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Looking for Lazarus: Assigning Meaning to the Poor Man in Luke 16.19–31

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2019

Reuben Bredenhof*
62 Henrietta Avenue, Mount Nasura, Western Australia6112. Email:


The enigmatic name of the poor man in Luke 16.19–31 has invited diverse interpretations of its significance for the parable's meaning. After sketching the character and function of the poor man, this study evaluates several such interpretations, both ancient and contemporary. It then argues for a narrative-critical reading of Lazarus’ name that is congruent with Luke's putative purpose in including this parable in his narrative of Jesus’ ministry, where the poor are afforded honour and the rich are exhorted to respond to the material needs of their neighbours.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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1 While terming it a parable, I acknowledge that Luke 16.19–31 is not designated a παραβολή (‘parable’) by Luke. For convenience of reference, I will continue to refer to it as a ‘parable’, an illustrative and fictional narrative told for purposes of instruction.

2 Some of these dissertations have been published in revised form; see Lehtipuu, O., The Afterlife Imagery in Luke's Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (NovTSup 123; Leiden: Brill, 2007)Google Scholar; Perry, S., Resurrecting Interpretation: Technology, Hermeneutics, and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2012)Google Scholar; J. J. Stigall, ‘Reading the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) as the Authorial Audience’ (PhD diss., Baylor University, 2012); J. A. Szukalski, Tormented in Hades: The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) and Other Lucan Parables for Persuading the Rich to Repentance (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2013); Hauge, M. R., The Biblical Tour of Hell (LNTS 485; London: T&T Clark, 2013)Google Scholar; Bredenhof, R. M., Failure and Prospect: Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19–31) in the Context of Luke-Acts (LNTS 603; London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019)Google Scholar. An earlier full-length treatment is the thesis of J. Hintzen, Verkündigung und Wahrnehmung: Über das Verhältnis von Evangelium und Leser am Beispiel Lk 16, 19–31 im Rahmen des lukanischen Doppelwerkes (Frankfurt: Hain, 1991).

3 Porter, S. E. and Boda, M. J., eds., Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009)Google Scholar.

4 Meier, J. P. puts it with some force: ‘What is absolutely unparalleled and demands an explanation is the occurrence of a proper name in a parable’ (A Marginal Jew, vol. ii (ABRL; New York: Doubleday, 1994) 825)Google Scholar.

5 For the architecture of such gates, see BDAG s.v. πυλών; cf. Plummer, A., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to S. Luke (ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1901 5) 391Google Scholar.

6 The verb (passive of βάλλω) is often descriptive of the sick who are confined to bed (e.g. Matt 8.6, 14; Mark 7.30); see BDAG s.v.

7 The term for dining (εὐφραίνω) is used of the feasting at special occasions; see  BDAG s.v.; cf. Luke 12.19, where it is central to the rich fool's desire to enjoy his prosperity; and 15.23–32, describing the celebration for the returned prodigal.

8 See an analysis of the gate's significance in Schnider, F. and Stenger, W., ‘Die offene Tür und die unüberschreitbare Kluft: Strukturanalytische Überlegungen zum Gleichnis vom reichen Mann und armen Lazarus’, NTS 25 (1979) 273–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 Scott, B. B., Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989) 150–1Google Scholar. By contrast, V. Tanghe sees the division between Lazarus and the rich man symbolised not by existence on two sides of a gate, but by the contrast between the gate and table (‘Abraham, son fils et son envoyé (Luc 16:19–31)’, RB 91 (1984) 557–77, at 565–7).

10 See Lev 13.45–6.

11 J. D. Derrett makes the unlikely suggestion that instead of being feral, the dogs belonged to the rich man and enjoyed the morsels that Lazarus was unable to access (Law in the New Testament (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1970) 89).

