Trenchant comment by Guthrie

You may have read Guthrie’s New Testament Introduction in seminary, or even perhaps in your undergraduate training.

When I read such works I live for lines like this, part of Guthrie’s argument that we can trust early tradition’s judgment on the authorship of Luke-Acts:

It will not be denied that an initial conjecture [namely, that Luke wrote Luke-Acts] may be repeated by successive witnesses until it becomes mistaken for fact, as the history of modern criticism abundantly illustrates, but Cadbury’s suggestion involves a remarkable and highly improbable process (Guthrie, 114).

On the other hand, I have had far too many occasions to marvel at comments like this in evangelical scholarly literature:

From the Gospel records it is clear that Jesus showed no interest in the demonic apart from his battle against the Devil and his minions…. In dealing with the demons, historical investigation shows that Jesus’ technique involved a number of features. First, there was an initial dramatic confrontation between Jesus and the demon(iac). For example, in Mark 1:23 the man screams out when he meets Jesus in the Capernaum synagogue so that it is suddenly obvious that he is a demoniac (cf. Mk 5:6–7; 7:25; 9:20). The historical reliability of this feature in the story is all but assured by the existence of this feature in other literature (Philostratus Vit. Ap. 4.20) and the Gospel writers show no consistent use of it.

That’s from G. H. Twelftree in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.

Here’s a similar comment from the same article:

It is difficult to be certain of the origin of Jesus’ warning to Herod in which exorcism is mentioned: “Go tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course …’ ” (Lk 13:32). But it is likely to be authentic, for it is difficult to see why such a situation and saying should be constructed.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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