Sep 3, 2010

Reading Luke-Acts and Reception History

"Luke wrote his two books to be read together, but for most of their history they have been read in their canonical context, as two discrete texts that relate to a range of others. This does not mean that Luke and Acts cannot or should not be read in this way. It simply acknowledges that many readers have privileged the way in which the canon suggests that these texts should be read over the way in which the author appears to have suggested that these texts should be read. Each reading strategy is appropriate for the community in which it has been followed—a community of believers, or a community of scholars—and many individuals will use one strategy or the other at different times. Some will also adopt a middle position between them, as Jaroslav Pelikan does in his recent theological commentary on Acts. There he notes that in his cross-references to the four Gospels he will 'in the first instance cite the Gospel of Luke where possible, and the other three Gospels as appropriate (Pelikan 2006: 31, where he presents this decision as a consequence of the common authorship of Luke and Acts as seen in the two prefaces and their repeated address to Theophilus). Pelikan recognizes the authorial unity of Luke-Acts, but does not feel excluded from noting how Acts may be related to other canonical Gospels besides Luke, just as he relates it also to other New Testament books."

Andrew Gregory, "The Reception of Luke and Acts and the Unity of Luke-Acts," Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29 (2007: 470.

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