12 See Lev 11.27; cf. Bovon, F., Das Evangelium nach Lukas, vol. iii (EKKNT; Zürich: Benziger, 2001) 108Google Scholar. Strong, J. in ‘Lazarus and the Dogs: Diagnosis and Treatment’, NTS 64 (2018) 178–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar attempts to rehabilitate the reputation of dogs in the ancient Mediterranean and argues that the dogs in the parable are positive characters who assuage Lazarus’ sores/lesions with their saliva. This characterisation is not consistent with the overwhelmingly negative portrayal of dogs in the Hebrew Scriptures, notwithstanding the one or two possible exceptions adduced by Strong.

13 Green, J. B., The Gospel of Luke (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997) 605Google Scholar; cf. Lenski, G. E., Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1984 2) 281–4Google Scholar.

14 Derrett, Law, 89.

15 Roth, S. J., The Blind, the Lame and the Poor: Character Types in Luke-Acts (JSNTSup 144; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1997) 190Google Scholar.

16 Roth, The Blind, the Lame and the Poor, 190.

17 See e.g. Deut 28.15, 48; Prov 6.10–11; 10.4. Furthermore, his affliction with sores (εἱλκωμένος) is consistent with one of the threatened punishments on disobedience in Deut 28.27 and 35, where Moses says that God will cause boils (בִּשְׁחִין, ἕλκει in LXX) on the people, the same ailment inflicted on the Egyptians during the plagues (Exod 9.10–11); see Crossley, J. G., Why Christianity Happened: A Sociohistorical Account of Christian Origins (26–50 ce) (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2006) 65–6Google Scholar.

18 See e.g. 1.46–55; 4.16–19; 6.20–3; 7.22–3. There is no paucity of studies on the place of the poor and possessions in Luke-Acts; for a survey of the literature, see Phillips, T. E., ‘Reading Recent Readings of Issues of Wealth and Poverty in Luke and Acts’, CurBR 1 (2003) 231–69Google Scholar; cf. the earlier work of Donahue, J. R., ‘Two Decades of Research on the Rich and Poor in Luke-Acts’, Justice and the Holy: Essays in Honour of Walter Harrelson (ed. Harrelson, W. J., Knight, D. A. and Paris, P. J.; Atlanta: Scholars, 1989) 129–44Google Scholar. Representative studies include Degenhardt, H. J., Lukas, Evangelist der Armen: Besitz und Besitzverzicht in den lukanischen Schriften (Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1965)Google Scholar; Johnson, L. T., The Literary Function of Possessions in Luke-Acts (SBLDS 39; Missoula, MT: SBL, 1977)Google Scholar; Cassidy, R. J., Jesus, Politics, and Society: A Study of Luke's Gospel (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1978)Google Scholar; Karris, R. J., ‘Poor and Rich: The Lukan Sitz im Leben’, Perspectives on Luke-Acts (ed. Talbert, C. H.; Danville: Association of Baptist Professors of Religio/Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1978) 112–25Google Scholar; Pilgrim, W. E., Good News to the Poor: Wealth and Poverty in Luke-Acts (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1981)Google Scholar; Seccombe, D. P., Possessions and the Poor in Luke-Acts (Linz: Fuchs, 1982)Google Scholar; Kraybill, D. and Sweetland, D. M., ‘Possessions in Luke-Acts: A Sociological Perspective’, PRSt 10 (1983) 215–39Google Scholar; Esler, P. F., Community and Gospel in Luke-Acts: The Social and Political Motivations of Lucan Theology (SNTSMS 57; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Moxnes, H., The Economy of the Kingdom: Social Conflict and Economic Relations in Luke's Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988) 139–53Google Scholar; Gillman, J., Possessions and the Life of Faith: A Reading of Luke-Acts (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991)Google Scholar; Green, J. B., ‘Good News to Whom? Jesus and the “Poor” in the Gospel of Luke’, Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ (ed. Green, J. B. and Turner, M.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994) 5974Google Scholar; Hays, C. M., Luke's Wealth Ethics: A Study in their Coherence and Character (WUNT ii/275; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 See e.g. Luke 1.51–3; 6.20–6; cf. York, J., The Last Shall Be First: The Rhetoric of Reversal in Luke (JSNTSup 46; Sheffield: JSOT, 1991) 70Google Scholar.

