R. Gnuse, «The Temple Theophanies of Jaddus, Hyrcanus, and Zechariah», Vol. 79 (1998) 457-472
A close reading of three accounts concerning theophanies experienced in the Temple (Ant 11,326-328, Ant 13,282-283, and Luke 1,5-23) implies that all three narratives share a common narrative format. Though it does not necessarily indicate that Luke used Josephus writings, this similarity suggests that both authors may have drawn upon a common format. Use of this format and specific variations added to it by Luke reflect significant theological themes imparted to the narrative by Luke, especially in regard to the identities of John the Baptist and Jesus.
It is a time of crisis for the people of God, and into the dark recesses of the temple comes the priest seeking the presence of God and hope or direction for his people. Outside a pensive crowd waits for the priest to emerge and give them encouragement for the future. Finally, the priest comes forth and gives the people cause to rejoice by informing them of the (perhaps unexpected) revelation he has obtained.
Three accounts appear to share this basic narrative plot: two accounts from the writings of Flavius Josephus, the experience of Jaddus the High Priest in Ant 11,326-328 and Hyrcanus the High Priest in Ant 13,282-283, and the experience of Zechariah the priest recorded in the Lukan Infancy Narratives in Luke 1,5-23. There are sufficient differences between these three narratives to conclude that Luke is not directly dependent upon Josephus or vice-versa. Yet there are haunting similarities which suggest the possibility that both Josephus and the author of Luke-Acts may have known and used a common narrative tradition. Hence, a comparison of these stories should not seek to discern one common literary or historical origin for the narrative, nor should an analysis seek to determine any literary dependence between Josephus and the author of Luke-Acts, but rather the narratives should be played against each other to discern how the two different authors may have used nuanced plot variations and motifs for literary and theological reasons. This author would suggest that both Josephus and the author of Luke-Acts may have adapted the story for their own literary and ideological agenda, but that the author of Luke-Acts may have crafted more symbolic twists in the plot for the sake of his theological message.
In his excellent work on Hellenistic apologetic historiography Gregory Sterling observes the common intellectual heritage shared by Josephus and the author of Luke-Acts as Hellenistic Jewish apologists for their respective communities, Jewish and Christian 1.