Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Paul’s Speech on the Areopagus

They took Paul from the marketplace and brought him to the Areopagus. Since trial scenes in Acts are easy to identify, we should consider this change in location to be not a trial scene but the opportunity to preach from a quieter more prominent venue, the Hill of Ares. The audience expected Paul to follow a rhetorical format: 1) introduction; 2) thesis; 3) narrative of the facts; 4) argument and 5) conclusion. They were not disappointed.

This speech is an apologetic for Jewish anti-idolatry monotheism delivered in a city where religiosity is expressed by the multitude of its idols. This speech does not have, as asserted by Marin Dibelius, “a rational character which is foreign to the New Testament.” The anti-idol polemic in this speech is similar to the anti-idol polemic found in Isaiah 40-55. The phrase, “gods made with hands are not gods,” provides a good summary statement of the arguments against idols in Isaiah 40-55.

It was a speech to which Theophilus, the High Priest, could not find fault with its basic premise. Jesus is not mentioned by name nor is there any mention of the cross. That Paul could have delivered such a speech is confirmed by Rom. 1:19-32 and 1 Thess. 1:9-10 as well as 2 Cor. 5:10. If Luke crafted this speech, he did so respecting the sensitivities of Theophilus the High Priest.

It is my intention to review and discuss the other passages in Acts containing anti-idol polemic and its purpose for Luke.

copyrighted 2005


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very informative. I hope to see more in the near future

1:02 PM


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