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Bible Commentaries

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

- Acts

by Heinrich Meyer






























T HE third edition of this Commentary appeared in the year 1861. The accessions to the exegetical literature of the Book of Acts since that date have been on the whole meagre; and they have been chiefly directed to the investigation of certain specially important facts which are recorded in the Book, as regards their miraculous character and their relation to the Pauline Epistles. [1] The critical researches as to this canonical writing are, doubtless, not yet concluded; but they are in such a position that we must regard the attempts prosecuted with so much keenness, confidence, and acuteness to make the Book of Acts appear an intentional medley of truth and fiction like a historical romance, as having utterly failed. To this result several able apologetic works have within the last ten years contributed their part, while the criticism which finds “purpose” everywhere has been less active, and has not brought forward arguments more cogent than those already so often discussed. Even the new edition of the chief work of Baur, in which its now departed author has devoted his last scientific labours to the contents of the Acts of the Apostles, furnishes nothing essentially new, and it touches only here and there on the objections urged by his opponents.

[1] There has just appeared in the first part of the Stud, und Krit. for 1870 the beginning of an elaborate rejoinder to Holsten, by Beyschlag: “die Visions-hypothese in ihrer neuesten Begründung,” which I can only mention here as an addition to the literature noted at Acts 9:3-9 . [Soon after this preface was written, there appeared Dr. Overbeck’s Commentary, which, while formally professing to be a new edition of de Wette’s work, is in greater part an extravagant application to the Book of Acts of a detailed historical criticism which de Wette himself strongly condemned. It is an important and interesting illustration of the Tübingen critical method (above referred to) as pushed to its utmost limits; but it possesses little independent value from an exegetical point of view.

With reference to the method of judging the New Testament writings, which Dr. Baur started, and in which he has taken the lead, I cannot but regret that, in controversy with it, we should hear people speak of “believing” and “critical” theology as of things necessarily contrasted and mutually exclusive. It would thus seem, as if faith must of necessity be uncritical, and criticism unbelieving. Luther himself combined the majestic heroism of his faith with all freedom, nay, boldness of criticism, and as to the latter, he laid stress even on the dogmatic side (“ what makes for Christ ”), a course, no doubt, which led him to mistaken judgments regarding some N. T. writings, easily intelligible as it may appear in itself from the personal idiosyncrasy of the great man, from his position as a Reformer, and from the standpoint of science in his time. As regards the Acts of the Apostles, however, which he would have called “a gloss on the Epistles of St. Paul,” he with his correct and sure tact discerned and hit upon the exact opposite of what recent criticism has found: “Thou findest here in this book a beautiful mirror, wherein thou mayest see that this is true: Sola fides justificat .” The contrary character of definite “purpose,” which has in our days been ascribed to the book, necessarily involves the corresponding lateness of historical date, to which these critics have not hesitated to transfer it. But this very position requires, in my judgment, an assent on their part to a critical impossibility. For as hardly a single unbiassed person would venture to question the author has not made use of any of the Pauline Epistles preserved to us; and therefore these letters cannot have been accessible to him when he was engaged in the collection of his materials or in the composition of his work, because he would certainly have been far from leaving unused historical sources of such productiveness and of so direct and supreme authenticity, had they stood at his command. How is it to be still supposed, then, that he could have written his work in an age, in which the Epistles of the apostle were already everywhere diffused by means of copies and had become a common possession of the church, an age, for which we have the oldest testimony in the canon itself from the unknown author of the so-called Second Epistle of Peter (2 Peter 3:15 f.)?

It is my most earnest desire that the labour, which I have gladly devoted, as in duty bound, to this new edition, may be serviceable to the correct understanding of the book, and to a right estimate of its historical contents; and to these ends may God give it His blessing!

I may add that, to my great regret, I did not receive the latest work of Wieseler, [2] which presents the renewed fruit of profound and independent study, till nearly half of my book was already finished and in type. But it has reference for the most part to the Gospels and their chronology, the investigation of which, however, extends in many cases also into the Book of Acts. The arguments adduced by Wieseler in his tenth Beitrag , with his wonted thoughtfulness and depth of research, in proof of the agreement of Luke 24:44 ff. and Acts 1:1 , have not availed to shake me in my view that here the Book of Acts follows a different tradition from the Gospel.

[2] Beiträge zur richtigen Würdigung der Evangelien und der evangel. Geschichte , Gotha, 1869.


HANNOVER, October 22, 1869.


THE explanations prefixed to previously issued volumes of this Commentary [see especially the General Preface to ROMANS, vol. I.] regarding the principles on which the translation has been undertaken, and the method followed in its execution, are equally applicable to the portion now issued.

W. P. D.



[FOR commentaries and collections of notes embracing the whole New Testament, see Preface to the Commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew. The following list consists mainly of works which deal with the Acts of the Apostles in particular. Several of the works named, especially of the older, are chiefly doctrinal or homiletic in their character; while some more recent books, dealing with the history and chronology of the apostolic age, or with the life of St. Paul, or with the genuineness of the Book of Acts, have been included because of the special bearing of their discussions on its contents. Monographs on chapters or sections are generally noticed by Meyer in loc. The editions quoted are usually the earliest; al. appended denotes that the work has been more or less frequently reprinted; † marks the date of the author’s death; c = circa , an approximation to it.]

ALEXANDER (Joseph Addison), D.D., [3] 1860, Prof. Bibl. and Eccl. Hist. at Princeton: The Acts of the Apostles explained. 2 vols. 8°, New York [ and Lond.] 1857, al.

[3] The date of the author’s death

ANGER (Rudolf), [4] 1866, Prof. Theol. at Leipzig: De temporum in Actis Apostolorum ratione. 8°, Lips. 1833.

[4] The date of the author’s death

ARCULARIUS (Daniel), [5] 1596, Prof. Theol. at Marburg: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum, cura Balthazaris Mentzeri editus. See also GERHARD (Johann). 8°, Francof. 1607, al.

[5] The date of the author’s death

BARRINGTON (John Shute, Viscount), [6] Acts 1734: Miscellanea sacra; or a new method of considering so much of the history of the Apostles as is contained in Scripture. 2 vols. Lond. 1725. 2d edition, edited by Bishop Barrington. 3 vols. 8°, Lond. 1770.

[6] The date of the author’s death

BAUMGARTEN (Michael), lately Prof. Theol. at Rostock: Die Apostelgeschichte, oder der Entwicklungsgang der Kirche von Jerusalem bis Romans 2:0 Bände. 8°, Braunschw. 1852.

[Translated by Rev. A. J. W. Morrison and Theod. Meyer. 3 vols. 8°, Edin. 1854.]

BAUR (Ferdinand Christian), [7] 1860, Prof. Theol. at Tübingen: Paulus der Apostel Jesu Christi. Sein Leben und Wirken, seine Briefe und seine Lehre. 8°, Stuttg. 1845, al.

[7] The date of the author’s death

[Translated by Rev. Allan Menzies. 2 vols. 8°, Lond. 1875 6.]

BEDA (Venerabilis), [8] 735, Monk at Jarrow: In Acta Apostolorum expositio [Opera].

[8] The date of the author’s death

BEELEN (Jean-Théodore), R. C. Prof. Or. Lang. at Louvain: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum.… 2 voll. 4°, Lovanii, 1850.

BENSON (George), D.D., [9] 1763, Minister in London: The History of the first planting of the Christian religion, taken from the Acts of the Apostles and their Epistles. 2 vols. 4°, Lond. 1735. 2d edition, with large additions. 3 vols. 4°, Lond. 1756.

[9] The date of the author’s death

BISCOE (Richard), [10] 1748, Prebendary of St. Paul’s: The History of the Acts of the Holy Apostles, confirmed from other authors.… 2 vols. 8°, Lond. 1742, al.

[10] The date of the author’s death

BLOMFIELD (Charles James), D.D., [11] 1857, Bishop of London: Twelve Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles.… 8°, Lond. 1825.

[11] The date of the author’s death

BRENZ [BRENTIUS] (Johann), [12] 1570, Provost at Stuttgart: In Acta Apostolica homiliae centum viginti duae. 2°, Francof. 1561, al.

[12] The date of the author’s death

BUGENHAGEN (Johann), [13] 1558, Prof. Theol. at Wittenberg: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum. 8°, Vitemb. 1524, al.

[13] The date of the author’s death

BULLINGER (Heinrich), [14] 1575, Pastor at Zürich: In Acta Apostolorum commentariorum libri vi. 2°, Tiguri, 1533, al.

[14] The date of the author’s death

BURTON (Edward), D.D., [15] 1836, Prof. of Divinity at Oxford: An attempt to ascertain the chronology of the Acts of the Apostles and of St. Paul’s Epistles. 8°, Oxf. 1830.

[15] The date of the author’s death

CAJETANUS [TOMMASO DA VIO], [16] 1534, Cardinal: Actus Apostolorum commentariis illustrati. 2°, Venet. 1530, al.

[16] The date of the author’s death

CALIXTUS (Georg), [17] 1656, Prof. Theol. at Helmstadt: Expositio literalis in Acta Apostolorum. 4°, Brunsvigae, 1654.

[17] The date of the author’s death

CALVIN [CHAUVIN] (Jean), [18] 1564, Reformer: Commentarii in Acta Apostolorum. 2°, Genev. 1560, al.

[18] The date of the author’s death

[Translated by Christopher Featherstone. 4°, Lond. 1585, al. ]

CAPELLUS [CAPPEL] (Louis), [19] 1658, Prof. Theol. at Saumur: Historia apostolica illustrata ex Actis Apostolorum et Epistolis inter se collatis, collecta, accurate digesta … 4°, Salmur. 1683.

[19] The date of the author’s death

CASSIODORUS (Magnus Aurelius), [20] 563. See ROMANS.

[20] The date of the author’s death

CHRYSOSTOMUS (Joannes), [21] 407, Archbishop of Constantinople: Homiliae lv. in Acta Apostolorum [Opera].

[21] The date of the author’s death

CONYBEARE (William John), M.A., HOWSON (John Saul), D.D.: Life and Epistles of St. Paul. 4°, Lond. 1852, al.

COOK (Frederick Charles), M.A., Canon of Exeter: The Acts of the Apostles; with a commentary, and practical and devotional suggestions.… 12°, Lond. 1850.

