Sep 4, 2010
The Debate Over the Unity of Luke-Acts
Some more academically-informed readers may be aware of recent debates concerning the unity of Luke¬–Acts. Many interpreters (as I do) continue to affirm this unity but that unity is now being challenged with a new vigor. Michael F. Bird, “The Unity of Luke–Acts in Recent Discussion,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29 (2007): 425–48, offers a fairly recent overview of the debate
In this article, Bird not only discusses the history of the debate, but also identifies the following seven major issues and implications for the discussion as it moves forward (pp. 439–42).
The interpretation of Luke and Acts will depend on what other literature they are read in proximity to.
The prologue of Luke's Gospel will be interpreted differently according to alternative conceptions of the relationship between Luke and Acts.
The genre of Luke and Acts postulated by scholars is informed in some way by what is made of their literary relationship.
Any attempt to devise a structure of Luke and Acts will again be influenced by prior convictions about the relationship (and the type of relationship) between them.
Any conclusion made regarding the unity or disunity of Luke and Acts invariably affects how Luke's overarching literary and theological purposes are understood.
By addressing the issue of the unity of Luke and Acts we are forced to evaluate a variety of methodological approaches to New Testament study.
The relationship between Luke and Acts will determine one's approach to New Testament theology.