20 Tannehill, R. C., Luke (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1996) 252Google Scholar. Such a characterisation is based on the description of Abraham's bosom in T.Ab. 20.14, where ‘there is no toil, no grief, no mourning, but peace, exultation and endless life’; cf. 4 Macc 13.17. Abraham's generous hospitality is noted in Gen 18.1–15 and celebrated in later Jewish literature.

21 Tannehill, R. C., The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation, vol. i (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986) 186Google Scholar.

22 Tucker, J. T., Example Stories: Perspectives on Four Parables in the Gospel of Luke (JSNTSup 162; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1998) 249Google Scholar.

23 See 1.55; 1.73; 3.8, 34; 13.16; see also Acts 3.13; 7.2–8; 13.26; 19.9. For studies of this Lukan pattern, see e.g. Dahl, N. A., ‘The Story of Abraham in Luke-Acts’, Studies in Luke-Acts: Essays Presented in Honor of Paul Schubert (ed. Keck, L. E. and Martyn, J. L.; Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1966) 139–58Google Scholar; Siker, J. S., Disinheriting the Jews: Abraham in Early Christian Controversy (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1991)Google Scholar; Brawley, R., ‘For Blessing All Families of the Earth: Covenant Traditions in Luke-Acts’, CurTM 22 (1995) 1826Google Scholar; Brawley, R. L., ‘Abrahamic Covenant Traditions and the Characterization of God in Luke-Acts’, The Unity of Luke-Acts (ed. Verheyden, J.; BETL 142; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1999) 109–32Google Scholar; H. M. Kim, ‘“From Israel to the Nations”: A Critical Study of the Abraham Motif in Luke-Acts’ (PhD diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2007).

24 K. Snodgrass notes that characters are typically unnamed in Greco-Roman or Jewish parables, but that named characters feature occasionally (Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008) 729 n. 196). He cites Plato's Phaedrus 2.5, and Gen. Rab. 65.11; in the rabbinic tale, however, the name is given an explicit narrative function: a woman names her dwarf son ‘Tallswift’.

25 This interpretation has been advocated from an early period, e.g. by Jerome in his homilies ‘On Lazarus and Dives’ (as noted by A. A. Just, ed., Luke (ACCS 3; Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2003) 260–4). In more recent scholarship, see e.g. W. Grundmann, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (THNT 3; Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1961) 327; Jeremias, J., The Parables of Jesus (London: SCM, rev. edn 1963) 183–5Google Scholar; York, Reversal, 67; D. L. Bock, Luke, vol. ii (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994)1365–6; Blomberg, C., Interpreting the Parables (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012 2) 259Google Scholar; Wright, S. I., Jesus the Storyteller (London: SPCK, 2014) 130Google Scholar.

26 J. Nolland, Luke, vol. ii (WBC 35b; Dallas: Word, 1993) 828; cf. Str-B ii.223.

27 Snodgrass, Stories, 429.

28 Forbes, G. W., The God of Old: The Role of the Lukan Parables in the Purpose of Luke's Gospel (JSNTSup 198; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2000) 193Google Scholar.

29 Hays, Wealth Ethics, 155.

30 Goulder, M. D., Luke: A New Paradigm, vol. ii (JSNTSup 20; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989) 638Google Scholar.

31 See the profile of Luke's implied audience in Tyson, J. B., Images of Judaism in Luke-Acts (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1992) 35–6Google Scholar.

