Luke: Illuminating the Sage of Galilee
(The Hebraic Gospels Series)
Kenneth L. Hanson
RELIGION / Biblical Commentary / New Testament / Jesus, the Gospels & Acts
RELIGION / Biblical Criticism & Interpretation / New Testament
RELIGION / Biblical Reference / Language Study
The Hebraic Gospels Series deals with the “radical” suggestion, advanced by a collaboration of Christian and Israeli scholars, that the so-called “synoptic problem” should be evaluated, not in accordance with Markan priority, but with the primacy of Luke. This commentary deals with the evidence for a hypothetical Hebrew “under-text” (grundschrift) hiding in plain sight beneath the synoptic traditions, detectable in the multiple Hebraisms scattered across the Gospel narratives. This admittedly avant-garde approach also mitigates what occasionally appears as a troublesome, anti-Jewish tone in the Gospels by forcing us to consider the role of editorial redaction, progressing not from Mark to Luke but, rather, from Luke to Mark and then Matthew. The potential of such an understanding is of huge consequence for both New Testament Studies and interfaith relations. Among Christians, there is considerable value in reading through the Greek Gospels to uncover, at least potentially, the ipsissima verba of Jesus himself, unadorned by theological overlay. Among Jews, the prospect of vivisecting the Gospels to encounter, not the progenitor of Christianity, but an ancient Jewish sage torn between the piety of early Hasidim and the Galilean freedom fighters of his day (the Zealots). All of this opens a door to appreciating the great Nazarene in a manner not thought possible since the inception of the Christian faith nearly two millennia ago. Exploring the potential Hebraic under-text of the Gospel of Luke will add to historical discussion on the Jewish Jesus in all of his color and first-century flavor.
Dr. Kenneth Hanson is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the University of Central Florida Judaic Studies Program. He earned a Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991. His many scholarly articles focus on the Second Jewish Commonwealth, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the historical Jesus, and Jewish Christianity. He has also published several books, including: The Annotated Passover Haggadah, Dead Sea Scrolls: The Untold Story; Kabbalah: Three Thousand Years of Mystic Tradition; and Secrets from the Lost Bible. He has been interviewed multiple times on nationally syndicated radio, and his research was featured on the History Channel documentary, “Banned from the Bible.” He teaches a wide range of Judaic Studies courses, including the Hebrew language, the Hebrew Bible, Jewish history and culture, and the history of the Holocaust. He recently produced and narrated an award-winning documentary entitled “The Druze: An Ethnic Minority in the Holy Land.”
Traditional Christian teaching on the Gospel of Luke instructs that the life, teaching, and death of Jesus is a central message of universal salvation addressed to all people. Though written in Greek, this volume suggests that Hebrew terms and biblical passages were carefully translated and transmitted from a primary Hebrew ur-text. To suggest that Luke’s distinctive emphasis and interpretation on the Holy Spirit, Roles of Women and Gentiles, and so on are actually grounded in an original Hebrew text underscores a strong claim of Jewishness to Jesus (Rabbi, King, Messiah). How and why this might be the case is creatively displayed in Dr. Kenneth Hanson's informative commentary on Luke. Ideal for Christian-Jewish dialogue, this volume is highly recommended as an academic study of the Synoptics for teachers, students, and lay readers alike.
—Prof. Zev Garber
Emeritus Professor and Chair of Jewish Studies,
Los Angeles Valley College
Groundbreaking, revolutionary, and innovative. Dr. Hanson’s meticulous study of the Synoptic Gospels through the lens of the Hebrew language could change everything scholars have come to believe about the earliest literary depictions of Jesus’ life. His Hebraic Gospels Series is a real game changer for Historical Jesus and New Testament Studies, potentially igniting a significant paradigm shift in how academics and religious specialists view the original Evangelists.
—Darren M. Slade, PhD
President, Global Center for Religious Research