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Problems with Thinking That Luke Wrote Luke (and Acts)

I continue now with my discussion of whether one of Paul's traveling companions wrote the account of his life in the book of Acts, and thus, by association, the Gospel of Luke.  It turns out to be a really sticky problem -- one of those that can't be solved simply by looking at a couple of verses and applying some basic logic. In my previous post I gave the logic that is typically adduced for thinking that the Luke was probably written by Luke, the gentile physician who was a companion of Paul for part of his missionary journeys. The short story, in sum: the author of Luke also wrote the book of Acts; the book of Acts in four places talks about what “we” (companions with Paul) were doing; both books were therefore written by one of Paul’s companions; Acts and Luke appear to have a gentile bias; only three of Paul’s companions were known to be gentiles (Colossians 4:7-14); Luke there is a gentile physician; Luke-Acts appears to have an enhanced interest in [...]

Once More on the Credibility of Miracles: Guest post by Darren Slade

This will be my final post dealing with the recent book, The Case Against Miracles, edited by John Loftus.  As you know, here on the blog we have guest posts from scholars with a wide range of views on the blog, so long as they relate to the issues we are concerned about here, the history and literature of early Christianity, starting with the New Testament.  Our guest contributor now is Darren Slade, author of chapter 4 of the book.   He supports the same basic view we have seen by the other two contributors, that there is not and cannot be sufficient proof of miracles, in either the ancient or the modern worlds.  What do you think? One of the values of the blog is that we can see different views from ours, on topics we are all interested in.  In your comments with Dr. Slade, please be respectful, even if you disagree.  Dr. Slade here summarizes his views in the third person, and he will be willing to respond to comments and questions you have. [...]

2020-04-02T14:30:54-04:00January 6th, 2020|Canonical Gospels|

Did “Luke” Really Write Luke? And the book of Acts?

Here is an important question that I received recently, which I’ve addressed long ago on the blog, before living memory.  Time to address it again!  The basic issue: isn’t there good evidence that the book of Acts, which describes the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman world, especially through the missionary efforts of Paul, was written by an eyewitness, an actual traveling companion of Paul who was with him for a number of his endeavors?   (Whoever the author is, he wrote the Gospel of Luke as well – so he wrote more words than any other author of the New Testament!  Even more than Paul.) Here’s the question and the beginning of a response, the totality of which will take two or three posts.   In this beginning, I explain how the tradition started that the author was someone named “Luke” the traveling companion of Paul. ******************************************************************************* QUESTION: Acts mentions Luke as a traveling companion with Paul. And in areas where it appears the Luke joined Paul, Acts point-of-view changes from “he” to “we”, and then [...]

2020-04-17T13:06:16-04:00January 5th, 2020|Acts of the Apostles, Reader’s Questions|


Some blog readers have had a misunderstanding.  The blog post on Jan. 2, 2021 on Why Do Christians Try To Convert People was written by *me*, not John Loftus.  I'm not sure what created the misunderstanding!

2020-01-04T05:54:17-05:00January 4th, 2020|Reader’s Questions|

Was Christianity a Missionary Religion with No Missionaries?

Early Christians were bound and determined to convert others to their faith, as I indicated in my previous post.  Or at least that’s what their literature suggests; I very much doubt if *everyone* was!  But they certainly did convert people – within four hundred years a tiny handful of the disciples of Jesus’ uneducated and unimpressive disciples had become the official religion of the entire western world. The interest in making converts made this religion unlike anything else in the Roman empire (or outside of it).  Now *that’s* interesting, and different from what we could expect.   But what is also odd to modern eyes is that even though Christianity was evangelistic, there were almost no evangelists.  That is to say, hardly anyone – so far as we know – went on a mission to other places to convert people, with one notable exception.  So how did the Christians manage to convert millions of people?  That’s the subject of this post, again taken from my book Triumph of Christianity. ******************************************** Christians then, starting at least with [...]

Why Do Christians Try to Convert People?

Why Do Christians Try to Convert People? I begin this New Year by addressing a really interesting question I received recently from a reader.  It’s a question that has rarely occurred to most people.  Today, we tend to think that religions are by their very nature interested in converting others to their views, that they are just inherently evangelistic, missionary, and proselytizing.  If your religion is “the right one,” wouldn’t you want everyone to agree with you, so they too could be right, instead of wrong?   Wouldn’t their salvation depend on it? That indeed has long been the view of both Christianity and (later) Islam and … well surely all religions, right?  Uh, as it turns out, the answer is No.  In the world that Christianity came into, for example, in the Roman empire, there simply weren’t such things as missionary/evangelistic religions.  Huh?  Then why was Christianity? Here’s the question I received. Why Do Christians Try to Convert People? QUESTION: Where/how/why did the new religion ‘about Jesus’ becomes – unlike most contemporary religions up to [...]

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