Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Was the author of Luke-Acts Jewish?

Hengel states “of all the non-Jewish writers of antiquity, Luke has by far the best knowledge of Judaism, its liturgy in the Temple and the synagogues, its customs and its parties, and on the whole reports them in an accurate and indeed positive ways.”[i] Therefore one can ask, if the author of Luke-Acts was so accurate, was it because he was Jewish?

Denova stated that the role of Paul in Acts “is to complete the ingathering of the exiles of the Diaspora and to bring hope of salvation to god-fearing Gentiles.”
[ii] Paul therefore travels to the synagogues of the Diaspora. The Apostolic Council “dictates that salvation for Gentiles is found in God’s promises to Israel.”[iii] Luke “accomplishes this by not offering a Law-free mission to the Gentiles by by offering Gentiles specific ties that bind them to the Law.”[iv] “Outside the context of synagogues, there is no direct mission to Gentiles in Acts that results in the establishment of a Gentile Christian community.”[v] This is true because the message of Paul “only has meaning within the context of Judaism.”[vi] Denova concludes her book with these words: “Luke-Acts, we may conclude on the basis of a narrative-critical reading, was written by a Jew to persuade other Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah of Scripture and that the words of the prophets concerning ‘restoration’ have been ‘fulfilled.’”[vii]

[i] Hengel, Martin, Zur urchristlichen Geschichtsschreibung,(ET Acts and the history of earliest Christianity, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), 64f.
[ii] Denova, Rebecca I., The Things Accomplished Among Us: Prophetic Tradition in the Structural Pattern of Luke-Acts, (Sheffield, 1997), 198.
[iii] Denova, 199.
[iv] Denova, 199.
[v] Denova, 199.
[vi] Denova, 199.
[vii] Denova, 230-231.

copyrighted 2005


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