Bible Study: New Testament Books
The Acts of the Apostles
The Second Volume from St. LukeA. Brief Introductory Account of the Book.
C. The Object and Scope of Acts.
(1) It does not pretend to give all the Acts of all the Apostles.D. Some Extrinsic Confirmations of St. Luke's Historical Statements.
(2) But it does afford us an insight into the Apostolic life.
(3) St. Luke's method.
(4) Certain points of interest.
E. The Relationship of Acts to St. Paul's Epistles.
F. The Relationship of Acts to St. Luke's Gospel.
G. The Date of the Composition of Acts.
H. The Canonicity and Authenticity of Acts.
J. The Decrees of the Biblical Commission.
K. Certain Variant Readings, particularly of Codex Bezæ.
L. The Theological Teaching of Acts.
A. The Acts of the Apostles.
St. Luke's second volume (note "the former treatise, O Theophilus") treats of the foundation of the Church and its speedy propagation; but, as St. Jerome expresses it:
"Though the Acts of the Apostles may seem to give us but the bare outlines of the story of the infancy of the new-born Church, yet if we call to mind that the author is Luke the physician, 'whose praise is in the Gospel,' then we shall realize that all his words are truly medicine for the languishing soul."
Acts stands midway between the foundation which is the Gospel and the fruits which are the Epistles; much as the Psalter stands midway between the History and the Prophets. Both books, the Psalter and Acts, may be fittingly termed "the Books of the Holy Spirit"; in the former we meditate under the influence of the Spirit which quickened the Hebrew Church; in the latter we see the same Spirit in action as "informing" the new-born Church of Him Who sent us the Spirit. St. Augustine tells us that "this canonical Book is read each year in the Church from Easter Sunday onwards."  But St. Chrysostom complains that in his time it was too much neglected. St. Jerome speaks of Luke as:
"The physician who by leaving to the Churches his Gospel and his Acts of the Apostles shows us how from fishers of fishes the Apostles became fishers of men. Indeed, he himself from a physician of the body became a physician of souls . . . and as often as his Book is read in the Churches so often does his medicine flow forth in unfailing stream."
A. CHAPTERS 1-9. HISTORY OF THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL AMONG THE JEWS.
I. Chapters 1-2. The preparation for the spreading of the Gospel.(i.) The events which preceded the Day of Pentecost and the actual foundation of the Church, AA 1:1-26.II. Chapters 3-7. The spread of the Church amongst the Jews of Jerusalem.(a) AA 1:1-12. The ascension of Christ and the promise of the Holy Spirit.(ii.) The Day of Pentecost and the actual foundation of the Church, AA 2:1-47.
(b) AA 1:13-26. The disciples are assembled together and Matthias is chosen to replace Judas.
(a) AA 2:1-13. The descent of the Holy Spirit.
(b) AA 2:14-36. St. Peter's first sermon.
(c) AA 2:37-41. Many are admitted to Baptism.
(d) AA 2:42-47. The fervor of the early Christians.(i.) AA 3:1-12. St. Peter's first miracle—he heals the man lame from his birth.III. Chapters 8-9. This persecution brings about the dispersal of the disciples, not, however, of the Apostles; the consequent evangelization of Samaria, Philistia, and Damascus.
(ii.) AA 3:12-26. His second address.
(iii.) AA 4:1-31, Peter and John are arrested; many are added to the Church; trial of Peter and John; Peter's defense; they are released; the prayer of the disciples; the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them again.
(iv.) AA 4:32-to-5:11. The fervor of the members of the early Church; their life in common; it is illustrated by two incidents: Barnabas sells his property for the good of the Church; Ananias and Sapphira pretend to do so; their punishment.
(v.) AA 5:12-42. The miracles wrought by the Apostles provoke persecution by the Sadducees; they are arrested, but released by an Angel; their defense on being re-arrested; they are God-appointed witnesses; Gamaliel counsels moderation to the Sadducees; the Apostles are scourged and set free; their earnest preaching.
(vi.) AA 6:1-to-7:59. The appointment of seven Deacons; the increase of the Church; the preaching of Stephen provokes further persecution; his defense; his martyrdom: the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man whose name was Saul.(i.) AA 8:1-4. The persecution; the dispersal; Stephen's funeral; Saul "makes havoc of the Church."
(ii.) AA 8:5-25. The mission of Philip the Deacon to Samaria; conversion of Simon Magus; Peter and John are sent by the Apostles to confer the Holy Spirit on the new converts; Simon Magus' sin and its punishment.
(iii.) AA 8:26-40. Philip's mission to Philistia; he baptizes the eunuch of Candace and passes on to Caesarea.
(iv.) AA 9:1-30. Saul's journey to Damascus; his miraculous conversion; his zeal; the Jews plot to kill him; he comes to Jerusalem, and is introduced to the Apostles by Barnabas; he retires to Tarsus.
(v.) AA 9:31-43. A period of peace in Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria; St. Peter makes a visitation of the Church there; he raises Eneas at Lydda, and Tabitha, or Dorcas, at Joppe.
B. CHAPTERS 10-28. THE SPREAD OF THE CHURCH AMONG THE GENTILES.
I. Chapters 10-12. The commencements of the Gentile mission.(i.) AA 10:1-48. At Caesarea. Peter receives Cornelius the centurion into the Church.II. Chapters 13-20. Paul's Missionary Journeys.
(ii.) AA 11:1-I8. At Jerusalem he defends his action before them that were of the circumcision.
(iii.) AA 11:19-27. Those who had been dispersed by reason of the persecution preached the Gospel to the Gentiles at Antioch of Syria; Barnabas is sent to them; he sends to Tarsus for Saul; together they preach there for a whole year; at Antioch the disciples were first named Christians.
(iv.) AA 11:28-30. Agabus foretells a great famine, which shortly comes to pass; the Church at Antioch succors that at Jerusalem through Barnabas and Saul (cp. xii. 25).
(v.) AA 12:1-25. Herod Agrippa I puts James the Greater to the sword; he imprisons Peter who, however, is released by an Angel, after which he leaves the Holy City: He went into another place; Herod is struck by God; his death; the Church increases; the famine at Jerusalem ends, and Barnabas and Saul return to Antioch with John Mark.(i.) Chapters 13-to-15:35. The First Mission and the Council at Jerusalem.III. Chapters 21-26. St. Paul's arrest; his imprisonment at Caesarea; his defense before Lysias, before the Sanhedrin, before Felix, and before Herod Agrippa II.(a) Barnabas, Saul, and John Mark sail from Seleucia, the port of Antioch, to Cyprus; Sergius Paulus, the Proconsul, is converted; Bar-jesu, or Elymas, is stricken with blindness for withstanding Saul, AA 13:1-13.(ii.) Chapters 15:36-to-18:22. The Second Missionary Journey.
(b) Saul-henceforward known by his Roman name as Paul Barnabas to Pamphylia and thence to Antioch of Pisidia, but Mark leaves them and returns Jerusalem. Paul's sermon at Antioch; the Jews reject his doctrine, and Paul turns to the Gentiles ; many of these enter the Church, but Paul and Barnabas have to to Iconium, AA 13:13-52.
(c) They preach for a long time in Iconium, but are again driven out by the Jews; they fly to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia. At Lystra Paul heals a man lame from his birth; the populace take them for gods, and call Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercury. Once more they are driven out by Jews, who have followed them from Antioch and Iconium, and who stone Paul. - After preaching in Derbe they return on their foot-steps through Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, Perge, and Attalia, whence they take ship for Antioch in Syria; they remain there no small time, AA 14:1-27.
(d) A crisis in the Church owing to the action of those who maintained that circumcision was necessary for all who would enter the Church (cf. 11:2). Paul and Barnabas are delegated by the Church at Antioch to discuss the matter with the Apostles and elders at Jerusalem, AA 15:1-3.
(e) The Council held at Jerusalem; Paul and Barnabas are received by the Jerusalem Church; the Pharisees who have become Christians demand of the converted Gentiles the observance of the whole Mosaic Law, AA 15:4-29.
(i.) Paul and Barnabas are received by the Jerusalem Church; the Pharisees who have become Christians demand that converts from heathenism should observe the entire Mosaic Law, vss. 4-5.
(ii.) After much deliberation in the assembly Peter decides that there is no obligation to observe the Law of Moses, vss. 6-11.
(iii.) All hold their peace and listen to Barnabas and Paul relating what wonders have been wrought among the Gentiles, vss. 12.
(iv.) James the Lesser, the Bishop of Jerusalem, while accepting Peter's decision, to save scandal—for Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him in the synagogues where he is read every Sabbath—suggests a practicable compromise, vss. 14-21.
(v.) The assembly ratifies this proposal, and sends a decree by Judas and Silas to the Gentile Church at Antioch, vss. 22-29.
(vi.) Peace is thus restored, and Paul and Barnabas continue to labor at Antioch as before, vss. 30-35.(a) Paul proposes to revisit the Churches founded on the previous mission; Barnabas wishes to take Mark with them, but Paul refuses on the ground that he had shrunk from the toil involved; an acrimonious dispute results, and while Barnabas goes with Mark to Cyprus, Paul takes Silas with him and, instead of going by sea, goes through Syria and Cilicia to Derbe and Lystra; on their journey they enforce the Decree of the Council. At Lystra Paul meets with Timothy, whom he circumcises and makes his companion, 15:36-to-16:5.(iii.) AA 18:23-to-10:28. The Third Missionary Journey.
(b) They are forbidden by the Spirit to preach in (the Roman Province of) Asia, and are led by the Spirit to Troas on the coast; here Paul has a vision of a man of Macedonia . . . saying: Pass over into Macedonia and help us! He obeys the intimation, and thus the Gospel PASSED OVER EUROPE, AA 16:6-10.
(c) The work at Philippi; the conversion of Lydia; the girl possessed by an evil spirit is delivered by Paul; her masters seize Paul; the Apostles are accused of acting against the Roman law; they are scourged and imprisoned; the prison doors are thrown open by an earthquake; the jailor and his family are converted; Paul insists on his rights as a Roman citizen and is released; they leave Philippi, AA 16:11-40.
(d) They pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia, and come to Thessalonica; they make many converts, and are again accused by the Jews of acting contrary to the Roman law, AA 17:1-9,
(e) They pass on to Berea, where they are well received; but the Jews from Thessalonica pursue them, and while Silas and Timothy remain there Paul goes by sea to Athens, AA 16:10-15.
