« ÎnapoiContinuați »
of its alteration to envuotás may, no doubt, be suggested by acute minds. Three such, perhaps, deserve consideration : (1) Meyer (whom, among others, Renan follows) very acutely supposes that this reading may have been brought in through a mechanical assimilation of the passage to ix. 29; and he thinks that the fact that codex 40 adds here kai ouvelyrovv speaks in favor of this supposition. (2) Others suppose that the elinvas was corrected to exinvlotás in order to bring the passage into formal harmony with the statement that Cornelius was the first Gentile received into the church,
- to which Mr. Purves adds the dogmatic consideration that our MSS. were written when ecclesiastical authority was rising high, and the alteration may have been designed to save the supremacy of the Apostles (in the matter of first bringing Gentiles into the Church). (3) The disturbing effect of evayyed: Sóuevou may be appealed to; its immediate proximity may have exercised a mechanical influence on the scribe's mind or hand, and led him to write -Lotas instead of
We see an extreme result of this influence in $*And what happened in the case of one scribe cannot be asserted to be impossible. Nay, may not the error of $* be an inheritance rather than the origination of its scribe? And may we not see here the first step in the origin of the false reading, elinvuotás, which would be the obvious correction of ευαγγελιστάς ?
No one of these explanations can be pronounced impossible. But the question before us concerns, not impossibilities, but relative probabilities. And all of them are very improbable in comparison with the likelihood of the immediate context having led to a change in the opposite direction. The intrusion of ix. 29 into the mind of the scribe who wrote codex 40 is apparently due to the great similarity of the passages, an important element of which was the presence here of enviotás; it is, therefore, more probably a result than the cause of that reading. Both of the two first of these explanations go too far afield for their reasons, and credit the scribes with too great mental activity. So thoughtful a scribe as the second supposes, for instance, would scarcely fail to be thoughtful enough to see that there was no disaccord between elinvas here and the claims of Cornelius to be the first-fruits of the Gentiles; or, if not, would be stupid enough to be satisfied with the postpositing of this account to that. The influence of dogmatic considerations on the New Testament text can scarcely ever be surely traced, and cannot be assumed to account for such readings as we have before us. And, finally, while it cannot be denied that evayyed: Cójlevo! has influenced the mind and hand of the writer of X*, and so may have done so elsewhere, it is not very probable that it has originated the reading equotás, a reading that occurs in so many and such widely separated documents. Possible as all these explanations are, therefore, it must be confessed that the probability arising from transcriptional considerations is distinctly in favor of Aquotás, the very difficulty of which is, in this aspect of it, its strongest recommendation.
Intrinsic Probability. — On the other hand, it must equally be confessed that the intrinsic evidence yields a strong probability for envas. The very facts which transcriptionally suggest élutás as the original reading throw the intrinsic probability in the other scale. ʼlovalovs of v. 19 demands something other than Jews for its contrast. This demand is intensified by the ka! before apòs M., after which we apparently must inevitably expect some word denoting Gentiles. The further context only more and more adds to this expectation. The position of this paragraph (after xi. 1-18) would render such a solemn statement that the Greek-speaking Jews, as well as those who spoke Hebrew, were preached to in Antioch flat in the extreme, if not ridiculous. The contrast introduced by 8 (v. 20) lends its support in the same direction. The importance which was accorded in Jerusalem to the tidings of what had occurred at Antioch; the mission of Barnabas ; his curious exhortation to the converts mposhévelv TẬ kupów, as if they specially needed such an encouragement; the still more curious explanation of how he came to give such a very obvious exhortation (in v. 24), as if, in this special case, it required great goodness and faith in him; Barnabas' call for aid to Saul, who had, as Barnabas knew, been set apart to preach to Gentiles; and, finally, the name of Christians given here first (v. 26) to the followers of Christ, and as a result of these labors, a name which distinguished them from the Jews, and apparently marks the need of such distinction, all these are but items of proof that Gentiles must be understood at
When we add that the next thing we hear of the Antiochian Church is that it is sending missions to the heathen (xiii.), and the next thing (xv.) that Judaisers from Jerusalem find it an uncircumcised body, the proof seems complete.
