Among Jewish scholars, Leo Baeck was the first to refer (in 1938) to the Gospels in general as “a Jewish book among Jewish books.” This statement has some plausibility for Matthew or Mark. But could it also be true for Luke, long regarded as the hero of “Gentile Christian” theology? This paper explores this question beginning first with some problems mainly concerning terminology: Does Luke have “anti-Jewish” tendencies (as postulated by many scholars)? Of what relevance is the “parting of the ways” paradigm in recent discussion? And finally, what bearing does Christology have on the “Jewishness” of the Lukan text? A second section explores motifs common to Luke and the Jewish literature of his time, such as the form of biographical narration, the validity and function of the Torah, religious institutions and geographical constellations. The final portion of the paper attempts to locate Luke anew in his world. I argue in particular that there are good reasons to see him as a diaspora Jew present somewhere in Greece, whose Jewish tradition is inherited, but whose Hellenistic education is acquired. His writing thus reflects a form of religious literature much more complex and nuanced than simple labels can attest.
A highly reputed journal published since 1900, the Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft is an international journal for the exegesis of the New Testament and knowledge of the early church (patristics).