CRADOCK (Samuel), B.D., [22] 1706, Nonconformist minister: The Apostolical history … from Christ’s ascension to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus; with a narrative of the times and occasions upon which the Epistles were written: with an analytical paraphrase of them. 2°, Lond. 1672.

[22] The date of the author’s death

CRELL (Johann), [23] 1633, Socinian Teacher at Racow: Commentarius in magnam partem Actorum Apostolorum [Opera].

[23] The date of the author’s death

DENTON (William), M.A., Vicar of S. Bartholomew, Cripplegate: A commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. 2 vols. 8°, Lond. 1874 6.

DICK (John), D.D., [24] 1834, Prof. Theol. to United Secession Church, Glasgow: Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles. 2 vols. 8°, Glasg. 1805 6, al.

[24] The date of the author’s death

DIEU (Louis de), [25] 1642, Prof. at Leyden: Animadversiones in Acta Apostolorum, ubi, collatis Syri, Arabis, Aethiopici, Vulgati, Erasmi et Bezae versionibus, difficiliora quaeque loca illustrantur … 4°, Lugd. Bat. 1634.

[25] The date of the author’s death

DIONYSIUS CARTHUSIANUS [DENYS DE RYCKEL], [26] 1471, Carthusian monk: In Acta Apostolorum commentaria. 2°, Paris, 1552.

[26] The date of the author’s death

DU VEIL. See VEIL (Charles Marie de).

ELSLEY (Heneage), M.A., Vicar of Burneston: Annotations on the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles; compiled and abridged for the use of students. 3 vols. 8°, Lond. 1812, al.

FERUS [WILD] (Johannes), [27] 1554, Cathedral Preacher at Mentz: Enarrationes breves et dilucidae in Acta Apostolorum. 2°, Colon. 1567.

[27] The date of the author’s death

FROMOND [FROIDMONT] (Libert), [28] 1633, Prof. Sac. Scrip. at Louvain: Actus Apostolorum brevi et dilucido commentario illustrati. 4°, Lovanii, 1654, al.

[28] The date of the author’s death

GAGNÉE (Jean de), [29] 1549, Rector of the University of Paris: Clarissima et facillima in quatuor sacra J. C. Evangelia necnon in Actus Apostolicos scholia selecta. 2°, Paris, 1552, al.

[29] The date of the author’s death

GERHARD (Johann), [30] 1637, Prof. Theol. at Jena: Annotationes in Acta Apostolorum. 4°, Jenae, 1669, al.

[30] The date of the author’s death

Also: S. Lucae evangelistae Acta Apostolorum, triumvirali commentario … theologorum celeberrimorum Joannis Gerhardi, Danielis Arcularii et Jo. Canuti Lenaei illustrata. 4°, Hamburgi, 1713.

GLOAG (Paton James), D.D., Minister of Galashiels: Critical and exegetical commentary on the Acts of the Apostles. 2 vols. 8°, Edin. 1870.

GORRAN (Nicholas de), [31] 1295, Prof. at Paris: In Acta Apostolorum … Commentarii. 2°, Antverp. 1620.

[31] The date of the author’s death

GRYNAEUS (Johann Jakob), [32] 1617, Prof. Theol. at Basle: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum. 4°, Basil. 1573.

[32] The date of the author’s death

GUALTHERUS [WALTHER] (Rudolph), [33] 1586, Pastor at Zürich: In Acta Apostolorum per divum Lucam descripta homiliae clxxxv. 2°, Tiguri, 1577.

[33] The date of the author’s death

HACKETT (Horatio Balch), D.D., Prof. Bibl. Lit. in Newton Theol. Institution, U.S.: A commentary on the original text of the Acts of the Apostles. 8°, Boston, U.S., 1852, al.

HEINRICHS (Johann Heinrich), Superintendent at Burgdorf: Acta Apostolorum Graece perpetua annotatione illustrata. 2 tomi. [Testamentum Novum … illustravit J. P. Koppe. Vol. iii. partes 1, 2.] 8°, Gotting. 1809, al.

HEMSEN (Johann Tychsen). See ROMANS.

HENTENIUS (Johannes), [34] 1566, Prof. Theol. at Louvain: Enarrationes vetustissimorum theologorum in Acta quidem Apostolorum et in omnes Epistolas. 2°, Antverp. 1545.

[34] The date of the author’s death

HILDEBRAND (Traugott W.), Pastor at Zwickau: Die Geschichte der Aposteln Jesu exegetisch-hermeneutisch in 2 besonderen Abschnitten bearbeitet. 8°, Leipz. 1824.

HOFMEISTER (Johann), [35] 1547, Augustinian Vicar

General in Germany: In duodecim priora capita Actorum Apostolicorum commentaria. 2°, Colon. 1567.

[35] The date of the author’s death

HUMPHRY (William Gilson), M.A., Vicar of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, London: A commentary on the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. 8°, Lond. 1847, al.

KISTEMAKER (Johann Hyazinth), [36] 1834, R. C., Prof. Theo. at Münster: Geschichte der Aposteln mit Anmerkungen. 8°, Münster, 1822.

[36] The date of the author’s death

KUINOEL [KUHNÖL] (Christian Gottlieb), [37] 1841, Prof. Theol. at Giessen: Commentarius in libros Novi Testamenti historicos. 4 voll. 8°, Lips. 1807 18, al.

[37] The date of the author’s death

LANGE (Johann Peter), Prof. Theol. at Bonn: Das Apostolische Zeitalter. 2 Bände. 8°, Braunschw. 1853.

LECHLER (Gotthard Victor), Superintendent at Leipzig: Der Apostel Geschichten theologisch bearbeitet von G. V. Lechler, homiletisch von G. Gerok [Lange’s Bibelwerk. V.]. 8°, Bielefeld, 1860, al.

[Translated by Rev. P. J. Gloag. 2 vols., Edin. 1866. And by Charles F. Schaeffer, D.D. 8°, New York, 1867.]

Das Apostolische und das nachapostolische Zeitalter mit Rücksicht auf Unterschied und Einheit in Lehre und Leben. 8°, Stuttg. 1851. Zweite durchaus umgearbeitete Auflage. 8°, Stuttg. 1857.

LEEUWEN (Gerbrand van), [38] 1721, Prof. Theol. at Amsterdam: De Handelingen der heyligen Apostelen, beschreeven door Lucas, uitgebreid en verklaart. Amst. 1704. Also, in Lamentations 2:0 voll. 8°, Amst. 1724.

[38] The date of the author’s death

LEKEBUSCH (Eduard): Die Composition und Entstehung der Apostelgeschichte von neuem untersucht. 8°, Gotha, 1854.

LEWIN (Thomas), M.A., Barrister: The Life and Epistles of St. Paul. 8°, Lond. 1851.

New edition. 2 vols. 4°, Lond. 1874.

LIGHTFOOT (John), D.D., [39] 1675, Master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge: A commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles; chronical and critical.… From the beginning of the book to the end of the twelfth chapter.… 4°, Lond. 1645, al.

[39] The date of the author’s death

[Also, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae. See MATTHEW.]

LIMBORCH (Philipp van), [40] 1712, Arminian Prof. Theol. at Amsterdam: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum, et in Epistolas ad Romanos et ad Ebraeos. 2°, Roterod. 1711, al.

[40] The date of the author’s death

LINDHAMMER (Johann Ludwig), [41] 1771, General Superintendent in East Friesland: Der … Apostelgeschichte ausführliche Erklärung und Anwendung, darin der Text von Stuck zu Stuck ausgelegt und … mit … philologischen und critischen Noten erläutert wird. 2°, Halae, 1725, al.

[41] The date of the author’s death

LIVERMORE (Abiel Abbot), Minister at Cincinnati: The Acts of the Apostles, with a commentary. 12°, Boston, U.S., 1844.

LOBSTEIN (Johann Michael), [42] 1794, Prof. Theol. at Strassburg: Vollständiger Commentar über die Apostelgeschichte das Lukas. Th. I. 8°, Strassb. 1792.

[42] The date of the author’s death

LORINUS (Jean), [43] 1634, Jesuit: In Acta Apostolorum commentaria … 2°, Lugd. 1605, al.

[43] The date of the author’s death

MALCOLM (John), [44] 1634, Minister at Perth: Commentarius et analysis in Apostolorum Acta. 4°, Mediob. 1615.

[44] The date of the author’s death

MASKEW (Thomas Ratsey), Head Master of Grammar School, Dorchester: Annotations on the Acts of the Apostles, original and selected … 2d edition … 12°, Camb. 1847.

MENKEN (Gottfried), [45] 1831, Pastor at Bremen: Blicke in das Leben des Apostel Paulus und der ersten Christengemeinden, nach etlichen Kapiteln der Apostelgeschichte. 8°, Bremen, 1828.

[45] The date of the author’s death

MENOCHIO (Giovanni Stefano), [46] 1655, Jesuit at Rome: Historia sacra de Actibus Apostolorum. 4°, Rom. 1634.

[46] The date of the author’s death

MORUS (Samuel Friedrich Nathanael), [47] 1792, Prof. Theol. at Leipzig: Versio et explicatio Actorum Apostolicorum. Edidit, animadversiones recentiorum maxime interpretum svasque adjecit G. J. Dindorf. 2 voll. 8°, Lips. 1794.

[47] The date of the author’s death

NEANDER (Johann August Wilhelm), [48] 1850, Prof. Theol. at Berlin: Geschichte der Pflanzung und Leitung der christlichen Kirche durch die Apostel. 2 Bände. 8°, Hamb. 1832, al.

[48] The date of the author’s death

[Translated by J. E. Ryland. 8°, Lond. 1851.]

NOVARINO (Luigi), [49] 1650, Theatine monk: Actus Apostolorum expansi et notis monitisque sacris illustrati. 2°, Lugd. 1645.

[49] The date of the author’s death

OECUMENIUS, c [50] 980, Bishop of Trieca. See ROMANS.

[50] . circa

OERTEL (J. O.), Pastor at Gr. Storkwitz: Paulus in der Apostelgeschichte.… 8°, Halle, a. S., 1868.

PALEY (William), D.D., [51] 1805, Archdeacon of Carlisle: Horae Paulinae; or, the truth of the Scripture history of St. Paul evinced by a comparison of the Epistles which bear his name with the Acts of the Apostles, and with one another.

[51] The date of the author’s death

See TATE (James). 8°, Lond. 1790, al.

