RE: Back to Greek

There can be no doubt that "Luke" in the prologue to the gospel deliberately
declares allegiance to the standards of Hellenistic historiography (including,
although he does not say so at this point, composing speeches that the writer
deems appropriate in particular situations to the speaker, time and place),
nor can there be any doubt that he intends to present "the facts" to the best
of his ability "wie es eigentlich geschehen ist." His alterations of the
Marcan text often show a concern for greater verisimilitude, if he thinks that
Mark's telling is somehow unlikely. This laudable program, however, does not
prevent him from making what we find to be demonstrable historical errors
(such as giving dates for the time-frame of Jesus' birth no later than 4 B.C.
in the first chapter and no earlier than 7 A.D. in the second). I don't think
he was cognizant of the contradiction--nor, for that matter, do I think that
this dating is one of those vital hinges of faith in the historicity of the

I guess that I have ironically succeeded in discussing a text and making clear
my theological presuppositions about it at the same time. So be it.

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