Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Daily Lewis: October 18th 2012

A day late, but as the saying goes, "better late than never."

October 18th, 2012

St. Luke, Evangelist

"Surely there's no difficulty about the prayer in Gethsemane on the ground that if the disciples were asleep they couldn't have heard it and therefore couldn't have recorded it? The words they did record would hardly have taken three seconds to utter. He was only 'a stone's throw' away. The silence of night was around them. And we may be sure He prayed aloud. People did everything aloud in those days....

There is a rather amusing instance of the same thing in Acts 24. The Jews had got down a professional orator called Tertullos to conduct the prosecution of St. Paul. The speech as recorded by St. Luke takes eighty-four words in the Greek, if I've counted correctly. Eighty four words are impossibly short for a Greek advocate on a full-dress occasion. Presumably, then, they are a precis? But of those eighty-odd words forty are taken up with preliminary compliments to the bench - stuff which, in a precis on that tiny scale, ought not to have come in atall. It is easy to guess what has happened. St. Luke, though and excellent narrator, was no good as a reporter. He starts off by trying  to memorize, or to get down, the whole speech verbatim. And he succeeds in reproducing a certain amount of the exordium...The whole rest of the speech has to be represented by a ludicrously inadequate abstract. But he doesn't tell us what has happened, and thus seems to attribute to Tertullos a performance which would have spelled professional ruin. "

From Letters to Malcolm; Ch 9

1 comment:

  1. Please over look the fact that it is not 2012. I apparently subliminally want it to be.