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After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” (John 13:21-38 NRSV)
We are in the middle of the period known in the Christian world as Holy Week. Holy week is the final week of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday and fell on March 5th this year. The week begins with Palm Sunday, goes through Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Holy Wednesday, and then ends with the Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, all of which reach their climax with Easter Sunday. This Holy Week finds me incredibly busy with school work, and deeply sorry for failing to update this blog more frequently over the last couple of weeks. With that apology out of the way, here’s some basics about Holy Week.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is a liturgical reminder of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem which is described in all four gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19), with this year’s lectionary focusing on the account from Matthew. After the priest blessed palm leaves and they were distributed, the liturgical story begins with Jesus’ “Triumphal entry into Jerusalem,” where the Gospel is proclaimed outside of the church and then the entire congregation, waving palm leaves, enters the church for the Mass. The beginning of the story is upbeat and happy and full of energy, but by the time we get to the regular Gospel reading during Mass, things have taken a serious downhill turn, as the focus shifts to the account of the Last Supper, the foretelling of Peter’s denial of his master, Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, Judas’ betrayal, the arrest and trial of Jesus, Peter’s denial, Jesus’ passion, crucifixion, and death as told in Matthew 26:14-27:66. Very heavy stuff, and you leave the church with the death of Christ on your mind as you prepare to go through the last week of Lent.
Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday or normal Lenten days, and they mark the final days of the Lenten season, which is followed by the much shorter season of the Triduum. The Triduum is the three-day season between Lent and Easter and is Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will have their own blog posts later this week.
Part I. Thesis Statement
It is the intentions of this exegesis paper to examine the words of Jesus to the seventy (or seventy-two)1 as he prepares them for their mission to alert the people of his coming: “Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves” (NRSV, Lk. 10.3). This research aims to explore the world that Jesus and his followers lived in and the place that lambs and wolves play in metaphorical thought of the time. My hermeneutic explores deeper the relationship between lambs and wolves through poetry, framing the lambs as follower of the Shepherd—Jesus—and wolves as those committed to the social, political, economic, and spiritual status quo.
Part II: Discussion of Method
Our exploration begins by attempting to find the Sitz im Leben of Jesus and his earlier followers, followed by an attempt to make sense of the Sitz im Leben of the author of the Gospel of Luke. After this we will engage in textual criticism by analyzing the text of our passage using several sources in English and also by looking at the Greek; we will engage in form criticism by looking at the various genres and literary forms involved with both our passage and the Gospel of Luke in general; we will engage in source criticism by analyzing the sources that our author used when writing his Gospel; and we will engage in redaction criticism by looking at the changes our author may have made to the story while adapting it from his sources. We will then briefly look at the theological implications of the Gospel of Luke, and of our passage. This will be followed by a review of the literature, which is to say an overview of some of the commentaries that modern scholars and interpreters have made on our passage, followed by a brief exploration into some of the commentaries that early Church Fathers had on our passage. We will then conclude our findings, and then a short poem based on our passage will be presented as a hermeneutic.
Part III: Sitz im Leben – Historical Social Analysis
A: World 1
Our journey must begin with a discussion of the social world in which Jesus and his followers lived. To begin, we must understand that Mediterranean society in the first century would have been extremely dyadic. “Dyadic persons think in stereotypes. This may be illustrated by a cursory look at the way people in Luke-Acts tend to be understood in terms of kinship: family and clan; group of origin; ethnicity; place of origin: town, city, region; inherited craft or trade; party and group” (Neyrey et al. 85). Neyrey and Malina give several examples from Luke of the emphasis on family and kin: we are told, for example, that James and John are the “sons of Zebedee” (5:10), that (the other) James is “the son of Alphaeus”, and that Judas is the “son of James” (6:15-16) (Neyrey et al. 85). They continue:
Jesus, too, is always known in Luke in terms of parents and kin. Luke narrates Jesus’ genealogy (3:23-38), linking Jesus with the best of Israel’s past. Although Luke speaks of Jesus’ “mother and father” (2:33, 41, 48), Jesus is primarily known as the “son of God” (1:32, 35; 3:22; 9:35; 10:21-22). It ultimately matters little whether the identification of Jesus as “son of God” comes from heavenly angels or demons (4:3, 9, 34, 41; 8:28), for the testimony is thereby given by all and so its validity is acknowledged. (Neyrey et al. 85)
Group origin, as mentioned above, is also very important in a dyadic culture. We can see this very clearly in Luke 1:32; 18:38-29; and 20:41-44 where his pedigree extends him honor and identity when he is referred to as “son of David” (Neyrey et al. 86). Tied in closely with this is the ethnic identity of the dyadic culture; in Luke this is easy to narrow down since “all people mentioned are presumed to be Jews, unless specifically identified otherwise,” and “Samaritans are presumed base (9:52), unless a story precisely overturns the stereotype (10:33; 17:16)” (Neyrey et al. 86).
The society in which Jesus and his followers lived was an agrarian society, and as such it was also a peasant society:
Agrarian societies can also be considered peasant societies, “a set of villages socially bound up with preindustrial cities.” These types of societies are stratified into essentially two social classes—the small social elite in the cities and a mass of toiling agriculturalists in the villages whose labor and product supports that elite…. A more sophisticated analysis will discern at least two further classes in these types of societies, a service class to the political elite (priests, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen) and a service class to the village (traveling or local craftsmen, village elders, local religious leaders)…. [Estimates show] that only 2% of the agrarian population belongs to the ruling elite, about 8% comprises the service class in the cities, and the remaining 90% or so tills the soil or services the village. (Neyrey et al. 155)
In Luke’s telling of the story, Jesus is talking to a large group of his disciples and preparing them to be sent out, and Luke tells us several times that he is doing this while on the road to Jerusalem (9.51; 53; 56).
The peasant population lived in villages, not along the roads just outside the city … those just outside the walls usually included ethnic groups, tanners, and traders (along with the more commonly noted beggars and prostitutes), many of whom would have had business in the city (serving the needs of the elite) that required proximity to it. But they were not allowed to live inside the city walls. (Neyrey et al. 144-145)
Assuming the disciples of Jesus are able to overcome this prejudice, there would still be a cultural barrier preventing them from being invited into the homes of strangers; Douglas E. Oakman notes, “Hospitality might perhaps be extended to outsiders,” but he then goes on to say, “Peasant villagers as a rule, however, tend to be suspicious and mistrustful of strangers, because outsiders so often violate the interests of the village community” (Neyrey et al. 166).
