Luke's Prologue: Understanding the Purpose and Character of Luke's Gospel College
The Gospel of Luke opens with a four-verse reflection on the Evangelist's intentions regarding his Gospel and what he hopes to achieve in writing it. He expresses his desire to construct a revised edition of the story of the life and ministry of Christ and his followers; the author claims to have 'carefully investigated everything from the beginning' and composed an 'ordered account' of the events as they occurred. There are arguably many points about the character and potential purpose of the Gospel as a whole which a detailed investigation into the preface sheds light on and numerous still unanswered questions about the Gospel which a study of the prologue might help to resolve; as Parsons notes, 'Luke's preface has received extensive analysis in the scholarly literature. Still, there are many unresolved questions. Does the preface belong to the genre of historiography or does it fit better within the category of scientific treatises?...Does Luke intend to criticize his predecessors' attempts to write an account of Jesus or does he stand in basic continuity with them?' This essay is intended to explore some central features of Luke's prologue and how these might provide a key to understanding the objectives behind, and...
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