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Anonymous Assistants (Luke 1:1-4)

Role: Literate Workers

Gender: Unknown

Date: 90-150 CE

Place: Unknown

Language:  Gospel; Bios; Narrative

Literary Genre: Letter

Title of Work: Gospel of Luke

Reference: Luke 1:1–4

Original Text:

Ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων, καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου,  ἔδοξεν κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι, κράτιστε Θεόφιλε, ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν. (NA28 Luke 1:1–4)

English Translation:

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. (NRSV Luke 1:1–4)


The context of this passage is the opening to the Gospel of Luke. The author here notes their reliance on the "huperetai of the word." The language is usually translated as either "ministers" or "servants," terms that in conjunction with the reference to “the word” have a theological resonance for Christian readers. In Greek the term can refer to any kind of service including subordinate workers, assistants employed in executions, and those who attended soldiers. The same term is used in Luke 4:20 of the attendant to whom Jesus hands the scroll in the synagogue. Commentary on Luke 4:20 has viewed this attendant as a lower status worker comparable to a tanna. We might reasonably infer that these invisible individuals were enslaved workers involved in the curation of oral or written sources for the Gospel of Luke.

Keywords: Christian; Gospel of Luke, Literate Workers; New Testament


Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. Revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.

How to Cite:

Moss, Candida R. “Anonymous Assistants (Luke 1:1-4).” Ancient Enslaved Christians. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR. <>.



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