Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Friday, May 20, 2005

They are filled with new wine.

At the first Christian Pentecost, the skeptics said, “They are filled with new wine.”

The use of the word “gleukos” in this context is somewhat surprising for a number of reasons. Apart from Acts 2:13, the word is not used to convey a sense that people are drunk. Furthermore, some scholars have suggested grape juice was probably not available in May-June at the time of Pentecost since the grape harvest in Palestine does not start until later in the year nor could this grape juice be from a prior harvest.

Why not the phrase “oinos neos,” as in Luke 5:37-39 and the LXX Isaiah 49:26, if Luke intended this translation?

Pervo considered Acts 2:13-14 to be an instance of Lucan irony, but only because it shows that “some people are spiritually blind, such as those cynics in Jerusalem who could not distinguish between enthusiastic inspiration and a holiday binge.”[i]

According to Daniel Schwartz, it is more likely that Luke employed “gleukos” in the same sense as he found it in the Septuagint: Job 32:19. In the instance in Job 32:19, it appears as the image Elihu uses of the spirit of God within him which forces him to speak.

Peter’s Pentecost Speech is yet another example how the Septuagint provided Luke with his unique vocabulary and understanding of the events that transpired.

[i] Profit with Delight: The Literary Genre of the Acts of the Apostles, 59.

copyrighted 2005


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