By George Salmon
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
I come now to speak of the book of the Acts of the Apostles.1 It is, as I said (p. 34), a very vital matter with unbelievers to bring this book down to a late date. For if it must be conceded that this work was written by a companion of St. Paul, it will follow that the still earlier book, the Gospel, which confessedly2 has the same authorship, must have been written by one in immediate contact with eye-witnesses, and must be regarded as thoroughly historical. I need not spend much time in discussing the external evidence. At the end of the second century, the earliest time of which we have copious Christian remains, the evidence of Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria, shows the authority of the Acts as well established as that of the Gospels.3 The Muratorian Fragment treats of this book next after the Gospels.4 There is an undisputed reference to the Acts in the letter of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons, A.D. 177 (Euseb. v. 1); and since it has been proved (see p. 206) that Marcion, in the early part of the century, found the third Gospel holding an established rank, we cannot doubt that the Acts had obtained currency at the same period. There are several coincidences with the Acts in other second-century writers; but about these I do not care to wrangle with critics who regard evidence that comes short of demonstration as no evidence at all. When, for example, Clement of Rome (ch. 2) praises the Corinthians for being fonder of giving than receiving,5 we cannot prove that he had in his mind our Lord's saying (Acts xx. 35), It is more blessed to give than to receive; and when Ignatius (ad Smyrn. 3), tells how our Lord, after the Resurrection, ate and drank with the disciples (συνέφαγεν καὶ συνέπιεν), we cannot demonstrate that he knew the συνέφαγεν καὶ συνέπιεν of Acts x. 41, or that in calling heretical teachers wolves (ad Philad. 2), he was thinking of Acts xx. 29. Let us allow that Hermas may have been ignorant of Acts iv. 12, when he says, that there is none other through whom we can be saved than through the great and glorious name (Vis. iv. 2); and that it may be pure accident that Polycarp chanced upon words so like those of Acts ii. 24, when he says (ad Philipp. i.), Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of Hades. Eusebius tells (iv. 29) that Dionysius of Corinth relates that Dionysius the Areopagite, who was converted to the faith by Paul the Apostle, according to the account given in the Acts, was the first bishop of Athens; and as we have not got the letters of Dionysius, we cannot confute anyone who may be pleased to say that the reference to the Acts was only made by Eusebius, and that it was through some other source Dionysius found that there had been an Areopagite of his own name. In like manner, let us admit the possibility that Papias, who mentions Justus, surnamed Barsabas,6 may have derived his knowledge of him from some source different from the Acts; and I frankly own that anyone may refuse to accept the opinion, which I hold myself, that Papias, who used St. Matthew's Gospel, would have adopted the account which that Gospel gives of the death of Judas Iscariot, if he did not read a different story in some document to which he attributed equal authority.7 It is true that, if we accept the traditional account of the authorship of the Acts, the coincidences I have mentioned, and several others, are at once accounted for; but if anyone chooses to say that they are all accidental, though I think his assertion very improbable, I do not care to dispute the matter with him.
In fact, it is much more important for a critic, who opposes the received authorship of the Acts, to impugn these early quotations than it is for us to maintain them. If Clement of Rome, before the end of the first century, read the book, there can be no reasonable ground for doubt that the work is as early as the Church has always held it to be; but if Clement makes no quotation from it, no inference can be drawn from his silence about a book to which his subject in no way called on him to refer. But, in point of fact, our reception of the Acts scarcely at all depends on these proofs of the early use of the book. It is an important point, no doubt, to establish that the book we have now was received without hesitation by the Christian Church as far back as we can trace its history; yet if this work were a new find, recently disinterred from some Eastern library, we still might be confident that we have here some genuine remains of the Apostolic age. In fact, the internal evidence of the latter chapters of the Acts proves irresistibly that these contain matter which must have proceeded from an eye-witness. In saying this, I say no more than our adversaries acknowledge. Davidson says (ii. 136) of the so-called we sections of the Acts, that is to say, the sections in which the writer uses the first person plural, that they are characterized by a circumstantiality of detail, a vividness of description, an exact knowledge of localities, an acquaintance with the phrases and habits of seamen, which betray one who was personally present.
If you know nothing of the history of the controversy, you will perhaps imagine that such a concession as I have quoted, and which is no more than is readily made by all critics of the same school, amounts to a recognition of the antiquity of the book of the Acts. But this is not the only case where theorists of the sceptical school will make a forced concession, and hope to save the main part of their hypothesis from destruction. These hypotheses are like some living beings of low organization, which it is hard to kill, because when you lay hold of one of them, the creature will leave half its body in your hands, and walk off without suffering any apparent inconvenience. When we encounter a theory impugning the authority of one of our New Testament books, if we point out passages in the book containing marks of genuineness which cannot plausibly be contested, then so much of the theory will be abandoned as disputes the genuineness of these particular passages; but it is still hoped to maintain the spuriousness of the rest.8 If it is pointed out that the passages acknowledged as genuine are indissolubly connected with some of those alleged to be spurious, the theory will then be modified again, just so far as is necessary to meet this new difficulty. In the present case the marks of genuineness in the we sections are too strong to be denied. It is therefore found unavoidable to own that this part of the book of the Acts is a real relic of the Apostolic age; but the Tübingen theory is that some compiler who lived in the second century happened to get possession of memoranda really made by a travelling companion of St. Paul, whose name we don t know, and that the compiler incorporated these in a narrative, in the main un- authentic, and intended to disguise the early history of the Christian Church. Thus, Hooykaas (see p. 295) says (v. 33), As to the later fortunes of St. Paul, the writer of Acts had access to some very good authorities, the best of all being the itinerary or journal of travels composed by one of the Apostle's companions. Portions of this work he took up almost unaltered into his own. In this itinerary, then, we possess the records of an eye-witness. This is of incalculable value.
The almost unaltered of this extract are words that all critics of the same school would not adopt. The evidence of identity of language and style is so strong as to convince even prejudiced critics that the we sections, as they stand now, bear marks of the same hand as that to which we owe the rest of the book; while also these sections contain relations of miracles which the same critics are unwilling to believe were told by a contemporary. So the theory which simply separated the authorship of the we sections from that of the rest is owned to be inadequate; and it is now usually presented with the addition that the second-century compiler, when incorporating these sections in his book, revised and retouched them, and made to them some additions of his own.
Who was the original writer of the memoranda, rationalist critics are not agreed. The claims of Timothy have been strongly urged, notwithstanding that, to name no other objection, Timothy is expressly distinguished from the writer who uses the first person plural (ch. xx. 4, 5). Silas has had his advocates, but the favourite seems to be Titus; and, accordingly, Hooykaas always refers to the author of the memoranda as Titus (?) Why St. Luke, with or without a note of interrogation, might not have been left in possession of the authorship of the memoranda, even if he were deprived of that of the rest of the book, is not, at first sight, easy to explain: for even with critics of this school it ought not to be thought a disadvantage to an hypothesis that it should have some amount of historical attestation. Paul's Epistles (Col. iv. 14; Philem. 24; 2 Tim. iv. u) show that he had a companion of the name of Luke. If it were conceded that he was the author of the we sections, at least in their original form, it would seem to explain why the whole book should be attributed to him.
But here is a circumstance of which it is well worth while to take notice. The name of Luke is not found in connexion with the Acts in any extant uncial MS.; and we cannot but think that the ascription would have been preserved, had it been found in earlier MSS. On the other hand, the name of Luke is invariably inscribed to the third Gospel. We cannot, then, reasonably suppose the history of the ascription to be that the name of Luke was originally attached only to the latter part of the Acts; that it then passed to the whole book; and being accepted, on the faith of their MSS., by Christians of the second century, was afterwards extended to the Gospel which they perceived to be of the same authorship. The true history seems to be just the reverse. It would appear to be from the Gospel that the name of Luke passed to the Acts; and then a verification of that ascription is afforded by the fact that we find from the Epistles that Paul had a companion named Luke. In any case, I cannot account for the reluctance of rationalist critics to own Luke as the author of what they regard as the original portions of the Acts, except through a feeling on their part that the name of Luke is indissolubly connected with the third Gospel.
