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Gospel of Luke Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

P75 is a pretty dull name for something actually kind of exciting: the earliest surviving papyrus with portions of Luke's gospel. We're talking late 2nd or early 3rd century. The question is how the text might have changed in the century between Luke's actual writing and our first manuscript.

Luke's Jesus requires his followers to renounce wealth, sell their possessions, and give everything to the poor. No doubt this demand was as radical in antiquity as it is today. But Jesus was not without his allies in the Greco-Roman world. A school of philosophy known as the Cynics taught very close to the same thing about wealth. Oh, and they peed in the streets. (Source.)

In 15:5, Luke describes a touching image of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulders after leaving his ninety-nine other sheep to find this one that was lost. It makes us think of the Greek god Hermes, who's often shown carrying a lamb on his shoulders. That's right--it wasn't long before this image was taken over by Christians who reinterpreted it as Jesus.