Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
In our analysis of Q and Mark, there have been references to the evidence that Matthew, Luke, and John have developed in their respective ways the Markan practice of adapting the Jesus tradition to the altered circumstances and needs of their own communities in the later years of the first century, In some cases, these later writers may have included important early historical material, and we shall note that possibility as we examine each of the Gospels. But we shall also sketch the special aims and needs in the light of which each writer has shaped the gospel material. That these other Gospels are given a briefer treatment is a reflection of two factors: (1) the later date of their writing, which removes them farther in time and circumstance from the events they report; and (2) the fact that much of the historical material they do include (often with significant modification) is derived from Q and Mark, two of the sources that we have already examined in some detail. To pose the basic question of this book in altered form, what does each of these other Gospels contribute to our knowledge of Jesus, and of the process of appropriation and use of that tradition in the early Christian communities?
Luke's Literary Skills
Luke stands out from the other three Gospels in a way that is of importance for our investigation: He presents his story of Jesus and the early church in a literary style that reflects the approach of historians of his time.