It is time that I should formally remind you what those we sections of which I have been speaking are. They begin Acts xvi. 9. Luke appears to have joined Paul at Troas, and to have accompanied him to Philippi. There he seems to have been left behind; for when Paul leaves Philippi the use of the pronoun we ceases, and is not resumed until Paul returns to Philippi, some six or seven years after. Then (ch. xx. 5) the we begins again, and continues till the arrival in Jerusalem (xxi. 18). It begins again in chap. 27 with Paul's voyage, and continues till his arrival in Rome, xxviii. 16. I may add that in Codex D, which in the Acts is full of untrustworthy additions to the text, the tradition that Luke was of Antioch is attested by a we in Acts xi. 28, the prophecy of Agabus being described as having taken place when we were gathered together. I only mention this reading, but not as having any title to your acceptance. Some have excluded from the we sections the part containing Paul's address at Miletus; but unreasonably. For, though in the latter part of the 20th chapter the narrator has had no occasion to speak in the first person, he claims in the first verse of the next chapter to have been one of the party who had to tear themselves away from the sorrowing embraces of their Ephesian friends.
I may mention here that some thoughtless objectors9 have taken for a note of spuriousness in this narrative what is really a proof of genuineness. Paul, it is said, is represented (xx. 17) as in such a hurry to get to Jerusalem that he will not visit Ephesus, yet afterwards he spends a week at Tyre (xxi. 4), and many days at Caesarea (v. 10). But it is quite natural that Paul should calculate his time differently before crossing the sea and afterwards. Even in times much later than St. Paul's, travellers in those seas have not been able to count on expedition. The author of Eothen says that when he read the Odyssey he had thought ten years rather a long time for the hero to spend on his voyage home from Troy, but that since he had had personal experience of navigation in these parts, he had come to the opinion that Ulysses had a fair average passage. It appears (xx. 16) that Paul at the beginning of his voyage was by no means sure of being able to reach Jerusalem at the time he wished. Actually, he only succeeded in obtaining a passage in a ship which went no further than Patara. He could not foresee what delay he might encounter there; but after he had caught a ship for Tyre, and made a prosperous voyage thither, he could calculate his time differently; and, notwithstanding his week's delay at Tyre, might feel that he had several days at his disposal at Caesarea before he needed to begin his land journey to Jerusalem. There are other frivolous objections, all proceeding on the assumption that Paul owned a yacht, or chartered a ship of his own, whereas I suppose the probability is, that he had to accommodate himself to the movements of the ships in which he found passage. Thus, why did not Paul go him self to Ephesus instead of sending a messenger to fetch his friends from that city? I daresay because he did not choose to run the risk that the ship might sail without him if he went away from Miletus. Why did not Paul send his message from Trogyllium, which was nearer, rather than from Miletus? I suppose because he knew that the ship would not make a sufficiently long delay at Trogyllium, and that it would at Miletus. At the same time it may be remarked that MSS. are not unanimous as to the ship having touched at Trogyllium at all. But, in short, I think the best rationalist critics show their wisdom in abandoning all direct assaults on the we sections as futile, and in restricting their efforts to the separation of these from the rest of the book.
But in this they have great difficulties. I pass over the initial difficulty, which to me seems sufficiently formidable: How are we to account for the fact that an unknown person in the second century got exclusive possession of some of the most precious relics of the Apostolic age relics the authenticity of which is proved by internal evidence, and yet of which no one but this compiler seems ever to have heard, while the compiler himself vanished out of knowledge? The rationalist critics would scarcely make their story more miraculous if they presented their legend in the form, that the we sections were brought to Rome by an angel from heaven, who immediately after disappeared. But new difficulties arise when they try to tear the we sections away from the rest of the Acts; for this book is not one of those low organizations which do not resent being pulled asunder. It is on the contrary a highly organized structure, showing evident marks that the whole proceeded from a single author. Thus references, direct or implied, are repeatedly made from one part of the book to another. The speech of Paul in the latter part of the book (xxii. 20) refers with some verbal coincidences to the part he took in the martyrdom of Stephen (vii. 58, viii. i). In the we section (xxi. 8) where Philip is mentioned, he is described as one of the seven (Acts vi. 5), while his presence at Caesarea has been accounted for (viii. 40). Peter in his speech (xv. 8) refers to former words of his recorded (x. 47). Words are put into our Lord's mouth (i. 5) similar to words which in the Gospels are only attributed to John the Baptist, and these words are quoted as our Lord's (xi. 16).10
I will notice one coincidence more between the earlier chapters and the later, which I think not only proves unity of authorship, but also that the author lived near the events I mean the part which both divisions of the Acts ascribe to the Sadducees in the persecution of the infant Church. In the Gospels the chief opponents of our Lord are the Scribes and Pharisees. A Christian writer of the second century would hardly have known or cared much about the internal divisions among the Jews, and would naturally have followed the Gospels in giving greater prominence to Pharisaic hostility to the Gospel. But St. Luke makes us understand that, after the death of our Lord, His disciples obtained among the Pharisees toleration or friendship, which was refused them by the Sadducees. The Resurrection was the main subject of the Christian preaching, and this at once put the Christians on the side of the Pharisees in their chief subject of dispute with the Sadducees; while again the Pharisees found no difficulty in believing the Gospel accounts of angelic messages, which the Sadducees rejected as incredible. Further, the charge of having shed innocent blood most painfully affected the Sadducees, who at the time held the chief place in the government of the nation (Acts v. 17, 28). These considerations make Luke's account highly credible, that the Jerusalem Church counted among its members a large proportion of Pharisees (xv. 5, xxi. 20). St. Paul in one of his Epistles (Phil. iii. 5) confirms the account of the Acts that he had him self been a Pharisee; and if Luke were a companion of Paul's we can understand how he should have imbibed the feelings which led him to give such prominence to the hostility of the Sadducees to Christian teaching (iv. 1, v. 17). In this representation the book is consistent all through: the Scribes that were of the Pharisees part (xxiii. 9) interfere to protect Paul from the violence of the Sadducees, much in the same way as the chief Pharisaic Rabbi, Gamaliel, is represented at the beginning of the book (v. 30), as interfering on behalf of the elder Apostles.
An independent proof of the unity of authorship is obtained from a study of the language. Tables have been made of words, phrases, and turns of expression characterizing the Gospel; and these are found reappearing in the Acts, and in all parts equally, in the latter chapters as much as in the earlier. It is not easy to lay before you details of the proof of the homogeneousness of the diction of the book, because no inference could be fairly drawn from only a few examples of recurring phrases, and it would be tedious to produce a great many; but it is not necessary, since the point is acknowledged, and is accounted for, as I have said, by the theory that the later compiler revised and retouched the sections which he borrowed. From these linguistic and other phenomena, says Davidson (II. 145), it is clear that the writer of the book was not a mere compiler but an author. If he used materials, he did not put them together so loosely as to leave their language and style in the state he got them, but wrought up the component parts into a work having its own characteristics. And yet we are asked to suppose that, with all this revision, the compiler did his work so clumsily as to leave in that tell-tale we/ the sections, too, where the we occurs being separated from each other in the most inartificial manner. Here comes in the consideration that the compiler of the Gospel and the Acts was evidently a person of considerable literary skill. The less you believe (I will not say in the inspiration of the writer, but) in his substantial truth fulness, the more you must admire his literary skill. Where he and the other Synoptic Evangelists differ in their language in relating the same story, the difference is often accounted for by the supposition that the third Evangelist gave the language of his predecessors a literary revision. Take the letter of Claudius Lysias in the Acts. If we are not to believe that this was the real letter the chief captain sent, what dramatic skill it required to have invented it, making the chief captain, by a gentle distortion of the facts, give them the colouring which sets his own conduct in the most favourable light. There is the same dramatic propriety in the exordium of Tertullus, the hearing before Agrippa, the proceedings be fore Gallic; or, to go back still earlier, in the story of Peter knocking at the door, and Rhoda so delighted that she runs off with the news without waiting to open to him. A critic must be destitute of the most elementary qualifications for his art who does not perceive that the writer of the Acts is no uneducated clumsy patcher together of documents, but a literary artist who thoroughly understands how to tell a story. And yet we are asked to believe that this skilled artist, having got possession of memoranda of one of Paul's companions, shovels them into his book pell-mell, without even taking the trouble to hide the discontinuity of his work by turning the first person into the third. If we suppose Luke to have been the author, there is no want of literary skill, but only great modesty in the quiet way in which he distinguishes these parts of the history of which he claims to have been an eye-witness.11
What, then, are the motives why such violence should be used to separate the we sections from the rest of the book? There are two principal reasons. One of these is that which I explained in the first lecture. It is thought impossible that a book, so pervaded by miracles as the Acts, could be the work of one who was a contemporary with the events which he relates. There are those now who seem to have got beyond the doctrine that a miracle is impossible; they seem to hold it impossible that anyone should ever have believed in a miracle. Whether the former doctrine be good philosophy or not I am not going to discuss; but I am very sure that the latter doctrine leads to bad criticism.
