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The Magnificat and the Song of Hannah: Comparing Social Conditions

Le Magnificat et le cantique d’Anne. Comparaison entre conditions sociales
Cristina Buffa
p. 377-392

Résumés

Le cantique d’Anne a été souvent vu comme le modèle du Magnificat. En prenant en compte le corps du cantique de Marie (Lc 1, 51-53) et celui du cantique d’Anne (1 Rgn 2, 4-8), cet article compare les conditions sociales spécifiques qui les imprègnent. L’objectif est de montrer comment ces deux textes prennent le ton des hymnes sociaux, des hymnes contre les abus de pouvoir et l’injustice ou encore des hymnes qui recourent à l’imagerie de l’inversion et emploient un langage socio-politique.

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Texte intégral

I would like to thank Professor Gian Luigi Prato (University of Roma III) and Professor Daniel Gerber (University of Strasbourg) for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. My gratitude also goes to my PhD supervisor, Professor Eberhard Bons (University of Strasbourg), who has encouraged me to publish this work, and to Doctor Jill Husser Munro, who has proofread my English.

  • 2 Although the question of the origin and the structure of the Magnificat has received much attention (...)
  • 3 For fuller discussion of this aspect, see R. C. Tannehill, “The Magnificat as a Poem,” Journal of B (...)
  • 4 In this regard, see D. Gerber, “Le Magnificat, le Benedictus, le Gloria et le Nunc dimittis. Quatre (...)
  • 5 See S. Hultgren, “4Q521 and Luke’s Magnificat and Benedictus,” in: F. García Martínez (ed.), Echoes (...)

1The Magnificat has greatly influenced our culture and continues to arouse interest. Approaching this text, many scholars have drawn different conclusions.2 Some of them, for example, have analyzed certain features of poetic form3 in the Magnificat. Others have studied its function as a hymn in the wider context of Luke–Acts.4 In recent studies, researchers have shown similarities between the Magnificat and the Dead Sea Scrolls.5

  • 6 Similarly, A. Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to S. Luke (Int (...)
  • 7 E.g., see P. Haupt, “The Prototype of the Magnificat,” Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen G (...)

2In this paper, we would like to turn our attention to a well-debated aspect. The relation of Mary’s Song to its scriptural precedents has long been observed.6 The most frequent parallel is the Song of Hannah. From the early twentieth century to today, scholars have suggested that the Magnificat is modelled upon the canticle of Hannah.7

  • 8 For an interesting discussion of sanctity in the Magnificat, see R. Meynet, L’Évangile de Luc (Rhét (...)

3The Magnificat and the Song of Hannah share important themes such as joy, salvation,8 God’s sanctity, pride. However, the major characteristic of these two texts is the presence of specific social groups. In fact, both Mary’s canticle (Luke 1:51‑53) and Hannah’s canticle (1 Kgdms 2:4‑8) are characterized by social nuances, enumerating divine actions in favour of specific vulnerable groups.

4In the following paragraphs, we will try to draw attention to similar and divergent aspects of these social groups in the two canticles.

I. The μεγάλα of God

5In the Magnificat, the presence of specific social groups is already introduced in v. 49.

  • 9 Unless otherwise noted, all translations of the Magnificat are taken from Green, The Gospel of Luke(...)

6From a Lucan perspective, in order to implement his plan of salvation, God did not choose a rich woman of high social rank, but chose a humble girl from a little village: a “servant” (δούλη).9 Directing his attention to Mary, he intervened in her favour in a very specific way, he “has done great things” (ἐποίησεν μεγάλα, v. 49).

  • 10 See Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 90.
  • 11 F. Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, vol. 1 (Commentaire évangélique de la Bible 26), Vaux-sur-Seine, É (...)
  • 12 J. Nolland, Luke 19:20 (Word Biblical Commentary 35a), Dallas, Word Books, 1993, p. 70.
  • 13 Stein, Luke, p. 92.
  • 14 See A. Niccacci, “Magnificat: una ricerca sulle tonalità dominanti,” Liber Annuus. Studium Biblicum (...)
  • 15 See Niccacci, “Magnificat,” p. 72.
  • 16 E.g., the liberation from the Egyptian Exodus in Deut 10:21; Ps 106:21LXX.
  • 17 E.g., Ps 126:2‑3LXX.

7This expression has been largely debated. According to Bovon, it points to the acts of deliverance and victories that God won for his people and for his chosen one.10 According to Bassin, it refers to “the privilege that Mary experiences to be used by God as the mother of the Messiah”.11 Underlining the substantival use of μεγάλα “great things,” which does not occur elsewhere in Luke’s writings, Nolland affirms that it “is no true plural but a stereotypical reflection of OT language of God saving intervention”.12 Such terminology seems to recall similar wording in Deut 10:21 (ἐποίησεν ἐν σοὶ τὰ μεγάλα). “Whereas in Deuteronomy this refers to God’s having worked his wonders for Israel in leading them out of Egypt, here the ‘great things’ refers to the virginal conception of Jesus, who, in his ministry, would bring about the events described in Luke 1:51‑55”.13 Continuing this line of thought, Niccacci compares the μεγάλα of the Magnificat with the μεγάλα described in Deut 10:21 and in Ps 106:21LXX.14 Thus, he argues that Mary’s canticle is to be interpreted in the light of the other “saving events” of the OT.15 In fact, the syntagma ἐποίησεν τὰ μεγάλα of Luke 1:49 makes a clear reference to the “great things” accomplished by God in the story of salvation of his people, the great collective liberation of the Exodus,16 but also liberation from exile in Babylon and the return to the Holy Land.17

  • 18 W. Grundmann, “Μέγας,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 4, 1967, p. 529‑541 (p. 531). Si (...)
  • 19 See Green, The Gospel of Luke, p. 103.

