Was Jesus wrong or mistaken, or are we?

RCM

Active member
What exactly are your credentials in Koine Greek of the period to dismiss the most authoritative lexicon for study of the New Testament texts on this matter? In answer to your question, κρατιστος is used within the New Testament only by Luke, occurring here in the preface to the gospel and three times in Acts: (1) in a letter addressing Felix, the Roman procurator of Judea [23:26], (2) in a speech by the lawyer Tertullus to this same individual [24:3], (3) in Paul's address to Felix's successor Festus [26:25]. How you make the argumentative leap from these three uses to the fourth found in Luke as necessarily being a high priest is anybody's guess. You further seem to presume that Luke wrote in a vacuum and that his usage is idiosyncratic when compared to other Greek literature of the period... if this is the assumption, it would be far more reasonable to conclude that the individual addressed in the preface is a Roman official of some sort as Felix and Festus were (a theory that has entertained wider support than yours; see below). As I've already pointed out from BDAG, however, the address was used of individuals of "varied social status" (a point also made by Alexander [133]) and it was by no means reserved for kings and high priests (Felix and Festus were neither of these, incidentally) as you erroneously suggested.

En Hakkore,

I have studied Biblical Greek

What words did the Biblical scholars use in translating the four uses in the Greek text in Luke and Acts? 'Most Excellent'

This word was only used by one Biblical author, Luke, so why do I need to go check BDAG for variants in secular Greek literature?

The manner in which Luke uses the Greek, κρατιστος, is clearly established

It is clear that Luke was addressing a dignitary (My reference that it was only for kings and high priests was an incorrect statement)

However, the point is that Theophilus was a person of great importance, which is also critical in dating the Gospel of Luke



RCM
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I don't know why VanderKam did not list Theophilus...
I never said VanderKam did not list Theophilus... he covers him, as one would expect on a scholarly work dedicated to priests in the Second Temple period, on pages 440-43 just as I indicated. What he does not mention is the proposition that this man was the intended addressee of Luke's two-volume work. Why? Because it is not entertained as a serious possibility within New Testament scholarship... it is a proposal that is, at best, within the realm of remote possibility. Its proponents will need to break into peer-reviewed scholarship with some strong arguments and a plausible historical reconstruction before it can or should be taken as a serious alternative among others. It will never attain a status greater than this, however, because identifying Luke's addressee is unavoidably a matter of some speculation.

In addition to the appearance of the name in the writings of Josephus, we have one other example of the occurrence of the name that conclusively establishes the historical existence of Theophilus the High Priest. Barag and Flusser have published in the Israel Exploration Journal the inscription appearing on the limestone ossuary clearly identifying the bones therein as Yehohanah, granddaughter of the High Priest, Theophilus. Ossuaries are Jewish secondary burial containers, commonly found in Jerusalem dating from 100 B.C.E. to 100 A. D. The ossuaries are cut from a single block of soft limestone found in the Jerusalem area. The ossuary was found in Hizma (Beth 'Azmaweth) approximately 4.5 miles NNE of Jerusalem. The three line inscription reads as follows:

Yehohanah
Yehohanah daughter of Yehohanan
son of Theophilus the high priest

The two brief mentions of Johanna in the Gospel of Luke are now seen to have a far greater role than preciously recognized. Luke has effectively
enlisted Johanna, the granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest as one of his witnesses in Luke 8, and Luke 24.
It is unclear why you so strongly assert that the Joanna mentioned in Luke 8:3 and 24:10 is this granddaughter of Theophilus... this is again nothing more than speculation. Bauckham points out that we know of about half a dozen women so named based on epigraphic evidence and that it was therefore the fifth most common name for Jewish women of the period (143); this evidence alone should caution against making the identification so strongly as you've suggested. While Bauckham refers to Joanna the granddaughter of the high priest (145), he nowhere even suggests the possibility that this woman and the Joanna of Luke could be the same individual. Indeed, the gospel woman is from an aristocratic Galilean family whose marriage with the Nabatean Chuza cemented a political alliance between these two client kingdoms of Rome (144, 150-61). More problematic for your suggestion is trying to squeeze the requisite generations between Ananus and a great granddaughter Joanna (already married around 30 CE if equated with the Lukan woman of this name) --- you would have to inflate his estimated age by a couple of decades for it to work out, which would also make him well into his eighties by the time of Acts 4:6. While not impossible, the entire exercise heaped on top of pure speculation strains credulity.

And if Theophilus is indeed the person who was the high priest from 37-41 A.D., then Luke is going to require a early date
So what date(s) do you assign to Luke's gospel and to Acts? Also, what is Theophilus' relationship to Christianity... is he an insider or an outsider? What is the reason that Luke is writing/dedicating his two-volume work to him? The answers to all these questions are important in providing a plausible historical reconstruction for your proposal...

I have studied Biblical Greek
So no formal credentials or presumably you would have supplied them. In any case, you are in no position to critique the conclusion of BDAG on the flexibility of κρατιστος in terms of the addressee's social status.

This word was only used by one Biblical author, Luke, so why do I need to go check BDAG for variants in secular Greek literature?
For the reason I already provided, namely that Luke did not write in a vacuum... why do you think the contributors to BDAG so thoroughly research and document word usage in contemporaneous Greek literature if not to inform biblical exegetes? That you dismiss this information as irrelevant (read: inconvenient to your theory) is an insult to their work.

