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Friday, October 12, 2012

Saint Luke the Polymath

Saint Luke the Artist (by Guercino)
Although Saint Luke is righteously called "the Evangelist" - he could also be rightfully called "the Polymath."  That's because he not only excelled at devotion, but (according to various Christian traditions) also at writing, history, art and medicine.

Wikipedia reports that Luke "was a Greco-Syrian physician" who lived in Antioch.  He is often presumed to have authored the Gospel of Luke as well as the Acts of the Apostles.  If so, then these writings show that Luke was an educated man with a wide range of vocabulary.  They also indicate to many that Luke was an excellent historian.

Archaeologists such as Sir William Ramsay have believed that Luke is an "historian of the first rank."  This is because of Luke's accurate descriptions of "towns, cities and islands," as well as his correct naming of "various official titles."  Although biblical scholars recognize Luke's tendency to interpret history according to his "apologetic interests," he is still often viewed as being in line with "ancient standards of historiography."  (However, there are also scholars such as Robert M. Grant who note the "statistical improbabilities" and "chronological difficulties" in some of Luke's accounts.)

Luke the Artist is said to have been the first icon painter.  He is thought to have painted pictures of the Virgin Mary, Saint Peter, and Saint Paul.  Beliefs about Luke's icons have been especially prevalent within Eastern Orthodoxy.   


Copyright October 12, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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