Re: Luke's Semitic Style

From: Jim West (
Date: Mon May 17 1999 - 10:06:45 EDT

At 08:41 AM 5/17/99 -0500, you wrote:
>After so many years of study there still seems to be no consensus on the
>origin of the heavily Semiticized style which is especially
>prominent in certain sections of Luke-Acts. It would seem that the
>explanation would have to lie in either (or, perhaps, both) 1) Luke's
>conscious imitation of LXX Biblical style,

Chapters 1-2 of Luke seem to be especially LXX-like in their style. The
only way we can say whether this is because Luke imitates the LXX or because
Luke is himself a semite. The second option would seem most peculiar,
really, given the fact that Luke is portrayed as the only Gentile writer of
the NT documents.
I have always believed that Luke intentionally imitated the LXX as a means
of linking the "promise" of the OT with the "fulfillment" of the Christ
event. It is, after all, when Jesus is born that the heavily septuagintized
chapters leave off.

The rest of Luke seems a bit more semitic than Mark- but certainly not more
so than Matthew. Why? I think Luke is dependent on sources here- and close
attention being paid one will notice that the most semitic elements occur
where Lk has not made use of Mark. I take this as an indication that Q was
a semitic source. And that Luke's special material (called by us old guys
"L") was also semitic in origin.

> or 2) an Aramaic and/or Hebrew
>source(s). Is the question insoluble? Does any one on the list have any
>insights into this question?

I dont think it is solvable. We can hypothesize, but until we can ask Luke
what he did, we will never know.

>Jim Ware



Jim West, ThD
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