PATRIZI (Francesco Xavier), Prof. Theol. at Rome: In Actus Apostolorum commentarium. 4°, Rom. 1867.

PEARCE (Zachary), D.D., [52] 1774, Bishop of Rochester. See MATTHEW.

[52] The date of the author’s death

PEARSON (John), D.D., [53] 1686, Bishop of Chester: Lectiones in Acta Apostolorum, 1672; Annales Paulini [Opera posthuma]. 4°, Lond. 1688, al.

[53] The date of the author’s death

[Edited in English, with a few notes, by J. R. Crowfoot, B.D. 12°, Camb. 1851.]

PETRI [PEETERS] (Barthélemi), [54] 1630, Prof. Theol. at Douay: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum. 4°, Duaci, 1622.

[54] The date of the author’s death

PLEVIER (Johannes), [55] c [56] 1760, Pastor at Middelburg: De Handelingen der heylige Apostelen, beschreeven door Lukas, ontleedt, verklaardt en tot het oogmerk toegepast. 4°, Utrecht, 1725, al.

[55] The date of the author’s death

[56] . circa

PRICAEUS [PRICE] (John), LL.D., [57] 1676, Prof. of Greek at Pisa: Acta Apostolorum ex sacra pagina, sanctis patribus Graecisque ac Latinis scriptoribus illustrata. 8°, Paris, 1647, al.

[57] The date of the author’s death

PYLE (Thomas), D.D., [58] 1756, Vicar of Lynn: A paraphrase, with some notes, on the Acts of the Apostles, and on all the Epistles of the New Testament. 8°, Lond. 1725, al.

[58] The date of the author’s death

RIEHM (Johann Karl): Dissertatio critico-theologica de fontibus Actorum Apostolorum. 8°, Traj. ad Rhen. 1821.

RITSCHL (Albrecht), Prof. Theol. at Göttingen: Die Entstehung der altkatholischer Kirche. 8°, Bonn, 1850 2te durchgängig neu ausgearbeitete Ausgabe. 8°, Bonn, 1857.

ROBINSON (Hastings), D.D., [59] 1866, Canon of Rochester: The Acts of the Apostles; with notes, original and selected, for the use of students. 8°, Lond. 1830.

[59] The date of the author’s death

Also, in Latin. 8°, Cantab. 1824.

SALMERON (Alphonso), [60] 1585, Jesuit: In Acta Apostolorum [Opera, xii.].

[60] The date of the author’s death

SANCHEZ [SANCTIUS] (Gaspar), [61] 1628, Jesuit, Prof. Sac. Scrip. at Alcala: Commentarii in Actus Apostolorum … 4°, Lugd. 1616, al.

[61] The date of the author’s death

SCHAFF (Philip), D.D., Prof. of Church Hist. at New York: History of the Apostolic church. 8°, New York, 1853. 2 vols. 8°, Edin. 1854.

[Previously issued in German at Mercersburg, 1851.]

SCHNECKENBURGER (Matthias), [62] 1848, Prof. Theol. at Berne: Ueber den Zweck der Apostelgeschichte. 8°, Bern, 1841.

[62] The date of the author’s death

SCHRADER. (Karl), Pastor at Hörste near Bielefeld: Der Apostel Paulus. 5 Theile. [Theil V. Uebersetzung und Erklärung … der Apostelgeschichte.] 8°, Leipz. 1830 36.

SCHWEGLER (Albert), [63] 1857, Prof. Rom. Lit. at Tübingen: Das nachapostolisches Zeitalter. 8°, Tübing. 1847.

[63] The date of the author’s death

SELNECCER (Nicolaus), [64] 1592, Prof. Theol. at Leipzig: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum. 8°, Jenae 1567, al.

[64] The date of the author’s death

STAPLETON (Thomas), [65] 1598, Prof. at Louvain: Antidota apostolica contra nostri temporis haereses, in Acta Apostolorum.… 2 voll. 1595.

[65] The date of the author’s death

STIER (Rudolf Ewald), [66] 1862, Superintendent in Eisleben: Die Reden der Aposteln. 2 Bände. 8°, Leipz. 1829.

[66] The date of the author’s death

[Translated by G. H. Venables. 2 vols. 8°, Edin. 1869.]

STRESO (Caspar), [67] 1664, Pastor at the Hague: Commentarius praeticus in Actorum Apostolicorum … capita. 2 voll. 4°, Amstel. 1658 9, al.

[67] The date of the author’s death

SYLVEIRA (Juan de), [68] 1687, Carmelite monk: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum. 2°, Lugd. 1678.

[68] The date of the author’s death

TATE (James), M.A., Canon of St. Paul’s: The Horae Paulinae of William Paley, D.D., carried out and illustrated in a continuous history of the apostolic labours and writings of St. Paul, on the basis of the Acts … 8°, Lond. 1840.

THEOPHYLACTUS, c [69] 1070, Archbishop of Acris in Bulgaria: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum [Opera].

[69] . circa

THIERSCH (Heinrich Wilhelm Josias), Prof. Theol. at Marburg: Die Kirche im apostolischen Zeitalter. 8°, Frankf. 1852, al.

[Translated by Carlyle. 8°, Lond. 1852.]

THIESS (Johann Otto), [70] 1810, Prof. Theol. at Kiel: Lukas Apostelgeschichte neu übersetzt, mit Anmerkungen. 8°, Gera, 1800.

[70] The date of the author’s death

TRIP (Ch. J.), Superintendent at Leer in East Friesland: Paulus nach der Apostelgeschichte. Historischer Werth dieser Berichte … 8°, Leiden, 1866.

TROLLOPE (William): A commentary on the Acts of the Apostles … 12°, Camb. 1847.

VALCKENAER (Ludwig Kaspar), [71] 1785, Prof. in Leyden: Selecta e scholis L. C. Valckenarii in libros quosdam N. T., editore Eb. Wassenbergh. 2 partes. 8°, Amst. 1815 17.

[71] The date of the author’s death

VEIL (Charles Marie de), [72] c [73] 1701, R. C. convert, latterly Baptist: Explicatio literalis Actorum Apostolicorum. 8°, Lond. 1684.

[72] The date of the author’s death

[73] . circa

[Translated by the author into English, 1685.]

WALCH (Johann Ernst Immanuel), [74] 1778, Prof. Theol. at Jena: Dissertationes in Acta Apostolorum. 3 voll. 4°, Jenae, 1756 61.

[74] The date of the author’s death

WASSENBERGH (Everaard van). See VALCKENAER (Ludwig Kaspar).

WIESELER (Karl), Prof. Theol. at Göttingen: Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters. 8°, Götting. 1848.

WOLZOGEN (Johann Ludwig von), [75] 1661, Socinian: Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum [Opera].

[75] The date of the author’s death

ZELLER (Eduard), Prof. Philos. at Berlin: Die Apostelgeschichte nach ihrem Inhalt und Ursprung kritisch untersucht. 8°, Stuttg. 1854.

[Translated by Rev. Joseph Dare. 8°, Lond. 1875.]




T HE fifth historical book of the New Testament, already named in early Christian antiquity ( Canon Murat. , Clem. Al. Strom. v. 12, p. 696, ed. Potter, Tertull. c. Marc. v. 2 f., de jejun. 10, de bapt. 10; comp. also Iren. adv. haer. iii. 14. 1, iii. 15. 1) from its chief contents πράξεις ( τῶν ) ἀποστόλων , announces itself (i. 1) as a second work of the same author who wrote the Gospel dedicated to Theophilus. The Acts of the Apostles is therefore justly considered as a portion of the historical work of Luke, following up that Gospel, and continuing the history of early Christianity from the ascension of Christ to the captivity of Paul at Rome; and no other but Luke is named by the ancient orthodox church as author of the book, which is included by Eusebius, H. E. iii. 25, among the Homologoumena . There is indeed no definite reference made to the Acts by the Apostolic Fathers , as the passages, Ignat. ad Smyrn. 3 (comp. Acts 10:41 ), and Polycarp, ad Philippians 1:0 (comp. Acts 2:24 ), cannot even be with certainty regarded as special reminiscences of it; and the same remark holds good as to allusions in Justin and Tatian. But, since the time of Irenaeus, the Fathers have frequently made literal quotations from the book (see also the Epistle of the churches at Vienne and Lyons in Eus. v. 2), and have expressly designated it as the work of Luke. [76] With this fact before us, the passage in Photius, Quaest. Amphiloch. 145 (see Wolf, Cur. IV. p. 731, Schmidt in Stäudlin’s Kirchenhist. Archiv , I. p. 15), might appear strange: τὸν δὲ συγγραφέα τῶν πράξεων οἱ μὲν Κλήμεντα λέγουσι τὸν Ῥώμης , ἄλλοι δὲ Βαρνάβαν καὶ ἄλλοι Λουκᾶν τὸν εὐαγγελιστήν , but this statement as to Clement and Barnabas stands so completely isolated, unsupported by any other notice of ecclesiastical antiquity, that it can only have reference to some arbitrary assumption of individuals who knew little or nothing of the book. Were it otherwise, the Gospel of Luke must also have been alleged to be a work of Clement or Barnabas; but of this there is not the slightest trace. That the Book of Acts was in reality much less known and read than the Gospels, the interest of which was the most general, immediate, and supreme, and than the N. T. Epistles, which were destined at once for whole churches and, inferentially, for yet wider circles, is evident from Chrysostom, Hom. I. : πολλοῖς τουτὶ τὸ βιβλίον οὐδʼ ὅτι ἔνι , γνώριμόν ἐστιν , οὔτε αὐτὸ , οὔτε ὁ γράψας αὐτὸ καὶ συνθείς . [77] And thus it is no wonder if many, who knew only of the existence of the Book of Acts, but had never read it (for the very first verse must have pointed them to Luke ), guessed at this or that celebrated teacher, at Clement or Barnabas, as its author. Photius himself, on the other hand, concurs in the judgment of the church, for which he assigns the proper grounds: Αὐτὸς δὲ Λουκᾶς ἐπικρίνει . Πρῶτον μὲν ἐξ ὦν προοιμιάζεται , ὡς καὶ ἑτέρα αὐτῷ πραγματεία , τὰς δεσποτικὰς περιέχουσα πράξεις καταβέβληται . Δεύτερον δὲ , ἐξ ὧν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων εὐαγγελιστῶν διαστέλλεται , ὅτι μέχρι τῆς ἀναλήψεως οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν τὸ σύνταγμα προελθεῖν ἐποιήσατο , ἀλλʼ οὗτος μόνος καὶ τὴν ἀνάληψιν ἀκριβῶς ἐξηγήσατο , καὶ πάλιν τὴν τῶν πράξεων ἀπαρχὴν ἀπὸ ταύτης ὑπεστήσατο . Moreover, so early an ecclesiastical recognition of the canonicity of this book would be inexplicable, if the teachers of the church had not from the very first recognised it as a second work of Luke, to which, as well as to the Gospel, apostolic (Pauline) authority belonged. The weight of this ancient recognition by the church is not weakened by the rejection of the book on the part of certain heretical parties ; for this affected only its validity as an authoritative standard, and was based entirely on dogmatic, particularly on anti

Pauline, motives. This was the case with the Ebionites (Epiphan. Haer. xxx. 16), to whom the reception of the Gentiles into Christianity was repugnant; with the Severians (Euseb. H. E. iv. 29), whose ascetic principles were incompatible with the doctrines of Paul; with the Marcionites (Tertull. c. Marc. v. 2, de praescr. 22), who could not endure what was taught in the Acts concerning the connection of Judaism and Christianity; and with the Manichaeans , who took offence at the mission of the Holy Spirit, to which it bears testimony (Augustin. de utilit. credendi , ii. 7, epist. 237 [ al. 253], No. 2).

