Lamb, Gregory E."Sinfully Stereotyped: Jesus’s Desire to Correct Ancient Physiognomic Assumptions in the Gospel according to Luke," WW 37.2 (2017): 177–85.
This essay investigates research questions such as: How does the author of Luke’s Gospel depict the moral qualities of those possessing “undesirable” physical traits, and is this Lukan characterization commensurate with ancient physiognomic assumptions? Does the Lukan Jesus adopt the expected ancient physiognomic assumptions of his contemporaries regarding those possessing physical ailments or deformities or does Jesus’s attitude towards those with physical challenges stand in contradistinction to the attitudes of the status quo? How can we as pastors and church leaders be more sensitive to this important issue, prohibit such sinful stereotypes in our own congregations, and foster an every-member ministry by including those who possess immense spiritual gifts, but may suffer from physical challenges?
The thesis of this essay is that in Luke’s Gospel, the biblical writer explores the relationship between one’s outer physical appearance and inner moral character to reveal a great reversal in human stereotypical assumptions stemming from the ancient praxis of physiognomy. Jesus not only fails to comport with the first-century opinions of the status quo regarding the physically challenged of his day, but intentionally strives to correct ancient physiognomic assumptions toward these disabled, deformed, and disenfranchised characters.
Word & World (Lutheran Seminary)