American Cyclopaedia – Saint Luke

[Saint Luke the Evangelist]Profile

Luke, Saint, the evangelist, the author of the third Gospel, and, according to ecclesiastical tradition, also of the Acts of the Apostles. The name is now generally regarded as an abbreviation of Lucanus. It appears only three times in the New Testament. If these passages refer to the author of the Gospel, he was a physician and a collaborator of St. Paul. If Luke was also the author of the Acts, he was in A. D. 52 with Paul in Troas, and accompanied him thence as far as Philippi. He followed Paul on his third missionary tour through Macedonia, and by way of Troas, Miletus, Tyre, and Cæsarea, to Jerusalem, and was with him again when Paul was sent as a prisoner to Rome. This is all that is recorded of him in the New Testament, and even Irenæus knew nothing that could be added to it. Many more statements concerning his person are found in the ecclesiastical writers of later centuries. According to Eusebius and others, he was a native of Antioch. Epiphanius says that he was one of the 70 disciples, and one of the two disciples who went to Emmaus, and that he labored in Dalmatia, Italy, Macedonia, and especially in Gaul. Œcumenius says he went to Africa. The legend that he was a painter is first alluded to by Nicephorus. Constantinople, Patræ in Achaia, and several other towns are mentioned as the place where he died. Jerome ascribes to him an age of 84 years. The Roman Catholic church celebrates his festival on Oct. 18. The silence of the apostolic fathers concerning the Gospel of Luke indicates that it was admitted into the canon somewhat late. The first church writers who quote it are Justin Martyr and the author of the Clementine Homilies. Irenæus mentions that Luke wrote down the Gospel proclaimed by Paul; and all admit that at the time of Irenæus and Tertullian his Gospel was accepted throughout the whole church in its present form. A statement of Tertullian, that Marcion so changed a copy of the Gospel of Luke as to make it conform to his own views, has called forth in modern times a number of investigations of the relation of Luke’s Gospel, as we have it in the New Testament, to that of Marcion. Ritschl (Das Evangelium Marcions), Baur (Die kanonischen Evangelien), and others endeavored to prove that the Gospel of Luke as we have it is interpolated, and that the portions which Marcion is charged with having omitted were really unauthorized additions to the original document; but Volckmar, in his exhaustive treatise Das Evangelium Marcions (Leipsic, 1852), so completely demolished this theory that Ritschl abandoned his position, and Baur greatly modified his. The statement in the first verse of the Gospel of Luke, that “many” before him “have taken in hand to set forth a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,” has been understood by several interpreters as intimating an acquaintance with the Gospels of Matthew and Mark on the part of Luke, while others refer the expression “many” to other writers. As the occasion for writing his Gospel, the author himself mentions (i. 3, 4) his desire to give to his friend Theophilus a faithful narrative of the life of Christ. With regard to the time of its composition, the prevailing opinion before De Wette and Credner was, that it was written previous to the destruction of Jerusalem; but more recently the opinion that it was composed after that event has found advocates in different theological parties. According to Volckmar, Die Evangelien (Leipsic, 1870), the book was written about the year 100 by another author than the Pauline Luke. Achaia, Bœotia, and Alexandria are mentioned by the ancients, and Cæsarea and Rome are suggested by modern writers, as the place where the Gospel was composed. The Acts are likewise addressed to Theophilus. Valuable commentaries on both the Gospel and Acts are contained in the collective works of Olshausen, De Wette, Meyer, and Lange. Among the latest commentaries upon the Gospel are those of Goodwin (London, 1865), Stark (London, 1866), and Godet (Neufchâtel, 1870). Some other works, which have been sometimes ascribed to Luke in the ancient church, as Acta Pauli, Liturgiæ XII. Apostolorum, were long ago acknowledged to be spurious. See Schleiermacher, Die Schriften des Lucas (Berlin, 1817).

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Luke”. American Cyclopaedia, 1879. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 October 2014. Web. 17 October 2017. <>