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Document Details :
Title: What Kind of a Sign are Vultures?
Subtitle: Luke 17,37b
Author(s): TOPEL, John
Volume: 84 Issue: 3 Date: 2003
The only consensus about the meaning of Jesus' proverb in Q, Matthew or Luke is that it is enigmatic. But closer attention to the trope itself and its literary context may give clues to its meaning in Luke 17. The two principal preoccupations of exegetes are 1) whether aetoi means eagles or vultures, and 2) how to define the literary context in which the proverb is to be read: does it refer to the coming day of the Son of Man (17,22-34) or of the last judgment (17,34-35)? This paper argues that aetoi here must mean vultures and the appropriate context for the interpretation of the proverb is the whole speech, for which its serves as the conclusion. There is a curious interplay between the Pharisees' 'When' (v. 20) and the 'Where?' (v. 37a) of the disciples. Attending to the polysemic possibilities of the proverb provides a meaning which knits the whole speech together.