Luke’s Prologue — historical or historical illusion?

I was reminded of Luke’s prologue (again) when I recently read (again) the prologue of Roman historian Livy. Stream of consciousness takes me immediately to Loveday Alexander’s argument that Luke’s prologue is very “unlike” the prologues of ancient historians and to my own pet notion (anathema to most interested classicists, I am sure) that Luke’s … Continue reading “Luke’s Prologue — historical or historical illusion?”

The literary genre of Acts. 1: Ancient Prologues

Richard Pervo (Profit with Delight) compares Acts with ancient novels and finds striking resemblances. We tend to resist finding the thrill of novelistic adventure and humour in the books of the Bible. Holy books are supposed to be read with much gravitas, after all. But Pervo’s comparison with ancient novels has persuaded him that Acts … Continue reading “The literary genre of Acts. 1: Ancient Prologues”

Luke-Acts as form of history-writing (Luke-Acts Explained . . . Part 2)

Continuing from Luke-Acts Explained as a form of “Ideal Jewish History” (Part 1) The reasons Luke-Acts has been considered a form of ancient history writing: Like other ancient historiography the work begins with a prologue announcing its superiority over what has gone before; Steve Mason notes that unlike the preceding gospels Luke-Acts, as a two volume … Continue reading “Luke-Acts as form of history-writing (Luke-Acts Explained . . . Part 2)”

Luke-Acts Explained as a form of “Ideal Jewish History” (Part 1)

TL;DR The author of Luke-Acts was following an ideal that Josephus had presented as a superior feature of Jewish historical writings: that history learned from revelation (e.g. works of Moses) was superior to the uncertain and often disputed historical inquiries of the Greeks. I think Steve Mason has nailed Luke-Acts. I think, as a specialist … Continue reading “Luke-Acts Explained as a form of “Ideal Jewish History” (Part 1)”

What Did Luke’s Eyewitnesses See?

The Gospel of Luke begins with words that many have understood to be an assurance that its narrative is based on the firsthand eyewitness testimony of those who had seen Jesus for themselves. Here is Craig S. Keener‘s rendition of Luke 1:1-2 . . . many have sought to complete a narrative of the acts … Continue reading “What Did Luke’s Eyewitnesses See?”

Historical Imitations and Reversals in Ancient Novels — and the Gospels?

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, but doesn’t quite quack like a duck, then maybe it is not a duck. Just because we see one or even a few features in the gospels that we recognize from historical or biographical writings, we cannot assume that the gospels are therefore history or … Continue reading “Historical Imitations and Reversals in Ancient Novels — and the Gospels?”

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 2c

To those who might wonder if Papias’s reference to “living and abiding voice” is one of the multiple Johannine resonances in his Prologue (c.f. the final chapter of John’s discussion of whether and how long the beloved disciple would “remain” with them; and further note other Johannine touches such as both the names and the … Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 2c”