The Book of Acts Day 3

Monday, September 04, 2006


We discussed on the topic of “Speeches in Acts” today and I’d say that it bordered on being quite technical.

It is important when we need to respond to critics who suggest that the speeches in the book of Acts e.g. the long one by Stephen in Acts 7, are creation of Luke and is not an actual event that took place. Using comparison with ancient historians, the lecturer tried to prove otherwise.

Basically, a lot of ancient historians take the Literary Appropriateness or Artistic Excellence is their methodology in writing history - the historicity of the content do not matter as much as style of writing. Critics in the 19th century had made a sweeping statement saying that since the ancient historians used that methodology and do create speeches, then those found in Acts are creations of Luke as well.

What the critics have missed out however, that there is a continuum between Literary Appropriateness and Historical Appropriateness. There are ancient historians that fall on either ends or even in between the two. In the Historical Appropriateness method, the consistency and faithfulness to the events take precedence over style.

For example:

[-------------------I--------------------]
LA.............................................HA
Timaeus.....Thucydides........Polybius...........(Greeks)
Cicero................................Julius Caesar.....(Romans)

All in all, what is important is that form of speech used by the author is not a criterion for accuracy. It is more important to determine is the account of history is faithful to the actual events, are they consistent with the situation and context.

I can’t really say much more than this, because at this point of time at least, it does not seem so much of an issue to me; though authorship of the books of the bible is an issue that we grapple with, at one time or another, as well as the rejection and skepticism of the words of Jesus being the very words that He actually said.

Maeghan
Picture by kevinzim/sxc

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2 comment(s)

  1. Hi Maeghan,
    This makes me thankful He gave us the Holy Spirit to understand it.
    Julia

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  2. I got called away, and forgot to comment, but I enjoy details like these - when someone else is doing all the work of gathering them. :-)

    Thanks.

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