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Luke as the Dynamic Drama of Good News
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Brian McLaren
The Voice of Luke:  Not Even Sandals (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson, 2007.  204p.)

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This is a volume in a new Bible translation series from Ecclesia Bible Society called the Voice.  The approach is to retell the biblical stories in modern narrative and oral literary form.  Brian McLaren was invited to be the reteller of Luke's story, and two dynamic Bible scholars were the reviewers and revisers who performed the textual and linguistic check to be sure the new story version was in line with the original Greek manuscripts.

Brian McLaren here joins other modern authors, teachers, theologians and lovers of the Good News to bring to life the testimony of the Gospel commonly referred to as the Gospel of Luke.  Only tradition from Christian leaders from the generation after the Gospel writer tells us that the writer of the "Third Gospel" was Luke, the companion of Paul.  It is also virtually universally accepted that this same writer wrote the companion story of Acts.

The Gospel in the Voice series is written in dialogue format as a screenplay, making it easier to follow the dialogue and characters.  This also brings it into line with the oral dramatic culture in which the New Testament documents were originally written.  In a primarily oral culture, in a concrete-relational worldview context, stories were the powerful medium of conveying core values and ultimate truths.

The relational values were foundational to the format and themes, and the presentations would be oral, as we see in the portrayal of Jesus' teaching out in the fields and marketplaces.  What our modern rationalist and literate culture has now come to see as "literature" were originally written for oral presentation.  As even Paul's pastoral letters themselves testify, that the writer expects these to be READ to the congregations, and circulated for reading before the other congregations in their vicinity.

The dramatic screenplay format McLaren uses here brings to life the real possibilities Luke presents about the Rule of God in our lives.  This book will be a refreshing and enlightening encounter with the dynamic original context and format of this life-oriented practical story of Good News.

But here McLaren's new presentation of this old material enables us to experience the story as a participant in the story.  This dramatic story comes to life as the original writer-dramatist tells the story of Jesus and the meaning of this new Good News for the lives of the people in the Roman Empire.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[review] Orality, Literacy and the Bible
[review] Stories and Storytelling:  Reclaiming our Oral Heritage

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Initial review written 26 August 2009
Final review posted on OJTR 10 November 2009
Reviewed on Amazon 12 November 2009
Last edited 4 July 2011

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2009 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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