Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lucan Priority

The details of the various theories developed to solve the Synoptic Problem are set forth on Stephen Carlson’s .

I have wondered why Lucan priority is not given more consideration as a possibility. Anton Büsching set forth his Lucan priority theory in 1766; Locton in 1922 and Lindsey in 1973. I confess that I subscribe to Lucan priority with the Gospel of Luke being the first to appear in Greek with Matthew appearing prior thereto in Hebrew and later in Greek. Some days I think Mark is the middle player in the problem and other days I believe Mark was the last to appear on the scene. I also happen to think the problem is “intractable.” Wikipedia says “problems that are solvable in theory but can’t be solved in practice are intractable.”

My Theophilus Proposal states that Luke wrote his gospel to most excellent Theophilus, a man who served as High Priest from 37 to 41 C.E. Lucan priority is a natural byproduct of the proposal.

Wilheim Heitmuller concluded that Luke represents the earliest traditions in that Luke has no theology of the cross, no atonement theology. Considerable evidence has been assembled by Birger Gerhardsson that Luke is very much dependent upon Palestinian tradition. Adolf Schatter has shown that the text's character together with other indicators point to the author's provenance from the Jewish church.

The apostolic fathers believed that salvation was based on repentance and not solely on the ground of the death of Jesus on the cross. Robert Kraft has stated: “There is no indication in the Didache that an initial repentance connected with the idea of personal sinfulness for which Jesus' death atones was considered basic to the Christian life.”

In my humble opinion, the Theophilus Proposal with Lucan Priority in Greek allows us to date back to the earliest stage of the church the kind of lack of Pauline/Matthean/Marcan/Hebrews atonement theory that I believe must have been the view of the earliest church in Jerusalem. Otherwise, the Didache and the Ebionite data in the Pseudo-Clementina make no sense. I initially thought that the link would be evident in how the Gospel of Luke and the early church addressed the issue of repentance. This research has merely confirmed that repentance was more important in the early Church than the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. More work is necessary before one can say, as I have proposed, that there is a negative correlation between repentance and the efficacy of the atoning death on the cross.

No theory has explained the rewriting of the Hebrew MT of the outcome of the servant’s suffering in Isa. (LXX) 53:9a, 10-11b excising his sacrificial death and any notion of vicarious atonement. One synoptic writer used the LXX and consistent therewith has no atonement theology. Luke has no equivalent of the ransom saying or of Matthew's connection of Jesus' covenant blood with the remission of sins. Bart Ehrman has concluded that verses Lk 22:19b-20 was added by second century scribes. The other two synoptic writers also used the LXX but influenced by Paul included atonement theology. This is the gospel message and appropriately there are 11 instances of EUAGGELION (4 in Matthew, 7 in Mark, 0 in Luke) in the synoptics.

Those who work on the solution to the Synoptic Problem have not adequately addressed the historical theology issues. I suggest that until we understand the origin of ideas in the early church and the wealth of material from the early church we cannot begin to grasp the solution to the synoptic problem.

Copyrighted 2005


Post a Comment

<< Home