Luke 10:31: KATEBAINEN

Mark Goodacre M.S.GOODACRE at
Fri Jul 23 13:00:22 EDT 1999

It occurred to me recently that the way we read the Good Samaritan 
(Luke 10.25-37) depends partly on whether or not we see the priest 
walking towards Jerusalem or away from Jerusalem.  If he is on his 
way to Jerusalem he might be passing by on the other side because he 
is attempting to avoid corpse impurity -- he thinks the man may be 
dead and since he is on his way to the temple, he does not want to 
risk corpose impurity (Lev. 21.1-3).  This, at least, is the way that the 
parable is read by E. P. Sanders and others.

B-Greek is not, of course, the place to delve into possible meanings at 
a pre-Lucan stage but I am interested in whether Luke's text as we 
have it makes it clear that the priest is not walking towards Jerusalem, 
as the above interpretation would require.  Clearly the man in the ditch 
was on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho (KATEBAINEN APO 
IEROUSALHM EIS IERIXO, v. 30).  It is then said that the priest
KATEBAINEN the road (v. 31).  My instinct is to read this as 
implying that he, too, is going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.  Is this 
necessarily the case, in which case we can rule out the interpretation 
involving corpse impurity and the temple?  Or might KATABAINW 
be used more casually of travelling on a road?

Thanks for any help.

Dr Mark Goodacre                mailto:M.S.Goodacre at
  Dept of Theology                tel: +44 121 414 7512
  University of Birmingham     fax: +44 121 414 6866
  Birmingham  B15 2TT  United Kingdom
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