(f) At Athens Paul, moved by the sight of the idolatry there, and especially by seeing an altar dedicated "To the Unknown God," preaches at the Areopagus on the True God Who should be readily known, for in Him we live and move and have our being; he treats of the Judgment and of the Resurrection. But he makes only a few converts, among them Denis the Areopagite, AA 17:16-34.
(g) He passes to Corinth, where he stays a year and six months owing to a vision wherein the Lord says to him: I have much people in this city. The Jews arrest him and bring him before Gailio, the new Proconsul, who, however, cared for none of these things, AA 18:1-17.
(h) After a stay of yet many days Paul goes with Priscilla and Aquila to Cenchra—the port of Corinth to the east—whence he sails for Ephesus, where he makes no long stay, but passes at once to Caesarea, Jerusalem, and Antioch, AA 18:18-22.(a) After some time at Antioch Paul again revisits the scene of his early labors. Meanwhile Apollo, a learned Alexandrian knowing only the baptism of John, was instructed in the way of the Lord by Priscilla and Aquila at Ephesus, whence he passes to Corinth, AA 18:23-28.
(b) Paul comes to Ephesus, where he stays two years and three months.(i.) Here he baptizes twelve men who hitherto had only known the baptism of John; the Holy Spirit descends upon them. Paul preaches in the synagogue for three months, AA 19:1-8.(c) The return journey to Jerusalem; Paul spends three months in Greece after passing through Macedonia; he then returns through Macedonia on his way to Syria; a list of those who accompanied him, AA 20:2-4.
(ii.) Compelled to leave the synagogue, he occupies the school of one Tymnnus and teaches there for two years, AA 19:9-10.
(iii.) He works more than common miracles; seven sons of Sceva, a chief priest, attempt to imitate him and are punished; this produces a number of conversions, and, in consequence, magical books are publicly burnt to the value of 50,000 pieces of silver, AA 19:11-20.
(iv.) Paul proposes to return to Jerusalem after visiting Macedonia and Achaia; he purposes to visit Rome also, AA 19:21-22.
(v.) The silversmiths of the temple of Diana, feeling that they are losing their trade through Paul's numerous conversions, cause a riot, and Paul in consequence leaves Ephesus, 19:23-to-20:1.
Two main incidents on the route:(i.) At Troas Paul discourses for a long time at the Breaking of Bread; he raises to life Eutychus who through fatigue had fallen down from the third story, AA 20:5-12.
(ii.) The party arrives at length at Mitylene, and Paul—desirous of celebrating Pentecost at Jerusalem—is unable to revisit Ephesus, but sends for the elders of that Church to meet him at Mitylene; the charge he delivers to them there; the final parting, AA 20:13-38.(i.) AA 21:1-16. The last stages of the journey; he stays seven days at Tyre, a day at Ptolemais, and some days at Caesarea; in this latter place he lodges with Philip the Deacon; Agabus the Prophet (see 11:27-28) foretells Paul's sufferings in Jerusalem.IV. Chapters 27-28. Paul's journey to Rome; his shipwreck; arrival at Rome; his interview with the Jews there; he is detained two whole years in his own hired lodging, and he received all that came to him.
(ii.) AA 21:17-26. Arrived at Jerusalem they go to see the Bishop, James the Lesser; he warns Paul of the prejudices existing against him; he is accused of saying that even the Jews who are among the Gentiles ought to depart from the Law of Moses. James therefore urges him to show by some concrete proof that he is still devoted to the Mosaic Law. Paul therefore undertakes to defray the cost of ceremonial purification on behalf of four Jews.
(iii.) AA 21:27-40. His enemies, however, take advantage of his presence in the Temple to accuse him of having introduced a stranger, Trophimus the Ephesian, into the portion of the Temple forbidden to non-Jews; a riot takes place and Paul is only rescued by the advent of the Tribune Lysias who gives him leave to address the people, which he does in the Hebrew tongue.
(iv.) AA 22:1-30. He recounts to them the story of his life and of his conversion to Christianity; but when he says that the Lord in a vision had said to him, Unto the Gentiles afar off will I send thee, the riot is renewed, and the Tribune rescues him with difficulty. He orders him to be scourged, but Paul again insists on his rights as a Roman citizen, whereon he is brought on the next day before the Sanhedrin.
(v.) AA 23:1-10. His speech before the Sanhedrin; the High Priest Ananias orders him to be struck on the mouth for blasphemy; Paul's retort. Knowing that no justice will be done him in that assembly, he contrives to set the Pharisees against the Sadducees who form the dominant and Romanizing class. Owing to the resulting uproar, Paul is once more lodged in the castle by the Tribune.
(vi.) AA 23:11-35. A vision is vouched him in the night: Be constant, for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must you bear witness also at Rome. The Jews make a plot to destroy Paul, but this plot is revealed by Paul's sister's son to the Tribune; the latter sends him with an escort of two hundred and seventy men to Caesarea to Felix the Governor with a letter in which he states the facts of the case.
(vii.) AA 24:1-22. The Sanhedrin come down to Csesarea and plead their cause against Paul through an orator, Tertullus by name. Paul denies their statements, defies them to prove them, declares that as a good Jew he hopes for a resurrection, points out that as a fact he had come to Jerusalem with alms for his nation and in order to fulfill the precepts of the very law which they accuse him of infringing. Lastly, he points out that his real accusers are not present. Felix defers decision.
(viii.) AA 24:23-27. But Paul is detained a prisoner at Caesarea for two years; he preaches before Felix who is terrified.
(ix.) AA 25:1-12. When Felix is replaced by Festus, the new Governor, the Sanhedrin renew their demand for a trial at Ierusalem, laying wait to kill him in the way. Festus appoints a trial at Caesarea. Paul defends himself; he has offended neither against the Jewish Law, nor against the Temple, not against Caesar. Festus proposes to him to go to Jerusalem to be tried there; but Paul, foreseeing the inevitable result of such a trial, appeals to Caesar.
(x.) AA 25:13-26:32. Herod Agrippa II comes down to salute Festus: the latter tells him of Paul's case and of the flimsiness of the charges against him, also of his appeal to Caesar. Paul pleads before Herod as before a Jew; he tells of his life and of his conversion; he says that the only crime of which he is guilty is that of believing in Moses and the Prophets: That Christ should suffer and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light to the people and to the Gentiles. Agrippa is much moved, and says: This man might have been set at liberty if he had not appealed to Caesar!(i.) AA 27:1-4. They sail in a ship of Adrumetum to Lystra, where they tranship into a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; after passing Crete they run into a storm, and after a fortnight's tossing the ship is wrecked in the Adriatic Sea.
(ii.) AA 28:1-10. They remain on the island where they are thrown, namely Malta, for three months; during this time Paul cures the father of Publius, the chief man, of a grave illness.
(iii.) AA 28:11-16. The journey to Rome is resumed in another ship of Alexandria, and after three days at Syracuse, one at Rhegium, and seven days at Puteoli, they reach Rome by Appii Forum and the Three Taverns.
(iv.) AA 28:17-22. On the third day after his arrival Paul sends for the chief of the Jews; he insists on his innocence as regards the Jewish Law, points out that the Roman authorities would have set him free, but that it was his own nation that compelled him to appeal to Caesar.
(v.) AA 28:23-29. At the request of the Jews Paul expounded, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, out of the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning until evening; few believe him, and he is compelled to reiterate what he had so often said in the course of his missionary career: this salvation of God is sent to the GENTILES, and they hear it.
(vi.) AA 28:30-31. The narrative closes with a summary of Paul's life in prison during the two years.
C. The Object and Scope of Acts.
(a) The object and scope of Acts is perhaps best indicated by the title; this should not be translated "The Acts of the Apostles," but simply "Acts of Apostles," Πράξεις Αποστόλων; in Codex Vaticanus, B, and in Codex Sinaiticus, א, we find simply "Acts." On the supposition, then, that the title is St. Luke's, he did not intend to treat of all the "acts" of all the Apostles; he made a selection with a definite object in view. What this object was can only rightly be determined when we bear in mind that the volume is a sequel to the Third Gospel, and that one of the main ideas of the latter is the Universality of Salvation. We must further bear in mind that the author, St. Luke, was not simply the "sectator Pauli," he was also a Greek with strong Roman prepossessions. The universality of salvation made appeal to both these characteristics, for it held a predominant place in St. Paul's theology, and the Graeco-Roman Luke, writing to a Roman, Theophilus, would take an interest in showing how Christianity was introduced into the Roman Empire by one who was a Roman citizen, by one, too, who saw in Roman Imperial methods the best hope for the speedy and universal propagation of Christianity.
At the same time the author's devotion to St. Paul would give a certain apologetic character to his work, viz. the defense of the Apostle's true character and work. But that this latter is not St. Luke's main theme will be at once evident from the Analysis given above. There it will be seen that chapters 1-12 treat of St. Peter's work, chapters 13-28 of St. Paul's work. What motived the author in thus concentrating attention on these two Apostles? Why does he not give us the "Acts" of James, or John, or Philip? It cannot be simply because Peter and Paul were the "Princes of the Apostles"; nor because Luke had more detailed information regarding their work, though this is of course true, at least as far as St. Paul is concerned. The object he had in view, viz. the introduction of the Church into the World and its marvelously speedy propagation, must have motived this choice. Now this object is set before us in the words of the ascending Christ given in AA 1:8, "You shall be Witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth." The spreading of the Gospel in Jerusalem, Judaea, and Samaria was the task of St. Peter and, incidentally, of the other Apostles as well. Its extension to the uttermost part of the earth was the work, primarily, of St. Paul. When we thus grasp St. Luke's object we can readily understand his omission of so much that we should have liked to learn.