8Nevertheless, a brief analysis of the subject of these μεγάλα, namely ὁ δυνατός “the mighty one,” may be helpful in understanding what Luke actually meant in v. 49. As an attribute of God, this adjective “invests μεγάλα with its meaning as that which is astonishing, which is beyond understanding”.18 Mary speaks in the first person (“for me”), but her celebration of God’s mighty acts embraces God’s acts on behalf of “the lowly,” “the hungry,” “Israel” (v. 52‑54).19

1. The βραχίων of God

  • 20 Similarly, Nolland, Luke 19:20, p. 71; Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 90.
  • 21 Similarly, Nolland, Luke 19:20, p. 71.
  • 22 E.g., Valentini, Il Magnificat, p. 153.
  • 23 See Niccacci, “Magnificat,” p. 74.
  • 24 See H. Schlier, “Βραχίων,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 1, 1964, p. 639‑640.

9Another allusion to a specific social condition is made in Luke 1:51: “he has shown strength with his arm” (ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ). This verse picks up the ἐποίησεν μοι μεγάλα of v. 49,20 and constitutes the first part of the core of the Magnificat in social terms. Furthermore, it gives voice to the surprising reversal of human social position present in v. 51‑53. The syntagma ἐποίησεν κράτος is not natural Greek,21 but a Semitism.22 In fact, it never occurs thus in the Bible,23 apparently reflecting the Hebrew idiom ʻāśāh ḥayil rendered in the LXX by ποίεω δύναμιν.24

  • 25 See Schlier, “Βραχίων,” p. 639.
  • 26 See Schlier, “Βραχίων,” p. 639.

10In Luke 1:51 ἐποίησεν κράτος is followed by ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ. Βραχίων appears in the NT only in the expression “the arm of God” and only in quotations from the LXX: Luke 1:51; John 12:38; Acts 13:17.25 Zĕrôaʻ in the Hebrew Bible or βραχίων in the LXX express the mighty works of God.26

  • 27 See e.g., Stein, Luke, p. 93; J. Ernst, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Regensburger Neues Testament), R (...)
  • 28 L. T. Johnson – D. J. Harrington, The Gospel of Luke (Sacra Pagina Series 3), Collegeville, The Lit (...)
  • 29 D. L. Bock, Luke 1:19:50 (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament 3a), Grand Rapids, MI, (...)

11The reference to God’s arm in the Magnificat is, therefore, a symbol of his power,27 as well as a “dramatic anthropomorphism”.28 Thus described, God’s acts are compared to those of human beings, providing a visible demonstration of his authority.29

  • 30 In this regard, Schlier says: “This arm of God miraculously put forth for the salvation of his peop (...)
  • 31 Deut 4 :34 ; Exod 6 :1.6 ; 15 :16 ; Deut 3 :24 ; 7 :19 etc. See Schlier, “Βραχίων,” p. 640.

12The statement ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ marks a transition from what God has done for Mary to what he has done in history,30 locating the Magnificat in the redemption of his people through the wonderful exodus from Egypt.31

  • 32 According to Mìnguez, βραχίων and κράτος represent “material strength,” in strong opposition to “me (...)
  • 33 This particular meaning is strengthened by combination with the term κράτος.

13The reference to God’s powerful arm is not a “faded metaphor” of God’s power,32 but a concrete image, which conveys the idea of military power.33 Moreover, the term βραχίων takes on wider significance when considered in the salvific context of the Exodus. The “mighty arm” of the Lord brings the poor of the earth out of misery, as he once brought Israel out of Egypt. The “arm of God” intervenes in favour of pious individuals, considered individually.

2. The imagery of the θρόνος

  • 34 H. G. Liddell – R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996, p. 412. This verb (...)
  • 35 Ύπερήφανος is a substantive-adjective, which refers to the man who wants to do without God and who (...)
  • 36 Bovon notes that διασκορπίζω denotes God’s punishments in regards of the proud; see Bovon, L’Évangi (...)
  • 37 Thus, Stein, Luke, p. 93.
  • 38 Διανοίᾳ is singular according to Greek idiom, an idiom that English renders with the plural though (...)
  • 39 According to Valentini, διανοίᾳ καρδίας can be rendered “i progetti, le trame del cuore dei superbi (...)

14As we have seen in the previous paragraphs, Luke 1:49,51 already allude to specific social groups. The second part of v. 51 further clarifies to whom these “divine social deeds” are directed. In fact, Luke says that God “has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts” (διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν). The main meaning of the compound verb διασκορπίζω is “to scatter abroad”.34 In this context, it indicates the defeat of the “the proud” (ὑπερηφάνοι35), a victory consisting in the annihilation of the enemy forces.36 This happens in their “inmost thoughts”37 (διανοίᾳ καρδίας), literally the “thoughts of their heart,”38 that is in the projects and most secret plans of the proud.39

  • 40 The verb καθαιρέω (“to remove”), usually of things rather than people in the LXX, is common in Luke (...)
  • 41 The expression καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων directly recalls the θρόνους ἀρχόντων καθεῖλεν of Sir 1 (...)
  • 42 O. Schmitz, “Θρόνος,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 3, 1966, p. 160‑167 (p. 162).
  • 43 Schmitz, “Θρόνος,” p. 162.
  • 44 In the NT, this is the only real reference to earthly thrones. See in this regard, Schmitz, “Θρόνος(...)
  • 45 The rulers in this verse are identified with the proud of 1:51 and the rich of 1:53. See Stein, Luk (...)
  • 46 Wĕkissē’ kābôd does not forcedly refer to a “royal throne,” but it may point to an “honorable seat (...)
  • 47 According to Auffret, one of the major themes of the Song of Hannah is YHWH elevating the poor and (...)

