Santa Cappella del Sancta Sanctorum/Photo by D. Pivato

ON THE COVER: The “four living creatures” of Revelation 4:6–8—the winged man, lion, ox and eagle—grace the vaulted ceiling of the Sancta Sanctorum, the Pope’s private chapel. The creatures were designated by early Christian sources as symbols of the four evangelists, which is why each carries a gospel book in this fresco. Initial differences of opinion among church fathers gave way by the seventh century to the common identification of Matthew with a human or angel, Mark with the lion, Luke with the ox or calf and John with the eagle.

Tradition has also identified Luke as the author of both the Third Gospel and the Book of Acts, and as a gentile physician who accompanied Paul. Luke is also known in Christian tradition as an artist who painted healing images of the Madonna and Child. To this day, many institutions of healing bear his name. But does modern biblical scholarship support these traditions about Luke? In “Who Wrote the Gospel of Luke?”, Mikeal Parsons examines with a critical eye the evolving lore of Luke in the Christian imagination.