27 Nov 2013 
#76 Arguments against "Luke" knowing Paul's epistles and a late dating of 'Acts'

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On this post from the Vridar's blog, in the section "Words Taken Out of Paul's Mouth", Neil Godfrey commented on Perry Kea's findings, "Yet Peter’s words in Acts 15 are based on the ideas and key terms we read in Galatians 2." (BTW, I agree with the idea of Luke's attempt to "Paulinize" Peter).

From another Vridar's post, among all sorts of speculation, under the section The textual evidence we have also the same argument from Joseph Tyson citing Walker and from Pervo mentioning Lightfoot's observations.
 
From Aejmelaeus, an argument is made that the farewell speech of Paul at Miletus (Acts 20:18-35) draws heavily on Paul's epistles. But the similarities between that speech and the quoted passages from '1 Thessalonians' are rather obscure. But in one mentioned case, there is some obvious connection with a passage from 'Philippians' (however I acknowledge "Luke" knew about that epistle).
 
Next, Aejmelaeus reported other similarities between 'Acts' and '1 Clement'.
Yes there are. However, I am certain "Luke" knew about '1 Clement' (written earlier). See  here for explanations.
 
What is left, essentially, are the similarities between the speech of Peter in Acts 15 and Galatians 2 (there are other unrelated details from the two Vridar's post which I will address later).
 
I am going to answer that now.
 
But first, as a preamble, I explained on this blog that Luke's gospel was written around 85 and 'Acts' a few years later.
Furthermore, I demonstrated here that the two books were addressed to the Christians of Philippi, Macedonia. And 'Galatians' was written in the winter of 56-57 when Paul was in Corinth for three months before going to Jerusalem via Macedonia & Philippi (yes, some of my information come from 'Acts" but I have no reason to dismiss it whole).
And on my previous post, I provided positive arguments that "Luke" and her community did not know about 'Galatians', '1 & 2 Corinthians', 'Romans' & '1 Thessalonians'.
 
Therefore it should not be surprising that Paul's themes, some of his key expressions, narrations of his travels & other adventures were heard by the Christians of Philippi during his visits there. Please note, Paul's last visit to Philippi was a few months (or less) after he wrote 'Galatians' (and some time later 'Romans'): his talks in Philippi then were most likely in the same frame of mind as when he wrote the two aforementioned letters. And, of course, most of the same could be heard, after Paul's exit, from his travel companions.
 
"Luke" probably got information, some thirty years later, either from people who heard Paul in Philippi, or from the ones who journeyed with him. But because Paul and these eyewitnesses were dead before the writing of 'Acts', "Luke" was able to embellish, distort, change the sequence and add up fiction to satisfy her agenda. And, for all of that, with no need to know about Paul's epistles.
 
But for the Acts Seminar, as far as I can read from the Vridar's posts and official Westar releases, oral transmission was never considered. 
 
Now, I want to address details mentioned by Leppa about "verbal similarities and unusual combinations of words in similar contexts between Acts and Galatians":
 
a) sumparalambano "taking along (someone)" (Gal 2:1; Ac 12:25, 15:37, 38):
Either that word was heard from Paul and remembered OR, more likely, was the most appropriate word for "taking along (someone)" for "Luke" to use in that case.
 
Note on different words: gLuke 2055, Acts 2038. Compare that to the others: gMark 1270, gMatthew 1690 & gJohn 1011.
"Luke" had no need to mine Paul's epistles in order to expand her vocabulary!
 
b) zelotes huparcho "be zealous" (Gal 1:14; Ac 22:3, 21:20):
Probably an expression heard often from Paul OR, because 'huparcho' ("be") is widely used in 'Acts' (27 times), the combination of 'zelotes huparcho' should come to no surprise. 
 
c) ho ek peritome "those of the circumcision", akrobustia "uncircumcision" and sunestho "eat with" (Gal 2:7, 12; Ac 11:2-3):
- First, let's notice these words are split in two verses, separated by four in 'Galatians' but consecutive in 'Acts'.
- Second, sunestho is the most appropriate word for "eat with" and also occurs in Lk 15:2, Ac 10:41, 1 Cor 5:11 & Gal 2:12 (therefore not as rare as Leppa contended).
- Third, the context of the two passages is not related:
In Galatians 2:7-12, "circumcision" and "uncircumcision" is set within the Jerusalem council, but five verses later "eat with" appears during Paul & Peter's stay in Antioch.
Acts 11:2-3 is set after Peter allegedly is offered in Joppa unJewish food from heaven.
 
To make it worse, most of Gal 2:7 and the following verse is most likely an interpolation (mainly because "Peter" appears here when in the same letter (2:9, 11, 14) and others, "Cephas" is used (1 Cor 1:12, 3:22, 9:5 & 15:5). More details here).
 
As far as the all important late dating of 'Acts' is concerned, on the Vridar's posts, I could not find any evidenced statements (only speculations) showing 'Acts' was written into the 2nd century. But from the Westar Acts Seminar reports, the following shows how dubious are the criteria used to date 'Acts' around 115:
"In her paper, Shelly Matthews proposed a revision to the hypothesis of Joseph Tyson that Acts was written to oppose the challenge of Marcionism. Critics of Tyson’s thesis point out that Marcion’s ideas did not become widely known until the 140s in Rome, which is much later than the proposed dating of Acts (ca. 115). Matthews argues in response that Marcionite ideas could very easily have been in circulation in the early second century in Asia Minor, which was Marcion’s homeland and the place where Acts was probably written. This argument is buttressed by the strong evidence [???] that an anti-Marcionite program can be identified not only in Acts but also in the first two chapters of canonical Luke. Fellows and Associates confirmed Matthews’ arguments with strong red votes."
From http://www.westarinstitute.org/projects/the-jesus-seminar/seminar-on-the-acts-of-the-apostles/fall-meeting-2009/
 
And even if:
- "Luke" was aware of 'Colossians', 'Ephesians' and '2 Thessalonians', a dating at about 90 would still be possible.
- "Luke" was not one of Paul's companions/eyewitnesses (I agree with that), but that's not a reason to date 'Acts' around 115.
 
Finally, something I can agree, from a Westar Acts Seminar release in 2013:
"This is not to say that Acts is totally unhistorical, but to observe that it is less helpful in the historical reconstruction of Christian beginnings than previously assumed."

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Acts of the apostles} {Acts Seminar} {dating} {Paul's epistles} {Vridar}
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