15Nevertheless, it is by means of v. 52 that we actually enter into the heart of the extraordinary social core of Mary’s canticle. This verse portrays the bringing down of the powerful from their thrones and the lifting up of the humble from their lowliness (καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων). The first term used to refer to this revolutionary event is καθεῖλεν. Καθαιρέω signifies “to put down by force,” “to destroy,” “to bring down,” “to remove.”40 The expression ἀπὸ θρόνων “from the thrones” makes its meaning more specific.41 In the OT the throne is the privilege of the king (Gen 41:40), but the word is also used of the seat of the queen mother (3 Kgdms 2:19).42 Thus, the throne is a symbol of the power of the sovereign, but also of his fairness and justice. “The OT conception of the throne takes its imagery from the earthly throne.”43 In the Magnificat, the throne mentioned is an earthly throne,44 that of rulers45 who tend to exploit every resource at their disposal. Moreover, this word is attested in the plural to emphasize the special attention God pays toward every unjust situation affecting mankind, and his willingness to intervene by reversing social dynamics. The term θρόνος also occurs in the Song of Hannah (v. 8). In this context, it is characterized by a completely different meaning from that in the Magnificat. First of all, in Hannah’s canticle θρόνος is singular and is better specified by the genitive δόξης, translation of the Hebrew wĕkissē’ kābôd.46 This is not a generic throne and not even, as in the Magnificat, the throne of the powerful, but a “throne of glory,” which God reserves for the poor, enabling them to sit with “the mighty of the peoples” (καθίσαι μετὰ δυναστῶν λαῶν, v. 8).47 In the Magnificat, however, God does not “provide thrones” but overthrows the powerful from them.

16Mary’s canticle and Hannah’s canticle share the sudden intervention of the Lord in favour of those who are disadvantaged socially: the poor in 1 Kgdms 2:8 and in Luke 1:52. In both texts, the term θρόνος refers to an earthly throne. In the Song of Hannah, though, this term has a double meaning. God reserves a throne of glory for the poor, but also for “the kings” (τοῖς βασιλεῦσιν) and “the anointed” (χριστοῦ) of v. 10.

II. “Reversal of expectations”48 in Luke 1:51‑53

  • 48 This is an expression used by Simons, “The Magnificat: Cento, Psalm or imitatio?,” p. 41.
  • 49 W. Schmithals, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Zürcher Bibelkommentare. Neues Testament 3/1), Zürich, Th (...)
  • 50 See Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 91.

17The themes of reversal present explicitly in the so-called “social core” of the Magnificat (Luke 1:51‑53) have already been observed. For instance, in v. 51‑53, Schmithals notices a “re-evaluation of all values”.49 In this regard, Bovon affirms that the social transformation described therein is desired and performed by God, as injustice reigns among men.50

  • 51 See H. Klein, Das Lukasevangelium (Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament 1/3), Gö (...)
  • 52 See Miller, “A Different Kind of Victory,” p. 207‑208.

18Klein, for his part, stresses the fact that in v. 51‑53, God intervenes in this world by changing it, thus generating a revolutionary transformation in social relations.51 More recently, Miller has studied the reversal themes of Luke 1:51‑53 in comparison to 4Q427 7 i–ii.52 In the following paragraphs, we would like to examine some terms, motifs and dynamics occurring in Luke 1:51‑53, comparing them to similar ones in 1 Kgdms 2:4‑8.

1. Δυνάσται and δυνατοί

  • 53 Grundmann compares the idea of social reversal in the Magnificat of Luke 1:52 with two passages of (...)
  • 54 Concerning this verse, Green remarks: “Mary’s Song is not a revolutionary call to human action but (...)
  • 55 See Nolland, Luke 19:20, p. 72.
  • 56 “Mary’s confession of God as ho dynatos is an anticipation of the Gospel principle: ‘The things imp (...)
  • 57 Marshall considers the δυνάσται of v. 52 as “rulers” or “court officials;” see Marshall, The Gospel (...)
  • 58 According to Nolland, “those of low estate” are equivalent to “the hungry” of v. 53; see Nolland, L (...)
  • 59 See Marshall, The Gospel of Luke, p. 84.
  • 60 Bock notes that “the humble are those oppressed by these rulers;” see Bock, Luke 1:19:50, p. 156.

19In Luke 1:52,53 the verb καθεῖλεν, “(the Lord) has brought down,” is placed in initial position and creates a strong sense of expectation.54 In fact, the reader / hearer of the Magnificat asks himself what the object of such definitive action accomplished by God is, and finds his answer in the following term: “the powerful” (δυνάστας). The δυνάσται are to be identified with “the proud” of v. 51 and “those who have become rich” of v. 53.55 Δυνάσται stands in contrast with the “the mighty one” (ὁ δυνατός) of v. 49,56 either because God takes care of the humble, or because, unlike the δυνάσται57 who oppress them, he puts his strength at their service. The δυνάσται are also a negative group that oppress “the lowly” (ταπεινοί).58 The Magnificat offers an image of a God who is not content to downsize those who enjoy a privileged lifestyle (the δυνάσται) in human terms,59 but who, in his mercy, acts concretely in favour of the oppressed (the ταπεινοί).60

20One of the clearest parallels between the Magnificat and the Song of Hannah is Luke 1:52 and 1 Kgdms 2:4. These verses share the image of a God who weakens the powerful and raises up the weakest from their disadvantage. This is a tangible sign of the Lord’s prodigious intervention on behalf of mankind.

  • 61 Unless otherwise noted, all translations of the Song of Hannah are taken from 1 Reigns, B. A. Taylo (...)
  • 62 It is noteworthy to notice that the aorist καθεῖλεν, which accompanies the word θρόνος, can be take (...)

21Furthermore, both in Mary’s canticle and in Hannah’s canticle there are two antithetical categories: “the powerful” and “the weak.” In Luke 1:52 the δυνάσται are in contrast with the ταπεινοί, while in 1 Kgdms 2:4 the δυνατοί are opposed to the ἀσθενοῦντες. In both cases, “the powerful” are characterized by a particular symbol of power, which distinguishes them from their subordinates: the θρόνος “throne” in the Magnificat and “the bow of the powerful” (τόξον δυνατῶν)61 in the Song of Hannah. Both the aforementioned verses imply the idea of social reversal operated by God, with one remarkable difference. In Luke 1:52, it takes on eschatological and soteriological significance, in relation to the figure of Jesus.62

2. Ὑψόω and ταπεινόω63 and their semantic field

  • 63 For a brief overview on the usage of ὑψόω and ταπεινόω in the Bible and in Greek Literature, see M. (...)
  • 64 G. Bertram, “Ὑψόω κτλ.,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 8, 1972, p. 606‑618 (p. 606).
  • 65 See Bertram, “Ὑψόω κτλ.,” p. 607.