Nor do the efforts appear to us to have issued satisfactorily, which have been made to show that this apparent intrinsic necessity for a word in v. 20, which should express the notion of “Gentiles,” is prima facie only. Some of the considerations which have been advanced with that end in view scarcely deserve refutation. Thus, when it is pleaded that the passage so read is inconsistent with the constant
representation of Cornelius as the first-fruits of the Gentiles, it is sufficient to ask why the events here described need be placed before his conversion. And when it is urged that the reception of so many Gentiles would have made more noise, judging by the commotion the case of Cornelius roused, it is sufficient to reply that the precedence of Cornelius' conversion is the sufficient account of this quiet, and to point to the opposition (xv.) which was finally developed. Other considerations, however, possess inherent force and demand respectful hearing. There are especially two of these : (1) Most defenders of ελληνιστάς insist that the term Ιουδαίοι does not demand a sharper contrast than is furnished by it. Dr. Hort no doubt speaks extremely, and somewhat unguardedly, when he declares that the intrinsic evidence suggests exinves" only if it be assumed that 'lovdalot is used in a uniformly exclusive sense throughout the book, whereas it excludes proselytes in ii. 10 and . . . xvii. 17 ... and may, therefore, exclude Hellenists here." It is plain, on the contrary, that the contrasting word here must be something other than Jews in either blood or religion, in both of which particulars Hellenists were Jews. When the contrast is between modes of life only, it is expressed by Εβραίους and “Ελληνιστάς. But some plausibility attaches to the statement that no sharp contrast is intended here at all ; but what the passage is designed to teach is that, while all those who came to Antioch spoke to Jews only, the men of Cyprus and Cyrene devoted their labors especially to the Greekspeaking Jews, who were, perhaps, living more or less apart from their stricter brethren. Dr. Alexander, as well as Dr. Hort, urges this argument strongly. It cannot be considered, however, other than a dernier resort. The natural sense of the kaí before apòs eX1. (which, indeed, Dr. Alexander, in company with several others, e.g. Wordsworth, but without doubt wrongly, omits) is against it; as is also the whole implication of the context. Moreover, this theory may be said to be, if we may use the pointed words of Reuss,1 “d'autant plus absurde, qu'à Antioche et dans les contrées environantes on n'aura guère trouvé des Juifs parlant l'hebreu." (2) Again, it is frequently urged that Acts xiv. 27 is inconsistent with the assumption that Gentiles are meant in our present passage ; for, " that God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles,”“ would not have been news to them if they, who had been converted in large numbers at Antioch (v. 24), had been Gentiles." (Wordsworth.) We take it that it is this that Dr. Hort has in mind when he says, again somewhat extremely, that “if Gentiles, in the full sense, are the subjects of vv. 20–24 [of Chap. xi.], the subsequent conduct and language of St. Paul are not easy to explain," to which we may again oppose Reuss, who, on the other hand, asserts that, if Greek-speaking Jews be alone understood, “ la conversion des païens disparait ainsi du récit et tout ce qui suit n'a plus raison d'être.” 1 The more moderate statement is itself fully met by calling attention to the immediate sequence of xv. I sq. to the words of Paul, which are thought to prove that the Antiochian Church was purely Jewish.
1 Histoire Apostolique, p. 133.
Accordingly, we feel driven to the conviction that the intrinsic evidence very strongly demands the sense of “Gentiles" in our passage. And this is the judgment of most expositors. Meyer, for example, declares that “it is necessary"; ? Alford, that "nothing to his mind is plainer," and these are but specimens of a very general judgment.