32 See Acts 1.19 (Akeldama); 4.36 (Barnabas); 9.36 (Dorcas); 13.8 (Elymas); cf. Lehtipuu, Afterlife Imagery, 164.

33 E.g. Acts 1.23; 15.22.

34 Lehtipuu, O., ‘Characterization and Persuasion: The Rich Man and the Poor Man in Luke 16:19–31’, Characterization in the Gospels: Reconceiving Narrative Criticism (ed. Rhoads, D. and Syreeni, K.; JSNTSup 184; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1999) 73105, at 90Google Scholar; cf. Meier, Marginal Jew, ii.825; see also Hock, R. F., ‘Lazarus and Micyllus: Greco-Roman Backgrounds to Luke 16:19–31’, JBL 106 (1987) 447–63Google Scholar, at 454.

35 See e.g. the man attacked by robbers in the Good Samaritan (10.25–37), or the humble tax collector in the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (18.10–14); cf. Meier, Marginal Jew, ii.825.

36 Jeremias, Parables, 186.

37 Johnson, L. T., The Literary Function of Possessions in Luke-Acts (SBLDS 39; Missoula, MT: SBL, 1977) 142Google Scholar.

38 Kvalbein, H., ‘Jesus and the Poor: Two Texts and a Tentative Conclusion’, Them 12 (1987) 80–7Google Scholar, at 84.

39 Tannehill, Luke, 252.

40 R. Bauckham notes that Lazarus/Eleazar was the third most common male name among Palestinian Jews from 330 bce to 200 ce (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006) 85). He cites Ilan, T. and Ziem, T., Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity, Part 1 (TSAJ 91; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002)Google Scholar, a collection of the recorded names in the period of 330 bce–200 ce. For the list of popular names, see Ilan and Ziem, Lexicon, 56.

41 Irenaeus, Haer. 4.3.2; Tertullian, An. 7.

42 See e.g. 12.16 and 19.11.

43 See e.g. 10.30; 14.16; 15.11; 16.1. On the question of classifying parables in the Synoptic Gospels, see Snodgrass, Stories, 9–15; cf. C. H. Peisker, ‘Parable, Allegory, Proverb’, NIDNTT ii.746–60. Tucker, Example Stories, 206 observes that while ‘the Greek word παραβολή itself does not authorise a definitive model of a singular comparative mechanism operative in all narratives called by that name … [understanding] παραβολή as juxtaposition encourages readers or hearers to consider what is being set side by side, by what means and for what reasons’.

44 The introductory phrase is uniquely Lukan, occurring in seven instances of what are conventionally described as parables (Luke 10.30; 12.16; 14.16; 15.11, 16.1, 19; 19.12). Hintzen, Verkündigung, 121 observes that this phrase is characteristic of fiction.

45 As with some other Lukan parables (e.g. 7.41–4; 12.42–8; 15.11–32), the relational structure of Luke 16.19–31 can be schematised as a triangle, comprising three characters: an authority figure (often a king, father or master) and two contrasting subordinates. See Funk, R. W., Parables and Presence: Forms of the New Testament Tradition (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982) 1954Google Scholar; cf. Sellin, G., ‘Lukas als Gleichniserzähler: Die Erzählung vom barmherzigen Samariter (Lk 10,25–37)’, ZNW 65 (1974) 166–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Blomberg, Parables, 166–7.

46 Cadbury, H. J., The Making of Luke-Acts (London: SPCK, 1958 2) 53Google Scholar; e.g. Zacchaeus in Luke; Cornelius, Roman officials and some magicians in Acts.

47 Tucker, Example Stories, 253.

48 Paffenroth, K., The Story of Jesus according to L (JSNTSup 147; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1997) 119Google Scholar; see Luke 4.25–7 (Elijah, Elisha, Naaman); 7.36–50 (Simon); 10.39–42 (Mary, Martha); 13.1–5 (Pilate), 10–17 (Abraham), 31–2 (Herod); 16.19–31 (Lazarus, Abraham); 19.2–10 (Zacchaeus).

