Prologues to the Gospels – Luke

We are examining two prologues – Anti-Marcionite and the Monarchian. Most agree that an early date, c200 for the Anti-Marconite Prologues while the latter has a date which ranges from 200-400. We will be using Ben C. Smith’s translation.

The Lucan prologue, extant in both Greek and Latin. The first part of the Greek has no Latin translation:

This is from the very hand of the holy patriarch Methodius. The repose of the holy apostle Luke the evangelist is the twentieth of the month of September.

From this point on the Greek version parallels the Latin:

The holy Luke is an Antiochene, Syrian by race, physician by trade. As his writings indicate, of the Greek speech he was not ignorant. He was a disciple of the apostles, and afterward followed Paul until his confession, serving the Lord undistractedly, for he neither had any wife nor procreated sons. of eighty–four* years, he slept in Thebes, the metropolis of Boeotia, full of the holy spirit. He, when the gospels were already written down, that according to Matthew in Judea, but that according to Mark in Italy, instigated by the holy spirit, in parts of Achaea wrote down this gospel, he who was taught not only by the apostle, who was not with the Lord in the flesh, but also by the other apostles, who were with the Lord, even making clear this very thing himself in the preface, that the others were written down before his, and that it was necessary that he accurately expound for the gentile faithful the entire economy in his narrative, lest they, detained by Jewish fables, be held by a sole desire for the law, or lest, seduced by heretical fables and stupid instigations, they slip away from the truth. It being necessary, then, immediately in the beginning we receive report of the nativity of John, who is the beginning of the gospel, who was the forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ, and a partaker in the perfecting of the people, and also in the induction of baptism, and a partaker of his passion and of the fellowship of the spirit. Zechariah the prophet, one of the twelve, made mention of this economy. And indeed afterward this same Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. And later John the apostle from the twelve first wrote down the apocalypse on the isle of Pathmos, then the gospel in Asia.

Nothing remarkable here. Like Mark, it was to show that the Church received Tradition directly from the hands of the hands of those who held the hands of the Apostles.

Monarchian –

The Lucan prologue:

Luke, Syrian by nationality, an Antiochene, physician by art, disciple of the apostles, later followed Paul up until his confession, serving God without fault. For, never having either a wife or sons, he died in Bithynia at seventy-four years of age, full of the holy spirit. When the gospels through Matthew in Judea, through Mark, however, in Italy, had already been written, he wrote this gospel at the instigation of the holy spirit in the regions of Achaea, he himself also signifying in the beginning that others had been written beforehand. For whom, beyond those things which the order of the gospel disposition implores, there was that necessity of labor especially, that he should labor first for the Greek faithful lest, after all the perfection of God come in the flesh was made manifest, they either be intent on Jewish fables and held by a sole desire for the law or slip away from the truth, seduced by heretical fables and stupid instigations; furthermore, that in the beginning of the gospel, after the nativity of John had been taken up, he might indicate to whom it was that he wrote his gospel and by what he elected to write it, contending that those things that had been started by others were completed by him.

To him, therefore, was permitted the power after the baptism of the son of God, from the perfection of the generation fulfilled and to be repeated in Christ, from the beginning of his human nativity, so that he might demonstrate to those who thoroughly seek, insofar as he had apprehended it, that, by the admitted introduction of a generation which runs back through a son of Nathan to God, the indivisible God who preaches his Christ among men made the work of the perfect man return into himself through the son, he who through David the father was preparing a way in Christ for those who were coming. To this not immeritorious Luke was given the power in his ministry of writing also the acts of the apostles so that, when God had been filled up in God and the son of treachery extinguished, and prayers made by the apostles, the number of election might be completed by the lot of the Lord, and that thus Paul, whom the Lord elected despite long kicking against the pricks, might give a consummation to the acts of the apostles. Though it were also useful for those reading and thoroughly seeking God that this be explained by us in the details, nevertheless, knowing that it is fit for the working farmer to eat from his own fruits, we have avoided public curiosity, lest we should be seen as, not so much demonstrating God to those who are willing, but rather having given it to those who loathe him.

Indivisible was used by early Church Fathers as well, so it not wholly ‘Monarchian’.

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