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Christianity / Bible / New Testament / Gospels /
Gospel according to Luke


Gospel that has been included in the religious text of Christianity, the New Testament, and arranged as the third book.
Luke is the longest of the four gospels in the New Testament, and has a style and a vocabulary that is more evolved than what is found in Mark and Matthew (these three gospels are called synoptic, as they have many similarities in content).
As is always the problem with the gospels, the authorship is subject to discussions. In the case of Luke, tradition wants him to be a physician named Luke. To him is also ascribed the Acts. This is strongly disputed among modern theologians, and we are left with only one conclusion: Nothing can be said with certainty about the author of Luke — except that he had little knowledge of Palestine.
Dating the writing of Luke is also difficult, but around 70- 80 CE seems to be well accepted by most scholars. Where the Gospel according to Luke was written cannot be said with any certainty either. But it appears not to have been Palestine, due to some grave geographical errors. It appears to be more likely that it was written not too far away from Rome, perhaps even in Rome.
The base of this gospel is the Gospel according to Mark — parts of Mark seem to be pasted into Luke. Often, insertions are made, probably with the obscure Q as the source, as well as from a body of oral tradition. Left out are happenings from territories outside Galilee and Judea.
The two first chapters are most probably written by the same author who have written the rest of the gospel, but it is believed to have been written at another stage, most probably later than the rest.
These opening chapters are also the most unique to Luke: the birth and childhood of Jesus. When the 3rd chapter starts, it starts as if there were no preceding chapters. The two first chapters, appear to build on the rhetorics of Hellenistic historians, yet at the same time they have more of a Semitic flavour. It is these two chapters that have given shape to the Christian celebration of Christmas/Yule.
It is believed that the Gospel according to Luke was written for Christians of non-Jewish origin, it has more of a universal message than what is found in the other two synoptic gospels. It is with Luke we hear about the gospel to be told until it is heard in "all nations". Jerusalem is more emphasized with Luke than in the other gospels. Luke is also the gospel which first propagated the theories of tradition and legitimate succession, elements that would become central to the Roman Catholic Church and its organization




By Tore Kjeilen