Board index Bible

What is the Bible? Why do we say it's God's Word? How did we get it? What makes it so special?
Forum rules
This site is for dialogue, not diatribe. And, by the way, you have to be at least 13 years old to participate. Plus normal things: no judging, criticizing, name-calling, flaming, or bullying. No put-downs, etc. You know the drill.

Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

Postby Black Dreds » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:16 pm

Can we talk about who wrote the Gospel of Luke?
Black Dreds
 

Re: Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:15 pm

Sure. Since you want to discuss it, let's start with Luke.

I will give my case here. I would request enough respect from you that you give your case also, and then we will discuss and critique.

Traditionally, the author of the Gospel of Luke (and its companion Acts) was Luke, a Gentile, a physician, and the traveling companion of Paul (Col. 4.14) on two missionary expeditions. It would indicate a few observations:

    * Greek was probably Luke’s first language.
    * He was scientifically trained according to the standards of his era.
    * Luke was not an eyewitness to the account he writes in his Gospel.

The books are both anonymous, so we have to infer the most reasonable conclusion based on the evidence we have from history and the linguistics we observe from the text.

Reasons to consider Luke as the author:

1. There are 4 early-church records that Luke is the author: Irenaeus (AD 180), the Muratorian fragment (180ish), P75 (the Bodmer manuscript with the attribution "According to Luke," around 200), and Tertullian (207). In addition, Justin Martyr (AD 160) speaks of a memoir of Jesus written by a follower of Paul (Dialogues 103:19). Every evidence we have points to Luke as the author.

2. No copies of the Gospel exist without the attribution to Luke (p75, Muratorian fragment, Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, etc.). There is no other author's name ever offered, suggested, or considered. Therefore, from the records we have, the the testimony from the early church is unanimous in its attributing the Gospel to Luke.

3. There are dozens of technical medical terms in the Gospel, consistent with and giving evidence to a physician as the author. The evidence points to someone like Luke, in agreement with the testimony of the early Church.

4. The Greek in the Gospel of Luke has a high quality consistent with an educated author who's first language is Greek. The evidence points to someone like Luke, in agreement with the testimony of the early Church.

5. His knowledge of the geography and customs of Palestine seems limited, showing us that he's probably not a Palestinian or a Jew, consistent with the view of Luke as the author.

6. He claims not to have been an eyewitness (Lk. 1.2), consistent with the view of Luke as the author.

7. Though probably not a Jew, he seems to have been at least a little familiar with OT literary traditions (things like the priesthood, genealogies, births from mothers unable to give birth, etc.) and Hellenistic literary techniques (such as a poetic and dramatic approach to historiography). These are consistent with a Gentile traveling with a Pharisee and interviewing Jewish eyewitnesses.

Given the options we have, the evidence impressively points directly to Luke as the author of Luke. There is no evidence from the first century that the authorship of Luke was ever in doubt.

Now, please present your case, and then we can begin our critique and discussion. Thanks.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5925
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

Postby Black Dreds » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:23 am

> I will give my case here. I would request enough respect from you that you give your case also, and then we will discuss and critique.

I will comment on each point as I read them, asking questions for clarity and providing refutation where needed. I hope that will suffice for a counter argument.

> Traditionally, the author of the Gospel of Luke (and its companion Acts) was Luke, a Gentile, a physician, and the traveling companion of Paul (Col. 4.14) on two missionary expeditions. It would indicate a few observations:

There are some reasons to doubt that the author of Luke-Acts was the companion of Paul. In Forged by Bart Ehrman, as well as some works of other scholars, the case is made that these works were written specifically to make the reader convinced of a first person or eyewitness author. Some of the issues include the use of the first person 'we' and the theological differences between authentic Pauline letters and the Luke-Acts texts. Overall the case is not settled as to the author being the Luke referenced by Paul. And the letters that reference Luke are themselves suspect.

> Greek was probably Luke’s first language.

Agreed. But this is not a piece of evidence in either support or denial of Luke's authorship.

