CHAPTER III
STAGES IN THE HISTORY OF THE MATERIAL

Complicated as is the writing of Luke's works when psychologically analyzed as a single event, it is scarcely more complicated than one of the component factors, that is, the material which he used, when the latter is taken by itself and examined as an historical development. It is necessary so to examine it if we would understand its ultimate form. The material accessible to Luke is determined in content and form by its history. Conversely, its history may be inferred principally by its ultimate form. The study of such matter is like the study of geology; we examine the rocks and soils of the earth to discover their past, and then we write the history of that past as explaining the world that now is. For an understanding, therefore, of the material which was at Luke's disposal when he wrote, we must include at least some examination of its prior formative history. The making of his work, so far as this one of its principal factors is concerned, begins long before "it seemed good to write."

In a sense the writing of Luke-Acts began with the deeds that he records. His heroes are, to use a modern phrase, "the makers of history."1 We must not forget that

____________________
1
Significant as is the recorder of history (see above, pp. 3 f.), he deserves not the meed of the man of action. Plutarch, in words that remind us of the works of Luke, declares: "Historians are as it were the reporters of acts (πράξεις), men of eloquence who succeed in expression because of the beauty and power of their style. Men who for the first time read or consult their works owe

-21-

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