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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

- Acts

by William Robertson Nicoll





THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK. Whoever wrote the Acts wrote also the Gospel which bears the name of St. Luke. We find writers far removed in standpoint from each other, e.g. , H. Holtzmann, Einleitung , p. 391, and Zöckler, Greifswalder Studien , p. 128, agreeing in this conviction, and appealing to the same work, Friedrich’s Das Lukas Evangelium und die Apostelgeschichte, Werke desselben Verfassers (1890; see commentary), in support of it. In recent years the philologist Gercke seems to be almost the only convert to the opposite view who, with Sorof, regards the author of Acts as the reviser of the of δεύτερος λόγος of Luke; but his efforts in promulgating his views cannot be said to have met with any success (see Zöckler, u. s.; Theologische Rundschau , pp. 50, 129: 1899; and Wendt, Apostelgeschichte , p. 4, 1899).

Friedrich’s pamphlet, which contains a useful summary of the whole evidence on the subject, much of which had been previously collected by Zeller and Lekebusch (although their readings, like those too of Friedrich, sometimes require careful testing), gives instances of language, style, and treatment of various subjects which place the identity of authorship beyond reasonable doubt (see instances noted in commentary). [1] At the same time it would be misleading to say that recent critics have been unmindful of the linguistic differences which the two books present, although a candid examination shows that these differences are comparatively slight ( cf. Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ , p. 140; Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 381, 1899). In earlier days Zeller had not lost sight of those peculiarities which are entirely linguistic, and he maintains that they are not of a nature to prove anything against the same origin of the two writings, Acts , vol. ii., p. 243, E.T.

[1] Amongst recent writers, Blass, in his Index ii., Acta Apostolorum , marks fifty-six words as peculiar to St. Luke’s Gospel and the Acts; cf. also the list in Plummer’s St. Luke , lii., liii. The instances of words and phrases characteristic of St. Luke’s Gospel in Sir J. Hawkins’ Horæ Synopticæ , 1899, pp. 29 41, will enable any one to see at a glance by the references how far such words and phrases are also characteristic of, or peculiar to, Acts see also in commentary.

Who is the early Christian writer thus able to give us not only such an account of the Life of our Lord that Renan could describe it as the most beautiful book in the world ( Les Evangiles , p. 283), but also an account of the origines of the Christian Church which Jülicher regards as an ideal Church history, Einleitung , p. 270, and of which Blass could write “hunc libellum non modo inter omnes Novi T. optima compositione uti, sed etiam eam artem monstrare, quæ Græco Romanove scriptore rerum non indigna sit”? One thing seems certain, that the writer, whoever he was, represents himself in four passages, Acts 16:10-17 , Acts 20:5-15 , Acts 21:1-18 , Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:16 inclusive, cf. also Acts 11:28 , Codex [2] (on which see below, and in loco ), as a companion of St. Paul. If we examine the phraseology of these sections (ninety-seven verses in all), we find that it is in many respects common to that employed in the rest of the book (Klostermann, Vindiciæ Lucanæ , p. 46 ff.; Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte , pp. 15, 16; Blass, Acta Apostolorum , p. 10; Vogel, Zur Charakteristik des Lukas nach Sprache und Stil , p. 41; Hawkins, u.s. , p. 149; Spitta, Apostelgeschichte , pp. 235, 257). [3]

[2] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[3] Sir J. Hawkins not only gives us, p. 151, seventeen words and phrases found only in the “We” sections and in the rest of Acts; twenty-seven words and phrases found in the “We” sections and Luke, with or without the rest of Acts also; thirty-seven words and phrases found in the “We” sections, and also used predominantly, though not exclusively, in the rest of Acts or Luke or either of them; but he remarks that out of the eighty-six Matthæan words and phrases, ten, or rather less than one eighth occur in the “We” sections; out of the thirty-seven Marcan words and phrases, six, or about one sixth ; out of the 140 Lucan words and phrases, less than one third , p. 14, ff.: “Is it not utterly impossible,” he asks, p. 150, “that the language of the original writer of the ‘We’ sections should have chanced to have so very many more correspondences with the language of the subsequent compiler than with that of Matthew or Mark?” The expressions peculiar to the “We” sections are for the most part fairly accounted for by the subject-matter, p. 153, e.g. , εὐθυδρομέω , κατάγεσθαι , παραλέγομαι , πλόος , ὑ ποπλέω . Part iii., C, Section iv., of the same book should also be consulted where the identity of the third Synoptist with a friend and companion of St. Paul is further confirmed by the similarities between his Gospel and St. Paul’s Epistles.

Those who deny this identity of authorship are not only obliged to face the difficulty of accounting for this similarity of style and language, but also to account for the introduction of the “We” sections at all. If the writer of the rest of the book had wished to palm himself off at a later period as a companion of St. Paul, he would scarcely have sought to accomplish this on the strength of the insertion of these sections alone, as they stand. It may be fairly urged that he would at least have adopted one of the unmistakable methods of which a Thucydides, a Polybius, a Josephus availed themselves to make their personal relation to the facts narrated known to their readers (Zahn, Einleitung , ii., pp. 387, 426, 435).

This unknown author of Acts, moreover, whoever he was, was a man of such literary skill that he was able to assimilate the “We” sections to the rest of his book, and to introduce cross references from them to other parts of his work, e.g. , Acts 21:8 and Acts 6:5 ; and yet, with all this, he is so deficient in literary taste as to allow the first person plural in the “We” sections to remain, a blunder avoidable by a stroke of his pen.

The German philologist, Vogel, who cannot be accused of speaking with a theological bias, states the common-sense view of the matter in pointing out that when an author of such literary skill as the author of Acts undoubtedly possessed passes without a break from the third to the first person in his narrative, every unprejudiced reader will explain it on the ground that the author thus wished modestly to intimate his own personal presence during certain events. This is the one natural explanation, and to this Vogel determines to adhere, until it is shown to be untenable; and he justly pours ridicule upon the notion that the author of Acts would have interwoven into a work written in such a delicate and finished style the travel-diary of some other person without altering the pronouns ( Charakteristik des Lukas nach Sprache und Stil , pp. 12, 13).

If we are asked to believe that this first person plural was introduced from time to time merely for the purpose of giving an air of verisimilitude to the narrative (or in imitation of certain passages in Ezra and Nehemiah, or Tobit), [4] why should we not find it in the account, e.g. , of St. Peter’s escape from prison, chap. 12, where Wendt maintains that the author probably had possession of a narrative full of details, derived probably from John Mark himself? There can be no doubt that the “We” sections are introduced for the definite purpose of marking the writer’s presence with St. Paul; we cannot, e.g. , conclude that there is any other reason for the circumstance that the “We” section of chap. 16 breaks off at Philippi, and that the following “We” section, chap. 20, commences again at Philippi. But if this is so, how again could a later unknown writer have gained possession of a document of such high value as that comprising or embodying these “We” sections? A day-journal left behind by an intimate companion of St. Paul must have been preserved long enough for this unknown writer to have incorporated it, or at least some of it, into his own work, and it must then have vanished altogether out of sight, although one would have supposed that a treasure so valuable would have been preserved and guarded in some Christian circle with the greatest care. [5]

[4] See Weiss, Einleitung , p. 583, and Overbeck (De Wette, 4th edition), p. xliv., who both point out that the cases are not analogous, although, on the other hand, Hilgenfeld and Wendt have recently pressed them into service.

[5] This, no doubt, presents less difficulty to advanced critics who find it apparently easy to credit that the Pastoral Epistles contain fragments of genuine letters of St. Paul, and that these letters having supplied the fragments to the Pastorals were themselves no longer cared for or regarded (McGiffert, Apostolic Age , pp. 407, 408, and, on the other hand, Dr. Salmon. Introd. , p. 408).

But if we further ask who amongst the companions of St. Paul speaks to us in these “We” sections, the testimony of critics of various schools of critics who draw a distinction between the authorship of the “We” sections and the rest of the book may be quoted in favour of St. Luke as the author of the former, if not, as we believe, of the latter also. Thus Holtzmann, Einleitung 3 , pp. 394, 395, examines the question, and decides in favour of St. Luke as against the claims of Timothy, Silas, or Titus (so Overbeck (De Wette, 4th edit.), pp. l., li.; Mangold, Einleitung (Bleek), p. 445; Spitta, u. s. , p. 312). Acts 20:5-6 may be fairly quoted as decisive against Timothy, to say nothing of the impossibility that the author of Acts should assume the character of a person in the “We” sections, and by naming this same person elsewhere should thus distinguish him from himself (Overbeck). For Silas nothing can be said, and the advocacy of his claims is the most groundless of any of the three. He appears nowhere in the third missionary journey, an absence which would be fatally inconsistent with his presence in the “We” sections, and he is nowhere named in any of the letters of the First Imprisonment, whereas the narrator of Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:16 would naturally be found amongst the companions of the Apostle during that period (of course, if Acts 11:27-28 in [6] -text be taken into account, both Timothy and Silas are thereby excluded, Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 425). The same objection may be made to Titus, since there is no hint that he was with St. Paul at Rome (even if we allow that he may have been included in the ἡμεῖς at Antioch, Acts 11:27 , and that, as he is not mentioned at all in Acts, the difficulties which are presented by the names of Timothy and Silas do not occur in his case). Moreover, the travel-journey of Silas would have commenced rather with Acts 15:1 , as Holtzmann urges; nor is there any reason to suppose that Silas was at Philippi during the time required (Holtzmann, u. s. , p. 395). See further Zahn, u. s. , pp. 351, 388, 425; Lightfoot, B.D. 2 , i., 32.

[6] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

But if the author of these sections is to be found amongst the intimate companions of St. Paul, and amongst those who were with him in Rome, no one fulfils the conditions better than St. Luke. Even Jülicher, who declines to decide positively which of the four companions, Silas, Timothy, Titus, Luke, was the author, considers that if it was St. Luke, we have in that fact the best explanation that his name remained attached to the Third Gospel and Acts alike, Einleitung , p. 269. The writer of Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:16 evidently accompanied St. Paul to Rome, and that St. Luke was with the Apostle at the time of his first captivity we learn on the authority of two Epistles which very few of the best critics would now care to dispute, Colossians 4:14 , Philemon 1:24 .

But the writer of Acts has not felt the need of using the Epistles of St. Paul as sources for his work, although they were the most weighty documents for the history which he professes to describe. There are numbers of undesigned coincidences between the letters and the history, and Paley, in his Horæ Paulinæ , has done invaluable service in drawing attention to them. But still Acts is written independently of the Epistles, and it cannot be said that any one letter in particular is employed by the writer. Yet this would be inconceivable if the former work was composed 100 120 A.D., especially when we remember the knowledge of the Epistles displayed by the writer of the Epistle of Barnabas, by St. Ignatius or St. Polycarp (Harnack, Chron. , i., 249). Moreover the writer, whoever he was, was beyond all doubt intensely interested in St. Paul, and it is strange that he should not have made use of his letters, when we remember the impression which they made upon those contemporary with the great Apostle, cf. 2 Corinthians 10:10 , 2 Peter 3:15 (Zahn, u. s. , p. 412).

But this relation between Acts and the Pauline Epistles not only shows that the former was written before the close of the first century, but that the author stood sufficiently near to St. Paul to be able to write without enriching his knowledge by references to the Apostle’s letters. This, however, becomes natural enough on the supposition that the writer was a Timothy, or a Titus, or a Luke. If, however, the two former are excluded, probabilities again point to Luke (Zahn). (For recent writers who deny the acquaintance of the author of Acts with St. Paul’s Epistles we may refer to Wendt, Felten, McGiffert, Harnack, Zahn, Jülicher, Rackham.) And we thus come into line with early Church tradition which referred the third Gospel and the Acts to Luke, the beloved physician, the friend of St. Paul, cf. Frag. Murator. , and Iren., Adv. Hær. , iii., 14.

But Luke, we have been recently reminded, was not an uncommon name, and many Christians may have borne it in the latter part of the first century (McGiffert, Apostolic Age , p. 435). But not only is the above tradition precise in its mention of Luke as a physician; the writings attributed to him bear upon the face of them indications of the hand of a medical man. No reference, however, to the possibility of this is made by Dr. McGiffert. He tells us, p. 239, that nowhere is the source used by the author of Acts marked by anything like the vividness, preciseness, and fulness of detail that characterise the “We” sections. [7] The writer of these sections was not Silas or Timothy, but “the unknown author of the ‘We’ passages,” p. 239. This unknown author was evidently the intimate companion of St. Paul, and of his other companions in Rome none is more likely to have written the personal notes of travel than Luke, who seems indeed to have been the nearest and dearest to the Apostle of all his friends (pp. 434, 435). The inference from all this, coupled with the tradition of the Church, would seem to be quite plain, but Dr. McGiffert declines to draw it, and falls back upon the belief that some other person named Luke was the writer of the third Gospel and Acts, p. 433. But if there had been such a person there would have been no need for tradition to identify him with Luke the beloved physician, since his own intrinsic merits as an author and historian would have been amply sufficient to secure him an undying recognition.

[7] “ If there is one narrative of the N.T. which more than another contains internal proof of having been related by an eye-witness, it is the account of the voyage and shipwreck of St. Paul,” Salmon, Introd. , p. 5, and this judgment based upon the valuable monograph of James Smith (himself a Fellow of the Royal Society) of Jordan Hill, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul , 4th edit., revised and corrected, 1880, has received fresh and remarkable confirmation, not only from English but from German and French sources of a technical and professional kind: e.g. , Dr. Breusing, Director of the Seefahrtschule in Bremen, published in 1886 his Die Nautik der Alten with a close examination verse by verse of the narrative in Acts 27:0 , and he has been followed precisely on the same lines by J. Vars, Professor in the Lycée of Brest in his L’Art Nautique dans l’antiquité , 1887. Both writers make constant reference to Smith’s work, although they often differ from him in technical details, and references to Breusing will be found in Blass and Wendt (1899). The latter writer also refers to a thoughtful article with a similar testimony to St. Luke’s accuracy by Von Goerne in the Neue Kirchliche Zeitschrift , p. 352, 1898, and allusions will be found to this, as to the above-mentioned works, in the commentary. Breusing’s testimony is very striking, p. xiii.: “The most valuable nautical document of antiquity which has come down to us is the account of the voyage and shipwreck of the Apostle Paul. Every one can see at a glance that it could only have been composed by an eye-witness.” The strangest exception perhaps to this almost universal recognition of the value of the narrative in Acts 27:0 ( cf., e.g. , the remarkable testimony in its favour by Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age , ii., p. 126 ff., E.T.) is Mommsen’s attack upon it in Sitzungsber. d. berl. Ak. , 1895, p. 503; but, as Zahn justly remarks, Mommsen has not increased his reputation by alleging that “Luke speaks of the Adriatic Sea by Crete and of the barbarians of Malta”; see answers to these objections in Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 421, and also in commentary, Acts 27:27 ; Acts 28:2 .