> He was scientifically trained according to the standards of his era.

Could you provide the specifics of this? What terms does he use that any other person educated enough to get work as a scribe could not have used?

> Luke was not an eyewitness to the account he writes in his Gospel.

Of course not given the accepted date of the work. He could not have been. Especially if he was a companion of Paul who also was not a witness to the Jesus narrative. But I'm not sure why you list this here. Im impressed to see it readily accepted, but it seems more an evidence against the authorship of Luke-Acts that are written in a way as to convey an eyewitness account.

> The books are both anonymous, so we have to infer the most reasonable conclusion based on the evidence we have from history and the linguistics we observe from the text.

Agreed with one caveat. If any author is to be inferred, the sole reasoning cannot be that they are the most likely from a group of unlikely candidates. There must be sufficient evidence to positively ascribe authorship beyond "tradition says Luke and I don't see anyone else, so Luke it is"

> Reasons to consider Luke as the author:

> There are 4 early-church records that Luke is the author: Irenaeus (AD 180), the Muratorian fragment (180ish), P75 (the Bodmer manuscript with the attribution "According to Luke," around 200), and Tertullian (207). In addition, Justin Martyr (AD 160) speaks of a memoir of Jesus written by a follower of Paul (Dialogues 103:19). Every evidence we have points to Luke as the author.

I'm sure you count this list as pretty good evidence. You even listed it at the top of your Reasons section. But what I see is a couple of the fragments of the books include the "according to" line and some Christian theologians, all 130+ years after the death of Jesus agree that because the Gospel says it is, it is. These aren't evidence to anyone who doesn't already believe the Gospels to be true. The point I'm trying to convey is the the Gospel itself isn't evidence for the Gospel, and people who are already invested in the Gospels have a clear bias and cannot be counted as evidence. Not only that, but they seem to not have any more information on them than we do. No other accounts or any actual witnesses.

> No copies of the Gospel exist without the attribution to Luke (p75, Muratorian fragment, Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, etc.). There is no other author's name ever offered, suggested, or considered. Therefore, from the records we have, the the testimony from the early church is unanimous in its attributing the Gospel to Luke.

The simple fact that it was accepted without question by believers isn't evidence in support of the claim. And again, "no one else took credit" is not strong enough to ascribe authorship to Luke.

> There are dozens of technical medical terms in the Gospel, consistent with and giving evidence to a physician as the author. The evidence points to someone like Luke, in agreement with the testimony of the early Church.

This might be an actual evidence that the Physician companion of Paul, Luke, wrote the text. But what are the terms? Why are they beyond that of someone educated high enough works as a scribe? And if they are beyond the education of a scribe, why use them in a work that is specifically meant to be read to the illiterate masses? More information on this is required.

> The Greek in the Gospel of Luke has a high quality consistent with an educated author who's first language is Greek. The evidence points to someone like Luke, in agreement with the testimony of the early Church.

The evidence points to an educated scribe, probably with Greek as a primary language. This is so broad as to completely negate the connection you are trying to draw to Luke. And again, the Church didn't keep any originals or any other accounts or anything else, their acceptance of the author simply because of the "according to" line and their bias in this area discounts their opinion completely.

> His knowledge of the geography and customs of Palestine seems limited, showing us that he's probably not a Palestinian or a Jew, consistent with the view of Luke as the author.

Consistent with anyone not from Palestine. The connection to Luke here is so big a stretch as to be absolutely unwarranted.

> He claims not to have been an eyewitness (Lk. 1.2), consistent with the view of Luke as the author.

Consistent with everyone apparently. There are no witness accounts at all. Why do you use these incredibly broad statements as somehow inclusive of or evidence for Luke being the author? By the same logic I can insert any biblical name from the NT and they would be plausible options for the author.

> Though probably not a Jew, he seems to have been at least a little familiar with OT literary traditions (things like the priesthood, genealogies, births from mothers unable to give birth, etc.) and Hellenistic literary techniques (a poetic and dramatic approach to historiography). These are consistent with a Gentile traveling with a Pharisee and interviewing Jewish eyewitnesses.

