CHAPTER XXII
APPROACH TO HIS SUBJECT

We may certainly set down as one of the attitudes of Luke to his subject a personal sympathy and interest. Harnack refers to him as "an enthusiast for Christ." His own Christianity is undisguised. Without this even the most extraordinary literary talents would never have enabled him to write the gospel that Renan called the most beautiful book in the world. Dispassionate writing of history is hardly to be expected of any ancient author. No more than Tacitus himself did Luke fulfill the Roman's description of the ideal historian as sine ira et studio. We have suggested that particularly in Acts he wrote with the intention of defending Christianity. This would affect his attitude to his subject as well as his attitude toward his hearers (or readers, as we now call them).

For example, Luke believed in miracles. Few in his day did not believe in such miracles as he did. As another evangelist says, they would not believe except they saw signs and wonders. Luke accepted the stories as they came in his sources because as a Christian he believed they were true. If his change in Mark's first reference to Jairus' daughter represented her as dying or even dead (like Matthew's "just deceased") rather than as in extremis, and if he later explains the common synoptic statement, "they laughed him to scorn," by adding, "knowing that she was dead," the exaggeration is really slight. The other resuscitations at Nain, at Joppa and at Troas are told with similar restraint. If Luke is his own source for

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