ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, 1-7
Clemen (1905) has four sources (History of the Hellenists, History of Peter, History of Paul, and a Journey of Paul), all worked over by a series of editors. Hilgenfeld (1895) has three sources (Acts of Peter, Acts of the Seven, Acts of Paul). Jungst (1895) has a Pauline source and a Petrine source J. Weiss (1893) admits sources, but claims that the book has unity and a definite aim. B. Weiss (1902) conceives an early source for the first part of the book. Harnack (The Acts of the Apostles, 1909, 41 f) has small patience with all this blind criticism:
"With them the book passes as a comparatively late patchwork compilation, in which the part taken by the editor is insignificant yet in all cases detrimental; the `we' sections are not the property of the author, but an extract from a source, or even a literary fiction." He charges the critics with "airy conceit and lofty contempt." Harnack has done a very great service in carefully sifting the matter in his Luke the Physician (1907). He gives detailed proof that the "we" sections are in the same style and by the same author as the rest of the book (26-120). Harnack does not claim originality in this line of argument: "It has been often stated and often proved that the 'we' sections in vocabulary, in syntax, and in style are most intimately bound up with the whole work, and that this work itself including the Gospel, in spite of all diversity in its parts, is distinguished by a grand unity of literary form" (Luke the Physician, 26). He refers to the "splendid demonstration of this unity" by Klostermann (Vindiciae Lucanae, 1866), to B. Weiss, who, in his commentary (1893, 2 Aufl, 1902) "has done the best work in demonstrating the literary unity of the whole work," to "the admirable contributions" of Vogel (Zur Charakteristik des Lukas, etc., 2 Aufl, 1899) to the "yet more careful and minute investigations" of Hawkins (Horae Synopticae, 1899, 2nd edition, 1909), to the work of Hobart (The Medical Language of Luke, 1882), who "has proved only too much" (Luke the Physician, 175), but "the evidence is of overwhelming force" (198). Harnack only claims for himself that he has done the work in more detail and with more minute accuracy without claiming too much (27). But the conversion of Harnack to this view of Acts is extremely significant. It ought not to be necessary any more to refute the partition theories of the book, or to set forth in detail the proofs for the unity of the book.
Perhaps the compilation theory of Acts is nowhere set forth more cogently than in McGiffert's The Apostolic Age (1897). See a powerful refutation of his argument by Ramsay in Pauline and Other Studies (1906, 302-21). "I think his clever argumentation is sophistical" (305). Harnack is fully aware that he has gone over to the rode of "Ramsay, Weiss and Zahn": "The results at which I have arrived not only approach very nearly to, but are often coincident with, the results of their research" (The Acts of the Apostles, 302). He is afraid that if these scholars failed to get the ear of critics "there is little prospect of claiming the attention of critics and compelling them to reconsider their position." But he has the advantage of coming to this conclusion from the other side. Moreover, if Harnack was won by the force of the facts, others may be. This brief sketch of Harnack's experience may take the place of detailed presentation of the arguments for the unity of the book. Harnack sets forth in great wealth of detail the characteristic idioms of the "we" sections side by side with parallels in other parts of Acts and the Gospel of Luke. The same man wrote the rest of Acts who wrote the "we" sections. This fact should now be acknowledged as proven. This does not mean that the writer, a personal witness in the "we" sections, had no sources for the other parts of Acts. This aspect of the matter will be considered a little later.