Again, your connection at the end of such a broad group with such a specific person (A Gentle traveling with a Pharisee) is odd. An educated scribe, speaking Greek, in that time and place, could very likely have knowledge of both Jewish tradition and Hellenistic writing devices without ever having heard of Jesus, let alone be so specific as "a Gentile traveling with a Pharisee and interviewing Jewish eyewitnesses."

> Given the options we have, the evidence impressively points directly to Luke as the author of Luke. There is no evidence from the first century that the authorship of Luke was ever in doubt.

I know you feel you have presented a great case for Luke as the author of Luke-Acts. I have pointed out why I disagree. What I see are appeals to the tradition of a biased "church," a list of incredibly broad groups that you want desperately to tie to a specific person, some highly dubious references in possibly fraudulent letters of Paul, and a belief that since there are no other candidates it must be Luke. No one that is not already invested in Luke being the author would be convinced by these things.
Black Dreds
 

Re: Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:25 am

> I will comment on each point as I read them, asking questions for clarity and providing refutation where needed. I hope that will suffice for a counter argument.

No, that's not what I asked for. I've had the discussion a dozen times, and I never get a case of non-Lukan authorship. I'm not sure there is one. All I ever get is piecemeal critique of my case, which I know isn't bulletproof, but it is substantial and stronger than anything else I've seen (because I NEVER get the contrary case, except once someone gave me a contrived thing of how Luke was copied from Josephus. I investigated it and found out it didn't hold any water at all.). I'm quite disappointed that you can't even give me a case.

So here once again I get no case, just critique. Sigh. I'll keep reading, such as it is, but it's not the respect I requested.

> There are some reasons to doubt that the author of Luke-Acts was the companion of Paul. ... these works were written specifically to make the reader convinced of a first person or eyewitness author. ... Some of the issues include the use of the first person 'we' and the theological differences between authentic Pauline letters and the Luke-Acts texts. Overall the case is not settled as to the author being the Luke referenced by Paul.

First of all, the whole point of pseudonymy would be to convince an unsuspecting reader of authority. That's a given. The writing style, as I mentioned, fits very well with a Gentile scholar whose first language is Greek, who is a physician, and who fits the description of the man who accompanied Paul. Again, to my dismay, what you have presented doesn't provide a case against Luke, just calls the obvious choice into the field of "Hmm, I wonder."

Second, you would have to attribute the sudden onset of the "we" passages" to conspiracy and manipulation, which I think is quite out of keeping with the evidence of the authenticity and integrity of the book of Acts. You said, "Some of the issues include the use of the first person 'we' ...," but there was no elaboration or evidence of why this is a problem. I can't weigh your evidences if you don't present any.

Third, the issue of "theological differences" strikes me as odd. Luke's Gospel is not theological in nature, nor is it intended to be. It is self-acclaimed as the story of Jesus from eyewitness sources, not any kind of a theological treatise or address. I'm hardly aware of any theology in it, and certainly none that is contradictory to Paul. So you need to be more specific and give me the details. Where are these theological differences?

As to Acts, the story of the book picks up less than two months after the resurrection (long before the development of Christian theology) and walks us to about AD 63 or so. The theology was see is:

    * The resurrection is the important thing (Acts 2, 3, 4, 5, 10), in perfect harmony with Paul (Acts 13.26-37; 1 Cor. 15)
    * Jesus is the messiah prophesied in the Old Testament (Acts 2, 3, 4, 5.42; 7), in perfect harmony with Paul (Acts 9.20; 13.23-27; 17.2-3)
    * Repentance and belief is the appropriate response to hearing the gospel (Acts 2; 5.31; 8.22; 10), in perfect harmony with Paul (Acts 13.3-41; 16.31; 17.30).

My question is probably obvious at this point: what theological differences?

> "He was scientifically trained according to the standards of his era." Could you provide the specifics of this?

