Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


The followers of Jesus boldly proclaimed the resurrection. Luke, like the prophets, had to authenticate his message. Luke did not have institutional authentication and he was an amateur. Luke was an outsider who had no basis for claiming authority. He therefore applied reason in order to persuade and ultimately convince most excellent Theophilus.

Meade asked the question, "Why do none of the gospel writers identify themselves, though at least in some cases (Luke 1:1-4; John 21:24) they are well known to their readers? Because it is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1), and no other attribution is needed. Once again attribution is linked with (authoritative) tradition."

Luke was writing at a time when the tradition was not yet authoritative to a person who expected Luke would follow the two witness rule and the Jewish style of writing with its chiastic structure. As noted earlier, Luke has no institutional authority. Luke emphasizes the centrality of Jerusalem because ideas have to be expressed in terms that are intelligible to their audience. The approach adopted by Luke works because Luke was known to Theophilus.

Consistent with Meade's observation, the word 'euaggelion' does not appear in the body of the text of Luke and John. The word 'gospel' [euaggelion] appears 77 times throughout the New Testament in places such as 2 Cor. 8:18 and most of the Pauline epistles and also including the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark. 2 Cor. 8:18 is evidence that Paul knows about the gospel. Eusebius states: "It is actually suggested that Paul was in the habit of referring to Luke's gospel whenever he said, as if writing of some Gospel of his own: 'According to my gospel.' Rom. ii 16; xvi 25; 2 Tim. ii 8." That the word 'euaggelion' does not appear in the body of the text of Luke and John is evidence of their early publication and the fact that 'euaggelion' did not become associated with the writings we now know of as the gospels until sometime after the publication of the first two books.

Luke was an amateur with no institutional authority. Luke is probably laughing at those who assert you need to be a professional to comment on his writings. I may be an amateur but I understand that the first rule of interpretation is, “What did the author intend his original readers to understand?” This is my two cents.

Copyrighted 2006


Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

Well said, Richard.

7:15 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Luke, whoever that was, was clearly no amateur. His theology, as pointed out by Conzelmann, is profound.

My 1.5 cents worth. ;-)

9:15 AM


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