Encountering Images of Spiritual Transformation
Luke-Acts is an impressive two-volume narrative seeking to convince and engage readers regarding the spiritual impact of Jesus of Nazareth on the Jewish people and other nations. To this end, Luke employs an impressive arsenal of literary and narrative techniques. This book focuses on a motif and its performance, the thoroughfare motif, which includes those figurative and concrete expressions involving ways, roads, city streets, and country paths. This study traces this motif's performance within the unfolding plot asking what difference the motif makes--progressively and cumulatively--to the reader's encounter with the story's emphasis on salvation. For example, why does Luke take pleasure in describing transformational events on or in relation to thoroughfares? What are the connections between expressions like "the way of peace," "the way of salvation," and "the way of God/Lord"? Why does Luke use such an unusual expression like "the Way" to describe Jesus' followers? How do such expressions contribute to the spiritual landscape of Luke-Acts, the intermingling of concrete and figurative uses of physical imagery? Like an instrument in an orchestra, the thoroughfare motif works together with other motifs and themes to create a captivating exploration of spiritual transformation, received and opposed.
James M. Morgan