22The Magnificat describes God’s capacity to bring about significant social changes by “lowering and raising” the human condition. A verb fully expressing this concept is ὑψόω, which occurs in the active form in Luke 1:52. In the OT, this term designates “exaltation,” often with reference to Israel.64 Sometimes this exaltation contains an element of joy; at other times it means drawing close to God.65

  • 66 See W. Grundmann, “Ταπεινός κτλ.,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 8, 1972, p. 1‑26 (p. (...)
  • 67 Grundmann, “Ταπεινός κτλ.,” p. 8.

23If divine action exalts, it also brings down. The verb that perfectly conveys this idea is ταπεινόω. In the OT, it means “to bow down”, “to make low,” “to humble”.66 “Of special significance are the many statements in which God is the subject of action. That God lays low the high and mighty is part of his work in history as experienced by Israel, as is also his choosing and exalting of the lowly”.67

24In the Song of Hannah, both the verb ταπεινόω and its antithetical equivalent ὑψόω are attested: ὑψώθη κέρας μου ἐν θεῷ μου, “my horn was exalted in my god” (v. 1); ταπεινοῖ καὶ ἀνυψοῖ, “(The Lord) brings low and raises on high” (v. 7); καὶ ὑψώσει κέρας χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ, “and will exalt the horn of his anointed” (v. 10). In v. 1, the verb ὑψόω is in the passive form and refers to the joy pervading Hannah. In v. 7, we find ταπεινόω as well as ἀνυψόω, a compound of ὑψόω. By means of the combination of these two verbs, the duality of divine action is described, changing situations, “lowering and raising.” God, in fact, brings about a reversal that affects the relations of power and socio-political structures in the most profound manner.

  • 68 See e.g., Tannehill, “The Magnificat as a Poem,” p. 273; Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 89.
  • 69 This term has been interpreted variously. According to Nolland, it can be translated “afflicted sta (...)
  • 70 “Lowliness is sometimes used in Israel’s Scriptures with reference to the humiliation of barrenness (...)

25In the Magnificat, even though there is no occurrence of the verb ταπεινόω, we encounter words related to its root, such as ταπείνωσιν (v. 48) and ταπεινούς (v. 52).68 Mary praises God for having raised her from ταπείνωσις69 (“lowliness”).70 Moreover, “(God) has lifted up the lowly” (ταπεινοί), that is those of lowly social condition.

  • 71 The OT motif of exalting the lowly and humbling the lofty occurs in a new formulation in Matt 23:12 (...)

26As the Song of Hannah before it, the Magnificat presents, to a lesser extent, the motif of “lowering and raising,”71 employing terms which belong to the semantic field of ὑψόω and ταπεινόω.

3. The motif of wealth and poverty72

  • 72 For an interesting overview on poor and rich in the Gospel of Luke, see Bassin, L’Évangile selon Lu (...)

27Luke 1:53 is an explicit echo of 1 Kgdms 2:5. Both these texts are characterized by the motif of poverty and wealth. Moreover, they depict two opposing social categories, the rich and the poor: πλουτοῦντας vs πεινῶντας (Luke 1:53) and πλήρεις ἄρτων vs οἱ πεινῶντες (1 Kgdms 2:5). Once again, God intervenes and changes the fate of man, reversing it in the following way: the rich become poor and the poor become rich. There is, therefore, a change in economic condition and social relations. The poor are no longer the object of contempt, nor are they isolated. From being marginalized in society, they become the privileged beneficiaries of God’s benevolence. The rich, on the other hand, experience weakness and poverty.

  • 73 As Hauck and Kasch have underlined, Lucan material deals with the rich (Luke 6:24; 12:16; 14:12; 18 (...)
  • 74 Hannah’s canticle does not use the word “poor” but the allusion to the hungry evokes the same idea. (...)
  • 75 This syntagma is almost a literal echo of Ps 106:9LXX. In this regard, see Bassin, L’Évangile selon (...)
  • 76 Similarly, Mark 4:25; Luke 19:26.

28In both the Song of Hannah and the Magnificat,73 there is no positive evaluation of wealth. In fact, in these texts we find implicit allusions to the fleetingness and relativity of earthly wellbeing. God is considered to be the only bearer of prosperity and wealth. 1 Kgdms 2:5 exhorts the people to repent and denounce the violence and abuses to which the πεινῶντες “the hungry” are subjected.74 Luke 1:53 says: “he has sent the rich away empty” (καὶ πλουτοῦντας ἐξαπέστειλεν κενούς75). This is a very significant expression that bears witness to a change in socio-economic status and that recalls the following NT passage: “For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him” (ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται· ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ, Matt 13:12).76

  • 77 Further on, in 1 Kgdms 2:10 there is another allusion to the motif of richness: “and let not the we (...)
  • 78 This word occurs some 100 times in the LXX and its Hebrew equivalent may be ‘ānî, dal, or ’ebyōn. S (...)

29The theme of wealth and poverty is developed further in 1 Kgdms 2:7‑8, where there are two antithetical verbs: πτωχίζω (“to make poor”) and πλουτίζω (“to make rich”).77 In 1 Kgdms 2:8 we find another allusion to the motif of poverty by means of the adjective πτωχός.78

30In both the Song of Hannah and the Magnificat, the poor find their situation utterly transformed by God, since he has a design for the marginalized of society. The motif of the rescue of the poor and the weak to the detriment of the rich and powerful balances each other in the social core of both texts (Luke 1:51‑54 and 1 Kgdms 2:4‑8).

4. Low–high / high–low dialectics

31One last observation that can be made concerning the Magnificat and the Song of Hannah is the dialectic of movement, which entirely pervades the two texts.