The manner in which Luke uses the Greek, κρατιστος, is clearly established
Luke can use κρατιστος in any way consistent with its broader and flexible usage in the Greek-speaking world.

My reference that it was only for kings and high priests was an incorrect statement
Props for acknowledging the error.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Works Cited:
Bauckham, Richard. Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Eerdmans, 2002)
Danker, Frederick William (ed.). A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Third Edition [BDAG]; University of Chicago Press, 2000)
VanderKam, James C. From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile (Fortress Press; Van Gorcum, 2004)
 

RCM

Active member
Let me refresh your memory as to what you also posted here: "No, Biblical scholars are not pretty much in unanimous agreement on 'Source Criticism'" Both the poster who started this thread and I, assuming you knew what source criticism is, challenged your implied criticism of what I had written here, namely that "biblical scholars are pretty much unanimous that there is a direct literary relationship between Matthew, Mark and Luke." You corrected neither of us and, in fact, when on to contrast this under the label "literary redaction view" with your "independence view" here and outright stated here that your initial objection did concern my claims about "dependence upon a literary source" --- contextually some sort of literary relationship involving the three aforementioned gospels. You ask where you inferred that Luke could not have used Matthew and Mark as sources --- well, I've showed you though technically you inferred only that he did not, but that is either splitting hairs or perhaps you are still equivocating between author and book, implying only that Luke consulted Matthew and Mark themselves rather than their gospels. Instead of continuing to obfuscate, answer plainly yes or no: Do you think Luke, reasonably having access to the earlier gospels of Matthew and Mark, used these documents as sources?

En Hakkore,

Let me see if I can clarify this issue from a Biblical Christian perspective,

The Gospel's of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written by the named individuals, witnessing and testifying of the events, which they or people
they knew personally had experienced or participated in, therefore, these Gospel accounts being independent, yet, remarkably similar in content, establishes the authenticity and reliability of these documented events surrounding the words, works, life, and death of the historical Jesus Christ, as being truthful, (based upon Deuteronomy 19:15).

The primary sources that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were dependent upon were real people, first hand eyewitnesses, not documents

Luke may have known many of the Apostles personally

Why must it be necessary for Luke to have depended upon the written Gospels of Matthew and Mark, when he had access to Matthew and Peter? Luke stated that he investigated everything carefully, that implies talking with people, double checking, and verifying accounts

What if Luke's primary sources were the persons of Mary, Peter, and John, and not documents?


What I have written above, clarifies the historical view and is not what most liberal Biblical scholars agree upon,

Here is what most scholars agree upon, see if you recognize the quote,

"Anyone who converted to become a follower of Jesus could and did tell the stories. A convert would tell his wife; if she converted, she would tell her neighbor; if she converted, she would tell her husband; if he converted, he would tell his business partner; if he converted, he would take a business trip to another city and tell his business associate; if he converted, he would tell his wife; if she converted, she would tell her neighbor … and on and on … Who, then, was telling the stories about Jesus? Just the apostles? It can’t have been just the apostles. Eventually, an author heard the stories in his church—say it was “Mark” in the city of Rome. And he wrote his account."


RCM
 

RCM

Active member
RCM said:

Luke 1:1-4 "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 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; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught."

First, the 'Many' are not the Apostles

The 'Eyewitnesses and servants of the word' are the Apostles

Then you encounter another problem because the group you deem to be apostles (and I agree with your interpretation of this verse incidentally) handed down the accounts of the many, they are not the authors of these accounts, which contradicts your so-called independence theory that the gospels themselves originated with divinely-inspired apostles.

En Hakkore,

I completely and emphatically disagree with your exegesis, your handling and interpretation of the Biblical text here is just wrong

Luke 1:1-4 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,

(1) The 'Many' are probably gathering together what has been written, and if Matthew and Mark exist at the time Luke writes this, then Jame's
letter is in existence, as well as Paul's letters of Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, Romans, and possibly the prison Epistles.

just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,

(2) The 'Many' are gathering together the written accounts by the Apostles, which was handed down to them by the Apostles

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; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

(3) Luke is under conviction to document the events surrounding Jesus, in order to provide another witness for Theophilus in understanding
the truth about Jesus Christ


Truth demands two and three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15)

Jesus came into the world to testify of the Truth (John 18)

Jesus commissioned His Apostles to teach others the Truth about God and Salvation (Matthew 28)

Jesus informs the Apostles that the Holy Spirit would remind them of what Jesus had told them (John 14)


It was necessary for the Apostles to write and document the words, works, life, and death of Jesus for the ministry that He had called them to,
and they started writing probably not long after His ascension in Acts 1


The reason liberal scholarship wants to push the origin of the Biblical Gospels to a later date is humanize the person of Jesus Christ

If the historical Jesus is truly the great 'I Am' of Exodus 3:14, which He claimed to be in John 8:58-59, and that the Biblical Gospels present
Him to be, then you have a problem

Because in the day of Judgment, you are going to have to give an account for every word you have spoken, Matthew 12:36-37

Jesus stated in Luke 16:29-31 that the Word of God, the Biblical Scriptures, are a greater empirical witness of truth, than a person
coming back from the dead and witnessing about the truth from eternity


RCM
 

Tonyg

Member
En Hakkore,

I don't know why VanderKam did not list Theophilus, but he is certainly recognized by Josephus