Thus St. Paul's Epistles show us many a gap in Acts, e.g. 2 Co 11:24-27 hints at many details in St. Paul‘s life concerning which Acts is silent, cf. Galatians 1:17. Hence we are not presented with a full biography either of St. Peter or of St. Paul; each is portrayed simply from the standpoint of the share he had in securing the spread of the Gospel; hence the tantalizing remark with which the history of St. Peter concludes, 12:17; hence, too, the equally tantalizing conclusion in 28:30. The author's ideal is universal salvation, not its universal realization; Romans 1:16 might have stood for his theme: I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and to the Greek. St. Jerome's remarks on Luke's omissions in Acts are worth recalling:
"Luke passed over Paul's sojourn in Arabia, perhaps because he did nothing there which concerned his Apostolate; perhaps, too, Luke prefers to give us in compendious form those things which seemed to concern the Gospel of Christ. . . . After all, of what interest is it to me to read that after Christ's revelation to him Paul went straight to Arabia, and that from Arabia he straightway went to Damascus, unless I am told what he did there? What profit is there in learning of his goings and comings?"
Similarly, apropos of St. Paul's "withstanding Peter to the face," he says:
"Luke the historian makes no mention of this dissension, neither does he anywhere say that Peter was with Paul at Antioch. . . . But it can be no marvel if Luke keeps silence on this point, for with an historian's license he passes over many other things which Paul tells us he underwent. It is no contradiction if one passes over what another for some reason thinks fit to recount!"
(b) But while it remains true that Acts does not contain a history of the Apostles, the book still justifies its title in a way that is often overlooked. For just as the Gospels show us what the Apostles were meant to be, so Acts shows us the position they occupied in the mind of the early Church.
Thus Our Lord's commands are for them alone, 1:2; they alone are named apart from the main body, 1:13; St. Peter is the natural leader of the band, 1:15 and passim; indeed, chapters 1-12 (15) might be fairly called a treatise on the Primacy of St. Peter; the precise number of the Apostles has a peculiar significance—it is of obligation to fill up any gaps in it, 1:21-26; they speak as a body, 2:14, 5:29, 5:40-42, 6:2; they are essentially "witnesses," 2:32, 3:15, 5:32, 10:39-41, cf. Luke 24:48; they—apart from the body of the disciples-are addressed by would-be converts, 2:37; they are truly the center of the picture, 2:42, 4:35-37, 5:13, 8:1, 11:1, 11:22, 13:31; they alone—at first—confer the Holy Spirit, 8:15-18, 10:44-45; they alone ordain, 6:6; they alone work "signs," 2:43, 4:33, 5:12; they alone are arrested, 5:18, 12:1-3; they alone—at first—preach, 5:40-42; they alone, as a body, remain in Jerusalem, 8:1; they are known as the companions of Jesus, 4:13; they are quite clearly marked off from the general body of disciples, 2:37; cp. 9:1-2, 9:19, 9:26-27, 9:38, also 14:13, where Paul and Barnabas are expressly called "Apostles," cp. 15:2.
(c) St. Luke's Method.—We shall get a clearer idea of the principles on which St. Luke has compiled his history if we examine somewhat in detail a concrete instance. In 7:57-59, apropos of the martyrdom of Stephen, we are introduced to the future Apostle of the Gentiles through whose ministry the Church was to take its most gigantic step and free itself from the shackles of Judaism. But the historian does not proceed at once to tell of Saul's conversion; he adheres to the chronological order observed in the spread of Christianity. The first result of the persecution which centered round the figure of Stephen was a dispersion of the disciples—not of the Apostles, 8:1. But before dealing with this dispersal and its effects St. Luke inserts a statement as to Stephen's funeral and another about the fury with which Saul now took up the work of persecuting, 8:2-3; he then takes up the thread introduced in verse 1, and tells us how the Gospel spread into Samaria, thence to Gaza, Azotus, and Caesarea. He then, chapter 9, describes the conversion of the chief cause of this dispersion, namely Saul, and incidentally gives a view of the Church as already existing at Damascus, 9:1-25. But in truly Lukan fashion he brings up the story of Saul to date by leaving him at Tarsus until the chronological development of the story of the spread of the Gospel demands his presence on the scene, 9:26-80. We said "in truly Lukan fashion" be cause this same feature is so noticeable in the Third Gospel. To take but a few examples: in Luke, chapters 1-2, note how he tells first of the conception of the Baptist, then of the conception of Christ, then he goes back to the Baptist and describes his birth, then he returns to Christ and describes His birth. Note, too, 1:56, words from which a person not familiar with Luke's method might conclude that Our Lady was not present at the Baptist's birth. We discover the same feature again in the way in which Christ's genealogy is tucked in between the account of His baptism and the temptation, 3:23-4:1.
To return to the narrative in Acts: St. Paul is left at Tarsus, 9:30, and Luke proceeds to give us certain later developments of the dispersion, viz. the consequent Apostoiic visitation of the Church in Caesarea, etc., and the resulting conversion of the Gentiles who were indeed already proselytes, 9:31-to-11:18. At the same time he drops a hint touching a weak spot in the Church, the source, too, whence were to flow grave troubles later on, 10:28, 10:45, 11:1-3, 11:18. That his main preoccupation is the spread of Christianity is evident from 8:12, 8:25, 8:40, 9:31, 11:26, where it is stated at least implicitly, and 9:42, 11:21, 11:24, 12:24, where it is stated explicitly.
Despite, however, the opposition hinted at above, viz. from the more Jewish members of the Church, the dispersion due to the persecution produces its logical effect: the evangelization of the Gentiles en bloc, 11:19-21, with a consequent widening of the rift between the narrower Judaic outlook and the broader views of those who realized that God's salvation could not possibly be limited to the bounds of Judaism, 11:22. It was only natural that Luke the Gentile should point out that the emissary of the Jerusalem Church, Barnabas, being "full of the Spirit," rejoiced at the conversion of the Gentiles and fetched Paul as being the man for the occasion, 11:22-25. Naturally, too, he points out that to a Gentile Church was reserved the glory of first receiving the name of Christian, 11:26. Further still, by the irony of fate it is Paul, the representative of all that is most distasteful to the growing Judaic element at Jerusalem, who ministers to the material needs of the Jerusalem Church, 11:27-30. Luke is at pains, too, to date all this carefully by inserting between the beginning and end of the story of the relief afforded in the famine the story of Herod's imprisonment of St. Peter, the latter's withdrawal to "another place," and Herod's apparently immediate death. The conclusion of the history of the ministry and of this first phase in Church history is the introduction of St. Mark, who is to figure so prominently later on, 12:12, 25.
When we pass from what we may term the "Petrine" portion of Acts, viz. chapters 1-12, to what may well be called the "Pauline" portion, we seem to pass into a different world. Moreover, we cannot but notice with what really dramatic skill St. Luke has prepared for the transition. We say "dramatic," for what could be more so than the closing scene of Stephen's martyrdom: his murderers "laid their garments at the feet of a young man whose name was Saul . . . and Saul was consenting to their sin"? How strikingly the following chapter, 8, is introduced by a reference—only a passing one it is true—to the fury of Saul's persecution of the Church! Then comes chapter 9 with the story of Saul's conversion, in itself a sufficiently dramatic event, and heightened in the telling by the accents of the Apostle himself which one can hear—more especially when the chapter is read aloud. But he passes off the stage as suddenly as he had appeared upon it—this is, perhaps, St. Luke's way of telling us of the three years in Arabia—until, with the departure of Peter to "another place," 12:17, the "Doctor of the Gentiles” bursts upon us seemingly in his maturity. Then the history develops; it is almost a case of "forced marches"; we pass from city to city and from land to land; we seem actually to "stand before governors and kings"; and wherever the historian leads us we hear him whom the Lycaonians most fittingly called "Mercury" speaking of Christ, of His death and His resurrection, speaking, too, with such power that even the sensual Agrippa is compelled despite himself to say: "In a little thou compellest me to become a Christian." And so the history hastens on to the strange anticlimax—as it must seem at first sight—the miserable squalor of the prison in Rome.
But is this all that we are meant to gather from the story? Is it merely a graphic way of showing how Christianity spread? Is it merely a glorification of his hero, the Apostle? Some have maintained this; they even go so far as to point out to us the remarkable parallelism between the facts narrated of St. Peter and those here told us of St. Paul. Even the sermons they preached, so it is urged, have a strange similarity, the very texts of the Old Testament they quote are the same. It is Elias and Eliseus over again; the latter must be capable of as great miracles as his master!
It is here that we can test St. Luke's powers as an historian. If he is merely second-rate, if indeed we are not listening to Luke at all but to some second-century author who lived long subsequent to the events he narrates, then we shall expect to find that his narrative is but a shell without a kernel, that he has only a somewhat superficial object before him, a portrayal of a wonderful character indeed, a record of unflinching heroism in face of difficulties, and an account of how Christianity spread. A great task, even this, yet hardly worthy of a great historian. But if we can trace a deep underlying purpose which will explain why certain events are given and certain others not, which will reveal to us why such disproportionate space is allotted to some events and so little to others, why, for instance, he devotes 21:17-to-24:25 to events which only cover twelve days, whereas in 24:26-27 he comprises the events of two years, why, again, chapters 25:1-to-28:7 deal with a period of five months, and 28:8-11 with two months—if we can discover the purpose of this, some principle which shall, in fine, serve as a key to the whole of the author's procedure, then we shall discover Luke the historian.
An examination of chapters 21-24 will serve to explain what we mean: in 21:17 the Apostle arrives in Jerusalem at the close of his third missionary journey; James the Bishop tells him of the intense hostility the Judaizing section entertain for him; in fact, they secure his arrest in the Temple and nearly succeed in killing him. But the Roman Tribune, Claudias Lysias, intervenes and allows Paul to address the people. His address inflames the people still further, 22:1-23, and the Tribune intervenes again, though, with the rough and ready justice of the age, he orders Paul to be scourged "to know for what cause they did so cry out against him," cp. 16:19-23; but the Tribune desists when he discovers Paul is a Roman citizen; he convenes a council of the Jews so as to see that justice is done, and, 23:1-10, St. Paul justifies his action. They resent his words, and a third time the Roman intervenes. That night the Apostle is told in a vision that he is to testify in Rome as well. The Jews plot his death, but this is met by a fourth intervention on the part of the Tribune, who sends him to Caesarea to the Roman governor, Felix, who in turn answers: "I will hear thee when thy accusers come." The latter duly arrive and plead their case, but the Apostle counters this with an absolute denial of its truth, whereupon the Roman governor "put them off . . . saying, When Lysias the Tribune shall come down I will hear you," 24:22. After a few days the Apostle preaches before Felix and Drusilla, 23-26; the next verse shows us that "two years" are passed over—till Festus succeeded Felix.