49 The first to do so was H. Gressmann, who observed the existence of an Egyptian folk tale that concerns the reversals experienced by two men after death. (Vom reichen Mann und armen Lazarus: Eine literargeschichtliche Studie (Abhandlungen der königlich preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse 7; Berlin: Verlag der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaft, 1918) 31–2). Later scholarship embraced the quest for the origins behind the parable; see Bauckham, R., ‘The Rich Man and Lazarus: The Parable and the Parallels’, NTS 37 (1991) 225–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

50 Bishop, E. F., ‘A Yawning Chasm’, EvQ 45 (1973) 35Google Scholar; Griffiths, J. G., ‘Cross-Cultural Eschatology with Dives and Lazarus’, ExpTim 105 (1993) 712Google Scholar; Bauckham, R., The Fate of the Dead: Studies on the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (NovTSup 93; Leiden: Brill, 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lehtipuu, Afterlife Imagery, 119–54, 197–230.

51 Bauckham, ‘Rich Man and Lazarus’, 244.

52 Hock, ‘Lazarus and Micyllus’, 452–4.

53 Nolland, Luke, ii.828.

54 See e.g. 1.52–3; 6.20–6; 13.30; 14.11.

55 York, Reversal, 92.

56 This interpretation is proposed by Augustine, Serm. 33A.4.

57 Hendrickx, H., The Parables of Jesus (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986) 200Google Scholar.

58 See e.g. Marshall, I. H., The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NIGTC; Exeter: Paternoster, 1978) 430Google Scholar.

59 Danker, F. W., Jesus and the New Age: A Commentary on St. Luke's Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988) 283Google Scholar; cf. Cadbury, H. J., ‘A Proper Name for Dives’, JBL 81 (1962) 399402Google Scholar, at 399; Bauckham, ‘Rich Man and Lazarus’, 244.

60 Bauckham, ‘Rich Man and Lazarus’, 244.

61 See e.g. 11.5–8; 15.11–32; cf. Snodgrass, Stories, 429.

62 Derrett, Law, 86–7. This theory has received elaboration by Tanghe, ‘Abraham, son fils’, 557–7; cf. Cave, C. H., ‘Lazarus and the Lukan Deuteronomy’, NTS 15 (1969) 319–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

63 Rabinowitz, L. I., ‘Study of a Midrash’, JQR 58 (1967) 143–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 148, discussing Gen. Rab. 59.12. I. Abrahams comments on the tradition of ‘Eleazar-Lazarus’ as a type of humble but zealous man who is privileged to serve Abraham in paradise as he had served him on earth (Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels (New York: Ktav, 1967) 203).

64 Rabinowitz, ‘Midrash’, 161, referring to Derek Erez Zuta 1.9.

65 Seccombe, Possessions, 174–5.

66 Wright, S. I., Tales Jesus Told: An Introduction to the Narrative Parables of Jesus (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2003) 78Google Scholar.

67 Green, Luke, 608.

68 Goulder, New Paradigm, ii.638. To be more precise, Aaron was the first of Israel's ordained priests (Lev 8.1–36), and Eleazar his son was appointed as chief over the principal Levites (Num 3.32) after the death of Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10.1–2).

69 See e.g. Mallen, P., The Reading and Transformation of Isaiah in Luke-Acts (LNTS 367; London: T&T Clark, 2008)Google Scholar.

70 Origen, Fr. Jo. 77.

71 See discussion in Meier, Marginal Jew, ii.822–32. D. J. Bretherton identifies the two Lazaruses, and makes the peculiar contention that Lazarus in John 11 was not actually dead, but in a state of suspended animation; upon resuscitation, he recounted his near-death experiences to Jesus, which became the basis for the parable of Luke 16.19–31 (‘Lazarus of Bethany: Resurrection or Resuscitation?’, ExpTim 104 (1993) 169–73).

