Awkwardness of Luke 7:29-30

All the commentators (that I have access to) write about the “awkwardness” of vv29-30. It is debated whether these verses continue Jesus words from vv24-28; or whether they are a narrators’ comment inserted by Luke.

Most (Bock, Culy, Nolland) conclude that they are narrators comments; while Morris argues for a continuation of Jesus’ works.

It is the “awkwardness” of the third-person references (e.g. “the crowd”) that lead many to argue for narrators comments. But it is just as awkward that there is neither any conjunction or re-introduction of speech in v31.

This, I fear, is an example of the lack of attention that is paid to discourse features by many commentators and exegetes.

Given the way Luke (and other NT authors) purposefully use conjunctions and other discourse features to mark and structure their work (see e.g. my notes on Luke 1:5-38) it seems strange that so many commentators are happy so simply recognise the strange absence in v31 without letting it influence their decision about vv29-30.

I’m not (necessarily) claiming that vv29-30 are Jesus words – but I am suggesting that the lack of the discourse features should at least be weighed alongside the awkwardness of the grammar.


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