4450RE: [Synoptic-L] Length of Luke (and Acts)
- Aug 4, 2012David Inglis provided detailed evidence for
the view that the version of Luke known to
(and further adapted by) Marcion lacked all
of the first two chapters including the preface.
The monograph on Acts by Patricia Walters showed
that stylometric evidence points to differences
between the style of the seams and summaries in
Luke and those in Acts which are significant,
often highly significant. This seems to indicate
serious problems with the assumption of common
Broad differences of style between Luke and Acts had
been noted previously, but the significant differences
in passages most likely to be editorial form an
important body of fresh evidence. No longer can one
rest content with the thought that one would expect
some general differences of style given the greater
emphasis on the Graeco-Roman context in Acts, or
the presence of sources with more Semitic features
prior to Luke.
Walters' tests are robust. Using different criteria
(5 of the most frequent words) and the same method on the
same samples also shows significant differences. If
the Luke samples and the Acts samples are each partitioned
into two sub-samples of seams and summaries then these
are internally coherent though externally disparate. A
possible line of objection is that some of the Lukan
seams contain some words inherited from Mark. If those sections
are omitted then Walters results still stand, and the
attempted rebuttal fails. Given that these additional
tests all corroborate, and in no case cast doubt on the
original results, it would seem that the authorship of Acts
deserves serious reconsideration.
So the further point is to ask whether one should link the
contrasting style of seams and summaries in Luke and Acts
demonstrated by Walters, with the evidence cited by David Inglis for
the late addition of the first two chapters of Luke to that text.
But that is something I would hesitate to do without sufficient
further evidence to justify a single theory to resolve two
puzzles about Luke and Acts which may or may not be related.
It is always far easier to spin speculative theories than it
is to grind out the hard evidence to give them evidential
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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