Publication Date

Spring 4-29-2011


School of Religion


Religion: Cross-Cultural Studies

Primary Subject Area

Religion, Biblical Studies; Jewish Studies; Theology


Luke 18:9-14, Luke, exposition, literary, exegesis, parable, interpreting parables, Pharisee, Pharisees, tax collector, themes in Luke, self-righteous, righteousness, righteous, unrighteousness, justification, dikaios, adikos, prayer, kingdom of God, temple, fasting, sinners, humbled, exalted, exalts himself will be humbled, humbles himself will be exalted, Lk. 18:9-14, Luke 18, Lk. 18, great reversal, Jewish, pharisaic, duties, Gospel of Luke


Biblical Studies | History of Religions of Eastern Origins | Jewish Studies | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


In the third Gospel of the New Testament, Luke consistently writes about the Pharisees and their piety pronouncing woes and judgments upon them. Representing the religious leaders of that day, they exalted themselves above everyone else and most of all, tax collectors, who are the epitome of sinners. However, the principle of the great reversal is a prominent theme in Luke’s Gospel, in which the exalted are humbled and the humble are exalted. Multiple times Jesus uses this principle to completely transform peoples’ mindset on who is greatest in the world.

This thesis will offer an extensive exposition on the well-known parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14, where the principle of the great reversal is most prominent. With the focus on Luke 18:9-14, this thesis will examine the literary structure of the parable as it fits into Luke’s progress in teaching theology throughout the whole Gospel. Having themes of prayer and kingdom of God surrounding this parable, righteousness and justification are the dominant factors that Luke addresses.