The history of the criticism on this very book shows how very unsafe it is to take this principle as a guide. By denying the contemporary authorship of all but the we sections, it is, no doubt, possible to remove from the book much of the supernatural; but much is left behind. The author of these memoranda also has several miracles to tell of. I may remind you of all the occurrences at Philippi, the testimony borne to Paul and Silas by the possessed damsel, and her cure by them, the earthquake in the prison, and the opening of the prison doors.12 If the story of the shipwreck is, beyond any other part, full of touches showing that we have the re port of an eye-witness, this part, too, contains the supernatural facts of a vision seen by Paul, and of his predictions as to the issue of the voyage, which are accurately fulfilled. And when Paul and his companions get safe to shore at Melita, we are told the story of the viper, and of miraculous cures effected by Paul on the island. So the remedy has been applied, of cutting out from the we sections all the super natural portions, and treating these as additions made by the later compiler. 13
It can be shown that the parts which it is proposed to cut out are indissolubly connected with those which are left be hind; but I do not enter into the proof, because I hold that criticism so arbitrary does not deserve an elaborate refutation. And in truth it seems to me that the human intellect cannot be less profitably employed than in constructing a life of Paul, such as might have been written by a Christian of the first century who conceived miracle to be an impossibility. A critic might as well spend his time in making a new edition of the play of Hamlet or Macbeth, cutting out as non-Shaksperian every passage which implied a belief in the supernatural.
But in addition to the predominance of the miraculous in the Acts, every disciple of Baur has a reason for rejecting the book, in its irreconcilable opposition to the Tübingen theory of the mutual hostility of Paul and the original Apostles. Here we have what professes to be a history of Paul by one of his friends; and the writer is absolutely no Paulinist in the Tübingen sense of the word. He represents Paul as on friendly terms with Peter and James, and these Apostles as anxious to remove any cause of offence or suspicion between the Apostle of the Gentiles and the Church of Jerusalem, while Paul himself is represented as most ready to meet their wishes in this respect. Paul is represented as observing Jewish ordinances, and as going up, on several occasions, to the Jewish feasts at Jerusalem; while in his speeches, as reported by St. Luke, there is little or nothing said about the doctrine of justification by faith without the works of the law. Peter's speeches in the Acts so thoroughly agree in doctrine with Paul, that they might have been written by Paul or by one of his disciples. Finally, Peter is made to anticipate Paul in the work of preaching to the Gentiles, while Paul himself is represented as only led into that work by the force of circumstances. When he and Barnabas start on their first missionary tour, the method with which they commence is to preach the Gospel only in the synagogues of the Jews (Acts xiii. 5). But in such synagogues there was always present a certain number of Gentiles, who had revolted at the absurdities and immoralities of heathen religions, and who heard with interest, or who had even formally embraced, the monotheism and pure morality of Jewish teachers. Among these Gentile members of the congregations Paul is represented as finding his most willing hearers. And at Antioch in Pisidia, when the Christian teachers encounter such violent opposition from the Jewish part of the audience, that they can no longer continue their preaching in the synagogue, they gladly avail themselves of the friendly reception which the Gentiles are willing to give them, and continue their labours among them (Acts xiii. 46). But the system of beginning by preaching to the Jews is kept up in other cities.
We are told by Baur's disciples that the history of Paul, as told by Luke, which I have just summarized, is a complete falsification of the true history. This true history is that Paul, even before his conversion, had seen clearly that to become an adherent of Jesus of Nazareth, who had been condemned by the Law, and been loaded with its curse, was to renounce allegiance to the Law. It involved the acceptance of a new way of salvation, in which Jews had no higher claim than Gentiles, and it thus abandoned all national privileges. In a word, the preaching of the Crucified drew with it the overthrow of the whole Jewish religion. Viewing the matter thus, Paul persecuted Christianity as a pestilent heresy. But when he came to be shaken in his conviction that the cross had refuted the claims of Jesus, and when he had accepted the Resurrection as a fact, he did not cease to see, what had been evident to him before, that the acceptance of a crucified Saviour involved a complete breach with the Law. So he strove to find how this new revelation was to be reconciled with God's old one. He knew that he could get no light from the Twelve, who did not see what he had discerned before his conversion. So he retired to Arabia, thought out the whole matter for himself, and the result was that he broke entirely with his old past, and the Jew in him had died for ever. He went to Damascus, and there at once began to preach to the heathen. When obliged to flee thence, he preached to the heathen elsewhere, making Antioch his head-quarters. As to his beginning by preaching to Jews, we are not to believe a word of it. The communities of Judea probably knew little of the substance of his preaching; otherwise they would have had little reason to be satisfied with it, for Paul neither observed the Mosaic Law himself, nor permitted his converts, whether of Jewish birth or not, to do so. We are not to believe the author of the Acts, who would have us think (xxi. 24, 25) that a difference was made as to the con duct of Jewish and of Gentile Christians in such matters.
Now, on comparing these two accounts, we cannot help observing that it is the enemies of the supernatural who give a miraculous account of that wonderful fact the trans formation of Judaism which was an exclusive and national religion, into Christianity, which was a catholic and all- embracing one; while St. Luke gives a perfectly natural one. According to the Tübingen account, Paul not only passes with startling suddenness from the persecution of the new religion to the adoption of it, but he adopts it in such a way as to incur the opposition and hatred not only of the old friends whom he was forsaking, but of all the previous professors of the new faith which he was joining. We are to look on Paul as choosing a position of absolute isolation. We are taught to believe that everything implying friendly relations between Paul and earlier Christians is mere invention of St. Luke. There is no truth, it is said, in the statement that Barnabas had introduced Paul to the Jerusalem Churches (Acts ix. 27); that Barnabas had been commissioned by the Jerusalem Church to preach at Antioch; that it was in con sequence of his invitation that Paul came there (xi. 22, 25); and that their earlier preaching had been confined to Hellenists. Paul had from the first struck out this new line of preaching to heathen. He had broken completely with his- past, given up his Jewish observances, and was, in consequence,, as soon as his practices became known, hated as cordially by Jews who owned Jesus to be the Messiah as by those who rejected Him. And yet the new type of Christianity intro duced by this eccentric convert completely supplanted the old one. As soon as the new religion comes under the cognizance of the historical student, we find the Christian communities in every town constituting parts of one great corporation, and all these communities of the type invented by Paul. If we search for survivals of the original type of Christianity, we can find nothing making pretensions to be so regarded, except, in one little corner, a few Elkesaite heretics.
All this is truly marvellous, while the account of the canonical writer is simple and natural. Luke knows what modern theorists are apt to forget, that this champion of the Gentiles was himself, by feeling and training, a Jew of the strictest sort, and he does not pretend that the traces of such training were suddenly obliterated. Paul's own Epistles show him to be thoroughly a Jew, loving his nation with such affection as even to be able to wish himself anathema from Christ for their sake. The same Epistles confirm Luke's account, that he who resisted the making Jewish observances obligatory on Gentiles had no such fanatical hatred of them as to refuse to practise them himself. To the Jews, he says, I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law (1 Cor. ix. 20).
And here let me say in passing that I cannot agree with some orthodox interpreters who regard the part which Paul took by James's advice in the Nazarite's vow on his last visit to Jerusalem, as deceitful on his part, and as in its result a failure. St. Luke's representation all through is, that though Paul resisted the imposition of the Mosaic Law on Gentiles, he did not forbid the practice of its observance by Jews; and it was as a practical proof of this that he exhibited himself in the Temple, taking part in a Jewish sacrifice. Nor do I see reason to regard this step as unsuccessful: it was done for the satisfaction of the Jewish Christians, of whom we are told there were many thousands, and there is no reason to suppose it had not the desired effect. It was unbelieving Jews from Asia who set on Paul, and raised the cry that he had introduced uncircumcised persons into the Temple.
