Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

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rgprice
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Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by rgprice »

So, this may sound a little crazy, but tell me why it shouldn't be considered.

My proposition is that the person who wrote Luke/Acts also wrote the Pastorals, also wrote 2 Peter, also created the orthodox version of the Pauline letters (which he derived from Marcion's version) and ultimately compiled the first edition of the New Testament, which was produced in the late 2nd century.

I'm not going to go into all of the supporting evidence here, as that's basically a book's worth of material, but the general logic goes like this:

The Gospel of Luke is, somewhat poorly, derived from Marcion's Gospel (or an intermediate Gospel that was derived from Marcion's). For the most part, GLuke was constructed by taking Marcion's Gospel and tacking on the birth narrative (Luke 1-2) along with an ending that transitioned into Acts of the Apostles. So the writer of Luke was appropriating Marcion to turn Marcion's Gospel upside-down. So we can see the writer of GLuke's agenda.

Acts of the Apostles is a narrative appropriation and revision of Marcion's Apostolikon, his version of the Pauline letters. The writer of Acts had the Pauline letters in hand and was creating a narrative portrayal of a particular interpretation of them. We know that this writer ultimately "published" Luke and Acts as part of an anti-Marcionite agenda, and we can see that the process this writer used to create their material was appropriation and manipulation of Marcionite material.

Acts ends with Paul preaching in Rome, but there were no Pauline letters to support such an ending, while much of Acts finds corroboration in the Pauline corpus. Thus, this person also wrote the Pastoral letters to provide continuity with his Acts narrative. By doing that, all of the elements of his Acts narrative had parallels in the Pauline collection. So, we then know that this person was forging Pauline letters, and that he was doing so to align the Pauline corpus with his Acts narrative.

If he's going to go that far, then why not revise all of the other letters too? He's already plagiarized Marcion's Gospel, he's created a manipulated account of Paul's ministry, he's forged Pauline letters, and we know he was working from Marcion's material to do all of this. So why wouldn't this person also revise the Pauline letters to create more alignment between them and Acts as well?

But what's the end game? Well, the New Testament conveniently contains letters from essentially all of the players in Acts of the Apostles! In fact, there is so much alignment between Acts and the rest of the contents of the NT that one has to question how it can be that separate individuals acting independently would happen to create such a tidy package? Here we have, in Acts, a summary of the deeds of a substantial number of different people and lo and behold we've got letters from all of the major characters in the story! The whole collection of documents works so well to reinforce itself.

So it looks to me like the person who wrote Acts was the same person who compiled what we know as the NT itself. Acts is such a comprehensive summary of the contents of the NT it was clearly designed to fit into that collection of writings. In other words, Acts and the NT collection were made hand in hand. That doesn't mean the person who wrote Acts wrote everything else, but that they possessed the other material when they wrote Acts, and whatever parts didn't already exist they fabricated.

I say that this person also wrote 2 Peter because 2 Peter is actually quite insane when you study it in terms of its relation to the rest of the NT. 2 Peter can almost entirely be reconstructed from the other letters of the NT. You can cut and paste material from the other letters and essentially build 2 Peter. 2 Peter contains paraphrases from Pauline letters, 1 Peter, Jude, James, Revelation and Gospels. It was clearly written as the capstone to the NT.

So, I say we have identified the prime suspect up front when we see how Luke was made. Someone who produced Luke by adding material to Marcion's Gospel and attempting to appropriate it in the way that they did, such a person is capable of all the rest as well. By seeing how they made Luke, we know that they had the Means, the Opportunity, and the Motive. Everything else that was done to create the NT was capable of being done by someone who made Luke and would have had the same motivations as the motivation behind making Luke.

Again, this may sound crazy. I'm throwing it out there to get your thoughts...
gryan
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by gryan »

RE: Did the author of Acts write any other books?

"...the semantic parallels between Luke-Acts and Hebrews detailed in the “linguistic argument” are hard to overlook and should set the stage for future conversations about the authorship of Hebrews." https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/them ... f-hebrews/

"Eusebius does not list Epistle to the Hebrews among the antilegomena or disputed books (though he included the unrelated Gospel of the Hebrews). He does record, however, that "some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is disputed by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul."[6] In response, he endorses the view of Clement of Alexandria: that the epistle was written by Paul in Hebrew (unsigned through modesty), and "translated carefully" into Greek by Luke, a thing demonstrated by its stylistic similarity with Luke's Acts." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorshi ... he_Hebrews
Last edited by gryan on Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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maryhelena
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by maryhelena »

rgprice wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:50 am So, this may sound a little crazy, but tell me why it shouldn't be considered.

