In a message dated 97-10-24 01:45:17 EDT, you write:
> I looked at the Missal & Roman Breviary (at least those
> versions available to me here) without finding any reference to Luke as
> an artist.
Luke is called "the beloved physician" (agapetos iatros) in Col. 4.14. The
only other place his name is mentioned (except as author of the Gospel) is 2
The idea that Luke was an artist seems to be later, and the examples of
paintings attributed to Luke might even suggest it was much later. It still
seems odd that he'd be called an artist at all, in the face of Paul's calling
him a physician. Why "contradict" the Bible?
One possibility is that early readers understood iatros (G2395) to be used in
a figurative manner. Though this is admittedly far-fetched, I checked out the
seven instances of iatros, and they may include nuances that we ought to
take into consideration.
I <think> iatros is being used figuratively in Matt. 9.12, where Christ
implies he himself might be a kind of divine physician, a healer of sick
souls. Maybe the metaphor comes from Psalms, where the Psalmist compares his
own sick soul to a sore that runs in the night.
Christ says, "Physician, heal thyself" (Luke 4.23), which is figurative, but
also somewhat contemptuous of actual physicians, who in many cases are unable
to heal themselves.
The NT is not very impressed by actual physicians, as when the woman with an
issue of blood "had suffered many things of many phsicians, and had spent all
she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse" (Mark 5.26).
A low opinion of physicians might be consistent with the pious idea that all
healing comes from God, or by the grace of God. Christ, with no medical
training, spends a good deal of time healing the sick, which may speak to the
If this is the general drift, it wouldn't be very complimentary to Luke to
call him a physician, though it might be an old occupation he put aside with
his old life. I don't see any sign in the NT of his actually practicing
On his being a "beloved physician," it's not clear whether he's beloved by
Paul, by God, or by human "patients." But the trope is rather similar to
Christ being called a good shepherd, or Peter being called a fisher of men.
In each case, the implication may be that this person is superior to (or
different from) the ordinary practitioner of that trade or profession. The
beloved physician, especially if beloved by God, might be a healer of souls.
Please forgive that this is all (ahem) highly speculative. Does anyone know
how early commentators understood the beloved physican trope?
The seven references to iatros are in Matt. 9.12, Mark 2.17, 5.26; Luke 4.23,
5.31, 8.43; Col.4.14.