I return to Luke's history of the admission of Gentiles into the Church. This is, that they ordinarily first became hearers of the word, through their having previously so inclined to Judaism as to frequent the Synagogue worship; and then that when Gentile converts came to be made in large numbers, the question, Must these men be circumcised before they can be baptized? came up as a practical one, and was decided by Paul in the negative. Now all this history is so simple and natural, that I venture to say that if this were Baur's account, and Baur's had been Luke s, Rationalist critics would raise a loud outcry against the reception of a story so contrary to historic probability. That Paul's relations with the heads of the Jerusalem Church were friendly, whatever might have been the coolness towards him of inferior members, is at tested by the Epistle to the Galatians, which tells that Peter was the object of Paul's first visit to Jerusalem after his con version; that he saw James on the same occasion; and that these Apostles with John afterwards formally gave him the right hand of fellowship, and divided with him the field of labour. The same Epistle also confirms Luke's account that Barnabas had been a party to the admission of Gentiles on equal terms to the Church; for when afterwards, under the pressure of a deputation from Jerusalem, there was a temporary abandonment of this principle, Paul notes with surprise, as the climax of the defection, that even Barnabas should have been carried away.
It is true that there is only one passage in Paul's speeches in the Acts where the doctrine of justification by faith without the deeds of the law is prominently dwelt on. I mean Acts xiii. 39: By him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. And perhaps we may add xxvi. 18. But then it must be remembered that Paul is a character in real life, and not a character in a play. In a play it is a common device to put into the mouth of a character some pet phrase which he is always repeating, and by which the audience learn to recognize him. If the author of the Acts had not been a real companion of Paul, but a literary man who made Paul the hero of his story, our modern objectors show us how the work would probably have been done. The Apostle's Epistles show how earnestly he contended for the doctrine of justification by faith without the works of the law; and so phrases insisting on this doctrine would have been tagged on to all his speeches. But in real life a man whose career is not very short has many battles to fight, and the controversies in which at one time he takes an earnest part often die out before his life-work is finished. These controversies with Judaizing Christians form the chief topics of four Epistles all written at the same period of Paul's life, namely, to the Romans, to the Galatians, and the two to the Corinthians. But these topics are nearly as absent from the other Epistles14 as they are from the speeches in the Acts. In these last, where he is addressing audiences of unbelievers, his subject naturally is the Messiahship of Jesus, and the truth of His Resurrection. On the whole, I conclude that we are not justified in tearing so homogeneous a book as the Acts in pieces on either of the grounds alleged: that is to say, neither because the book tells of miracles, nor because it gives an untrue representation of the life and work of Paul.
On another ground the book has been alleged to betray that it is not a real history, but a story made up to serve a purpose. It is said that the compiler, whose object was to reconcile the Petrine and Pauline parties in the Church, put his materials together, with the view of drawing a parallel between Peter and Paul, and asserting their equality. If Peter is miraculously released by an angel from prison, when his life was threatened by Herod, Paul must be miraculously released at Philippi. If Peter strikes Ananias and Sapphira dead, Paul works a similar miracle on Elymas the sorcerer. And again, Paul's contest with Elymas is said to have been intended as a parallel to Peter's contest with Simon Magus.15 Peter has worship offered him by Cornelius; the people of Lystra are on the point of sacrificing to Paul, and the people of Melita call him a god. If sick persons are healed because the shadow of Peter fell on them, from the body of Paul there are brought to the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and they recover. And, as I have already said, Paul's great work of preaching to the Gentiles has not only its counterpart, but its anticipation, in Peter's conversion of Cornelius.
That a certain parallelism exists in the history of the Acts between Peter and Paul need not be denied. The only question is whether this was a parallelism existing in fact, or one invented by the narrator. In all true history we have numerous parallelisms. I barely allude to Plutarch's attempt to
find in the life of each Roman worthy a parallel to the history of some Grecian great man. On the principles of criticism by which the Acts have been judged, the history of France for the first half of this century and the last years of the century preceding, ought to be rejected as but an attempt to make a parallel to the history of England one hundred and fifty years before. Both stories tell of a revolution, of the beheading of a king, of the foundation of a republic, succeeded by a military despotism, and ending with the restoration of the exiled family. In both cases the restored family misgoverns, and the king is again dethroned; but this time a republic is not founded, neither is the king put to death; but he retires into exile, and is replaced by a kinsman who succeeds, on different terms, to the vacated throne.
The attempt to account for the book of the Acts as written for the sake of making a parallelism between Peter and Paul, and to find a purpose for every narration included in the book, completely breaks down. It would only be a waste of time if I were to tell you of the far-fetched explanations that have been given as to the purpose why certain stories were introduced; and I shall presently offer what seems to be a much simpler explanation of the choice of topics. But what I think proves decisively that the making a parallel between Peter and Paul was not an idea present to the author's mind, is the absence of the natural climax of such a parallel the story of the martyrdom of both the Apostles. Very early tradition makes both Peter and Paul close their lives by martyrdom at Rome the place where Rationalist critics generally believe the Acts to have been written. The stories told in tolerably ancient times in that Church which venerated with equal honour the memory of either Apostle, represented both as joined in harmonious resistance to the impostures of Simon Magus. And though I believe these stones to be more modern than the latest period to which anyone has ventured to assign the Acts, yet what an opportunity did that part of the story, which is certainly ancient that both Apostles came to Rome and died there for the faith (Clem. Rom. 5) offer to anyone desirous of blotting out the memory of all differences between the preaching of Peter and Paul, and of setting both on equal pedestals of honour? Just as the names of Ridley and Latimer have been united in the memory of the Church of England, and no count has been taken of their previous doctrinal differences, in the recollection of their joint testimony for their common faith, so have the names of Peter and Paul been constantly bound together by the fact that the martyrdoms of both have been commemorated on the same day. And if the object of the author of the Acts had been what has been supposed, it is scarcely credible that he could have missed so obvious an opportunity of bringing his book to its most worthy conclusion, by telling how the two servants of Christ all previous differences, if there had been any, reconciled and forgotten joined in witnessing a good confession before the tyrant emperor, and encouraged each other to steadfastness in endurance to the end.
The absence of this natural termination to the book of the Acts, while it is absolutely fatal to the theory on which I have been commenting, is indeed hard to explain on any theory which assigns a late date to the book. Every reader feels some disappointment at the story being prematurely broken off; and as I have already mentioned, this was one of the things which the author of the Muratorian Fragment tried to account for. We hear of Paul being brought to Rome, to plead his cause before the Emperor. It is un satisfactory merely to be given to understand that for two years he got no hearing. We ask, What happened after that? Was the Apostle then condemned, or was he set at liberty? and if so, did he carry out his once expressed intention of preaching the Gospel in Spain, or did he return to visit the Churches which he had previously planted? And are we to believe the story that he came a second time be fore the Roman tribunal, and closed his life by martyrdom? The connexion of St. Peter, too, with the Roman Church, is a subject on which we should wish to have some authentic information.
To my mind the simplest explanation why St. Luke has told us no more is, that he knew no more; and that he knew no more, because at the time nothing more had happened in other words, that the book of the Acts was written a little more than two years after Paul's arrival in Rome. To this two principal objections are made (1) that the earlier book, the Gospel, must have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem, which it distinctly predicts; and (2) that the Acts itself contains (xx. 25) a prediction that Paul should not return to Ephesus: a prediction which, it is supposed, the writer would not have inserted unless he had known that Paul's life had ended without any return to Asia Minor. On the latter objection I shall have more to say when I come to treat of the Pastoral Epistles; and neither objection makes the same impression on me as on those who believe prophecy to be impossible. I am aware, however, that some very good and orthodox critics assign the book a later date, and consider that the account of the Gospel message preached by Paul at the capital of the civilized world is a sufficient close and climax to the history. But unless we suppose that St. Luke projected a third work, which he did not live to execute, I find it hard to explain his silence as to the deeply interesting period of Church history which followed Paul's arrival at Rome, in any other way than by assigning a very early date to the book.
I have already said that the explanations completely break down which try to find some purpose in St. Luke's selection of topics in the Acts; and I need not tell you, for example, what far-fetched reasons have been given for the introduction of the Acts of the deacons, the account of the martyrdom of Stephen, the history of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, and soforth. The Muratorian Fragment explains Luke's principle of selection to be, that he tells of the things he had witnessed himself; and I believe that if you add to this, c or of which he had the opportunity of hearing from eyewitnesses, you will have the true explanation. So Luke tells in the preface to his Gospel how he made it his business to trace everything from the very first; and the Acts show what opportunities he had of gaining information. If, for instance, we read the 8th chapter of the Acts in connexion with the 2ist, which tells of several days which Luke spent in Philip's house, we have decisive proof that the companion of Paul's travels was also the compiler of the early history. To account for the insertion of the 8th chapter, I know no other way which is not forced in the extreme; while nothing can be more natural than that a visitor of Philip s, who was making it his business to gather authentic records of the Apostles labours, should be glad to include in his collection a narrative so interesting, communicated to him by the very lips of a principal actor.
