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

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

Post by neilgodfrey »

Have you read:

Quinn, Jerome D. “The Last Volume of Luke: The Relation of Luke-Acts to the Pastoral Epistles.” In Perspectives on Luke-Acts, edited by Charles H. Talbert. Danville, VA: Mercer Univ Pr, 1980.

https://archive.org/details/perspective ... 2/mode/2up

There's also an interesting looking bibliography at note #1 of the first page of that chapter.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:59 pm 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. . . . . . #2) The writer/editor of Luke/Acts shows signs of simply being lazy and/or rushed. . . . . . #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. . . . .
How can you test or verify these explanations? Different reasons can be suggested for the inconsistencies but each reason as as valid as any other unless we can find a way to disproving or testing each one. One can say the inconsistencies contradict your hypothesis and your rationalization of the inconsistencies is merely ad hoc. So there's a logical problem with your case at this point, I think.

One point: If the author of Acts was wanting to create a corpus that included both Acts and letters of Paul, would we not expect to see in Acts some incidental reference, at least, to Paul as a letter writer? Even if the author was clever enough (or lazy enough) to let inconsistencies stand, we would still expect a flag in Acts that points the reader to embrace the letters, too.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by neilgodfrey »

If we excuse the inconsistencies in the letters vis a vis Acts on the grounds of incompetence or laziness, then is not your hypothesis unfalsifiable? Do not such inconsistencies normally point to different authors and different viewpoints? There are some good indicators that the author of Luke-Acts was by no means otherwise incompetent or slapdash. (On the three different versions of Paul's conversion in Acts one might prefer to explain the differences as deliberate rather than careless oversights.)
rgprice
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by rgprice »

@Neil

I think the Gospel of Luke is a starting point. A profile of "Luke" as a writer/editor can be established based on that work. When other editorial issues arise in other NT works, we can then ask, "Does this fit the profile of the producer of Luke?" Based on what we see in Luke, is X feature consistent with how Luke was written?

There are very clear indications that Luke 1, 2 and the end of 24 were written by a different person than Luke 3-23. It's a very strong position. It is so obvious because of the significant inconsistencies between Luke 1, 2 and 24. And when we recognize that Luke 3-23.5 is essentially Marcion's Gospel, some very obvious realizations arise.

Luke is an anti-Marcionite work, no doubt. The birth narrative in Luke, as well as the ending, contain specifically anti-Marcionite statements. Yet, this anti-Marcionite work was essentially slapped onto Marcion's Gospel with virtually no revision made to the original work. Marcion's Gospel was left virtually unchanged, it just had a different beginning and ending added to it with minor revisions throughout. And the beginning doesn't even really fit with the rest of the Gospel. Minimal effort was made to actually revise the original Marcionite material to bring it in line with the agenda of the writer of Luke 1, 2 & 24. Then we have the editorial problem in Luke 4 & 5 as well, in which there are obvious errors in how the material was edited resulting in scenes that are out of sequence.

That's a very odd situation. And, we have Matthew and John as counterpoints. Matthew has essentially the same material starting point as Luke, but the writer of Matthew chose to entirely re-write the material so as to make his agenda coherent and to bring the rest of the story more in-line with the new material he was adding.

So, why would someone making an anti-Marcionite work use Marcion's Gospel as the base and leave it almost entirely unrevised, even to the point of leaving fairly glaring contradictions between the material he was adding and the original material? (Huge focus on Mary in 1-2, portrays her as the perfect mother, then Luke 3-23 ignores/denigrates her; Presents Jesus as having been born the Christ, then Luke 3 re-portrays adoptionism, etc.)

To me, this all indicates that Luke was written in a rush, by someone who simply didn't have time to do a good job. The person who wrote Luke was appropriating existing Marcionite material and making minor revisions to it to re-cast it as anti-Marcionite. One can argue that that's exactly what happened to the entire collection of Pauline letters.

I would argue that there is a consistency to how Luke was written, how Acts was written, and to the orthodox version of the Pauline letters.

Luke is Marcion's Gospel wrapped in anti-Marcionite material, with some minor revisions throughout the material, but done in a sporadic way that doesn't fully re-write Marcion's Gospel, nor does it eliminate all of the pro-Marcionite features or bring the Marcionite material fully in-line with the final editor's anti-Marcionite agenda. I conjecture that this is a result primarily of having been produced by someone who simply didn't have the time/resources to fully revise the material.

I can make the case that Acts of the Apostles shows these same features, though Acts is more original than GLuke, necessarily because there was no pre-existing full Acts narrative. Nevertheless, even if you disregard my hypothesis on there having been a pre-existing Paul narrative that is retained in the "we passage", its still the case that Acts is heavily reliant on the Pauline letters and the Gospels. Acts borrows very heavily from those sources. And Acts retains contradictions between Marcionite and anti-Marcionite material, just as Luke does.