Here comes in the value of the argument from the medical language employed in the third Gospel and the Acts. The Church in identifying the writer with St. Paul’s beloved friend was not following some fanciful or unreliable tradition, but a tradition amply supported by an examination of the language of the books in question; language which not only witnesses to the truth of the tradition, but also to the unity of Acts, since this medical phraseology may be traced in every part, and not in the “We” sections alone. The present Introduction, which must of necessity be brief, does not allow of any lengthy examination of this important subject (to which the writer hopes to return), but in a large number of passages in the commentary notes are given with special reference to indications of medical phraseology. But one or two remarks may be added here. In the first place, it is well to bear in mind that St. Luke’s medical phraseology was fully recognised before Dr. Hobart’s interesting and valuable book, The Medical Language of St. Luke , 1882 ( cf., e.g. , Dr. Belcher’s Our Lord’s Miracles of Healing , 1st edit., with Preface by Archbishop Trench, 1871, 2nd edit., 1890). The Gentleman’s Magazine , June, 1841, containing a short article of some two and a half pages, pp. 585 587, is often referred to as a kind of starting-point for this inquiry, but it should not be forgotten that the great names of Wetstein and Bengel may be quoted as fully recognising the hand of a medical writer; thus in commenting not only on Luke 14:2 , but also on Acts 28:8 , Wetstein makes the same remark: “Lucas qui medicus fuerat morbos accuratius describere solet,” cf. Bengel on Acts 3:7 , “Proprie locutus est medicus Lucas,” and Luke 8:43 , where the disputed reading does not interfere with the force of the comment: “Lucas medicus ingenue scribit”. Indeed it is not too much to say that the main position taken up by Hobart has been abundantly recognised both in France and Germany, and not always in quarters where such a recognition might have been anticipated, cf., e.g. , Renan, Saint Paul , p. 133, 12th edit.; J. Weiss, Evangelium des Lukas , 1892, with reference to Dr. Hobart’s book, and with quotations from it, although with the qualification that many of the instances require careful sifting, p. 274 ff. More recently the German philologist Vogel, 1897, Zur Charakteristik des Lukas nach Sprache und Stil , p. 17, draws attention to the fact that a large number of words peculiar to the Acts are found in Luke’s contemporary, the physician Dioscorides of Anazarbus in Cilicia, not far from Antioch, and he speaks of the use of Dioscorides by the Evangelist as highly probable. But the fullest recognition of Dr. Hobart’s work comes to us even more recently by Zahn: “Dr. Hobart has proved for every one for whom anything can be proved, that the author of the Lucan work (by which Zahn means both the third Gospel and Acts) is a Greek physician, acquainted with the technical terms of the medical art,” Einleitung , ii., pp. 427, 435 (1899). The language is strong, and it may perhaps be fairly contended that some of the instances cited by Dr. Zahn may well have been subjected to the cross-examination instituted so carefully and fully by Dr. Plummer, St. Luke , pp. lii., lxiii. lxvi., in his inquiry into the validity of Dr. Hobart’s position. [8] The evidence in favour of this position must be cumulative, but it depends not merely upon the occurrence of technical medical terms in St. Luke’s writings, but also upon his tendency to employ medical language more frequently than the other Evangelists, upon the passages in his Gospel in which we come across medical terms which are wanting in the parallel passages in St. Matthew and St. Mark, upon the account which he gives of miracles of healing not only in comparison with the other Evangelists, but also of the miracles peculiar to his own narratives; upon the way in which he abstains from using in a medical sense words which medical writers abstain from so using, although employed in this sense elsewhere in the Gospels; upon the frequency with which he uses medical language and phraseology in a secondary sense. Illustrations of some of these characteristic peculiarities are noted in the commentary, and a passing reference (space allows this only) may be made to two others. Each of the Synoptists gives our Lord’s comparison between the passage of a camel through the eye of a needle and the entrance of a rich man into the kingdom of heaven, St. Matthew 19:24 , St. Mark 10:25 , St. Luke 18:25 . St. Matthew and St. Mark have the same word for needle ῥαφίδος : διὰ τρυπήματος ῥαφίδος , Matt., T.R.; but W.H [9] τρήματος in text, τρυπήματος in margin, διὰ ( τῆς ) τρυμαλιᾶς ( τῆς ) ῥαφίδος Mark. But when we turn to St. Luke, he introduces at least one different word (if we adopt W.H [10] for St. Matt.), and a combination peculiar to himself, διὰ τρήματος βελόνης (W.H [11] and R.V.). It cannot be said that the words used by St. Luke occur in LXX, since neither of them is found there (although St. Mark’s τρυμαλία occurs in LXX possibly six and at least three times). But both words used by St. Luke were in technical medical use, τρῆμα being the great medical word for a perforation of any kind, βελόνη being the surgical needle; and not only so but the two words are found combined as here by Galen: διὰ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν βελόνην τρήματος and again τοῦ διατρήματος τῆς βελόνης ( cf. Hobart, p. 60, J. Weiss, u. s. , p. 567, Zahn, u. s. , p. 436, and Nestle, Einfûhrung in das G. N. T. , p. 228).

[8] Whatever strictures may be passed upon Dr. Hobart’s book, it must not be forgotten that the following authorities amongst others are persuaded that the author’s main thesis has been abundantly proved: Bishop Lightfoot, “Acts,” B.D. 2 , i., p. 31; Dr. Salmon, Introd ., p. 129; Professor Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 205; Dr. Plummer, St. Luke, u. s . ( cf. Sir J. Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ , p. 154, 1899); and it is significant that Dr. B. Weiss in the 3rd edit. of his Einleitung refers to the book, and no longer speaks of the argument as mere “trifling”.

[9] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[10] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[11] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Dr. Plummer points out that τρῆμα is not peculiar to St. Luke (see W.H [12] above), but the combination is peculiar to St. Luke, and the force of this fact and of the combination of undoubted medical terms is not lessened by Grimm’s description of βελόνη as a more classical word than ῥαφίς .

[12] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Once again: St. Luke’s characteristic medical style shows itself in abstention as well as in employment. In three passages, e.g. , μαλακία is used by St. Matthew to denote disease, but in medical language it is used as in its primary classical sense of delicacy, effeminacy, and St. Luke never uses it in St. Matthew’s sense, although he employs the cognate adjective μαλακός of “soft” raiment in Acts 7:25 . But this non-usage of the noun by the medical Luke is all the more significant, since in the LXX it is found at least a dozen times to denote sickness and disease.

In St. Matthew 4:24 ; Matthew 8:6 , both βασανίζειν and βάσανος are used of bodily sickness, but in medical writers the words are not employed in this sense, and St. Luke refrains from so employing them (Hobart, p. 63, and Zahn, u. s. , p. 435). But here again significance is added to this non-usage by St. Luke when we remember that βάσανος is not only used of the torments after death in Wis 3:1 , Malachi 3:15; Malachi 3:15 , cf. Luke 16:23 ; Luke 16:28 , but also of the pain of bodily disease, 1Ma 9:56 .

THE AIM OF THE BOOK. Not only the aim but the purpose and contents of the book are set forth, according to Lightfoot, in the Preface, chap. Acts 1:1-8 . The prophetic words of the Lord in Acts 1:8 implicitly involve a table of contents: “Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost,” etc., Acts 2:1-13 ; “witnesses unto me” (1) “in Jerusalem,” Acts 2:14 to Acts 8:1 , and (2) “in all Judæa and Samaria,” Acts 8:2 to Acts 11:18 , (3) “and to the uttermost part of the earth,” Acts 11:19 to Acts 28:31 (on the latter expression see comment. in loco and reference to Psalms of Solomon , Acts 8:16 ). The writer closes with the event which his aim required, the preaching of the Gospel in Rome, the capital of the world, the metropolis of the human race, without hindrance; and the fulfilment of the third section mentioned above is thus given, not actually, but potentially, while an earnest is afforded of its ultimate accomplishment; Philippians , p. 3; B.D. 2 , i., p. 26; cf. also Weiss, Einleitung , p. 562, Blass, Acta Apost. , Proleg., p. 3: “At hic liber non est imperfectus, cum longi cursus evangelii Roma terminus sit”. But starting from the distinction which Lightfoot himself thus draws between the potential and actual, is it not quite possible that there may thus be room for the τρίτος λόγος for which Lightfoot, it is true, saw no conceivable place, cf. Harnack, Chron. , i, p. 248, but for the purpose of which Professor Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 380, and others, notably Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 380, have so strongly argued (see list of earlier advocates in Bleek-Mangold, Einleitung , p. 462, and note in comment. on Acts 28:31 )? It is perhaps worth noting that Bengel, to whom we owe the oft-quoted words, Victoria verbi Dei, Paulus Romæ, apex evangelii, Actorum Finis , reminds us on the same page of the words of Estius: “Fortasse Lucas meditabatur tertium librum , in quo repeteret acta illius biennii; sicut, Acts 1:0 , quædam exposuit tacita ultimo capite evangelii”. Moreover, if we take Acts 1:8 as giving us in outline the programme of the book, it seems that its purpose would have been fulfilled not so much in the triumph of the Gospel, but in the bearing witness to Christ in Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the end of the earth: the Apostles were to be witnesses, Acts 1:8 ; St. Paul was told that he was “to bear witness” in Rome, μαρτυρῆσαι Acts 23:11 , cf. Acts 28:23 ; the triumph would succeed the witness, and the keynote of victory is struck in the word ἀκωλύτως .

Nothing, it is true, is said in Acts of the beginnings of Christianity in Rome, or as to how the Church was first founded in that city; but when we consider the importance that St. Paul plainly attached to his seeing for himself the metropolis of the world, cf. Acts 19:21 , and when his Epistle addressed to the Roman Church indicates how clearly he foresaw the importance which that Church would have for Gentile Christianity in the future, it is quite conceivable that the universalist Luke would draw his second treatise to a fitting close by showing that blindness in part had happened to Israel that the fulness of the Gentiles might come in. “We are not told,” says Holtzmann, quoting Overbeck, “how the Gospel came to Rome, but how Paul came to Rome”: but this objection, which Overbeck considered the greatest against the view that the contents of Acts were summed up in chap. Acts 1:8 , is obviated by the above considerations; St. Paul was to bear witness in Rome as he had at Jerusalem, but the result of his final witness in Jerusalem, Acts 23:1 ff., resulted in a division among the Jews, and a similar result followed his first testimony in Rome. The Gospel had come to Rome already, but those who accepted it were only a sect everywhere spoken against; now its foremost representative gains it a hearing from the Gentiles, and that too without interruption or prohibition.

But this recognition of the importance of St. Paul’s witness and work in Rome, and of their subsequent development, by no means excludes other purposes which may have been present to the mind of St. Luke. “No other N.T. writer,” says Zahn, “mentions a Roman emperor by name,” and he proceeds to point out the significance of this fact in connection with the whole design of St. Luke to show that Christianity was an historical religion; how the edicts of Augustus, Luke 2:1 , and of Claudius, Acts 18:2 , had their influence on the new faith ( cf. Luke 3:1 ), how in comparison with the other Evangelists St. Luke constantly introduces the names of those who were connected indirectly as well as directly with political events ( Einleitung , ii., p. 375, and cf. Ramsay, St Paul , p. 385, Friedrich, u. s. , p. 53 ff.). Not only would notices of this kind impress a reader of the type of Theophilus with a sense of the certainty of those things in which he had been instructed, but they are also of importance in that they indicate that a writer, who thus took pains to gain accurate information with regard to events in the Roman world, would naturally be interested in tracing carefully the relations between the empire and the infant Church, and all the more so if it was important to show his readers that Christianity stood in no hostile relationship to the imperial government ( cf. Zahn, u. s. , p. 379).

But it is one thing to describe one of the objects of the book in this way, viz. , as an attempt to reassure those who had been already instructed in the origines of the Christian Faith, and to emphasise its evident power and rectitude at the bar of the rulers of this world, and to maintain that all this was done with a political-apologetic aim, regardless of truthfulness to fact, and only concerned with representing Christianity in a favourable light before magistrates and kings. No doubt we are repeatedly told how St. Paul took shelter in an appeal to Roman law and Roman authority, and how much more justly and calmly the Roman authorities judged of his case than the fanatical and insensate Jews; “but,” says Wendt with admirable candour ( Apostelgeschichte , p. 17), “there is no reason to doubt that this representation simply corresponded to historical truth” (see the whole paragraph in Wendt, 1899, and cf. Weiss, u. s. , p. 569 as against Overbeck and Mangold, u. s. , p. 427, following Schneckenburger and Zeller). Moreover, when we remember that the writer of Acts deliberately enters upon a field of history “where perhaps beyond all others there was room for mistake and blunder, the administration of the Roman Empire and its provinces,” nothing is more surprising than the way in which his accuracy is confirmed by every fresh and searching investigation. [13]

[13] Cf., e.g. , the notes on Acts 17:6 , Acts 28:7 , etc., the references to the invaluable and epoch-making works of Professor Ramsay, and Vogel, Zur Charakteristik des Lukas nach Sprache und Stil , p. 28, 1897, on the remarkable degree of confidences with which military, political, and judicial terms are employed in Acts. Professor Schmiedel in his review of Professor Ramsay’s St. Paul describes it as the work on the whole not of the historian or archæologist, but of the narrow apologist, Theologische Literaturzeitung , 1897, No. 23, and more recently, Professor H. Holtzmann, characterises Professor Ramsay’s description and illustration of the scene, Acts 16:25-34 , as “humbug”! Theologische Literaturzeitung , 1899, No. 7; such remarks are ill calculated to promote candid and respectful criticism.