My proposition is that the person who wrote Luke/Acts also wrote the Pastorals, also wrote 2 Peter, also created the orthodox version of the Pauline letters (which he derived from Marcion's version) and ultimately compiled the first edition of the New Testament, which was produced in the late 2nd century.

I'm not going to go into all of the supporting evidence here, as that's basically a book's worth of material, but the general logic goes like this:

The Gospel of Luke is, somewhat poorly, derived from Marcion's Gospel (or an intermediate Gospel that was derived from Marcion's). For the most part, GLuke was constructed by taking Marcion's Gospel and tacking on the birth narrative (Luke 1-2) along with an ending that transitioned into Acts of the Apostles. So the writer of Luke was appropriating Marcion to turn Marcion's Gospel upside-down. So we can see the writer of GLuke's agenda.

Acts of the Apostles is a narrative appropriation and revision of Marcion's Apostolikon, his version of the Pauline letters. The writer of Acts had the Pauline letters in hand and was creating a narrative portrayal of a particular interpretation of them. We know that this writer ultimately "published" Luke and Acts as part of an anti-Marcionite agenda, and we can see that the process this writer used to create their material was appropriation and manipulation of Marcionite material.

Acts ends with Paul preaching in Rome, but there were no Pauline letters to support such an ending, while much of Acts finds corroboration in the Pauline corpus. Thus, this person also wrote the Pastoral letters to provide continuity with his Acts narrative. By doing that, all of the elements of his Acts narrative had parallels in the Pauline collection. So, we then know that this person was forging Pauline letters, and that he was doing so to align the Pauline corpus with his Acts narrative.

If he's going to go that far, then why not revise all of the other letters too? He's already plagiarized Marcion's Gospel, he's created a manipulated account of Paul's ministry, he's forged Pauline letters, and we know he was working from Marcion's material to do all of this. So why wouldn't this person also revise the Pauline letters to create more alignment between them and Acts as well?

But what's the end game? Well, the New Testament conveniently contains letters from essentially all of the players in Acts of the Apostles! In fact, there is so much alignment between Acts and the rest of the contents of the NT that one has to question how it can be that separate individuals acting independently would happen to create such a tidy package? Here we have, in Acts, a summary of the deeds of a substantial number of different people and lo and behold we've got letters from all of the major characters in the story! The whole collection of documents works so well to reinforce itself.

So it looks to me like the person who wrote Acts was the same person who compiled what we know as the NT itself. Acts is such a comprehensive summary of the contents of the NT it was clearly designed to fit into that collection of writings. In other words, Acts and the NT collection were made hand in hand. That doesn't mean the person who wrote Acts wrote everything else, but that they possessed the other material when they wrote Acts, and whatever parts didn't already exist they fabricated.

I say that this person also wrote 2 Peter because 2 Peter is actually quite insane when you study it in terms of its relation to the rest of the NT. 2 Peter can almost entirely be reconstructed from the other letters of the NT. You can cut and paste material from the other letters and essentially build 2 Peter. 2 Peter contains paraphrases from Pauline letters, 1 Peter, Jude, James, Revelation and Gospels. It was clearly written as the capstone to the NT.

So, I say we have identified the prime suspect up front when we see how Luke was made. Someone who produced Luke by adding material to Marcion's Gospel and attempting to appropriate it in the way that they did, such a person is capable of all the rest as well. By seeing how they made Luke, we know that they had the Means, the Opportunity, and the Motive. Everything else that was done to create the NT was capable of being done by someone who made Luke and would have had the same motivations as the motivation behind making Luke.

Again, this may sound crazy. I'm throwing it out there to get your thoughts...
Wow - one person for all that work....

Consider Brodie:

Thomas Brodie: Conclusion: Christianity, insofar as it was a new religion, was founded by a school of writers, or more likely by a religious community many of whose members were writers.' The process of writing was probably interwoven with specific events and/or religious experiences-a matter that needs urgent research. (Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus)

Amazon on the book: The Origins of Early Christian Literature: Contextualizing the New Testament within Greco-Roman Literary Culture by Robyn Faith Walsh.

Robyn Faith Walsh argues that the Synoptic gospels were written by elite cultural producers working within a dynamic cadre of literate specialists,

rgprice
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by rgprice »

@maryhelena

Maybe, but the case for these "schools of writers" is far from solid. It is certainly a more common starting assumption.

And actually the amount of writing is not so great at all, especially once you understand just how much of the material is copied. As I said, the Gospel of Luke was produced by adding essentially 2.5 chapters to an existing Gospel, so the amount of writing to produce "Luke" was minimal. Acts of the Apostles contains tons of appropriated material from Paul's letters and the Gospels. 2 Peter is almost all cut and paste. The Pauline letters already exited and just required some minor revisions. The Pastorals are short and could have been written in a day or less.