The people in this time and place would have also belonged to a society with strong ideas about patron-client relations. As clients of the old Roman Empire, they would have understood patron-client relations the same way that anyone in the ancient Greco-Roman world would have. Halvor Moxnes describes the patron-client relationship:
Patron-client relations are social relationships between individuals based on a strong element of inequality and difference in power. The basic structure of the relationship is an exchanges of different and very unequal resources. A patron has social, economic, and political resources that are needed by a client. In return, a client can give expressions of loyalty and honor that are useful for the patron. (Neyrey et al. 242)
The “benefactor” or “patron” in the ancient world was someone with wealth and power who spent their wealth for the public good, often in an attempt to gain public office (Neyrey et al. 249). These local benefactors were thought of as sort of small versions of the emperor, who held the ultimate position of patronage over the empire. Speaking of these benefactors, Moxnes writes, “On a smaller scale it is an institution similar to that of the emperor, who was praised as a benefactor to the empire” (Neyrey et al. 249). Moxnes then describes the sorts of tasks these public benefactors would undertake:
“Benefaction to a city was frequently expressed through the erection of public buildings such as temples, basilicas, and aqueducts. It could also take the form of the instigation of and payment for public festivals and sacrifices, or public distribution of food. (Neyrey et al. 249)
Often these benefactors would fund building endeavors and events for the purpose of honoring the ultimate patron in the Roman Empire: Caesar. Cities would compete against each other, or join with other cities to form leagues to compete against each other, in attempting to outdo each other in trying to honor Caesar through “semiannual games and combination athletic-cultural festivals, with great sacrifices to the emperor” (Horsley 23). Horsley quotes an inscription from the Provincial Assembly of Asia (in western Asia Minor) from 9 B.C.E.:
The most divine Caesar…we should consider equal to the Beginning of all things…; for when everything was falling and tending toward dissolution, he restored it once more and gave to the whole world a new aura; Caesar … the common good Fortune of all…. The beginning of life and vitality…. All the cities unanimously adopt the birthday of the divine Caesar as the new beginning of the year…. Whereas Providence, which has regulated our whole existence… has brought our life to the climax of perfection in giving to us Augustus whom it filled with strength for the welfare of men, and who being sent to us and our descendants as Savior, has put an end to war and has set all things in order; and having become [god] manifest, Caesar has fulfilled all the hopes of earlier times … in surpassing all the benefactors who preceded him…, and whereas, finally, the birthday of the god has been for the whole world the beginning of good news concerning him. (qtd. in Horsley 23-24)
In Luke’s Gospel, this patron-client relationship is both reinforced and undermined; reinforced because the relationship between patron and client is framed as being a relationship between God and mankind (particularly the Jews), and undermined for the same reason:
It is axiomatic for Luke and others that God is the ultimate benefactor and patron of all. Luke significantly heralds this main theme in the two hymns at the beginning of his Gospel, 1:46-55 and 1:68-79. In Judaism, moreover, the world was viewed in terms of personal relations. God is an exclusive patron: God expected an exclusive relationship between himself as patron and the Jews as clients. Therefore, Luke can take it for granted that it was impossible to be a client of God and Mammon at the same time (16:13). The conflict was one of claims to undivided loyalty…. It is a characteristic motif of Luke that God’s benefactions are directed towards the poor and the lowly, while he sends the rich and mighty away (1:51-53). Thus, God performs a reversal of existing situations (6:20-26). This picture of God brings him directly into the other relationships described by Luke, between center and periphery, patrons and clients. Moreover, God is portrayed in such a way that he take sides in these conflicts, for he uses his benefactions to the benefit of the lowly and powerless. (257-258)
The patron-client system also had a role that served as sort of a middleman or mediator between the patron and client called the broker:
In brokerage the broker-patron functions as a mediator who gives a client access to the resources of a more powerful patron.… Well-connected members of the Roman elite served as brokers between the central government (the emperor) and local cities…. Brokerage involves a relationship between several actors. The same person may simultaneously be a broker (mediator) between higher and lower-ranking people or groups, and a patron to clients below him…. brokers form a channel of communication between the power and the culture of the urban elite (“the great tradition”) and the traditional norms and values of village peasants (“the little tradition”). (Neyrey et al. 248-249)
Moxnes argues that “[t]he central theme of the Gospel is that God acts as a benefactor-patron through Jesus” (Neyrey et al. 258). He goes on to explain, “Jesus is not a patron in his own right, distributing his own resources, but a broker who gives access to the benefactions of God. He mediates between the people of Israel and God” (258). This position as broker for God is, according to Moxnes, the key reason the leadership of Israel has such a problem with him, “for it is a conflict over the right and the power to give access to God” (258):
Jesus gives access to God through proclaiming the kingdom (4:16-19), through healing the sick and delivering those afflicted by evil spirits. The healing narratives variously illustrate the following points. (a) Jesus is a broker; his healings or other powerful acts are performed in the name of God or wight he power of God. (b) God is the ultimate source of the healings. This is indicated by the response of the people giving praise to God (5:25-26; 7:16; 13:13; 18:43). By honoring God the people accept their status as clients. (c) Jesus has access to power, but the fundamental question always was, “Who has the power?” and “Is that power legitimate or illegitimate?” Jesus shares legitimately in the power of God (4:32; 6:19), thus he puts his opponents to shame, and creates a group of followers, his disciples. (258)
Jesus is not the only one with the ability to serve as a broker-patron between God and his clients—the people—in Luke’s Gospel. Both the Twelve and the seventy (-two) are given this task in one form or another. Most relevant to our exploration is the role of the seventy-two (260-261):
They are to go without property and possessions or means to defend themselves, that is, they are to be total outsiders in society. But they bring with them the full powers of God to heal and to preach the kingdom. They come as brokers who give access to the power of God. Their reception by supporters means the establishment of a patronage bond, but of a new kind. Therefore, some of the same confusing broker terminology used of Jesus is also used of the apostles. They are mediators between God and people commissioned by Jesus and sharing in his power. Moreover, they must also share his identity. They must be both rulers on the thrones of Israel and servants and bearers of the cross (9:23-27; 14:27). (Neyrey et al. 261)
This mission to go out and serve in a role that is in open contradiction to the societal standards set by the Roman authorities would have been very dangerous indeed. They would be going out “like lambs into the midst of wolves” (Lk. 10.3b).
B: World 2
Our journey now brings us to investigate the authorship of the Gospel of Luke and Acts, the date of authorship, the location of authorship, who the book was written for, and how the author’s Sitz im Leben may have impacted our author’s views. For simplicity reasons, and because tradition holds that our author was Luke, the author will be referred to hereon as Luke, regardless of whether Luke was the historical author or not.
Vernon J. Robbins suggests that we must look not at a single author, but at what he calls the narrator and the inscribed author (Neyrey et al. 311):
In Luke-Acts, a narrator speaking in third person presents the characters in their situations. But in the prefaces and sea voyages of Luke-Acts the narrator speaks in a first person mode. We will call this narrator the inscribed author, whose counterpart is the inscribed reader. The narrator in Luke-Acts never gives the inscribed author a name. Since Christian tradition attributes the two volumes to Luke, the associate of Paul, readers regularly perceive this inscribed author to be a male named Luke…. The inscribed addressed an inscribed reader named Theophilus. [whom the inscribed author] wants to give more accurate information concerning the things of which …[he] has already “been informed” (Luke 1:4). (311)
Robbins points out that “Many interpreters have claimed knowledge either about the author of Luke-Acts or about the community in which he lived,” but then points out that, “Other interpreters have denied that the interpreter can know anything about either the author or his community” (331). But that should hardly stop us from attempting to piece together as much as we can.
Raymond Brown says that “[b]y the latter half of the 2d century,” the Gospel of that we know as the Gospel of Luke “was being attributed to Luke the companion of Paul” (Brown 267). There are three New Testament passages we can turn to to learn a little about this figure (Phlm 24; Col 4:14; II Tim 4:11), and they “speak of him as a fellow worker and beloved physician who was faithful to Paul in a final imprisonment” (267). Brown notes “The way that Col 4:11 is phrased, i.e., all the men listed before that verse are of the circumcision, suggests that Luke who is listed after that verse is not a Jew” (267). We also have a Prologue which is dated to the end of the 2d century which “adds that Luke was a Syrian from Antioch who died in Greece” (267). There is much scholarly disagreement as to whether or not this attribution should be accepted as historical or merely tradition (268), but Brown concludes that “It does not make a great deal of difference whether or not the author of the Gospel was a companion of Paul, for in either case there would be no reason to think of him as a companion of Jesus. Therefore as a second- or third generation Christian he would have had to depend on traditions supplied by others…” (268). See the section on source criticism for more information on our author’s sources.
In The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Robert Karris claims that there are no less than “seven major, ancient witnesses about the author: Muratorian Canon, Irenaeus, late 2d-cent Prologue to the Gospel, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome” (Karris 675). He then concludes:
“One should accept the tradition that Luke composed this Gospel, for there seems no reason why anyone in the ancient church would invent this datum and make a relatively obscure figure the author of a Gospel” (675).
In disagreement with the conclusion that the author of our Gospel was in fact Luke, the companion of Paul, Amy-Jill Levine says, “Neither the Gospel of Luke nor Acts… claims Lukan authorship, and sufficient distinctions between the portrait of Paul provided in his authentic epistles and his depiction in Acts call into question the author’s personal familiarity with the apostle” (Levine 96).
This same Prologue mentioned above which claims that “Luke was a Syrian from Antioch who died in Greece,” also “tells us that Luke’s age at death was eighty-four and that he wrote after Matthew and Mark” (Brown 273). Brown suggests that “if Mark is to be dated in the period 68-73), a date earlier than 80 for Luke is unlikely,” adding, “The constant Lucan pessimism about the fate of Jewish leaders and Jerusalem makes it likely that Jerusalem has already been destroyed by the Romans in 70” (273). Brown then puts the date of authorship “within the range between 80 and 100, in order to preserve the possibility that there is truth in the tradition that the author was a companion of Paul, the best date would seem to be 85, give or take five to ten years” (274)—so that means we can probably safely date Luke as having probably been written between 75 and 95.
Karris says that “[t]he tradition of the ancient witnesses is of little help in dating Luke’s Gospel.” (Karris 675). To discover the date, according to Karris, “we must turn to internal considerations” (675). He continues:
Luke used Mark, which was written a little before the Jewish War of AD 66-70. Luke 21:5-38 presupposes that Jerusalem has been destroyed; thus, a date after AD 70 is required. Luke-Acts does not reflect knowledge of the bitter persecution of Christians from the latter part of Domitian’s rule (AD 81-96). Luke-Acts does not reflect the severe controversy that existed between church and synagogue after the Pharisaic reconstruction of Judaism at Jamnia (AD 85-90). From these consideration one arrives at a date of AD 80-85 for the composition of Luke-Acts. (675-676)
Not all scholars are in agreement with this view that Luke was written around 85. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook supposes that “the Gospel was probably published around the same time as Acts, and the earliest possible date for Acts was around AD 62 when Paul was imprisoned in Rome (Acts 28:30)” (Hays & Duvall 605), coming to the conclusion: “Since Luke makes use of there sources (possibly Mark or Matthew), the Gospel was probably written in the early to mid-60s” (605), which is significantly earlier than the acceptable range found in Brown or Karris.