He was later with Paul in Crete (Titus 1:5). But the absence of mention of Titus in Acts may be due to the fact that he was a brother of Luke (compare 2 Corinthians 8:18; 12:18). So A. Souter in DCG, article "Luke." If Luke is the author, it is easy to understand why his name does not appear. If Titus is his brother, the same explanation occurs. As between Luke and Titus the medical language of Acts argues for Luke. The writer was a physician. This fact Hobart (The Medical Language of Luke, 1882) has demonstrated. Compare Zahn, Einl, 2, 435; Harnack's Luke the Physician, 177. The arguments from the use of medical terms are not all of equal weight. But the style is colored at points by the language of a physician. The writer uses medical terms in a technical sense. This argument involves a minute comparison with the writings of physicians of the time. Thus in Acts 28:3 f kathapto, according to Hobart (288), is used in the sense of poisonous matter invading the body, as in Dioscorides, Animal. Ven. Proem. So Galen, De Typis 4 (VII, 467), uses it "of fever fixing on parts of the body." Compare Harnack, Luke the Physician, 177 f. Harnack agrees also that the terms of the diagnosis in Acts 28:8 "are medically exact and can be vouched for from medical literature" (ibid., 176 f). Hobart has overdone his argument and adduced many examples that are not pertinent, but a real residuum remains, according to Harnack. Then pimprasthai is a technical term for swelling. Let these serve as examples. The interest of the writer in matters of disease is also another indication, compare Luke 8:43. Now Luke was a companion of Paul during his later ministry and was a physician. (Colossians 4:14). Hence, he fulfils all the requirements of the case. The argument thus far is only probable, it is true; but there is to be added the undoubted fact that the same writer wrote both Gospel and Acts (Acts 1:1). The direct allusion to the Gospel is reinforced by identity of style and method in the two books.
The external evidence is clear on the matter. Both Gospel and Acts are credited to Luke the physician. The Muratorian canon ascribes Acts to Luke. By the end of the 2nd century the authority of the Acts is as well established as that of the Gospel (Salmon, Introduction to the New Testament, 1885, 366). Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, all call Luke the author of the book. The argument is complete. It is still further strengthened by the fact that the point of view of the book is Pauline and by the absence of references to Paul's epistles. If one not Paul's companion had written Acts, he would certainly have made some use of them. Incidentally, also, this is an argument for the early date of the Acts. The proof that has won Harnack, the leader of the left in Germany, to the acknowledgment of the Lukan authorship of Acts ought to win all to this position.
The acceptance of the Lukan authorship settles the question of some of the dates presented by critics. Schmiedel places the date of Actsbetween 105 and 130 AD (Encyclopedia Biblica). He assumes as proven that Luke made use of the writings of Josephus. It has never been possible to take with much seriousness the claim that the Actsshows acquaintance with Josephus. See Keim, Geschichte Jesu, III, 1872, 134, and Krenkel, Josephus und Lucas, 1894, for the arguments in favor of that position. The words quoted to prove it are in the main untechnical words of common use. The only serious matter is the mention of Theudas and Judas the Galilean in Acts 5:36 f and Josephus (Ant., XX, v, 1 f). In Josephus the names occur some twenty lines apart and the resemblance is only slight indeed. The use of peitho in connection with Theudas and apostesai concerning Judas is all that requires notice. Surely, then, two common words for "persuade" and "revolt" are not enough to carry conviction of the writer's use of Josephus. The matter is more than offset by the differences in the two reports of the death of Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:19-23; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, vi, 7, XIX, viii, 2). The argument about Josephus may be definitely dismissed from the field. With that goes all the ground for a 2nd-century date. Other arguments have been adduced (see Holtzmann, Einl, 1892, 405) such as the use of Paul's epistles, acquaintance with Plutarch, Arrian and Pausanias, because of imitation in method of work (i.e. parallel lives of Peter and Paul, periods of history, etc.), correction of Ga in Acts(for instance, Galatians 1:17-24 and Acts 9:26-30; Galatians 2:1-10 and Acts 15:1-33). The parallel with Plutarch is fanciful, while the use of Panl's epistles is by no means clear, the absence of such use, indeed, being one of the characteristics of the book. The variation from Galatians is far better explained on the assumption that Luke had not seen the epistles.
The majority of modern critics who accept the Lukan authorship place it between 70 and 80 AD. So Harnack, Lechler, Meyer, Ramsay, Sanday, Zahn. This opinion rests mainly on the idea that the Gospel according to Luke was written after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It is claimed that Luke 21:20 shows that this tragedy had already occurred, as compared with Mark 13:14 and Matthew 24:15. But the mention of armies is very general, to be sure. Attention is called also to the absence of the warning in Luke. Harnack (The Actsof the Apostles, 291 f) admits that the arguments in favor of the date 70 to 80 are by no means conclusive. He writes "to warn critics against a too hasty closing of the chronological question." In his new book (Neue Untersuchungen zur Apostelgeschichte, etc., 1911, S. 81) Harnack definitely accepts the date before the destruction of Jerusalem. Lightfoot would give no date to Actsbecause of the uncertainty about the date of the Gospel.