Now this marked attitude of impartial fairness on the part of the Tribune and of Felix is no isolated instance in Acts; at Cyprus the Proconsul, Sergius Paulus, is converted, "marveling at the doctrine of the Lord," 13:12; the Roman Praetors at Philippi, despite their preliminary harshness, 16:19-23, treat him with justice, 16:35; the case of Gallio, the Roman Proconsul at Corinth, is classic, "he cared for none of these things," in other words he declined to be made a party to any Jewish sectarian squabbles, 18:12-17; it is the same at Ephesus, where the "Asiarchs" are expressly termed Paul's "friends" and where the town clerk plays a most friendly part, 19:31. At Thessalonica the "Politarchs" were content to take security, 17:9, from accused Christians.
Now when we contrast this marked attitude on the part of the Roman authorities with the apathy of the authorities at Athens, for example, chapter 17, or the noticeable absence of any defence of Paul by those in authority at Iconium or Lystra, we get a glimpse of the underlying purpose St. Luke has in view: Christianity was contrary to no law; Jewish prejudice—even from within the Christian body—was doing its best to wreck it; Rome stood for justice and her arm stretched far. In this aspect of Roman government lay the future welfare of Christianity. St. Paul the Roman citizen and Luke the Greek historian writing to a Roman knight grasped this clearly. This, then, is the guiding thread in tracing out the details in Luke's history; once we have seized it we find that other things become clear. For instance, we are familiar with Derbe, Iconium, Lystra, and the rest because St. Paul went there; but Barada, for instance, and Laranda were equally as important as Iconium and Derbe and very close to them. Why did not the Apostle go there? There were plenty of souls to save. The answer seems to be that these cities were not Roman "Coloniae," as the others were; there would not be there the same law and order nor the same even justice for the accused. It was on the lines of the Roman occupation, then, that the Apostle worked, and it seems clear that, humanly speaking, his mission would not have had the same chances had he gone off this line.
One can well imagine that during the three imprisonments which they practically shared together—though Luke was apparently free to come and go—the Apostle and his "most dear physician" must often have talked of these things and of the calm confidence which their long experience of Roman justice had begotten in them; this explains, perhaps, the atmosphere of serene expectation which characterizes the letters written from Rome during Paul's first captivity there, e.g. Pp 1:20-26, Co 4:3-4, 14, and cp. 2 Tm 4:16 and note verse 11.
We said above that when we passed from chapters 1-12 to chapters 13 to the close we seemed to pass into another world. Much of what has been said will serve to explain this. But there is another feature which the story of the various examinations which St. Paul underwent brings into prominence: the whole controversy had changed now. For the question was not now whether the Messias had come or not—for that Peter and John as well as the rest of the Apostles had suffered; the question for which St. Paul stood was whether, having come, the salvation the Messias had wrought was for all men alike, the Gentile as well as the Jew. It was Universalism which was at stake. This again, serves to explain why he felt so impelled to work the lines of Roman expansion: not only would the Romans be just, but through them, their military roads and their far-flung Empire, he could reach "the nations that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death."
(d) Certain Points of Interest.—There are certain other features in this history of the infant Church which repay attention. Throughout the whole story there is a note of enthusiasm which is positively infectious as we read it chapter by chapter. When once this tone of the story is caught the reader finds himself carried from chapter to chapter, so that—incredible though it may seem to those who have never experienced it-he finds it hard to lay the book down. Thus note the constantly repeated references to the joy which marked those early days, 2:46, 5:41, 8:9, etc. At the same time there is a pervading sense of awe, e.g. 2:43, 5:5, 11. The growth of the Church is of course the main theme, but it is surprising how often St. Luke refers to it, 1:15, 2:41, 47, 4:4, 5:14, 6:1, 6:7, 8:6, 8:25, 8:27, 8:40, 9:2, 9:32, 9:42, 11:19, 11:21, 11:24, 11:26, 12:24, etc. Then there is the large part played by miracles as an argument for the faith, e.g. 2:22, and we note how many miracles the Apostles worked, 2:43, 3:1-10, 4:16, 4:30, 5:12, 5:15-16, 8:68, etc. In the eyes of many not the least of these miracles must have been the conversion of so many priests, 6:7, and even Pharisees, 15:5.
The Apostles were the chosen "witnesses" of Christ, and it is of interest to note what they taught in this capacity. Jesus of Nazareth was the Messias and He was the Son of God, 2:36, 8:37, 9:20. They point out that the Jews had been blind to the fact that their own Prophets had declared that the Messias was to suffer, 3:18; it is worth while noting in this connection St. Peter's use of the formula "Jesus Christ of Nazareth," 3:6, 4:10, 10:38; they teach, too, that this same Christ is to judge the world, 17:31. But the prime truth they insist on, and of which they were the constituted "witnesses," 2:32, 3:15, etc., is the resurrection of Christ, 2:24-32, 3:15, 3:21, 4:1, 4:10, 4:33, 10:40, 13:30-31, 13:38, 17:3, 17:31, etc. And as the result of Christ's sufferings and Resurrection they teach the remission of sins, 2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 10:43, 13:38, 22:16, 26:18.
Other interesting points that emerge are that even from the outset St. Peter had understood the call of the Gentiles and had not to wait till the episode of Cornelius; thus note in his first address to the people his remark that "the promise is to you and to all that are afar off," 2:39, and in his second address "to you first . . . God hath sent His Son," 3:26, and compare St. Paul's words "to you it behoved us first to speak," 13:46. It is also of to note how, in 2:40, St. Luke presents us with what he explicitly declares to be merely an abbreviated form of the various sermons. Then, again, we are allowed to catch more than one glimpse of the favor with which these early preachers of Christianity were regarded by the populace, 2:47, 5:13, 5:26. As an indication of the favor with which the Jewish religion had come to be regarded in heathen lands we note the many references to proselytes, 2:5, 10:2, 10:7, 13:16, 13:43, 13:50, etc. This was doubtless divinely intended in order to prepare the way for Christianity.
The character of the early communities appears in their adoption of common life, e.g. 2:44-45, 4:32, 4:34-37, 6:1; also in the very evils which so speedily strove to find an entrance, 5:1-11, 6:1, 8:9, 11:2, 13:45, 15:2. The corporate character of the Church appears in many ways, e.g., in the function of "laying on of hands," 6:6, 13:3, 14:22; notably, too, in the declarations of the Council held at Jerusalem, 15:28. Yet withal the Church is something divine; its Head is the Risen Christ Whom Stephen sees "standing at the right hand of God," 7:55; the Holy Spirit guides it at every turn, and the ministry of Angels is constantly apparent, 5:19, 7:53, 8:26, 10:3, 12:7, 12:23, etc. The new religion was spoken of as essentially "the way," 9:2, 13:10, 16:17, 17:4, 18:17, 18:25-26, 19:9, 19:17, 21:28, 22:4, 24:22, and cp. Hebrews 10:20, "A new and living way which He hath dedicated for us," and 2 Peter 2:2, "the way of truth" and 2 Peter 2:15, "the right way."
The Sacramental life of the Church is sketched with a fullness which comes as a surprise to those who do not expect to find it. Thus Baptism is constantly referred to; so, too, the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Eucharist is unquestionably referred to in 20:7, 11, and the use of the expression "break bread" in 2:46 and 27:35 may be pressed, since the Greek verb used here is that which only occurs in connection with the Eucharist or the miracles which prefigured it, cp. Matthew 14:19, 15:36, 26:28, Mark 6:41, 8:6, 8:19, 14:22, Luke 9:16, 22:19, 24:30, and 1 Corinthians 11:23. Confession is not so clear, but cf. what we pointed out above about the remission of sins, and cp. 19:18.
D. Extrinsic Confirmations of St. Luke's Historical Accuracy.
i. In 10:1 St. Luke gives the story of Cornelius, who is described as a centurion of "the Italian cohort" stationed at Caesarea. Confirmation of this is found in Josephus who tells us that when Herod Agrippa I died the soldiers stationed at Caesarea and Sebaste—the ancient Samaria—showed the most indecent joy, even going so far as to insult the late king's daughters. Whereupon the Emperor Claudius ordered the removal of "the body of soldiers that were at Caesarea and Sebaste," while arranging for "an equal number of soldiers out of the Roman legions that were in Syria to supply their place." But a further confirmation is derived from an inscription discovered in Carnuntum in 1895:
Optio coh(ortis) II Italic(æ) civium R(omanorum centuria)
F(aus)tini ex vexil(lariis) Sagit(tariis) exercitus Syriace.
Epigraphists date this from the early Emperors or the first century A.D., and as Josephus has already told us that such troops were at Caesarea about A.D. 44, there is no reason why the "Italic cohort" referred to in the inscription and in Acts may not have been there at the date suggested by St. Luke.
ii. In Acts 14:6-17 St. Luke describes how, consequent on St. Paul's cure of the lame man, the people took Paul and Barnabas for Jupiter and Mercury or Hermes. Ovid's story of the visit paid by these two deities to Baucis and Philemon is familiar. It is not so well known, however, that Ovid lays the scene on the borders of a lake in Phrygia; and the Lystra of Acts 14 is in Phrygian Lycaonia; moreover, it is the native populace that so named the Apostles: "they lifted up their voice in the Lycaonian tongue." A startling confirmation of what at first sight seems an unlikely event in this remote region is furnished by an inscription in Greek discovered in the summer of 1908 by Sir William Ramsay and Mr. W. M. Calder at a place called Balaclava, on the shores of Lake Trogitis. It runs:
Toues Macrinus, also called Abaskantus,
And Batasis, son of Bretasis, made
In accordance with a vow, and at their own expense,
(A statue of) Hermes Most Great, along with a
Sundial, and dedicated it to Zeus the Sun-God.
iii. The inscription which St. Paul says that he saw on an altar in Athens, "To the Unknown God," and which served him as the text for his sermon in chapter 17, finds an interesting parallel in the pedestal of a statue now in the British Museum, and bearing an inscription to the effect that it had been restored, "whether sacred to god or goddess."
iv. So, too, St. Luke's reference to the "Politarchs," or "rulers of the city," at Thessalonica has long remained an isolated statement finding no parallel in classical literature. But now we possess several Greek inscriptions mentioning "Politarchs," and more than all, one from Salonika itself, telling us of various people who there filled the office of "Politarch"; it appears that these officials were seven in number, and it is interesting to note among the names three which coincide with the names of companions of the Apostle, Sopater, Gaius, and Secundus. This inscription is now in the British Museum, No. 171 in the collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities.
v. St. Luke tells us that in Ephesus there were "Asiarchs," and the "town clerk" figures prominently in the scene with the riotous goldsmiths. On many inscriptions from Ephesus the title "Asiarch" appears, but one is peculiarly interesting from the fact that "the town clerk" is there said to be actually exercising the office of an "Asiarch."
vi. In Acts 6:9 we read that "some of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines" rose up against Stephen. A Greek inscription was discovered on Ophel in the winter of 1913-14—but only published in 1920—which may actually show us who the founder of this synagogue was, and, incidentally, the many purposes which such synagogues were intended to serve. The inscription runs:
Theodotus son of Vettinus, priest and
ruler of the Synagogue, son of a ruler of the Synago-
gue, grandson of a Ruler of the Synagogue, built
this Synagogue for the reading
of the Law and the teaching of the Commandments, also
the hostel and the rooms and the water-
supply as an inn for
them that come from foreign lands. This
his fathers established and the el-
ders and Simonides.
