Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/150

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

interpreter of the Jewish law, a man beloved by the people, whose lectures those who were studious of virtue frequented. Moreover, he incited the young men to pull down the golden eagle which the impious Herod had erected in the Temple of God. Certainly such an act was pleasing to God, not the act of an impostor. The argument of Gamaliel is based on the fact that Theodas claimed to be something which he was not. The character of Theodas as given by Josephus, XX. v, 1, accords with the implied character of the Theodas of Acts. Were it not for the discrepancy of dates, the two testimonies would be in perfect accord. It seems far more probable, therefore, that both writers speak of the same man, and that Josephus has erroneously placed his epoch about thirty years too late. Of course it is possible that there may have been two Theodases of similar character: one of the days of Herod the Great, whom Josephus does not name, but who is mentioned by Gamaliel; and one in the days of Cuspius Fadus the procurator of Judea, whose insurrection Josephus records. There must have been many of such character in the days of Herod the Great, for Josephus, speaking of that epoch, declares that "at this time there were ten thousand other disorders in Judæa which were like tumults" (Antiq., XVII, x, 4).

It is urged that the three accounts of the conversion of St Paul (Acts, ix, 7; xxii, 9; xxvi, 14) do not agree. In Acts, ix, 7, the author declares that "the men that journeyed with Paul stood speechless, hearing the voice, but beholding no man". In xxii, 9, Paul declares: "And they that were with me beheld indeed the light; but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me". In xxvi, 14, Paul declares that they all fell to the earth, which seems to contradict the first statement, that they "stood speechless". This is purely a question of circumstantial detail, of very minor moment. There are many solutions of this difficulty. Supported by many precedents, we may hold that in the several narrations of the same event inspiration does not compel an absolute agreement in mere extrinsic details which in nowise affects the substance of the narration. In all the Bible, where the same event is several times narrated by the same writer, or narrated by several writers, there is some slight divergency, as it is natural there should be with those who spoke and wrote from memory. Divine inspiration covers the substance of the narration. For those who insist that divine inspiration extends also to these minor details there are valid solutions. Pape and others give to the εἰστήκεισαν the sense of an emphatic εἶναι, and thus it could be rendered: "The men that journeyed with him became speechless", thus agreeing with xxvi, 14. Moreover, the three accounts can be placed in agreement by supposing that the several accounts contemplate the event at different moments of its course. All saw a great light; all heard a sound from Heaven. They fell on their faces in fear; and then, arising, stood still and speechless, while Paul conversed with Jesus, whose articulate voice he alone heard. In Acts, ix, 7, the marginal reading of the Revised Edition of Oxford should be accepted: "hearing the sound". The Greek is ἀκούοντες τῆς φωνῆς. When the writer speaks of the articulate voice of Christ, which Paul alone heard, he employs the phrase ἤκουσαν φονήν. Thus the same term, φονή, by a different grammatical construction, may signify the inarticulate sound of the voice which all heard and the articulate voice which Paul alone heard.

It is urged that Acts, xvi, 6 and xviii, 23 represent Paul as merely passing through Galatia, whereas the Epistle to the Galatians gives evidence of Paul's longer sojourn in Galatia. Cornely and others answer this difficulty by supposing that St. Paul employs the term Galatia in the administrative sense, as a province, which comprised Galatia proper, Lycaonia, Pisidia, Isauria, and a great part of Phrygia; whereas St. Luke employs the term to denote Galatia proper. But we are not limited to this explanation; St. Luke in Acts often severely condenses his narrative. He devotes but one verse (xviii, 22) to Paul's fourth journey to Jerusalem; he condenses his narrative of St. Paul's two years of imprisonment at Cæsarea into a few lines. Thus he may also have judged good for his scope to pass over in one sentence Paul's Galatian ministry.