The account which the Acts give of this Philip may, I think, be regarded as proof of the antiquity of the book. For the name of Philip has an important place in early ecclesiastical tradition. There is quite satisfactory evidence that a Christian teacher of this name early settled in Hierapolis, that he came to be known in Asia Minor as Philip the Apostle, and that daughters of his were believed to have the gift of prophecy, and were regarded with high veneration. Papias (Euseb. iii. 39) speaks of these daughters, and represents some of the traditions which he records as resting on their authority. Clement of Alexandria (Strom, iii. 6, and see Euseb. iii. 30) says that Philip the Apostle had daughters whom he gave in marriage to husbands. Polycrates of Ephesus (Euseb. v. 24) states that Philip, one of the Twelve, had two daughters who remained virgins to old age, and who died at Hierapolis; and a third daughter who had walked in the Holy Spirit, and who rested at Ephesus. If we are to lay stress on Clement's plural number, and to infer that Philip had more married daughters than one, then, since he had two who did not marry, we must conclude that he had at least four daughters. In the dialogue between Caius and Proclus, written at the very beginning of the third century, the Montanist interlo cutor Proclus speaks of four prophetesses, daughters of Philip, whose tomb was still at Hierapolis, and that of their father as well (Euseb. iii. 3 1 ). There can be little doubt that Proclus identified the Philip of Hierapolis with the Philip of the Acts, as Eusebius expressly does. Whether they were right in doing so is a question which cannot be confidently answered. The Philip of the Acts lived at Caesarea, and is described as one of the Seven; the other Philip lived at Hierapolis, and was regarded as one of the Twelve. It is quite possible that two different Philips might each have four daughters; yet the simplest way of explaining the facts seems to be that the Philip of the Acts, subsequently to Luke's visit, removed from Palestine to Asia Minor;16 and certainly it seems more probable that the Hellenist Philip should so migrate than the Apostle, who presumably was a Hebrew. We can believe, then, that in process of time the veneration given Philip as a member of the Apostolic company caused him to be known as an Apostle a name which in early times had various applications, as I shall afterwards have occasion to remark and eventually to be popularly identified with his namesake of the Twelve. Of the four daughters who were unmarried at the time of Luke's visit, two may afterwards have married, and one of these may have died early, or otherwise passed out of sight.
If the Philip of Hierapolis was really not an Apostle, it is needless to say what a stamp of antiquity the knowledge of this fact puts upon Luke's book. But at present I am not concerned with the question whether Philip the deacon after wards went to Hierapolis. I am merely pointing out that Luke's intercourse with him accounts for the insertion of some sections in the Acts. We are distinctly told of many days of such intercourse, but it is likely that there was a great deal more. Paul was for two years a prisoner at Csesarea; and as Luke had been his companion in his journey to Jerusalem, and was afterwards his companion in his journey to Rome, it is likely that they were much together in the intervening time, and therefore that Luke at Caesarea would constantly see Philip. He would there hear from him of his mission to Samaria, and of the subsequent mission thither of Peter and John. He would also hear from him of the appointment of the Seven, of whom Philip had been one; and no doubt he would learn much from the same authority of the most distinguished member of the Seven, Stephen, and of his glorious martyrdom. At Caesarea Luke may very possibly have met Cornelius; and in any case he would be sure to hear there of the remarkable step taken in his case by Peter.
Among the sources used by Luke, I see no objection to include travelling memoranda made by himself; for though I quite disbelieve the myth of a journal of Paul's companion having fallen into the hands of an unknown person in the next century, such a journal might easily have been preserved and used by the writer; and the exact details we meet with in the account of Paul's last journey to Jerusalem, and his voyage to Rome, have quite the air of a narrative made from a diary. This supposition will at least serve to answer some frivolous objections made to the we sections from their inequality of treatment. In one place it is said they give a mere list of names. We took Paul in at Assos, and came to Mitylene, and came the next day over against Chios, and the next day we touched at Samos, and the day after arrived at Miletus. Then there will be a pretty full account. Then the whole details of the shipwreck are given, but of the three months at Melita scarcely anything is told. But anyone who has kept travelling memoranda knows that this is exactly the kind of thing they are apt to be; where nothing interesting occurred, only a bare register of the places where the night was spent; then perhaps some record of greater length, and after the journey is for the time over, and the traveller settled down in a place, no entry made at all.17) On the whole, I consider that a study of the choice of topics in the Acts leads to a conviction both of the unity of authorship, and also of the author's care to write only of things concerning which he had full means of information.
I come next to mention another consideration from which the antiquity of the book of the Acts may fairly be inferred. First let me premise that we may take it as acknowledged, that if the compiler of the Acts was not Paul's travelling companion, he was at least a Paulinist, well acquainted with his master's manner. The vocabulary of Paul's speeches in the Acts has been compared with that of Paul's Epistles, the result being to extort the confession from an unfriendly critic that the author of the Acts was undoubtedly familiar with the Pauline diction.18 It has been attempted to extenuate the force of this concession by an attempted proof that the Pauline speeches in the Acts also contain many of Luke's favourite words. It is owned, however, that this cannot be said of all the Pauline speeches. Thus, with regard to Paul's speech at Athens, Davidson says, It must be confessed, how ever, that the discourse contains many peculiar expressions, there being no less than twenty-six words in 19-34 which do not occur in Luke; and his conclusion about this speech is, We think that it is the speaker's to a considerable extent. It is in harmony with the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, and if it be a condensed summary of many addresses, the sentiments and part of the language are probably Paul's19 (Davidson, ii. 109).
Now, with regard to the attempt to find traces of Luke's hand in the report of other speeches of Paul, let me remark that, admitting the attempt to be successful, the inference that follows is exactly the opposite of what is supposed. Let us concede that Luke had a monopoly of his favourite expressions, and that if we find one of them in a report of Paul's speeches, we are entitled to conclude that Paul never uttered that expression; still if the speech in the main contains Paul's sentiments, and Paul's language, we are bound to believe that the other person who has left traces of his hand must be the person who heard and reported the speech. We can easily believe that the hearer of a speech, when he afterwards came to write it down from memory, might, while giving the sub stance correctly, introduce a little of his own phraseology; but we may be sure that if a compiler of the next generation got possession of a genuine report of speeches of Paul he would incorporate them in his work verbatim. Thus, in my opinion, if it be once acknowledged that the report of Paul's speeches in the Acts exhibits familiarity with the Pauline diction, a real proof that these speeches, before being written down as we have them, had passed through the mind of the compiler of the Acts, would go to confirm the traditional opinion that this compiler had been a companion and hearer of St. Paul. I may add, in confirmation of this result, that Alford has remarked that the speech (Acts xxii.), which was spoken in Hebrew contains no Pauline expression, while it abounds in those peculiar to St. Luke; on the other hand, the speech (Acts xvii.), which Luke does not profess to have heard himself, contains none of Luke's characteristic phrases.
But now I come to the point at which I was desirous to arrive. If it is owned that the compiler of the Acts was a Paulinist, undoubtedly familiar with the Pauline diction, we ask how he acquired that familiarity. If it was not from personal intercourse with the Apostle, it must have been from diligent study of his Epistles, and such study a Paulinist of the next generation could not fail to give. But the strange point is, that no satisfactory proof can be made out that the author of the Acts had ever seen St. Paul's Epistles. If we were to borrow our opponents language, we might say that St. Luke absolutely knew nothing of these letters. We can find in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in 1 Peter, clear proofs of acquaintance with Paul's letters; but not so in the Acts. Can we imagine a compiler of the next century so subtle as to give the speeches which he puts in Paul's mouth a Pauline character, by employing that Apostle's vocabulary, and yet avoiding anything like a direct echo of any passage in the Epistles? The nearest coincidence I can find is that in the speech at Athens, Paul says (xvii. 31), He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance unto all men in that He hath raised Him from the dead. This is like what Paul says in the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans (i. 4), Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: so like at least that we can easily believe both to have been utterances of the same man; yet the likeness is certainly not that of direct imitation. If the antiquity of the book of Acts were undoubted, and that of Paul's Epistles disputed, I am persuaded that our opponents would not admit the validity of a single proof we could produce of St. Luke's acquaintance with those Epistles, while they could make out a very strong case to prove his ignorance.
