Authorship and purpose of Luke's gospel

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  • Authorship and purpose of Luke's gospel
    • Who?
      • A long standing tradition identifies Luke as a physician and a companion of Paul confirmed in an ancient text the Muratonian Canon
        • Luke also wrote Acts and there are numerous occasions where he refers to the activities of Paul and his party inferring he was there too by his use of 'we'
          • However his portrayal of Paul differs somewhat from Paul's recordings of himself in his letters which means Luke was probably a gentile Christian who sided with the Pauline wing of the church
    • Where?
      • Scholars have little idea where Luke was writting, it was probably outside of Palestine as his knowledge of its geography is imprecise
    • When?
      • As Luke is thought to be dependent on Mark a date after 70 CE seems most likely
        • It is mentioned in texts from around the middle of the second century but most date it nearer to 70 CE as Luke doesn't know or use Matthew or Paul's letters which would have been circulating by the beginning of the second century
          • A similar date to Matthew 80-90 CE is proposed by most
    • Why?
      • Luke is the only gospel to be addressed to a person 'Theophilus' some see this as a specific person whilst others note this means lover of god so it may be more general
      • There is a sense that Luke is trying to set out an orderly account of the life of Jesus and clearly wants his readers to know the truth
        • This shouldn't be taken as a historical account but a theological one
      • Luke is concerned with the delay of the Parousia, the fact that 30/40 years had passed since Jesus' death and nothing had happened it was causing problems for Christian communities
        • Luke shifts the focus of salvation from the future to the present, there is still hope for eternal life in the age to come but in general more emphasis is laid on the present


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