Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Anti-Idol Polemic

In the Book of Isaiah, the power of YHWH and his word is contrasted with the impotence of idols. Anti-idol polemic is apparent in several pericopes of the Acts of the Apostles, the most obvious being the Aeropagus speech of Acts 17 which we discussed last July 6th. In Isaiah 40-55, there are four anti-idol passages wherein the power of YHWH over the nations is the focus.

The following episodes, Philip's encounter with Simon Magus, the death of Herod, the confrontation with the magician, Paul and Barnabus in Lystra and Demetrious the silversmith, demonstrate that the anti-idol polemic was more than a rhetorical strategy. These powerful allusions to Isaiah can only mean that the polemic was presented as a continuation of the Isaianic tradition to place the followers of Jesus within the mainstream of Judaism.

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