From these circumstances the less measure of acquaintance with the book, and the less degree of veneration for it is to be explained the somewhat arbitrary treatment of the text, which is still apparent in codd. (particularly D and E) and versions (Ital. and Syr.), although Bornemann ( Acta apost. ad Codicis Cantabrig. fidem rec. 1848) saw in cod. D the most original form of the text (“agmen ducit codex D haud dubie ex autographo haustus,” p. xxviii.), which was an evident error.

[76] It cannot be a matter of surprise that our old codd. name no author in the superscription (only some minusculi name Luke), since there are not several “Acts of the Apostles” in the Canon, as there are several Gospels , needing distinctive designation by the names of their authors. Comp. Ewald, Jahrb. IX. p. 57.

[77] So much the less can it be assumed with certainty, from the fragment of Papias, preserved by Apollinaris, on the death of Judas (of which the different forms of the text may be seen, (1) in Theophyl. on Acts 1:18 , and Cramer, Cat. in Act. p. 12 f.; (2) in Oecum. I. p. 11, Cramer, Cat. in Matth. p. 231, and Boissonade, Anecd. II. p. 464; (3) Scholion in Matthaei on Acts 1:18 ), that Papias had in view the narrative of the event in the Acts, and wished to reconcile it with that of Matthew. He gives a legend respecting the death of Judas, deviating from that of Matthew and the Acts, and independent of both. See the dissertations on this point: Zahn in the Stud. u. Krit. 1866, p. 649 ff., and in opposition to him, Overbeck in Hilgenf. Zeitschr. 1867, p. 35 ff.; also Steitz in the Stud. u. Krit. 1868, p. 87 ff.

That the Acts of the Apostles is the work of one author , follows from the uniformity in the character of its diction and style (see Gersdorf, Beitr. p. 160 ff.; Credner, Einl. I. p. 132 ff.; Zeller, Apostelgesch. nach Inh. u. Urspr. Stuttg. 1854, p. 388 ff.; and especially Lekebusch, Composit. u. Entsteh. d. Apostelgesch . Gotha 1854, pp. 37 79; Klostermann, Vindiciae Lucanae , Götting. 1866; Oertel, Paulus in d. Apostelgesch. 1868), from the mutual references of individual passages (de Wette, Einl. § 115, and Zeller, p. 403 ff.), and also from that unity in the tenor and connection of the essential leading ideas (see Lekebusch, p. 82) which pervades the whole. This similarity is of such a nature that it is compatible with a more or less independent manipulation of different documentary sources, but not with the hypothesis of an aggregation of such documentary sources, which are strung together with little essential alteration (Schleiermacher’s view; comp. also Schwanbeck, über d. Quellen der Schriften des Luk. I. p. 253, and earlier, Königsmann, de fontibus , etc., 1798, in Pott’s Sylloge , III. p. 215 ff.). The same peculiarities pervade the Acts and the Gospel, and evince the unity of authorship and the unity of literary character as to both books. See Zeller, p. 414 ff. In the passages Acts 16:10-17 , Acts 20:5-15 , Acts 21:1-18 , Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:16 , the author expressly by “ we ” includes himself as an eye-witness and sharer in the events related. According to Schleiermacher, these portions belonging to the memoirs, strung together without elaboration, of which the book is composed proceed from Timothy , a hypothesis supported by Bleek (in his Einleit. , and earlier in the Stud. u. Krit. 1836, p. 1025 ff., p. 1046 ff.), Ulrich ( Stud. u. Krit. 1837, p. 367 ff., 1840, p. 1003 ff.), and de Wette, and consistently worked out by Mayerhoff ( Einl. in d. Petr. Schr. p. 6 ff.) to the extent of ascribing the whole book to Timothy; whereas Schwanbeck seeks to assign these sections, as well as in general almost all from Acts 15:1 onwards, to Silas . [78] But the reasons, brought forward against the view that Luke is the narrator using the we , are wholly unimportant. For, not to mention that it is much more natural to refer the unnamed I of that narrative in the first person plural to Luke, who is not elsewhere named in the book, than to Timothy and Silas, who are elsewhere mentioned by name and distinguished from the subject of the we ; and apart also from the entire arbitrariness of the assertion that Luke could not have made his appearance and taken part for the first time at Acts 16:10 ; the circumstance that in the Epistle to the Philippians no mention of Luke occurs, although the most plausible ground of the objectors, is still merely such in semblance. How long had Luke, at that time, been absent from Philippi! How probable, moreover, that Paul, who sent his letter to the Philippians by means of Epaphroditus, left it to the latter to communicate orally the personal information which was of interest to them, and therefore adds in the Epistle only such summary salutations as Acts 4:22 ! And how possible, in fine, that Luke, at the time of the composition of the Philippian Epistle, was temporarily absent from Rome, which is strongly supported, and, indeed, is required to be assumed by Philippians 2:20 f., comp. on Philippians 2:21 . The non-mention of Luke in the Epistles to the Thessalonians is an unserviceable argumentum e silentio (see Lekebusch, p. 395); and the greater vividness of delineation, which is said to prevail where Timothy is present, cannot prove anything in contradistinction to the vividness of other parts in which he is not concerned. On the other hand, in those portions in which the “we” introduces the eye-witness, [79] the manipulation of the Greek language, independent of written documents, exhibits the greatest similarity to the peculiar colouring of Luke’s diction as it appears in the independent portions of the Gospel. It is incorrect to suppose that the specification of time according to the Jewish festivals, Acts 20:6 , Acts 27:9 , suits Timothy better than Luke, for the designations of the Jewish festivals must have been everywhere familiar in the early Christian church from its connection with Judaism, and particularly in the Pauline circles in which Luke, as well as Timothy, moved. The insuperable difficulties by which both the Timothy -hypothesis, already excluded by Acts 20:4 f., and the Silas -hypothesis, untenable throughout, are clogged, only serve more strongly to confirm the tradition of the church that Luke , as author of the whole book, is the person speaking in those sections in which “we” occurs. See Lekebusch, p. 140 ff.; Zeller, p. 454 ff.; Ewald, Gesch. d. Apost. Zeitalt. p. 33 ff., and Jahrb. IX. p. 50 ff.; Klostermann, l.c. ; Oertel, Paul, in d. Apostelgesch . p. 8 ff. In the “ we ” the person primarily narrating must have been the “ I ,” with which the whole book begins. No other understanding of the matter could have occurred either to Theophilus or to other readers. The hypothesis already propounded by Königsmann, on the other hand, that Luke had allowed the “ we ” derived from the memoir of another to remain unchanged, as well as the converse fancy of Gfrörer ( heil. Sage , II. p. 244 f.), impute to the author something bordering on an unintelligent mechanical process, such as is doubtless found in insipid chroniclers of the Middle Ages (examples in Schwanbeck, p. 188 ff.), but must appear utterly alien and completely unsuitable for comparison in presence of such company as we have here.

[78] Assuming, with extreme arbitrariness, that the redacteur has in Acts 16:10 ff., misled by the preceding βοήθησον ἡμῖν (!), copied the first person after the Silas-document, and only in ver. 19 felt the necessity of changing the ἡμεῖς of Silas into the names concerned, in doing which, however, he has forgotten to include the name of Timothy. See Schwanbeck, p. 270 f., who has many other instances of arbitrariness, e.g. that ἄνδρας ἡγουμ . ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφ ., Acts 15:22 , stood in the Silas-document after ἐκλεξαμένους , and other similar statements, which refute themselves. The holding Luke and Silas as identical (van Vloten in Hilgenf. Zeitschr. 1867, p. 223 ff.) was perhaps only a passing etymological fancy ( lucus, silva ). See, in opposition to it, Cropp in Hilgenf. Zeitschr. 1868, p. 353 ff.

[79] Especially chap. 27 and 28. See Klostermann, Vindic. Luc. p. 50 ff.; and generally, Oertel, Paul, in d. Apostelgesch . p. 28 ff.

