Lectionary Year B
May 7, 2000
Acts 3:12-19

Immediate Context


Although the author's identity is not disclosed in the text, there is considerable scholarly agreement that Acts and the Gospel of Luke were written by Luke. According to early church tradition, the author was identical to Luke, "the beloved physician" (Col 4:14; Phil 24; 2 Tim 4:11). However, there is no agreement whether he was Paul's companion (as the Muratorian Canon, end of second century, assumes), or simply an admirer of Paul. According to Roloff, [JEA - Comm. on Acts in NTD series?] Luke does not recognize Paul's apostleship. Thus, it is unlikely that he was a companion or pupil of the latter, who would have emphasized his apostolicity, as Paul himself does in Galatians (1:1). Luke seems to have been a Gentile Christian of the second or third generation, possibly from an Antiochene congregation (Acts 11:19ff.; 13:1-3; 15:1f.). Some scholars presume him to be a native of Asia Minor, either from Ephesus or Troas. Others speculate about possible Italian origins of Acts. In general, Luke's audiences were most likely Gentile Christians.

The text does not possess specific references regarding its date of origin. Since Luke does not seem to possess knowledge of the Pastoral Epistles (usually dated between 90-100 A.D.), Acts cannot be dated later than 90. Furthermore, there is general scholarly agreement that Luke's Gospel was written around 80. Thus, Acts was probably written some time between 85-90. [JEA - the "authorship question" is indeed a good occasion to get to know the author from within the composition itself].

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