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Genre of Luke and/or Acts

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Genre of Luke and/or Acts

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:58 pm

The Hermeneutics of Lucan Historiograph, By Roger Stronstad
http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/top/Hol ... 200609.cfm


Luke 1:1 Ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων, 2 καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου, 3 ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι, κράτιστε Θεόφιλε, 4 ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν.

NASB 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;

NRSV 3 I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,


Did Luke intend to impose a strictly chronological order on his narrative? If he did should we stop referring to Luke as a gospel? Read the article first, it is worth reading.
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Re: Genre of Luke and/or Acts

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:43 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Did Luke intend to impose a strictly chronological order on his narrative? If he did should we stop referring to Luke as a gospel? Read the article first, it is worth reading.


Roughly 8 years ago someone posted a number of lectures on the New Testament from the Yale courses without naming the the lecturer[1]. The flavor of the lectures is a consistently cynical form of negative secular historical criticism.

The first lecture of the Gospel Luke questions Luke's intention to impose a strictly chronological order on his narrative. Note, this is not a question about the historicity of narrative as we have it, rather a question about what Luke states in the prologue concerning his intention to compile an orderly account. The language used does not imply a strictly chronological order to the events narrated.

Introduction to Luke Yale courses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPhiVT53JP0

Here you can find a discussion with a different flavor concerning chronology in the synoptics including the question about Luke's intention to be strictly chronological.
https://www.xenos.org/essays/problem-ap ... -synoptics

The perspective of the Yale course is very different from the http://www.xenos.org article. But on the question to Luke's intention to provide a strictly chronological account the answer is negative. The language used in Luke 1:3 is ambiguous. This statement should not be understood as advocating some kind of radical textual indeterminacy of the sort Robert Gagnon attributes to Dale B Martin.

< extended footnote on Martin's framework, generally off-topic>

[1] I managed to locate the name of the lecturer:
Dale B. Martin is the Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale. He was educated at Abilene Christian University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Yale University.


I've listened to a lot of Martin's lectures. I've also listened to a lot of Darrell Bock lectures on Luke-Acts. Bock unlike the man from Yale does not engage in cynical negative historical criticism. Martin's style of NT scholarship sounds like something from the 1980s or possibly much earlier. Negative historical criticism wasn't invented recently, it is hundreds of years old.

Critics of Dale Martin:

MICHAEL LICONA DEBATES DALE MARTIN ON THE DIVINITY OF JESUS
https://winteryknight.com/2012/10/29/mi ... -of-jesus/

Robert Gagnon email exchange with Dale B Martin.

http://robgagnon.net/DaleMartinRobertGagnonExchange.htm
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Re: Genre of Luke and/or Acts

Postby Markos » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:55 pm

Hi, Clayton,

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:...should we stop referring to Luke as a gospel?

Not that this has much to do with Greek, but if you were to rank the Gospels in the order of which most closely reflects the Pauline gospel of justification by faith through grace, where would Luke rank? I know that Matthew would rank last. You could make an argument about the other three, I think. I know that Marcion, the only guy who ever understood Paul except that he misunderstood him, chose Luke as his preferred Gospel and did not think much of Acts.

I think I would rank Luke third and still call it a gospel.
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Re: Genre of Luke and/or Acts

Postby mwh » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:03 pm

To clear the ground a little. The genre to which Lk. (not Acts) belongs is unequivocally a βίος, a “Life,” a biography—a distinct and very popular category of writing. As such, it’s a narrative, a διήγησις (as also is Acts), in this case a narrative of the life of Jesus, made up largely of his teaching, in a variety of settings. Acts 1:1 describes it as an account “of all he began to do and to teach” (περι παντων …ὧν ηρξατο ποιεῖν τε και διδάσκειν), up to the day of his ascension (ἄχρι ἧς ημερας … ανελημφθη). That in itself implies a more or less chronological account, from beginning to end. I don't think we should try to pin down Lk.'s εφεξης any more precisely than that; it's a sequential narrative.

Similarly with the other “gospels”—that being a specifically Christian sub-category applied after the fact to a narrative of the life of Jesus. None of the gospels calls itself one, except possibly Mk., which is headed “Beginning of the gospel (ευαγγελιον) of Jesus Christ,” but that, even if not a later heading, is more of a description of its contents, or the first part of them. The gospel is what is preached by Jesus (verse 14). Lk. too has Jesus gospelizing (3.18 ευαγγελιζομενου, 20.1 “teaching and gospelizing”) but mainly miracle-working and teaching.

So Lk. is not properly called a gospel itself, but as a convenient label of very long standing I see little harm in referring to it as one.
Edit. A precision: of course it’s not “a” gospel. It’s “the” gospel. But the word has again changed its meaning, as words do.
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Re: Genre of Luke and/or Acts

Postby jeidsath » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:06 pm

After κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν, I would think that the natural image that καθεξῆς evokes is his setting down the stories in the order that he found them in his παρακολούθησις. Which brings up another genre issue: It would be reasonable to say, I think, that Luke thought of this διήγησις not as a continuous text, but as a collection of individual short episodes (vignettes).

As far as what this meant in practice, I note especially two things: First, Luke follows Mark's narrative order much more closely than he does Matthew's (more creative and better thought-out) ordering. In places where Matthew has no counterpart in Mark, Luke mainly follows Matthew's order of events. Second, Luke starts his narrative at an earlier point than Matthew/Mark, and adds a great deal of unique content at the beginning (the beginning chapters make up a good proportion of the unique content in Luke). This introduction may betray some anxiety about adding new material that his readers were not familiar with at that point, and gives an explanation for how he got it. (He started ἄνωθεν.)
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