In addition to the appearance of the name in the writings of Josephus, we have one other example of the occurrence of the name that conclusively establishes the historical existence of Theophilus the High Priest. Barag and Flusser have published in the Israel Exploration Journal the inscription appearing on the limestone ossuary clearly identifying the bones therein as Yehohanah, granddaughter of the High Priest, Theophilus. Ossuaries are Jewish secondary burial containers, commonly found in Jerusalem dating from 100 B.C.E. to 100 A. D. The ossuaries are cut from a single block of soft limestone found in the Jerusalem area. The ossuary was found in Hizma (Beth 'Azmaweth) approximately 4.5 miles NNE of Jerusalem. The three line inscription reads as follows:

Yehohanah
Yehohanah daughter of Yehohanan
son of Theophilus the high priest

The two brief mentions of Johanna in the Gospel of Luke are now seen to have a far greater role than preciously recognized. Luke has effectively
enlisted Johanna, the granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest as one of his witnesses in Luke 8, and Luke 24.


The more you study Theophilus' identity, the more credible the connection to Luke 16 becomes

And if Theophilus is indeed the person who was the high priest from 37-41 A.D., then Luke is going to require a early date



RCM
The connection to Theophilus and Johanna is also interesting because from the choosing of the disciples and the inclusion of such persons as Mary Magdalene and etc we sometimes get the idea that Christianity was a sect of lower to middle class persons. But here we have johanna's father and grandfather and Johanna herself being in the midst of leadership in the religion and the province. And we recall how Jesus was always interacting with the Pharisees and even pilate feared him..
 

Tonyg

Member
Luke 1:1-4 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,

Two quick points.

I would understand the many to be people such as Mark and Matthew and even John and possibly Thomas and Peter and James. There may have been others of the disciples or of the 500 original followers who were in the process of writing down their recollections.

Luke uses these persons literary activity as justification for his entrance into the literary documentation of the events which he has heard first hand and witnessed as 'news of the day" himself. He is equating himself as equally competent to write a first-handed report. That wouldn't be said from someone in the post 70 AD or late first century. Period .

When saying accomplished among us, Luke is including himself in the time frame of the accomplishments of Jesus, though not equating himself as an eyewitness.
 
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En Hakkore

Well-known member
Let me see if I can clarify this issue from a Biblical Christian perspective,
I would've preferred a straight answer to my question... instead you continue to dance around Luke's use of earlier documents and refrain from committing yourself to a firm yes --- the reason is obvious, of course, since your initial objection would then be rendered invalid and the last few rounds of posts a complete waste of time. In any case, your perspective is, generally speaking, a traditional/conservative one and, despite your claims to have exclusive ownership of the terms 'biblical' and 'Christian', other perspectives do exist that fit these descriptions.

The Gospel's of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written by the named individuals, witnessing and testifying of the events, which they or people
they knew personally had experienced or participated in, therefore, these Gospel accounts being independent, yet, remarkably similar in content, establishes the authenticity and reliability of these documented events surrounding the words, works, life, and death of the historical Jesus Christ, as being truthful, (based upon Deuteronomy 19:15).
As it regards the comment I have bold underlined above, the accounts are sometimes verbatim at the sentence level... if you and I were to each turn in an essay in which the kind of similarities that exist between the gospels were present, we would both get failing grades and be accused of plagiarism because such is evidence of direct literary dependence. The ancients did not view copying in this light and I have no idea why you are so strongly bucking against this fact as it has nothing to do with divine inspiration one way or the other... why would or should Luke reinvent the wheel when he had Mark and Matthew as sources he could draw from?

The primary sources that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were dependent upon were real people, first hand eyewitnesses, not documents
The word I've bold and underlined above allows Luke's dependence on the documents that Mark and Matthew had written as secondary sources... again it is a subtle way of avoiding a commitment to literary dependence given your earlier objections to it.

Here is what most scholars agree upon, see if you recognize the quote,

"Anyone who converted to become a follower of Jesus could and did tell the stories. A convert would tell his wife; if she converted, she would tell her neighbor; if she converted, she would tell her husband; if he converted, he would tell his business partner; if he converted, he would take a business trip to another city and tell his business associate; if he converted, he would tell his wife; if she converted, she would tell her neighbor … and on and on … Who, then, was telling the stories about Jesus? Just the apostles? It can’t have been just the apostles. Eventually, an author heard the stories in his church—say it was “Mark” in the city of Rome. And he wrote his account."
With some undocumented ellipses, the above comes from pages 92-93 of Ehrman's book How Jesus Became God. This is one of his "popular" books, meaning it was not peer reviewed and, in fact, I find much to critique about his "popular" books... they tend to be sloppy at times and the above appears to be no exception to that evaluation. The above implies that Mark wrote an account based wholly on oral traditions, but this is not the general consensus of scholars, who do think there may have been earlier written sources... indeed, while Ehrman focuses on oral tradition in his peer-reviewed text book published by Oxford University Press, he does acknowledge this possibility: "In addition to stories that he heard, Mark may also have used some written sources for portions of his narrative" (88). Perhaps he admits this somewhere in his "popular" book, too, but I have neither the time nor inclination to search it out since I typically don't waste my time with Ehrman's "popular" material or with non-academic books generally.