Luke uses an abundance of medical terms, commensurate with his being a doctor. The terminology is unique in the biblical record. “Eyewitnesses” (1.2) is autoptai (autopsy), for seeing with one’s own eyes; “Carefully investigated” in 1.3 is a word Galen uses for the investigation of symptoms; 1.9 has “burn incense,” used by medical writers for fumigating herbs; 1.24: Luke has almost as many words for pregnancy and barrenness as Hippocrates; “Swathing bands” (2.7), a term used frequently in medical works; “Taken” with a “great fever” (Lk. 4.38); “full of sores”; “ Palsied paralytic” (5.18); “in good health” and “sick” (5.31); “in great pain” (16.20-25); “great drops of blood” (22.44). These are the ones I bothered to write; there are so many more I got tired of cataloguing them.

> "Luke was not an eyewitness." I'm not sure why you list this here.

Only stating the facts of the case. Every piece of information and evidence we have points in Luke's direction. He never claims to be an eyewitness, but only a researcher. His Gospel doesn't read like the account of an eyewitness, but more like a report, commensurate with the identification of someone like Luke as the author.

> If any author is to be inferred, the sole reasoning cannot be that they are the most likely from a group of unlikely candidates.

Agreed. I never suggested that the most reasonable pursuit logically leads us to the circle of unlikely candidates. My point is that since the author doesn't self-identify, we have to follow the evidence we have at hand, all of which happens to point to Luke. Neither logic nor necessity take us in Luke's direction. Consistent, early, unanimous testimony (the Church Fathers) takes us in Luke's direction, the style of the book confirms Luke as a substantial possibility, and no competing evidence for another author, or even any doubt about Luke's authorship leads us heavily in Luke's direction.

> These aren't evidence to anyone who doesn't already believe the Gospels to be true.

The issue at hand is not "Are the Gospels true," but instead, "Is Luke the likely author?" Irenaeus, the Muratorian Fragment, the Bodmer Papyrus, and Tertullian all lead us in Luke's direction, and nothing leads us in any other direction.

> The simple fact that it was accepted without question by believers isn't evidence in support of the claim

This is unsubstantiated. At what point can you claim that it was "accepted without question"? Where did that come from, and can you even begin to support it? First of all, there was a chain of custody about biblical matters:

    * The Apostle John to Ignatius to Poylcarp to Irenaeus to Hippolytus to Sinaiticus, which attributes it to Luke.
    * The Apostle Peter to Mark to (Avilius, Anianus, Primus, Kedron) to Justus to Pentaenus, to Clement to Origen to Pamphilus to Eusebius to Sinaiticus, which attributes it to Luke.
    * The Apostle Paul to Linus to Clement to (Evaristus,Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Hyginus) to Irenaeus to Justin Martyr, to Tatian to Sinaiticus, which attributes it to Luke.

Second, manuscripts lasted several centuries. Thanks to the large number of ancient manuscripts recovered from Egypt (a half million pages of text from Oxyrhynchus alone), we have today a lot of information about how in late antiquity books were produced, copied, studied, and circulated. One of the most amazing things we have learned is how long books were in use before being discarded. Some 53 libraries from antiquity have been recovered more or less intact. Of these, six yielded important chronological information. We have learned that books in antiquity remain in use anywhere from 150 to 400 years. The evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls is similar. Many Bible scrolls had been in use for at least 200 years before the community center at Qumran, near the Dead Sea, was destroyed by the Romans in the 1st century AD. Some of our best-preserved Greek Christian Bibles, which date to 4th and 5th centuries AD, were in use for 400-600 years before being retired. The 4th-century Codex Vaticanus (B) was re-inked in the 10th century, which shows that it was still being read and studied some 600 years after it was produced.