32A bottom-up movement characterizes the opening line of Hannah’s prayer. Thanks to God’s intervention, Hannah’s joyful heart is raised up from earthly worries (v. 1). On the other hand, a high–low dynamic characterizes v. 4 and 5. God acts on earth and towards humans, by making the weak powerful and the powerful weak, as well as by enriching the poor and impoverishing the rich. V. 6 and 7 are distinguished by a double movement, which is, at the same time, a top–down movement and a bottom-up one: “(the Lord) puts to death and brings to life” (θανατοῖ–ζωογονεῖ, v. 6); “he brings down to Hades and brings up” (κατάγει–ἀνάγει, v. 6); “he makes poor and he makes rich” (πτωχίζει–πλουτίζει, v. 7); “he brings low and raises on high” (ταπεινοῖ–ἀνυψοῖ, v. 7). This duality of movement reflects the dual aspects of divine power. In fact, God is able to bring life and death, poverty and wealth, to lead downward (to Hades) or upward (to heaven).

33V. 8 is marked by a bottom–up movement: “he raises up the needy from the ground and lifts the poor from the dunghill” (ἀνιστᾷ ἀπὸ γῆς πένητα καὶ ἀπὸ κοπρίας ἐγείρει πτωχόν). This conveys the idea that God overturns man’s fate. Thanks to divine intervention, the weak and the poor can improve their circumstances. In v. 10 there is a top–down movement: “The Lord will make his adversary weak” (κύριος ἀσθενῆ ποιήσει ἀντίδικον αὐτοῦ).

34Finally, the Song of Hannah ends with the same high–low dynamics of v. 1: “He will give strength to our kings and will exalt the horn of his anointed” (δίδωσιν ἰσχὺν τοῖς βασιλεῦσιν ἡμῶν καὶ ὑψώσει κέρας χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ, v. 10).

35As far as the dialectic of movement is concerned, we can see that the concluding verse of the Song of Hannah is linked to the first one. This is very relevant, as it indicates that the initial condition of Hannah and the reference to kings and the anointed are equivalent. Without God’s intervention, neither a humble woman, nor indeed the king or the powerful are able to improve their fate. The text itself reinforces this concept: “because not by strength is a man mighty” (ὅτι οὐκ ἐν ἰσχύι δυνατὸς ἀνήρ). The presence of this low–high / high– low dialectic in the Song of Hannah bears witness to tireless divine action on earth and to man’s response to his Lord. Furthermore, it makes this song a text of exceptional dynamism, both in the verbs and in the meaning which they bear.

  • 79 “In these verses Mary is declaring that God has overturned society in favor of the oppressed;” see (...)

36This low–high / high–low dynamic can be partially found also in the Magnificat. As in 1 Kgdms 2:1, a bottom-up movement characterizes its opening line: μεγαλύνει / ἠγαλλίασεν. On the contrary, a high–low dynamic accompanies v. 2 (ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης αὐτοῦ). God looks with favour on the lowliness of his servant and intervenes, radically changing her life. In v. 51‑53,79 he scatters the proud, brings down the powerful, and sends the rich away empty (high–low dialectic): διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν (v. 51), καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων (v. 52), πλουτοῦντας ἐξαπέστειλεν κενούς (v. 53). Thus, he rescues the humble and the poor (low–high dynamics): ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς (v. 52), πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν (v. 53).

37Therefore, the social core of the Magnificat is characterized, as in 1 Kgdms 2:7–8, by a double movement: a top-down movement and a bottom-up one. It indicates God’s concrete intervention in human lives.

38Finally, Luke 1:54 mentions God’s promise to Abraham (high–low dynamic): ἀντελάβετο Ἰσραὴλ παιδὸς αὐτοῦ, μνησθῆναι ἐλέους. In this verse, God is considered the “rescuer” of “Israel his son,” not forgetting a promise made, but showing mercy.

39As far as the dialectic of movement is concerned, we can notice that the concluding verse of the Magnificat, unlike that of the Song of Hannah, is not linked to the first one.

40Nevertheless, the presence of a low–high / high–low dialectics in both texts concretely express the continuous response of God to human need.

III. Concluding remarks

41In this paper, we have looked at Mary’s canticle (Luke 1:51‑53) and Hannah’s canticle (1 Kgdms 2:4‑8), comparing specific social circumstances, which entirely pervade them.

42First, we have noticed that, in Luke 1:49.51, specific social conditions are already introduced by means of the expressions ἐποίησεν μεγάλα (“has done great things”) and ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ (“he has shown strength with his arm”). Not only does such terminology refer to the radical change made by God in the life of a simple “servant” (δούλη), but it also recalls the “great deeds” accomplished by God in the story of salvation, such as the Exodus.

43Second, we have paid attention to the imagery of the “throne” (θρόνος) present both in Luke 1:52 and in 1 Kgdms 2:8. Undoubtedly, this is a symbol of power, as well as concrete sign of God’s sudden intervention in favour of those who are disadvantaged.

44Third, we have examined some terms, motifs and dynamics occurring in Luke 1:51–53, by comparing them to similar ones occurring in 1 Kgdms 2:4‑8: the negative category of “the powerful” (δυνάσται and δυνατοί), the motif of “lowering and raising” employing the verbs ὑψόω (“to exhalt”) and ταπεινόω (“to make low”) and their semantic field, the motif of wealth and poverty.

45Finally, we have noted the low–high / high–low dialectic in the narrative: the continuous response of God to man’s needs.

46In the light of what we have discussed so far, we can begin to appreciate how the Magnificat and the Song of Hannah take on the tones of social hymns, hymns against the abuse of power and injustice, hymns employing strong reversal imagery and socio-political language.