Karris suggests that, “There is no reason to deny that Luke was from Syrian Antioch.…Since Luke seems to hail from Syrian Antioch, there is no compelling reason not to place the composition of Luke-Acts in this, the third-largest city in the Roman Empire with a varied population including Jews” (675). Brown, on the other hand, says that the “tradition that Luke… was from Antioch does not tell us from or to where the Gospel was written” (Brown 269). He adds that the “tradition that Luke was a companion of Paul raises a likelihood that Luke-Acts was addressed to churches descended form the Pauline mission. More specifically a late-2d century Prologue reports that the Gospel was written in Greece (Achaia) and that Luke died there” (269). As for locale and community, Brown concludes by saying, “I have spoken of an area; for rather than thinking of Luke’s intended audience as a single house-church or even as living in one city, perhaps we should think of Christians of the same background spread over a large region” (271).
Brown then discusses the purpose behind the writing of Luke’s Gospel. He suggest a “plausible suggestion is that the Lucan writing could help the Christian readers/hearers in their own self-understanding, especially when calumnies were circulated among nonbelievers, whether Jews or Gentiles” (271). A little of the prejudice of the Sitz im Leben of Luke perhaps shows through when Brown says:
Christians needed to know that there was nothing subversive in their origins, nothing that should cause them to be in conflict with Roman governance, and that it was false to assimilate Jesus and his immediate followers to the Jewish revolutionaries who had embroiled the Roman armies in war in the late 60’s. (271-272)
To even better understand the Sitz im Leben of Luke, we should understand that, as R. J. Karris puts it, “Luke is primarily taken up with the rich members, their concerns, and the problems which they pose for the community” (qtd. in Nehrey 148). Karris goes on to say, “Their concerns … revolve around the question: do our possessions prevent us from being genuine Christians?” (qtd in Nehrey 148). H. J. Cadbury is quoted as saying that Luke’s Jesus was directed toward the “possessors, not to the dispossessed,” and that Luke’s concerns with wealth “betokens a concern for the oppressor rather than simply pity for the oppressed” (qtd. in Nehrey 148).
In the context of realizing that Luke was not necessarily directing his writing toward those on the margins, but those in higher places of privilege, it is interesting to read what Amy-Jill Levine writes of Luke, his Gospel, and those on the margins:
The Gospel has been traditionally seen as interested in society’s “marginal”: women, children, the sick, the poor, tax collectors and sinners, and Gentiles. This configuration begs the question, “marginal to what?” Luke’s Gospel instead reveals that (Jewish) women had freedom to travel (1.39; 8.2-3; 23.27,55-56) and access to their own funds (7.37; 8.3; 15.8; 21.2); undertook patronage roles (8.1-3); owned homes (10.38; see also Acts 12.12); and appeared in synagogues (13.10-17) and the Temple (2.22,36-37,41-50). Children, of utmost value in Jewish culture, appear in the care of parents and caregivers who so love them that they seek Jesus’ healing and blessing. The sick, who should not be confused with the ritually impure, are often presented as embedded in caring social networks. Most people in antiquity were poor, and the Jewish system, starting with the Tanakh, mandated communal responsibility for their care. To regard Jesus, appropriately, as caring for women, children, the sick and the poor, embeds him within Judaism rather than separates him from it. (Levine 96)
The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook has the following to say regarding Luke and his audience:
Luke actually names his recipient—“most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). His name means “beloved by God” and his title (“most excellent”) indicates a person of position and wealth. Quite possibly he financed the copying of the Luke-Acts scrolls for wider distribution. In addition, what Luke says in 1:1-4 makes it likely that Theophilus is a follower of Christ. Luke speaks of the events “that have been fulfilled among us” (1:1) and of the previous instruction that Theophilus had received (1:4). But the Gospel of Luke was also intended for a wider audience. Many scholars believe that Luke targets gentile Christians , perhaps even the churches planted by Paul. (Hays & Davall 604)
Karris seems to be in agreement with the idea that Luke was writing his gospel for the “well-to-do members” of the early church (Karris 676). Still operating from the assumption that Luke was writing from Antioch, he comments:
Writing in pluralistic Syrian Antioch in the first years of the ninth decade of the Christian era, Luke addressees a primarily Gentile audience with well-to-do members who are painfully rethinking their missionary thrusts in a hostile environment. Internal and external controversies contribute to the hostile environment. (Karris 676)
Part IV: Textual Criticism
We begin our textual criticism by analyzing our passage from five modern English biblical sources—namely the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version, the New American Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, and the New International Version:
“Go your way; behold, I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves” (RSV 10.3).
“Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves” (NRSV 10.3).
“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves” (NAB 10.3).
“Start off now, but look, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves” (NJB 10.3).
“Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” (NIV 10.3).
The NRSV and the NAB both begin by saying “Go on your way,” while the RSV begins simply with “Go your way,” leaving the word “you” out of the command. The NIV shortens the command significantly by using the single word, “Go!” The NJB veers off from the others and instead translates the first part of our passage as “Start off now.”
The RSV and the NAB then both use the word “behold,” while the the NRSV uses “see” and the NJB says, “but look.” The NIV drops this word altogether, but instead adds the exclamation point after the preceding word. All of our sources except the NAB then say, “I am sending you out;” while the NAB just says, “I am sending you.”
Our passage concludes with the NAB, the NJB and the NIV agreeing on the wording, “like lambs among wolves,” while the RSV renders it as, “like lambs in the midst of wolves,” and the NRSV slightly modifies that by saying, “like lambs into the midst of wolves.”
The Interlinear Bible translates the Greek in this text—“ὑπάγετε· ἰδοὺ, ἀποστέλλω ὑμᾶς ὡς ἄρνας ἐν μέσῳ λύκων.”—as literally meaning, “Go! Behold, I send out you as lambs in (the) midst of wolves” (Interlinear Bible 799).
The first word in our passage in its original Greek is hypagete (ὑπάγετε), followed by the word idou (ἰδοὺ); “The imperative ‘go’ (hypagete) and the… exclamation idou (‘behold’) anticipate the difficulties of the journey” (Gaebelein et al. 937). The word ὑπάγετε can mean go in the sense of “to leave someone’s presence, [or to] go away” or it can mean to go as in” to be on the move, esp. in a certain direction” (Danker, Bauer, & Arndt 1028). Our second word, ἰδοὺ, can be translated as “behold, look, [or] see” and is a “prompter of attention” which is sometimes used to “enliven a narrative… by arousing the attention of hearers or readers” (468).
Our third word, apostellō (ἀποστέλλω) can mean to send or dispatch, and “it has a large variety of nuances that flow from the context” (Spicq 1:186). In the context of our passage, it can be understood as an “indication of the place to which someone is sent (Danker, Bauer, & Arndt 120).
The next word in our passage is ὑμᾶς, which is strangely missing from the lexicons I had access to, but which appears time and time again in the NT texts and is always translated as you or thou. We then come to i ὡς, which is a “comparative particle, marking the manner in which someth[ing] proceeds, as, like” (1103).
This brings us to the next word in our passage, ἄρνας is related to the word ἀρήν, which means lamb, and in the context of our passage refers specifically to “a type of weakness” (130). “Arēn (ἀρήν) [is] a noun the nominative case of which is found only in early times, occurs in Luke 10:3. In normal usage it was replaced by arnion, of which it is the equivalent” (Vine et al. 351).
We then come to our next word, ἐν, which can take on various meanings:
The uses of this prep. are so many and various, and oft. so easily confused, that a strictly systematic treatment is impossible…. The earliest auditors/readers, not being inconvenienced by grammatical and lexical debates, would readily absorb the context and experience little difficulty (326).
In the context of our passage, we can understand it as being a “marker of extension toward a goal that is understood to be within an area or condition” and can be translated as “into” (327).
The next word in our passage is μέσῳ, which is closely related to μέσος, and can mean middle or among, “The distinction between ‘middle’ and ‘among’… is sometimes rather fluid, and some of the passages… may fit equally [with either]” (634). In the context of our passage, it means “among something… in the midst of, [or] among, in answer to the questions where and whither” (635).
The final word in our passage is λύκων, which is a plural form of the related word λύκος: wolf, and is used specifically “in contrast to sheep” (604).
The key words in our passage are certainly lambs and wolves. We will look first at lambs. A lamb is a “young sheep, usually less than a year old” (The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible 563). In the context of our passage, The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible says, “[i]n the NT, lamb is used only metaphorically. The seventy disciples in Luke are sent out as ‘lambs’… indicating their vulnerability in a hostile environment (563).