72 R. Dunkerley, ‘Lazarus’, NTS 5 (1959) 321–7, at 322.

73 Pearce, K., ‘The Lucan Origins of the Raising of Lazarus’, ExpTim 96 (1984–5) 359–61Google Scholar; cf. U. Busse, who argues that John's audience was intended to read his story with the Lukan parable in mind (‘Johannes und Lukas: Die Lazarusperikope, Frucht eines Kommunikationsprozesses’, John and the Synoptics (ed. A. Denaux; BETL 101; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1992) 281–306).

74 J. Van Bruggen posits a geographical connection between the raising of Lazarus in John 11 and the parable's telling, near Bethany (Christ on Earth: The Gospel Narratives as History (trans. N. Forest-Flier; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 199–200); cf. Dunkerley, ‘Lazarus’, 323–6.

75 As an alternative to this theory, J. Kremer suggests that the original parable lacked a proper name for the poor man, but it was later supplied by the Johannine tradition from an early version of the miracle story (‘Der arme Lazarus: Lazarus, der Freund Jesu. Beobachtungen zur Beziehung zwischen Lk 16:19–31 und Joh 11:1–46’, À cause de l’Évangile: études sur les Synoptiques et les Actes offertes au P. Jacques Dupont (ed. F. Refoulé; Paris: Cerf, 1985) 571–84). W. E. North discounts this suggestion because John makes nothing of the name itself, and introduces the name in a way that intimates it was not known to his readers (The Lazarus Story within the Johannine Tradition (JSNTSup 212; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2011) 120–1).

76 Fitzmyer, J. A., The Gospel according to Luke, vol. ii (AB 28a; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985) 1129Google Scholar; cf. conclusion of Schnackenburg, R., The Gospel according to St John, vol. ii (New York: Crossroad, 1982) 341Google Scholar; and Dodd, C. H., Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963) 229CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

77 As summarised in Snodgrass, Stories, 729 n. 199; see e.g. Tanghe, ‘Abraham, son fils’, 577.

78 O. Glombitza, ‘Der reiche Mann und der arme Lazarus: Luk xvi 19–31. Zur Frage nach der Botschaft des Textes’, NovT 12 (1970) 166–80, at 178–80.

79 Capon, R. F., The Parables of Grace (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) 159Google Scholar: ‘Lazarus is the Christ-figure in this parable. Like Jesus, he lives out of death.’ Commentators who hear an allusion to the resurrected Jesus in verse 31 include Wright, N. T., The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God 3; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003) 437Google Scholar; Johnson, Literary Function, 143; Fitzmyer, Luke, ii.1128; Bock, Luke, ii.1377.

80 On the application of narrative criticism to New Testament studies, see Powell, M. A., What is Narrative Criticism? (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990)Google Scholar; Marguerat, D. and Bourquoin, Y., How to Read Bible Stories: An Introduction to Narrative Criticism (trans. Bowden, J.; London: SCM, 1999)Google Scholar; Powell, M. A., ‘Narrative Criticism’, Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation (ed. Green, J. B.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010 2) 240–58Google Scholar. On the continued viability of narrative criticism, see Merenlahti, P., Poetics for the Gospels? Rethinking Narrative Criticism (SNTW; London: T&T Clark, 2002) 115–30Google Scholar; D. Rhoads, ‘Narrative Criticism: Practices and Prospects’, Rhoads and Syreeni, eds., Characterization, 264–85; Green, J. B., ‘Narrative and New Testament Interpretation: Reflections on the State of the Art’, LTQ 39 (2004) 153–66Google Scholar; Powell, M. A, ‘Narrative Criticism: The Emergence of a Prominent Reading Strategy’, Mark as Story: Retrospect and Prospect (ed. Iverson, K. R. and Skinner, C. W.; SBLRBS 65; Leiden: Brill, 2011) 1943Google Scholar.

81 Docherty, T., Reading (Absent) Character: Towards a Theory of Characterization in Fiction (Oxford: Clarendon, 1983) 43–5Google Scholar; cf. Burnett, F. W., ‘Characterization and Reader Construction of Characters in the Gospels’, Semeia 63 (1993) 328Google Scholar, at 17.