In any case, your objection would appear to be less Mark's ostensible reliance on oral tradition alone and more the source of that tradition itself... that is, the implication that it did not come directly from an eyewitness, but had passed through various tradents 'telephone' style. While you may find the idea of earlier written sources objectionable, I would suggest it should be less so than with oral tradition since I have no problem acknowledging the possibility that such sources --- collections of 'proof texts' from Israel's sacred writings, miracle stories, sayings, Passion narratives, etc. --- may be quite early, at least compared to the first gospel which I date to the years soon after the fall of Jerusalem. The problem remains, however, of the nature of changes made to these texts as they were copied and eventually taken up by the various gospel writers, each successive one having access to the gospel(s) written earlier.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Works cited:
Ehrman, Bart D. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (HarperOne, 2014)
________. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Fifth Edition; Oxford University Press, 2012)
 

Tonyg

Member
Some of the peer reviews are openly listed in the Wikipedia.org
rticle on Independence criticism.

To me Luke 1:1-4 disaffirms any sort of reliance on a previius text, . If one wants to support a third generation authorship of Luke or it's being sourced from other text, they have to disregard Luke 1:1-4.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I completely and emphatically disagree with your exegesis, your handling and interpretation of the Biblical text here is just wrong
Your opinion is duly noted... of course, I've so far affirmed only two things about Luke's preface: (1) Luke does not claim to be an eyewitness and (2) he views the 'eyewitnesses and servants of the word' as apostles. You also seem to affirm both these points. As for everything else I've said, it's been hypothetical in highlighting problems that I see with your own exegeses. In any case, I'm more than happy to roll up my sleeves, so to speak, and get deep down into the preface with you...

Luke 1:1-4 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,

(1) The 'Many' are probably gathering together what has been written, and if Matthew and Mark exist at the time Luke writes this, then Jame's
letter is in existence, as well as Paul's letters of Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, Romans, and possibly the prison Epistles.
The clause I've bold and underlined above is a misinterpretation of the text. The "many" (πολλοι) are here said to have "undertaken to compile an account" (επεχειρησαν αναταξασθαι διηγησιν) --- the first word επιχειρεω, when followed by an infinitive (as it is here), means to "endeavor" or "try" to do something (BDAG 386); used in reference to a third party (as it is here), there is a subtle implied criticism (Alexander 110). The second word ανατασσομαι, means "to organize in a series ... with emphasis on orderly sequence" (BDAG 73). The third and most important word is διηγησις, which refers to "an orderly description of facts, events, actions, or words"; in other words a "narrative" (BDAG 245) --- it occurs here in the singular, referring to the individualized attempt of each among the "many". Whoever these "many" are, they have each attempted to organize a narrative, specifically of "the things accomplished among us" --- this section of the preface corresponds to the criticism against predecessors that is found in other historical prefaces of antiquity (Yamada 162-63). The idea you've expressed that this group is simply gathering together a number of gospel narratives and epistles is not supported by a sound exegesis of the passage... the "many" are, rather, the authors of narratives similar to that which Luke here purposes to write.

just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,

(2) The 'Many' are gathering together the written accounts by the Apostles, which was handed down to them by the Apostles
I have already shown how the first clause of your interpretation above is incorrect... as for the second part that I have bold and underlined, this is also incorrect. Whatever is handed down (more on that in a moment), it is entrusted not to the "many" as you here claim, but explicitly to "us" (ημιν), the implied readers of Luke's composition. The verb translated "handed down" above is παραδιδωμι, here as an aorist active indicative (παρεδοσαν) matching its third person plural subject that follows, namely "the eyewitnesses and servants of the word" --- since it lacks a direct object, the translation you are relying on infers it to be the collective "accounts" from the previous verse and thereby renders the verb as a passive to maintain a smooth flow from one verse to the other. The problem is that this may not be what Luke intends --- here is Yamada's translation:

Inasmuch as many people took in hand to draw up a narrative concerning the things that have been confirmed among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word from the beginning transmitted to us... (155)

What the eyewitnesses and ministers of the word transmit (hand down) is their testimony and they do so orally, therefore Luke has received both written and oral accounts (Yamada 163)... concerning the latter there is no implied criticism as there is with respect to the written accounts.

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; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

(3) Luke is under conviction to document the events surrounding Jesus, in order to provide another witness for Theophilus in understanding
the truth about Jesus Christ
Luke does not simply wish to provide Theophilus and the wider community of believers with another witness (the portion I have bold and underlined in your comments above that I challenge), but a more reliable one. Luke describes his own qualifications -- another element of contemporaneous historical prefaces (Yamada 162) -- as παρηκολουθηκοτι, translated above as "having investigated", but BDAG defines literally as "follow a thing, follow a course of events, take note of" and reports that "Luke does not specify the means whereby he was able to assert his thorough familiarity [a rendering such as 'research' or 'investigate' depends on interpretation of the context and not on the semantic context of παρακολουθεω]" (767). The word following is ακριβως, which "pertains to strict conformity to a standard or norm, with focus on careful attention" (BDAG 39). Finally, Luke describes his own contribution as a καθεξης, which "pertains to being in sequence in time, space, or logic" (BDAG 491). Taken together with the opening clause, Luke intends to write a sequentially ordered narrative (unlike his predecessors whose differing orders are implicitly critiqued)... this because of his stated credentials (Moessner 84-123).

The reason liberal scholarship wants to push the origin of the Biblical Gospels to a later date is humanize the person of Jesus Christ
I would advise you to spend less time trying to divine the intentions of so-called 'liberal scholarship' and more time trying to come to a proper understanding of its arguments and rebut them if you are not convinced. The 'late' dating of the gospels has nothing to do with what you claim and everything to do with the internal and external evidence that they date later than you or your traditions suggest...