This evidence suggests that the original NT writings were in circulation for a long time, being read, studied, and copied before being discarded or destroyed. The original copy of a biblical book would most likely have been used to make countless new copies over a period of several centuries, leading to still more favorable conditions for careful preservation of its contents. Even if we assume only the minimum longevity (150 years), this means that many of the original NT books would still have been in circulation at the beginning of the 3rd century. Indeed, writing at the end of the 2nd century, Latin church father Tertullian (around AD 160-220) claims that several of Paul’s original letters were still available for inspection in the cities to which they had been sent. Manuscript evidence uncovered in the last century suggests that Tertullian knew what he was talking about.

> And again, the Church didn't keep any originals or any other accounts or anything else, their acceptance of the author simply because of the "according to" line and their bias in this area discounts their opinion completely.

See above.

> Why do you use these incredibly broad statements as somehow inclusive of or evidence for Luke being the author?

Because the character of the book points towards a person like Luke, consistent with the unanimous attributions of the ancients that it was Luke. My point is that, even though these are general and could point in many directions, they don't point away from Luke. Every evidence we have either points to Luke or affirms the possibility of Luke. Not a single thing takes us in a different direction.

> I have pointed out why I disagree.

Yes, but regrettably, even despite my specific request, you have not given a case that leads me in any other direction. What is your case in answer to the question: "Who wrote Luke? Where or to whom does the evidence point us?"

> No one that is not already invested in Luke being the author would be convinced by these things.

This is a denial of the evidence at hand. If we started with a blank piece of paper and started researching, by the middle of the paper evidence would be pointing us toward Luke. By 2/3 of the way down, we would see general items that allowed the conclusion of Luke and nothing pointing us elsewhere. By the time we got to the bottom, we would see that everything points us in Luke's direction and nothing points us to any other author, that Luke was ever doubted, or that there's anything in the book or in history that would make us doubt the attribution of Luke.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5925
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

Postby Black Dreds » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:33 pm

> No, that's not what I asked for. I've had the discussion a dozen times, and I never get a case of non-Lukan authorship. I'm not sure there is one. All I ever get is piecemeal critique of my case, which I know isn't bulletproof, but it is substantial and stronger than anything else I've seen. I'm quite disappointed that you can't even give me a case.

To be fair, your asking for me, not a historian focused on the first century near East, to make a case for an author of an anonymous text for which there is no reliable evidence whatsoever. That would be akin to me being dissatisfied if you couldn't make a case that someone wrote Genesis, especially someone other than Moses.

> First of all, the whole point of pseudonymy would be to convince an unsuspecting reader of authority.

Which is exactly why the Church would support the idea of Luke as author, sight unseen.

> Due to the character limit and your insistence of being presented with a case against Luke rather than having your case for Luke refuted I have asked for some information from people much more informed than myself. I believe the following addresses the majority of your points, but I am absolutely willing to continue discussion if it does not.

Credit to NerdyReligionProf:

First, I do not think there is evidence that someone named Luke, who was a companion of Paul's, wrote Luke-Acts. Acts has a section that implies eyewitness narration, but that is no reason to accept such claims at face value. That's a standard way of authorizing a source in ancient literature, and the implication is not carried through the narrative consistently. There's also the issue that Acts' "Paul" looks a lot more like a Paul who was (re)written by someone who got his knowledge of Paul from some of Paul's own letters (this is an approach to Acts that has been gaining a lot of steam, pioneered especially by Richard Pervo and, in a more idiosyncratic book not primarily focused on this issue, Joseph Tyson; Ryan Schellenberg recently published an excellent article in the Journal of Biblical Literature related to this: "The First Pauline Chronologist?: Paul's Itinerary in the Letters and in Acts"). Even if one does not accept this specific understanding of Acts (i.e., its writer knowing Paul through his letters), it remains the case that the writer re-imagines Paul in alignment with his own literary, social, and theological program - just like, e.g., the writer of 1 Timothy or (differently) the Acts of Paul did. Thus the Paul of Acts goes to Jews and then only later to Gentiles, he doesn't write letters, he gives a fundamentally different chronology of his conversion/call than Paul does in Galatians 1-2, and so on.