For example, Philippi is a place where, as I already re marked, the author of the we sections spent a considerable time; and its Church would, therefore, be one in which he would take a lively interest. Yet he shows no sign of acquaintance with the letter which, at a period a little later than that included in the history of the Acts, Paul wrote to the Philippian Church. In the account given in the Acts of the formation of that Church, Lydia is the only person mentioned by name. If the Epistle had been forged by anyone who had seen the Acts, that name would surely have been found in it; but it is absent. On the other hand, there is not a word in the Acts about Epaphroditus, about the women Euodia and Syntyche, about the name Clement, afterwards so celebrated, about the gifts of money sent by the Philippian Church to Paul at Thessalonica (Phil. iv. 16; see also 2 Cor. xi. 9).20 Thus the independence of the Acts and this Epistle is clearly marked; but at what an early date must each writing have been composed, if the author of neither had seen the other?
Take again the Epistle to the Galatians. The main topic of the assailants of the Acts is the assertion that the book contradicts that Epistle. I do not admit that there is any real contradiction, but I think also that St. Luke when he wrote had not seen that Epistle. There are some things mentioned in it, such as Paul's journey to Arabia, the rebuke of Paul to Peter at Antioch, the dispute concerning the circumcision of Titus, which I think St. Luke would scarcely have passed over in silence had he known that Epistle. Now a writer of the second century could neither have been ignorant of that Epistle himself, nor could he flatter himself that his readers could be so. Thus the excuse will not serve that he omitted these things in order to conceal from his readers that there ever had been any variance between Paul and the original Apostles. If that had been his object, he would have repeated the same stories with some different colouring; but he would not have resorted to the ostrich-like device of being silent about things told in a book which he knew his readers had in their hands. But while I find it hard to think that the author of the Acts could have been acquainted with the Epistle to the Galatians, I see no difficulty in the supposition that he was ignorant of it. If Luke had not been with Paul at the time he wrote that letter, then unless Paul kept a copy of it, or unless the Galatian Church sent him back a copy of his own letter, one of Paul's immediate companions was just one of the last persons in the Church to be likely to see it.
Again, it seems to me probable that Luke, when he wrote, had not seen the Epistles to the Corinthians. Surely if he had read i Cor. xv. 6, 7, his Gospel would have told some thing of our Lord's appearance to James and to the five hundred brethren at once; and if he had read 2 Cor. xi. 24, 25, the Acts would have given some particulars about the five times when in the synagogue Paul received forty stripes save one, of the three beatings with rods, and the three shipwrecks. In the case of i Cor., however, we have the strongest token that has been found of indebtedness on Luke's part to Pauline epistles, viz. the close resemblance between the words in which the institution of the Eucharist is recorded in that Epistle and in the Gospel. I am myself inclined to explain that resemblance by the liturgical use of the words. Luke would probably have often heard Paul when conducting divine service recite the words of Institution, and so they would come into his Gospel in the same form. One other phrase is cited, Whatsoever is set before you eat (1 Cor. x. 27), which nearly coincides with the words in the direction to the Seventy (Luke x. 8), Eat such things as are set before you, ̓ ἐσθίετε τὰ παρατιθέμενα ὑμῖν. If the coincidence is more than accidental, I should ascribe it to the adoption as his own, by St. Paul, of well-known words of our Lord. But the question whether Luke might have seen one or two Epistles of St. Paul is one which I have no interest in contesting. However that be decided, two facts remain. First, the Acts say nothing as to Paul's having written letters. Now, if the Acts had been compiled after these letters had obtained general circulation, the compiler would at least have mentioned, as every modern biographer of Paul does, the fact of their composition, even if he had nothing to tell about the circumstances which drew them forth. When speaking, for example, of Paul's residence in Corinth, he would have noted that thence Paul wrote his Epistle to the Church of Rome. Biographers of St. John, of whom I shall speak in the next lecture, do not fail to tell the circumstances under which he wrote his Gospel. But to the author of the Acts St. Paul is known, not as a writer, but as a man of action. We conclude, then, that this book must have been written before the period when Paul's letters had passed from being the special property of the several Churches to which they were addressed, and had become the general property of Christians. Secondly, the Acts not only do not mention Paul's epistles, but show very scanty signs of acquaintance with them. It follows, then, that the familiarity with Paul's diction which the writer confessedly exhibits, if not obtained from a study of his letters, must have been derived from close personal intercourse.
The language of Peter's speeches in the Acts has also been compared with that of Peter's First Epistle, the result being to elicit several coincidences. Thus the idea that Jesus was delivered by the determinate counsel of God occurs three times in Peter's speeches (ii. 23, iv. 28, x. 42), and is found in the Epistle (i. 2, 20; ii. 4, 6). The prophecy (Ps. cxviii. 22) of our Lord, as the stone set at nought by the builders, is quoted (Acts iv. ii, i Pet. ii. 6). And generally the Petrine speeches in the Acts agree with the Epistle in their thorough harmony with Paul's doctrine. But whether that is a reason for doubting their authenticity had better be postponed until I come to discuss the Epistle.
I have thought that the most important point on which to dwell in the limited time at my disposal is the proof that the compiler of the Acts was a companion of St. Paul. If this were not established it would be useless to give proofs of Luke's accuracy in particulars, and of his exact knowledge of localities. It would simply be said that the compiler had access to some very good sources of information. I may, however, give you a few specimens of the argument into the details of which I am not able to enter. On one point, for instance, on which Luke's accuracy had been questioned, further investigation has confirmed it. Sergius Paulus is described (xiii. 7) as proconsul (ἀνθύπατος) at Cyprus. Now, we learn from Strabo (xiv. xvii. 25) that there were two classes of provinces in the Roman empire, as arranged by Augustus: one, the ruler of which was appointed by the Senate; the other, where military operations were likely to be necessary, the ruler of which was appointed by the emperor. The ruler of a senatorial province bore the title of Proconsul; that of an imperial province was called Proprae tor (ἀντιστράτηγος). Strabo further informs us that Cyprus was governed by στρατηγοί. Hence it was inferred that these were styled propraetors, and that Cyprus therefore was one of the provinces which Augustus had reserved for himself; so it had been set down as a mistake of Luke's that he called the governor proconsul. But Strabo expressly places Cyprus on the list of senatorial provinces; and it is certain that the οτρατηγοί, by whom he tells us Cyprus was governed, bore the title of Proconsul, and were praetors only as regards their previous rank. This is clearly stated by Dion Cassius, who further informs us (liii. 12, liv. 4) that though Cyprus had been at first on Augustus's list, a rectification was subsequently made by him, the disturbed province of Dalmatia, which had been assigned to the Senate, having been exchanged for quiet provinces in the emperor's portion; and that at that time Cyprus reverted to the Senate. This is confirmed by coins and other remains,21 showing that down to and after the time of Paul's visit the governor of Cyprus bore the title of Proconsul. It may be mentioned that Pliny, in his Natural History, for two books, ii. and xviii., quotes the authority of a Sergius Paulus. The name is not so un common as to make an identification certain; yet, since in each of the two books for which he cites the name Pliny tells something about the natural history of Cyprus, it is likely enough that the same person is meant. At several of the other places which Paul visited we have equal accuracy in the description of the magistrates. At Corinth, Gallio is described as ἀνθύπατος (Acts xviii. 12). This was in the reign of Claudius. Under Tiberius, Achaia was imperial; under Nero it was independent; under Claudius it was senatorial, as represented by St. Luke (see Tacit. Ann. i. 76; Sueton., Claudius, 25). In Ephesus the mention of ἀνθύπατοι (xix. 38) is equally correct. At Thessalonica, again, the magistrates are called politarchs (Acts xvii. 6). Now this name is found in connexion with Thessalonica in no ancient author; but an arch which to this day spans the main street of the city bears the inscription that it had been raised by the seven politarchs.22 It is a curious coincidence, but one on which nothing can be built, that among their names we find Gaius, Secundus, and Sosipater all three names occurring in Acts xx. 4, and that of Secundus in connexion with Thessalonica. St. Luke mentions also the Demos of Thessalonica, an appropriate word in speaking of a free city. Στρατηγοί, praetors, seems a very grand title for the two magistrates of the little provincial city of Philippi (Acts xvi. 20); but Cicero, in one of his orations23 a hundred years earlier, laughs at the magistrates of an Italian provincial town who had the impudence to call themselves praetors; and no doubt what happened then was very likely to happen again. That Philippi was a Colonia (Acts xvi. 12) is confirmed by Dion Cassius (li. 4). The governor of Melita is neither Proconsul nor Propraetor, but head-man, πρῶτος, a title the accuracy of which is at tested by inscriptions (Boeckh, No. 5754). Luke's mention of Iconium is noteworthy (Acts xiii. 51). Just before (xiii. 13), he has described Perga as of Pamphylia, Antioch as of Pisidia: just after (xiv. 6), Lystra and Derbe as the cities of Lycaonia. Iconium alone is named without geographical designation. Now it seems likely that Iconium was at the time extraprovincial; for Paul's contemporary Pliny (Nat. Hist. v. 25) distinguishes it from Lycaonia proper as the chief of fourteen cities which formed an independent tetrarchy.24