Date of Composition.—As regards the date of the Book of Acts, we may at most assign a probable date for the completion of the book. It is recognized by all that Acts ends abruptly. The author devotes but two verses to the two years which Paul spent at Rome. These two years were in a certain sense uneventful. Paul dwelt peaceably at Rome, and preached the kingdom of God to all who went in unto him. It seems probable that during this peaceful epoch St. Luke composed the Book of Acts and terminated it abruptly at the end of the two years, as some unrecorded vicissitude carried him out into other events. The date of the completion of Acts is therefore dependent on the date of St. Paul's Roman captivity. Writers are quite concordant in placing the date of Paul's coming to Rome in the year 62; hence the year 64 is the most probable date for the Acts.

Texts of the Acts.—In the Græco-Latin codices D and E of Acts, we find a text widely differing from that of the other codices, and from the received text. By Sanday and Headlam (Romans, p. xxi) this is called the δ text; by Blass (Acta Apostolorum, p. 24) it is called the β text. The famous Latin Codex now at Stockholm, from its size called the Codex Gigas, also in the main represents this text. Dr. Bornemann (Acta Apost.) endeavoured to prove that the aforesaid text was Luke's original, but his theory has not been received. Dr. Blass (Acta Apost., p. vii) endeavours to prove that Luke wrote first a rough draft of Acts, and that this is preserved in D and E. Luke revised this rough draft, and sent it to Theophilus; and this revised copy he supposes to be the original of our received text. Belser, Nestle, Zoeckler, and others have adopted his theory. The theory is, however, rejected by the greater number. It seems far more probable that D and E contain a recension, wherein the copyists have added, paraphrased, and changed things in the text, according to that tendency which prevailed up to the second half of the second century of the Christian era.

Beeleen, Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum (2d ed., Louvain); Belser, Studien zur Apostelgeschichte, in Theol. Quartalschrift (1895), 50–96, Lukas und Josephus, ibid. (1896), 1–78; Die Selbstvertheidigung des H. Paulus im Galaterbriefe in Biblische Studien (Freiburg, 1896), 1–3; Beiträge zur Erklärung der Apostelgeschichte auf Grund der Lesarten des Codex D und seiner Genossen, ibid. (1897); Blass, Die zweifache Textüberlieferung in der Apostelgeschichte, in Theologische Studien und Kritiken (1894), 86–119; Acta Apostolorum, sive Lucæ ad Teophilum liber alter (Göttingen, 1895); De duplici forma Actorum Lucæ in Hermathena, (1895), 121–143; Ueber die verschiedenen Textesformen in den Schriften des Lukas, in Neue kirchl. Zeit. (1895), 712–725; Acta Apostolorum secundum formam qua videtur Romana (Leipzig, 1896); Neue Texteszeugen für die Apostelgeschichte, in Theol. Stud. u. Krit. (1896), 436–471; Zu Codex D, in der Apostelgeschichte, ibid. (1898), 539–542; Zu den zwei Texten der Apostelgeschichte, ibid. (1900), 5–28; Priscilla und Aquila, ibid. (1901), 124–126; Bornemann, Acta Apostolorum ad Codicis Cantabrigiensis fidem (Grossenhain, 1848); Conybeare, On the Western Text of the Acts, in Am. J. Phil. (1896), 135–172; Papias and the Acts of the Apostles, in Class. Rev. (1895), 258; Coppieters, De Hist. Text. Act. Apost. (Louvain, 1902); Cornely, Introductio in Utriusque Test. Libros Sacros (Paris, 1895); Id., Introductio Specialis in Singulos Novi Testamenti Libros (Paris, 1897); Corssen, Der Cyprianische Text der Acta Apostolorum (Berlin, 1892); Cross, Note on Acts ix (1900), 19–25; Gagnæus, Scholia in Actus Apost. (Paris, 1552); Harnack, Das Aposteidecret und die Blass'sche Hypothese (Berlin, 1899), 150–176; Ueber den ursprünglichen Text Act. Apost. xi, 27–28 (Berlin,