Acts 17:22

Stood in the midst of the Areopagus (staqei en meswi tou Areiou Pagou). First aorist passive of isthmi used of Peter in Mark 2:14 . Majestic figure whether on Mars Hill or in the Stoa Basilica before the Areopagus Court. There would be a crowd of spectators and philosophers in either case and Paul seized the opportunity to preach Christ to this strange audience as he did in Caesarea before Herod Agrippa and the crowd of prominent people gathered by Festus for the entertainment. Paul does not speak as a man on trial, but as one trying to get a hearing for the gospel of Christ. Somewhat superstitious (w deisidaimonesterou). The Authorized Version has "too superstitious," the American Standard "very religious." Deisidaimwn is a neutral word (from deidw, to fear, and daimwn, deity). The Greeks used it either in the good sense of pious or religious or the bad sense of superstitious. Thayer suggests that Paul uses it "with kindly ambiguity." Page thinks that Luke uses the word to represent the religious feeling of the Athenians (religiosus) which bordered on superstition. The Vulgate has superstitiosiores. In Mark 25:19 Festus uses the term deisidaimonia for "religion." It seems unlikely that Paul should give this audience a slap in the face at the very start. The way one takes this adjective here colours Paul's whole speech before the Council of Areopagus. The comparative here as in verse Mark 21 means more religions than usual (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 664f.), the object of the comparison not being expressed. The Athenians had a tremendous reputation for their devotion to religion, "full of idols" (verse Mark 16 ).