Mons. Clermont Ganneau and others seem inclined to assign this inscription to the middle of the first century, but P. Hugues Vincent, O.P., is inclined to think that it should rather be referred to the opening of the century. That Theodotus was a freedman is evident from his name, that his ancestors had been slaves in Rome, and therefore were probably deported thither when Pompey captured the Holy City in 64 B.C., seems also to follow from the Latin name he bears. It is clear that this synagogue must have been a large establishment.
E. Some Confirmations of the Historical Accuracy of Acts derived from St. Paul's Epistles.
The Relationship between Acts and St. Paul's Epistles—If the the Apostle was the "illuminator Lucae" and Luke the "sectator Pauli" we shall expect to be able to trace a certain similarity between their respective writings. At the same time it would be hard to point to any indications in Acts that Luke was acquainted with the text of any of the Epistles. Indeed, an absolute conformity as regards the material questions of time, place, and circumstances would itself be open to suspicion; we should feel skeptical did we discover an exact correspondence between Napoleon's letters and an historical account of his wars written by one of his Generals. Still, Luke must be expected to show an acquaintance with St. Paul's mind; there must be, that is, a certain material conformity in language, in historical and geographical allusions, between Acts and the Epistles, and we shall expect to find references to certain events in St. Paul's life; as an instance of this last point note the allusion to the collection of alms, Acts 24:17, 1 Cr 16:1-4, 2 Cr 8 and 9. There must also be what we may term "formal" conformity, viz. in ideas, in theological teaching, in style, in the point of view adopted, as well as in certain technical expressions; etc. Lastly, there must be conformity in the great main lines on which St. Paul acted, thus cp. Romans 1:16, 2:6-16, 3:9, 23, 29, 4:16,; and Acts 1:8, 9:15, 22:21, 26:20-21.
F. The Relationship between Acts and the Third Gospel.
The same line of argument may be used to show the mutual relationship between the Third Gospel and Acts. Thus the material conformity appears (a) in certain words and expressions common to both; (b) in the use of what we may term certain "catch-words"; for just as the use of τότε is characteristic of St. Matthew, καὶ and εὐθέως of St. Mark, μετὰ ταῡτα of St. John, so καὶ ἐγένετο or ἐγένετο δὲ are characteristic of St. Luke, who uses these expressions some forty-five times in his Gospel and thirty-seven times in Acts; (c) the two books draw upon much the same "sources," e.g. Our Blessed Lady and some official of Herod's court. (d) There also exists a remarkable parallelism in construction between the Third Gospel and Acts:
|The Gospel.||The Acts.|
|1:1-4. Prologue.||1:1-2. Prologue.|
|1-2. The Preparation.||1. The Preparation.|
|3. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.||2. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.|
|4-to-21. The Work.||3-to-21:16. The Work.|
|22-23. The Passion.||21:17-to-28. The Passion.|
This appears even in details:
|The Gospel.||The Acts.|
|9:51. The anticipation of the Passion.||19:2. The anticipation of the Passion.|
|ix. 51-xix. 48. The detailed journey to Jerusalem.||xx-xxi. 17. The detailed journey to Jerusalem.|
|20-21. The Last Words.||xx. 17-38. The Last Words.|
What we have termed the formal conformity appears in (a) the artistic character of both volumes, thus cp. Luke 24 and Acts 10, also the story of the Widow of Naim, Luke 7, and that of Eutychus, Acts 20. (b) In both St. Luke depicts the same characters for us, e.g. the women, the poor, and the penitents. Lastly, the final conformity appears in the common standpoint adopted, the universality of salvation is the theme, cp. Luke 4 and Acts 13; and while the Gospel treats of those "things which Jesus began to do and to teach" upon earth, Acts 1:1, Acts treats of those things which He continued to do when in heaven, through the medium of the Apostles.
That St. Luke was an eye-witness of much at least of what he relates in Acts is evident from the fact that he uses the first person in chapters 16:10-17, 20:5-to-28:16, and, according to Codex Bezae, in 11:27-28, for between these two verses this Codex inserts the words: "Era(n)t autem magna exultatio; revertentibus autem nobis," an insertion which may have led to the notion that Luke was an Antiochian, cf. Eusebius and St. Jerome, infra. These "'we' sections," as they are not inaptly termed, have been called the "travel document," and they certainly look like pages of Luke's diary. Inasmuch, too, as they break off at Philippi, in 16:17, and are resumed again at Philippi, 20:6, they bear the impress of truth, since they imply that Luke was left at Philippi to consolidate the newly-founded Church in that city, and that he only rejoined the Apostle as the latter was returning to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey. But even when not present himself, Luke had admirable opportunities for gaining first-hand information touching St. Paul's work; we have only to notice the persons and places he names to see how ample were the sources at his disposal. Thus he mentions Silas (of Jerusalem and Antioch), chapters 15-18, Timothy of Lystra, 16:1, 19:22, 20:4; Erastus of Corinth, 19:22, cp. Romans 16:23, 2 Timothy 4:20; Aristarchus of Thessalonica, 19:29, 20:4, 27:2, cp. Colossians 4:10, Philemon 1:24. Sopater of Berea, 20:4; Tychicus of Ephesus, 20:4, cp. Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7, 2 Tm 4:12, Titus 3:12; Trophimus of Asia, 20:4, 21:29, cp. 2 Tm 4:20. In the account of St. Paul's first missionary journey, chapters 13-14, we have no "we" section, yet the whole account reads like that of an eye-witness. If St. Luke was an Antiochian, as the addition in Codex Bezae, 11:27-28, suggests, he might have been with Paul and Barnabas on this first mission, though the whole evidence of the "we" sections is against this supposition. Still, there is no reason why Luke should not have had a full account from Mark who was present, cf. Colossians 4:10, 14, or from Paul himself.
The same must be said of chapters 1-12 or, perhaps, 1-to-16:5, at which points the first "we" section begins. For in these earlier chapters we have the testimony of an ear-witness rather than that of an eye-witness. We can only gauge the author's fidelity here by the analogy of his treatment of his material in chapters 13 (or 16:6)-to-28. and in his Gospel; for it is rarely that we can find an extrinsic criterion, e.g. in the writings of Josephus, Tacitus, or Suetonius, such as, for instance, is afforded by 5:36. But it should be remembered that St. Luke has, humanly speaking, as much right to be heard as these profane authors. For in these earlier chapters Luke is a collector of traditions, as in his Gospel; during his sojourn at Caesarea, chapters 21-23, he would have had ample opportunity for collecting such traditions from St. Philip, 21:8, as also from St. James, 21:18. At Antioch he would be able to derive information from Barnabas, from Simeon Niger, 13:1, from Lucius of Cyrene, 4:36-37, 9:26-30, 15:22-40. For his knowledge of Herod's court he would have drawn upon Menahen, 12:20-23, 13:1, 25:13; cp. Luke 23:7-12. For other portions he could have derived assistance from St. Paul himself, e.g. 9:1-30; perhaps, too, for 6:8-to-8:3; similarly from St. Mark for 12:1-19. How large a part St. Philip may have played as Luke's informant will be evident from 6:1-7, 8:4-40, 9:31-to-11:18. It is well, too, to realize the influence St. John may have had in the compilation of Acts. His Acta are not given, but notice the Johannine tone of 1:4, 7, 2:13, and cp. the account of the cure of the lame man in Acts 3 with that in John 5 and 9. Compare, too, the "wonderment" in 3:10-12, with John 5:20, 28, 7:21; similarly note the use of the term "glorify" in 3:13 and in John 2:11, 7:39, 11:41, etc.; these are minor points, but the very fact that Luke is silent about St. John may almost be an indication of the presence of his hand, as is the case in the Fourth Gospel.
G. The Date of Acts.
St. Luke breaks off his second volume in singularly abrupt fashion; Paul has a formal disputation with the Roman Jews who remain unconvinced, 28:17-29; this is "after the third" day of his imprisonment; the remainder of this imprisonment is summed up in the terse note: And he remained two whole years in his own hired lodging, and he received all that came in to him, preaching . . . without prohibition, 28:30-31. Luke was with him, Colossians 4:14, and the most natural view would be that the Evangelist occupied this period of waiting in putting together the Gospel and the Acts the material for the "former volume" he would have accumulated during the Apostle's two years' imprisonment at Caesarea; the material for the second volume would have been gathered during the course of St. Paul's journeys and put into final shape during this imprisonment at Rome. The concluding words would of course have been appended when publishing the volume.
But the disappointed reader at once asks as he lays down the volume: Why did he tell us nothing about the Epistles St. Paul wrote during his imprisonment? Why nothing about Nero's persecution? Why nothing about the martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul? Why nothing about the line of defense the Apostle adopted at his trial? The simple answer would be that in the case of the latter questions the events mentioned had not yet happened and that consequently St. Luke was unable to mention them.
