Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Temple Talk

Did the events of the first Pentecost occur in the Temple?
When the Vicar Patrick Seyler asked me this question during dinner I was somewhat surprised because no commentator, to my knowledge, had ever made this suggestion.

“When the day of Pentecost had come, (see, they were all together in the same place.” Dunn and Talbert both indicate they were in the upper room mentioned in Acts 1:13. Witherington state, “It is not made clear whether this is the same location as the ‘upper room’ where the Last Supper was eaten or where the disciples were staying (cf. 1:13).” Witherington further note, “Somewhere along the line the event migrates to the temple precincts, the only place such a crowd could or would likely be congregated, but Luke does not explain the sequence, only the events.” Of course, Theophilus, the High Priest, 37-41 C.E., to whom Luke addressed the gospel and later his second book, being in or near the Temple, already knew something about these events.

According to Talbert, “The echoes are unmistakable. Sound, fire, and speech understood by all people were characteristic of the Sinai theophany. The same ingredients are found in the Pentecost events.” When I blogged on Pentecost on May 16th, I noted the Book of Jubilees connects Pentecost to the covenant of Noah. The Book of Jubilees also connects Pentecost in book 1:1 to the giving of the laws during the Sinai theophany. Therefore, it is clear that Luke is alluding to the Sinai theophany.

Would the first addressee have understood the powerful symbolism of sound, fire and speech of the Sinai theophany if he were a Gentile?

It seems to me to make more sense to place the first Pentecost in the temple precincts.

Copyrighted 2005


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