But if there is no reason to attribute a political tendency (see further below) to the writer, still less is there room for the attribution of a doctrinal tendency. The earlier representatives of this latter view of the book, Baur and Zeller, started with insisting upon the fundamental opposition which prevailed between the view of the relationship of St. Paul with the primitive Apostles as set forth in those Epistles which these critics accepted, and in the Acts: to St. Paul a Judaising tendency was ascribed in the latter which was not in harmony with his statements in his own writings, whilst, on the other hand, to St. Peter especially a liberal standpoint was ascribed, which was not to be expected in view of the utterances of St. Paul in his Epistles, a standpoint which would make Peter, not Paul, the originator of Gentile Christianity. On the whole the Acts represented an idealised and harmonising view of the relation of parties in the primitive Church, and its object as the work of a Pauline Christian was to reconcile the Jewish and Pauline parties. Schneckenburger had previously emphasised the supposed parallel in Acts between Peter and Paul (see further below), and had represented the book as written with the apologetic aim of defending Paul against the misrepresentation of the Judaisers; but it must always be remembered that Schneckenburger, although emphasising the apologetic tendency of St. Luke, never denied his historical truthfulness, whilst Baur fastened upon Schneckenburger’s view, and further developed his own previous attack on the historical character of Acts (Zahn, u. s. , p. 393, Lightfoot, B.D. 2 , i., 41). But Baur’s theory in its extreme form could not maintain its ground, and various modifications of it took place within his own school. Certainly, to take an illustration, it must always remain a strange fact that, if Acts was written with the conciliatory tendency alluded to, only one indirect mention in it is found, Acts 24:17 , of the collection for the poor Saints at Jerusalem, which played so prominent a part in St. Paul’s work and writings, and which was in itself such a palpable proof of the Apostle’s love for his Jewish brethren. The tendency view adopted by some of the writers succeeding Baur, e.g. , Reuss, Keim, Weizsäcker, regards the author of Acts as not intentionally departing from the historical relations between the two parties, but as forming his judgment of the relations between them from the standpoint of his own time. One of the most recent attempts to represent the conciliatory tendency of Acts as an apology for the Christian religion before Gentiles, i.e. , before a heathen public, against the charges of the Jews, and to show how Judaism, through Christianity, broke up into its world-wide mission, is that of J. Weiss, Über die Absicht und den literar. Charakter der A. G. , 1897 (see further below); but whatever amount of correctness there may be in this view we may frankly adopt, without committing ourselves to the very precarious explanations and deductions of the writer; St. Luke’s own prologue, and the dedication of his two writings to the Gentile Theophilus, are in themselves sufficient to lead us to expect that the design accentuated by J. Weiss would not be altogether absent from his mind in composing his history (see the remarks of Zahn, u. s. , ii., p. 393).

But if there is no satisfaction in the more recent attempts to represent Acts as written mainly with a conciliatory “tendency,” still less can satisfaction be found in the view, older in its origin, of a supposed parallelism between St. Peter and St. Paul, drawn out by a writer who wished in this way to reconcile the Petrine and Pauline parties in the Church, by placing the leaders of each in a position of equal authority. That there are points of similarity in the life and work of the two Apostles may be readily admitted, but these likenesses are of the most general kind, and only such as we might expect in cases where two men work in the same calling at the same period and under the same conditions, cf. to this effect Clemen, Die Chronologie der Paulinischen Briefe , pp. 17, 18, and Feine, Eine vorkanonische. Überlieferung des Lukas , p. 214. The parallel can only be extended to a few instances such as the healing of the lame man by Peter at Jerusalem, Acts 3:2 , and by Paul at Lystra, Acts 14:8 , but there is no real ground for the institution of a parallel between the worship paid to Peter by Cornelius, Acts 10:25 , and by the inhabitants of Lystra to St. Paul, Acts 14:11 , or between the judgment inflicted on Ananias and Sapphira by Peter, Acts 5:1 , and on Elymas by St. Paul, Acts 13:6 . The position thus advocated by Clemen is taken up by B. Weiss, Einleitung , p. 540, 3rd edit., 1897, no less than by earlier writers like Lekebusch and Nösgen ( cf. too Sanday, Bampton Lectures , p. 327, and Salmon, Introduction , p. 310). But whether we consider that the parallel was instituted to place Paul on an equality with Peter, or, as Van Manen has recently urged, Paulus I.: De handelingen der Apostelen , p. 126, 1890, that the writer wished to represent Peter in accordance with the delineation of Paul, there is one fact fatal to both points of view, viz. , that if either of these purposes had been in the mind of the author of Acts, we cannot account for his omission of the crowning point to the parallel between the two Apostles, viz. , their martyrdom in the same city, and in the same persecution. An already discredited theory can scarcely survive the ridicule of Dr. Blass, Proleg. , p. 8, and of Dr. Salmon, u. s. , pp. 310, 311: in all true history we may expect to find parallelisms, and these parallels exist in the lives of nations no less than of individuals. When we consider the various attempts which have been made to describe the aim of Acts, it is something to find that a critic who does not hesitate to regard the book as written to some extent with an idealising and harmonising purpose, should nevertheless be constrained to reckon it, on account of its many trustworthy traditions, as an historical work of invaluable worth, see Wendt, Apostelgeschichte , p. 33, 1899.

SOURCES. If St. Luke is acknowledged as the writer of Acts, we can understand the remark of Blass that in this case the question of sources for the greater part of the book need not be raised, Blass, Acta Apost. , Proleg., p. 10; cf. Zahn, u. s. , pp. 404, 412; Knabenbauer, Actus Apostolorum , p. 8, 1899. It is plain from the narrative that a man in St. Luke’s position would be brought into contact with many persons from whom he could have obtained rich and varied information, and in many cases the details of his narrative point unmistakably to the origin of the information. A good example may be seen in chap. 12 (see commentary), in which the vivid and circumstantial details of St. Peter’s escape from prison are best accounted for on the supposition that the narrative comes from John Mark: to the house of the mother of Mark St. Peter makes his way, ver. 12, and not only does later history associate St. Mark with St. Peter, but also with St. Luke and St. Paul, inasmuch as he is with the latter in Rome, Colossians 4:10 , Philemon 1:24 ( cf. 2 Timothy 4:11 ), to say nothing of an earlier association, cf. Acts 13:0 (Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 385; Blass, u. s. , p. 11; Belser, Theologische Quartalschrift , p. 62, 1895); and even Wendt, p. 31 (1899), sees no other way of accounting for the contrast between the brief notice of the death of St. James, Acts 12:1 , and the lengthy account of the liberation of St. Peter than the probability that the latter was derived from John Mark, whilst more exact information was wanting for the former.

But John Mark was not the only member of the Jerusalem Church from whom, or through whom, St. Luke could have obtained information as to the origin of the Christian community. Barnabas, the cousin of John Mark, was in a position to know accurately the same events, in some of which he had shared, Acts 4:36 , and if St. Luke was a member of the Church at Antioch when Barnabas settled there ( cf. note on Acts 11:28 ) he would have learnt from the lips of Barnabas the early history of the Jerusalem Church; and it would have been strange if amongst the men of Cyprus and Cyrene who fled from Judæa to Antioch, Acts 11:19 , there had been none who were baptised at the first Christian Pentecost, cf. Acts 2:10 ; Acts 2:41 (Zahn, u. s. , p. 414).

For the same series of events St. Luke had access also to the information preserved by Mnason, a disciple ἀρχαῖος , i.e. , from the first Pentecost, cf. Acts 11:15 , Acts 21:16 , from whom likewise he may have learnt the account given in Acts 9:31-43 . In chap. 21 we are also told how Luke was a guest for several days in the house of Philip the Evangelist, Acts 11:8-12 , an intercourse which could have furnished him with the information narrated not only in Acts 8:4-40 , but in Acts 6:1 to Acts 8:3 , Acts 10:1 to Acts 11:18 . And from Jerusalem itself, no less than from Cæsarea, information might have been acquired, for Luke, Acts 21:18 , had intercourse not only with the elders but with no less a person than St. James, the head of the Church at Jerusalem, and at an earlier period he must have shared at Philippi, Acts 16:19 ff., the company of Silas, who is mentioned as one of the chief among the brethren of the mother city, Acts 15:22 . In this connection we may note that St. Luke alone gives us two incidents connected with Herod Antipas, Luke 13:31-33 ; Luke 23:6-12 ; Luke 23:15 , cf. Acts 4:27 , which are not narrated by the other Evangelists, but this intimate acquaintance of St. Luke with the court of Herod is in strict harmony with the notice of Manaen the foster-brother of Herod, Acts 13:1 , cf. Luke 8:3 , a teacher of the Church at Antioch when St. Luke may himself have been there, and from whom the Evangelist may at all events have learnt much of the information about other members of the Herodian family which comes to us from him only (Plumptre, Zahn, Belser, Feine). It may no doubt be contended, with considerable plausibility, that St. Luke must have had at his command written documents as well, e.g. , in his account of the speeches of St. Peter and St. Stephen, and it is quite possible that he might have obtained such documents from the Church at Jerusalem. One thing is quite certain, that these addresses like all others throughout the book are in striking harmony with the circumstances and crises to which they relate (see further below): “quo intentius has orationes inspexeris,” writes Blass, “eo plura in eis reperies, quæ cum sint temporibus personisque egregie accommodata, ad rhetoricam licentiam scriptoris referri se vetent” ( Proleg. , p. 11). But at the same time it requires no great stretch of imagination to conclude with Zahn (ii., p. 412) that such a man as Luke required no other sources of information for the composition of Acts, or at least for a great portion of that work, than his own recollections, partly of the narratives of St. Paul, partly of the events in which he himself had shared, cf. Acts 6:8 to Acts 8:3 , Acts 9:1-30 ; Acts 9:13-28 . There is abundant proof in St. Paul’s Epistles that the Apostle must have constantly referred to his earlier experiences in way of conversation, or in the delivery of his discourses, cf. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 ; 2 Corinthians 11:22 ; 2 Corinthians 12:9 , Galatians 1:11 to Galatians 2:14 , Philippians 3:3-7 , Romans 15:16-32 ; Romans 16:7 , and during periods of enforced inactivity, while Luke was with him at Cæsarea, or during the winter months at Malta, or later in Rome, nothing was more natural, as Zahn urges, than that the great missionary should communicate to his beloved friend the records of his work and experience in great heathen centres of commercial or intellectual life, like Corinth, Ephesus, Athens. After his return from his travels, and on many other occasions, Zahn points out that it was St. Paul’s habit to relate minutely καθʼ ἓν ἕκαστον , Acts 21:19 , what God had wrought by him, Acts 14:27 , Acts 15:3 ; Acts 15:12 ; Acts 15:26 , Galatians 2:2 ; Galatians 2:7-9 , and there is no reason whatever to suppose that such recitals were withheld from St. Luke. No doubt it may be urged that the style in the second part of the book is less Hebraistic than in chaps. 1 12, but this may be fairly accounted for if we remember that St. Luke would often obtain his information for the earlier events from Jewish Christians, and on the soil of Palestine, and that he may have purposely retained the Hebraistic colouring in his embodiment of these narratives, cf. Plummer, St. Luke , p. xlix.; Zahn, u. s. , ii., pp. 414, 423; Dalman, Die Worte Jesu , p. 31, 1898. [14] If it be maintained that the earlier chapters of Acts , 1-5, were incorporated from some earlier document, it is admitted that this was of Jewish-Christian origin, derived from the Jewish Church through an eye-witness ( cf. B. Weiss, Einleitung , p. 549, 3rd edit.; Feine, u. s. , p. 233). Thus in these chapters, e.g. , the Sadducees appear as the chief opponents of the new faith, cf. note on Acts 4:1 , and the members of the hierarchy are represented as in the main members of the same sect, a fact which strikes us as strange, but which is in strict accordance with the testimony of Josephus. A careful consideration of the speeches and of their appropriateness to their various occasions tends more and more surely to refute the notion that they are fictitious addresses, the work of a writer of the second century. The testimony of Dr. McGiffert may be cited as bearing witness to the primitive character of the reports of the speeches of St. Peter in the early chapters of Acts, and for the truthful manner in which they represent a very early type of Christian teaching (see comment., p. 119), and cf. also the remarks of Schmiedel, Enc. Bibl. , i., 48, 1899.

[14] Dr. Dalman’s sharp distinction between Aramaisms and Hebraisms should be noted, p. 16 reff., whilst he allows that the pure Hebraisms in the Gospels are almost exclusively peculiar to that of St. Luke, and that by these peculiarities of diction Acts is also marked, p. 29; see further in commentary.

At the delivery of St. Stephen’s speech Paul himself was present, Acts 26:10 , cf. Acts 6:12 , and there is good reason for thinking that the speech made a deep impression upon him (see, e.g. , Felten, Apostelgeschichte , p. 31), while the many Lucan expressions and turns of thought which it contains ( cf. Zeller, Acts , ii., p. 313, E.T., and Overbeck, Apostelgeschichte , p. 93) are natural enough if the address comes to us through the medium of a translation (see commentary for the speech and its meaning).

For the second part of the book we perceive that St. Luke might have easily obtained accurate reports of the speeches even in cases where he was not present; e.g. , the speech at the Pisidian Antioch, chap. 13, gives us what we may well regard as a familiar example of St. Paul’s teaching on many similar occasions ( cf. also in commentary the striking resemblances recently noted by Professor Ramsay between this speech and the Galatian Epistle). The addresses at Lystra and at Athens delivered to heathen, so wonderfully adapted to the audience in each place, in the one instance appealing to a more popular and ruder, in the latter to a more learned and philosophic class of hearers (“ita sunt omnia et loco et audientibus accommodata,” says Blass); in both cases starting from truths which some of the Greek philosophers might themselves have pressed home, but in each case leading up to and insisting upon the need and necessity of repentance for wise and simple alike; were eminently characteristic of a man who became as a Jew to the Jews, as without law to those without law, as a Greek to the Greeks, and such discourses in the brief form in which they have reached us in Acts may well have expressed the actual teaching delivered by St. Paul in Lystra and in Athens (see for these speeches especially Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 146 ff., and for the speech at Athens, Curtius, “Paulus in Athen,” Gesammelte Abhandlungen , ii., pp. 527 543, and references in commentary [15] ): “there is no reason,” writes McGiffert, “for questioning the trustworthiness of the discourse at Athens as a whole … in fact such a discourse as that ascribed to Paul is exactly what we should expect from him under the circumstances” ( u. s. , p. 260).

[15] Hilgenfeld blames Curtius because he has not explained the source of information for St. Paul’s address, since the Apostle was at Athens alone, but Knabenbauer writes, Actus Apostolorum , p. 308, “Probabilissime is cum aliis id plane superfluum reputavit, quia Paulus post cam orationem neque memoriam neque loquelam amisit; unde ipse potuit narrare quid Athenis egerit”.

The speech to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, Acts 20:18-35 , is constantly marked by St. Paul’s characteristic words and phrases, and its teaching is strikingly connected with that of the Ephesian Epistle (see notes in commentary, and cf. Page, Acts , p. xxxvi.; Lock, “Ephesians,” Hastings’ B.D.; Cook, Speaker’s Commentary , p. 342, and also Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte , pp. 336 339; Nösgen, u. s. , p. 53; Felten, u. s. , p. 33). No one has affirmed the historical truthfulness of this address more strongly than Spitta, and in this instance also we may again conclude with McGiffert, p. 339, that “we shall be safe in assuming that the account of Paul’s meeting with the elder brethren of Ephesus, and the report of the words which he uttered are substantially accurate”. We may well feel this security when we recall that St. Luke would be himself a hearer of St. Paul’s pathetic farewell.

