Thursday, October 18, 2007

St. Luke & the Infancy Narrative

What is most interesting about St. Luke's infancy narrative, is that out of the New Testament writers, Luke seems to have the best handle on the Greek language – writing in something close to ‘Attic’ Greek (Classical Greek) instead of Koine Greek. Tradition also has Luke as the interpreter for Paul when he wrote the book of Hebrews (the three - Luke, Acts & Hebrews are considered the best linguistically of the NT as far as I understand).

The one exception to this skillful use of language seems to be the infancy narrative found in his gospel. The early Church attributed Luke’s source to the blessed Virgin herself (as she was almost certainly alive at the time he wrote the gospel). Although tradition has the end of her earthly life in Ephesus with St. John, there is no reason to believe she couldn’t have dictated something herself in Aramaic (which Luke based his infancy narrative off of). This would account for the difference in writing style when comparing his infancy narrative to the rest of his work. (For more on this, see Pelikan - "Mary Through the Centuries" pg 18)

Tradition also has St. Luke as the original icon painter.

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