As the Bandit Will I Confess You: Luke 23,39-43 in Early Christian Interpretation

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Brepols / University of Strasbourg, Dec 1, 2013 - Religion - 371 pages
The story of the so-called Good Thief as found in Lc 23, 39-43 has a vibrant and diverse afterlife in early Christianity. Synoptic and eschatological disparities raise concerns and provoke a variety of harmonizations. Controversies notwithstanding, early interpreters occupy themselves most of all with the episode's potential for exhortation as they identify themselves and their hearers with the good bandit. He becomes a model of Christian practices, beliefs and virtues including worship, faith (even Nicea's formulation), justification by faith, conversion, catechesis, confession, martyrdom, baptism (in many modes), endurance, asceticism, simplicity of language, penitence, and last-minute salvation. A wide variety of typological readings fashion the bandit as the first to return to paradise and even a key participant in the pivotal moment of salvation-history. By around the late 4th century, the episode becomes a standard Good Friday lectionary reading and sermon topic in the East.


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About the author (2013)

Mark G. Bilby is Senior Assistant Librarian of Scholarly Communications and Lecturer in Religious Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Mark completed his Ph.D. in Religious Studies (Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity) at the University of Virginia in 2012 and his MSLIS at Drexel University in 2015. His academic interests include Institutional Repositories, Digital Humanities, Open Access Publishing, Open Educational Resources, Hagiography (particularly of Saint Dismas), Mimesis Criticism and Reception Criticism of the Gospels, Inter-religious Dialogue, and Religion and Literature in the Late-Antique Mediterranean.

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