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Works Cited:
Alexander, Loveday. The Preface to Luke's Gospel: Literary Convention and Social Context in Luke 1.1-4 and Acts 1.1 (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 78; Cambridge University Press, 1993)
Danker, Frederick William (ed.). A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Third Edition [BDAG]; University of Chicago Press, 2000)
Moessner, David P. "The Appeal and Power of Poetics (Luke 1:1-4): Luke's Superior Credentials (παρακολουθηκότι), Narrative Sequence (καθεξῆς), and Firmness of Understanding (ἡ ἀσφάλεια) for the Reader" in Jesus and the Heritage of Israel: Luke's Narrative Claim upon Israel's Legacy, ed. Moessner (Luke the Interpreter of Israel 1; Trinity Press International, 1999)
Yamada, Kota. "The Preface to the Lukan Writings and Rhetorical Historiography" in The Rhetorical Interpretation of Scripture: Essays from the 1996 Malibu Conference, ed. Stanley E. Porter and Dennis L. Stamps (Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 180; Sheffield Academic Press, 1999)
 

Tonyg

Member
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
(1) Forasmuch as many have taken in hand.—On the general bearing of this passage on the questions connected with the authorship and plan of the Gospel, see the Introduction. Here we note (1), what is visible in the English, but is yet more conspicuous in the Greek, the finished structure of the sentences as compared with the simpler openings of the other Gospels; (2) the evidence which the verse supplies of the existence of many written documents professing to give an account of the Gospel history at the time when St. Luke wrote—i.e., probably before St. Paul’s death in A.D. 65. The “many” may have included St. Matthew and St. Mark, but we cannot say. There is no tone of disparagement in the way in which the writer speaks of his predecessors. He simply feels that they have not exhausted the subject, and that his inquiries have enabled him to add something.


From myers NT commentary;

ἐπεχείρησαν] have undertaken, said under a sense of the loftiness and difficulty of the task, Acts 19:13. In the N. T. only used in Luke; frequently in the classical writers. Comp. also Ulpian, p. 159 (in Valckenaer): ἐπειδήπερ περὶ τούτου πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀπολογήσασθαι. Neither in the word in itself, nor by comparing it with what Luke, Luke 1:3, says of his own work, is there to be found, with Köstlin, Ebrard, Lekebusch, and older writers, any indication of insufficiency in those endeavours in general, which Origen,[15] Ambrosius, Theophylact, Calovius, and various others even referred to their contrast with the inspired Gospels. But for his special purpose he judged none of those preliminary works as sufficient.
 

RCM

Active member
So what date(s) do you assign to Luke's gospel and to Acts? Also, what is Theophilus' relationship to Christianity... is he an insider or an outsider? What is the reason that Luke is writing/dedicating his two-volume work to him? The answers to all these questions are important in providing a plausible historical reconstruction for your proposal...

En Hakkore,

Luke is credited with being meticulous for detail, so much so, that it has been the basis of criticism that some of what he documents
cannot be verified in historical records

So, with Luke saying he investigated everything thoroughly and wrote in consecutive order, so that the exact truth could be known

Luke would have documented Paul's death had it happened prior to the writing of the Book of Acts

Look at the order of progression, Luke is with Paul in Acts 28 sailing to Rome. At the end of Acts, Luke documents Paul was there two
years

In 2 Timothy, Paul states that Luke is still with him, 2 Timothy is the last letter we have written by Paul and is dated 66-67 A.D.

Paul is believed to have died in 67 A.D.

Any scholar who dates Luke/Acts after 67 A.D. has no credible justification for doing so


As for Theophilus, you have the high priest documented in the historical records for that time period and Luke's address to him both in Luke
and Acts, and other than that, no one can know

Agrippa gave him the boot in 41 A.D., why?

Was Theophilus a religious leader like Nicodemus who recognized Jesus' ministry as fulfilling the requirements of Messiah and became a
Believer, and Luke was documenting everything for him, or was he just sympathetic to the followers of Jesus, possibly because his
granddaughter was involved, and Luke was writing to witness to him about the truth of Jesus Christ and the Apostles who were preaching
salvation in the Name of Jesus Christ?


RCM
 

RCM

Active member
So no formal credentials or presumably you would have supplied them. In any case, you are in no position to critique the conclusion of BDAG on the flexibility of κρατιστος in terms of the addressee's social status.

En Hakkore,

Assume what you want about my education, you would be wrong

I am in no position to critique BDAG as a foundational basis for the usage of Greek words and their meaning as used in the Bible?

How about the use of ἀγάπη and ἀγαπάω?

The secular and social Greek world knew relatively little of this kind of love and even what it looked like. If you want to know about
the meaning of this kind of love, you study how it is used in the Bible

For the reason I already provided, namely that Luke did not write in a vacuum... why do you think the contributors to BDAG so thoroughly research and document word usage in contemporaneous Greek literature if not to inform biblical exegetes? That you dismiss this information as irrelevant (read: inconvenient to your theory) is an insult to their work.

Luke can use κρατιστος in any way consistent with its broader and flexible usage in the Greek-speaking world.