Before leaving the subject of the Acts, I may mention one of the newest attacks on it so new, indeed, that the author of Supernatural Religion had not discovered it when he published his volume on the Acts in 1877; but shortly after, having met an article by Holtzmann in Hilgenfeld's Zeitschrift for 1873, he communicated an abstract of it to the Fortnightly Review, Oct., 1877. St. Luke had been accused of certain historical blunders, the evidence being that he is on certain points at variance with Josephus; for, of course, it is assumed that, if there be a difference, Josephus is right and Luke wrong. But Holtzmann imagined himself to have discovered that Luke made use of the work of Josephus, and consequently wrote later; and therefore not till after the close of the first century. It is amusing to find that the main part of the proof is, that the names of different public characters mentioned by St. Luke are also mentioned by Josephus; for example, Annas and Caiaphas, Gamaliel, Herod, Felix, Festus, &c. In the same way we can prove that the political tracts ascribed to Dean Swift were in reality written in the reign of George III.; for they mention Queen Anne, the Duke of Marlborough, Harley, and St. John, showing clearly that the author must have read Smollett's History of England. The author of Supernatural Religion strengthens the proof by finding spread over eleven or more sections of Josephus some of the words which occur in three verses of St. Luke's pre face. But in truth a man unacquainted with the literature of the period is as incompetent to say whether the occurrence of the same words in different authors is a proof of literary obligation, as a negro who had never seen more than two white men in his life would be to say whether their likeness to each other was a proof of close relationship. Thus Luke could have found in the Septuagint the greater part of the words he is accused of borrowing from Josephus. Others again (αὐτόπτης for example), as Dr. Hobart has shown (Medical Language of St. Luke, pp. 87-90), belong to the vocabulary of Greek medical writers. Galen's prefaces have closer affinities with St. Luke's than have those of Josephus.25 Thus we find in Galen's prefaces the complimentary epithet κράτιοτε, the commencement by ἐπειδή with δοκεῖ for apodosis, the phrases ἀκριβῶς παρακολουθῆσαι, and ἐπιχειρεῖν. Several of the words on which an argument has been built are the common property of all who use the Greek language. One of the words which it is assumed Luke could not have known unless he had learned it from Josephus is actually TV TTTO); which would raise the question, if the doubt had not occurred to one before, whether the objector had ever seen a Greek grammar. Perhaps the highest point of laughable absurdity is reached by Krenkel (Hilgenfeld's Zeitschrift, 1873, p. 441), who thinks that Luke would not have known how to describe our Lord as a παῖς ἐτῶν δώδεκα if Josephus had not spoken of his own proficiency when he was παῖς περὶ τεσσαρεσκαιδέκατον ἔτος. Krenkel suggests that Luke altered the 14 of Josephus into 12, because the latter was a sacred number. No doubt, if the difference had been the other way, it would have been found that twice seven was the sacred number.
Though Luke and Josephus frequently mention the same people, the discrepancies between them are as remarkable as the coincidences. For instance, the Egyptian who in Acts xxi. 38 leads out 4000 Sicarii is in Bell. Jud. II. xiii. 5 at the head of 30,000; and so on. Anyone, therefore, who says that Luke read Josephus is bound to say also that Luke was a very careless person who remembered very little of what he read. And the best critics of the sceptical school have found them selves unable to execute the change of front from accusing Luke of contradicting Josephus to accusing him of having copied him.
1) This is the title of the book in Clement of Alexandria, in Tertullian, in the Muratorian Fragment, and in Cod. B. The title Acts in the Sinaitic MS., a title used also by Origen, must be regarded only as an abridgment. The full title is given in the subscription in the Sinaitic.
2) This is a fact which no critic ventures to impugn (Davidson, ii. 146). On ne's arretera pas a prouver cette proposition, laquelle n a jamais ete serieusement contestee (Renan, Les Apotres, p. x.).
3) Iren. iii. 14, 15; Clem. Alex. Strom, v. 12, Hypotyp. i. in i Pet. (p. 1007, Potter's edition): see Euseb. vi. 14; Tert. adv. Marcion, v. i, 2, De Jejun. x.
4) See p. 49. Notwithstanding the corruption of the passage which speaks of the Acts, the general drift is plain, viz. that the writer means to say, however erroneously, that it was Luke's plan only to relate things at which he had himself been present; and that we are thus to account for the silence of the Acts as to Peter's martyrdom, and as to Paul's journey to Spain.
5) ἥδιον διδόντες ἢ λαμβάνοντες. Lightfoot gives a proof of Clement's knowledge of the Acts more difficult to evade, namely, that (ch. 18), in quoting Psalm lxxxix. 20, he introduces three distinct phrases, not found in the Psalm itself, but only in Paul's quotation of it, Acts xiii. 22.
This note has been lately printed by De Boor, in Harnack's Texte und Untersuchungen (Band V, Heft 2, p. 170), from an anonymous note found by him in Codex Baroccianus, 142. The substance of what is here stated about Justus Barsabas had been given by Eusebius (iii. 39); but there are here two or three additional details, which have all the appearance of being derived from independent knowledge of Papias. The note is conjectured to have been extracted from the Ecclesiastical History of Philip of Side, published about A. D. 427. The statement that some of those raised by Christ lived to the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-137) would be important as fixing a limit in one direction to the date of Papias, if we could be sure that this statement really comes from Papias. But it is almost certain that there has been confusion; for Eusebius, from whom almost everything else in these extracts is derived, gives this statement (iv. 3) on the authority, not of Papias, but of Quadratus; and he could hardly have failed to mention Papias if he had known that a like statement had been made by him. Still more doubt attaches to the statement that John had been killed by the Jews. This account of the death of John is quite inconsistent with all other known traditions on the subject; and it may be pronounced in credible that it could have been really given by Papias. For it is inconceivable that such a statement, by so ancient a writer, should not have the slightest influence on Church tradition; that neither Eusebius nor anyone else should have taken notice of it; that it should be first heard of in the fifth century, and then the knowledge of it almost lost till our own generation. The ascription of this statement to Papias had hitherto rested on the authority of Georgius Hamartolus (circ. A. D. 842); or, to speak more cautiously, on the authority of a single transcriber of his Chronicle (Coislinianus, 305); this note, not found in any other manuscript of the Chronicle, having been brought to light by Nolte (Tübingen Quartal schrift, 1862, p. 466). The passage has been discussed by Lightfoot (Essays on Supernatural Religion, p. 211), who sufficiently shows the violent improbability that Papias could have made the statement attributed to him. De Boor now considers that the discovery of the fragment printed above has placed it beyond all doubt that Papias really handed down that John was slain by the Jews. But, in truth, the only thing placed beyond doubt is, that Georgius, or his transcriber, did not invent the statement, but copied it from an older author. But the reasons for rejecting the ascription to Papias remain in full force, even if that ascription has the authority of Philip of Side. Lightfoot has given a probable account of the origin of the blunder, by whomsoever made. It is likely enough that Papias whose work we have some reason to think consisted of notes on the Gospels in commenting on Matt. xx. 23, noted, as fulfilling our Lord's words, the facts that John had suffered banishment to Patmos, and James been slain by the Jews: see Origen's Commentary on the same passage (in Matth., torn. xvi. 6), where this explanation is given how both sons of Zebedee could be said to have drunk of our Lord's cup. The statement then that we are discussing, which attributes to both James and John what Papias, as I believe, only said of James, may have assumed its form either through the dropping out of a line by a transcriber, or through the inaccuracy of a memoriter citation.