Recent criticism, however, has contended that the Acts could not be composed at all by a companion of the Apostle Paul (de Wette, Baur, Schwegler, Zeller, Köstlin, Hilgenfeld, and others). For this purpose they have alleged contradictions with the Pauline Epistles (Acts 9:19 ; Acts 9:23 ; Acts 9:25-28 , Acts 11:30 , compared with Acts 1:17-19 ; Acts 2:1 ; Acts 17:16 f., Acts 18:5 , with 1 Thessalonians 3:1 f.), inadequate accounts (Acts 16:6 , Acts 18:22 f., Acts 28:30 f.), omission of facts (1 Corinthians 15:32 ; 2 Corinthians 1:8 ; 2 Corinthians 11:25 f.; Romans 15:19 ; Romans 16:3 f.), and the partially unhistorical character of the first portion of the book (according to de Wette, particularly Acts 2:5-11 ), which is even alleged to be “a continuous fiction” (Schwegler, nachapostol. Zeitalt. I. p. 90, II. p. 111 f.). They have discovered un-Pauline miracles (Acts 28:7-10 ), un-Pauline speeches and actions (Acts 21:20 ff., Acts 23:6 ff., chap, 22, 26), an un

Pauline attitude (towards Jews and Jewish-Christians: approval of the apostolic decree). It is alleged that the formation of legend in the book (particularly the narrative of Simon and of Pentecost) belongs to a later period, and that the entire tendency of the writing (see sec. 2) points to a later stage of ecclesiastical development (see especially Zeller, p. 470 ff.); also that its politically apologetic design leads us to the time of Trajan, or later (Schwegler, II. p. 119); that the ἡμεῖς in the narrative of the travels (held even by Köstlin, Urspr. d. Synopt. Evang. p. 292, to be the genuine narrative of a friend of the apostle) is designedly allowed to stand by the author of the book, who wishes to be recognised thereby as a companion of the Apostle (according to Köstlin: for the purpose of strengthening the credibility and the impression of the apologetic representation); and that the Book of Acts is “the work of a Pauline member of the Roman church, the time of the composition of which may most probably be placed between the years 110 and 125, or even 130 after Christ” (Zeller, p. 488). But all these and similar grounds do not prove what they are alleged to prove, and do not avail to overthrow the ancient ecclesiastical recognition. For although the book actually contains various matters, in which it must receive correction from the Pauline Epistles; although the history, even of Paul the apostle, is handled in it imperfectly and, in part, inadequately; although in the first portion, here and there, a post-apostolic formation of legend is unmistakeable; yet all these elements are compatible with its being the work of a companion of the apostle, who, not emerging as such earlier than chap. 16, only undertook to write the history some time after the apostle’s death, and who, when his personal knowledge failed, was dependent on tradition developed orally and in writing, partly legendary, because he had not from the first entertained the design of writing a history, and had now, in great measure, to content himself with the matter and the form given to him by the tradition, in the atmosphere of which he himself lived. Elements really un-Pauline cannot be shown to exist in it, and the impress of a definite tendency in the book, which is alleged to betray a later stage of ecclesiastical development, is simply imputed to it by the critics. The We -narrative, with its vivid and direct impress of personal participation, always remains a strong testimony in favour of a companion of the apostle as author of the whole book, of which that narrative is a part; to separate the subject of that narrative from the author of the whole, is a procedure of sceptical caprice. The surprisingly abridged and abrupt conclusion of the book, and the silence concerning the last labours and fate of the Apostle Paul, as well as the silence concerning the similar fate of Peter, are phenomena which are intelligible only on the supposition of a real and candid companion of the apostle being prevented by circumstances from continuing his narrative, but would be altogether inconceivable in the case of an author not writing till the second century, and manipulating with a definite tendency the historical materials before him, inconceivable, because utterly at variance with his supposed designs. The hypothesis, in fine, that the tradition of Luke’s authorship rests solely on an erroneous inference from the ἡμεῖς in the narrative of the travels (comp. Colossians 4:14 ; 2 Timothy 4:11 ; see especially Köstlin, p. 291), is so arbitrary and so opposed to the usual unreflecting mode in which such traditions arise, that, on the contrary, the ecclesiastical tradition is to be explained, not from the wish to have a Pauline Gospel, but from the actual possession of one, and from a direct certainty as to its author.

The Book of Acts has very different stages of credibility , from the lower grade of the legend partially enwrapping the history up to that of vivid, direct testimony; it is to be subjected in its several parts to free historical criticism, but to be exempted, at the same time, from the scepticism and injustice which (apart from the attacks of Schrader and Gfrörer) it has largely experienced at the hands of Baur and his school, after the more cautious but less consistent precedent set by Schneckenburger ( über d. Zweck d. Apostelgesch. 1841). On the whole, the book remains, in connection with the historical references in the apostolic Epistles, the fullest and surest source of our knowledge of the apostolic times, of which we always attain most completely a trustworthy view when the Book of Acts bears part in this testimony, although in many respects the Epistles have to be brought in, not merely as supplementing, but also in various points as deciding against particular statements of our book.


When the aim of the Acts has been defined by saying that Luke wished to give us a history of missions for the diffusion of Christianity (Eichhorn), or a Pauline church-history (Credner), or, more exactly and correctly, a history of the extension of the church from Jerusalem to Rome (Mayerhoff, Baumgarten, Guericke, Lekebusch, Ewald, Oertel), there is, strictly speaking, a confounding of the contents with the aim. Certainly, Luke wished to compose a history of the development of the church from its foundation until the period when Paul laboured at Rome; but his work was primarily a private treatise , written for Theophilus , and the clearly expressed aim of the composition of the Gospel (Luke 1:4 ) must hold good also for the Acts on account of the connection in which our book, according to Acts 1:1 , stands with the Gospel. To confirm to Theophilus, in the way of history, the Christian instruction which he had received, was an end which might after the composition of the Gospel be yet more fully attained; for the further development of Christianity since the time of the ascension, its victorious progress through Antioch, Asia Minor, and Greece up to its announcement by Paul himself in Rome, the capital of the world, might and ought, according to the view of Luke, to serve that purpose. Hence he wrote this history; and the selection and limitation of its contents were determined partly by the wants of Theophilus, partly by his own Pauline individuality, as well as by his sources; so that, after the pre-Pauline history in which Peter is the chief person, he so takes up Paul and his work, and almost exclusively places them [80] in the foreground down to the end of the book, that the history becomes henceforth biographical, and therefore even the founding of the church of Rome which, if Luke had designed to write generally, and on its own account, a mere history of the extension of the church from Jerusalem to Rome, he would not, and could not, have omitted found no place. The Pauline character and circle of ideas of the author, and his relation to Theophilus, make it also easy enough to understand how not only the Jewish apostles, and even Peter, fall gradually into the background in the history, but also how the reflection of Paulinism frequently presents itself in the pre-Pauline half (“hence this book might well be called a gloss on the Epistles of St, Paul,” Luther’s Preface). One who was not a disciple of Paul could not have written such a history of the apostles. The fact that even in respect of Paul himself the narrative is so defective and in various points even inappropriate, as may be proved from the letters of the apostle, is sufficiently explained from the limitation and quality of the accounts and sources with which Luke, at the late period when he wrote, had to content himself and to make shift, where he was not better informed by his personal knowledge or by the apostle or other eye-witnesses.

[80] The parallel between the two apostles is not made up , but historically given . Both were the representatives of apostolic activity, and what the Acts informs us of them is like an extended commentary on Galatians 2:8 . Comp. Thiersch, Kirche im apostol. Zeitalt. p. 120 f. At the same time, the purpose of the work as a private composition is always to be kept in view; as such it might, according to its relation to the receiver, mention various important matters but briefly or not at all, and describe very circumstantially others of less importance. The author, like a letter-writer, was in this untrammelled. Comp. C. Bertheau, über Galatians 2:0 ( Programm ), Hamb. 1854.

Nevertheless, the attempt has often been made to represent our book as a composition marked by a set apologetic [81] and dogmatic purpose. A justification of the Apostle Paul, as regards the admission of the Gentiles into the Christian church , is alleged by Griesbach, Diss. 1798, Paulus, Frisch, Diss. 1817, to be its design; against which view Eichhorn decidedly declared himself. More recently Schneckenburger ( üb. d. Zweck d. Apostelgesch. 1841) has revived this view with much acuteness, to the prejudice of the historical character of the book. By Baur (at first in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1836, 3, then especially in his Paulus 1845, second edition edited by Zeller, 1866, also in his neutest. Theol. p. 331 ff., and in his Gesch. der drei ersten Jahrb. 1860, Exodus 2:0 ) a transition was made, as regards the book, from the apologetic to the conciliatory standpoint. He was followed specially by Schwegler, nachapost. Zeitalt. II. p. 73 ff.; Zeller, p. 320 ff.; and Volkmar, Relig. Jesu , p. 336 ff.; while B. Bauer ( d. Apostelgesch. eine Ausgleichung des Paulinismus und Judenthums , 1850) pushed this treatment to the point of self-annihilation. According to Schneckenburger, the design of the Acts is the justification of the Apostle Paul against all the objections of the Judaizers; on which account the apostle is only represented in that side of his character which was turned towards Judaism, and in the greatest possible similarity to Peter (see, in opposition to this, Schwanbeck, Quellen d. Luk. p. 94 ff.). In this view the historical credibility of the contents is maintained, so far as Luke has made the selection of them for his particular purpose. This was, indeed, only a partial carrying out of the purpose-hypothesis; but Baur, Schwegler, and Zeller have carried it out to its full consequences, [82] and have, without scruple, sacrificed to it the historical character of the contents. They affirm that the Paul of the Acts, in his compliance towards Judaism, is entirely different from the apostle as exhibited in his Epistles (Baur); that he is converted into a Judaizing Christian, as Peter and James are converted into Pauline Christians (Schwegler); and that our book, as a proposal of a Pauline Christian towards peace by concessions of his party to Judaism, was in this respect intended to influence both parties, but especially had in view the Roman church (Zeller). The carrying out of this view according to which the author, with “set reflection on the means for attaining his end,” would convert the Gentile apostle into a Petrine Christian, and the Jewish apostles into Pauline Christians imputes to the Book of Acts an imperceptibly neutralizing artfulness and dishonesty of character, and a subtlety of distortion in breaking off the sharp points of history, and even of inventing facts, which are irreconcilable with the simplicity and ingenuous artlessness of this writing, and indeed absolutely stand even in moral contradiction with its Christian feeling and spirit, and with the express assurance in the preface of the Gospel. And in the conception of the details this hypothesis necessitates a multitude of suppositions and interpretations, which make the reproach of a designed concoction of history and of invention for the sake of an object, that they are intended to establish, recoil on such a criticism itself. See the Commentary. The most thorough special refutation may be seen in Lekebusch, p. 253 ff., and Oertel, Paulus in d. Apostelgesch. p. 183 ff. Comp. also Lechler, apost. u. nachapost. Zeitalt. p. 7 ff.; Ewald, Jahrb. IX. p. 62 ff. That, moreover, such an inventive reconciler of Paulinism and Petrinism, who is, moreover, alleged to have not written till the second century, should have left unnoticed the meeting of the apostles, Peter and Paul, at Rome, and their contemporary death, and not have rather turned them to account for placing the crown on his work so purposely planned; and that instead of this, after many other incongruities which he would have committed, he should have closed Paul’s intercourse with the Jews (chap. Acts 28:25 ff.) with a rejection of them from the apostle’s own mouth, would be just as enigmatical, as would be, on the other hand, the fact, that the late detection of the plan should, in spite of the touchstone continually present in Paul’s Epistles, have remained reserved for the searching criticism of the present day.

