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.
Perhaps, Luke might have intended the audience to make a comparison with Alexander, if they knew the Jaddus story. If popular Hellenistic thought and Roman political propaganda portrayed contemporary Roman emperors on a par with Alexander, then Luke has elevated Jesus to a position greater than that of Alexander or any Roman caesar. Elsewhere in the Lukan Infancy Narratives one suspects implicit comparisons between Jesus and Roman emperors, especially Caesar Augustus, in regard to the special birth of Jesus with its accompanying signs and the great peace on earth which is brought by his coming.
Luke develops the theophanic experience in many ways. The most obvious is the addition of dialogue between Zechariah and the angel, a motif with no parallel in the Jaddus account. It is good that Luke has an angel, and not God, give the message, for that makes the human response of doubt and reservation appear far less blasphemous.
The additional material in the Lukan narrative makes the account resemble an old prophetic call narrative from the Old Testament. Evaluations of the prophetic call narrative format have discerned the following parts: divine theophany; prophetic commission; human reservation or denial of call; divine reassurance, and sign of prophetic call 8. This format may be observed in a number of Old Testament texts (Moses, Exod 3,1-12; Gideon, Judg 6,11-24.36-40; Isaiah, Isa 6,1-13; Jeremiah, Jer 1,4-10; Ezekiel, Ezek 1,13,11). When we hear Zechariahs words of reservation, we sense the continuity Lukes account has with this old format. If we outline the experience of Zechariah, we find that it includes the above-mentioned parts. The theophany begins with the notice, the "angel of the Lord appeared to him", Luke 1,11. Commission or message occurs in Luke 1,13-17. Human reservation is expressed in Luke 1,18, when Zechariah states that he and his wife are too old to bear children. This motif is comparable to the reservations of Abraham and Sarah in Gen 18,9-15 and the caution of Manoah and his wife