Now we have the issue of Paul the persecutor. I agree with you that this "Paul the persecutor" element appears to have been derived from the story of Saul and David. In fact, I now (as per my other recent thread) think that "Paul the persecutor" is part of a secondary layer of revision to the Pauline letters, meaning that the original version of the Pauline letters contained nothing about Paul having persecuted worshipers of Jesus. I think that "Paul the persecutor" must have been invented by the writer of Acts, which means that "Paul the persecutor" must have been written into the Pauline letters after Paul the persecutor was invented by the writer of Acts.

Given all of the other evidence around the Pauline letters, however, it seems very doubtful that the Pauline letters would have been harmonized with Acts secondarily by a different person at a later time. I mean I doubt that Acts would have been put out and co-existed with an orthodox collection of Pauline letters that didn't contain "Paul the persecutor", only to have Paul's persecution added later by a different person. No, it seems that everyone who knows of Paul's persecution also knows Acts and can also cite Paul's persecution in the Pauline letters. So, everyone who is reading Acts is also reading a version of the Pauline letters that contains Paul the persecutor. So it stands to reason that this material is part of a collection that goes together. The readers of Acts also have the Pastorals in hand as well.

Very clearly, the writer of Acts would have had a motive for producing a version of the Pauline letters that went with his Acts story. And, based on the approaches that we can see used by the producer of Luke/Acts, we know that the person who wrote Luke/Acts took Marcionite material and made minor anti-Marcionite revisions to it to. That's exactly what we see in the orthodox Pauline letters. We have Marcion's Pauline letters, with a layer of anti-Marcionite revisions made to them. We see that the Pauline letters weren't entirely re-written. There are inconsistencies retained in them. This is all a consistent pattern with Luke/Acts.

Given that Marcion had Evangelion and Apostolikon -- a Gospel and a collection of Pauline letters, it makes sense that the producer of Luke/Acts, who was adding to Marcion's material, would also have produced a collection that contained a revised version of all of Marcion's material, meaning not just a revised version of Evangelion, but also a revised version of Apostolikon. Why revise the Evangelion and ignore the Apostolikon? That makes no sense.

So this person was producing a revised version of the Evangelion and the Apostolikon, with Acts as a narrative framework to tie it all together. So I think there is a strong case at least for the writer of Luke/Acts also having produced the orthodox version of the Pauline letters. So if this person produce Luke, Acts and the orthodox Pauline letters, I mean that's a huge portion of the NT already. But, as Torbisch points out, there is so much coherence between Acts and the rest of the letter collection in the NT. And if this person were producing a revised version of the Apostolikon to go along with Acts, then it stands to reason they would have added letters from the other major players in Acts as well, not just Paul. Really if you are going to put out a letter collection to go with Acts, then you are going to put out letters from more than just Paul, you're going to also add in letters from James, John and Peter too. The whole letter collection in the NT goes hand in hand with Acts.

At that point, when you are talking about Luke, Acts, the Pauline letters and the other Epistles, now you've practically got the whole NT. So when we look at the agenda of the producer of Luke/Acts and the editorial approach they used, it only makes sense that at the very least, this same person assembled the whole letter collection we find in the NT, at which point we are practically talking about the whole NT. And then you get into Torbisch's arguments about how the NT would have been edited together by a single person with a specific narrative agenda, etc., etc.

Can it ever be definitively proven? Maybe not. I can't say that I have "proof" for every point along the way, but I think a very compelling argument can be made.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

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rgprice wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:17 am. . . . even to the point of leaving fairly glaring contradictions between the material he was adding and the original material? (Huge focus on Mary in 1-2, portrays her as the perfect mother, then Luke 3-23 ignores/denigrates her; Presents Jesus as having been born the Christ, then Luke 3 re-portrays adoptionism, etc.) . . . .
I don't think this is the only way to interpret Luke's handling of Mary. And even your interpretation of the contradiction re Jesus might be said to be the result of reading Mark into Luke.

Other analyses of the Lukan narrative have seen it as a coherent tracing of the move of God's "work" from Jerusalem to Rome, with everything "in order", Jews first, then gentiles, etc. The "perfect mother" idea -- might that be a Catholic interpretation? -- some might see the treatment of Mary as consistent -- never fully comprehending what was happening to her even from the beginning but seeks to be faithful nonetheless.

Just my perspective. My recollection is that Luke-Acts was a quite coherent narrative. No doubt different people will have different views on that.
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by rgprice »

neilgodfrey wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:07 am Just my perspective. My recollection is that Luke-Acts was a quite coherent narrative. No doubt different people will have different views on that.
I highly recommend "Marcion and Luke-Acts" by Tyson if you haven't read it. As you can see, in what I'm presenting Luke/Acts is sort of the lynchpin to the whole thing. And I think that Luke/Acts is really the key to understanding the entire New Testament.

