Luke the Historian of Israel’s Legacy, Theologian of Israel’s ‘Christ’
David Moessner proposes a new understanding of the relation of Luke’s second volume to his Gospel to open up a whole new reading of Luke’s foundational contribution to the New Testament. For postmodern readers who find Acts a ‘generic outlier,’ dangling tenuously somewhere between the ‘mainland’ of the evangelists and the ‘Peloponnese’ of Paul—diffused and confused and shunted to the backwaters of the New Testament by these signature corpora—Moessner plunges his readers into the hermeneutical atmosphere of Greek narrative poetics and elaboration of multi-volume works to inhale the rhetorical swells that animate Luke’s first readers in their engagement of his narrative. In this collection of twelve of his essays, re-contextualized and re-organized into five major topical movements, Moessner showcases multiple Hellenistic texts and rhetorical tropes to spotlight the various signals Luke provides his readers of the multiple ways his Acts will follow "all that Jesus began to do and to teach" (Acts 1:1) and, consequently, bring coherence to this dominant block of the New Testament that has long been split apart. By collapsing the world of Jesus into the words and deeds of his followers, Luke re-configures the significance of Israel’s "Christ" and the "Reign" of Israel’s God for all peoples and places to create a new account of ‘Gospel Acts,’ discrete and distinctively different than the "narrative" of the "many" (Luke 1:1). Luke the Historian of Israel’s Legacy combines what no analysis of the Lukan writings has previously accomplished, integrating seamlessly two ‘generically-estranged’ volumes into one new whole from the intent of the one composer. For Luke is the Hellenistic historian and simultaneously ‘biblical’ theologian who arranges the one "plan of God" read from the script of the Jewish scriptures—parts and whole, severally and together—as the saving ‘script’ for the whole world through Israel’s suffering and raised up "Christ," Jesus of Nazareth. In the introductions to each major theme of the essays, this noted scholar of the Lukan writings offers an epitome of the main features of Luke’s theological ‘thought,’ and, in a final Conclusions chapter, weaves together a comprehensive synthesis of this new reading of the whole.