Luke's portrait of Gentiles prior to their coming to faith
This thesis examines Luke's portrayal of the Gentiles' state prior to their coming to Christian faith. Following the survey of research, it commences with Luke's direct references to Gentiles prior to faith. It then gathers conclusions concerning their state from the Gentile encounter with Jesus and Christian salvation. This includes Luke's notes on the condition of Gentiles and on their appropriation of salvation. Finally it draws conclusions from Luke's portrayal of Gentile Christians. Such a comprehensive study of this aspect of Luke's anthropology has not been undertaken previously and constitutes the major fresh contribution of this thesis. This comprehensive approach is necessary to challenge some previous contributions to Lukan anthropology. It argues that the main study in the field (J.-W. Taeger, Der Mensch und sein Heil; 1982) does not sufficiently consider all the evidence. By concentrating on the Gentiles in Luke-Acts (including Samaritans and God-fearers) this present thesis comprehensively covers all the relevant material. Against Taeger who suggests that Gentiles do not need 'saving' as much as 'correcting', it concludes that Luke portrays Gentiles prior to faith in a state requiring God's saving intervention. Thorough correction has to accompany and follow this salvation. Though allowing for distinct Lukan emphases, this portrait is not essentially at odds with that of other NT authors. These results further show that the Areopagus speech needs to be and can be satisfactorily interpreted in it's context and in conjunction with similar statements. This thesis further argues that Luke's narrative sections and the characterisation they present should no longer be neglected in favour of the speeches. Luke's portrayal of Gentiles prior to faith also bears on his understanding of sin and provides additional justification for the Gentile mission. This study challenges proposals of Luke's alleged anti-Judaism and provides some hitherto little-noticed correctives.