Wolves is the second of the key words in our passage. “In the NT wolves exclusively symbolize people who are a threat to the Christian community. The followers of Christ are portrayed as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Freedman, Myers, & Beck). Ceslas Spicq speaks to the nature of wolves in Scripture:
The wolf has always been mentioned as attacking above all ewes or lambs. Between them no truce is possible, and the golden age, when all living creatures will be at peace, is described as a time when wolves and lambs will live and feed together. In a metaphorical sense, the wolf became a literary cliché, symbolizing the wicked exploiter of the weak (Prov 28:15), especially leaders, rulers, and judges who ruin their subjects, extort from them, or reduce them to servitude. This shows how fearsome a prospect the Lord set before his disciples: “I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt 10:16; Luke 10:3). They are in danger of being devoured! (Spicq 2:415-416)
The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says the following in its entry on lykos (λύκoς): “The NT speaks of the wolf always as a wild beast of prey in contrast to defenseless sheep: According to Matt 10:16 par. Luke 10:3 Jesus sends the disciples “as sheep ἐν μέσῳ λύκων,” i.e., into a situation of persecution” (Balz & Schneider 362). It then says, “Images of the messianic kingdom of peace like those in Isa 11:6; 65:25 do not appear often in the NT” (362), though several commenters in parts IX and X below allude to that meaning being implied.
From analyzing each of these words in their English and Greek forms, it seems that all of the translations to a good job of conveying the message of this passage, though the NJB is the furthest from the rest, and the NIV drops a word for what seems to be simplicity sake.
Part V: Form Criticism
We now turn to the form(s) that our passage takes. On the most general surface level, our source—that is The Gospel of Luke—can be understood as being an element of the literary genre known as The Gospel. “In NT times, euaggelion (“good announcement,” the word we translate “gospel”) did not refer to a book or writing but to a proclamation or message” (Brown 99). The term was commonly used in the nonChristian Greek speaking world to refer to good news, “especially news of victory in battle; and in the imperial cult the emperor’s birth and presence constituted good news for the Roman world” (99). The Hebrew word bśr is often translated in the LXX as euaggelion (99), “which has similar range of proclaiming good news, especially of Israel’s victory or God’s victory. More widely it can cover the proclamation of God’s glorious act on behalf of Israel” (99-100).
Luke Timothy Johnson says: “Our task once again is to ask the generic question of Luke-Acts as a whole, leaving aside debates whether ‘gospel’ is a separate genre or whether ‘Acts’ becomes one, as in the many later ‘Acts’ of various apostles” (Johnson 5). For Johnson, “[d]etermining genre is difficult, but important” (5), He suggests that, “Luke’s literary métier is the story. He is, simply, a gifted storyteller. His composition is filled with short, sharply defined, vignettes. Each one of them summons for the reader an entire imaginative world” (3). Johnson continues:
Luke is quite conscious of the literary form he has chosen. He associates his work with earlier attempts at a “narrative” (diēgēsis, 1:1), and emphasizes that he is relating events “in sequence” (kathexēs, 1:3). From his use of this last term elsewhere, it appears that Luke considers the narration of events “in order” to have a distinctively convincing quality (see e.g., Acts 9:27; 11:4; 15:12-14). The development of the plot itself has a persuasive force Luke shares the perception of Hellenistic rhetoric that the narrate (“narration”) is critical to historical argument or personal defense…. Some implications for the interoperation of Luke-Acts follow immediately from his deliberate use of the narrative form. To regard Luke-Acts as a story means, at the least, that we do not read it as a systematic treatise Rather, we must seek Luke’s meaning through the movement of the story…. The connection between individual vignettes are as important as their respect contents. The sequence itself provides the larger meaning. (4)
So we know that Luke was using narration as his medium of telling his story, but that still leaves us without a solid genre form to pin Luke to. The Gospels include several genres or literary forms, including “parables and miracle stories, infancy narratives and passion narratives…, wisdom maxims, prophetic or apocalyptic sayings, rules or laws for community life, ‘I sayings,’ metaphors, similes, sayings within a narrative framework, short anecdotes, longer miracle stories, historical narratives, unhistorical legends, etc” (Brown 22). Turning again to Johnson, we learn:
It has been suggested that Luke-Acts resembles the Hellenistic romance or novel. The similarities are mostly stylistic and superficial. In Luke-Acts, more than aesthetic delight is operative, even in formal terms. More serious candidates for the genre of Luke-Acts are hellenistic history or biography, and Jewish apology. Deciding between them demands a careful consideration of the text…[but] there are good reasons for considering Luke-Acts as a form of Hellenistic history.… Above all, Luke has the historian’s instinct for causality. His narrative is essentially linear, moving the reading from one event to another. (5-6)
On a deeper level, our passage seems to take on the form of metaphor encased within instruction, which, quite obviously, is itself encased within the greater form, which appears to be some form of Hellenistic history, and is certainly narrative in nature.
Part VI: Source Criticism
There have been several theories posited for the order that the Gospels were written, but “[t]he most common thesis… posits that Matt and Luke depended on Mark and wrote independently of each other. What they have in common and did not derive from Mark (the Double Tradition) is explained by positing Q (a source reconstructed entirely from Matt and Luke…)” (Brown 114). Which brings us to the necessity to examine what Q is and how Luke used it in his Gospel, and more specifically in our passage. “As a way of explaining the striking differences between Matthew and Luke, a German scholar hypothesized that there once existed a source document, which he referred to as Quelle, which in German means ‘source.’ The abbreviation ‘Q’ was later adopted as its name” (Funk & Hoover 12). Brown also speaks to the nature of Q, expanding on this idea:
“Q” is a hypothetical source posited by most scholars to explain what was called… the Double Tradition, i.e., agreements (often verbal) between Matt and Luke on material not found in Mark. Behind the hypothesis is the plausible assumption that the Matthean evangelist did not know Luke and vice versa, and so they must have had a common source…. The contents are usually estimated at about 220-235 verses or parts of verses. Independently, however, both Matt and Luke omit passages found in Mark; therefore it is plausible that independently they have omitted material that existed in Q. Sometimes only Matt or only Luke will preserve material in Mark; it is also possible that material found only in one of the two Gospels might have existed in Q. (Brown 116-117)
There is a “remarkable consensus that at least some of the sayings within it [Q] were circulated a few years after the crucifixion, around the year 35 C.E.” (Kee 503).
When dealing with Q, it is also important to discuss briefly the Gospel of Thomas. The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus which some scholars have dated before the writing of the other Gospels and others date to quite some time after. “The exact relationship between Q and Thomas is highly disputed, since some would date Thomas early while others contend that Thomas was produced a century after Q and with considerable dependence on the canonical Gospels” (Brown 120). Regardless of whether Thomas was a first or second century work, however, there is another reason that it is important when discussing Q:
The existence of Q was once challenged by some scholars on the grounds that a sayings gospel was not really a gospel. The challengers argued that there were no ancient parallels to a gospel containing only sayings and parables and lacking stories about Jesus, especially the story about his trial and death. The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas changed all that. Thomas, too, is a sayings gospel that contains no account of Jesus’ exorcisms, healings, trial, or death. (Funk & Hoover 14)
The discover of the Coptic translation of the Gospel of Thomas at Nag Hammadi in 1945 “has proved to be a gold mine of comparative material and new information” (15). “Thomas has forty-seven parallels to Mark, forty parallels to Q, seventeen to Matthew, four to Luke, and five to John. These numbers include sayings that have been counted twice” and there are roughly “sixty-five sayings or parts of sayings [that] are unique to Thomas” (15).
The idea which we have been discussing which posits that both Matthew and Luke used Mark and Q as sources is known as the two-source theory (12). Another theory that scholars are considering is known as the four-source theory, which suggests that “[e]ach evangelist made use of Mark and Q, and, in addition, each incorporated a third source unknown to the other evangelist. Matthew’s third source is known as ‘M,’ Luke’s third source is called ‘L’” (12):
Sources M and L contain some very important parables, such as those of the Samaritan (L), the prodigal son (L), the vineyard laborers (M), the treasure (M), and the pearl (M), which scholars think may have originated with Jesus. The parables of the treasure and the pearl have parallels in the newly discovered Gospel of Thomas. (14)
Johnson notes that “Luke tends to follow the order of Mark’s narrative rather closely,” and when he does make “correction to this source… [they] fall within a framework of fundamental agreement” (Johnson 11). “By correction,” Johnson continues, “we mean correct by Luke’s estimation” (11). And he would have had a reason for this:
He found some of Marks’s vocabulary and characterizations either vulgar or inaccurate or perhaps even offensive. He therefore upgrades Mark’s diction, grammar, and syntax, while retaining as much as possible of his source’s original flavor. Luke is also concerned with clarity. Mark is not overly concerned with consistency in tense, or number, or the antecedents of pronouns and adjectives. These grammatical niceties, however, are not irrelevant, for they can cause confusion. Luke tries to tidy up Marks’s often messy version. (Johnson 11-12)
Karris says that “Luke uses his sources creatively” (Karris 676). He goes on to discuss the way that Luke uses his sources in his Gospel:
By means of parallelism… Luke joins together various traditions… to convey his christology. In his account of Jesus’ ministry he uses Mark, the sayings source, Q, and his special materials, L, in service of his theology. Thus, while adopting some 60 percent of Mark, he omits Marcan redundancy…. He adapts the Marcan theme and structure of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (8:27-10:52), combining them with material from Q and L to fashion his own incomparable theology of Jesus and Christians’ journey to God (9:51-19:27). (Karris 676)
Our passage has a parallel in Matthew’s Gospel (10:16), and for the reasons discussed above, most scholars conclude that it was originally included in Q. Karris says that our passage falls within the “section in Luke’s longest meditation on mission and has parallels in Q” (Karris 701).