In Biblical exegesis and word study, I was trained to first determine the range of usage and range of meaning as found in the Biblical text

Secondly, determine if there was a variance of usage between Biblical authors and if there were any variances based on context

If there are discrepancies, then I will look at BDAG to see how it was used in the secular and social Greek world to try and find clarification

Also, I obviously look in BDAG when a word is Hapax Legomena


However, when a word is only used by one Biblical author and the usage is consistent without variance, that Biblical author has defined
how he intends that word to be interpreted, I do not need to go to BDAG to find other usages of that word

Case in point is Luke's usage of κράτιστος in relation to Theophilus



RCM
 

RCM

Active member
I would've preferred a straight answer to my question... instead you continue to dance around Luke's use of earlier documents and refrain from committing yourself to a firm yes --- the reason is obvious, of course, since your initial objection would then be rendered invalid and the last few rounds of posts a complete waste of time. In any case, your perspective is, generally speaking, a traditional/conservative one and, despite your claims to have exclusive ownership of the terms 'biblical' and 'Christian', other perspectives do exist that fit these descriptions.

En Hakkore,

I have not avoided anything, I have very clearly shown you that the traditional/conservative view has nothing in common with the views
that you wanted me to answer yes or no to.

And to further prove the point of the traditional/conservative view, do the law courts prefer depositions from first hand witnesses or from a
witness four times removed from the time of the actual event?


RCM
 

RCM

Active member
As it regards the comment I have bold underlined above, the accounts are sometimes verbatim at the sentence level... if you and I were to each turn in an essay in which the kind of similarities that exist between the gospels were present, we would both get failing grades and be accused of plagiarism because such is evidence of direct literary dependence. The ancients did not view copying in this light and I have no idea why you are so strongly bucking against this fact as it has nothing to do with divine inspiration one way or the other... why would or should Luke reinvent the wheel when he had Mark and Matthew as sources he could draw from?

En Hakkore,

Your statement here and the questions raised are good ones and are at the crux of the whole debate of the Synoptic Gospels

What if you and I were in a class and had to turn in an essay on a lecture we attended by a renown scholar at a museum of early Christianity?

Would the essays be similar yet different? Of course, but they would be original and personally inspired by the experience and what was
witnessed first hand

However, if we were asked to do a book report, the essays could also be similar yet different, but they would be a summarized redaction
of the written material


It has everything to do with divine inspiration

Matthew's focus is, Jesus is the Messiah and the Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy
Mark's focus is, Jesus is a Servant King like David and is Compassionate towards the Sin and Suffering of His people
Luke's focus is, Jesus is the Son of Man, and He came to Seek and Save all of humanity lost in the Bondage of Sin

The Person of Jesus, the Life of Jesus, the Words of Jesus, the Miracles of Jesus, the Death of Jesus, and the Resurrection of Jesus are
complex issues

You do not get a whole new subject and new themes about Jesus in another Gospel, by redaction from a previous Gospel souce


This brings me full circle back to first hand witnesses writing about what they witnessed of Jesus and His words and works




RCM
 

RCM

Active member
RCM said:
The primary sources that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were dependent upon were real people, first hand eyewitnesses, not documents

The word I've bold and underlined above allows Luke's dependence on the documents that Mark and Matthew had written as secondary sources... again it is a subtle way of avoiding a commitment to literary dependence given your earlier objections to it.

En Hakkore,

It allows for it, but it doesn't necessitate it

If about 60% of Luke is unique to Luke, where did he get it?

Most of the people alive at the time of Jesus, were still alive at the time of the writing of the Gospels

If Luke got 60% of his unique information from living first hand sources, it stands to reason that he got the other information similar to
Matthew and Mark from those first hand sources as well


Things haven't changed clear down to our day, if you were to write history on the Holocaust, do you want to use books as your sources, or
would you rather talk to a living witness who was there?


RCM
 

Iconoclast

Active member
So, you'd say we're not waiting for some future event, since it's already happened?
Rev.19-22 still to happen.
The Kingdom has started with Christ reigning in the Midst of His Enemies .

Psalm110
1 cor15
Then cometh the end on the last day.jn6
37-44....raise them up on the last day.
Mt24etc...speaking of the last days of the ot.theocracy
The end,heb8:13
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Luke would have documented Paul's death had it happened prior to the writing of the Book of Acts
This argument is weak and could be used, for example, to claim that Matthew must have written his gospel prior to Jesus' ostensible ascension since he stops short of narrating it. To argue so would be flawed, however, because an historian can end his/her narrative at whatever point s/he wishes... in the case of Acts, Luke chose to end with Paul preaching and teaching boldly and unhindered.

Any scholar who dates Luke/Acts after 67 A.D. has no credible justification for doing so
Of course they do (see above) and the majority do date it later than this.

As for Theophilus, you have the high priest documented in the historical records for that time period and Luke's address to him both in Luke
and Acts, and other than that, no one can know
That you present the existence of a high priest named Theophilus (which no one seriously disputes) alongside the theory that Luke is addressing his two-volume work to this individual (which is a fringe idea not circulating in the academic world) sadly underscores your inability or unwillingness to distinguish between probability and (remote) possibility in historical reconstructions.

Agrippa gave him the boot in 41 A.D., why?
Theophilus' brother Jonathan was removed before him by Vitellius --- should we assume he, too, became a believer in Jesus? Of course not. Read through a history of high priests in the Roman period and see how many of them were deposed, sometimes in very quick succession... this reflects the general political instability of the region and shifting alliances among the ruling elites.

