Monday, August 02, 2010

Luke the Evangelist

St Luke the Evangelist (detail).
Artist: Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Date: 1486-90. Medium: Fresco.
Location: Cappella Tornabuoni,
Santa Maria Novella, Florence
Luke the Evangelist (לוקא, Greek: Λουκᾶς Loukas) is said by tradition to be the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the third and fifth books of the New Testament. In Catholicism, he is patron saint of physicians and surgeons, and his feast day is October 18. His earliest notice is in Paul's Epistle to Philemon, verse 24.. He is also mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11, two works commonly ascribed to Paul. Our next earliest account of Luke is in the Anti-Marcionite Prologue to the Gospel of Luke, a document once thought to date to the 2nd century AD, but more recently has been dated to the later 4th century. However Helmut Koester claims the following part – the only part preserved in the original Greek – may have been composed in the late 2nd century:

Luke is a Syrian of Antioch , a Syrian by race, a physician by profession. He had become a disciple of the apostles and later followed Paul until his [Paul's] martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years.

Some manuscripts add that Luke died "in Thebes, the capital of Boeotia". All of these facts support the conclusion that Luke was associated with Paul.


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