So: Was Luke Luke?

I started this thread over a week ago on the authorship of the Third Gospe and its accompanying volume, the book of Acts, and would like now simply to bring some closure to it before moving on to other things. To sum up: there is a kind of interpretive logic that can lead one to think that the books were written by Luke, a Gentile physician who was a traveling companion of Paul. This is what I myself thought for ...

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Does the Book of Acts Accurately Record Paul’s Teachings?

We could deal forever with the question of the historical accuracy of Acts. There are entire books devoted to the problem and even to *aspects* of the problem, and different scholars come to different conclusions. My own view is that since Acts is at odds with Paul just about every time they talk about the same thing, that it is probably not to be taken as very accurate, especially in its detail. In yesterday’s post I dealt with a couple ...

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Did *Any* Companion of Paul Write Luke and Acts?

I am circling around the ultimate question of this thread, whether Luke, the companion of Paul, wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.   A big reason this matters: if Paul’s companion, “the gentile physician,” wrote Acts, he had first-hand knowledge of Paul’s life and teachings.  That would certainly increase the likelihood that he was giving an authoritative account!

The first step to answering the question — was it written by Luke? — was to show that Paul never ...

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The More Scholarly Argument that Paul did Not Write Colossians

Every now and then I think it’s useful on the blog to shift gears away from explaining at a more popular level what scholars have come to think to showing how scholars make their arguments to one *another*.  I don’t want to do this a lot, but it seems that it can be helpful at times, just so blog readers can get a bit of a sense.

Right now I’m in them middle of a thread on whether the author of ...

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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 ...

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The Life and Message of Paul

I return now to the next portion of a longer post I’m composing on the New Testament, a general survey in what is now looking like 10,000 words or so?  My most recent segment was an explanation of what we can know about the life and teaching of Jesus:   This one is a corollary: what we can know about the life and message of Paul.

Next to Jesus himself, Paul was the most important figure in the entire history ...

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Does the New Testament Condemn “Homosexuals”?

It is commonly argued that the Bible condemns sexual “perversion” such as gay or lesbian sex.  In earlier posts I discussed the relevant passages of the Old Testament, to show that they simply cannot be used in these modern debates, since their very understandings of the phenomena are completely at odds with what people think today (including, most emphatically, the people who appeal to those passages in support of their views).  See, for example:

I should stress there are ...

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What Is the New Testament? A Broad Overview

With some very sage outside advice, I have decided to add a new feature to the blog.   Once or twice a week (at least that’s the *plan*) I will create a kind of “general introduction” post, dealing with some broad and basic matter connected with the New Testament, the Historical Jesus, the apostle Paul, the role of women in the church, persecution and martyrdom, heresy and orthodoxy, the development of theology, the Christianization of the empire, etc. etc.   Broad overviews, ...

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Women Are To Be Silent and Submissive!

Yesterday I started this thread on the understanding of sex and gender in the ancient world by pointing out how the entire Bible starts, with the creation of the world and both men and women, the woman being created “out of” the man – so that she was secondary to him, dependent on him for her existence, and brought into the world both to keep him from being lonely and to help him out.  For most feminists, this would not ...

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Is the Author of James Rejecting Paul Himself?

I have been talking about how the letter of James appears to refer to Paul’s letters in order to contradict them (as has long been thought by scholars — going back at least to Martin Luther).  But as it turns out, I don’t think it’s actually that simple.   I briefly mentioned this in an earlier post, but here is the fuller scoop.   This again is taken from my book Forgery and Counterforgery.   I should remind you what I mean by ...

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