Assume what you want about my education, you would be wrong
If you withhold this information, I can only assume... and thus far you've given me no reason whatsoever to think you hold an advanced degree in any field pertinent to our discussion, at least not from a reputable institution. Your approach is clearly not rooted in a critical methodology (see below as it relates to BDAG), but in pure confirmation bias... something I would expect out of DTS or some similar such place.

In Biblical exegesis and word study, I was trained to first determine the range of usage and range of meaning as found in the Biblical text

Secondly, determine if there was a variance of usage between Biblical authors and if there were any variances based on context

If there are discrepancies, then I will look at BDAG to see how it was used in the secular and social Greek world to try and find clarification

Also, I obviously look in BDAG when a word is Hapax Legomena


However, when a word is only used by one Biblical author and the usage is consistent without variance, that Biblical author has defined
how he intends that word to be interpreted, I do not need to go to BDAG to find other usages of that word
Perhaps you should write the editors of BDAG to stop wasting their time printing such information for words used multiple times but only by one author (as if there would even be agreement on such a thing given disputes over authorship of several New Testament documents), see if they take you up on that suggestion. :rolleyes:

I have not avoided anything, I have very clearly shown you that the traditional/conservative view has nothing in common with the views
that you wanted me to answer yes or no to.
I asked only for you to affirm or deny a direct literary relationship between Matthew, Mark and Luke... an affirmative response would not commit you to any specific theory of what that relationship is. That you here implicitly dismiss Augustine, who posited just such a relationship, as neither "traditional" nor "conservative" simply underscores the bankruptcy of the position you're defending... I can't imagine many Christians supporting such an evaluation of Augustine.

What if you and I were in a class and had to turn in an essay on a lecture we attended by a renown scholar at a museum of early Christianity?

Would the essays be similar yet different? Of course, but they would be original and personally inspired by the experience and what was
witnessed first hand

However, if we were asked to do a book report, the essays could also be similar yet different, but they would be a summarized redaction
of the written material
You've said a lot and ironically nothing at all that relates to the reason I offered this analogy, which has to do with verbatim similarities between our respected projects, whatever the topic may have been --- this would be evidence that one of us copied the other or perhaps that both of us copied from a third source. Are you going to address this or continue to evade the issue and the implications this has on the literary relationship between the gospels?

It has everything to do with divine inspiration
That one or more of the gospel writers used their predecessors' documents as sources does not impact the idea of divine inspiration... how they may have done so could very well impact it, but we can't even get to that point in the discussion because you refuse to acknowledge the first point, one I maintain is the nearly unanimous position of New Testament scholarship, including its large Christian contingent.

Matthew's focus is, Jesus is the Messiah and the Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy
Mark's focus is, Jesus is a Servant King like David and is Compassionate towards the Sin and Suffering of His people
Luke's focus is, Jesus is the Son of Man, and He came to Seek and Save all of humanity lost in the Bondage of Sin
Ehrman characterizes the Jesus of Matthew as "the Jewish Messiah" (114), that of Mark as "the Suffering Son of God" (88) and that of Luke as "the Savior of the World" (134) --- there is some point of contact with each of your emphases as indicated through bold and underline added to your descriptions. For sake of completion he views the Jesus of John as "the Man sent from Heaven" (176). We can all agree that each gospel has its own unique take on Jesus... the question is whether they are mutually compatible as you imply or whether there's some significant tensions between them.

It allows for it, but it doesn't necessitate it
Even by allowing for it, your initial objection is invalidated and it would not impact your own position one iota by conceding that the vast majority of New Testament scholars affirm some sort of literary relationship among Matthew, Mark and Luke... which they do for very good reason, whether you ever admit this or not.

If about 60% of Luke is unique to Luke, where did he get it?
I have no idea where you are getting that percentage as it is far too high, but a combination of oral and written sources is the conclusion of most scholars as to where he obtained the material unique to his gospel.

Things haven't changed clear down to our day, if you were to write history on the Holocaust, do you want to use books as your sources, or
would you rather talk to a living witness who was there?
Actually, a combination of the two would be ideal because a single Holocaust survivor could only provide their experience of these tragic events... as invaluable as this is, it can be enhanced by inserting it in the wider scope of the atrocity and supplementing it with the existing documentation of other survivors and victims.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Work cited:
Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Fifth Edition; Oxford University Press, 2012)
 
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Tonyg

Member
Ssometimes haughtiness, arrogance and dependence on one's academic level of attainments creates blindness and tunnel vision within his circles of so-called peers and indoctrination.

But as rcms pointed out Luke pretty clearly explains that his sources are the eyewitnesses themselves and not the documents of the eyewitnesses or second generation documents.

And as I had pointed ou, explained and defended from the Old testament several pages ago, how the disciples and Matthew 24, were asking about the end of the age that had been prophesied in Deuteronomy, and I also explained the allegory content of parts of jesus's message, and first century fulfillment of all of jesus's message.

I'll post a link to an article which discusses the Old testament meaning of sightings in the clouds or Comings in the clouds to help confirm the Jewish mindset of the disciples and what they would have understood Jesus and the angels (Acts 1) words to mean

We might not have much further to discuss or debate in this thread. .
 

Tonyg

Member
Coming in clouds.

