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This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."

2021/09/02

Hellenist Luke

According to an early Christian legend the Evangelist Luke was a physician friend of Apostle Paul. It is difficult to make any judgement about Luke’s medical training. Similarly his relationship to apostle Paul is difficult to judge. He certainly did not know Paul well enough to capture his theology and thought process.
            On the other hand judging from Luke’s writing we know that he was a well educated Hellenistic intellectual. The Gospel of Luke is edited from earlier sources in a pleasant language, most sophisticated of all the other gospels and one of the best styles of the New Testament. And Luke’s second volume, the Acts of Apostles, is a real Hellenistic Masterpiece.  Modern scholars cannot decide about Acts’ precise inspiration or its exact literary category. Is it more a Hellenistic historiography, a Hellenistic Biography or a Hellenistic Novella? Difficult to decide.
       It is certain it shares some characteristic features of Hellenistic literature.
      It contains periodoi, travelogues - journeys of the main character. Hellenistic people were eager to read and learn about new distant lands, cities, cultures, customs, religions.
       It contains elements of teras or thauma - fascination with supra natural, miraculous or bizarre. Because Hellenistic audiences loved to be teased with religious or supra-natural mystery.
       Acts definitely contains aretology - lifting up virtues of the main character/s and setting him or them as examples for the audience.
       It also contains homiliai - made up speeches of the main characters - just like Hellenistic historiographer would insert in pivotal points believable but invented speeches.
       All of it is part of a highly entertaining even thrilling storytelling full of danger, suspension, jeopardy.
       It is really difficult to say what was the main source of inspiration, Hellenistic historiography, biography or novella. I would say that Luke like a proper creative intellectual was familiar and inspired by all the current literary styles. He used them to fit his own unique purpose, in fact he created his own and new style of THE ACTS OF APOSTLES.
       And that exactly what followed - after Luke and his Acts of Apostles - the early Christian literature from the mid 2nd Century is aflush with different acts of apostles- Acts of Andrew, Acts of Andrew and Mathias, Acts of John, Acts of Paul, Acts of Peter, Acts of Peter and Paul, Acts of Peter and the Twelve, Acts of Philip, Acts of Pilate, Acts of Tekla, and Acts of Thomas. And these are just those writings which survived till now and which we know.
       The Evangelist Luke is the first author and the father of this thrilling Hellenistic style, highly entertaining and at the same time educating. And that is something you might not know about the bible.

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