Significance of Theophilus as Luke’s Reader

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Few studies of Luke’s Gospel (or Acts) give much attention to Theophilus and his potential significance despite the fact that Luke indicates specifically that he is writing ‘for Theophilus’. Those which do not recognize the importance of Theophilus nevertheless dismiss him because almost nothing is known about the individual.


“Roman Garrison takes as his starting point for this book the question “What influence might Theophilus as his reading audience have had on Luke’s choices as a writer?”. Garrison argues that Theophilus was a Gentile non-Christian who was loyal to the Roman Empire and who, after reading the Gospel of Mark “had come to have serious misgivings about the various relationships among Christianity, the Jewish faction responsible for the war with the Romans, and the Empire itself”. In response to Theophilus’ concerns, Luke wrote his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles as, “an attempt ….to present Christianity as supportive of the Empire and recognized by Roman governing authorities as innocent of any charges of seditious conduct on the part of its adherents”. ….the arguments put forth by Garrison in this book are persuasive…..I enjoyed reading Garrison’s book. It presents an intriguing, and mostly convincing, portrayal of Theophilus and presents a persuasive argument regarding why Luke wrote his two-volume work to Theophilus and why Luke-Acts has a strongly pro-Roman outlook.” – James A.Durlesser, PhD, Stone United Methodist Church

Table of Contents

Part One
1. An Overview of Some Lukan Themes
2. The Significance of Theophilus as Luke’s Reader
3. A Response to Brandon’s Thesis
Part Two
4. Codex Bezae, Marcion’s Gospel, and the Formation of Luke’s Gospel
5. The Lukan Passion Narrative
6. Final Remarks

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