I think Tyson puts forward a very compelling case, with a lot of supporting scholarship, to show that Luke has three different authors: the writer of Marcion's Gospel, a different writer for parts of Luke 3-5 and a final writer of Luke 1, 2 & 24. That Luke was written in this way is central to my views on how the whole NT developed.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:39 am
neilgodfrey wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:07 am Just my perspective. My recollection is that Luke-Acts was a quite coherent narrative. No doubt different people will have different views on that.
I highly recommend "Marcion and Luke-Acts" by Tyson if you haven't read it. As you can see, in what I'm presenting Luke/Acts is sort of the lynchpin to the whole thing. And I think that Luke/Acts is really the key to understanding the entire New Testament.

I think Tyson puts forward a very compelling case, with a lot of supporting scholarship, to show that Luke has three different authors: the writer of Marcion's Gospel, a different writer for parts of Luke 3-5 and a final writer of Luke 1, 2 & 24. That Luke was written in this way is central to my views on how the whole NT developed.
I have read Tyson and blogged about it in some depth. Yes, I liked his take. But I also think that the final redactor did a very smooth job and don't see the the contradictions or signs of laziness or incompetence that others appear to do.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

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Maybe I have read it less carefully than others or maybe I'm looking for other things as I read it. It's been a while.
Charles Wilson
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

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rgprice wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:17 amVery clearly, the writer of Acts would have had a motive for producing a version of the Pauline letters that went with his Acts story...So this person was producing a revised version of the Evangelion and the Apostolikon, with Acts as a narrative framework to tie it all together.
William Smith, Dictionary ...:

"He [Mucianus] made a collection of the speeches of the republican period, which be arranged and published in eleven books of Acta and three of Epistolae..."

What does "Acta" mean? "Epistolae"?

It doesn't mean a Mapping "Onto" here, a one-to-one. What it might mean is that there are Letters and small books just lying around written by someone who was a "World Traveler". Why create something from whole cloth when most of the material is already written? If you are ordered to glorify the Flavians, especially "Lord-God Domitian", why not just use what's already there?
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Re: Proposition regarding authorship of Luke, Acts, Paul & creation of the NT

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rgprice wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:59 pm 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’m glad we agree about this.
But, it is interesting that neither Acts of the Apostles nor the letter of James profess James to be a brother of Jesus.
Interesting, yes. Luke/Acts exhibits ambivalence about the title “apostle,” in that Paul is made to be the hero of the book (the final half is all about him), and yet the circle of Jesus’ original disciples are made to define apostleship in such a way that Paul is excluded. Perhaps this is analogous to the way that “brother of Jesus” is an uncertain, or ambiguous, concept across the whole NT. On the one hand, gMark and gJohn specifically disparage the kinfolk of Jesus. But on the other hand, James and Jude are 2 of the putative 8 apostolic and sub-apostolic authors of the NT. Their being included alongside the apostolic witnesses is, undeniably, a component of the NT’s editorial concept.
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.
A few points in response to this—

1) I think it is important to be modest about what we think we know about the intentions of the people who wrote and edited these scriptures. The so-called intentional fallacy is especially applicable here. I have had this debate before with Ben Smith (whose presence on this forum I really miss), and I would be happy to elaborate on it if anyone is interested.

2) I only agree with your third point. I think we tend to underestimate rather than to overestimate the cleverness of the NT editor (be it a person or a school). The most important innovation over against the Marcionites and Valentinians was the idea of apostolicity. The idea that Jesus had revealed himself to a plurality of apostles, each of them peculiar individuals in their own right, who in turn gave a testimony that was (eventually) encoded in the texts. A certain degree of inconsistency and discord in the anthology is a positive, not a negative, witness to this concept of plural apostolicity. The historical fact was that only a subset of the Pauline epistles are to be found in the earliest layer of Christian scripture. But the Christians did not want to build their system upon the supposed revelations of a single man, as Islam would later do. They had to expand beyond Paul, and invent a “college of apostles.” gMark was a transitional link in this process.

3) Trobisch makes the point that readers of the NT, notoriously, have thought they can out-smart the guys who created it. As in, “what is the point of separating gLuke from its obvious sequel Acts? Why not group them together? These chuckleheads didn’t know what they were doing.” But it is we who ought to be trying to get inside the mind of the editors, rather than judging them according to our own standards of consistency, thoroughness, literary polish, etc. “The New Testament is spirit, not letter.” This follows directly from the concept of having 4 Gospels, all quite different, as witnesses to a single Jesus phenomenon. This only begins to touch on the many subtleties that make the NT, comparably to the OT, a profoundly alluring and at the same time baffling collection. They made it in such a way that we think we understand it and its authors better than they understood it themselves.
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