Brief Introduction to the Gospel According to Luke
The third gospel in the Church’s canon, the gospel of Luke, was composed around the year 85. The dating is given taking into account that the gospel of Luke borrows from Mark (so it must be later than Mark), and other interpretations of what the gospel says, or is silent, about the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. For the traditionally ascribed author we turn to the historian Eusebius, who summarizes most of what the tradition spoke of Luke: that he was a physician born in Antioch, a companion of Paul, and that he had contact with other apostles. While this information is widely attested by many early Fathers, the information we can glean from the text is that the author of this gospel was an educated Greek-speaking writer that had knowledge of the Septuagint, and was not an eyewitness to the events he describes. With good probability we can attest that he was not raised a Jew. That he was well-educated we can tell because of his command of Greek: he switches between the style of classic history introductions, to a “biblical’ style of the Greek Septuagint scripture (a literary technique known as “mimesis”). Luke is also seen to improve the passages he borrowed from Mark, with better order and deleting repetitions. We know that Luke was not an eyewitness from the prologue where he states his intention of writing a “narrative of things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitness and ministers of the word” (1: 1-2).