[81] Aberle, in the theol. Quartalschr. 1853, p. 173 ff., has maintained a view of the apologetic design of the book peculiar to himself; namely, that it was intended to defend Paul against the accusation still pending against him in Rome. Everything of this nature is invented without any indication whatever in the text, and is contradicted by the prologues of the Gospel and the Acts.

[82] Certainly we are not carried by the Acts, as we are by the Pauline Epistles, into the fresh, living, fervent conflict of Paulinism with Judaism; and so this later work may appear as a work of peace (Reuss, Gesch. d. N. T. p. 206, Exodus 4:0 ) and reconciliation, in the composition of which it is conceivable enough of itself, and without imputing to it conciliatory tendencies, that Luke, who did not write till long after the death of Paul and the destruction of Jerusalem, already looked back on those conflicts from another calmer and more objective standpoint , when the Pauline ministry presented itself to him in its entirety as the manifestation of the great principle, 1 Corinthians 9:19 ff.

As regards the sources (see Riehm, de fontibus , etc., Traj. ad Rhen. 1821; Schwanbeck, üb. d. Quellen d. Schriften d. Luk. I. 1847; Zeller, p. 289 ff.; Lekebusch, p. 402 ff.; Ewald, Gesch. d. apost. Zeitalt. p. 40 ff. Exodus 3:0 ), it is to be generally assumed from the contents and form of the book, and from the analogy of Luke 1:1 , that Luke, besides the special communications which he had received from Paul and from intercourse with apostolic men, besides oral tradition generally, and besides, in part, his own personal knowledge (the latter from Acts 16:10 onwards), also made use of written documents. But he merely made use of them, and did not simply string them together (as Schleiermacher held, Einl. in d. N. T. p. 360 ff.). For the use has, at any rate, taken place with such independent manipulation, that the attempts accurately to point out the several documentary sources employed, particularly as regards their limits and the elements of them that have remained unaltered, fail to lead to any sure result. For such an independent use he might be sufficiently qualified by those serviceable connections which he maintained, among which is to be noted his intercourse with Mark (Colossians 4:10 ; Colossians 4:14 ), and with Philip and his prophetic daughters (Acts 21:8-9 ); as, indeed, that independence is confirmed by the essential similarity in the character of the style (although, in the first part, in accordance with the matters treated of and with the Aramaic traditions and documentary sources, it is more Hebraizing), and in the employment of the Septuagint. The use of a written (probably Hebrew) document concerning Peter (not to be confounded with the κήρυγμα Πέτρον ), of another concerning Stephen, and of a missionary narrative perhaps belonging to it (chap. 13 and 14; see Bleek in the Stud. u. Krit. 1836, p. 1043 f.; comp. also Ewald, p. 41 f.), is assumed with the greatest probability; less probably a special document concerning Barnabas, to which, according to Schwanbeck, Acts 4:36 f., Acts 9:1-30 , Acts 11:19-30 , Acts 12:25 , Acts 13:1-14 ; Acts 13:28 , Acts 15:2-4 belonged. In the case also of the larger speeches and letters of the book, so far as personal knowledge or communications from those concerned failed him, and when tradition otherwise was insufficient, Luke must have been dependent on the documents indicated above and others; still, however, in such a manner that and hence so much homogeneity of stamp his own reproduction withal was more or less active. To seek to prove in detail the originality of the apostolic speeches from the apostolic letters, is an enterprise of impossibility or of self-deceiving presupposition; however little on the whole and in the main the genuineness of these speeches, according to the respective characters and situations, may reasonably be doubted. As regards the history of the apostolic council in particular, the Epistle to the Galatians, not so much as even known to Luke, although it supplements the apostolic narrative, cannot, any more than any of the other Pauline Epistles, be considered as a source (in opposition to Zeller); and the apostolic decree, which cannot be a creation of the author, must be regarded as the reproduction of an original document. In general, it is to be observed that, as the question concerning the sources of Luke was formerly á priori precluded by the supposition of simple reports of eye-witnesses (already in the Canon Murat. ), recently, no less á priori , the same question has been settled in an extreme negative sense by the assumption that he purposely drew from his own resources; while Credner, de Wette, Bleek, Ewald, and others have justly adhered to three sources of information written records, oral information and tradition (Luke 1:1 ff.), and the author’s personal knowledge; and Schwanbeck has, with much acuteness, attempted what is unattainable in the way of recognising and separating the written documents, with the result of degrading the book into a spiritless compilation. [83] The giving up the idea of written sources the conclusion which Lekebusch has reached by the path of thorough inquiry is all the less satisfactory, the later the time of composition has to be placed and the historical character of the contents withal to be maintained. See also, concerning the derivation of the Petrine speeches from written sources, Weiss in the Krit. Beiblatt z. Deutsch. Zeitschr. 1854, No. 10 f., and in reference to their doctrinal tenor and its harmony with the Epistle of Peter, Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. 1855, and bibl. Theol. 1868, p. 119 ff. [84] Concerning the relation of the Pauline history and speeches to the Pauline Epistles, see Trip, Paulus in d. Apostelgesch. 1866; Oertel, Paulus in d. Apostelgesch. 1868. Comp. also Oort, Inquir. in orat., quae in Act. ap. Paulo tribuuntur, indolem Paulin. L. B. 1862; Hofstede de Groot, Vergelijking van den Paulus der Brieven met dien der Handelingen , Gröning. 1860.

[83] According to Schwanbeck, the redacteur of the book has used the four following documents: (1) A biography of Peter; (2) A rhetorical work on the death of Stephen; (3) A biography of Barnabas; (4) The memoirs of Silas. Of these writings he has pieced together only single portions almost unchanged; hence he appears essentially as a compiler.

[84] With justice Weiss lays stress on the importance of the Petrine speeches in the Acts as being the oldest doctrinal records of the apostolic age.


As the Gospel of Luke already presupposes the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-25 ), the Acts of the Apostles must have been written after that event. Acts 8:26 cannot be employed to establish the view that the book was composed during the Jewish war, shortly before the destruction of the city (Hug, Schneckenburger, Lekebusch; see on Acts 8:26 ). The non-mention of that event does not serve to prove that it had not yet occurred, but rather leads to the inference that it had happened a considerable time ago. A more definite approximation is not possible. As, however, the Gospel of John must be considered as the latest of the four, but still belongs to the first century, perhaps to the second last decade of that century (see Introduction to John, sec. 5), there is sufficient reason to place the third Gospel within the seventh decade, and the time of the composition of the Acts cannot be more definitely ascertained. Yet, as there must have been a suitable interval between it and the Gospel (comp. on Acts 1:3 ), it may have reached perhaps the close of the seventh decade, or about the year 80; so that it may be regarded as nearly contemporary with the Gospel of John, and nearly contemporary also with the history of the Jewish war by Josephus. The vague statement of Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 1 (Euseb. v. 8), that Luke wrote his Gospel after the death of Peter and Paul , comes nearest to this definition of the time. On the other hand, the opinion, which has prevailed since the days of Jerome, that the close of the book, which breaks off before the death of the apostle, determines this point of time as the date of composition (so Michaelis, Heinrichs, Riehm, Paulus, Kuinoel, Schott, Guericke, Ebrard, Lange, and others), while no doubt most favourable to the interest of its apostolic authority, is wholly untenable. That the death of the apostle is not narrated, has hardly its reason in political considerations (my former conjecture), as such considerations could not at least stand in the way of a quite simple historical mention of the well-known fact. But it is to be rejected as an arbitrary supposition, especially considering the solemn form of the conclusion itself analogous to the conclusion of the Gospel, that the author was prevented from finishing the work (Schleiermacher), or that the end has been lost (Schott). Wholly unnatural also are the opinions, that Luke has, by narrating the diffusion (more correctly: the Pauline preaching) of the gospel as far as Rome (according to Hilgenfeld, with the justification of the Pauline Gentile-church up to that point), attained his end (see Bengel on Acts 28:31 , and especially Baumgarten [85] ); or that the author was led no further by his document (de Wette); or that he has kept silence as to the death of Paul of set purpose (Zeller), which, in point of fact, would have been stupid . The simplest and, on account of the compendious and abrupt conclusion, the most natural hypothesis is rather that, after his second treatise, Luke intended to write a third (Heinrichs, Credner, Ewald, Bleek). As he concludes his Gospel with a short probably even amplified in the textus receptus (see critical note on Luke 24:51-52 ) indication of the ascension, and then commences the Acts with a detailed narrative of it; so he concludes the Acts with but a short indication of the Roman ministry of Paul and its duration, but would probably have commenced the third book with a detailed account of the labours and fate of Paul at Rome, and perhaps also would have furnished a record concerning the other apostles (of whom he had as yet communicated so little), especially of Peter and his death, as well as of the further growth of Christianity in other lands. By what circumstances he was prevented from writing such a continuation of the history (perhaps by death), cannot be determined.

[85] So also Lange, apostol. Zeitalt. I. p. 107; Otto, geschichtl. Verh. d. Pastoralbriefe , p. 189. This opinion is unnatural , because it was just in the issue of the trial whether that consisted in the execution (Otto) or in the liberation of the apostle that the Pauline work at Rome had its culmination, glorifying Christ and fulfilling the apostolic task (Luke 24:47 ). See Philippians 1:20 . How important must it therefore have been for Luke to narrate that issue, if he should not have had for the present other reasons for being silent upon it! That Luke knew what became of Paul after his two years’ residence in Rome, is self-evident from the words ἔμεινε δὲ διετίαν κ . τ . λ ., Acts 28:30 .

To determine the place of composition beyond doubt, is impossible. With the traditional view of the time of composition since the days of Jerome falls also the certainty of the prevalent opinion that the book was written in Rome ; which opinion is not established by the reasons assigned on the part of Zeller, Lekebusch, and Ewald. Still more arbitrary, however, is its transference to Alexandria (Mill, according to subscriptions in codd. and VSS. of the Gospel), to Antioch , or to Greece (Hilgenfeld); and not less so the referring it to Hellenic Asia Minor (Köstlin, p. 294).