The three remaining speeches contain three ἀπολογίαι of St. Paul, one before the Jews and the chiliarch in Jerusalem, Acts 22:1-21 , the second before Felix, Acts 24:10-21 , and the third before Festus and Agrippa, 26. The first reaches us through the medium of a Greek translation, and it is noticeable that the speech in this form contains no Pauline words or expressions, although some words remind us of him, e.g. , ἀπολογία , ἀπολούειν , παραδέχομαι , ἐπικαλεῖσθαι and τὸ ὄνομα (Nösgen, Felten), while it contains several peculiar to St. Luke. But if the Evangelist was present at the delivery of the defence, he would have been able to reproduce the speech himself, or at least its substance, and we have an explanation of the fact just mentioned (see Salmon, Introd. , pp. 317, 318; Page, Acts , p. xxxvi.; Alford, Proleg. , pp. 13 15).

The vivid description, Acts 21:30-40 , and especially the local details, Acts 21:34-35 , point to the presence of an eye-witness, who was in possession of information which he could use with accuracy, and at the same time with discrimination, limiting himself to the requisites of his narrative (Bethge, Die Paulinischen Reden , p. 174). It is difficult to understand why Blass should say that although Luke may have heard the speech, it is doubtful if he understood it. In his Præf. to his Evangelium secundum Lucam , pp. xxi. xxiii., he not only adopts Nestle’s theory that an Aramaic document underlies the first part of Acts , 1-12, but amongst the few Aramaisms from chap. 13 onwards he notes especially, p. xxi., two from the chapter before us, 22, viz. , ver. 19, ἤμην φυλακίζων “periphrasis illa aramaica imperfecti futurique, quæ fit per participium et verbum ἤμην ( ἔσομαι ),” and ver. 14, φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ , cf. Acts 1:16 , Acts 3:18 ; Acts 3:21 for στόμα . We must also bear in mind the strictures of Dalman upon Blass in this connection: cf. Die Worte Jesu , p. 28, 1898.

In the apology before Felix, Acts 24:10-21 , we have traces of St. Paul’s diction (see commentary, and cf. Nösgen, u. s. , p. 54, Felten, u. s. , p. 34), and although it would be rash to affirm that St. Luke was present at the delivery of this defence, yet, if he was with St. Paul during any of the time of the Apostle’s imprisonment at Cæsarea, it is surely not difficult to suppose that he would have received from the prisoner’s own lips a summary of his ἀπολογία before Felix. The same remark might account for St. Luke’s information as to the longer ἀπολογία before Agrippa, chap. 26, and it is specially noteworthy that in this speech, which may easily have been reproduced exactly as it was delivered, cf. Blass, Grammatik , p. 5, and Proleg. , p. 13, we have Greek phrases and words of a more cultured and literary style, such as would be more suited to the most distinguished audience before which the Apostle had yet pleaded (see commentary). At the same time we may note that while the speech has many points of contact with St. Paul’s peculiar language and favourite words, there are other expressions which may be described as Lucan, to which we may appeal as justifying the belief that if St. Luke was present at the hearing, he reproduced the speech not immediately, but after an interval, when it had passed through his own mind, Bethge, Die Paulinischen Reden , pp. 259, 260. That the speeches in Acts bear the impress of St. Luke’s own style and revising hand is freely admitted by conservative critics ( cf. Lightfoot, B.D. 2 , i., p. 36; Headlam, “Acts,” Hastings’ B.D., i., p. 34; Salmon, Introd. , p. 317), and we may thus unhesitatingly account for the combination in them of peculiar Pauline expressions with those which may be classed as Lucan or Lucan-Pauline. These linguistic phenomena by no means destroy the substantial accuracy of the report; rather they are exactly what we should expect to find. It is admitted on all sides that by comparing the language of St. Paul’s speeches in Acts with the language of his Epistles a striking amount of similarity is evident. But if the writer of Acts was not acquainted with St. Paul’s Epistles, we cannot account for this similarity of diction on the ground of literary dependence. If, however, the writer of Acts was a constant and frequent companion of St. Paul the explanation is easy enough, and we can readily believe that whilst in his report or revision of a speech words of the disciple might sometimes be found side by side with those of the master, yet the influence of the latter would nevertheless make itself felt in the disciple’s thoughts and language ( cf. Salmon, u. s. , p. 315 ff., and Felten, u. s. , p. 32). In many cases it is perfectly obvious that the account of the speeches in Acts is an abridged account the longest of them would not take more than some five or six minutes in delivery and therefore, as a matter of necessity, such an abridgment would bear upon it, in a sense, the impress of St. Luke’s own style. Blass, Acta Apostolorum , p. 191, in speaking of St. Paul’s address at Athens expresses the belief that it has come down to us “fideliter etsi brevissime: ita sunt omnia et loco et audientibus accommodata,” and he adds a remark applicable to all the Apostle’s speeches: “Tum quilibet qui paullo recentiore ætate orationes Pauli conficturus esset, usurus erat Pauli epistolis; quarum in hac non magis quam in ceteris orationibus ( c. 13, 20, 22, 24, 26) ullus usus comparet”.

It cannot be said that the recent and frequent attempts to multiply and differentiate sources in Acts, to assign them to various revisers or redactors, have met with any degree of real success. If Holtzmann and Wendt (see also a description of these attempts in Theologische Rundschau , Feb., March, April, 1899) contend that they have done so, and that with regard to the first few chapters of Acts some consensus of opinion has been gained, we may set against such contentions not only the opinion of Zahn, Einleitung , ii., pp. 414, 424, who maintains that none of these repeated attempts has attained any measure of probability (so too Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p. 154, 2nd edit., and Knabenbauer, Actus Apostolorum , p. 9 ff., 1899), but also the opinion of Wendt, who, after a careful and on the whole sympathetic review, is obliged to confess that one must limit oneself in any attempt to discover the sources of the book to what is attainable and provable in the circumstances, and that the more complicated the hypothesis suggested, the more difficult it is to make it intelligible to others, Apostelgeschichte , p. 17, 1899. In his own examination of the problem he limits himself to one great source, p. 30, and plainly declares that it does not seem to be possible to discover others, although he enumerates various passages in which old and trustworthy traditions were combined; but whether these were derived from written documents or from one and the same source he declines to say, and he is evidently inclined to admit that in many cases oral tradition may also have been at work. Thus whilst Acts 4:1-22 , Acts 5:17-42 , are regarded as parallel pieces of information of what was in reality the same event, or whilst again the liberation of St. Peter in chap. 12 is a parallel to the release of the Apostle in chap. Acts 5:18-20 , the work of St. Philip and the death of St. James rest upon good and trustworthy tradition. The source to which Wendt attaches such importance includes the “We” sections, and the whole of the book from 13 onwards, with the exception of Acts 15:1-33 , the source continuing with ver. 35, whilst it can be traced further back to Acts 11:19 ; Acts 11:27 , and to Acts 8:1-4 . But this large source is full of traces of revision and redaction, which mark not only the narratives but also the addresses. Its interest centred chiefly in the person of St. Paul and in his work, and it gave no history of the origines of the Church or of the missionary journeys of the other Apostles, although it introduced its account of St. Paul by tracing the foundation of the Church in Antioch from the mother Church in Jerusalem as a result of the death of St. Stephen and the subsequent persecution, and by showing how that same Church of Antioch became the starting-point for St. Paul’s missionary labours.

This view of the sources adopted by Wendt contrasts favourably with some of the extraordinary and complicated theories which from time to time have been advocated in Germany, more especially during the last few years.

As early as 1845 Schleiermacher’s published lectures referred the authorship of the “We” sections not to Luke but to Timothy, and some two years before this E. M. Mayerhoff had suggested that the same hypothesis might be extended to all parts of Acts, not however without the opposition of Bleek and Ulrich, the former of whom supported Schleiermacher. But Schleiermacher’s view of the part played by Timothy had already met with the strong opposition of Schneckenburger, 1841, and Swanbeck, 1847, attacked it by means of his own more complicated and more hazardous attempt to solve the sources of Acts. According to Swanbeck, the book is made up of a biography of Peter, a source containing the death of Stephen, a biography of Barnabas, the memoirs of Silas including the “We” sections. But the theory gained no acceptance, and most critics will probably agree with Lekebusch ( Apostelgeschichte , p. 188) that Swanbeck in his attempt to avoid the misleading theory as to Timothy involved himself in a still greater error by his advocacy of Silas.

For the Tübingen school the question of sources occupied a less important place than the question of “tendency,” and more weight was attached to the imaginative power of the author than to the possibility of his possession of any reliable tradition; and consequently for a time the attempts to discriminate and estimate various sources sank into abeyance. It was, however, supposed by some critics that in the first part of Acts either a pentateuch source or an Hellenistic history of Stephen had been worked up (Zeller, Overbeck), or that some old πράξεις Παύλου formed a foundation for the narrative. Hilgenfeld (see also below) maintained the probable existence of this latter document, and Holsten thought that he could discover traces of a Judaistic source in the speeches of the first part of the book. B. Weiss, as long ago as 1854, had referred the speeches of St. Peter to a written source, but the speeches were closely connected with the historical episodes, and so in his Einleitung , 2nd and 3rd editions, Weiss has attempted to trace throughout the whole first part of the book, i.e. , from Acts 1:15 , a Jewish-Christian source, whilst Feine, 1891, has maintained that the Jewish-Christian source already employed in the third Gospel was also the source of the history of the Jerusalem Church in Acts 1-12, and he gives, n. s. , p. 236 ff., many verbal likenesses between this source in St. Luke’s Gospel and in the earlier portion of Acts. Feine’s handling of the whole question is much more conservative than that of the other attempts to which allusion will be made, especially as he regards St. Luke as the author of the third Gospel and the Acts, and claims a high historical value for the episodes and speeches in the source.

But the interest in the hypothesis of a source or sources chiefly centres around the second rather than the first part of Acts. For here the “We” sections are concerned, and when the view was once started that these sections, although not the work of St. Luke, were the work of an eye-witness (since their vividness and circumstantiality could not otherwise be accounted for), and so derived from a source, the whole question of the authorship of this source was revived, and the claims of Timothy, Silas, Titus, again found advocates; and not only so, but the further question was debated as to how far this source extended. Was it limited to the “We” sections only? But the view which prevailed (and which still prevails, cf., e.g. , Holtzmann, Einleitung 3 , p. 393, and see above) makes Luke the author of the “We” sections, although not of the whole book, which was referred to the close of the first, and even to the second century. This latter date (amongst the supporters of which may be included H. Holtzmann, Pfleiderer, Jülicher (100 105), Weizsäcker, to say nothing of earlier critics, or of those mentioned below) finds no support in the general character of the book, and it depends upon other very precarious arguments, e.g. , the dependency of the author upon Josephus. But if it cannot be substantiated, it is in itself fatal to the partition theories put forward by Van Manen (125 150), Clemen (60 140), and Jüngst (110 125).

With Van Manen we mark one of the earliest of the many complicated attempts, to which reference has been already made, in proof of the use of sources throughout the whole of Acts. According to him, Acta Petri and Acta Pauli form the two sources, of which the final redactor, writing about the middle of the second century, availed himself. In the Acta Pauli , H. Pa., which fill the second half of the canonical book of Acts, with the exception of Acts 15:1-33 and some other passages due to the reviser (although some of the incidents of these Acta which refer to Barnabas, Stephen, Paul, find a place in the first half of the book), a Gentile Christian, the first redactor, writing at the end of the first, or beginning of the second century, has embodied the Lucan Travel-Document, probably written by Luke himself, consisting of the “We” sections and the bare recital of one of Paul’s voyages from Jerusalem to Rome. This document is, however, much revised, and according to it the Apostle travels to Rome not as a prisoner, but as a free man. The final redactor, moreover, seems to have forgotten that such a document had ever existed, and to have depended upon the Epistles of St. Paul and the notices of Josephus. The second source, Acta Petri , H. Pe., chaps. 1 12, is of very small historical value; it was composed later than the Acta Pauli , and aimed at placing Peter on a level with Paul. It is not perhaps to be wondered at that Van Manen himself seems to hesitate about the exact details of his partitions, that even Heitmüller cannot give anything but modified commendation to his theory, Theol. Rundschau , p. 87, 1899, and that a still severer condemnation is inflicted by Zöckler, Greifswalder Studien , p. 114, cf. Knabenbauer, p. 11.

In the same year, 1890, Sorof published his Die Entstehung der Apostelgeschichte . He too has his two written sources. Of the first the physician Luke was the author; this source runs through the book, and has for its purpose to represent the missionary spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome, making prominent the figure of Paul. But this source was revised by another disciple of Paul, Timothy, who as the son of a Jewish mother stood nearer than Luke to Jewish-Christian interests. Timothy, to magnify Peter, introduced much legendary matter relating to him in the first portion of St. Luke’s account, and also revised and corrected the record of St. Paul’s missionary activity on the strength of his authorship of the “We” sections and his own eye-witness. (It is no wonder that Heitmüller, u. s. , p. 85, again welcomes this theory with qualified praise, and considers the division of the parts of the book assigned to Luke and Timothy as improbable, if not impossible.) Another attempt in the succeeding year by Spitta gained much more notice than that of Sorof. He also has his two sources A, an older source including the “We” sections, probably the work of Paul’s companion, Luke: a very valuable and erudite source containing the speeches of the book (see references in commentary); and , a secondary source, unhistorical, depending on popular traditions, with a great tendency to introduce miraculous embellishments. [16] is the work of a Jewish Christian who writes with a desire to magnify Peter by miracles which equal those of the great Gentile Apostle. Spitta has further to suppose that these two sources, the one Pauline-Lucan and the other Jewish-Christian, were combined by a Catholic-Christian redactor R, with some additions of his own. Here again Heitmüller, p. 91, sees no hope of a satisfactory solution of the problem under investigation, and can only wonder at the manner in which two sources of a directly opposite tendency can be so simply interwoven by the redactor; the part played by the latter is altogether unsatisfactory, as he does little else than effect this combination of the two sources, with an occasional interpolation of his own. Spitta’s attempt was also sharply criticised by Jülicher, Einleitung , p. 270, and by Von Soden, Theologische Literaturzeitung , 26, 1892, and its value will be seen by references in the commentary.