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Notes

2 Although the question of the origin and the structure of the Magnificat has received much attention from the scholars, it will not concern us here. As for the origin, see e.g., D. Jones, “Background and Character of Lukan Psalms,” The Journal of Theological Studies 19/1, 1968, p. 19‑50 (p. 43); J. A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke I–IX (The Anchor Bible 28), Garden City (NY), Doubleday, 1970, p. 361‑362; A. Passoni Dell’acqua, “Il genere letterario dell’inno e del canto di ringraziamento nell’Antico e nel Nuovo Testamento e negli Inni di Qumrân (1QH),” Ephemerides Liturgicae 90, 1976, p. 72‑80 (p. 79); B. GRIGSBY, “Compositional Hypothesis for the Lucan ‘Magnificat’. Tensions for the Evangelical,” The Evangelical Quarterly 56/3, 1984, p. 159‑172 (p. 163). As for the structure, see e.g., J. Dupont, “Le Magnificat comme discours sur Dieu,” Nouvelle revue théologique 112, 1980, p. 321‑343 (p. 329‑330); A. Valentini, Il Magnificat, Genere letterario, struttura ed esegesi (Supplementi alla Rivista Biblica 16), Bologna, EDB, 1987, p. 117.

3 For fuller discussion of this aspect, see R. C. Tannehill, “The Magnificat as a Poem,” Journal of Biblical Literature 93/2, 1974, p. 263‑275; D. Mìnguez, “Poética generativa del Magnificat,” Biblica 61, 1980, p. 55‑77; R. Buth, “Hebrew Poetic Tenses and the Magnificat,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 21, 1984, p. 67‑83.

4 In this regard, see D. Gerber, “Le Magnificat, le Benedictus, le Gloria et le Nunc dimittis. Quatre hymnes en réseau pour une introduction en surplomb à Luc-Actes,” in : D. Marguerat (ed.), La Bible en récits. L’exégèse biblique à l’heure du lecteur. Colloque international d’analyse narrative des textes de la Bible, Lausanne (mars 2002) (Le Monde de la Bible 48), Genève, Labor et Fides, 2003, p. 353‑367 ; ID., “D’une identité à l’autre. Le Magnificat, le Benedictus, le Gloria et le Nunc dimittis dans le rôle de passeurs,” in : C. Clivaz – A. Dettwiler – L. Devillers – E. Norelli (ed.), Infancy Gospels. Stories and Identities (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 281), Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2011, p. 374‑389. — In his study, Simons proposes the Magnificat as an example of προσωποποιία, considering it “a rhetorical masterpiece with a complex internal structure,” see R. C. Simons, “The Magnificat: Cento, Psalm or imitatio?,” Tyndale Bulletin 60, 2009, p. 25‑46 (p. 43). As for a rhetorical analysis of Luke 1–2, see also ID., Rhetoric and Luke 1–2: A Rhetorical Study of an Extended Narrative Passage, Ph.D. dissertation, Bristol, University of Bristol, 2006, p. 175‑206.

5 See S. Hultgren, “4Q521 and Luke’s Magnificat and Benedictus,” in: F. García Martínez (ed.), Echoes from the Caves. Qumran and the New Testament (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 85), Leiden, Brill, 2009, p. 119‑132; A. Miller, “A Different Kind of Victory: 4Q427 7 i–ii and the Magnificat as Later Developments of the Hebrew Victory Song,” in: C. A. Evans – H. D. Zacharias (ed.), “What Does the Scripture Say?” Studies in the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity, vol. 1: The Synoptic Gospels (Library of New Testament Studies 469), London, T&T Clark, 2012, p. 192‑211.

6 Similarly, A. Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to S. Luke (International Critical Commentary: on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments 28), Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1901, p. 30‑31; F. Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc (1,1–9,50) (Commentaire du Nouveau Testament 3a), Genève, Labor et Fides, 1991, p. 83; R. H. Stein, Luke (The New American Commentary 24), Nashville, Broadman, 1992, p. 89; J. B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (The New International Commentary on the New Testament 2), Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans, 1997, p. 101.

7 E.g., see P. Haupt, “The Prototype of the Magnificat,” Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft 58, 1904, p. 617‑632 (p. 617); K. H. Rengstorf, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Das Neue Testament Deutsch 3), Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1937, p. 22; E. F. Sutcliffe, “The Magnificat and the Canticle of Hannah,” Scripture 1/3, 1946, p. 56‑58 (p. 57); Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke I–IX, p. 359; N. Lohfink, “Psalmen im Neuen Testament. Die Lieder in der Kindheitsgeschichte bei Lukas,” in: K. Seybold E. Zenger (ed.), Neue Wege der Psalmenfor schung (Herders biblische Studien 1), Freiburg, Herder, 1994, p. 105‑125 (p. 112); J. E. Cook, “The Magnificat. Program for a New Era in the Spirit of the Song of Hannah,” Proceedings of the Eastern Great Lakes and Midwest Biblical Societies 15, 1995, p. 35‑44 (p. 38) ; W. Radl, Der Ursprung Jesu. Traditionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zu Lukas 1–2 (Herders biblische Studien 7), Freiburg, Herder, 1996, p. 314; G. Schneider, Das Evangelium nach Lukas, Kapitel 110 (Ökumenischer Taschenbuchkommentar zum Neuen Testament 3/1), Gütersloh, Mohn, 1992, p. 57; R. S. Wallace, Hannah’s Prayer and Its Answer. An Exposition for Bible Study, Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans, 2002, p. 30; K. Seybold, “Der Hanna-Psalm (1 Sam 2, 1‑10),” in: ID., Studien zu Sprache und Stil der Psalmen (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 415), Berlin, De Gruyter, 2010, p. 191‑206 (p. 205); M. Stern, “Hannah’s Song of Praise as Paradigm for the ‘Canticle of the Virgin’ (Magnificat),” in: J. T. Green – M. M. Caspi (ed.), In the Arms of Biblical Women (Biblical Intersections 13), Piscataway (NJ), Gorgias Press, 2013, p. 319‑337 (p. 319).

8 For an interesting discussion of sanctity in the Magnificat, see R. Meynet, L’Évangile de Luc (Rhétorique sémitique 8), Pendé, Gabalda, 20113, p. 77‑78.

