I Alone Am Left: Elijah and the Remnant in Luke-Acts

Bibliographic information:

Otten, Jeremy D. I Alone Am Left: Elijah and the Remnant in Luke-Acts. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2021.


In examining Luke’s multiple appeals to the figure of Elijah through the lens of a literary motif, this study not only provides clarity to a fascinating but often misunderstood element of the Lukan narrative, but also provides a helpful model for understanding an even more perplexing question in Lukan studies, namely, the presentation of the nation of Israel. No NT author takes more interest in the figure of Elijah than Luke, who may allude to the Elijah-Elisha narratives as many as 40 times. While the other Synoptics appear to limit interest in Elijah to typology with John the Baptist, Luke appeals to the OT prophet not only in connection with John, but also with Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the other disciples. However, critical scholarship has failed to reach a consensus on the nature or significance of this interest in Elijah. This study pushes past questions of typology and one-to-one correlation that have stalled scholarly discussion on the topic, examining the theological significance of the figure of Elijah as a literary motif in Luke-Acts. It is argued that, in drawing on a common association between Elijah and the OT concept of remnant (cf. 1 Kgs 18:22; 19:10, 14), Luke appeals to Elijah at key moments in the narrative in order to develop his remnant theology. For Luke, as in the days of the prophets, the concept of remnant holds in tension God’s irrevocable promises to Israel with the widespread rejection of God’s new work of salvation; the faithfulness of a few with a hope for the nation as a whole; and the particular election of Israel with the message of salvation for all nations.


Wipf and Stock (website: https://wipfandstock.com/9781666701357/i-alone-am-left/)