[16] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

The most complicated of all these recent attempts at the reconstruction of Acts is that of Dr. C. Clemen. His three chief sources (with which he closely connects other shorter sources, e.g. , a source for Acts 6:1-6 ) are named (1) Historia Hellenistarum, H.H., Acts 6:9-10 , Acts 7:1-36 ; Acts 7:35-59 , Acts 8:1 , Acts 11:19-21 ; Acts 11:26; Acts 11:26 : this source Clemen regards as very old and trustworthy; (2) Historia Petri, H.Pe., consisting chiefly of 1 5, and of some passages inserted in H.H., viz. , Acts 6:7-8 ; Acts 6:11-15 , Acts 7:37 ; Acts 7:60 , Acts 8:2 , Acts 8:4-13 ; Acts 8:18-24 , the account of Simon Magus; Acts 8:26-40 , the conversion of the Ethiopian; (3) Historia Pauli, H.Pa., Acts 13:1 to Acts 28:31 , a source which may have originated in a diary kept by Luke on a journey to Rome called (4) Itinerarium Pauli, I. Pa., containing the “We” sections, and combined with (3) by the first of the three redactors. The first redactor is simply R., and to him are attributed other additions besides the “We” sections to the Historia Pauli, although no “tendency” can be assigned to him, cf., e.g. , Acts 14:8-18 , Acts 16:23-34; Acts 16:23-34Acts 16:23-34 , Acts 17:19-33 , the Athenian discourse, etc. The two other redactors are much more pronounced: one, Redactor Judaicus, R.J., writing 93 117 A.D., compiled and revised the above sources, making many additions, e.g. , the miracles at Lydda and Joppa, Acts 9:23-43 , and for the most part the Cornelius history, Acts 10:1 to Acts 11:18 ; Acts 16:1-3 , Acts 21:20-26; Acts 21:20-26Acts 21:20-26 , etc.; and finally, the third redactor, Redactor Antijudaicus, R.A., writing probably in the time of Hadrian, with the object of counterbalancing the wrong tendencies of his predecessor; to him we owe, before all, Acts 9:1-31 , Paul’s conversion, Acts 12:1-25 , Acts 15:5-12 ; Acts 15:19 ; Acts 15:23-33 ; Acts 15:41 , and additions to the speech at Miletus, Acts 20:19 b , Acts 20:25-35 , Acts 20:38 a . Other instances will be found in the commentary of the manner in which the additions of “these two antipodes,” R.J. and R.A., are given precisely by Clemen, even to parts of verses, and it is no unfriendly critic (Heitmüller, u. s. , p. 128) who points out that of the five journeys of Paul to Jerusalem mentioned in Acts no less than four are referred by Clemen to his redactors, which is fatal to the historical character of these visits: Acts 9:26 , R.A.; Acts 11:30 , R.A.; Acts 15:1-33 , R.J. and R.A.; and Acts 18:22 b , R.; the last journey, 21, is found in the source H.Pa., and this according to Clemen is a journey identical with Galatians 2:1 . There is indeed no occasion to look to a conservative critic like Zöckler for a sharp criticism of the ingenious but purely subjective theory of Clemen; the latter’s immediate successor in the same attempt to split up Acts into its component parts not only describes Clemen’s theory as over-ingenious, but speaks of the somewhat mechanical way in which his Redactor Judaicus brings Paul into the synagogue, only to allow the Apostle to be at once expelled therefrom by the Redactor Antijudaicus, Jüngst, Die Quellen der Apostelgeschichte , p. 9. Whether we view it from its critical or from its chronological standpoint, Clemen’s theory has not gained favour in England; for the former, see Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 11, and for the latter, Sanday and Headlam, Romans , p. xxxviii. But further, it cannot be said that Jüngst’s own theory is likely to find wider acceptance than that of his predecessor. To say nothing of the difficulties of the date which he proposes, and his advocacy of St. Luke’s dependence on Josephus, in which he is at one with Clemen (see further below), we find ourselves, as in dealing with Spitta’s theory, face to face with two sources, A and B. The Paulinist of the second half of Acts is A, and the simplest and most natural view, according to Jüngst himself, is to identify this A with the beloved physician Luke, Colossians 4:14 , Philemon 1:24 , 2 Timothy 4:11 , who was with Paul during his imprisonment at Cæsarea and Rome; [17] represents the Petrine-Jewish Christian mainly of the first half, but whose hand may be seen in Acts 13:40 f., Acts 13:15 ver. 13 ἀπεκρίθη to ver. 19 κρίνω , and in ver. 20 ἐπιστεῖλαι to αἵματος , whose name and date remain unknown, and whose narrative is full of miraculous events and legendary stories. Jüngst’s redactor has an important part to play, and whilst on the one hand he advocates the abrogation of the Mosaic law (Jüngst does not hesitate to attribute to him ver. 39, 13), on the other hand he allows Paul to circumcise Timothy, Acts 16:2 , to undertake a Nazarite vow, Acts 21:20-26; Acts 21:20-26Acts 21:20-26 , and to acknowledge himself a Pharisee, Acts 23:6 . The redactor’s aim was to represent Christianity as a religio licita , and he thus endeavours to bring it by a conciliatory process into close connection with the Jewish religion. It would be difficult to find in the range of criticism anything more purely arbitrary than Jüngst’s arrangement of his sections chronologically, see Table, p. 225, at the end of his book (and notes in commentary), and the instances given above are sufficient to show how he does not hesitate to split up a verse amongst his various sources: we cannot be surprised that Clemen retorted upon him the charge of over-ingeniousness with which Jüngst had greeted Clemen’s own subtle endeavours.

[17] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

In the same year as Jüngst’s publication, the veteran Hilgenfeld explained his own views of the sources of Acts, Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie , 1895, 1896, following partly the lines upon which he had previously worked twenty years before in his Einleitung , but also taking into account either adversely or with different degrees of agreement, the theories since propounded. According to him the sources are three in number: (1) πράξεις Πέτρου , A, a Jewish-Christian source, Acts 1:15 to Acts 5:42 , describing the origin and development of the mother-Church; from it were also derived Acts 9:31-42 , Acts 11:2 , Cod. , a passage relating a missionary circuit, Acts 12:1-23 ; (2) πράξεις τῶν ἑπτά , a Jewish-Christian document hellenised, commencing with Acts 6:1 , and continuing to Acts 8:40 , including the choice of the Seven, and describing what was known of two of them, St. Stephen and St. Philip; (3) πράξεις Παύλου : this [18] source commences with (Acts 7:58 b , Acts 8:1 a , Acts 8:3 ) 9, and includes nearly the whole of that chapter, Acts 11:27-29 , and the greater portion of 13 28, with the “We” sections. But it will be noticed that, according to Hilgenfeld, we owe this source [19] probably to one of the early Christians of Antioch (Acts 11:28 ), and that it affords us a trustworthy account, and partly that of an eye-witness, of the missionary work of St. Paul begun at Antioch and spread over the heathen world. Each of the three sources is revised and added to by the “author to Theophilus,” who as a unionist-Pauline makes it his chief aim to represent the origin of the Gentile Church as essentially dependent upon the mother-Church of Jerusalem, and Paul as in full agreement with the primitive Apostles, and as acting after the precedent of St. Peter; thus to [20] is referred the whole episode of Cornelius and the account of the Church in Antioch, Acts 10:1 to Acts 11:18 (except Acts 11:2 [21] text), Acts 11:19-26 ; Acts 11:30 , Acts 12:24-25 . Hilgenfeld is not only often greatly dependent upon the Western text (see below and in commentary), but it will be seen that the reference of large sections to his “author to Theophilus” is often quite arbitrary ( cf. notes in comment.).

[18] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[19] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[20] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[21] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

One more well-known name follows that of Hilgenfeld the name of J. Weiss. In 1893, Studien und Kritiken , Weiss had already to some extent given in his adhesion to Spitta’s theory, and had treated Clemen’s redactors R.J. and R.A., one of whom always follows the other to undo the effects of his working, with little ceremony; but in opposition to Spitta he sees in 1 5 only source , a strong Jewish-Christian document, and in this respect he approaches more nearly to B. Weiss and Feine, although he does not attach equal weight to the historical value of the document in question. Unlike Spitta, he refers the speech of Stephen (upon the unity of which Spitta so strongly insists) not to A, but to B. In 1897 J. Weiss admits only A as the source for the second half of Acts, except in some passages in which he cannot refrain from introducing a redactor, Über die Absicht und den literarischen Charakter der A. G ., 1897, p. 38. The view taken by J. Weiss certainly has the merit of appearing less complicated than that of Jüngst and Clemen. Heitmüller, u. s. , pp. 94, 139, highly commends the service rendered by J. Weiss in insisting upon the fact that, even if it is derived from sources, the book of Acts forms a whole, written with a definite purpose and aim, and it is no doubt true that the more we recognise this, the more readily shall we recognise parts or sources which are inconsistent with a unity of aim, whether we derive them from oral or written traditions. But what kind of man must the final reviser have been in that he was entirely unaware of the discrepancies and difficulties which the sharp eyes of modern critics have discovered, and allowed them to remain instead of dismissing or explaining them with a few strokes of his pen? Or if he was so skilful as to be able to combine together sources often so unlike, how is it that he was notwithstanding so unskilful as to leave such patent and glaring discrepancies? And if the final revision took place in the second century, how is it that we have no colouring, not even in the speeches, of second-century ideas? (See especially Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 10.) In other respects it will be noticed that these theories, far from possessing even the recommendation of novelty, are nothing but a rehabilitation of the exploded “tendency” theories of Baur and Zeller, or of the discredited “parallelism” between Peter and Paul (see above); in numberless cases one critic flatly contradicts another in the details of his confident partition of sources into verses, or even portions of verses. At the same time hardly any of the writers in question seem able to separate themselves entirely from the traditional view that Luke, the companion of Paul, was more or less concerned in the composition of the book, which, as we believe, is so justly ascribed to him.

Before we pass from this question of sources, a few words must be said as to the alleged dependence of St. Luke upon Josephus. A century and a half ago points of contact between the two historians were collected by Ott and Krebs (see Wendt, u. s. , p. 36, and Krenkel, Josephus und Lucas , p. 1). But only in comparatively recent times has the question been seriously discussed as to whether the author of the third Gospel and of Acts was dependent in a literary sense upon Josephus. At the outset it is well to bear in mind that both men were historians, writing at the same period, and often of necessity referring to the same events. A certain amount, therefore, of parallel description and even of similarity of diction might fairly be expected. [22] But that the author of Acts often showed a knowledge of independent tradition is admitted even by those who maintain the dependence in question; see, e.g. , Krenkel, u. s. , p. 207, Clemen, Die Chronologic der Paulinischen Briefe , p. 68 (see further in commentary, Acts 5:36 , Acts 12:19 , Acts 21:38 , and Zahn’s instances of this independent knowledge of events and persons, Einleitung , ii., p. 416).

[22] Amongst recent critics who have rejected the idea of St. Luke’s dependence on Josephus may be mentioned Reuss, Schürer, Gloël, Harnack, Belser, Bousset, and in England, Salmon, Sanday, Plummer (in his review of the latter’s St. Luke Weiss, however, now i nclines to the opposite view).

But more extraordinary than the variations of certainty and uncertainty in these critics is the position taken up by Wendt in his latest edition (1899) of Meyer’s Commentary. In his former edition (1888) he maintained that the points of contact between Josephus and Luke were too general in their character to justify the notion of literary dependence, and that the author of Acts would naturally possess independent knowledge of contemporary events and personalities, and he still admits this general similarity and the want of proof in many of the dependencies alleged by Krenkel in his lengthy examination of the question: e.g. , the fact that both writers speak of Porcius Festus as the διάδοχος of Felix is no proof of literary dependence (Acts 24:27 , Jos., Ant. , xx., 8, 9). But Wendt fastens on the one passage, Acts 5:36 , cf. Jos., Ant. , xx., 5, 1, as proving a real dependence (see notes in commentary), and argues that if this is so, the same dependence may be naturally expected in other places. Thus, in what appears to be quite an arbitrary manner, he asserts that some notices in Acts are dependent upon Josephus, whilst some may be taken by the author of the book out of his own chief source, e.g. , the account of the Egyptian, Acts 21:38 , and of the high priest Ananias, Acts 23:2 , Acts 24:1 , etc. But having said all this, Wendt proceeds to point out that we must not measure too highly the influence of Josephus on Acts; even the passage Acts 5:36 , in which that influence is most marked, proves to us at the same time the nature of the influence in question: it did not consist in an exact familiarity with the words of Josephus, and in a careful employment of his material, but in a superficial reminiscence of an earlier reading of the Jewish historian; thus the deviations side by side with the likenesses are explained. But the most conservative critic might allow as much as this.

Wendt further admits that this dependence cannot extend to the later works of Josephus, c. Apion. and his Vita. This last work, which must have been written after the year 100 A.D. (see “Josephus” (Edersheim), Dict. of Chr. Biog. , iii., p. 448), contains the expression, c. 29, θανεῖν μὲν , εἰ δίκαιόν ἐστιν , οὐ παραιτοῦμαι , and Krenkel maintains that there is a clear trace of dependence upon this in the words used in Acts 24:11 (pp. 255, 256, so Holtzmann and Steck). But in the first place the supposed dependency is not admitted by Wendt, and not only may parallels be found to a similar use of the verb παραιτοῦμαι in other Greek writers (Wetstein), but it is also notice able that in the same speech of St. Paul Krenkel discovers, 25 ver. 9, what he calls “the most striking reference” to the language of Josephus in the phrase χάριτα , χάριν κατατίθεσθαί τινι ( cf. also Acts 24:27 , Jos., B.J. , vi., 3, and commentary, in loco ). But the phrase is distinctly classical, cf. Thuc., i., 33, 138, and if Josephus was acquainted with Thucydides (see Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Greek , p. 56) why not St. Luke? ( Cf. Belser, Theol. Quartalschrift , p. 653, 1895.)

