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Authorship of Luke-Acts

 Luke-Acts, the two-volume letter addressed to Theophilus, and canonized into the New Testament as early as 170 C.E., is an unusual literary work. While the authorship of Luke-Acts remains a mystery to this day, it is commonly attributed to Luke, the physician. Although inferential, there is little doubt among scholars that a singular author is responsible for both the Gospel and the Acts, since the literary style, grammar, and points of interest are common.

There are two quite dissimilar views as to the author's purpose in his narratives. The first subscribes to the belief that "Luke" serves as an historian of the early church, while the second places him in squarely the role of a theologian. The particular view which one takes may have a profound impact upon the exegesis and analysis of the text, and may result in an errant interpretation of the message of both the Gospel and the Acts.

The Gospel is an account of the ministry of Jesus Christ, from the preparatory efforts of John the Baptist through the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The Acts seems to pick up within a forty day period between Christ's resurrection and his ascension --a minor textual-critical problem if Luke is acting in the capacity of theologian, for this would merely be an amplification of Jesus' ministry to his disciples; a major textual-critical problem if Luke is cast in the role of historian, because the two-volume history is not entirely complementary at this juncture. In a more generalized fashion, the Gospel can be read as Christ's mission to the Jews, while the Acts is thus understood to be the church's (principally, Paul's) mission to the Gentiles.

Of the several parallel themes which are readily distinguished in Luke-Acts, one which has been particularly contentious among modern scholars is the manner in which the author-narrator deals with the Jews, or "writes them off" as some would contend. A considerable amoun...

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Authorship of Luke-Acts. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:59, December 07, 2021, from