Second, such "unanimous early church evidence" does not really help since all of it can be explained as later Christian writers synthesizing information they glean from Luke-Acts and Paul's letters (especially writings that very few non-confessional scholars think that Paul actually wrote) to elaborate their own interests in characters and writings that were beloved to them and also to attribute an authoritative/legitimizing writer to Luke and Acts. In other words, a signature phenomenon of how many 2nd century and later Christian writers discuss texts that eventually became the NT gospels is to attribute prestigious writers (e.g., people imagined to have been followers-of or otherwise close to Jesus or Paul) to those writings (even though they are formally anonymous) in order to authorize those writings. And they also relentlessly connect those attributed writers to lines of tradition, leadership, and succession that, in various ways, go back to (or as close-as-possible-to) Jesus and then down to them. This is an efficient way to [A] legitimize those writings as the authoritative ones, [B] to assert their monopoly on legitimate interpretation of those writings (e.g., "John, the disciple of Jesus, wrote GJohn and then taught X, who taught Y, who taught me and handed down the authoritative tradition for properly reading GJohn"), and [C] to delegitimize their competitors. If you're interested in this general kind of approach to how early Christians talked about their sacred texts, check out some of the fascinating studies of "Heresiology."

Third, quickly, there's been a lot of fascinating, recent work about re-imagining "authorship" in antiquity and probing how the texts we have imagine themselves (e.g., Eva Mroczek's The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity or Matthew Larsen's The Gospels Before the Book). It is also worth noting that we have endless examples of texts claiming to be written by (or that later people claimed was written by - these are different phenomena) an authoritative/prestigious person, but that modern scholars do not think were written by that person. The NT itself is full of these. So in that way, such "pseudepigraphy" was common - but that's a different question from how ancient writers imagined or evaluated the practice (this is an old debate). So for example, Bart Ehrman has compiled numerous examples of ancient writers condemning the practice (but sometimes doing so in a pseudepigraphal writing!).


Credit to Quadell:

* The author of GLuke does not give his name, and does not claim to be a companion of Paul. It's not implausible, but there's no clear evidence of it in the text itself.
* The "we" passages of Acts (16:10-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18, and 27:1-28:16) are peculiar, and some scholars interpret this to mean the author was with Paul on these later journeys; but other scholars conclude that this was a common figure of speech when describing journeys by boat.
* Three different sources, written around 100 years after GLuke and ACts, claim that Luke the companion of Paul wrote those texts. (These are the title of P75, Irenaeus, and the Muratorian Fragment.) So it's an early tradition, but that doesn't mean that it's correct. A prologue from around that time adds that Luke was a Syrian from Antioch who died in Beoetia in Greece. And that might be true, but it might not.
* There are historical and theological differences between Paul as he is described in Acts, and Paul as he describes himself in his letters. This has led some scholars to conclude that the author of Acts did not know Paul personally. But others think these discrepancies are not great enough to make this claim. (And u/NerdyReligionProf points out that some recent scholarship thinks the opposite -- that the Paul of Acts is so like the Paul of his letters that it's likely the author of Acts was using Paul's letters, rather than first-hand knowledge, to describe Paul. So I don't know.)


In the end, there's not enough to go on to know for sure. The author of these books could conceivably have been the same companion of Paul mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24, but that could have simply been an early and incorrect guess that stuck.
Black Dreds
 

Re: Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:56 pm

> your asking for me, not a historian focused on the first century near East, to make a case for an author of an anonymous text for which there is no reliable evidence whatsoever.

Yes. First of all, you presented yourself as someone who knew what he/she was talking about. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, assuming you weren't speaking out of ignorance (as many do). Second, you were willing to critique my case, which I trusted was not done out of ignorance or a superficial understanding of the issues at hand. Again, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed the best. Third, if you doubt Luke's (the traditional attribution) authorship, I presumed you had a case to support that position. Fourth, as I have already presented, there is reliable evidence for Luke's authorship. This statement of yours makes me think you're not openminded to pursue the evidence where it leads.

> Which is exactly why the Church would support the idea of Luke as author, sight unseen.

