The Gospel According to Luke. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
THE GOSPEL according to Luke was probably written not far from the year 70 A. D. It is quoted in the first half of the second century, and in a fragment dated about 175 A. D. we find the earliest extant ascription of the authorship to Luke. The third Gospel, says the so-called Canon of Muratori, Luke compiled in his own name from report, the physician whom Paul took with him after the ascension of Christ, as it were, for a traveling companion; however he did not himself see the Lord in the flesh, and hence begins his account with the birth of John. Eusebius states that Luke was born at Antioch, and Paul seems to imply that he was a Gentile.
The sources from which the compilation was made are still a matter of dispute. Much of the narrative of events seems to be drawn from Mark; of the speeches, from that collection of the discourses of Christ which is supposed by scholars to lie behind the gospel of Matthew. But the author of Luke had peculiar sources not used by the other evangelists; and from these come some of the most precious contents of this gospel.
There has been much discussion on the question as to the existence in Luke of a Jewish or of a Gentile bias. Those who find it markedly Jewish in tone incline to distrust the tradition ascribing its composition to the Gentile physician; those who regard it as the Pauline gospel naturally find it easier to associate it with the companion of the apostle to the Gentiles. The question is closely connected with the authorship of The Acts of the Apostles, a continuation of Luke by the same hand, which is generally admitted to contain descriptions of Pauls travels recorded by his companion.
The author, whether Luke or another, opens by stating his purpose to be to trace accurately and in order those matters which have been fulfilled among us. It would be an impertinence to comment on the importance to mankind of the carrying out of his purpose.