The circumstance that there is no trace of the use of the Pauline Epistles in the Acts, and that on the other hand things occur in it at variance with the historical notices of these Epistles, is, on the whole, a weighty argument against the late composition of the book, as assumed by Baur, Schwegler, Zeller, and others, and against its alleged character of a set purpose. How much matter would the Pauline Epistles have furnished to an author of the second century in behalf of his intentional fabrications of history! How much would the Epistle to the Romans itself in its dogmatic bearing have furnished in favour of Judaism! And so clever a fabricator of history would have known how to use it, as well as how to avoid deviations from the historical statements of the Pauline Epistles. What has been adduced from the book itself as an indication of its composition in the second century (110 130) is either no such indication, as, for example, the existence of a copious Gospel-literature (Luke 1:1 ); or is simply imported into it by the reader, such as the alleged germs of a hierarchical constitution; see Lekebusch, p. 422 ff.


AER. DION. 31, U.C. 784. The risen Jesus ascends to heaven. Matthias becomes an apostle. The outpouring of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and its immediate consequences (1 and 2).

Since, according to the well-founded assumption that the feast meant at John 5:1 is not a Passover, it must be considered as certain that the time of the public ministry of Jesus embraced no more than three paschal feasts (John 2:13 ; John 6:4 ; John 6:12 . ff.), consequently only two years and some months; [86] as it is further certain that our Lord was not crucified on the 15th, but on the 14th of the month Nisan, which fell on a Friday; [87] according to the researches founded on the Jewish calendar by Wurm (in Bengel’s Arch. II. p. 1 ff., p. 261 ff.) and Anger ( de tempor. in Act. ap. ratione , Lips. 1833, pp. 30 38), the date laid down above appears to result as the most probable (“anno 31, siquidem is intercalaris erat, diem Nisani 14 et 15, anno 33, siquidem vulgaris erat, diem Nisani 14, anno vero 32 neutrum in Veneris diem incidere potuisse. Atqui anno 33, ideo quod ille annum sabbaticum proxime antecedebat, Adarus alter adjiciendus erat. Ergo neque annum 32 neque 33 pro ultimo vitae Christi anno haberi posse apparet,” Anger, p. 38). Nevertheless, the uncertainty of the Jewish calendar would not permit us to attain to any quite reliable result, if there were no other confirmatory points. But here comes in Luke 3:1 , according to which John appeared in the 15th year of the reign [88] of Tiberius, i.e. from 19th August 781 Timothy 1:0 9th August 782 (see on Luke, l.c. [89] ). And if it must be assumed that Jesus began His public teaching very soon after the appearance of John, at all events in the same year, then the first Passover of the ministry of Jesus (John 2:13 ) was that of the year 782; the second (John 6:4 ), that of the year 783; the third (John 12. ff.), that of the year 784. With this agrees the statement of the Jews on the first public appearance of Jesus in Jerusalem, that (see on John 2:20 ) the temple had been a-building during a period of 46 years. This building, namely, had been commenced in the 18th year of the reign of Herod the Great ( i.e. autumn 734 735). If now, as it was the interest of the Jews at John 2:20 to specify as long an interval as possible, the first year as not complete is not included, in the calculation, there results as the 46th year (reckoned from 735 736), the year from autumn 781 to autumn 782; and consequently as the first Passover, that of the year 782. The same result comes out, if the first year of the building be reckoned 734 735, and the full 46 years are counted in, so that when the words John 2:20 were spoken, the seven and fortieth year ( i.e. autumn 781 782) was already current.

AER. DION. 31 34, U.C. 784 787. Peter and John, after the healing of the lame man (3), are arrested and brought before the Sanhedrim (4); death of Ananias and his wife (Acts 5:1-11 ); prosperity of the youthful church (Acts 5:12-16 ); persecution of the apostles (Acts 5:17-42 ). As Saul’s conversion (see the following paragraph) occurred during the continuance of the Stephanic persecution, so the execution of Stephen is to be placed in the year 33 or 34 (Acts 6:8 ), and not long before this, the election of the managers of alms (Acts 6:1-7 ); and nearly contemporary with that conversion is the diffusion of Christianity by the dispersed (Acts 8:4 ), the ministry of Philip in Samaria (Acts 8:5 ff.), and the conversion of the chamberlain (Acts 8:26 ff.). What part of this extraneous activity of the emigrants is to be placed before, and what after, the conversion of Paul, cannot be determined.

AER. DION. 35, U.C. 788. Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-19 ), 17 years before the apostolic council (see on Galatians 2:1 ).

According to 2 Corinthians 11:32 , Damascus, when Paul escaped thence to betake himself to Jerusalem (Acts 9:24-26 ), was under the rule of the Arabian King Aretas. The taking possession of this city by Aretas is not, indeed, recorded by any other author, but must be assumed as historically attested by that very passage, because there the ethnarch of Aretas appears in the active capacity of governor of the city, [90] and his relation to the πόλις Δαμασκηνῶν is supposed to be well known to the readers. It is therefore very arbitrary to regard this relation as a temporary private one, and not as a real dominion (Anger: “forte fortuna eodem, quo apostolum tempore propter negotia nescio quae Damasci versatum esse,” and that he, either of his own accord or at the request of the Jews, obtained permission for the latter from the magistrates of Damascus to watch the gates). The time, when the Arabian king became master of Damascus, is assigned with much probability, from what Josephus informs us of the relations of Aretas to the Romans, to the year 37, after the death of Tiberius in March of that year. Tiberius, namely, had charged Vitellius, the governor of Syria, to take either dead or alive Aretas, who had totally defeated the army of Herod Antipas, his faithless son-in-law (Joseph. Antt. xviii. 5. 1). Vitellius, already on his march against him (Joseph. l.c. xviii. 5. 3), received in Jerusalem the news of the death of the emperor, which occurred on the 16th of March 37, put his army into winter quarters, and journeyed to Rome. Now this was for Aretas, considering his warlike and irritated attitude toward the Roman power, certainly the most favourable moment for falling upon the rich city of Damascus which, besides, had formerly belonged to his ancestors (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 15. 2) because the governor and general-in-chief of Syria was absent, the army was inactive, and new measures were to be expected from Rome. The king, however, did not remain long in possession of the conquered city. For when, in the second year of Caligula ( i.e. in the year from 16th March 38 to 16th March 39), the Arabian affairs were regulated (Dio Cass. lix. 9. 12), Damascus cannot have been overlooked. This city was too important for the objects of the Roman government in the East, to allow us to assume with probability what Wieseler, p. 172 ff., and on Gal. p. 599, assumes [91] that, at the regulation of the Arabian affairs, it had only just come by way of gift into the hands of Aretas, or (with Ewald, p. 339) that according to agreement it had remained in his possession during his lifetime, so that he would have to be regarded as a sort of Roman vassal . This, then, limits the flight of Paul from Damascus to the period of nearly two years from the summer of 37 to the spring of 39. As, however, it is improbable that Aretas had entrusted the keeping of the city gates to the Jews in what remained of the year 37, which was certainly still disturbed by military movements; and as his doing so rather presupposes a quiet and sure possession of the city, and an already settled state of matters; there remains only the year 38 and the first months of the year 39. And even these first months of the year 39 are excluded, as, according to Dio Cassius, l.c. , Caligula apportioned Arabia in the second year of his reign; accordingly Aretas can hardly have possessed the conquered city up to the very end of that year, especially as the importance of the matter for the Oriental interests of the Romans made an early arrangement of the affair extremely probable. Every month Caligula became more dissolute and worthless; and certainly the securing of the dangerous East would on this account rather be accelerated than delayed. Accordingly, if the year 38 [92] be ascertained as that of the flight of Paul, there is fixed for his conversion, between which and his flight a period of three years intervened (Galatians 1:18 ), the year 35.

AER. DION. 36, 37, U.C. 789, 790. Paul labours as a preacher of the gospel in Damascus , Acts 9:20-23 ; journey to Arabia and return to Damascus (see on Acts 9:19 ).

AER. DION. 38, U.C. 791. His flight from Damascus and first journey to Jerusalem (Acts 9:23-26 ff.), three years after his conversion, Galatians 1:18 . From Jerusalem he makes his escape to Tarsus (Acts 9:29-30 ).

AER. DION. 39 43, U.C. 792 796. The churches throughout Palestine have peace and prosperity (Acts 9:31 ); Peter makes a general journey of visitation (Acts 9:32 ), labours at Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43 ), converts Cornelius at Caesarea (Acts 10:1-48 ), and returns to Jerusalem, where he justifies himself (Acts 11:1-18 ). Christianity is preached in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and in that city even to the Gentiles, on which account Barnabas is sent thither, who fetches Paul from Tarsus, and remains with him for one year in Antioch (Acts 11:19-26 ). In this year (43) Agabus predicts a general famine (Acts 11:27-28 ).

AER. DION. 44, U.C. 797. After the execution of the elder James, Peter is imprisoned without result by Agrippa I., who dies in August 44 (Acts 12:1-23 ). In the fourth year of the reign of Claudius occurs the famine in Judaea (see on Acts 11:28 ), on account of which Paul (according to Acts, but not according to Galatians 2:1 ) makes his second journey to Jerusalem (with Barnabas), whence he returns to Antioch (Acts 11:29-30 , and see on Acts 12:25 ).

AER. DION. 45 51, U.C. 798 804. In this period occurs the first missionary journey of the apostle with Barnabas (13 and 14), the duration of which is not indicated. Having returned to Antioch, Paul and Barnabas remain there χρόνον οὐκ ὀλίγον (Acts 14:28 ).

AER. DION. 52, U.C. 805. The third journey of Paul to Jerusalem (with Barnabas) to the apostolic congress (Acts 15:1-29 ), according to Galatians 2:1 , fourteen years after the first journey. Having returned to Antioch, Paul and Barnabas separate, and Paul with Silas commences his second missionary journey (Acts 15:30-41 ).

AER. DION. 53, 54, U.C. 806, 807. Continuation of this missionary journey through Lycaonia, Phrygia, and Galatia; crossing from Troas to Macedonia; journey to Athens and Corinth, where Paul met with Aquila banished in the year 52 by the edict of Claudius from Rome, and remained there more (see on Acts 18:11 ) than a year and a half (Acts 16:1 to Acts 18:18 ).

