Who Was ‘Theophilus’ in Luke and Acts?

“It seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.” (Luke 1:3)

I recently learned that some scholars believe that the historical Theophilus ben Ananus is the “Theophilus” to whom Luke dedicates his Gospel and sequel, the Acts of the Apostles. The name “Theophilus” means “friend of God” and I have always assumed that it was an honorary title granted to Luke’s patron.

Theophilus ben Ananus was the High Priest in Jerusalem from about A.D. 37 to 41 – a fact that would explain the numerous Lucan scenes at the Temple. Theophilus was also a Sadducee, which would explain Luke’s emphasis on the debates centering on doctrines particular to the Sadducees.

I don’t know if I buy all this, but it is an interesting theory.

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