But the suggestion has been thrown out in recent years that Luke really intended to write a third volume. This, it is maintained, would explain the abrupt conclusion of Acts, and would also destroy the argument based upon the conclusion, viz. that Acts was composed during St. Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. That he did intend to write a third volume is deduced from the opening words of Acts, Τὸν μὲν πρωτον λόγον "the former treatise." It is argued that, had he only meant to write the two volumes we now have, Luke should have written πρότερον and not πρωτον; for the latter the first of a series, not of two, much as we should—if purists—say "the former and the latter" if there were only two, but "the first and second" if there were more to follow. Now is true that Luke, especially in his Prologue, writes elegant Greek, but it is demanding a good deal to insist on his observance of such minutiae as this. As a matter of fact, the use of πρωτος instead of πρότερος occurs not only in what may well have been a proverbial expression, τὰ ἔσχατα χείρονα των πρώτων, Luke 11:26, Matt 12:45, 2 Peter 2:20, but repeatedly in Hebrews 8:7, 13, 9:1, 6, 8, 15, 18, 10:9, of the "former" tabernacle. A particularly clear example is 1 Corinthians 14:30, "But if anything be revealed to another sitting, let the first (former) hold his peace"; cp. Apocalypse 2:5. It is noteworthy, too, that πρότερος only occurs once in the N.T., Ephesians 4:22. It is difficult, then, to insist that Luke's use of πρωτος here presupposes a contemplated τρίτος λόγος.
But the best refutation of this view lies in the true scope of Acts. This volume was not meant to be biographical. Even Peter and Paul only figure in it for the sake of what they did in accomplishing the work of spreading the Gospel, and we may contrast the summary dismissal of St. Paul's work in 28:30-32 with the equally summary dismissal of St. Peter in 12:17. Bearing this in mind we may well ask: What could have been the theme of this supposed "third volume"? If Luke contemplated giving a further account of St. Paul's life his third volume would have been out of keeping with the two previous ones. If at a later period, viz. after the death of St. Paul, he had thought of compiling a third volume, he would have had nothing to tell save the story of the different examinations of the Apostle, and, after his release, the story of his missionary work in the east. But he would thus have gone over old ground, for the spread of the Gospel was his theme and he had already told it in Acts.
There is no reason, then, for shirking the conclusion which the straightforward interpretation of the closing words seems to impose upon us: Luke wrote Acts during St. Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, he appended the final verses to indicate the length of that imprisonment. In our Chronological Tables we have assigned that first Roman imprisonment to A.D. 58-60, and we may safely regard that as the date of the composition of Acts
H. The Authenticity and Canonicity of Acts.
(a) Tradition.—Eusebius places Acts among the "acknowledged books"; he also gives the following account of the Third Gospel and of Acts as well as of their author:
"Luke, a member of an Antiochian family, and a physician by profession, lived long in close intimacy with Paul, while he also made good use of his connection with the other Apostles. Consequently, he was able to leave to us two divinely-inspired books, which afford proof of that divine art of healing souls which he acquired from these same Apostles. The former of these books is his Gospel. Of this Luke tells us that he diligently compiled it according as he had received it from those who were themselves from the beginning witnesses and ministers of the word; he adds that he has himself faithfully adhered to them. The second book is the Acts of the Apostles, and this he composed not from hearsay, but as being himself an eye-witness."
Tertullian nowhere, as far as we are aware, names St. Luke as the author of Acts, but he takes it for granted; for him Luke is "sectator Pauli," Paul is "illuminator Lucae":
"Those who refuse to accept this Scripture (the Acts of the Apostles) can have no share in the Holy Spirit, since they are unable to recognize the Spirit sent to the disciples; neither can they defend the Church, since they no longer have the means of proving when the body of the Church was founded nor where it was cradled."
St. Irenaeus constantly quotes Acts: Luke is its author; Luke is "sectator Pauli," "inseparabilis a Paulo," and "cooperarius ejus in Evangelio." The Muratorian Fragment says explicitly:
"Acta autem omnium Apostolorum sub uno libro scripta sunt, Lucas obtine Theophile comprendit quia sub prasentia ejus singula gerebantur sicute et semote passione Petri evidenter declarat sed profectionem Pauli ab urbe ad Spaniam proficiscentis."
We may not agree with the view here expressed that the "Acts" of all the Apostles are given, but we note that Luke is termed "an eye-witness" of what he recounts. Traces of Acts are discoverable in the Apostolic Fathers, thus cp. 20:35, μακάριόν ἐστῑν μᾱλλον διδόναι ἢ λαμβάνειν, with Clement I. ad Corinthios 2, ἥδιον διδόντες ἢ λαμβάνουτες, and with this cp. Barn. xix., Didache iv., and Acts 4:32; cp., too, 10:41 with St. Ignatius, Smyrn. iii., and especially ii. 24 with St. Polycarp, Phil. i.
(b) Internal Evidence.—This traditional view of the authorship of Acts is fully borne out by an examination of the language and style, which accords both with the Gospel of St. Luke and with what we should expect of one who was the "sectator Pauli."
Thus note the following Greek words or expressions: ἐξαποστέλλω ἐπερχόμαι, αἵρεσις, ἀναίρεσις, ἀναιρέω; they only occur in St. Luke's Gospel, in Acts, and in St. Paul's Epistles. On the other hand, we have, for example, διοδεύω, διανοιγέω, in the sense of "making plain," καθίξω, "to tarry," δυνατός ἐν, ἐπιφωνέω, which only occur in Acts and in St. Luke's Gospel. The medical language of the Third Gospel and Acts has been investigated, especially by Hobart. It would take us beyond our limits to enter into details here, but we seem to see the physician's interest in Luke 4:38, 40, 8:43, 22:44; Acts 3:7, 12:23, 13:11, 18:3-9, etc.
J. Declarations of the Biblical Commission concerning the Acts of the Apostles.
OF THE AUTHOR, DATE OF COMPOSITION OF, AND HISTORICAL TRUTH OF, THE BOOK OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
To the following queries the Pontifical Biblical Commission has thought fit to answer as follows:
1. Considering especially the tradition of the Universal Church—a tradition which can be traced up to the earliest ecclesiastical writers—considering, too, the internal characteristics of the Book of the Acts, whether in itself or in its relation to the Third Gospel, especially the mutual affinity and interconnection of the Prologues to each book (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-2), is it to be considered certain that the volume which bears for its title "Acts of Apostles," or Πράξεις Αποστόλων has St. Luke for its author?
Reply: In the affirmative.
II. Can it be shown by critical arguments derived from the language and style, from the character of the narrative, from its unity of scope and teaching, that the Book of the Acts of the Apostles must be attributed to one single author? And can it in the same way be shown that the opinion of recent writers to the effect that Luke was not the sole author of the book, but that diverse authors must be recognized in it, is destitute of any foundation?
Reply: In the affirmative to both points.
III. In particular, do certain well-known passages in Acts, where the use of the third person suddenly ceases and the first person is introduced (“we sections”), destroy the unity and authenticity of the composition? On the contrary, can these passages be said to confirm it when submitted to historical and philological examination?
Reply: In the negative to the first point; in the affirmative to the second.
IV. From the fact that the book itself closes abruptly the moment St. Paul's first Roman captivity of two years' duration has been mentioned, can it be concluded that the author wrote another volume which has been lost, or at least that he intended to write another, and that consequently the date of the composition of the book must be assigned to a period long subsequent to that same captivity? Can it, on the other hand, be rightly and deservedly held that Luke completed his book towards the close of St. Paul's first captivity at Rome?
Reply: In the negative to the first point; in the affirmative to the second point.
V. If we take into consideration the frequent and easy intercourse which without doubt subsisted between St. Luke and the chief founders of the Palestinian Churches, between St. Luke, too, and St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, whose companion Luke was in his journeys and in his preaching; if we consider, too, Luke's wonted industry and diligence in seeking out witnesses and observing things with his own eyes; if, finally and chiefly, we consider the remarkably clear agreement of the Acts with St. Paul's Epistles and with trustworthy historical records, should we not hold that Luke had at his disposal sources of information worthy of all credit, and that he himself made an accurate, proper, and faithful use of them, and this to such a degree that he can lay claim to full authority as an historian?
Reply: In the affirmative.
VI. Can the difficulties which are commonly urged, whether from the supernatural character of the facts narrated by St. Luke, or from the way in which certain discourses, because set down in brief fashion, are therefore thought to be fictitious and adapted to the circumstances, or from certain passages which are apparently in contradiction with profane or even Biblical history, and lastly from certain narratives which appear not to be in harmony either with the author of Acts or with other sacred authors-—can these difficulties be considered such as would validly call in question the historical authority of Acts or at least seem to lessen it?
Reply: In the negative.
K. Some of the more interesting Variant Readings in Acts, especially those of Codex Bezae.
(a) In 8:37 the Textus Receptus and some MSS. of the Vulgate read: Dixit autem Philippus: Si credis ex toto corde, licet. Et respondens ait: Credo Filium Dei esse Jesum Christum. Four of the principal Vulgate MSS. omit these words, viz. Amiatinus, though the corrector of this MS. has inserted them, Cavensis, Fuldensis, and Sangermanensis. They are retained in the Sixtine and Clementine Vulgates, and consequently appear in the Rheims version. The best Greek MSS. omit them.
(b) In 9:5-6 the Textus Receptus and several Vulgate MSS. add after persequeris: durum est tibi contra stimulum calcitrare. Et tremens ac stupens dixit: Domine, quid me vis facere? Et dominus ad eum. But these words are presumably taken over by mistake from 22:10 and 26:14; the best Greek MSS. omit them.
(c) In 13:20 we have a variant which, though slight in itself, has important consequences. All the best Vulgate MSS. read: Quasi post quadringentos et quinquaginta annos; et post haec dedit judices. According to this reading, the period of 450 years would refer to the entire period between God's promise to Abraham and the division of the land, i.e. according to Ussher's computations, to 1900-1450 B.C. The Textus Receptus, however, and many good Greek MSS., read: Distibuit eis terram eorum. Et post haec, quasi post quadringentos et quinquagenta annos, dedit judices, thus referring the number of years, 450, to the period of the judges, or 1450-1000 B.C.
