Luke 5:1-11: The call and commission of Simon Peter

Daniel John Scholz, Marquette University

Abstract

The problem addressed in this study is to determine why Luke 5:1-11 is unique in its singular focus on Simon Peter in the Synoptic Gospel tradition of the call of the first disciples. Traditional historical-critical methodologies have provided some insight into Luke 5:1-11, but none has sufficiently explained the central function of this pericope within the two-part narrative of Luke-Acts. The procedure to solve this problem has five parts. Chapter one surveys the findings from secondary scholarly literature on Luke 5:1-11 according to the methodological approaches of source, form, redaction, and narrative. It is shown that each of the previous exegetical methods has insufficiently recognized the importance and function of Luke 5:1-11 with Luke-Acts. Chapter two examines more closely the relatively recent method of narrative criticism in terms of its current eclectic application and varied results. Two case studies of recent narrative-critical approaches to the gospels situate this dissertation's methodological approach within narrative criticism's eclectic application. Chapter three details the narrative theory and communication model of Seymour Chatman, a modern literary critic. It is Chatman's theory and model which is the interpretive control for the narrative analysis of Luke 5:1-11. In this context, the overall story and discourse of Luke-Acts is detailed with special emphasis on Simon Peter in terms of characterization and narration. Chapter four is the narrative-critical analysis of Luke 5:1-11, focusing on the implied author (the "organizing principle": the set of codes and conventions which create the text's norms and values) and implied reader. It finds that Luke-Acts' implied author informs the implied reader of the Gentile mission and inclusion in the early church. This is one of the governing norms and values of Luke-Acts. Luke 5:1-11 becomes a critical link in the plot toward advancing this governing norm and value. Chapter five, focusing on the real author and real reader of Luke 5:1-11, provides the historical-critical component missing in Chatman's story and discourse model. Using genre criticism, it is determined that the real author of Luke-Acts created a hybrid genre whose rhetorical purpose is catechetical: to instruct and persuade the real reader of the first century about the mission to include the Gentiles in the early church. This reinforces the importance of Luke 5:1-11 within the overall story and discourse of Luke-Acts. The principal conclusion of this study is that there is a right way to read Luke 5:1-11. Luke-Acts is a two-part narrative in the form of a hybrid genre whose rhetorical purpose is catechetical: to instruct and persuade the reader of the mission to include the Gentiles in the early church. This is one of the governing norms and values of the text, and is evidenced by the conventions of narration and characterization and the specific codes they communicate. Luke 5:1-11 is an essential pericope for advancing this governing norm and value of Luke-Acts. The narrative-critical methodological of this study has proven indispensable insights into Luke 5:1-11 which previous exegetical methods were unable to find.

Recommended Citation

Daniel John Scholz, "Luke 5:1-11: The call and commission of Simon Peter" (January 1, 1997). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9823990.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9823990

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