Good. This comment takes us into some new territory. There are no actual examples in early Christian history of a document known to have been written by someone other than the person to whom it is attributed, which were deemed acceptable by a sizable segment of the Church. Certainly there are no known examples of books being accepted into the New Testament that were believed to have been written by someone other than the person to whom they are ascribed, with the possible, partial exception of 2 Peter.

We have no evidence at all that early Christianity accepted pseudonymity as a legitimate device in the testimony that exists (that came in the second century).

Therefore, we can have some confidence that the Church would NOT support the idea of Luke as author, sight unseen.

> I have asked for some information from people much more informed than myself.

See, I assumed the way you were talking that you had studied this yourself. It surprises me that
you speak with so much confidence against the traditional authors, with deprecation of the Biblical text, when you haven't even done the homework. It just surprises and disappoints me that you take such a firm position before research.

NOTE: With all of these responses, I can only be brief, not thorough. Space doesn't allow. We can discuss any of them at length as you wish, but not all of them at length.

> First, I do not think there is evidence that someone named Luke, who was a companion of Paul's, wrote Luke-Acts.

But we DO have evidence of such a person. The Apostle Paul's writings are widely regarded as authentic.

> Acts has a section that implies eyewitness narration, but that is no reason to accept such claims at face value.

Acts has been proven to be stellar in its historical content and accuracy. We have plenty of reason to accept the "we" accounts as authentic. He must present a case to substantiate otherwise.

> There's also the issue that Acts' "Paul" looks a lot more like a Paul who was (re)written by someone who got his knowledge of Paul from some of Paul's own letters

Luke was traveling with Paul when Paul wrote some of his letters. We would expect some similarity. But I tend to widely disagree with this point. The book of Acts shows Paul in preaching mode (Jesus's resurrection and the need for repentance); Paul's letters are often theological treatises on the Church (Eph., Col.), Pastoral leadership (Tim. & Titus), salvation by grace not by works (Rom., Gal.), and dealing with specific church issues (Phil., Corinthians, Philemon).

> it remains the case that the writer re-imagines Paul in alignment with his own literary, social, and theological program

I don't see any proof that Luke is imagining a Paul to fit his own agenda. But this is where I have to talk to someone who knows what they're talking about, not someone giving me the thoughts of another who can't explain them or elaborate them. Luke's literary agenda is to show the spread of the Church to the Roman world through the efforts of the early missionaries, primarily Peter and Stephen to the Jewish world, and Paul (but also Barnabas) to the Gentile world. The Gospel spreads through the world along the outline of Acts 1.8.

Bob Walton, in "The Spread of the Gospel," rightly calls it "A Tale of Three Cities: "

* Jerusalem, the city of God, where Christianity is born out of Judaism
* Antioch in Syria, the transitional city from which the gospel is dispersed outside of Jewish circles to the Empire
* Rome, the godless capital, and later to be the “capital” of Christianity

The theological functions of the book center primarily around persecution, not a common theme of Paul's epistles. I just don't see where this perspective to which you are referring holds water.

> Second, such "unanimous early church evidence" does not really help since all of it can be explained as later Christian writers synthesizing information they glean from Luke-Acts and Paul's letters

I have HUGE disagreements with this. It's a massive conspiracy theory without evidence. The Apostolic and Church Fathers make only cursory reference to Luke, enough to let us know they knew it existed, regarded it as authoritative, and that Luke was the author, but to make out of that that they synthesized gleanings to fabricate a conspiracy doesn't have the weight of evidence behind it.

> to elaborate their own interests in characters and writings that were beloved to them and also to attribute an authoritative/legitimizing writer to Luke and Acts.

This is weak as well. There's no reason the early Church would train in on Luke as their Golden Boy. He was not a prominent figure in the Church. He is not the one who would bring legitimacy to their cause or bridge the Gospel to the Gentile audience. Luke doesn't function as that kind of cultural figure.

