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v2.1 Reference

The Hymns of Saint Luke

Lyricism and Narrative Strategy in Luke 1-2

The four canticles of Luke's birth story – the Magnificat, Benedictus, Gloria in excelsis, and Nunc dimittis – are taken to be integral components of the narrative and a sustained lyrical prelude to the author's two-volume historical work. Each composition is analyzed in three steps: proximate context; text; and macrocontext, the last displaying, in each case, a graded contribution to the cumulative preview of Luke's overall argument that the songs constitute. The summary impression made by this argument is of the author's decisive role in the creation of these passages, of which – save, perhaps, for the Benedictus – his is the originating hand.

About the Author

Richard J. Dillon is professor of New Testament at St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York.

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