It sounds like "so much material" but the amount of overlap between the writings of the NT is astounding. There is so little original material in it, the whole thing, with all of the material reduced to is base original elements, would almost certainly condense down to less than a third of the current length.

Matthias Klinghardt comes to the opposite conclusion of Brodie and others. Likewise, David Trobisch concludes that the first edition of the NT was likely produced by a single individual. Again, I'm not saying that everything in the NT was written by one person, but that the person who produced Luke/Acts did more than just produce Luke/Acts. That person is very likely the person who assembled the first edition of the NT and edited it in a way as to harmonize much of the content.
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maryhelena
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by maryhelena »

rgprice wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:42 pm @maryhelena

Maybe, but the case for these "schools of writers" is far from solid. It is certainly a more common starting assumption.

And actually the amount of writing is not so great at all, especially once you understand just how much of the material is copied. As I said, the Gospel of Luke was produced by adding essentially 2.5 chapters to an existing Gospel, so the amount of writing to produce "Luke" was minimal. Acts of the Apostles contains tons of appropriated material from Paul's letters and the Gospels. 2 Peter is almost all cut and paste. The Pauline letters already exited and just required some minor revisions. The Pastorals are short and could have been written in a day or less.

It sounds like "so much material" but the amount of overlap between the writings of the NT is astounding. There is so little original material in it, the whole thing, with all of the material reduced to is base original elements, would almost certainly condense down to less than a third of the current length.

Matthias Klinghardt comes to the opposite conclusion of Brodie and others. Likewise, David Trobisch concludes that the first edition of the NT was likely produced by a single individual. Again, I'm not saying that everything in the NT was written by one person, but that the person who produced Luke/Acts did more than just produce Luke/Acts. That person is very likely the person who assembled the first edition of the NT and edited it in a way as to harmonize much of the content.

Thomas Brodie: As the pattern of connections becomes clearer so does a basic conclusion. Christianity was founded not by one or two people but by a whole group. It is possible that the group drew much of its inspiration from one or two key figures, but, contrary, to most modern practice, ancient biblical writers often maintained anonymity or a pseudonym, and it seems unlikely that we will ever know much about individual leaders. What we can do, however, is try to get a sense of the nature of the group.


So a couple of inspirational figures working within a school of writers. Also, quality control needs organization. Not that, in this case, the final product always makes sense to our own thinking - but that does not rule out that what we have is what the writers choose to give us.

Methinks what we have is a team effort - but like all good teams a star or two can lift the game of others.
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by mlinssen »

rgprice wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:42 pm I'm not saying that everything in the NT was written by one person, but that the person who produced Luke/Acts did more than just produce Luke/Acts. That person is very likely the person who assembled the first edition of the NT and edited it in a way as to harmonize much of the content.
I never made it far beyond Romans, and certainly tossed Acts after the first chapters - but Acts is the glue between the four gospels and the rest: especially the division between disciples and apostles is screaming that

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7719

A few notes:

1. the verbatim agreement between Matthew and Luke: it must have been Matthew who created Luke from Marcion, and I suspect Justin Martyr for his extraordinary hybrid verbatim quotes of both of them that don't exist in the NT at all:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7726

I never finished the parallels from Dialogue with Trypho but did a few good ones

2. John - he's alien to them all, but he has stunning stories of his own that go very, very deep. James David Audlin is wrapping up his reconstruction of John from all kinds of uncontrolled sources such as the Palestinian lectionaries, and John really is a very different person

3. Mark - I have come to like to think (sic) that he had the first run at copying Marcion, but he has material from Thomas that Marcion doesn't have, for example his try out of the parable of the seed and the weed in his own secretly growing seed

4. Hebrews is the odd one out too, it sticks out among all the letters. Check viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7718 - it's the only one with priests, and lots of them. Kingdom is an odd one, it doesn't have any: viewtopic.php?p=118422#p118422

In general, I like the idea. But I think there was a precedent first (Mark), which certainly is Roman and mimicks Hellenic comedy as well as tragedy - I'm not even sure it was meant for real from the start. But it sold well, and met with obstacles that needed fixing: Matthew did Luke and himself in an attempt to address that - and after that they went full frontal

Something like that, what you describe would be stage 3 in a process of growth, evolution, and perhaps only a few bits and pieces got added after that, and from then on the war was fought on the CF front in apologies. Mark is the infant, Matthew Luke the adolescent, and your idea is adulthood
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by Irish1975 »

Basically this is just David Trobisch's position, which I discussed here, where I argue that the epistle of James too was composed by "Luke."

Who wrote the epistle of James? Few seem to think it was the James of Galatians, of Josephus, or of later tradition.