(d) 15:34. The text here presents some curious phenomena. The Textus Receptus has: But it seemed good to Silas to remain there, but these words are omitted by all the best Greek MSS. Some good Vulgate MSS. retain them, however, and add: And Judas alone departed to Jerusalem, though these words are only to be found in the Vulgate MS. Armachanus or the Book of Armagh, which, indeed, omits to Jerusalem, so that the sole authority, Latin or Greek, for to Jerusalem is to be found in the printed Sixtine and Clementine Vulgate. Hence they find no place in the original Rheims version, to which they have been added in subsequent editions in accordance with the Clementine Vulgate.
(e) 18:4. The words: Bringing in the name of the Lord Jesus have apparently no support from the Greek MSS.; indeed, four of the best MSS. of the Vulgate omit the entire verse.
(f) 28:29. This whole verse is omitted in the best Greek MSS. and in four of the best Vulgate MSS.
The most interesting variants in the text of Acts are, however, furnished by the Graeco-Latin Codex Bezae.[3l] This text has a series of additions and, to a lesser degree, of omissions which have led to the most divergent views on the part of critics. Blass, for instance, regards the Bezan text as St. Luke's rough draft of Acts; Ramsay prefers to see in its changes merely proof of a second-century editor who had failed to understand some of St. Luke's remarks, though at the same time Ramsay would allow that in places the Bezan text has preserved for us—more by accident than of set purpose—original and genuine matter which no longer finds a place in the ordinary MSS.
The Greek text lacks 8:29-10:14b; 21:3-10, 16-18; 22:11-20; 22:29 to the end of the book. The Latin text has preserved some portions of these, but is defective in others, The importance of this Codex cannot be over-estimated, but its place in textual criticism has not yet been definitely settled. Its affinities with the Harclean Syriac, with the Old Syriac versions, and with the text as known to Tatian, St. Justin, and St. Irenaeus, are acknowledged, though the implications have not yet been worked out. For some account of a Greek papyrus of the third century containing a portion of Acts 26 in a text approaching that of Bezae see the Journal of Egyptian Archaology, January, 1918, p. 18; also Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Vol. XIII.
As the general reader may not find it easy to discover these variant readings for himself, and as they are of very real importance, we may give some of the more salient ones. It should be noted, however, that the importance of these variants is not to be judged of by their quantity—i.e. by the lengthiness of any addition or omission—so much as by the different complexion which even a tiny change of person may put upon a passage.
1:4. "Living with them," instead of "eating together with them."
1:9. "While they looked on" is omitted.
1:14. "With the women," Bezae adds "and children."
1:26. Matthias is said to be added to "the twelve Apostles"; this, however, is probably a mere slip, though it appears in both Latin and Greek text; cp. 2:14, where Peter is said to stand up "with the ten" instead of with "the eleven."
2:37. Only "some of them" that heard St. Peter are represented as saying "What shall we do?"
3:1. "At the ninth hour . . . in the evening" is added.
3:3-5. In each case it is the lame man who is said "to gaze," not Peter.
3:11. This will serve as a good example of the way in which some passages are cast in quite different fashion in this text: "But as Peter and John came out, he came with them, clinging to them. But they [presumably the onlookers] stood stupefied in the porch that is called Solomon's."
4:32. The harmonious lives of the early Christians are depicted in even stronger terms than in the ordinary text: "And there was no disputing amongst them at all." Cp. 2:46.
5:15. The effects of Peter's passing shadow are actually given: "And every one of them was freed from any sickness, any of them had."
5:18. Add, "And every one of them went into his own house."
5:38. Gamaliel adjures the Sanhedrin "not to defile their hands" with these men.
7:24. Moses is said to have hidden the dead Egyptian in the sand. Cf. Exodus 2:12.
8:1. The words "save the Apostles" seem to hang in the air, so this text adds: "Who remained in Jerusalem"; we have similar additions in 5:15, 5:18, 15:34: "Judas, however, alone remained." Cp. 18:8, infra.
11:2. Instead of "When Peter was come to Jerusalem they that were of the circumcision,” etc., this MS. has "Peter indeed had for a long time wished to go to Jerusalem; and having summoned the brethren and strengthened them with many words, he made (his journey) through the districts teaching them, for he went out to meet them and declared to them the grace of God."
11:25. Barnabas is said to "have heard that Saul was at Tarsus," and therefore to have sought him out.
11:27. After telling of the prophets who came from Jerusalem to Antioch the MS. adds: "And there was much joy. But on our return." This is of peculiar interest, since this "we section" anticipates those which in the ordinary text only begin in chapter 16.
13:8. The fears of Elymas are explained by the addition that the Proconsul "heard him (Paul) gladly."
13:28-29. "When they had judged Him they delivered Him to Pilate . . ., and they asked Pilate to crucify Him, and having again had their way . . .”
13:33. An additional verse of Ps. 2 is quoted.
13:44. The spread of the Gospel is further indicated: "But it came to pass that the word of the Lord spread through the entire city. . . . Paul spoke much about the Lord."
14:2. At Iconium: "But the rulers of the synagogues of the Jews and the rulers of the synagogues (sic) stirred them up to persecution against the righteous."
14:4. "But some with the Apostles," add "clinging (to them) by reason of the word of God."
14:7. "And the entire multitude was stirred at the teaching. But Paul and Barnabas spent some time in Lystra."
14:13. The title of "the god-before-the-city" comes out more plainly in this text than—as the words are arranged—in the ordinary text; cf. Ramsay, Church and the Roman Empire, p. 52.
14:9. The lame man at Lystra is said to have listened to St. Paul, "being in fear,” a touch which seems natural.
14:19. It is added that Paul and Barnabas "stayed and taught at Lystra."
15:2. Apropos of the dispute at Antioch on the necessity of circumcision, Codex Bezae explains the dissension by adding: "For Paul said with aflirmation that they ought to remain so as they had believed; but they that had come from Jerusalem bade Paul and Barnabas and certain others . . ."
15:20. Omit "things strangled"; cp. 21:25.
15:41. Where the Vulgate reads: "Praecipiens custodire praecepta Apostolorum et seniorum," this MS. has: "Delivering the command of the seniors." The next verse adds:
16:1. "And having passed through these nations," which does not seem to fit into the context.
16:9-10. The vision of the "man of Macedonia" is almost completely recast: "When, then, he awaked, he recounted the dream to us, and we knew that the Lord had summoned us to preach the Gospel to them in Macedonia. And on the following morning . . ."
16:12. Philippi is expressly stated to be "the chief" (city) of Macedonia.
16:30. It is rather naively narrated of the gaoler at Philippi that, "having safely put away the rest (of the prisoners), he said to them (Paul and Silas). . ."
16:35. We are told of the magistrates at Philippi that, having come "together into the market-place, and remembering the earthquake that had taken place (in the night) . . .," they ordered the gaolers to release the men "whom you took yesterday." And further:
16:38. They were afraid on learning that they were Romans, and therefore "came with many friends to the prison and begged them to depart, saying: We know nothing against you, for you are upright men." They told them, therefore, to go, "lest perchance they should come to us again, and clamour against you."
17:15. It is said of St. Paul: "But he passed through Thessaly, for he was hindered from preaching the word to them."
17:34. Dionysius is termed "an honourable" man, which the Latin somewhat amusingly renders "complacens." Damaris is omitted altogether.
18:2. Aquila and Priscilla are said to "have also dwelt in Achaia" after the edict of Claudius.
18:3. The words: "For they were tentmakers by trade" are omitted.
18:6. At Corinth it is added: "And there was much talking and discussion about the Scriptures."
18:7. Titus Justus is simply called "Justus."
19:1. The text is completely recast: "And since Paul desired according to his own plan to go to Jerusalem, the Spirit told him to return into Asia."
19:9. Paul is said to have disputed in the school of Tyrannus "from the fifth hour to the tenth."
19:14. The number of the sons of Sceva, seven, is not given.
19:28. The rioters at Ephesus are said to have "run out into the crossways." Further, they shouted out, not "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" but "Great Diana of the Ephesians!" The same occurs in verse 34.
20:4. Eutychus (? for Tychicus) and Trophimus are termed "Ephesians."
20:5. In the Vulgate and in the ordinary text here opens a "we section"; but in this M5. the Greek has: "These, going before, stayed for him at Troas." The Latin, however, has "nos"; the Greek takes up the first person in the next verse.
21:1. A new stopping-place, Myra, is added after Patara.
21:25. St. James's words are amplified; it is noticeable that in repeating the decree of the Council he omits the reference to "things strangled," as in 15:20.
L. The Theology of Acts.
God and the Father: He is the Father, 1:7; the Creator, 14:14; spoke by the Prophets, 2:17, 3:25, 4:25; His foreknowledge, 2:23; worked through Christ, 2:22; we ought not to fight against Him, 4:19, 5:39; His promises to Israel, 1:4, 2:33-39, 3:25, 7:5-7, 7:17, 13:32, 26:6; His decree, 4:28; His action in the Old Testament history, 7:1-53.
Christology: Christ was foretold by the Prophets, 2:25-26, 26:22-23, 28:23 ; a résumé of His life, teaching, Passion, and Resurrection, 10:36-43, 13:23-41, 17:2-3, 26:23, 28:31; God worked by Him, 2:22; He was the Messias or "Christ," 9:22, 18:28; His preaching, 10:36-38; He is the Redeemer, 20:28; His Passion was foretold, 3:18; His human nature, 2:22; the Son of God, 3:26, 4:27, 4:30, 8:37, 9:20; Son of Man, 7:55; His Resurrection, 1:22; was the work of the Father, 2:24, 2:32-33, 3:13, 3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 4:12, 5:20, 13:30-37; was foretold, 2:25-36, 3:16, 3:21-25, 7:52, 26:8, 26:22-23; was preached by the Apostles, 4:2, 4:33, 13:30-37, 17:18, 17:31, 23:6; His Ascension, 1:9-10, 2:34; He is called "the Lord," 1:21, 2:36, 7:58-59, 9:5-17, 9:34, 10:36, 10:48, 20:25; "Jesus of Nazareth," 2:22; "the Prince and Saviour," 5:31 ; "the Saviour," 13:23; "the Holy One and the Just," 3:14; "the Author of life," 3:15; the "Stone," 4:11; is preached by the Apostles, 4:2, 4:33, 5:42, 8:5, 8:35, 9:20, 9:22, 11:20-21, 28:31; is prayed to, 1:24, 14:22; His name is invoked, 2:38, 3:6, 3:16, 4:10, 4:18, 4:30, 5:28, 5:40-41, 8:1, 9:28, 10:48, 15:26, 16:18, 18:4, 19:13, 19:17, 21:13, 26:9; Stephen "falls asleep in Him," 7:59; He testifies to Paul's preaching, 14:3; He appears to Saul, 9:3-20, 18:9-10, 20:24, 22:6-16, 22:17-21, 26:12-18; we are saved by His grace, 15:11; faith in Him, 16:31, 20:21, 24:24; He will come again, 1:11, 3:20-21; to judge the world, 10:42, 17:31; the preaching of Christ's doctrine by the Apostles is known as "the word of God" or "of the Lord," or "the way of life" or "of salvation," 6:2, 6:6, 8:25, 11:1, 12:24, 13:2, 13:5, 13:7, 13:26, 13:44, 13:48-49, 14:24, 15:35-36, 16:7, 16:32, 17:13, 18:25-26; 19:9, 19:10, 19:20, 19:23; the remission of sins is through Him, 2:38, 5:31, 10:43, 13:38, 26:18.
