John Kilgallen, «The Importance of the Redactor in Luke 18,9-14», Vol. 79 (1998) 69-75
Regarding the story of Luke 18, 9-14 there is disagreement among exegetes as to the reason why, in Jesus' view, the Pharisee did not return home justified. In what did the Pharisee fail? This essay suggests that the answer to this question is to be found in the introductory verse Luke gives to his reader; v. 9 makes clear how Luke read his inherited material (more likely than not including v. 14b) and wanted his reader to understand it. Whereas vv. 10-14 had to do with both Pharisee and Publican, v. 9 turns the reader's attention to the Pharisee and to the reason all his good deeds did not bring him justification.
efforts, the toll collector moves from central character to a foil to the Pharisee 10.
Luke's opening to the parable and to the form of its assessments is obviously more than just a recital of time and place. The parable is told to (or against) certain (tinas) people 11. While the object of his remarks is rather general 12, the use of Pharisee in the parable, in a Gospel which is highly critical of Pharisees, makes one think they in particular are Luke's audience here.
What, however, is key in this Lucan introduction which might explain the judgement of Jesus on this Pharisee?
Verse 9, which introduces the parable and Jesus' judgements, is recognizably divisible into two parts: Jesus speaks to (against) those 1. who have confidence in themselves that (because 13) they are just and 2. who despise others. Is the first characteristic what makes the parable and its judgements intelligible?
Certainly there is a link, intentionally created, between the term "just" in this introductory verse and the term "being made just" used in the judgment of Jesus in v. 14a. Here redaction builds on tradition. The redactor makes sure that the reader knows that this group the redactor singles out in his verse is represented by the Pharisee of the parable, who serves to spell out more clearly, on behalf of those mentioned in the introductory verse, why they think they are just.
As noted above, it is hard to fault the Pharisee, and by virtue of the first half of the redactor's composition, those represented by the Pharisee. As the Pharisee's prayer is mirrored in respected prayers and attitudes in earlier Jewish tradition, so the redactor's use of "just" throughout his work suggests a very positive quality. Zachary and Elizabeth are called "just" (Luke 1,6), as is Simeon (2,25), certain resurrected (14,14; cf. also