But what can we think of these supposed dependencies upon a book of Josephus written in the early years of the second century, when we read further that St. Paul’s account of his dream, Acts 23:11 , is modelled upon the dream in Josephus, Vita , 42? In the former passage we read σε δεῖ καὶ εἰς Ῥώμην μαρτυρῆσαι , and in the latter ὅτι καὶ Ῥωμαίοις δεῖ σε πολεμῆσαι , in each case the dream takes place in the night, and in each case some one stood over the dreamer ( ἐπιστάς ) (see Bousset’s review of Krenkel, Theol. Literaturzeitung , p. 392, 1895, No. 15). The alleged similarity between the introduction to the third Gospel and the Acts, and the introduction to the Ant. of Josephus and to his book, c. Apionem , is of the slightest when compared with the likeness between the language of St. Luke in his preface to his Gospel and the introduction of Dioscorides of Anazarbus to his Materia Medica, cf. Bousset, u. s. , Vogel, Zur Charakteristik des Lukas , p. 17, and J. Weiss, Meyer’s Commentary, Evangelium des Lukas , p. 286; indeed much more might be said for an imitation by St. Luke in his preface of the introduction to the history of Thucydides ( cf. Belser, u. s. , pp. 642, 658, 659, etc.). It would have been very advantageous if Krenkel in his long list of words common to Josephus and Luke, p. 304 ff., had not only given us references in classical writers to the use of the words which he adduces ( e.g. , the phrase πυρετῷ συνέχεσθαι , Luke 4:38 , Ant. , xiii., 15, 5, finds frequent parallels in Plato and Thucydides), but also to the authors whose books form the Apocrypha, and especially to 1 Macc. and 2 Macc. It is also noteworthy that no mention whatever is made of Polybius (Zahn, u. s. , p. 414). The whole list requires revision, and it is preposterous to class amongst literary dependencies technical terms like ἀνθύπατος , κολωνία , νεωκόρος , ναύκληρος , σικάριος , στρατοπεδάρχης , τετραρχέω , or ordinary words which since Homer had been common to all Greek literature, e.g. , ἐκεῖσε , μόγις , πλοῦς , παροίχομαι , παραπλέω . So far as language is concerned, what is more improbable, as Zahn points out, than that the man who wrote Luke 1:1-4 should go to school and learn from Josephus? ( Cf. C. Apion. , i., 9; Ant. , xx., 12.) But again what can we expect from an author who can find a parallel between Luke 2:42 and Jos., Vita , 2? (See Gloël, Die jüngste Kritik des Galaterbriefes , p. 65.) The “We” sections equally with the other parts of the book contain many points of contact with Josephus, and Krenkel is somewhat puzzled to explain this, p. 281; but when we consider that Josephus has given us a long description of his own voyage to Rome, and of his shipwreck on the way, Vita , 3, it was only to be expected that similar nautical terms would be found in the two narratives, and some similarity of description, and the two accounts help to show us how easily and naturally two writers narrating the same experiences would express themselves in the same style and language.

But this question of the author’s relation to Josephus is also important in its bearing upon the date of Acts.

The Antiquities of Josephus are placed at 93, 94 A.D., and if it could be proved that traces of dependence on the Jewish historian may be found in the third Gospel, those who maintain that a considerable period of time elapsed between the writing of that book and of Acts would be obliged to place the latter work some few years later still. But here again we may see the uncertainty which prevails when conclusions are built upon such data . Wendt (p. 40) can find no sure traces of any acquaintance with Josephus in the third Gospel, and so he inclines to date Acts in the interval between 95 and 100 A.D. (although he admits the possibility of a later date still). But 95, 96 A.D. would place the book under Domitian, and the question arises as to whether it can be said with any certainty that Acts was composed at a time when the Christians had gone through such a period of persecution as marked the close of that emperor’s reign. Harnack decides without hesitation in the negative, Chron. , i., pp. 248 250, and whilst he gives 93 as the terminus ad quem , it is satisfactory to find that he holds that the book may have been composed between 80 and 93 A.D. The limit which he thus fixes Harnack regards as in approximate agreement with his other argument (see above) against the later date of Acts, viz. , its non-use of St Paul’s Epistles, a fact which alone would prevent us from dating the book in the second century (p. 249). So far as date is concerned, Ramsay would seem to occupy to some extent the same position, at least approximately, for he maintains that the book could not possibly have been written as late as the reign of Trajan, when the Church had long suffered persecution from the State, or even by a writer who had passed through the reign of Domitian, St. Paul , p. 387, and he dates its publication in the year immediately following 81 A.D., i.e. , in the early years of Domitian. But whilst Harnack’s language might be employed by one who even dated the book before the persecution of Nero, Ramsay maintains that there runs through the entire work a purpose which could hardly have been conceived before the State had begun to persecute on political grounds (p. 388). But when did this kind of persecution begin? The evidence for the origin of a definite State policy against the Christians points presumably to Nero, and not to Vespasian, cf. Hardy, Christianity and the Roman Government , p. 80 (1890), Mommsen’s letter, Expositor , July, 1893, Hort, First Epistle of St. Peter , p. 3, Pullan, Early Christianity , p. 106 ff., 1898. Professor Ramsay speaks of the Flavian policy as declaring Christianity illegal and proscribing the Name, but the first of the three Flavian emperors was Vespasian, and there is no positive evidence to refer the adoption of a definite State policy against the new religion to him ( cf. Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 256).

But if, from this point of view, there is nothing in the book itself to militate against an earlier date even than that mentioned by Ramsay and Harnack, are we justified in placing it, with Blass, before the fall of Jerusalem? Blass indeed would place it as early as 57 59 A.D., following St. Jerome, and the Gospel in 56, Evangelium secundum Lucam , p. lxxix., Philology of the Gospels , p. 33 ff. But however this may be, Blass has done invaluable service by pointing out that there is nothing in St. Luke’s words, Luke 21:20 ff., which can give colour to the theory which regards them as a mere vaticinium post eventum , by showing that Daniel 9:24 ff. already contained much which Luke is alleged to have added from his own knowledge of events already fulfilled, and by adding from modern history at least one remarkable prophecy and its fulfilment. Savona rola foretold as early as 1496 the capture of Rome, which happened in 1527, and he did this not merely in general terms but in detail; his words were realised to the letter when the sacred Churches of St. Peter and St. Paul became, as the prophet had foretold, stables for the conquerors’ horses. The difficulties of foreseeing this capture of the Holy City at all by an army which would not have refrained from such an act of sacrilege are vividly depicted by Blass, Philology of the Gospels , p. 42 ff. [23]

[23] Cf. Evangelium secundum Lucam , p. viii., where he adds: “Major utique Christus propheta quam Savonarola; hujus autem vaticinium longe difficilius fuit quam illius; nam hostis Romanus prævideri poterat, exercitus Lutheranus non poterat”.

But if on other grounds, e.g. , on account of the prologue to St. Luke’s Gospel (Harnack, u. s. , p. 248, Sanday, B.L. , p. 278, Page, Acts , p. xviii.), we are asked to place that book after the destruction of Jerusalem, it is further maintained by Harnack that some considerable interval must have elapsed after that event before Acts was written; for if it had been composed immediately after the destruction, the writer would have mentioned it as useful for his aim; and so the book must have been composed at a time, c. 80, when the overthrow of the Holy City no longer stood, as it were, in the foreground of events. But it may be doubted if this is a very convincing argument, for the Epistle of Barnabas, written, as Harnack holds, between the wide limits of 80 and 132 A.D., does refer to the destruction, and for the writer of this Epistle equally as for the writer of Acts the event would have been a fait accompli . It is doubtful whether, in fact, anything can be gained as to the fixture of date from this omission of any reference to the fate of the Holy City; if anything, the omission would point to the years before the destruction for the composition of the book, as Harnack himself allows, if we were not obliged, according to the same writer, by the date of the Gospel to place Acts also after the overthrow. Both in England and in Germany representative writers can be named in support of the earlier and of the later date, Dr. Salmon maintaining that Acts was written a little more than two years after St. Luke’s arrival in Rome ( cf. also Rackham, Journal of Theol. Studies , i., p. 77), whilst Dr. Sanday would apparently place Acts about 80 A.D., and the Gospel 75 80, B. L. , p. 279, so too Dr. Plummer, St. Luke , p. xxxi., both being influenced to a great extent by the presumption that the Gospel followed the fall of Jerusalem. In this the English critics are in interesting agreement with Zahn in his recent volume, Einleitung , ii., pp. 433, 434, so far as date is concerned, in that he too regards 80 A.D. as the terminus ad quem for both Gospel and Acts, assigning them probably to 75 A.D., but unable to find a place for them before the fall of Jerusalem. [24]

[24] Sir J. Hawkins in his valuable Horæ Synopticæ , p. 143, has recently drawn attention to the difference of vocabulary between the third Gospel and Acts, and whilst maintaining that it is quite insufficient to destory the argument for the identity of authorship, he thinks that it points to a considerable lapse of time between the two works. But we are dealing with a versatile author acquainted apparently with many writers, Vogel, Zur Charakteristik des Lucas nach Sprache und Stil , pp. 15, 17, 38, and the differences in question cannot have weighed with Blass, inasmuch as he places the completion of Acts three years after the Gospel, and still less with Zahn, who still maintains that the two books were published in the same year, 75. It is remarkable no doubt that τε is used so often in Acts in all parts of the book: nevertheless it occurs also in the third Gospel nine or ten times, but in St. Mark not at all, and in St. Matthew and St. John only three times in each; μὲν οὖν , although no doubt frequent in Acts, does not occur at all in St. Matthew and St. Mark, although it is found once in St. Luke, Luke 3:18 (twice in St. John); and - καὶ αὐτός , although occurring very frequently in the third Gospel, is not dropped in Acts, although proportionately it is rarely found (eight times).

It would appear then that the date of Acts must be determined to a great extent by the date assigned to the third Gospel; and this apparently was the view of Bishop Lightfoot ( cf. Plummer, St. Luke , p. xxix., and Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p. 163, 2nd edit.), inasmuch as he leaves the question of the date of Acts undetermined, and refers for its solution to the date assigned to St. Luke’s Gospel; although it should be noted that he does not attach any weight to the argument which finds in Luke 21:20-24 a proof that the Gospel was written after Jerusalem had fallen ( cf. also Headlam, “Acts,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 30, and Wendt, Apostelgeschichte , p. 40, for various dates).

As in the case of the Gospel, so in that of the Acts, it is impossible to say at what place it was written. The traditional view since the days of St. Jerome, De Vir. Illust. , 7, has favoured Rome (although elsewhere Jerome refers the writing of the Gospel to parts of Achaia and Bœotia, Præf. to Comm [25] in Matt. ), cf. Schneckenburger, Lekebusch, Godet, Felten, Blass, amongst others (Wendt, 1899, although rejecting the traditional account of St. Jerome, adds that he knows of no decisive grounds against Rome, p. 40). Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte , pp. 393, 429, in supporting the claims of Rome argues for the probability that St. Luke, like many medical men at the time, would be likely to find in Rome a good field for his professional work. Achaia, Macedonia, Asia Minor, Alexandria have all been mentioned, and Lightfoot also mentions Philippi. Pfleiderer has supported Ephesus on the ground that the writer manifests a special interest in that city, whilst Zöckler thinks that something may be said for Antioch in Syria, owing to St. Luke’s traditional connection with the place, Eus., H. E. , iii., 4; Jerome, De Vir. Illust. , 7, cf. Acts 11:28 , ., if there was the slightest ground for supposing that Luke at the period when the book was written had any residence in the Syrian town. On the whole it seems best with Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte , p. 42; Lightfoot, u. s. , p. 40; Zahn, Einleitung , ii., pp. 337, 439, to leave the locality undetermined; see especially the latter as to the bearing on the question of the mention of insignificant places such as Tres Tabernæ, Appii Forum, in the neighbourhood of Rome, and on the evident ignorance of Theophilus as to the localities of Palestine, and apparently also in some respects, and in comparison with the author, of Macedonia and Greece ( cf. Acts 16:12 ; Acts 17:19 ; Acts 17:21 ).

[25] omm. commentary, commentator.

If we turn to external testimony in favour of the book we find it full and satisfactory ( cf. Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , 2nd edit., p. 160, Headlam, “Acts,” Hastings’ B.D., i., p. 26, and Gore on the points of contact between the earlier chapters and the Didache 1 ; see Church and the Ministry , p. 416). To Wendt in his latest edition, p. 41 (1899), we again owe much that is of value, both in what he allows, and in what he declines to recognise. One very important point calls for determination at the outset. The likeness between the language of Acts 13:22 and Clem. Rom., Cor [26] , xviii. 1, in relation to Ps. 88:20 (LXX) cannot, as both Clemen and Wendt admit, be accidental. Indeed Wendt is of opinion that it is no more probable that Clement depends upon Acts than Acts upon Clement, while at the same time he holds that a third alternative is possible, viz. , that both writings may be dependent on some common third source, But there is no evidence forthcoming as to the existence of this common source, and Lightfoot rightly presses the significance of the threefold coincidence between the language of Acts and Clement, which cannot easily be explained away ( u. s. , p. 120). In Acts we have three features introduced which are not found in the original of the Psalm, viz. , the mention of the “witness,” and the addition ( a ) of “a man after my heart,” cf. 1 Samuel 13:14 , and ( b ) of “the son of Jesse,” but all these are also found in the passage in St. Clement. So again Wendt with many other critics would explain the words ἥδιον διδόντες ἢ λαμβάνοντες , Clem. Rom., Cor [27] , ii., 1, cf. Acts 20:35 , not by dependence upon Acts, but by a common tradition of the words of the Lord. But Wendt admits, although very guardedly, the use of Acts in Polycarp, Phil. , i., 2, cf. Acts 2:34 , Ignat., Ad Smyrn. , 3, Acts 10:41 , and he does not deny the connection between Ignat., Ad Magn. , 5, and Acts 1:25 , whilst he admits that in Justin Martyr the references become more clear and frequent (see, for a full and good estimate of the references to Ignatius and Polycarp, Headlam, “Acts,” Hastings’ B.D., i., p. 26).

[26] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[27] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

But it is most important to observe that Wendt fully recognises the influence of the Canonical Acts upon the Apocryphal Acts of the second century, although he points out that of this literature we only possess a small portion, and he expects great things from the recently discovered fragments of the Acta Pauli of the middle of the second century; cf. Acta Pauli et Theclæ (apparently a part of the Acta Pauli ), which are frequently dependent upon our Acts for their notices of persons and places, and also Acta Petri dependent again upon our Acts, as in the notice of the meeting of Peter and Simon Magus, cf. Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p, 159, and Harnack, Chron. , i., pp. 498 and 554 (although Harnack places the Acta Petri as late as the middle of the third century, whilst Zahn takes 170 as the terminus ad quem ). From other writings and documents of the second century the testimony to our book is clear, cf. Epist. ad Diognetum , 3, cf. Acts 17:24 ; the Epistle of Vienne and Lyons, cf. Acts 7:59 ff. (Euseb., H.E. , v., 2; Didache 1 , iv. 8, Acts 4:32 ), and two other references to St. Paul’s address at Athens, in Tatian, Orat. ad Græc. , 4, and Athenagoras, Legat. , 13 (Wendt) ( cf. possibly Dionysius of Corinth, Euseb., H.E. , iv., 23); so too in Justin Martyr, references to the book are found in Apol. , i and ii, and Dial. cum Tryph., cf., e.g. , Acts 1:8-9 ; Acts 2:2 , Apol. , i. 50; Acts 17:23 , Apol. , ii., 10; Acts 26:22 f., Dial. , 36 (Wendt, Zöckler, Headlam); and not only so, but it is definitely assigned to St. Luke and treated as Scripture in the Muratorian Fragment, l. 34; cf. Iren., Adv. Hær. , iii., 14, 15, Tertull., C. Marcion. , v., 2; De Jejun. , 10; Clem. Alex., Strom. , v., 12. Moreover, we must not lose sight of the fact that “all the evidence which testifies to the authorship of the third Gospel is available also for Acts, and conversely, and that the early testimony in favour of St. Luke as the author of the third Gospel is absolutely unbroken and undisputed for nearly eighteen centuries,” Lightfoot, u. s. , p. 30; Plummer, St. Luke , pp. xiv., xvi.

