RE: [XTalk] Why Luke?
- [Gordon Raynal]
>This is a note to build upon the idea that G. Luke is best thought of as adocument from ca. 120 to 130. ... ...
Agreements? Disputes? Additions?<
I guess I should join this debate. First, a confession: I am a
source-criticism sceptic. In occasional heretical outbursts I dismiss 2GH,
2DH, Q1, Q2, Qqueue ... the whole shebang, as rival claims to have solved a
thousand piece puzzle with the score of pieces to hand, three of which are
remarkably similar and capable of being connected in a variety of
configurations. Better minds than mine grapple with this conundrum and come
up with persuasive hypotheses based on reasoning that is promptly shown by
others to be flawed. I find these research tools unusable in pursuit of my
own interests. I recognise distinctive layers of tradition but despair of
reconstructing reliable sequential relationships. I choose to devote my
limited resources of time and intellectual mettle in more productive ways.
Likewise the closely linked issues about dating.
The author of L-A clearly wanted to establish the impression that he set
down his pen while Paul was awaiting appeal in Rome. Acknowledging
precedents from the closing passage of 2Kings and Greco-Roman literature, a
few obvious questions do need answering before calling the author's bluff
and jumping a generation or two:
Can we defend the long standing fiction that Acts ends with a triumphant
arrival of the Gospel in Rome, in the light of the fact that the story says
Paul was welcomed by a pre-existing Christian community, there is no
mention of a single Pauline convert in Rome, and the local synagogue didn't
want to know (as usual)?
Why - with Jerusalem and its temple in ruins - would the author strain to
show that Jesus, the apostles and Paul, were loyal devotees of a temple
that YHWH had abandoned and Rome destroyed, as Jesus had prophesied?
Why - decades after Paul was dead and gone - would a follower of the risen
Christ, who reveals considerable independence from Paul's own thought,
find it relevant to devote five times as much space to Paul's legal
entanglement than to Jesus' "trial"?
How would the author be well informed about local administrative and legal
process, and office holders, at diverse locations scattered around the
eastern Mediterranean half a century earlier?
Given the known diversity of praxis within first century Judaism, by what
stretch of the imagination can geographical locations and dates be assigned
to theological developments gleaned from a few pieces of surviving
literature? As a control group, of sorts, try evaluating the theological
uniformity among living Christian congregations in your home town.
I am not an educator, so the pure intellectual exercise of scholarly labour
has limited personal appeal. I do harbour serious doubts about the weight
given to certain vulnerable hypotheses in HJ research. Many of them seem to
qualify as creative theological fiction.
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