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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Acts

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28

Book Overview - Acts

by Heinrich Meyer

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL

COMMENTARY

ON

THE NEW TESTAMENT

HANDBOOK

TO

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

BY

HEINRICH AUGUST WILHELM MEYER

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL

COMMENTARY

ON

THE NEW TESTAMENT

HANDBOOK

TO

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

BY

HEINRICH AUGUST WILHELM MEYER, TH . D.,

OBERCONSISTORIALRATH, HANNOVER.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FOURTH EDITION OF THE GERMAN BY

REV. PATON J. GLOAG, D.D.

THE TRANSLATION REVISED AND EDITED BY

WILLIAM P. DICKSON, D.D.,

PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW.

VOL. I.

EDINBURGH:

T. & T. CLARK, 38 GEORGE STREET.

MDCCCLXXVII.

PREFACE TO THE FOURTH GERMAN EDITION

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.

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.

DR. MEYER.

HANNOVER, October 22, 1869.

PREFATORY NOTE

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.

GLASGOW COLLEGE, May 1877.

EXEGETICAL LITERATURE

[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.]

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Also, in Latin. 8°, Cantab. 1824.

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.]

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

[Translated by the author into English, 1685.]

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].

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.]

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

INTRODUCTION

SEC. I.—AUTHORSHIP AND GENUINENESS OF THE BOOK

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 (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 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.

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.

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.

SEC. II.—AIM AND SOURCES OF THE 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.

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, ed. 2) 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.

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. ed. 3), 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.

SEC. III.—TIME AND PLACE OF COMPOSITION

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.

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).

REMARK.

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.

SEC. IV.—CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY OF THE ACTS

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 to 19th 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. Ner. 35, 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.

REMARK 1.

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.

REMARK 2.

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).

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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