Our examination of Luke’s sources should appropriately be concluded with a warning, and Eric Franklin gives us just such a warning:
Questions about Luke’s sources must remain unresolved…. Firm conclusion based upon any particular theory of how the gospels are related must… be avoided. Though these may make for a sharpened approach, their hypothetical nature must be recognized. To build too much upon them is to construct an edifice upon shifting sand. (Franklin 924).
Part VII: Redaction Criticism
Our journey now brings us to consider how Luke may have redacted or made changes to the sources he used as he was writing his Gospel. Often “changes are made to make the narrative more relevant to Luke’s intended audience” (Powell et al. 574). Examples of these redactions include the frequent changing of the word “village” (kōmē) to the word “city” (polis) “to give the story a more urban feel that transcends its settings in rural areas;” “Notations providing broad historical or cultural context are introduced (cf. Luke 3:1-3; Mark 1:4), because Luke wants the story he tells to be received as a work of ‘world history’ with implications for all humanity;” and “The monetary value of coins is increased to keep the story relevant for those who live in more prosperous circumstances than did Jesus and his original followers,” including the change of “copper” in Mark 6:8 to “silver” in Luke 9:3 (Powell et al. 574).
Luke also made changes to the order of certain events to try to given them a bit more order. “Luke’s concern for consecutiveness is shown by his avoidance of narrative surprises” (Johnson 11-12), writes Johnson, who explains:
Mark will introduce a character or an action without prior warning. Luke improves Mark by inserting earlier on in the story the proper preparation for a later development. He not only solves difficulties for his reader but establishes a more logical order to the narrative. At the same time, he reveals something of his larger preoccupation: by preparing the way for every subsequent plot development, Luke in effect creates a literary “prophecy and fulfillment” pattern within his narrative. (Johnson 12)
In addition to those changes, Luke also “improves on Mark’s Greek, bettering the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary… and passim by omitting Mark’s overused ‘immediately’ (Brown 263-264); he also “eliminates or changes passages in Mark unfavorable to those whose subsequent career makes them worthy of respect” (264); he “is more reverential about Jesus and avoids passages that might make him seem emotional, harsh, or weak” (264); he “stresses detachment from possessions, not only in his special material (L)… but also in changes he makes in Mark, e.g., followers of the Lucan Jesus leave everything (5:11,28) and the Twelve are forbidden to take even a staff (9:3)” (265); he “eliminates Mark’s transcribed Aramaic names and words (even some that Matt includes) presumably because they were not meaningful to the intend audience” (265); and he seems to “make Marcan information more precise, presumably for better story flow, greater effect, or clarity” (265). These changes from Mark, as Brown points out, sometimes leads to some inconstancies within Luke’s telling of the story (264).
Our passage, as mentioned above, has roots in Matthew and probably Q, where the words are directed toward the Twelve and not the seventy(-two), as nowhere else is this second sending of apostles found. The warning in our passage is expanded upon greatly in Matthew’s Gospel, where it explains what some of the “wolves” would do to his “lambs”:
“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matt. 10:16-23 NRSV)
In their groundbreaking book for the Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus, Robert Walter Funk and Roy W. Hoover comment on our passage by suggesting that the “warning against hostile reception was common in biblical and rabbinic lore of the period. If Jesus said it, he is repeating a commonplace. The context of the preceding saying suggests, however, that we are at the point in the early movement when persecution had set in” (Funk & Hoover 319). Some level of persecution at the time of Luke’s writing would make sense, as the persecution of the early followers of Jesus by Saul (who later becomes Paul) and the martyrdom of Stephen are key elements to Luke’s companion piece, Acts. If, however, the above mentioned theory that the Q source which includes this same passage dates to sometime very close to the crucifixion of Jesus, then the persecution of the followers of Jesus must have begin very early in the Jesus movement, within a few years of brutal crucifixion by the Roman Empire.
Part VIII: Theology/Christology
Neyrey tells us that “One of the core values of first-century Judaism was God’s ‘holiness’: ‘Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’ (Lev 19:2)” (Nerey et al. 276). This desire for holiness led to an elaborate purity code being established which put some people at a higher status than others, and cast others out of the system entirely (Neyrey et all 274-291), including those who come in contact with the dead, “the dead, lepers, menstruants, the blind, those with defective bodies, as well as… tax collectors and public sinners” (Neyrey et al. 291). In Luke’s Gospel we see Jesus coming in contact with all of these people, which would have been thought to make him impure and therefore unholy also. Neyrey makes a persuasive argument that Jesus (perhaps as a broker for the great patron that is God on behalf of the clients that are seen as polluted) was not made impure by his coming in contact with those who were seen as being so:
According to Luke’s story, in no case and at no time was Jesus ever compromised by his contact with the unclean of Israel… [i]n fact, Luke stresses that Jesus’ God-given role was that of physician to sinners (5:31), shepherd to the lost (15:3-6; see also 24:13-35), and savior from sin and pollution (Acts 5:30; 13:38-39; Acts 4:10-12; 5:31). Luke described many of Jesus’ actions as “making clean” those who are unclean (5:12-13; 7:22; 17:14-17), just as he describes how God “cleansed” both foods (Acts 10:15; 11:9) and peoples (15:9) Only holiness and cleanness, then, resulted from thea cations of Jesus and his followers…. He did not cross those lines [of purity] because he belonged to the world of the unclean, but because he was commissioned as “physician to the sick (Luke 5:30-32; see 4:23). (Neyrey et al. 292)
hese purity laws were, according to Neyrey, overturned through Jesus. We can see this in Acts when Stephen discusses the passage from Exodus 3:12 “after they shall come out, they shall worship me in this place,” giving a new meaning to the traditional Jewish understanding of “this place” referring to the Temple (293). Neyrey describes the scene:
As Stephen argued, the true fulfillment of “in this place” was not the temple in Jerusalem, as the Jews mistakenly thought: “The most high does not dwell in houses made with hands” (7:48). Rather, “in this place” refers to Jesus, who is the stone rejected by the builders but whom God has raised up and “which has become the head of the corner” (Acts 4:10-12). Jesus as the cornerstone of the true temple becomes the new center of the map and all holiness is measured in proximity to him. A temple of the God of Israel steel exists in Luke’s symbolic universe, but a new map of holy space has been made. (293)
The early Christian community, which was in its early years still a Jewish movement, would have likely continued to worship in the Temple until its destruction in 70 by the Romans; indeed Acts tells us that Peter, Paul, and other disciples of Jesus prayed at the Temple daily, but Neyrey points out that “they were never said to offer sacrifices for their sin there” (293). The reason for this is, as Neyrey explains:
Jesus is the unique savior (Acts 4:11-12; 5:31), and all sins are forgiven in his name, not by the old rites performed in the old sacred space. So if Christians continued to go to the traditional holy place, its was nevertheless clear that they no longer relied on it and its ritual for forgiveness of sins (Acts 13:38-39). (293)
Not only did the new Jesus movement which was in the early stages of what became Christianity reject the Temple as the place one goes to be forgiven of sins, but they also overturned many of the other traditional Jewish purity codes.
Luke argued that in some key instances the core of the scriptures was not understood correctly by the Jews…. Christians revised the reading of the scriptures… [by arguing] that the legal prescription of the law of Moses were just that, from Moses, not from God. Peter branded the law of Moses as a “yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10). And Paul spoke of the inadequacy of the law of Moses to make holy: “By Jesus every one is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by there law of Moses” (Acts 13:39). Luke implied that the problem lay not with God, but with Moses. Clearly a difference of opinion existed: followers of Moses perceived Christians as rejecting the ancestral traditions, while followers of Jesus saw them in need of reform…. Jesus and his followers still structure their world according to God’s scriptures, but under a different rubric than the temple and its adherents.