9 Unless otherwise noted, all translations of the Magnificat are taken from Green, The Gospel of Luke, p. 97.

10 See Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 90.

11 F. Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, vol. 1 (Commentaire évangélique de la Bible 26), Vaux-sur-Seine, Édifac, 2006, p. 109.

12 J. Nolland, Luke 19:20 (Word Biblical Commentary 35a), Dallas, Word Books, 1993, p. 70.

13 Stein, Luke, p. 92.

14 See A. Niccacci, “Magnificat: una ricerca sulle tonalità dominanti,” Liber Annuus. Studium Biblicum Franciscanum 49, 1999, p. 65‑78 (p. 72).

15 See Niccacci, “Magnificat,” p. 72.

16 E.g., the liberation from the Egyptian Exodus in Deut 10:21; Ps 106:21LXX.

17 E.g., Ps 126:2‑3LXX.

18 W. Grundmann, “Μέγας,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 4, 1967, p. 529‑541 (p. 531). Similar linguistic usage can be found in Deut 34:11 (ποιῆσαι […] τὰ θαυμάσια τὰ μεγάλα).

19 See Green, The Gospel of Luke, p. 103.

20 Similarly, Nolland, Luke 19:20, p. 71; Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 90.

21 Similarly, Nolland, Luke 19:20, p. 71.

22 E.g., Valentini, Il Magnificat, p. 153.

23 See Niccacci, “Magnificat,” p. 74.

24 See H. Schlier, “Βραχίων,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 1, 1964, p. 639‑640.

25 See Schlier, “Βραχίων,” p. 639.

26 See Schlier, “Βραχίων,” p. 639.

27 See e.g., Stein, Luke, p. 93; J. Ernst, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Regensburger Neues Testament), Regensburg, F. Pustet, 19936, p. 69 ; Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, p. 110.

28 L. T. Johnson – D. J. Harrington, The Gospel of Luke (Sacra Pagina Series 3), Collegeville, The Liturgical Press, 1991, p. 42.

29 D. L. Bock, Luke 1:19:50 (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament 3a), Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Books, 1994, p. 153.

30 In this regard, Schlier says: “This arm of God miraculously put forth for the salvation of his people, has shown its power and fulfilled the ancient promise in the Birth of the Messiah (Luke 1:51). The words which previously referred to the praise of creation, and which in the LXX are related to the redemption out of Egypt, are now used to magnify the fulfilment in the birth of the Messiah” (Schlier, “Βραχίων,” p. 640).

31 Deut 4 :34 ; Exod 6 :1.6 ; 15 :16 ; Deut 3 :24 ; 7 :19 etc. See Schlier, “Βραχίων,” p. 640.

32 According to Mìnguez, βραχίων and κράτος represent “material strength,” in strong opposition to “mental strength” (διάνοια and καρδία); see Mìnguez, “Poética generativa del Magnificat,” p. 60.

33 This particular meaning is strengthened by combination with the term κράτος.

34 H. G. Liddell – R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996, p. 412. This verb frequently occurs in the LXX and often refers to God scattering Israel’s enemies; see Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 91.

35 Ύπερήφανος is a substantive-adjective, which refers to the man who wants to do without God and who does not have any respect for his commandments. See BASSIN, L’Évangile selon Luc, p. 110.

36 Bovon notes that διασκορπίζω denotes God’s punishments in regards of the proud; see Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 91.

37 Thus, Stein, Luke, p. 93.

38 Διανοίᾳ is singular according to Greek idiom, an idiom that English renders with the plural thoughts;” see Bock, Luke 1:19:50, p. 156. Bovon translates this expression by “par la pensée de leurs cœurs ;” see Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 91.

39 According to Valentini, διανοίᾳ καρδίας can be rendered “i progetti, le trame del cuore dei superbi;” see Valentini, Il Magnificat, p. 184.

40 The verb καθαιρέω (“to remove”), usually of things rather than people in the LXX, is common in Luke (12:18; 23:53; Acts 13:19). See I. H. Marshall, The Gospel of Luke. A Commentary on the Greek Text (The New International Greek Testament Commentary), Exeter, Paternoster, 1978, p. 84. Similarly, Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, p. 111.

41 The expression καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων directly recalls the θρόνους ἀρχόντων καθεῖλεν of Sir 10:14. See Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 92.

42 O. Schmitz, “Θρόνος,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 3, 1966, p. 160‑167 (p. 162).

43 Schmitz, “Θρόνος,” p. 162.

44 In the NT, this is the only real reference to earthly thrones. See in this regard, Schmitz, “Θρόνος,” p. 164.

45 The rulers in this verse are identified with the proud of 1:51 and the rich of 1:53. See Stein, Luke, p. 92.

46 Wĕkissē’ kābôd does not forcedly refer to a “royal throne,” but it may point to an “honorable seat in the circle of important people;” see A. Grund, “‘Aus der Asche erhöht er den Armen, um ihn unter die Edlen zu setzen.’ (1 Sam 2,8). Ethische Implikationen des Psalms der Hannah,” in: U. Volp – F. W. Horn – R. Zimmermann (ed.), Metapher - Narratio – Mimesis – Doxologie. Begründungsformen frühchristlicher und antiker Ethik (Kontexte und Normen neutestamentlicher Ethik 7; Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 356), Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2016, p. 339‑353 (p. 349).

47 According to Auffret, one of the major themes of the Song of Hannah is YHWH elevating the poor and making them inherit a throne of glory; see P. Auffret, “Et d’un trône de gloire il fait hériter: étude structurelle du cantique d’Anne,” Old Testament Essays 8/2, 1995, p. 223‑240 (p. 238).

48 This is an expression used by Simons, “The Magnificat: Cento, Psalm or imitatio?,” p. 41.

49 W. Schmithals, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Zürcher Bibelkommentare. Neues Testament 3/1), Zürich, Theologischer Verlag, 1980, p. 31.