Thus, the question is of necessity forced upon us whether Annotás, which has been commended by external and paradiplomatic evidence alike as the probably original reading, can bear such a sense as will meet and satisfy the intrinsic demands of the passage. The word occurs so rarely that its usage cannot be adequately investigated. It occurs but twice elsewhere in the New Testament (Acts vi. 1 and ix. 29); and in both passages Jerusalem is the scene and Græcizing Jews, as distinguished from those who spoke Hebrew, seem to be denoted. It is, of course, impossible to frame any theory as to the general or even Lucan usage of the word on so narrow a basis. Outside the New Testament it is equally rare ; its place being partly supplied by the participle of elnico (as, e.g., in Aeschines c. Ctesip. 2 3 and Athen. 64). From what usage we have, however, from its derivation, and from its cognates, it is not impossible to obtain a generally accurate notion of its sense. One thing is clear : the narrowing of its concept to "Græcizing Jews" is entirely unjustified and utterly indefensible. The word naturally means “a Græcizer,” and must obtain any narrower limitation from the context in which it is used. Although it might be possibly applied, as equity is applied, in the passage just cited from Athen. 6, to Greeks who affected classicism,
1 1. c.
2 What is meant by the omission of this clause by Wendt, from the latest edition of Meyer's Acts, we cannot profess to know.
3 τα δε από της μητρός, Σκύθης, βάρβαρος, Ελληνίζων τη φωνή.
4 οι δ' Ελληνίζοντες λέγειν δείν φασίν άργυρούν κόσμον και χρυσούν κόσμον [instead of άργυρώματα ο χρυσώματα].
its most natural and usual application would be to express the notion of Græcizing foreigners of whatever race. There can be small doubt but that an Athenian Greek would look upon the heathen masses at Antioch, and especially the mixed multitude which constituted the lower and artisan classes of that metropolis, no less than upon the Jews of Alexandria, as in the truest sense Hellenists.
Whether Luke could take the same view of the matter is not so clear. That he was of Gentile origin seems, indeed, certain. He would not, therefore, be expected to speak from the purely Jewish standpoint; when the contrast was a religious one, he might naturally adopt the Jewish speech; but when it was an ethnic one, such an adoption would be less natural. It is not impossible that he was an Antiochian, and it might be thought that this would render it unnatural for him to speak of his compatriots as Hellenists. It is necessary to remember, however, that the term was in no sense an objectionable one : “ Hellenisten (Griechlinge) war der, übrigens durchaus nicht spottende, Übername, welcher von Seiten der Nationalgriechen solchen Fremden gegeben wurde, die in Sitten, Lebensverhältnissen, Sprache oder sonstwie dem Griechentume sich enger anschlossen” is probably as good a definition as could be framed for the word. In such a Hellenistic age as that of which our history treats, and to which it belongs, the mere fact that men were designated as not of pure Greek origin had surely lost all sting. If, moreover, we assume that Luke was himself of Greek birth or descent, - either of which may be true, — the term loses all strangeness in his mouth.
More serious difficulties confront us when we leave the à priori ground and inquire after the standpoint of the Book of Acts itself. We find no difficulty in the fact that both at vi. I and ix. 29 einvlotás means Græcizing-Jews; for, that when speaking of Jerusalem the Hellenists are Græcizing-Jews is natural, and offers no presumption against the use of the same word to express Græcizing-Syrians when Antioch is spoken of. Nor do we find difficulty in the fact that Antioch was in a sense a Greek city, and is spoken of as such, e.g., in II. Macc. iv. 10, 15. The contrast in that passage is between Jew and foreigner, and consequently we find in v. 13 ελληνισμός and αλλοφυλισμός used as convertible terms; and the whole passage is conceived and written from an intensely Jewish view-point. It can scarcely be seriously maintained that the mass of the Antiochians were other than Hellenizers, and might be correctly and naturally described under that term by any one writing out of a less strongly Jewish feeling. Even
1 Reuss in Herzog's R. E. ed. 2, sub.-voc.