Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Luke-Acts in NT Theologies

I am not aware of many (or any) pre-1990 NT Theologies that view Luke-Acts as a distinct corpus in a NT Theology. I find this most amusing since in the early twentieth century we had Dibelius and friends telling us that Acts was mainly theology/kergyma and not history, and yet W.G. Kummel writes a NT Theology according to its "Major witnesses: Jesus - Paul - John" with no mention of Luke as a key player. In NT Theologies, Acts often gets dumped into a general section on the "kerygma" of the early church (e.g. Bultmann and Ladd) and Luke gets thrown in with Matthew and Mark under "synoptics" (e.g. Ladd). In fact, on my shelf only Strecker, Marshall, and Thielman treat Luke-Acts as a theological unity. Does anyone know who was the first to put Luke-Acts as one unit in a NT Theology?


Geoff Hudson said...

The strange phrase 'began to' of Acts 1:1 seems to imply continuity of activity from Luke. Yet between the two documents there is a distinct difference in the modus operandi. My view of Acts is that the writer saw himself as a prophet led by the Spirit much as the Israelites had been when they left Egypt, and that the command of 1:4 was originally the complete opposite of 'Do not leave Jerusalem'. After all why should they have waited for something that Israelites already had access to? Tough question!

Craig Bennett said...

Great Question.

The first person would have be Theophilus who Luke wrote to with his Gospel Luke.

In Acts he again addresses it to Theophilus continuing his account which he says he very carefully investigated. According to my Bible Dictionary, Theophilus was most likely a prominent Roman citizen of high rank.

Therefore Acts has to be a continuation of Luke. I smile at your comments regarding NT scholars attitudes towards Acts, for it shows their bias when it comes to all Scripture being God breathed and useful...

Blessings craig b

Geoff Hudson said...

If there was originally continuity from Luke to Acts, then I would have expected Luke to be about what God the Spirit 'began to' say through his prophet, to Judeans.

Simonsen said...

Leonhard Goppelt treats Luke-Acts as unity in § 48 in his New Testament theology (there is an English translation by John Alsup).

Goppelt mentions in his overview of history of scholarship the NT theologies of Holtzmann (I, 515-539; 1911) and Schlatter (II, 447-46O,
1922, 2nd Edition), responding to Baurs lections on NT theology (edited 1864; 328-338). Probably Baur therefore was the first in the "critical" period of NT theology, who (in a quite critical way) tracted Luke-Acts as a unityin NT theology

Geoff Hudson said...

I wonder if Simonsen has read every book under heaven! Strangely, a book called The Temtations of Jesus in Early Christianity cites Goppelt, Schlatter and Baur. Judging by the bibliography, its author really would like us to believe he had read every book under heaven. And he suffers from dyslexia too.