Like most of the other translations I consulted, David Bauscher has the second verse of Luke referring to “eyewitnesses and servants of The Word,” which he alone capitalizes. In his notes, Bauscher explains that the spoken or written word does not have eyewitnesses or servants. Translations of the opening of the gospel of John, however, almost universally use the Word (capitalized) or the Greek original, Logos.

One thing clearly stated at the outset is that this book is not by a direct eyewitness. He appears to be a Hellenized Jew or a gentile converted by Paul. He’s also the author of Acts, and since Luke and Acts were originally a set, I read them together. I am, however, considering them in canonical order in this overview.

 

Luke feels more visceral, more emotionally invested, than the other gospels. It alone gives us the experience of Zachariah and Elizabeth as they learn they will finally become parents, and later events in circumcising their son, the one we know as John the Baptist. We have, too, Mary’s amazement and hymn of devotion (the Magnificat) when the angel Gabriel informs her of her pregnancy.

Ancient Greeks would have no trouble with a deity frolicking with a human — their myths are replete with such encounters. They’re difficulty would be in having the woman in question being such a commoner. Back to that element of scandal!

I’ve already compared the versions of the anointing of Jesus with ointment, and Luke’s account is far and away the most personal and, yes, erotic.

In chapter 16, we have the clearest expression of Sheol (hell) as a place of separation and flame, even before we get to more expressions of resurrection and eternity.

At the crucifixion, Luke alone has two others beside him on crosses and their exchange of emotional words.

Likewise, Luke alone has the two distraught companions on the road to Emmaus who are trying to make sense of the rumors of resurrection when Jesus joins them.

I’ll leave it to others to detail exactly what makes this gospel resonate so much in the muscles and the bones and the taste buds on the tongue, but it does. For starters, just look at the active verbs he uses.

The road to Emmaus. The text doesn’t say outright the two companions are both male. Some of us see them as a husband and wife.

 

Some give the date of composition as 63 CE (before Mark!). Others place it as 80-90 CE.

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