7) Apollinarius of Laodicea, through whom we obtain our knowledge of this matter, reconciles the accounts in Matthew and in the Acts by stating, as on Papias's authority, that Judas did not die when he hanged himself, but that his body afterwards so swelled, that in passing through a place wide enough for a cart to go through, he was so crushed that all his bowels were emptied out (Routh, Rell. Sac,, i. 9).
8) In particular, this is the history of the criticism of the 2nd Epistle to Timothy.
9) See Hooykaas, vi. 332.
10) Other cross references are to be found on comparing xi. 19, viii. i; xi. 25, ix. 30; xv. 38, xiii. 13; xvi. 4, xv. 28; xviii. 5, xvii. 14; xxi. 29, xx. 4; xxiv. 18, xxi. 26; xxvi. 32, xxv. 11.
11) Renan agrees in the conclusions here expressed. With regard to the supposition that the compiler merely retained the first person plural which he found in an earlier document, he says (Les Apotres. xi.): < Cette expli cation est bien peu admissible. On comprendrait tout au plus une telle negligence dans une compilation grossiere. Mais le troisieme Evangile et les Actes forment un ouvrage tres-bien redige, compose avec reflexion, et meme avec art, ecrit d une meme main, et d apres un plan suivi. Les deux livres reunis font un ensemble absolument du meme style, presentant les memes locutions favorites et la meme fa9on de citer 1 Ecriture. Une faute de redaction aussi choquante que celle dont il's agit serait inexpli cable. On est done invinciblement porte a conclure que celui qui a ecrit la fin de T ouvrage en a ecrit le commencement, et que le narrateur du tout est celui qui dit " nous " aux passages precites.
12) The circumstances relating to the imprisonment of Paul and Silas at Philippi are sufficient to disprove the authorship of an eye- witness (David son, ii. 149).
13) This has been done, amongst others, by Overbeck in his Preface to- his edition of De Wette's Handbook on the Acts. Overbeck has at least decisively proved that the we sections, as they stand now, are so full of the characteristics of the author of the rest of the book, that the hypo thesis that those sections were borrowed from another is not tenable, un less we assert that the borrower interpolated them with much of his own, and that in these interpolations he dishonestly used the pronoun we. Overbeck's Preface has been translated, and included in the publications of the Theological Translation Fund. In the same volume is contained a translation of the chief work of the Tübingen school on the Acts, that by Zeller.
Zeller, a pupil and fellow-labourer of Baur's, was born in 1814, and was Professor of Theology at Berne in 1847; afterwards Professor of Philosophy at Heidelberg, and at Berlin, 1872.
Franz Overbeck, born at St. Petersburg, 1837, Professor of Theology at Basle, 1870.
14) Phil. iii. 9 is nearly the only instance of their introduction.
15) Paul's encounter with Elymas the sorcerer in Paphos is similar to Peter's with Simon Magus. The punishment inflicted upon him resembles Paul's own blindness at the time of conversion; and thus the occurrence is fictitious (Davidson, ii. 128). This thus is beautiful.
16) That this became the received opinion may be gathered from the fact that, in Jerome's time, they showed at Caesarea the chambers of the four daughters, not the tombs (Ep. 108, ad Eustochium).
17) Objections made by Baur to the credibility of the story told in the last verses of the Acts have been repeated by his followers, but to me seem very unreasonable. The story is, that Paul, anxious to learn whether, on his trial before the emperor, his release will be opposed by the heads of the Jewish community at Rome, puts himself in communication with them. He finds that during the long interval that had elapsed since his arrest, the rulers at Jerusalem had let him drop out of sight. They had given no com mission against him, either by letter or message, to their friends at Rome. But though these last had heard nothing against Paul personally, they had heard much against his religion. He begs to be allowed to speak in its defence, and gets a hearing accordingly. But the result is, that though he makes a favourable impression on a few, the greater part go away unconvinced. This story seems to me to bear the stamp of simple truth.
18) The following is Davidson's abstract of the results of Lekebusch's study of Paul's speech to the Ephesian Elders at Miletus. I copy it chiefly for the sake of the concluding sentence, in order to show how such evidence is met by a hostile critic. The list of instances given might easily be amended by striking out two or three of no great force, and adding others. ̔δουλεύειν τῷ Κυρίῳ, Acts xx. 19, six times in Paul, only in Matt. vi. 24,. Luke xvi. 13 besides; ταπεινοφροσύνη, xx. 19, five times in Paul, only in I Peter v. 5 besides; ὑποστέλλω, xx. 20, Gal. ii. 12; τὸσυμφέρον, xx. 20, three times in 1 Cor., only in Heb. xii. 20 besides; διακονία, xx. 24, twenty-two times in Paul; μαρτύρομαι, xx. 26, Gal. v. 3, Eph. iv. 17; καθαρὸς ἐγώ, xx. 26, Acts xviii. 6; φείδομαι, xx. 29, seven times in Paul, only in 2 Pet. ii. 4, 5 besides; νουθετεῖν, xx. 31, seven times in Paul; ἐποικοδομεῖν, xx. 32, six times in Paul, only in Jude 20 besides; κοπιᾶν, active, xx. 35, thirteen times in Paul; the hortative γρηγορεῖτε, xx. 31, 1 Cor. xvi. 13. These may show nothing more than a writer familiar with the Pauline diction, as the author of the Acts undoubtedly was (Davidson, ii. 112).
19) It must be observed that this speech does not occur in one of the we sections, so that if it be a genuine specimen of Paul's preaching, the hypothesis that the compiler of the Acts somehow got possession of a journal kept by Paul's travelling companion, has to be supplemented by a further hypothesis that he also got possession of other genuine records of Paul's preaching. This speech has a character corresponding to Paul's education. Tarsus was the central university town for Cilicia and Cyprus, and was so famous that even Romans esteemed it. This country was the cradle of Stoicism. Amongst the Stoic teachers which it supplied were Zeno of Cyprus, Persseus of Cyprus, Chrysippus of Soli, and Aratus of Soli, who is quoted in the speech. Paul, therefore, had been brought up in a Stoic atmosphere; and in the speech he takes the Stoic side against the Epicureans, in their doctrine about Providence, about the unity of nature of all nations (v. 26), and about Pantheism, all that is true in which is recognized (v. 28).
20) Bishop FitzGerald used to think there was an oblique reference to the Macedonian gifts in συνείχετο τῷ λόγῳ (Acts xviii. 5); the meaning being that these gifts freed Paul from the necessity of working at his trade, and enabled him to devote himself entirely to the preaching of the word. Canon Cook gives the same explanation in the Speaker's Commentary.
21) In Cesnola's Cyprus an inscription is given (p. 425) in which the words ΕΠΙ ΠΑΥΛΟΥ [ΑΝΘ] ΥΠΑΤΟΥ occur. This may have been the Sergius Paulus of St. Luke. I derive this reference, as well as other of the points noted above, from an article by Bp. Lightfoot, Contemporary Review, May, 1878.
22) Boeckh, Inscr. Gr. No. 1967; Leake's Northern Greece, in. 236.
23) De Leg. Agrar. contra Rullum, §xxxiv. See also Hor. Sat. i. v. 34.
24) I owe this remark to Dr. Gwynn, who has also observed with regard to the titles of provincial magistrates, that the Acts of Paul and Thecla (see next lecture), show how easy it was for a later writer to go wrong in this matter. The proconsul at Antioch in these Acts (§ 32) is clearly a mistake; for the Syrian Antioch is meant, and Syria was not a Senatorial Province. The case of the proconsul at Iconium (§§ 16-20) is less clear. Iconium apparently had its own tetrarch (see above); possibly its Duumviri, as a Colonia (Boeckh, 3991, 3993; Eckhel, Doctr. Numm. Vet. III. 32; Marquardt, Romische Staatsverw., Band I., Zweiter Abschnitt B., xxx.), or if counted as of Lycaonia, it would belong, at dif ferent times, to Galatia (Strabo, xn. v. I; vi. i), to Cappadocia (Ptolemy, v. 6), to Asia (Pliny, ut supr. [?], Boeckh, 3188). Of these, Asia alone was a Senatorial Province. If, however, the proconsul of Asia were intended, this great official would not be found within call of a plaintiff in a third-rate and outlying city of his province.
25) Galen wrote in the latter half of the second century, but his writings may be taken as probable evidence of the usage of previous medical writers. The use of ἐπιχειρεῖν, as above, is found in Hippocrates some centuries earlier, as Dr. Hobart has pointed out.