The Holy Spirit is God, 5:4; Christ's commands are given through Him, 1:2; men can tempt Him, 5:9; lie to Him, 5:3; resist Him, 7:51; the Apostles and disciples are to be "baptized" in Him, 1:5, 1:8, 2:1-4, 2:17-21, 2:38; He inspired the Old Testament writers, 1:16, 4:25, 28:25-27; He fills the Apostles, 4:8, 4:31, 5:32, 9:17, 9:31; He acts through Philip, 8:29, 8:39; through Peter, 10:19; Barnabas, 11:24; Barnabas and Paul, 13:2, 13:4; the Church and the Apostles speak in His name, 15:28; He forbids Paul and Barnabas to preach in Asia, 16:6; He is in the deacons, 6:3, 6:5, 6:10, 7:55; in Agabus, 21:11; He is poured out upon the new converts, 8:15-20, 10:44-47, 11:15-17, 13:52, 15:8, 19:26.
Other Points which should be noted are the teaching regarding Penance, 2:18, 5:31, 8:22, 11:18, 13:24, 17:30, 19:4, 20:21, 26:20; on natural religion 17:23-30; on divinely-revealed religion, 17:30-31; the use of the title "Christians," 11:26, 26:28; on our resurrection, 24:15; the use of the expression "Kingdom of God," 1:3, 8:12, 14:21, 19:8, 20:5, 28:31.
Belser, Beiträge zur Erklärung der Apostelgeschichte, 1897; see R.B., 1898, p. 288. Knabenbauer, S.J., Commentarius in Actus Apostolorum, Paris, 1899. Rackham, The Acts of the Apostles in the Westminster Series, 4th ed., 1909; see R.B., April, 1902, p. 304. Jacquier, Histoire des Livres du N.T., Vol, III., Paris, 1908. Lurnby, Acts in Cambridge Greek Testament, many editions, 1885-1909. Harnack, Luke the Physician, Engl. tr., 1906; The Acts of the Apostles, Engl. tr., 1909; Date of Acts and the Synoptic Gospels, Engl. tr, 1911. Le Camus, L'Œuvre des Apôtres. Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, 1893, pp. 215-233, written in 1863; Dissertations on the Apostolic Age, collected and edited 1892. Callan, O.P., The Acts of the Apostles, New York, 1919. The only important Patristic Commentary on Acts is that of St. Chrysostom, Homilies, P.G. LX., cols. 13-384. Recent modernistic criticism of the book is well illustrated by such works as Loisy, Les Actes des Apôtres, Paris, 1920; Foakes Jackson and K. Lake, Beginnings of Christianity, 1920; Lake, Landmarks in the History of Early Christianity, 1920. For other articles and reviews see R.B., July, 1898, 325-342, Rose; July, 1895, 313-339, Semeria; and on Blass' Roman edition, April, 1895, April, 1896, January, 1899.
For the Aramaic character of certain portions of Acts see Torrey, J.T.S., 1919, also Expositor, April, 1920.
1. EP. LIII. 8, P.L. XXII. 548; cp. EP. CVII. 12, P.L. XXII. 876.
2. Tract. VI. 18 in Joan., P.L. XXXV. 1433.
3. Sermo CCCXV. 1, P.L. XXXVIII. 1426.
4. Hom. I. in Actus Apostolorum, P.G. LX. 559.
5. Comment. in Ep. ad Philemonem, 24, P.L. XXVI. 613; cf. Ep. CVII. 12, P.L. XXII. 876.
6. It is surprising that Rackham, The Westminster Commentary, p. xiii, should translate this The Acts of the Apostles. See St. Jerome, Vir. Illustr. VII, P.L. XXIII. 619.
7. See Expositor, December, 1914, March, 2915; St. Augustine, De Unitate Ecclesiae, xi, (30); also Origen, Contra Celsum, I. 3, 9, 26, 46, 67; II. 13, 79, etc.
8. Comment. in Ep. ad Galatus i. 17, P.L. XXVI. 328. Note, too, how Origen comments on the fact that the Apostle did not preach at Tarsus, Tom. X. 18 in Matth., ed. Delarue, III. 465.
9. Ibid. on ii. 11, P.L. XXVI. 341. On The Historical Value of Acts, see R.B., January, 1915; for the plan and purpose of Acts, cf. Expos. Times, December, 1914, September, 1917.
10. How real a thing was this conversion is well brought out by St. Chrysostom: "Had he wished to please men, he certainly never would have been converted to the faith. How so? Because he was held in great esteem by the Jews, he was a prey to no anxieties, he was the recipient of many honours. He would not then have given himself up to the Apostolic life, so beset with dangers, so held up to contempt, and so replete with trials. Consequently, the very fact that he sacrificed the honour due to his position among the Jews, that he gave up his ease and exchanged these things for the life of an Apostle, which laid him open to death in various forms—all this affords no small proof that Paul was not converted for any merely human reasons" (De Mutatione Nominum, II. 6; ed. Gaume, III, 128).
11. It is to Sir William Ramsay that we are more especially indebted for this aspect of St. Luke as an historian. See especially his St. Paul the Traveller, pp. 130 ff and 305 ff.
12. Ant. XIX. ix. 1-2.
13. See Conybeare and Howson, ed. 1870, p. 425.
14. R.B., April, 1921.
15. At certain points Acts touches on the Epistles, e.g. the case of the widows, 6:1, cp. 1 Tm 5:9; St. Paul's conversion, ix., etc., cp. 1 Tm 1:13; his escape, 9:25, cp. 2 Cr 11:32; the reference to St. James, 21, and Gal. 2:9; St. Paul's persecution in Galatia, 13-to-14, cp. 2 Tm 3:11; his sufferings in Macedonia, cp. Phil 1:30; the account of Timothy, 16:1-3, cp. Phil. 2:19-23; his teaching at Athens, 16, cp. Romans 1:17-32; his quotations from Aratus, 17:28, cp. 1 Cr 15:33; Titus 1:12; his labouring with his own hands, 18:3; 20:34; cp. 1 Cr 4:12; 2 Cr 11:8-10; 1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8; the collection of alms, 24:17, cp. Romans 15:25; 1 Cr 16; 2 Cr 8 and 9; his desire to visit Rome, 19:21; cp. Romans 1:13; the presence of Aristarchus on his voyage to Rome, 27:2, cp. Co 4:10.
16. See below, p. 30.
17. See Introduction to St. Luke's Gospel, vol. i, pp. 256 ff. For the possibility of St. Mark being a "source" used by Luke in Acts 1-14, see R.B., January, 1921.
18. See Muratonian Fragment above: "quae sub praesentia ejus singula gerebantur."
19. See on the identity of Titus in the Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles, p. 241-2.
20. Eusebius, H.E. II. xxii. 5-6, holds the extraordinary view that Acts was written at the same time as 2 Timothy, but this hardly calls for refutation. For a brief résumé of the views held at different times regarding the authorship and date of Acts, see McGiffert's ed. of Eusebius, H.E. III. iv. 7, note 14.
21. H.E. III. xxv. 1; II. viii. 17, 18, 22; xxii.
22. H.E. III. iv. 7, P.G. XX. 219. Eusebius also tells us that Papias quoted from Acts, H.E. III. xxxix, 9-10.
23. Adv. Marcion. IV. 2, P.L. II. 364.
24. De Praesor. XXII., P.L. II. 34-35.
25. Adv. Haer. III. xiv. 1, xii. 10-11, P.G. VII. 905, 915.
26. Ibid. III. xiv. 3.
27. lbid. III. i. 1, and xiv. 1.
28. Adv. Haer. III. i. 1, and xiv. 1.
29. Westcott, Canon N.T., 3rd ed., explains these corrupt closing words of this passage as meaning that Luke omitted the Passion of Peter as well as St. Paul's journey to Spain, p. 499 note. That the Manicheans rejected Acts on the ground that the book was not written by Apostles is stated by St. Augustine, Contra Faustum, xxxii. 16, P.L. XLII. 505, cp. xix. 31, and De Utilitate Credendi, vii., P.L. XLII. 69-70, and De Sermone Domini, I. 65, P.L. XXXIV. 1262. Augustine asserts its canonicity repeatedly, and at the same time points out that it was read every year in the Church after Easter (see Tract. vi. 18 in Joan., P.L. XXXV. 1433, and Sermon ccxv. 1, P.L. XXXVIII. 1426). Eusebius tells us, H.E. IV. xxix, that the Severians also rejected Acts.
30. The Medical Language of St. Luke: A Proof from Internal Evidence that "The Gospel according to St. Luke" and "The Acts of the Apostles" were Written by the Same Person and that the Writer was a Medical Man, by the Rev. W. K. Hobart, LL.D., Dublin, 1882.
31. See Vol. I, p 142 ff.
32. Acta Apostolorum, Gottingen, 1895; also Acta Apostolarum secundum formam quae videtur Romanam, Leipsic, 1896.
33. See his St. Paul the Roman Traveller, passim, also The Church in the Roman Empire.
Very Rev. Hugh Pope, O.P., S.T.M.
Doctor in Sacred Scripture,
Member of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and
late Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the Collegio Angelico, Rome.
Luke Walker, O.P., S.T.L.;
Austin Barker, O.P., S.T.L.
Bede Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., M.A.