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The Apologetic Revisited

Exonerating Luke from an Ancestral Exegetical and Theological Burden


Innocent Emezie Ezeani

The trend in the scholarship of Luke has been that of presenting Luke as being interested in the survival of Christianity within the Power apparatus of the Roman world. To achieve this pivotal aim, he seems to overlook the abysmal social maladies and wrongdoings of the Powerful of his time hoping not to endanger the peace and tranquility of Christianity. The intention of this research, however, is to show the defiance and fearlessness of Luke in dealing with the rich and the Powerful. He did not compromise the basic teachings of Christianity even in his respect for the constituted profane Authorities of the Roman order. A second proper look beholds the critical dynamics of his Gospel and the Acts, beginning with the Magnificat running through the angelic Annunciation scene and the Temptation of Jesus and ending with the punishment of Herod Agrippa. The reader beholds a hitherto unknown Luke, who operates from a particular critical stance and distance to the Powerful from the sociological perspective of hidden transcripts.
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Chapter 1


1. Introduction to the theme of the Dissertation

From the sixties of the last century, the double work of Luke has been holding a key position in the New Testament scholarship. This interest has partially to do with its subject matter and length. Glancing through the bibliographies of works in the field of New Testament exegesis, one sees immediately that much attention has been bestowed upon this double work. It would not be an overstatement to say that the writings of Luke have taken over the interest and domination, which the letters of Paul enjoyed until the fifties of the last century, and is second only to the scholarship involved with the historical Jesus.

To this field of proficiency and excellence should be added the political importance and contribution of Luke: the double work of Luke is, with the exception of the book of Revelations, the most political work of the New Testament.1 It is therefore not surprising that for several generations of scholarship of Luke-Acts, it has been ancestral paying a critical attention to the relationship between the imperial Rome and the Christian community, especially the Lukan community. This overarching attention is not only politically motivated, it also portrays the trajectories of a judicial reality in the Roman world. The political and the judicial interests of this attention are grounded on the very interest of Luke in his works. His political sensitivity to realities of his time is unmistakable as he took time...

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