50 See Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 91.

51 See H. Klein, Das Lukasevangelium (Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament 1/3), Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006, p. 114. Similarly, Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, p. 112.

52 See Miller, “A Different Kind of Victory,” p. 207‑208.

53 Grundmann compares the idea of social reversal in the Magnificat of Luke 1:52 with two passages of Greek Literature: Xenophon, Hellenica VI, 4, 23 and Euripides, The Troyan Women 612‑613; see W. Grundmann, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (Theologischer Handkommentar zum Neuen Testament 3), Berlin, Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1961, p. 65‑66. In this regard, see also ERNST, Das Evangelium nach Lukas, p. 70.

54 Concerning this verse, Green remarks: “Mary’s Song is not a revolutionary call to human action but a celebration of God’s action. Indeed, God’s dramatic work is against those who would take power into their own hands, according to this Song (v. 52)” (Green, The Gospel of Luke, p. 100).

55 See Nolland, Luke 19:20, p. 72.

56 “Mary’s confession of God as ho dynatos is an anticipation of the Gospel principle: ‘The things impossible [adynatos] for men are possible [dynatos] with God’ (18:27);” see R. E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah. A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, New York, Doubleday, 1993, p. 361.

57 Marshall considers the δυνάσται of v. 52 as “rulers” or “court officials;” see Marshall, The Gospel of Luke, p. 84.

58 According to Nolland, “those of low estate” are equivalent to “the hungry” of v. 53; see Nolland, Luke 1–9:20, p. 72.

59 See Marshall, The Gospel of Luke, p. 84.

60 Bock notes that “the humble are those oppressed by these rulers;” see Bock, Luke 1:19:50, p. 156.

61 Unless otherwise noted, all translations of the Song of Hannah are taken from 1 Reigns, B. A. Taylor tr., in: A. Pietersma – B. G. Wright (ed.), A New English Translation of the Septuagint, Oxford, University Press, 2014, p. 250.

62 It is noteworthy to notice that the aorist καθεῖλεν, which accompanies the word θρόνος, can be taken as a prophetic aorist, portraying the ultimate eschatological events tied to Jesus’ final victory. In this regard, see Bock, Luke 1:19:50, p. 155.

63 For a brief overview on the usage of ὑψόω and ταπεινόω in the Bible and in Greek Literature, see M. Wolter, Das Lukasevangelium (Handbuch zum Neuen Testament 5), Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2008, p. 104.

64 G. Bertram, “Ὑψόω κτλ.,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 8, 1972, p. 606‑618 (p. 606).

65 See Bertram, “Ὑψόω κτλ.,” p. 607.

66 See W. Grundmann, “Ταπεινός κτλ.,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 8, 1972, p. 1‑26 (p. 6).

67 Grundmann, “Ταπεινός κτλ.,” p. 8.

68 See e.g., Tannehill, “The Magnificat as a Poem,” p. 273; Bovon, L’Évangile selon saint Luc, p. 89.

69 This term has been interpreted variously. According to Nolland, it can be translated “afflicted state;” see Nolland, Luke 19:20, p. 69. Gerber renders it “petitesse ;” see Gerber, “D’une identité à l’autre,” p. 386. We prefer the meaning “lowliness”. In this regard, see Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke I–IX, p. 356; Marshall, The Gospel of Luke, p. 78; Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, p. 42; Stein, Luke, p. 91; R. C. Tannehill, Luke (New Testament Commentaries), Nashville, Abingdon, 1996, p. 55; Green, The Gospel of Luke, p. 97.

70 “Lowliness is sometimes used in Israel’s Scriptures with reference to the humiliation of barrenness (e.g. Gen 16:11; 29:32; 1 Sam 1:11). This is not the case here. […] The term Luke uses belongs to the semantic domain of the poor in Luke–Acts, a domain associated with low status honor;” see Green, The Gospel of Luke, p. 103.

71 The OT motif of exalting the lowly and humbling the lofty occurs in a new formulation in Matt 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14. See Bertram, “Ὑψόω κτλ.,” p. 608.

72 For an interesting overview on poor and rich in the Gospel of Luke, see Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, p. 115‑119.

73 As Hauck and Kasch have underlined, Lucan material deals with the rich (Luke 6:24; 12:16; 14:12; 18:25; 21:1) and being rich (πλουτεῖν: 1:53; 12:21), but not with riches. According to the evangelist, being rich is a hindrance to discipleship (18:22f., cf. 12:21) and wealth is a negative good (8:14); see F. Hauck – W. Kasch, “Πλοῦτος κτλ.,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 6, 1969, p. 318‑332 (p. 328).

74 Hannah’s canticle does not use the word “poor” but the allusion to the hungry evokes the same idea. In this regard, see Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, p. 111.

75 This syntagma is almost a literal echo of Ps 106:9LXX. In this regard, see Bassin, L’Évangile selon Luc, p. 111. Furthermore, it can be compared to Luke 6:24‑26; 12:13‑21; 16:25; 21:1‑4. See Stein, Luke, p. 94.

76 Similarly, Mark 4:25; Luke 19:26.

77 Further on, in 1 Kgdms 2:10 there is another allusion to the motif of richness: “and let not the wealthy boast in his wealth” (καὶ μὴ καυχάσθω πλούσιος ἐν τῷ πλούτῳ αὐτοῦ).

78 This word occurs some 100 times in the LXX and its Hebrew equivalent may be ‘ānî, dal, or ’ebyōn. See F. Bammel, “Πτωχός,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 6, 1969, p. 885‑915 (p. 888).

79 “In these verses Mary is declaring that God has overturned society in favor of the oppressed;” see Tannehill, Luke, p. 55.

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Cristina Buffa, « The Magnificat and the Song of Hannah: Comparing Social Conditions », Revue des sciences religieuses [En ligne], 92/3 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2019, consulté le 22 avril 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/rsr/5091 ; DOI : 10.4000/rsr.5091

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Cristina Buffa

EA 4377 – Faculté de théologie catholique – Université de Strasbourg

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