Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Sacerdotal Concerns

Most scholars have recognized that Luke wrote to a real person with real concerns. Augustine in his Harmony of the Gospels first noted the sacerdotal concerns of Luke. Consequently one cannot too casually dismiss an argument that Luke addressed his writings to most excellent Theophilus, the High Priest. The sacerdotal concerns of Luke are apparent throughout his writings. The issues of the day of the later part of the Second Temple period feature questions about the resurrection, circumcision and the boundary markers of Judaism as well as questions of theology relating to almsgiving, repentance, angels and related issues all featured prominently in Luke-Acts. For instance only Luke tells us of the circumcision of the Messiah.

Luke's theology of repentance is very Jewish. Luke's emphasis on repentance is shown by those unique stories of men who changed their minds and ways in exemplary fashion: the prodigal son, the unjust steward, the unjust judge, Zacchaeus and the penitent thief. 'Teshuvah is a central concept in Jewish religious literature and may be said to express the essence of the religious and ethical ideal of Judaism.' There could be no remission of sins without repentance. Luke neither condemns the animal sacrificial system nor provides a theology of the cross as supported by the extensive analysis of Bart Ehrman of the pertinent relevant passages.

When one analyses the unique pericopes, one can clearly see the sacerdotal concerns of Luke. For instance, only in Luke does Jesus heal the servant of the High Priest, Jesus is presented as a prophet like Moses, not greater than Moses, and Jesus does not walk on water. Throughout Luke emphasizes that the power of God. On the contrary the theological content and the sacerdotal concerns within Luke-Acts forces us to seriously consider a pre-70 dating of Luke-Acts and the very real possibility that Luke wrote to the High Priest.


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