Jesus' Lack of Emotion in Luke: The Lukan Redactions in Light of the Hellenistic Philosophers

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation will argue that the author of Luke has redacted Mark in terms of the characterization of Jesus. In the characterization of Jesus, the Lukan redactor has removed strong emotion (and the actions which would result from these strong emotions). Further, Luke has sometimes “transferred” these emotions to other characters or groups. These redactions include the traditionally-viewed negative emotions grief, neediness, stern speech, and especially anger. They also include some of the more traditionally positive emotions including compassion, love, and general affection. It will be shown that Luke consistently depicts (with two exceptions in the special “L” material) the persona of Jesus (and only the character of Jesus) as bereft of strong emotion. This dissertation will further attempt to explain why these redactions and transferences have occurred by examining the Lukan redactions in light of the philosophical traditions. Evidence will be presented from the Hellenistic, Jewish, and Roman philosophical traditions on the subject of emotions in order to show that with notable exceptions (i.e., Aristotle), the primary philosophical view of the emotions was depreciatory and disapproving. This dissertation will conclude that it is primarily the Stoic tradition (and in particular the popular rendering of these in the Roman imperial authors) that leads the author of Luke to present his auditors with a Jesus character (quite to the contrary of Mark) without emotion, an exemplum of apatheia.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04172009-143310

Author David Gene George
Advisor Gregory Sterling
Contributor Mary Rose D'Angelo, Committee Member
Contributor Gregory Sterling, Committee Chair
Contributor David Aune, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Theology
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2009-04-07

Submission Date 2009-04-17
  • United States of America

  • Stoic

  • Luke

  • Josephus

  • Philo

  • Jesus

  • Emotion

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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