Luke, too, was overturning conventional thought, not only in the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds, but in the early developing Christian world as well. As Mark Allan Powell puts it:
The overriding theological concept… is Luke’s scheme of salvation history. Luke divides all time, from creation to the end of the world, into three epochs: 1) the time of Israel, 2) the time of Jesus’ earthly mission, and 3) the time of the Church…. As simple as this scheme appears, it has far-reaching implications. For one thing, it assumes a significant interim between the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the end of the world. From Paul’s epistles and the Gospel of Mark, it is apparent that early Christians lived in imminent expectation of Jesus’ return. Luke, however, allows for a delay and thus the parousia loses its significance as a key factor in Christian hope and as a decisive motive for Christian living. (Powell 8-9)
In overturning the old Mosaic purity laws, the early Christians got rid of the Jewish dietary laws (Acts 10:15), the requirement for circumcision (Acts 15:1,5,19), the requirement for strict adherence to the sabbath observances (Luke 6:1-11), the washing rituals (Luke 11:37), and the need for sacrifice at the Temple (Luke 21:5; Acts 7:48-50), which caused a great division between the early church and the synagogues (Neyrey et al. 301). With the hostility which must have formed toward these early Christians by both those intrinsically tied up in the Jewish Temple cult of the time, as well as the Roman Empire, who must have felt threatened by the Christians and their insistence on overturning the ways of convention, it is no wonder that these early followers of Jesus would have been viewed as “lambs in the midst of wolves.”
Part IX: Review of Literature: Windows of Understanding
We now turn to the views that various scholars and interpreters have taken in commenting on our passage. This passage is interesting as in many sources, commentators seem to choose to ignore it, commenting on either 10:1 and then 10:4 or 10:2 and then 10:4, although there are some who have chosen to deal with this apparently difficult passage. The first scholar we will look to in this section is Joseph F. Fitzmyer, who comments:
The image shifts from reapers at a harvest to animals that do not associate. Luke has nothing about “prudence” and “simplicity,” which are Matthean additions (10:16). The contrast of lambs and wolves suggest the perils, opposition, and hostility which will make the mission of the seventy(-two), as that of Jesus himself. H. Lignée (“La Mission,” 65) thinks that the figure signifies that the disciples are being sent i to the pagan world; but that is not immediately obvious. I Enoch 89:14,18-20 uses the opposition of sheep and wolves in a very similar way, and the peril expressed in the opposition known to any Palestinian shepherd could be applied to any mission of Christian disciples, who are considered as defenseless as young sheep. A later rabbinical tradition knows of a saying of Hadrian to R. Yehoshua’ about what he considered great in sheep (= Israel) that can continue to live among seventy wolves (= the nations); the rabbi replied, “Great is the shepherd who delivers it and watches over it and destroys them [the wolves] before them [Israel].” (Fitzmyer 847)
In An Exegetical Summary of Luke 1-11, Richard Blight asks the question, “What is the application of the metaphor of lambs in the midst of wolves?” (Blight 449). His answer:
The image is of lambs being sent to go into the midst of wolves. The topic is the disciples being sent to go into the midst of dangerous opponents. The disciples are like lambs in the sense of being helpless to defend themselves, or of being vulnerable. They have lost all the viciousness associated with sin and wickedness. Their opponents are like wolves in the sense of being dangerous and vicious in their opposition. They are wicked because of being filled and animated with sin. Wolves suggest perils, oppositions, and hostility that they will meet on the way. The image of sheep brings with it the idea of being protected by God, the Great Shepherd. With the emphatic ‘Behold I send you’ they don’t have to fear danger from the wolves since they have a protector. (Blight 449)
Karris comments on this passage, and he comes to a conclusion very similar to the conclusion drawn by the Church Fathers we explore in the next section, particularly Saint Ambrose, when he says, “This powerful image has two dimensions: the missionaries may be defenseless before hostile people; the Christian mission inaugurates a new era of peace and reconciliation in which the lamb will lie down with the wolf (see Isa 11:6; 65:25)” (Karris 701).
Finally, we look to E.J. Tinsley, former Bishop of Bristol for his take. Like Karris above and the Church fathers below, he also sees a connection between this passage and the peaceful future envisioned in Isaiah: “Israel, and especially Israel among the Gentiles, was frequently compared to a lamb (for example, Isa. 53:7) and one of the marks of the ‘age to come’ was that ‘the wolf shall live with the sheep’ (Isa. 11:6)” (Tinsley 114).
Part X: Another Window for Analysis
Our exploration now brings us to the interpretations of our passage which we can discern from the early Church Fathers. In his Exposition of the Gospel of Luke, Saint Ambrose describes these words of Jesus in our passage:
He says this to the seventy disciples whom he appointed and sent out in pairs before his face. Why did he send them two by two? Pairs of animals were sent into the ark, that is, the female with the male, according to number, unclean [cf. Gen 7:2] but cleansed by the sacrament of the church.… Those animals are opposites, so that the one eats the other. A good shepherd does not know how to fear wolves for his flock, and therefore he sends those disciples not against a prey but to grace. The forethought of the good Shepherd prevents the wolves from harming the lambs [cf. Jn. 10:12-13]. He sends lambs among wolves in order that the saying may be fulfilled, “Then wolves and lambs shall feed together [cf. Is. 65:25].” (Just 171)
This idea of viewing this passage through the lens of that beautiful passage in Isaiah 65:25 is indeed an attractive one. Moving from Milan to Egypt, we find a similar interpretation being given in the early church, although perhaps less explicitly; in his Commentary on Luke, Homily 61, Saint Cyril of Alexandria speaks to the message in our passage by saying, in part:
How then does he command the holy apostles, who are innocent men and “sheep,” to seek the company of wolves, and go to them of their own will? Is not the danger apparent? Are they not set up as ready prey for their attacks? How can a sheep prevail over a wolf? How can one so peaceful conquer the savageness of beasts of prey? “Yes,” he says, “for they all have me as their Shepherd: small and great, people and princes, teachers and students. I will tame the savage beasts. I will change wolves into sheep, and I will make the persecutors become the helpers of the persecuted. I will make those who wrong my ministers to be sharers in their pious designs. I make and unmake all things, and nothing can resist my will. (Just 171-172)
While Saint Cyril’s interpretation has less to do with the lambs and the wolves lying down together, and more to do with the transformation of the wolves into sheep, the ultimate ideal, it seems, is the same.
Part XI: Results of Research: Summary, Closure, and Conclusions
Our journey has now come near its end. In researching for this paper, I learned a tremendous amount about the early Christians, the wide range of views held regarding Gospel authorship and dating, especially as it concerns the Gospel According to Luke, and just how important it is to attempt to understand Jesus and his early followers in the social and historical context in which they lived—lest we fall into the trap of viewing Jesus through a decontextualized and depoliticized lens (Horsley 55-56)
I initially viewed our passage as referring to the Roman Empire when it referred to wolves, and I still do, but I now feel as if I have a fuller and deeper understanding of these wolves, and while the Roman Empire was certainly part of the pack of wolves, so to speak, it is only a part of the pack, and not the pack. As Christians, perhaps it is not truly out of place to take this passage and try to fit it into our own lives and circumstances—but at the same time keeping it in context of its first century roots. The Roman Empire has long been relegated to the history books; the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the ancient Pharisees have all fallen from their once grand place of power; and Christianity in most parts of the world has become the dominant majority religion instead of a small persecuted minority, but those of us who seek to live our lives in the footsteps of that great first century Rabbi—Jesus—are still being sent out in many ways by him as “lambs in the midst of wolves.”
Part XII: Hermeneutic
Little Lambs, Vicious Wolves
by Travis Apollonius
You are being sent out, little lambs from the flock;
danger will follow you around the clock.
You will be hunted wherever you roam,
but the reward will be a heavenly home.
The wolves will surround you both day and night;
with perils to be found to the left and the right.
They will be vicious and they will be cruel,
and know that they side with the rich that rule.
The wolves have an system of oppression to defend;
a system of violence which the lambs must transcend.
The wolves will crush you, or stone you, or eat you alive;
so stay close to the Shepherd so you can survive.
The wolves count as allies those with power and gold,
the kings, priests, and landlords are in their fold.
The lambs must be different, so to speak,
embracing the poor, the powerless, and the meek.
The wolf is a creature who lives by what it knows,
so beware of hungry wolves dressed in sheep’s clothes (cf. Mt. 7:15).
A wolf may be honest, or he may be a liar,
But the wolf is devoted to the wicked empire.
Keep an eye on the dens of these hungry beasts,
beware of the Temple, of the scribes and the priests.
“Its officials within it are like wolves tearing the prey,
shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain” (Ez. 22:27).
Little lamb—so vulnerable, so innocent, and so pure,
the troubles of this world will bring much to endure.
So follow the teachings of your Shepherd—the LORD,
for one day the order of peace will be restored.