Space forbids us to enter into the many vexed questions which surround the chronology of Acts, but an attempt is made to discuss some of them in the pages of the commentary. A glance at the various tables given us in Meyer-Wendt (1888), p. 31, or in Farrar’s St. Paul , ii., p. 624, is enough in itself to show us the number and complexity of the problems raised. But fresh interest has been aroused not only by Professor Ramsay, but by the recent return of Harnack and O. Holtzmann ( cf. also McGiffert, Apostolic Age , p. 359; Blass, Proleg. , p. 22) to the earlier chronology of Eusebius (although O. Holtzmann does not mention him, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte , pp. 128, 132), formerly advocated by Bengel. According to Eusebius the recall of Felix must be dated between October 55 and 56. Harnack places the entry of Festus upon office in the summer of 56, since Paul embarks for Rome some few months after the arrival of Festus in the autumn, Chron. , i., p. 237. The Apostle would thus arrive in Rome in the spring of 57, and his release follows in 59. (O. Holtzmann from other data places the arrival of Festus in Palestine in the summer of 55, and both he and McGiffert place Paul’s arrival in Rome in 56, and his imprisonment 56 58.)

This chronology has been severely criticised by Wendt, Apostelgeschichte , p. 57 (1899), and it fails to commend itself to Ramsay, Expositor , March, 1897, as also more recently to Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 626. It has been objected to it, inter alia , that its supporters, or at all events Harnack and O. Holtzmann, place the conversion of Paul so soon after the death of our Lord that it is doubtful whether sufficient time is allowed for the events recorded in Acts 1-6 ( cf. Acts 26:10 ), although Holtzmann, p. 133, sees no difficulty in placing the conversion in 29, the date of the death of Jesus, as the events in Acts 1-8 in his view follow quickly upon one another. (Ramsay thinks that the interval before Stephen’s murder was short, but he allows two and a half or three years for the event after the great Pentecost; see notes in commentary for the difficulties connected with the martyrdom.) Harnack places the date of the conversion in 30, i.e. , according to him, either in the year following, or in the year of, the death of Jesus. On the other hand the chronology in question allows some considerable time for Paul’s release from his first captivity (a release admitted by Harnack and Spitta, as earlier by Renan), and for his subsequent journeys east and west, if Mr. Turner, “Chronology,” Hastings’ B.D., i., 420, is right in placing the death of both Peter and Paul in 64 65 (Harnack placing the death of St. Paul in 64 and of St. Peter in 67, Eusebius, however (so Blass), from whom Harnack here departs, placing the former event in 67 (68)). The received chronology, making 60, 61, the date for the arrival of Festus in Judæa, allows but little interval between the close of St. Paul’s first imprisonment and his death, if his martyrdom was in 64. The difficulty is met by Mr. Turner, u. s. , p. 421, by assigning 58 (Ramsay 59) as the precise year for the accession of Festus to office, placing the close of the Acts, after the two years’ captivity in Rome, early in 61, and so allowing an interval of three years between St. Paul’s first and second imprisonment. Unfortunately it must be admitted that we cannot positively fix 58 as the year for the event in question, and this uncertainty sadly interferes with the adoption of any precise chronology for Acts, although on all sides the importance of the date of Festus’ arrival is recognised “the crucial date,” Mr. Turner calls it; all depends upon ascertaining it, says Harnack ( cf. also Wendt, u. s. , p. 56; Page, Acts , xxxviii.; Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 639; Lightfoot, B.D. 2 , i., 42).

If we adopt Mr. Turner’s date for Festus a date intermediate between the earlier and later dates assigned above and work back, we get 56 as the date for St. Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem and imprisonment in Cæsarea, 55 for his leaving Ephesus, 52 for the commencement of his third missionary journey (for he stayed at Ephesus considerably over two years; Lewin, Fasti Sacri , p. 310, says three), 50 for his reaching Corinth (late in the year), where he sojourned eighteen months, 49 for Council at Jerusalem and second missionary journey. But if we identify the Council at Jerusalem, Acts 15:0 , with the second visit to Jerusalem according to Galatians 2:1 , but the third visit according to Acts, the question arises as to whether the notices in Galatians 1:18 ; Galatians 2:1 involve seventeen years as an interval between the Conversion and the Council (with Lightfoot, Harnack, Zahn), or whether the fourteen years, Galatians 2:1 , should be reckoned from the Conversion, i.e. , eleven years from the first visit of St. Paul to Jerusalem, including the three in the fourteen (with Ramsay, Turner, McGiffert). [28]

[28] But Professor Ramsay, it must be remembered, identifies Galatians 2:0 with Acts 11:30 ; Acts 12:25 (see notes in commentary), and an interval of fourteen years between St. Paul’s conversion and the famine would be more probable than an interval of seventeen, which would throw the conversion back too early, and Dr. McGiffert identifies the accounts of both visits in Acts 11:15 the former for famine relief and the latter for the settlement of the controversy with the Judaisers with the visit mentioned in Galatians 2:1 , Apostolic Age , p. 208.

Against the former view Mr. Turner urges the objection that in this case the first visit to Jerusalem would be carried back to 35 36, whereas in all probability Aretas was not ethnarch of Damascus until 37 (2 Corinthians 11:32 , Acts 9:25-26 ; see commentary), and he therefore includes the three years in the fourteen, and thus gets 35 36 for the conversion, and 38 (under Aretas) for the first visit. As Mr. Turner places the Crucifixion 29 A.D., his scheme is thus free from the objection referred to above as against Harnack and O. Holtzmann, since it allows some six or seven years for the events in the early chapters of Acts (see further on the whole question of chronology Mr. Turner’s full and valuable article already mentioned; Zahn, u. s. , ii.; Excursus , ii.; Professor Ramsay, “Pauline Chronology,” Expositor , March, 1897; Professor Bacon (Yale), “Criticism of the New Chron. of Paul,” Expositor , February, 1898; Wendt, u. s. (1899), p. 53 ff.; Biblical World , November, 1897; Mr. Vernon Bartlet’s article on “Pauline Hist. and Chron.,” Expositor , October, 1899, written too late for more than a brief mention here, as also Professor Bacon’s more recent contribution, Expositor , November, 1899).

But although there are so many points of contact between secular history and the Acts, it seems that we must still be content with what Harnack describes as a relative rather than an absolute Chronology. We cannot say, e.g. , that we can fix precisely the date of the famine, or the edict of Claudius, or the proconsulship of Gallio, or the reign of Aretas, to take the four events mentioned by Lightfoot, “Acts,” B.D. 2 , i., p. 4, as also by Harnack, Chron. , i., p. 236, cf. Zahn, u.s. , ii.; Excursus ii. But in this respect no blame attaches to St. Luke as an historian. His object was to connect the history of the rise and progress of the Christian Faith with the course of general imperial history around him, and if his chronological sense seems deficient to modern judgment, it was a deficiency in which he was by no means peculiar, but which he shared with his contemporaries and his age, cf. Ramsay, St. Paul , pp. 18, 23, and Was Christ born at Bethlehem? pp. 204, 256.

STATE OF THE TEXT. It is not too much to say that during the last fifteen years chief interest has centred around the Western text and its relative importance ( cf. Blass, Studien und Kritiken , p. 86 ff., 1894; Acta Apostolorum , 1895, and Acta Apostolorum , 1896, also Evangelium secundum Lucam , 1897, both edited secundum formam quæ videtur Romanam; see also Dräseke, Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol. , p. 192 ff., 1894). [29]

[29] The main division of MSS. of Acts into three groups, with references to W. H. and Blass, is well given in Old Latin Biblical Texts , iv., pp. xvii., xviii. (H. J. White, Oxon., 1897).

Codex [30] , its most important representative, contains an unusually large number of variations from the received text in Acts (see for the number Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , 2nd edit., p. 165; he reckons, e.g. , some 410 additions or interpolations), and it is no wonder that attempts should have been made to account for this diversity. Bornemann’s endeavour some half-century ago (1848) to represent [31] as the original text, and the omissions in the common text as due to the negligence or ignorance of copyists, found no acceptance, and whilst in one sense Blass may be said to have returned to the position of Bornemann, he has nevertheless found his predecessor’s solution totally inadequate, Philology of the Gospels , p. 105. Joannes Clericus, Jean Leclerc, the Dutch philologist (born 1657), had already suggested that St. Luke had made two editions of Acts, and is said by Semler to have published his opinion, although under an assumed name (Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 348; see also on the same page Zahn’s interesting acknowledgment that he was himself in 1885 6 working on much the same lines as Blass). Meanwhile Tisch., W. H., B. Weiss have sought to establish the text of Acts essentially on the basis of [32] [33] [34] [35] , and it was left for Blass to startle the world of textual criticism by boldly claiming a fresh originality for Codex [36] . But this originality was not exclusive; St. Luke has given us two originals, first a rough copy [37] , R(omana), in Blass, and then a fair copy [38] , and A(ntiochena), for the use of Theophilus; the rough copy remained in Rome and became the foundation of the Western text, copies of it having reached Syria and Egypt in the second century, while the latter abridged by Luke reached Theophilus in Antioch (so Blass), and was thence propagated in the East. [39]

[30] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[31] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[32] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[33] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[34] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[35] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[36] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[37] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[38] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[39] On the difference between the circulation of the two copies in the case of the third Gospel see Philology of the Gospels , p. 103. In England Bishop Lightfoot had previously conjectured that the Evangelist might himself have issued two separate editions of both Gospel and Acts, On a Fresh Revision of the N.T. , p. 29. For similar instances of the issue of a double edition in classical and other literature see Dräseke, u. s. , p. 194; Zöckler, Greifswalder Studien , p. 132, and Blass, Proleg ., p. 32.

But Codex [40] is by no means the sole witness, although a very weighty one, upon which Blass depends for his [41] text. He derives help from Codex [42] (Laudianus), from the minuscule 137 () in Milan, especially for the last chapters in which [43] is deficient, and in some passages also from Codex Ephraem, ; from the Philoxenian Syriac version with the marginal annotations of Thomas Harkel (unfortunately we have no Old Syriac text as for the Gospels), the Sahidic version, the Latin text in , d, and , e, the Fleury palimpsest (Samuel Berger, 1889), Flor. in Blass; the so-called “Gigas” Latin version in Stockholm (Belsheim, 1879), Gig. in Blass; the Codex Parisinus, 321 (S. Berger, 1895), Par. in Blass; a Latin version of the N.T., fifteenth century, in Wernigerode, Wernig., w. , in Blass, and a Latin version of the thirteenth century, “in linguam provinciæ Gallicæ Romanæ facta,” Prov. in Blass. [44]

[40] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[41] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[42] Codex Sangermanensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., now at St. Petersburg, formerly belonging to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Its text is largely dependent upon that of D. The Latin version, e (a corrected copy of d), has been printed, but with incomplete accuracy, by Belsheim (18 5).

[43] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[44] To these may be added fragments of an old Latin translation of Acts in the Anonymi de prophetis et prophetiis containing six passages, notably Acts 11:27-28 , in agreement with Codex D, cf. Miscellanea Cassinese , 1897, and Harnack, Theol. Literaturzeitung , p. 171, No. 6, 1898; the Greek Codex Athous, derived according to Blass, Philology of the Gospels , p. 250, from an old and very valuable original, and taken into some account by Hilgenfeld, Acta Apostolorum , p. ix. (1899), and cf. Acts 15:20 ; Acts 15:29 . Hilgenfeld also adds to the Latin versions, Codex Vindobonensis s . (probably sixth century), cf. Acts 28:20 , and see Old Latin Biblical Texts , iv. (H. J. White, Oxon., 1897).

In addition to these MSS. and versions Blass also appeals to the text employed by Irenæus, which contains many resemblances to ; to the text of St. Cyprian, which shows the same peculiarity; to the text of St. Augustine, especially in his treatises against the Manicheans, containing Acts 1:1 to Acts 2:13 ; Acts 10:13 ; Acts 10:15 , parts which are not found in the Fleury palimpsest: cf. also Tertullian, whose text, although it contains few quotations from Acts, resembles that of Irenæus (add to these the work De promissionibus et prædicationibus Dei , referred, but wrongly, to Prosper, Prom, in Blass; and the Contra Varimadum of Vigilius, Vigil. in Blass: works not valued so highly by Hilgenfeld in his list of authorities for the Western text, Acta Apostolorum , p. xiii., 1899). By these aids Blass constructs his [45] text, even for those portions where [46] is wanting, viz. , from Acts 8:29 , πρόσελθε to Acts 10:14 , ἔφαγον ; from Acts 21:2 , ἐπιβάντες to ver. 10, ἀπὸ τῆς ; Acts 22:10 , ὧν τέτακται to ver. 20, συνευδοκῶν , and from Acts 22:29 , οἱ μέλλοντες to the end of the book, and his aim is to restore the Western text as it existed about the time of Cyprian, cf. Evangelium secundum Lucam , p. xxxi. The merit of his work in showing how widespread and interesting was the Western form of text is acknowledged even by those who do not accept his conclusions, see, e.g. , Wendt, Apostelgeschichte (1899), p. 46, and Bousset, Theol. Rundschau , p. 413, 1898, although both object that Blass does not rightly estimate his different witnesses.

[45] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[46] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

But Blass is able to refer in support of his use of some of the authorities mentioned to the important investigation of Dr. P. Corssen in his Der Cyprianische Text der Acta Apostolorum , 26 pp., 1892. This Latin text carries us back at least to the middle of the third century (and earlier still according to Harris, Four Lectures , etc., p. 53 ff., who thinks that the text might be called Tertullianic equally as well as Cyprianic; but see on the other hand Blass, Acta Apost. , edit, m., p. xxxi.), as Corssen shows by comparing the readings of the Fleury palimpsest (sixth century) (1) with St. Cyprian’s quotations from Acts, (2) with similar quotations in the works of St. Augustine referred to above, De Actis cum Felice Manichæo and Contra epistolam Manichæi , (3) with the quotations in the work mentioned above as that of Prosper (Harris, u.s. , p. 53). Behind these various texts Corssen concludes that there was a common Latin primitive, i.e. , the Cyprian text, as he calls it. Moreover, this Cyprian text is a Western witness superior in value even to the Greek of Codex Bezæ, since it has in Corssen’s opinion an internal unity and sequence wanting in the latter, although it agrees in many peculiarities with the Greek of that Codex (Harris, u.s. , p. 53; Salmon, Introd. , p. 594). Corssen thus helps materially to prove the antiquity of the Western Latin.

