Original Research

'Destined for the downfall and rise of many in Israel': Luke 2:34b in patristic (and modern) exegesis

J. H. Barkhuizen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 51, No 4 | a1449 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v51i4.1449 | © 1995 J. H. Barkhuizen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 1995 | Published: 11 December 1995

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J. H. Barkhuizen, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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A close reading of both patristic and modem exegetes points towards the existence of two main schools of thought, and the aim of this short paper is to introduce the main proponents of each school, stating both the basic notion of each and the biblical evidence serving as the basis for their subsequent argumentation. The paper concludes with some suggestions for further discussion What did Simeon mean when he referred to the child Jesus in Luke 2:34b, as the downfall and rise of many in Israel? A close reading of both patristic and modem exegetes points towards the existence of two main schools of thought 1. The prophecy of Simeon 'has usually been interpreted as the fall of some and the rising of others, that is a process of self-judgement in which men determine the verdict to be passed on their lives, by tile response they make to the coming of the Messiah' (Caird 1979:64). One very typical commentary within this school of thought is for example the following by Fritz Rienecker (1977:69): Es zeugt von einem tiefen Blick des alten Simeon, dass er die Verheis-sung des Jesaja (Kap  8,13-15) in  Christus sich erftillen sieht. Alle mussen in Israel an Ihm vorbei und keiner kann Ihn unbeachtet lassen. Israel ist 'Wie ein Strom, der sich an Christus, dem Felsen, brechen und zwiegeteilt weiterstromen wird. Dem einen zum Fall, dem andem zum Reil.


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