 

RCM

Active member
RCM said:

just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,

(2) The 'Many' are gathering together the written accounts by the Apostles, which was handed down to them by the Apostles
I have already shown how the first clause of your interpretation above is incorrect... as for the second part that I have bold and underlined, this is also incorrect. Whatever is handed down (more on that in a moment), it is entrusted not to the "many" as you here claim, but explicitly to "us" (ημιν), the implied readers of Luke's composition. The verb translated "handed down" above is παραδιδωμι, here as an aorist active indicative (παρεδοσαν) matching its third person plural subject that follows, namely "the eyewitnesses and servants of the word" --- since it lacks a direct object, the translation you are relying on infers it to be the collective "accounts" from the previous verse and thereby renders the verb as a passive to maintain a smooth flow from one verse to the other. The problem is that this may not be what Luke intends --- here is Yamada's translation:

Inasmuch as many people took in hand to draw up a narrative concerning the things that have been confirmed among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word from the beginning transmitted to us... (155)

What the eyewitnesses and ministers of the word transmit (hand down) is their testimony and they do so orally, therefore Luke has received both written and oral accounts (Yamada 163)... concerning the latter there is no implied criticism as there is with respect to the written accounts.

En Hakkore,

My interpretation is not incorrect, and you have no basis to insinuate that the Apostles handed down their testimony only in the oral tradition


Luke 1:2 just-as(1) the (ones who) from (the) beginning(2) were eyewitnesses and (then) became servants(3) of-the word delivered(4) to-us,

LEXICON -
  1. καθώς (LN 64.14) (BAGD 1. p. 391): ‘just as’ [AB, Arn, BAGD, LN, NTC, WBC; HCSB, NASB, NIV, NRSV], ‘according as’ [NIGTC], ‘even as’ [BECNT; KJV], ‘like’ [NET], not explicit [CEV, GW, NCV, NLT, REB, TEV].
  2. ἀρχή (LN 67.65) (BAGD 1.b. p. 112): ‘beginning’ [Arn, BAGD, BECNT, LN, NIGTC, NTC, WBC; CEV, GW, KJV, NASB, NCV, NET, NRSV, TEV], ‘the first’ [NIV]. This noun is also translated as an adjective modifying the eyewitnesses: ‘the original (eyewitnesses)’ [AB; HCSB, REB], ‘the early (disciples)’ [NLT]. It is the beginning of a duration of time [LN]. This refers to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry [Lns, NAC, NIC, NIGTC, TH, TNTC, WBC; NET], of the Christian movement [TG]. In regard to the eyewitnesses and servants of the word, the beginning refers to the time when John baptized Jesus [Arn, NAC]. However, this does not imply that the events in the first two chapters do not come from eyewitnesses also [NAC]. This stresses the reliability of the witnesses since they knew the whole story of Jesus [Lns].
  3. ὑπηρέτης (LN 35.20) (BAGD p. 842): ‘servant’ [Arn, BAGD, BECNT, LN, NIGTC, WBC; GW, HCSB, NASB, NET, NIV, NRSV, REB], ‘helper, assistant’ [BAGD], ‘minister’ [AB, NTC; KJV], ‘disciple’ [NLT], ‘those who proclaim (the message)’ [TEV], not explicit [CEV]. The phrase ‘servants of the word’ is translated ‘who...served God by telling people his message’ [NCV].
  4. aorist act. indic. of παραδίδωμι (LN 33.237) (BAGD 3. p. 615): ‘to deliver’ [BECNT; KJV], ‘to instruct, to teach’ [BAGD, LN], ‘to pass on’ [AB, BAGD; GW], ‘to hand down’ [Arn, NTC; HCSB]. This verb is also translated with ‘the account about the events’ of 1:1 as its subject: ‘to be handed down’ [NIGTC; NASB, NIV, REB], ‘to be handed on’ [WBC; NRSV], ‘to be passed on’ [NET], ‘to circulate’ [NLT]. The reciprocal verb is also used with ‘we’ as subject: ‘to learn’ [NCV], ‘to be told’ [CEV]. This includes both oral and written transmission [Arn, NICNT, NTC, Su]. It means to pass on information in order to save it from oblivion [NICNT].

QUESTION—Are the eyewitnesses and the servants of the word the same group of people?
  1. They are the same group of people [AB, BECNT, EGT, MGC, NAC, NIC, NICNT, NIGTC, NTC, Su, TH, TNTC, WBC; NET]. They were eyewitnesses who became servants of the message [WBC]. This refers to the original disciples who were at first eyewitnesses and then became servants of the word [AB, Arn, Su, TH]. This refers primarily to the apostles [EGT, MGC, NIC, NIGTC, Su], but not exclusively to them [NAC, NIGTC, WBC]. It could include the seventy disciples (10:1-12) [NAC], and Mary, the brothers of Jesus, other women, and others [NTC].
  2. They are two groups of people [Lns]. The one article that combines the eyewitnesses and the servants of the word makes them one class of authorities, but this does not mean that all of the servants of the word were eyewitnesses from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry [Lns].
QUESTION—What did they deliver to us?

They delivered the traditions [BECNT, NAC, NIGTC; REB], the accounts [NET], the reports [NLT], or the message of what they knew [WBC]. Although grammatically the object is πραγμάτων ‘events’ (1:1), it was the information about the events that they delivered [TH, WBC].



En Hakkore, in regards to Luke 1:1 and the 'Many,' your view and my view may both be correct. It wouldn't surprise me at all if several
of the early Christians did write and document the events, but those documents did not survive because they were not copied in mass
like the inspired Gospel accounts.


RCM
 
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