> In other words, a signature phenomenon of how many 2nd century and later Christian writers discuss texts that eventually became the NT gospels is to attribute prestigious writers (e.g., people imagined to have been followers-of or otherwise close to Jesus or Paul) to those writings (even though they are formally anonymous) in order to authorize those writings.

We know this to be untrue, as previously mentioned. In the early Church, there are no known examples of any book being accepted into the New Testament that was believed to have been written by someone other than the person to whom they are ascribed (except maybe 2 Pet.)—certainly NOT a Gospel. This is just a false statement.

Luke was recognized as authoritative in the 1st century (quoted by Ignatius, alluded to by Clement, and mentioned by Hermas).

> re-imagining "authorship" in antiquity

There's absolutely NO evidence that this had a part on NT formation. The authorship of the Gospels was NEVER controversial (until the 20th c.). There were plenty of disputes in the Church, and many authorship debates, but not the Gospels. Also, the church fathers were careful to distinguish between apostolic writings and pseudepigraphal writings.

> The NT itself is full of these.

?????? Maybe 2 Peter. FULL of them? This is just false also.

> The author of GLuke does not give his name, and does not claim to be a companion of Paul. It's not implausible, but there's no clear evidence of it in the text itself.

Anonymity is not evidence of non-Luka authorship. Second, the writing style of Luke and Acts are so similar they are unanimously accepted as being by the same author. In Acts, the author does claim to be a companion of Paul. In other words, there IS clear evidence of it in the text itself.

> the "we" passages

Someone has to try to do gymnastics to get around them. The transition from "they" to "we" is sudden, and then gone again. To attribute them to a figure of speech isn't plausible.

> So it's an early tradition, but that doesn't mean that it's correct.

Of course it's an early tradition. That makes us pay attention to it. It's also uniform, which matters. Of course it doesn't mean it's correct, but there's no evidence to the contrary. In other words, there are no legitimate grounds to reject it. If we are going to reject the unanimous testimony of 3 separate witnesses we have to have grounds. You can't just say, "I reject all the evidence just because."

> There are historical and theological differences between Paul as he is described in Acts, and Paul as he describes himself in his letters.

We covered this ground already. I gave my evidence: The theology was see is:

    * The resurrection is the important thing (Acts 2, 3, 4, 5, 10), in perfect harmony with Paul (Acts 13.26-37; 1 Cor. 15)
    * Jesus is the messiah prophesied in the Old Testament (Acts 2, 3, 4, 5.42; 7), in perfect harmony with Paul (Acts 9.20; 13.23-27; 17.2-3)
    * Repentance and belief is the appropriate response to hearing the gospel (Acts 2; 5.31; 8.22; 10), in perfect harmony with Paul (Acts 13.3-41; 16.31; 17.30).

> In the end, there's not enough to go on to know for sure.

Only if you a priori reject all the evidence at hand. Suppose you were making a case that the Earth is round. But I say, "We can't trust space images. We can't trust people's experiences. We can't trust the math. We can't trust science. Now, prove to me the Earth is round." You can't say, "We can't trust the 3 separate testimonies of antiquity that Luke wrote it. We can't trust the unanimous affirmation of the early Church that Luke wrote it. We can't trust the stylistic elements of the book that point to a man like Luke. We can fabricate there was a conspiracy theory. Now prove to me Luke wrote it." That's not the way we build cases or refute them.

> but that could have simply been an early and incorrect guess that stuck.

This sounds like pure skeptical speculation with nothing to support the doubt.

As you can tell, I just don't buy what NerdyReligionProf and Quadell are saying. Granted, I haven't read all of those books they mention (so many books, so little time), but the study I've done puts me in a position where I think their case is just skeptical speculation with little to no substantiation, and the case for Luke as author is far stronger.

But at this point I don't know if I'm talking to the right person. You don't seem to have done the homework yourself, so I don't know if you're in a position to respond.

My question is probably obvious at this point: what theological differences?


Last bumped by Anonymous on Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:56 pm.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5925
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm


Return to Bible

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


cron