82 Hochman, B., Character in Literature (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985) 37Google Scholar.

83 Sternberg, M., The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985) 329–30Google Scholar.

84 Ibid., 330.

85 Darr, J. A., On Character Building: The Reader and the Rhetoric of Characterization in Luke-Acts (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1992) 44Google Scholar; cf. Docherty, Reading Character, 47.

86 Merenlahti, Poetics, 80.

87 Sternberg insists that any ‘gap-filling’ carried out by a reader in constructing the world of a literary work must not be arbitrary, but legitimated by the text through its language and perceptual set (Poetics, 188–9).

88 Johnson, Literary Function, 132; cf. Esler, Community and Gospel, 280–3.

89 See e.g. 4.38–40; 5.12–15; 7.1–9, 11–15, 36–50; 8.1–3.

90 Green, ‘Good News to Whom?’, 64–5.

91 Sternberg, Poetics, 330.

92 Green, Luke, 606: ‘The poor man's only claim to status is that he is named in the story; this alone raises the hope that there is more to his story than that of being subhuman.’

93 An early textual tradition assigns a name to the rich man, surely prompted by the fact that his counterpart in the parable is named. Customarily the rich man has been referred to as ‘Dives’, from the Latin adjective for ‘wealthy’. However, Luke's Gospel in Papyrus Bodmer xiv/xv (75) includes a reference to Νεύης as the name of the rich man. See discussion in P. Comfort, ‘Two Illustrations of Scribal Gap Filling in Luke 16:19’, Porter and Boda, eds., Translating, 111–13, at 112; cf. also Cadbury, H. J., ‘The Name for Dives’, JBL 84 (1965) 73Google Scholar; Metzger, B. M., ‘Names for the Nameless in the New Testament: A Study in the Growth of Christian Tradition’, Kyriakon: Festschrift Johannes Quasten, vol. i (ed. Granfield, P. and Jungmann, J. A.; Münster: Aschendorff, 1970) 7999Google Scholar, at 88–9; Cadbury, ‘Proper Name’, 399–402. K. Grobel suggests that this is a shortened form of the name ‘Nineveh’ found in an early Sahidic manuscript (‘“…Whose Name was Neves”’, NTS 10 (1964) 373–82, at  381–2); cf. Lefort, L. Th., ‘Le nom du mauvais riche (Lc 16,19) et la tradition copte’, ZNW 37 (1938) 6572CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

94 Paschal, R. W. Jr., ‘Lazarus’, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (ed. Green, J. B., McKnight, S. and Marshall, I. H.; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992) 461–3Google Scholar, at 463.

95 Resseguie, J. L., Narrative Criticism of the New Testament: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005) 128–9Google Scholar.

96 Metzger, J. A., Consumption and Wealth in Luke's Travel Narrative (BibInt 88; Leiden: Brill, 2007) 138CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

97 Paffenroth, Story, 134.

98 See e.g. Exod 22.21; 23.9; Lev 19.34; Deut 14.28–9; 15.4–7; 23.24–5; 24.10–22. The prophets warn against the unjust treatment of the poor; see e.g. Isa 1.10–17; 3.13–15; 10.1–2; 58.6–10; Jer 5.26–9; Ezek 22.7, 29; Amos 2.6–7; 4.1; 5.11–15; 8.4–6; Mic 2.1–2; 6.8; Zech 7.9–10.

99 Luke's Gospel includes regular instruction on the proper handling of material possessions by way of response to the poor; see e.g. 3.11; 6.34–5; 11.41; 12.33; 14.12–14, 33; 16.1–9; 19.8. For how Jesus’ instructions are put into practice by the early church in Luke's second volume, see e.g. the communion of goods (Acts 2.45–7 and 4.32–7), almsgiving (9.36; 10.2), hospitality (9.43; 10.48; 18.1–3; 28.1–2) and famine relief (11.28–30).