This date is supported by Blass, Headlam, Maclean, Rackham, Salmon. Harhack, indeed, considers that "very weighty considerations" argue for the early date. He, as already stated, now takes his stand for the early date. It obviously the simplest way to understand Luke's close of the Actsto be due to the fact that Paul was still in prison. Harnack contends that the efforts to explain away this situation are not "quite satisfactory or very illuminating." He does not mention Paul's death because he was still alive. The dramatic purpose to bring Paul to Rome is artificial. The supposition of a third book from the use of proton in Acts 1:1 is quite gratuitous, since in the Koine, not to say the earlier Greek, "first was often used when only two were mentioned (compare "our first story" and "second story," "first wife" and "second wife"). The whole tone of the book is that which one would naturally have before 64 AD. After the burning of Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem the attitude maintained in the book toward Romans and Jews would have been very difficult unless the date was a long times afterward Harnack wishes "to help a doubt to its lust dues." That "doubt" of Harnack is destined to become the certainty of the future. (Since this sentence was written Harnack has settled his own doubt.) The book will, I think, be finally credited to the time 63 AD in Rome. The Gospel of Luke will then naturally belong to the period of Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea. The judgment of Moffatt (Historical New Testament, 1901, 416) that "it cannot be earlier than 80 AD is completely upset by the powerful attack of Harnack on his own previous position. See also Moffatt's Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament (1911) and Koch's Die Abfassungszeit des lukanischen Geschichtswerkes (1911).
There is no reason to think that Luke suddenly left Paul in Jerusalem and returned to Caesarea only when he started to Rome (Acts 27:1). The absence of "we" is natural here, since it is not a narrative of travel, but a sketch of Paul's arrest and series of defenses. The very abundance of material here, as in Acts 20 and 21, argues for the presence of Luke. But at any rate Luke has access to Paul himself for information concerning this period, as was true of the second, from Acts 13 to the end of the book. Luke was either present or he could have learned from Paul the facts used. He may have kept a travel diary, which was drawn upon when necessary. Luke could have taken notes of Paul's addresses in Jerusalem (Acts 22) and Caesarea (Acts 24-26). From these, with Paul's help, he probably composed the account of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-30). If, as I think is true, the book was written during Paul's first Roman imprisonment, Luke had the benefit of appeal to Paul at all points. But, if so, he was thoroughly independent in style and assimilated his materials like a true historian. Paul (and also Philip for part of it) was a host witness to the events about Stephen in Acts 6:8-8:1 and a participant of the work in Antioch (11:19-30). Philip, the of Paul's company (21:8) on the last journey to Jerusalem, was probably in Caesarea still during Paul's confinement there. He could have told Luke the events in Acts 6:1-7 and 8:4-40. In Caesarea also the story of Peter's work may have been derived, possibly even from Cornelius himself (9:32-11:18). Whether Luke ever went to Antioch or not we do not know (Codex Bezae has "we" in Acts 11:28), though he may have had access to the Antiochian traditions. But he did go to Jerusalem. However, the narrative in Acts 12 probably rests on the authority of John Mark (Acts 12:12,25), in whose mother's house the disciples were assembled. Luke was apparently thrown with Mark in Rome (Colossians 4:10), if not before. For Acts 1-5 the matter does not at first seem so clear, but these chapters are not necessarily discredited on that account. It is remarkable, as ancient historians made so little mention of their sources, that we can connect Luke in the Actswith so many probable fountains of evidence. Barnabas (4:36) was able to tell much about the origin of the work in Jerusalem. So could Mnason. Philip also was one of the seven (6:5; 21:8). We do not know that Luke met Peter in Rome, though that is possible. But during the stay in Jerusalem and Caesarea (two years) Luke had abundant opportunity to learn the narrative of the great events told in Acts 1-5. He perhaps used both oral and written sources for this section. One cannot, of course, prove by linguistic or historical arguments the precise nature of Luke's sources in Acts. Only in broad outlines the probable materials may be sketched.
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