1. This event parallels other events with the Twelve (cf. 9.12; Mat. 10.1-26), but this event with the sending out of the seventy(-two) only happens in Luke’s gospel, and “conveys a sense of growth and movement. As Jesus returns toward Jerusalem, he is still preaching the kingdom of God, but now the kingdom is being preached not just by Jesus and the Twelve (The New Interpreter’s Bible, 219). The Harper-Collins Bible Commentary describes this event:
This material recalls the mission of the Twelve (9:1-5; Matt. 9:37-38; 10:7-16). Traditionally Judaism spoke of seventy (some manuscripts say seventy-two) nations (Gen. 10), and Luke’s sending out seventy in teams of two anticipates the mission of the nations described in Acts. The time for the mission is ripe, but the resistance will be strong. However, the messengers are to be equipped only with trust in God, giving themselves to healing and preaching. They are neither to shop around for the best hospitality nor delay with conversation on the road. Whether received or rejected, their message is the same: the kingdom of God has come near. The truth is not contingent on the response. The judgement pronounced in 10:12 is Jesus’ comment to the messengers and not a part of their message. (942)
Joesph A. Fitzmyer notes, “[e]arlier he had dispatched the Twelve on a mission to preach and heal (9:1-6). Now seventy(-two) disciples are sent off” (841). It is interesting to note that the numbers of those being sent out varies between seventy and seventy-two. “The MS evidence is fairly divided and it is not easy to conclude what Luke actually wrote” (Barton and Muddiman, 941). Amy Levine points to the significance of the numbers seventy and seventy-two by noting that Gen. 10.2-31 lists seventy names relating to the nations of the world, while the LXX lists seventy-two. Levine also points to the seventy gentile nations mentioned in Jub. 44.34, and the seventy elders that aided Moses in the wilderness in Ex. 24.1,9 and Numb. 11.16,24-25 (122). John Barton and John Muddiman expands on that last point by noting that, “Num 11 speaks of Moses choosing seventy elders upon whom a portion of the spirit that was upon him would rest, but since two other shared the gift, this could be taken as seventy-two.” (941). Barton and Muddiman go on to say, [w]hich of these two episodes influenced Luke’s telling of the story is not certain. That they were sent ‘before Jesus to every town and place where he himself intended to go’ suggests the situation of the world-wide church as it preached and witnessed in anticipation of the return of Christ” (941). The New Interpreter’s Bible says, “[t]he most likely interpretation, however, is that the number is related to the biblical number of the nations (Genesis 10), so that the commissioning foreshadows the mission of the church to the nations” (New Interpreter’s Bible, 219); on the other side of the argument, N.T. Wright suggests that it “may be that once again Luke is seeing Jesus in the light of Moses…” and “[t]he point will then be that Jesus is sending out assistants to help in leading the new Exodus” (Wright, 121). Fitzmyer adds to the discussion by commenting:
Seventy(-two) other disciples are now sent out in the Lucan Gospel in addition to the Twelve in 9:16 because of the abundance of the harvest. Luke’s reason for this “doublet” seems to be that the “mission will not be restricted to the Twelve; “others” will share in the testimony to be borne to Jesus and to his own word or message. The significance of this “doublet” is realized when one recalls how in Acts the role of the Twelve eventually becomes insignificant. (844)
Balz, Horst Robert., and Gerhard Schneider, eds. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990. Print.
Blight, Richard C. An Exegetical Summary of Luke 1-11. Vol. 1. Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2007. Print.
Brown, Raymond Edward. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Print.
Craddock, Fred B. “Luke.” The HarperCollins Bible Commentary. Ed. James L. Mays. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000. 925-55. Print.
Danker, Frederick W., Walter Bauer, and William Arndt. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000. Print
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. The Gospel According to Luke (X-XXIV): A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 1985. Print.
Franklin, Eric. “59. Luke.” The Oxford Bible Commentary. Ed. John Barton and John Muddiman. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001. 922-59. Print.
Freedman, David Noel, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck. Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000. Print.
Funk, Robert Walter, and Roy W. Hoover. The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus: New Translation and Commentary. New York: Macmillan, 1993. Print.
Gaebelein, Frank E., J. D. Douglas, D. A. Carson, Walter W. Wessel, and Walter L. Liefeld. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: With the New International Version of the Holy Bible. Vol. 8. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1984. Print.
Hays, J. Daniel, and J. Scott Duvall, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011. Print.
The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version. 2nd ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson for Ignatius, 1971. Print.
Horsley, Richard A. Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2003. Print.
The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English: With Strong’s Concordance Numbers Above Each Word. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1986. Print.
Johnson, Luke Timothy. Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Luke. Ed. Daniel J. Harrington. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1991. Print.
Just, Arthur A. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament. Ed. Thomas C. Oden. Vol. III. Downers Grove (Ill.): InterVarsity, 2003. Print.
Karris, Robert J. “The Gospel According to Luke.” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1990. 675-721. Print.
Kee, Howard Clark. “The Formation of Christian Communities.” The Cambridge Companion to the Bible. Ed. Bruce Chilton. By Eric M. Meyers, Howard Clark Kee, John Rogerson, Amy-Jill Levine, and Anthony J. Saldarini. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. 481-682. Print.
Levine, Amy-Jill. “The Gospel According to Luke.” The Jewish Annotated New Testament: New Revised Standard Version. Ed. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi. Brettler. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. 96-151. Print.
The New American Bible: Translated From the Original Languages with Critical Use of All the Ancient Sources: With the Revised Book of Psalms and the Revised New Testament. IA Falls, IA: World Bible, 2011. Print.
The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Vol. 3. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2006. Print.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha: An Ecumenical Study Bible. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.
The New Jerusalem Bible. New York: Doubleday, 1990. Print.
Neyrey, Jerome H., Bruce J. Malina, Richard L. Rohrbaugh, Douglas E. Oakman, John J. Pilch, John H. Elliot, Halvor Moxnes, Vernon K. Robins, and Mark McVann. The Social World of Luke-Acts: Models for Interpretation. Ed. Jerome H. Neyrey. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991. Print.
The NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1985. Print.
Powell, Mark Allan. What Are They Saying About Luke? New York: Paulist, 1989. Print.
Powell, Mark Allan, Barry L. Bandsra, Lawrence E. Boadt, Joel S. Kaminsky, Amy-Jill Levine, Eric M. Meyers, Jonathan L. Reed, and Marianne Meye Thompson, eds. The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. 3rd ed. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2011. Print.
Spicq, Ceslas. Theological Lexicon of the New Testament. Trans. James D. Ernest. Vol. 1. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994. Print.
Spicq, Ceslas. Theological Lexicon of the New Testament. Trans. James D. Ernest. Vol. 2. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994. Print.
Tinsley, E. J. The Gospel According to Luke. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1981. Print.
Wright, N. T. Luke for Everyone. London: SPCK, 2004. Print.
For many people in today’s nonstop world, faith is something that is ever evolving and rapidly changing to adapt to new technology and lifestyle changes. Many people today wake up Sunday morning to the buzzing of an alarm clock (or even the alarm on their cell phone), quickly shower and cook something to eat using modern appliances, they might jump onto their computer to check their email or Facebook, and then get in their car to drive to their church or other house of worship. Once they arrive, they find themselves in an environment much like their homes and workplaces, flowing with electrical currents and often taking advantage of the latest and greatest in audio-visual technology. While this scene may be familiar to many people in our fast-paced culture, it could not be further from the experiences of the Old Order Amish and Mennonites.
The Amish and the Mennonites share roots in the radical reformation movement of the early 1500s known as the Anabaptist movement. The Anabaptists were revolutionary at the time because they rejected the idea of infant baptism and instead focused on adult baptism, and they “emphasized a literal interpretation of the teachings of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount. They sought to practice the teachings of Jesus in daily life, and they gave greater allegiance to the Bible than to civil government. They were, in fact, some of the earliest proponents of the separation of church and state” (“Anabaptists,” 2013).
The birth of the Mennonite movement came about in 1536 when a Dutch Catholic Priest named Menno Simons (ca. 1496-1561) left the Roman Catholic Church and converted to Anabaptism (Krahn & Dyck, 1990). Menno Simons became a “prolific writer and leader,” and “in time many of his followers became known as Mennonites” (“Mennonites,” 2013).
Some time later, a man named Jakkob Ammann came along and developed quite the following himself. According to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, “biographical information on Ammann continues to be incomplete and speculative” (Bender, H. S., & Steiner). What we do know of Ammann, however, is that by 1693, strong differences between how he imagined the Anabaptist communities should live and how the other Anabaptist communities felt they should live developed, causing Ammann’s followers—the Amish—to break away from the Mennonites and the other Anabaptist groups and became their own distinct Anabaptist group (“Amish Origins,” 2013).
