28 Jan 2013 
#39 Was the author of Luke's gospel and Acts of the Apostles a woman living in Philippi (a Roman colony in Macedonia)?

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A) Philippi:

a) Philippi is the only city in 'Acts' presented with fanfare: "a Roman colony and the [or a] leading city of that district of Macedonia" (Ac 16:12).

b) In Acts, Paul is described to have been "guided" to Macedonia and Philippi, which became the first entirely Gentile Christian community anywhere:
Ac 16:6-12a "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi..."
In 'Acts', no other city/province is presented as being selected for evangelization by God, the Spirit or Jesus.

c) The area around Philippi (from Thessalonica to Troas) is described with details (as in the preceding quote). Even nearby cities passed through by Paul are named, even if they were not evangelized then:
Ac 17:1 "When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue."

d) Out of the three "we" passages in 'Acts', the first one ends in Philippi (Ac 16:10-16), the second one starts from Philippi:
Ac 20:5-6 "These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days."

e) During the second journey, Paul spent only a few weeks in Philippi and one year & a half in Corinth. However, the stay in Philippi is narrated in more verses than the one in Corinth: 28 to 16.

f) According to 'Acts', the "Council at Jerusalem", (when the "Nazarenes" allowed conversion without circumcision among the Gentiles (Ac 15:1-19) ) was right before Paul's visit to Philippi (50 C.E). But from the more trustworthy Galatians letter (2:1-10), this meeting occurred years later (52 C.E.), after Paul's first visit to Macedonia (details about dating in Appendix B and Paul's third Journey).
It seems "Luke" "arranged" for Paul to have the blessing of the "Nazarenes" before going to Macedonia & Philippi.

g) From the New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology:
"The account of Acts is notable for some technical terms which are verified by inscriptions: archons ("authorities") and strategoi ("magistrates"; 16:19-20), hrabdouchoi ("officers"; Lat. lictors; 16:35)"
16:19-20 and 16:35 are part of the narration of Paul's visit to Philippi.

B) A Roman colony:

Only in Luke's gospel:

a) Jesus is NOT flogged, mocked and beaten up by Roman soldiers.
Note: in the gospel (and also repeated in John's one written later), Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, declares:
Lk 23:4b "I find no basis for a charge against this man [Jesus]"

b) A (Roman) centurion built the synagogue in Capernaum:
Lk 7:2-5 "There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."
Let's compare this with the parallel passage from gMatthew:
Mt 8:5b-6 "a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."

In 'Acts':

a) Paul declares himself to be a Roman citizen (but never in his letters). The first time he does that is in Philippi (Ac 16:37).

b) A Roman centurion is the first Gentile convert (Ac 10:1-48, 11:1-17) and the event is stretched over a total of 65 verses.

The Gentile Christian community in Philippi had been started by Paul among influential women:
Ac 16:13-15 "... We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us."
Php 4:2-3a "I [Paul] plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel ..."

C) A woman as author:

a) Lk 16:18 "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery."
Divorced women who remarry are not said to commit adultery! This is not the case in Mark's version:
Mk 10:12 "And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

b) Lk 21:16-18 "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost [last sentence only in gLuke!]."
Let's compare this with:
1 Co 11:6b " ... if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head."
In case of persecution (resulting in death for some), "Luke" was concerned about hair being lost!

c) In a story appearing only in gLuke:
Lk 2:48 "When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son [boy Jesus], why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.""
Here, Mary is doing the talking, not only for herself, but also in behalf of her husband, an unthinkable behaviour for a Jewish woman then:
Josephus 'Against Apion', II, 25 "for, says the Scripture, "A [Jewish] woman is inferior to her husband in all things.""
Also, let's note that the first two chapters of the gospel "star" a remarkably emancipated Mary (with Elizabeth in an important supporting role!), conversing very calmly with an angel (1:26-38), not objecting to become pregnant without a husband to show for, deciding to travel on her own (1:39 "At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea ..."), etc.
Not Jewish at all, but very much in the tradition of Roman/Macedonian women of good standing!
Also in the same vein:
Lk 2:33-34a Darby "And his father and mother wondered at the things which were said concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother ..."
Even with Joseph besides Mary, the later one is addressed! By the way, Simeon's declaration is generalistic and not specific to Mary (or motherhood) (Lk 34b-35).
Note: Lk 2:51b "And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he was in subjection to them. And his mother kept all these things in her heart." (once again, only Mary is of interest!)

d) Lk 10:39-42 "She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.""
Only in gLuke is this (non-theological) charming story advocating it is better for a woman to listen to the "word" (or just plainly relax) rather than doing house work. And Jesus says it himself!

e) In this passage found only in gLuke, feminine sensuality is overwhelming:
Lk 7:44b-47a "You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven [even if she does not say a word!]--for she loved much."

f) And even if Jesus does not appear to have been fond of his mother, "Luke" found a way to remind the readers about her:
Lk 11:27 "As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.""
Note: "Luke" wrote "womb(s)" nine times (Mk=0, Mt=1, Jn=1).

g) Lk 8:1b-3 "The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means."
Let's compare this with the parallel passage in Mark's gospel:
Mk 15:40b-41a "Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs."
The role of the women followers is enhanced. It is specified they are many, and one of them, Joanna, being socially very high.

h) In a passage which appears only in gLuke, Jesus is very compassionate for a widow who lost her mean of support:
Lk 7:12-15 "... a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. ... When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then He came and touched the open coffin, ... And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother."
More, in Lk 13:10-13 (& only here in the gospels), a woman is seemingly victim of osteoporosis and cured by Jesus.

i) Lk 24:6-11 Darby "[The angels in the empty tomb saying to the women] He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spoke to you [and the disciples! (9:22)], being yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinners, and be crucified, and rise the third day. And they remembered his words; and, returning from the sepulchre, related all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary of Magdala, and Johanna, and Mary the [mother] of James, and the others with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words appeared in their eyes as an idle tale, and they disbelieved them."
The women remember Jesus' words and believe in the resurrection, but the disciples (all men) do not!

j) Influential women are also indicated in 'Acts' (written by the same author). Let's notice that in two passages the women are mentioned before the men:
Ac 13:50a "But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city"
Ac 17:4 "Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women."
Ac 17:12 "Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men."

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Acts of the apostles} {Luke's gospel} {woman/women}
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