Homilies on Luke: Fragments on Luke

By Joseph T. Lienhard; Origen | Go to book overview
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HOMILY 1 Luke 1.1-4

On the prologue of Luke, up to the point where it says, "to write to you, most excellent Theophilus."

IN THE PAST, many claimed to prophesy among the Jewish people. Some were false prophets; among these was Hananiah, son of Azzur.1. Others were true prophets. The people, like "well-trained money-changers,"2. had the gift of the discernment of spirits. Through this gift they accepted some as prophets and rejected others. Now, in the New Testament also, "many have tried" to write gospels, but not all have found acceptance.3. You should know that not only four Gospels, but very many, were composed. The Gospels we have were chosen from among these gospels and passed on to the churches. We can know this from Luke's own prologue, which begins this way: "Because many have tried to compose an account."4. The words "have tried" imply an accusation against those who rushed into writing gospels without the grace of the Holy Spirit. Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke did not "try" to write; they wrote their Gospels when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Hence, "Many have tried to compose an account of the events that are clearly known among us."5.

2. The Church has four Gospels. Heretics have very many.

See Jer 28.1-17.
Origen is alluding to an ἄγϱαφον, or unwritten saying of Jesus. The saying is, "Be ye competent money-changers." On the ἄγϱαφα, see J. Jeremias, Isolated Sayings of the Lord, in E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha ( London: SCM, 1963) I, 85-90.
Cf. 2 Pt 2.1.
Lk 1.1.
Lk 1.1.


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