A case can be made that it was the author or circle of authors who wrote Luke-Acts, and who probably wrote the Pastorals and one or more of the other general epistles. A primary reason I think this proposal has merit is that this author or circle, "Luke," expresses the point of view that defines the "editorial concept" of the whole New Testament (see Trobisch, The First Edition of the New Testament). And the epistle serves that concept very well. Very roughly, the concern of the NT is to reconcile various "Judaizing" interpretations of Jesus with the gospel of Paul

rgprice
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by rgprice »

Yeah, I think we are generally on the same page Irish. I'm not convinced that "Luke" wrote James, but I wouldn't call it out of the question either. Nor is it impossible that "Luke" was more than one person working together with a common agenda, i.e. that "Luke" could have been two or three people, etc. and thus account for some of the minor differences that nevertheless work toward the same end.

But I think that the point Trobisch makes regarding just how well all of the material in the NT fits together is actually very powerful. It takes a while to really set in, but once you get it, the idea that the NT is a collection of vastly disparate material cobbled together over time by an array of communities becomes absurd.

And I think when you combine Trobisch's work with a lot of the new research regarding Marcion, it becomes clear that the NT was an anti-Marcionite work that was fairly quickly assembled in reaction to Marcionism. And once you start looking through the lens provided by Trobisch a lot of the common threads of the NT start to show.

I think its possible that James was an independently produced letter written by someone who had read an independently circulating copy of Romans. I'm not sure I'd put James on the pen of Luke just because it seems like if he were to have written it, he would have made it more supportive of the Gospel concept of Jesus, which actually is nonexistence in James. But, it is interesting that neither Acts of the Apostles nor the letter of James profess James to be a brother of Jesus.

But regardless, even if James was a pre-existing letter, someone selected it for inclusion in the NT, and it would totally make sense that the writer of Acts would make such a selection, even if the letter were suspect of being inauthentic. And again, its also the case that neither the Gospel of Luke, Acts of the Apostles nor the letter of James state that James is a brother of Jesus. Given how widespread the view that James was a brother of Jesus became, and the fact that there is a brother of Jesus named James in the Gospel of Mark & Matthew, that is an interesting similarity across those works.

This may be where someone might ask: But if "Luke" held certain positions or made certain claims in his works, then why would he edit together a collection that contained contradictions to his claims? Why leave in statements in the letters of Paul that contradict Acts? Why leave in stuff from Mark, Matthew, John that contradicts Luke? Etc., etc. But I think there are a few possible explanations. #1) I think that the writer of Luke/Acts and potentially the compiler of the NT was simply sloppy. Despite claims of how good a writer he was, there many instances of editorial oversights in Luke/Acts. Given that the writer of Luke/Acts has a proven track record of major editorial oversights, many other potential oversights can be explained as having arisen from the same individual. #2) The writer/editor of Luke/Acts shows signs of simply being lazy and/or rushed. If they took Marcion's Gospel and just added on a few passages to the beginning and end to create Luke, without even changing most of the original content, clearly this is not someone who is going through all of the material with a fine-toothed comb. It was someone who was willing to accept a certain about of contradiction. They made Mary out to be a paragon of virtue and sacred woman, then accepted a body-text for Luke in which Mary is only mentioned once to disparage her. Clearly they weren't too concerned with such fine details. #3) It may well have been part of their editorial agenda to provide slightly incongruent accounts in order to engender a sense of independence of the works. Part of the anti-Marcionite agenda was to claim that Marcion had only a single work produced by a single, potentially biased, individual, while the NT contained a collection of works that offered different, but generally corroborative, viewpoints.

So, I think that the case can still be made that an individual who produced some of the material in the NT also allowed in other material that contradicted some of his own. I mean the Gospel of Luke all by itself contains material that contradicts other sections of Luke. So that someone who would produce a Gospel that contradictions itself would also produce an anthology that contains contradictions shouldn't be surprising.
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by Stuart »

The association of Luke-Acts with the pastoral writer (at least 1 Timothy) and the pastoral layer in Paul is not a new or wild concept.

2 Peter however was almost certainly written in the early 3rd century, as nobody had heard of it before then. Perhaps you meant the editorial layer of 1 Peter, which has similarities to the pastoral layer in Paul (noted by Winsome Monroe).
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by Charles Wilson »

rgprice wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:50 amActs ends with Paul preaching in Rome, but there were no Pauline letters to support such an ending...
Acts 28: 28 - 31 (RSV):

[28] Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."
[30] And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,
[31] preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.

On the view that "Paul" was a creation based on Mucianus, Procurator of Syria, and one who held Imperial Honors in his hands before giving everything to Vespasian, we find:

William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. 2, Earinus-Nyx, p. 1118:

"He seems to have died in the reign of Vespasian, as his name does not occur either under Titus or Domitian..."

Endings wrapped in smoke. Consistent.
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