Jun 16, 2010
Luke's View of the Law Driven by Sociological Concerns
Many interpreters have noted at least some tension in Luke-Acts with how Luke presents the Mosaic Law. Some passages present it positively and others negatively or with a measure of ambivalence. Many interpreters also attribute the tension in Luke's view to an apologetic desire to present a unified church. However, Daniel Margeurat has presented an intriguing alternative explanation (see below). I am not sure that I am convinced, but I think it is worth thinking about.
"To break with the Law creates the risk that Christianity may appear as a religion without custom, without a past - illegitimate, according to Roman convention. By contrast, the maintenance of customs legitimated by the antiquity of the Torah, and relieved of any excess, assured Christianity a politically acceptable exterior. That is the reason why, at the risk of making himself misunderstood, Luke counterbalanced the soteriological suspension of the Torah by the recurring affirmation of the maintenance of its ethos by the Jewish Christian branch of the movement."
Daniel Marguerat, “Paul and the Torah in Acts,” in Torah in the New Testament: Papers Delivered at the Manchester-Lausanne Seminar of June 2008, ed. Michael Tait and Peter Oakes, Library of New Testament Studies 401, ed. Mark Goodacre (London: T & T Clark, 2009), 117.