AER. DION. 55, U.C. 808. From Corinth Paul journeys to Ephesus , and thence by Caesarea to Jerusalem for the fourth time (Acts 18:20-22 ), from which, without staying, he returns to Antioch (Acts 18:22 ), and thus closes his second missionary journey. He tarries there χρόνον τινά (Acts 18:23 ), and then commences his third missionary journey through Galatia and Phrygia (Acts 18:23 ), during which time Apollos is first at Ephesus (Acts 18:24 ff.) and then at Corinth (Acts 19:1 ).

AER. DION. 56 58, U.C. 809 811. Paul arrives on this journey at Ephesus (Acts 19:1 ), where he labours for not quite three years (see on Acts 19:10 ). After the tumult of Demetrius (Acts 19:24-40 ) he journeys to Macedonia and Greece , and tarries there three months (Acts 20:1-2 ).

AER. DION. 59, U.C. 812. Having returned in the spring from Greece to Macedonia (Acts 20:3 ), Paul sails after Easter from Philippi to Troas (Acts 20:6 ), and from Assos by way of Miletus (Acts 20:13-38 ), and Tyre (Acts 21:1-6 ) to Ptolemais (Acts 21:7 ), thence he journeys by Caesarea (Acts 21:8-14 ) to Jerusalem for the fifth and last time (Acts 21:15-17 ). Arriving shortly before Pentecost (Acts 20:16 ), he is after some days (Acts 21:18-33 ) arrested and then sent to Felix at Caesarea (Acts 23:23-35 ).

AER. DION. 60, 61, U.C. 813, 814. Paul remains a prisoner in Caesarea for two years (from the summer of 59 to the summer of 61) until the departure of Felix, who leaves him as a prisoner to his successor Festus (Acts 24:27 ). Festus , after fruitless discussions (25, 26), sends the apostle, who had appealed to Caesar, to Rome in the autumn (Acts 27:9 ), on which journey he winters at Malta (Acts 28:11 ).

That Felix had retired from his procuratorship before the year 62, is evident from Joseph. Antt. xx. 8. 9, according to which this retirement occurred while Pallas , the brother of Felix, was still a favourite of Nero, and while Burrus, the praefectus praetorio , was still living; but, according to Tac. Ann. xiv. 65, Pallas was poisoned by Nero in the year 62, and Burrus died in an early month of the same year (Anger, de temp. rat. p. 101). See also Ewald, p. 52 ff. Further, that the retirement of Felix took place after the year 60, [93] is highly probable from Joseph. Vit. § 3, and from Antt. xx. 8. 11. In the first passage Josephus informs us that he had journeyed to Rome μετʼ εἰκοστὸν καὶ ἕκτον ἐνιαυτόν of his life, in order to release certain priests whom Felix, during his (consequently then elapsed) procuratorship ( ΚΑΘʼ ὋΝ ΧΡΌΝΟΝ ΦῆΛΙΞ Τῆς ἸΟΥΔΑΊΑς ἘΠΕΤΡΌΠΕΥΕΝ ), had sent as prisoners thither. Now, as Josephus was born ( Vit. § 1) in the first year of Caligula ( i.e. in the year from 16th March 37 to 16th March 38), and so the completion of his 26th year fell in the year from 16th March 63 to 16th March 64, that journey to Rome is to be placed in the year 63, [94] for the sea was closed in the winter months until the beginning of March (Veget. de re milit. iv. 39). If, then, Felix had retired as early as the year 60, Josephus would only have interested himself for his unfortunate friends three years after the removal of the hated governor, a long postponement of their rescue, which would be quite inexplicable. But if Felix resigned his government in the year 61, [95] it was natural that Josephus should first wait the result of the complaint of the Jews of Caesarea to the emperor against Felix (Joseph. Antt. xx. 8. 10); and then, when the unexpected news of the acquittal of the procurator came, should, immediately after the opening of the navigation in the year 63, make his journey to Rome, in order to release his friends the priests. Further, according to Joseph. Antt. xx. 8. 11, about the time of the entrance of Festus on office ( κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον ), Poppaea , the mistress of Nero, was already his wife ( γυνή ), which she became according to Tac. Ann. xiv. 59, Suet. Numbers 35:0; Numbers 35:0 , only in May of the year 62 (see Anger, l.c. pp. 101, 103). Now, if Festus had become already procurator in the year 60, we must either ascribe to the expression Kara κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον an undue indefiniteness, extending even to inaccuracy, or in an equally arbitrary manner understand ΓΥΝΉ proleptically (Anger, Stölting), or as uxor injusta (Wieseler), which, precisely in reference to the twofold relation of Poppaea as the emperor’s mistress and the emperor’s wife , would appear unwarranted in the case of a historian who was recording the history of his own time. But if Festus became governor only in the summer of 61, there remains for τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον a space of not quite one year, which, with the not sharply definite ΚΑΤᾺ Κ . Τ . Λ . , cannot occasion any difficulty. The objection urged by Anger, p. 100, and Wieseler, p. 86, on Gal. p. 584 f., and in Herzog’s Encykl. XXI. p. 557, after Pearson and Schrader, against the year 61, from Acts 28:16 , namely, that the singular τῷ στρατοπεδάρχῃ refers to Burrus (who died in the spring of 62) as the sole praefectus praetorii at the period of the arrival of the apostle at Rome, for before and after his prefecture there were two prefects, is untenable, because the singular in the sense of: the praefectus praetorii concerned (to whom the prisoners were delivered up), is quite in place. The other reasons against the year 61, taken from the period of office of Festus and Albinus, the successors of Felix (Anger, p. 101 ff.; Wieseler, p. 89 ff.), involve too much uncertainty to be decisive for the year 60. For although the entrance of Albinus upon office is not to be put later than the beginning of October 62 (see Anger, l.c. ), yet the building (completion) of the house of Agrippa, mentioned by Joseph. Antt. xx. 8. 11, ix. 1, as nearly contemporaneous with the entrance of Festus on office, and the erection of the wall by the Jews over against it (to prevent the view of the temple), as well as the complaint occasioned thereby at Rome, might very easily have occurred from the summer of 61 to the autumn of 62; and against the brief duration of the high-priesthood of Kabi, scarcely exceeding a month on this supposition (Anger, p. 105 f.), the history of that period of rapid dissolution in the unhappy nation raises no valid objection at all

AER. DION. 63, 64, U.C. 815 817. Paul arrives in the spring of 62 at Rome (Acts 28:11 ; Acts 28:16 ), where he remains two years (Acts 28:30 ), that is, until the spring of 64, in further captivity . Thus far the Acts of the Apostles.

On the disputed point of a second imprisonment, see on Rom. Introd. p. 15 ff.

[86] The Fathers, who assumed only one year for the public ministry of Jesus, considered His death as occurring in the year 782, under the consulship of Rubellius Geminus and Rufius Geminus, which is not to be reconciled with Luke 3:1 . See Seyffarth, Chronol. sacra , p. 115 ff.

[87] Every calculation which is based on the 15th of Nisan as the day of the death of Jesus (so Wieseler, according to whom it happened on 7th April 30) is destitute of historical foundation, because at variance with the exact account of John, which must turn the scale against the Synoptical narrative (see on John 18:28 ).

[88] Not of his joint reign, from which Wieseler now reckons in Herzog’s Encykl. XXI. p. 547.

[89] In presence of this quite definite statement of the year of the emperor, the different combinations, which have been made on the basis of the accounts of Josephus concerning the war between Antipas and Aretas in favour of a later date for the public appearance of Jesus (34 35; Keim, Gesch. Jesu , I. p. 620 ff.), necessarily give way. These, moreover, are not sufficiently reliable for an exact marking off of the year, to induce us to set aside the year of the emperor mentioned by Luke, which could only be based on general notoriety, and the exact specification of which regulates and controls the synchronistic notices in Luke 3:1 f.

[90] Not merely of a judicial chief of the Arabian population of Damascus, subordinate to the Roman authority (Keim in Schenkel’s Bibellex. I. p. 239). There is no historical trace of the relation thus conjectured, and it would hardly have included a jurisdiction over the Jew Saul.

[91] See also his three articles in Herzog’s Encykl.: Aretas, Galaterbrief , and Zeitrechnung, neutest .

[92] With this also agrees the number of the year AP of a Damascene coin of King Aretas, described by Eckhel and Mionnet, namely, in so far as that number (101) is to be reckoned according to the Pompeian era commencing with 690 U.C., and this is at any rate the most probable, whence the year 38 may be safely assumed for the coinage. The circumstance that there are extant Damascene coins of Augustus and Tiberius, and also of Nero, but none of Caligula and Claudius (see Eckhel, I. 3, p. 330 f.), is unsatisfactory as evidence of a longer continuance of the city under the power of Aretas, and may be accidental.

[93] Not in the year 58, as Lehmann (in the Stud, und Krit. 1858, p. 522 ff.) endeavours to establish, but without considering the passage in Joseph. Vita 3. See, besides, in opposition to Lehmann, Wieseler on Gal. p. 583 f.

[94] Wieseler, p. 98, following Clinton, Anger, and others, has defended the year 64. He appeals especially to a more exact determination of the age of Josephus, which is to be got from Antt. xx. 11. 3, where Josephus makes his 56th year coincide with the 13th year of Domitian (13th September 93 to 13th September 94). Accordingly, Josephus was born between 13th September 37 and 16th March 38, and therefore the above journey is to be referred not to the year 63, but, as he would not have entered upon it in the autumn, only to the year 64. But this proof is not convincing, as we are at all events entitled to seek the strictly exact statement of the birth of Josephus in the Vita , § 1 (16th March 37 to 16th March 38), and are not, by the approximate parallelism of Antt. xx. 11. 2, justified in excluding the period from 16th March to 13th September 37. Even if Josephus were born in March 37, his 56th year would still fall in the 13th year of Domitian.

[95] See also Laurent, neutest. Studien, p. 84 ff.


The great conflagration of Rome under Nero broke out on 19th July 64 (Tac. Ann. xv. 41), whereupon commenced the persecution of the Christians (Tac. Ann. xv. 44). At the same time the abandoned Gessius Florus (64 66), the Nero of the Holy Land, the successor of the wretched Albinus, made havoc in Judaea.


The Book of Acts embraces the period from A.D. 31 to A.D. 64, in which there reigned as Roman emperors : (1) Tiberius (from 19th August 14), until 16th March 37; (2) Caligula , until 24th January 41; (3) Claudius , until 15th October 54; (4) Nero (until 9th June 68).

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