phaedrusxiii.

  • 13

    See C.H. RobertsCatalogue of the Greek and Latin Papyri in the John Rylands Library (3 vols.; Manchester: Manchester University Press1938) 3:119-28. Perry notes that there is no way of telling “to what extent if any the Aesop of Demetrius was altered or revised or incorporated in other collections in the course of its transmission”; Babrius and Phaedrus xiv.

  • 15

    Rusten“Aesop” 29. Cf. Perry Aesopica xii who dates Augustana to “not later than the second century after Christ.” The tenth century manuscript 397 in the Pierpont Morgan Library (cod. G) is closely related to Augustana which was the parent text for three later recensions: Ia ii (Vindobonensis) and ii (Accursiana or Planudean); Perry Babrius and Phaedrus xvi.

  • 16

    ChambryAesopi Fabulae1:20.

  • 18

    ChambryAesopi Fabulae1:99-104. These variant versions all of which Chambry confusingly labelled “Fab. 40Aliter” mostly come from different codex families. The “Fab 40Alit.” with the Lukan parallel referred to throughout this article simply as Fab. 40 is as noted above on p. 104 in Chambry Aesopi Fabulae. See Perry’s index in the appendix in his Babrius and Phaedrus 419-610 where he lists cross references to the equivalents in other editions translations and adaptations of his Aesopica fables.

  • 20

    ChambryAesopi Fabulae1:236. Labelled “Fab. 128Aliter.”

  • 21

    ChambryAesopi Fabulae1:235-36. Labelled simply “Fab. 128.”

  • 25

    C.H. RobertsCatalogue3:120.

  • 26

    PerryBabrius and Phaedrusxii-xiii.

  • 27

    See e.g. Eutecnius in I. GualandriEutecnii paraphrasis in Nicandri theriaca (Milan: Istituto Editoriale Cisalpino1968) 59; Oribasus in J. Raeder Oribasii synopsis ad Eustathium et libri ad Eunapium (Corpus medicorum Graecorum 6.3; Leipzig: Teubner 1926 [repr. Amsterdam: Hakkert 1964]) 3:6.28.2; Paul of Aegina Epitomae medicae libri septem in J.L. Heiberg Paulus Aegineta (2 vols.; Corpus medicorum Graecorum 9.1-2; Leipzig: Teubner 1921-24) 2:38.5; Georgios Chortatzis Erofile 7.265; T. Ab. 6.17-18; Didymus Comm. Job 39.1141.33; Cyril Comm. Isa. 70.476.6; Hesychius In sanctum Antonium 4.8.

  • 28

    E.g. Barsanuphius and JohannesEpist. 236.17 (βραδὺ τῇ καρδίᾳ); Nicetas David Homiliae septem 2.187 (καὶ τὸ βραδὺ τὴς καρδίας); Bartholomew of Edessa Confutatio Agareni 16.8 (Ἀνόητε καὶ βραδὺ τῇ καρδίᾳ). Some are direct quotations of Luke as in Adamantius De recta in deum fide in W.H. van de Sande Bakhuyzen Der Dialog des Adamantius Περὶ τῆς εἰς θεὸν ὀρθῆς πίστεως (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 4; Leipzig: Hinrichs 1901) 198; Palladius Dialogus de vita Joannis Chrysostomi in P.R. Coleman-Norton Palladii dialogus de vita S. Joanni Chrysostomi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1928) 123.

  • 34

    PerryBabrius and Phaedrusxii. The notorious “moral” of an Aesopic fable is known as “promythium” or “epimythium”; ibid. xiv-xvi.

  • 35

    KurkeConversations3-4.

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