As of 2000, Old Order Anabaptists accounted for roughly 21% of all Anabaptists in the United States (Kraybill & Bowman, 2001, p. 8). The Old Order communities developed in the late 19th century as a response to the social changes being brought about by industrialization, and as a rejection of the acculturation that was slowly taking place, and tend to stick to the more traditional expressions of their faith and to simpler forms of living (Kraybill & Bowman, 4). There are a variety of visual signs that make the members of Old Order communities stand out, including Old Order Amish and Mennonites. “The horses and carriages used by Mennonite and Amish groups are, of course, prominent symbols of conformity. …[both] groups require their members to wear a distinctive garb that symbolizes separation as well as compliance with community norms” (Kraybill & Bowman, 2001, p. 185).
In their book, On the Backroad to Heaven: Old Order Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren, Kraybill & Bowman describe the modern Old Order Mennonites:
The Old Order Mennonites own private homes and farms in rural areas where they live among non-Mennonite neighbors. Many of their homes have electricity and telephones. Although they use horse and carriages for transportation, steel-wheeled tractors are permitted for field work. They meet for worship on Sunday in austere meetinghouses without carpeting, electricity, or indoor plumbing. (2001, p. 5)
Kraybill and Bowman go on to briefly describe the modern lifestyle of the Old Order Amish:
Unlike the Mennonites, The Amish meet to worship in their homes every other Sunday. Telephones, televisions, and electricity are missing from their homes. The Amish use horse-and-buggy transportation for local travel and often rent vans with local drivers for longer trips or business. (2001, pp. 6-7)
There is probably nothing more symbolic of the Old Order Amish and Mennonite groups than that of the horse and buggy. That said, not all Old Order Mennonite groups forego the car for the carriage. As the automobile became a more common and accessible piece of technology in the 1920s and 1930s, certain Old Order Mennonites began to drive. This caused a split within the Old Order Mennonite communities, with those who chose to embrace the automobile on one side and those who stuck to horse and buggies—the so called “team” or “horse-and-buggy” Mennonites on the other side (Kraybill & Bowman, 2001, pp. 65-66).
Kraybill and Hurd discuss the dynamics of this split in their book, Horse-and-Buggy Mennonites: Hoofbeats of Humility in a Postmodern World:
The Controversy over the car divided the Old Order community into three clusters: those anti-car, those pro-car, and those undecided or who because of family complication, were suspended between the other two groups. The undecideds, perhaps nearly a third of the community, had about two years to cast their lot. Some attended car-driving services one Sunday and horse-and-buggy services the next Sunday for a number of years. For two years after the 1927 division, members could go back and forth between the two groups without making a confession or risking excommunication. After those two years, they needed to declare their membership, and there-after a move from one group to the other was considered a transgression. (Kraybill & Hurd, 2006, pp. 70-71)
As of 2000, there about 141,000 Mennonites groups in the United States, with about 10,000 Old Order Team Mennonites and another 7,000 Old Order Mennonites who had embraced the automobile (Kraybill & Bowman, 2001, pp. 65-66).
While the Amish have maintained their unilateral “horse-and-buggy culture” in a way that the Old Order Mennonites have not been able to, the on-the-ground practice of this can be complicated, to say the least. In their book An Amish Paradox: Diversity & Change in the World’s Largest Amish Community, Hurst and McConnell refer to “Amish haulers” or “Amish taxis” with “advertisements litter[ing] public phone booths and community bulletin boards all over the settlement.” They spoke to one Old Order Amish man who owned a roofing business who quipped that he had “put 100,000 miles on his vehicle last year,” referring to the vehicle his driver owned (Hurst & McConnell, pp. 31-32). Hurst and McConnell go on to state, “Some well-to-do Amish businessmen employ as many as three drivers—one for the man’s wife, one for him at work, and one for weekends and evenings and use the horse and buggy only for church services every two weeks.” You will not see that sort of behavior with the Swartzentrubers, however. According to their Ordnung, they are only allowed to ride in cars in cases of an emergency (Hurst & McConnell, p. 32).
One of the first visual cues that comes to mind when many people think of Amish men is their beards. Amish men wear full beards, but generally they shave off their mustaches. The reason for the beard without the mustache is simply that “Napoleon’s soldiers are said to have worn the mustache without the beard to heighten their appearance of fierceness. Apparently at that time the descendants of the Swiss Brethren began wearing the beard without the mustache. But among some of the Amish, those of the Wayland, Iowa, community, for instance, it was not an uncommon practice even as late as the beginning of the 20th century, to wear a full beard including the hair on the upper lip” (Umble, 1953). When this beard growing begins, however, varies depending on which Amish affiliation the man belongs to. “In some groups men stop shaving after they are baptized, but in most groups marriage marks the point at which a man begins growing a beard” (Kraybill, Johnson-Weiner, & Nolt, 2013, p. 128).
According to Kraybill and Bowman, however, “Mennonite men do not wear beards, but the plain clothing … sets them apart from the larger society (2001, pp. 5-6). John Umble explains the reasons behind this:
European Mennonites in the 19th century gradually dropped all traditional restrictions and regulations regarding the beard, hair, and mustache; the mustache became quite common in the 20th century, especially in Germany and Russia. Among the Mennonites (Mennonite Church) of North America and related groups the wearing of the lone mustache was always forbidden prior to the 1950s. The smooth-shaven face became so common in 20th-century America that Europeans thought of it as typically “American.” The general adoption by American Mennonites of the smooth-shaven face was a part of the general cultural accommodation process; the resistance of certain conservative groups to the smooth-shaven face was likewise a part of their resistance to this general accommodation. (Umble, 1953)
Both the Old Order Amish and the Old Order Mennonites dress simply in a style known as plain dress, though the specifics differ greatly between the two traditions. Kraybill and Bowman describe the dress regulations of Old Order Mennonite men:
After they are married, men are expected to wear dark, plain suits for worship services; colored or “two-tone” suits are not permitted. The following items are also taboo for men: belts, neckties, cowboy clothing, caps with bills, colored hats, colored coats, and any stylish clothing or shoes. Men do not wear beards, and the Ordnung advises them not to go shirtless, wear long hair or sideburns, or grow a mustache. Baseball players may not wear uniforms, but small game and deer hunters may wear orange colored safety jackets. (2001, p. 78)
Kraybill and Bowman go on to note that “[f]ront bill caps and neckties, never worn by Groffdale men, are widely worn by Ontario Mennonites.” They then describe the dress regulations for Old Order Mennonite women:
Women are expected to wear a cape and apron over their dresses. They also wear a head covering large enough to cover their ears, with strings that tie under the chin. Their hair is not to be cut or worn loosely, but rather is pulled tightly into a bun under the head covering. The following items are taboo: short dresses, slacks, formfitting dresses, and sheer or large print fabrics. Unlike the Amish, Mennonites permit clothing with small print designs. Large, bold, or brightly colored prints in shirts and dresses are not acceptable. Moreover, women may not wear collars, lace, or wide cuffs on their dresses, or other new styles of clothing. Plain bonnets and shawls are worn for worship. The Ordnung also admonishes parents not to “adorn their children.” (2001, p. 78)
The Amish also have their own distinctive forms of plain dress. As described by Kraybill and Bowman:
Men are typically expected to wear a wide-brimmed hat and a vest when they appear in public. In winter months and at church services, they wear a black suit coat, which is typically fastened with hooks and eyes rather than with buttons. The men in most settlements also use suspenders instead of belts. Modern-styled, commercially tailored suits and ties are forbidden.
Amish Women are expected to wear a head covering and a bonnet when they appear in public settings. Most women wear a cape over the top of their dresses as well as an apron. The three parts of the dress are often fastened together with straight pins. Various colors—green, brown, blue, lavender—are permitted for men’s shirts and women’s dresses, but figures on fabrics are taboo. Although very young girls do not wear a head covering, Amish children typically dress like their parents. Jewelry, including wedding rings and wristwatches, and all forms of facial makeup are forbidden, lest they lead to pride and vanity. ( 2001, p. 107)
There is an old folk rhyme that was written which sort of pokes fun at the Amish obsession with detail. In English, it says:
Those with hooks and eyes, the Lord will save,
Those with buttons and pockets, the devil will snatch. (Kraybill, Johnson-Weiner, & Nolt, 2013, p. 34)
The Amish and the Mennonites are both complex groups with endless fascinating qualities, both positive and negative, but what makes them stand out in our fast-paced, fashion-of-the-season, secular culture is their ability to maintain unique and unified identities in the midst of pressure to conform to societal norms, even after 500 years of varying levels of persecution and misunderstanding. From the way they worship, to the way they live; from their relationship with each other to their relationship with the outside world, Old Order groups defy, by their very nature, our modern sensibilities. As long as there are those who are willing to stand apart and be outsiders in an insider world, Old Order Amish and Mennonites, and those of their kind, will continue to grace the world with their exceptional simplicity and radical faith.