But Dr. Blass further acknowledges that Corssen has done most valuable service in proving the composite nature of Codex [47] , and that in it we have not [48] in its purity, but in a state of frequent mixture and conflation with [49] . Whilst, however, Blass regards the [50] text as the older, Corssen regards [51] in that light, and [52] as revealing the character of a later revision ( Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen , pp. 433, 436, 446: 1896); in [53] he somewhat strangely maintains that we have the hand of a Montanist reviser at work ( cf. Blass’s strictures, Evang. secundum Lucam , p. xxiv. ff.), a theory formerly adopted by Professor Harris, but afterwards abandoned by him.

[47] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[48] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[49] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[50] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[51] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[52] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[53] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

But how far do the variations between the two forms of text justify the hypothesis of Blass that both may be referred to one author, [54] as the primary, [55] as the secondary text? [56]

[54] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[55] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[56] Blass still maintains, as against Corssen, that the language of the additions, and generally in variants of β , is Lucan, Philology of the Gospels , p. 113 ff., and Evangelium secundum Lucam , p. xxvii. ff.

In the apparatus criticus of the following pages, in which the variations for the most part in the two texts are stated and examined, it cannot be claimed for a moment that any definite conclusion is reached, simply because the matter is one which may be said to call for suspension of judgment. Certainly there are many difficulties in the way of accepting the theory of Blass in its entirety. There are passages, e.g. , of which it may be said that the more detailed form is the original, which was afterwards shortened, while it may be maintained often with equal force that the shortened form may well have been the original; there are passages where a local knowledge or an exact knowledge of circumstances is shown, e.g. , Acts 12:10 , Acts 19:9 , Acts 20:15 , Acts 21:1 , but such passages do not prove the priority of the [57] text, for if both [58] and [59] are referred to the same author, the same hand which omitted in a revision could also have added, although such instances may be cited for the originality of the [60] text in comparison with [61] (see notes in loco for each passage). To these may be added the famous addition in Acts 11:28 (see in loco ), which Blass makes the starting-point for his inquiry, and to which Hilgenfeld, Zahn, Zöckler, Salmon, as against Harnack and B. Weiss, attach so much importance. There are again other passages in which it may be maintained that if [62] is original we can understand the smoothness of [63] , but not vice versâ and it must always be remembered that this love of paraphrase and simplification has been urged on high authority as a marked characteristic of the Western readings in general, cf. W. H., p. 122 ff., and B. Weiss, Der Codex [64] in der Apostelgeschichte , pp. 52, 105: 1897. There are, moreover, other passages in which Blass seems to assimilate [65] and [66] , although the witnesses would differentiate them, cf. Acts 5:28 ; Acts 5:34 , Acts 15:33 , or in which there is a manifest blunder, not only in [67] but in other Western witnesses, which Blass corrects by [68] , although such blunders really belong to the [69] text, cf. Acts 5:31 , Acts 13:48 , Acts 15:15 . There are cases in which [70] affords weighty support to readings otherwise testified to only by , e.g. , Acts 19:8 , Acts 21:25 , or only by [71] , cf. Acts 2:20 (Wendt).

[57] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[58] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[59] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[60] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[61] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[62] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[63] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[64] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[65] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[66] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[67] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[68] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[69] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[70] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[71] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

But a careful consideration of the whole of the instances justifies the attachment of far greater importance to the Western text than formerly ( cf., e.g. , Holtzmann’s review of Blass’s edit. min. of Acts, Theol. Literaturzeitung , p. 350, 1897, No. 13), and goes some way to break down the former prejudice against Codex Bezæ: not only is it allowed that one revising hand of the second century may be the main source of the most important readings, but that these readings may contain original elements, since they must be based upon a text which carries us back very near to the date of the composition of the book of Acts (Wendt, u.s. , p. 52; Bousset, Theol. Rundschau , p. 414, 1898). The same tendency to attach more importance to the Western text is observable in Professor Ramsay, for although he regards the most vivid additions of the Western text in Acts as for the most part nothing but a second-century commentary, and while he refuses to introduce Acts 11:27-28 , , into his own text, yet he speaks of the high value of [72] in that it preserves with corruptions a second-century witness to the text, and he places the home of the revision on the line of intercourse between the Syrian Antioch and Ephesus, arguing from Acts 11:28 that the reviser was acquainted with Antioch ( Church in the Roman Empire , p. 151; St. Paul , p. 27, and review of Professor Blass, Expositor , 1895, and cf. Zöckler, Greifswalder Studien , pp. 131, 140).

[72] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

On the other hand the most thorough advocates of Dr. Blass’s theory support his view of the priority and originality of [73] by reference to three classes of passages: (1) those in which the later [74] has abbreviated the reading of [75] , cf. Acts 3:1 , Acts 4:1 ; Acts 4:3 ; Acts 4:24 ; Acts 4:32 , Acts 7:29 , Acts 9:5-8 , Acts 10:23 , Acts 11:2 , Acts 14:1-20 , Acts 16:19 , Acts 17:12 ; Acts 17:15 , Acts 21:39 , Acts 22:26 ; (2) those in which [76] contains exact and specific notices of time which are wanting in [77] , cf. Acts 15:30 , Acts 16:11 , Acts 17:19 , Acts 18:19 , Acts 19:9 , Acts 20:18 , Acts 27:1 , etc.; (3) those in which exact information appears to characterise the references of [78] to places, circumstances, persons, cf. , in addition to passages of this character already noticed under (1), Acts 11:28 , Acts 12:1 ; Acts 12:10 , Acts 16:35 , Acts 18:18 ; Acts 18:27 , Acts 19:14 , Acts 20:15 , Acts 21:16 , Acts 24:27 , Acts 28:16 ; Acts 28:19 (see for these passages Zöckler, Greifswalder Studien , p. 134 ff., and notes in apparatus criticus , and in opposition to the view of Zöckler Mr. Page’s detailed list of passages in , all of which he regards as bearing traces of being subsequent corrections of the text by a second-rate hand, Classical Review , p. 319, July, 1897, and Blass’s reply, Philology of the Gospels , p. 123). [79]

[73] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[74] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[75] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[76] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[77] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[78] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[79] In 1891 Professor Harris regarded the reading of Codex D (see Blass, edit. min., p. xx.) as the result of their adaptation to the Latin version of a bilingual MS. which carries us back to the middle of the second century, a view which he has somewhat modified in 1894, Four Lectures , etc., p. viii., although still maintaining a certain amount of Latinisation. Schmiedel, Enc. Bibl ., i., 52, 1899, recently supports Harris, and maintains that the Greeks of D rests partly on retranslation from the Latin. In his later book Dr. Harris examines the theory of Dr. Chase, that the peculiarities of Codex D are due to retranslation from an old Syriac version, pp. 14, 68, and maintains that whilst Dr. Chase’s position is justified in so far that we possess evidence of an old Syriac text of Acts, yet his explanation of the Western variants as due to a Syriac glossator cannot be sustained, see also Zöckler, u. s. , p. 131, and Headlam, “Acts,” Hastings’ B.D.

If an examination of these passages, which vary considerably in value and importance, and the proofs of the existence of a second-century Latin text convince us that the readings in [80] are not to be hastily rejected as the glosses of a careless or blundering scribe, it cannot be said that we are in a position to account for the origin of the Western readings, or that a solution of the problem is yet attained. The hypothesis of Blass, tempting as it is, and simple as it is, wants verification, and the very simplicity which commends it to its supporters is often a sore stumbling-block to its acceptance, inasmuch as it does not seem to account for all the facts of the case. But at the present stage of the controversy it is of interest to note that the honoured name of Theodor Zahn, Einleitung , ii., 340, 1899, may be added to those who accept in the main Blass’s position, amongst whom may be mentioned Nestle, Belser, Zöckler, Salmon. [81] Zahn makes some reservations, e.g. , with regard to Acts 15:29 (see in loco , and Harnack, Sitzungsberichte d. königl. Preuss. Akad. d. Wissenschaften zu Berlin , xi., 1899), whilst he lays stress upon Acts 11:28 , and maintains the genuine Lucan character of the words used, e.g. , ἀγαλλίασις , συστρέφειν .

[80] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[81] Amongst the keenest attacks upon the theory may be noted that of B. Weiss in Codex D in der Apostelgeschichte , 1897; Page, Classical Review , July, 1897, and more recently, Harnack, see notes on Acts 11:28 and Acts 15:29 ; Schmiedel in Enc. Bibl. , 50 56, 1899. Wendt’s examination of the question, Apostelgeschichte (1899), pp. 43 53, should also be carefully considered, whilst Blass has replied to the strictures of Harnack and Zahn in Studien und Kritiken , i., 1900.

Still more recently Hilgenfeld, Acta Apostolorum , 1899, has again, and more fully, expressed his conviction of the priority of the [82] text (although he differs from Blass and Zahn in not referring [83] and [84] to the same original author [85] ), and he has reconstructed it much on the same lines as Blass, and somewhat more boldly. References to the text adopted by Hilgenfeld will be frequently found in the apparatus criticus (as also to his annotations which deal largely with the criticisms of B. Weiss in his Codex [86] ). In his Proleg. Hilgenfeld divides the authorities for the Western text as against [87] [88] [89] [90] into various groups: (1) Græco-Latin MSS.: Codex [91] and ; (2) Latin versions: Flor., Gig., Par., Wernig., Prov., as Blass calls them, see above on p. 42; (3) Oriental versions: especially the marginal readings of Thomas Harkel in the Philoxenian Syriac; also the Sahidic version; (4) the Fathers: especially Irenæus, Cyprian, Tertullian (with reference to Corssen’s pamphlet, see above); (5) some readings even in the four great MSS. [92] [93] [94] [95] . Hilgenfeld evidently attaches some weight (as Blass) to 137 (), and to Codex Athous Lauræ, p. ix. (see Blass, Philology of the Gospels , p. 250; and further, Studien und Kritiken , i., 1900).

[82] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[83] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

[84] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[85] “ Blassio debemus alterum Actorum app. textum non ortum ex jam fere recepto, sed hinc ab ipso Actorum app. auctore postea breviante et emendante in chartam puram scriptum esse minime demonstravit, lima ita potitus est, ut etiam genuina et necessaria non pauca sublata sint,” p. xiv.

[86] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[87] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[88] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[89] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[90] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[91] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[92] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[93] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[94] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[95] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

For Literature bearing on Acts see the valuable lists in Headlam, “Acts,” Hastings’ B.D., pp. 34, 35, and Wendt, Apostelgeschichte , pp. 1 4, 1899. The present writer would venture to add to the former: (1) Commentaries: Felten, Apostelgeschichte , 1892; Knabenbauer, Actus Apostolorum (Paris, 1899), two learned and reverent works by Romanists, the latter dealing with the most recent phase of modern problems of text, chronology and sources; Wendt, Apostelgeschichte (Meyer-Wendt), 1899, with a full Introduction, pp. 1 60, discussing all recent problems, with constant reference in the text to Professor Ramsay’s writings, and altogether indispensable for the study of Acts; Matthias, Auslegung der Apostelgeschichte , 1897, a compendium useful in some respects, based chiefly upon Wendt’s earlier edition; Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , 2nd edit., 1894; to these constant reference is made. (2) Introductions: Zahn, Einleitung , ii., 1899; B. Weiss, Einleitung , 3rd edit., 1897; Jülicher, Einleitung , 1894; (3) Special Treatises: Hilgenfeld, Acta Apostolorum , Græce et Latine, 1899; J. Weiss, Über die Absicht und den literarischen Charakter der Apostelgeschichte , 1897; Bethge, Die Paulinischen Reden der Apostelgeschichte , 1887, a reverent and in many respects valuable treatment of the text and sources of St. Paul’s addresses; Bishop Williams of Connecticut, Studies in Acts , 1888; Gilbert, Student’s Life of St. Paul , 1899: with appendix on Churches of Galatia; Luckock, Footprints of the Apostles as traced by St. Luke in the Acts , 1897; (4) Early Church History: McGiffert, Apostolic Age; Hort, Ecclesia; Nösgen, Geschichte d. Neut. Offenbarung , ii., 1892; (5) Monographs on Special Points: E. H. Askwith, Epistle to the Galatians , 1899 (an enlargement of the Norrisian Prize Essay on The Locality of the Churches of Galatia ); Vogel, Zur Charakteristik des Lukas nach Sprache und Stil , 1897; Nestle, Philologica Sacra ( Bemerkungen über die Urgestalt der Evangelien und A.G. ), 1896, and his Einführung in das Griechische N.T ., 2nd edit., 1899, frequently referred to by Zahn and Dalman; Blass, Philology of the Gospels , and Præf. to Evangelium secundum Lucam , 1897; Klostermann, Probleme im Aposteltexte , 1883, and Vindiciæ Lucanæ , 1866; Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ , pp. 140 158, on the Linguistic Relations between St. Luke’s Gospel and Acts; Bousset, Der Text des N.T. , 1898 ( Theol. Rundschau , p. 405 ff.); B. Weiss, Der Codex [96] , 1897, dealing with the hypothesis of Dr. Blass; Harnack, Sitzungsberichte der königlich Preussischen Akad. der Wissenschaften zu Berlin , xi. and xvii., 1899; Curtius, “Paulus in Athen” ( Gesammelte Abhandlungen , ii., pp. 528 543, 1894); see also Ramsay, various articles of great value in Hastings’ B.D., i., ii., “Ephesus,” “Galatia,” “Corinth,” etc., and Schmiedel, “Acts,” in Enc. Bibl. , 1899, which appeared too late for more than a few references here. For literature connected with special points, and the text and sources of Acts, see above, pp. 8, 22, 41, and for grammatical questions and syntax see references in commentary to Simcox, Language of the N.T.; Blass, Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch , 1896; Viteau, Le Grec du N.T. , 1893 and 1896; and to the numbers of Winer-Schmiedel, Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms , now in course of publication. [97]

[96] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[97] In the preparation of the textual criticism my best thanks are due to the kind and valuable help of the Rev. Harold Smith, M.A., St. John’s College, Cambridge, sometime Lecturer in King’s College, London.


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