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5.0 out of 5 stars Hengel offers a rebuke to liberal biblical scholars, December 22, 2006
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This review is from: Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity: (Paperback)
There are three living biblical scholars known for holding back the tide of liberal biblical criticism: Richard Bauckham, N T Wright, and, of course, Martin Hengel.

The first thing you should know about Hengel is that his works are so famous and well respected that even his essays are published. So if you order a book by him you may want to check out the length first. This one is 126 pages, not including a terrific section at the end where he slams the so-called historical critical method.

Some of the points Hengel makes in this book: "form-criticism has not lived up to its promising beginnings in the 1920s" (p22). He shows little patience with those people who still, as if 150 years of studies rebuking them hadn't been enough, cling to the idea that Christianity borrowed something from the cults. (p 33)

He finds Luke (and yes, he does attribute Acts to Luke) to be "no less trustworthy than other historians of antiquity" (p 60). And we have "no reason to assume that he acted completely differently in Acts from the way in which he composed his first work" (p 61).

One important point: "One striking phenomenon here...is the fact that the message of the crucified and risen Messiah...founds its way to Greek-speaking Jews in a few years, and perhaps only months, after the resurrection event...This astonishing influence on outsiders, transcending the boundaries of language and culture, distinguishes earliest Chrristianity from all other Palestinian Jewish movements" (71). So why were Greek speaking Jews so attracted to this message? Why did it survive the persecutions which broke out immediately?

A very important and well written book. Don't miss it.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 22, 2007, 12:16:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2007, 11:05:11 PM PDT
J. West says:
There is not a shred of evidence to prove that "Luke" wrote the Gospel and Acts attributed to him.

Just because Irenaeus and Martin Hengel say so doesn't make it true. Frankly, I'm disappointed to learn that such a reputable scholar like Hengel would proclaim an article of faith as if it were an undeniable fact. That is, unless you have misrepresented what he said. -jw

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2007, 12:35:13 AM PDT
dude says:
By the same token, J. West doesn't interact with Hengel's arguments. Or in fact with any arguments or evidences. West simply makes an assertion that Luke did not write the gospel traditionally attributed to him nor the book of Acts. So how is this any better than what West accuses Hengel (or the original reviewer) of doing? Obviously it's not any better. At best it's just trading one assertion for another.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2007, 10:30:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2007, 9:00:25 PM PDT
J. West says:
There is truth in what you say. But then again we're not talking about rocket science. The fact is, Luke's name is not on the Gospel or Acts. Before Irenaeus neither the Gospel nor Acts are quoted by name.

I hesitate to even bother with Hengel because I'm afraid that his arguments in favor of Lukan authorship are going to be a variation of the same old arguments that have already been made.

To me it's hypocritical for one to slam other historians or methods just so they can cling to unfounded leaps that they choose to embrace themselves. -jw

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2012, 6:15:38 AM PST
D. Wichmann says:
'not a shred of evidence'? What about the testimony of the Canon Muratori (that is independent of Irenaus)? What about the superscriptions in Sinaiticus and Vaticanus? What about the subscription in P 75 (ca 175-225)? 'not a shred of evidence' OR 'not a shred of OPENNESS to the evidence'?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2012, 4:31:15 PM PST
"So why were Greek speaking Jews so attracted to this message?"

They weren't. It was gentiles who were attracted to the religion of Judaism, but not its rituals or ethnocentricity, who created and formed Christianity. The gospels were written by, and for, gentiles. "Greek speaking Jews" had nothing to do with it.

Posted on Sep 12, 2014, 5:40:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 13, 2014, 8:48:31 AM PDT
This bickering regarding the autographs on the gospel of Luke and the Acts of Apostles seems misplaced. What Hengel is arguing for is the authorial unity of the two books. The gospel with Luke's name on it as author has a verifiable date of about 119 CE when it was accepted by the Church at Rome as "'gospel" under the autograph of Luke. It should be noted that both Luke and Mark had to stand up to a high level of scrutiny based on their non-apostolic authorship attributions, whereas, Matthew and John carry apostolic autographs. . Who wrote Luke?? I do not know, and it makes no difference to me. What we can know or conjecture about the author based on manuscript evidence, reception history, textual criticism and other forms of analysis is of interest to me and other students of early Christian history.
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