Freethought Archives > Walter R. Cassels > Supernatural Religion 

Part 4, Chapter 5 (pp. 659-672)

[659:2] The Libertines were probably Jewish freedmen, or the descendants of freedmen, who had returned to Jerusalem from Rome.

[660:1] Holsten, we think rightly, denies that Stephen can be considered in any way the forerunner of Paul (Zum Ev. Paulus u. Petr., p. 52 anm. * *, p. 253 anm. *).

[660:2] Sermo i. in fest. St. Stephani.

[660:3] De orationis habitae a Stephano consilio, 1829; Paulus u.s.w., i. 49 f.

[661:2] It is further very remarkable, if it be assumed that the vision, Acts 7:55, actually was seen, that, in giving a list of those who have seen the risen Jesus (1 Cor. 15:5-8), which he evidently intends to be complete, he does not include Stephen.

[662:1] Planzung, u.s.w., p. 68.

[662:2] 6:13 f., 7:1.

[662:4] Humphrey (On the Acts, p. 668 f.), with a few others, thinks there was a regular sentence. De Wette (K. Erkl. Apostelgesch., p. 114) thinks it more probable that there was a kind of sentence pronounced, and that the reporter, not having been an eye-witness, does not quite correctly state the case.

[662:5] John 18:31. Cf. Origen, Ad African., § 14; Alford, Gk. Test., ii., p. 82 f.; Baur, Paulus, i., p. 62; von Döllinger, Christ. u Kirche, p. 456 f.; Holtzmann, in Bunsen's Biblew., viii., p. 338; Neander, Pflanzung, p. 72 f.; Olshausen, Apg., p. 125; Weizsäcker, in Schenkel's Bib. Lex., v., p. 387; Zeller, Apg., p. 150. It is argued, however, that the trial of Stephen probably took place just after the recall of Pontius Pilate, either in an interval when the Roman Procurator was absent, or when one favourable to the Jews had replaced Pilate. A most arbitrary explanation, for which no ground, but the narrative which requires defence, can be given.

[662:6] Die Apostelgesch., p. 125.

[662:7] It is said both in 5:58 and 5:59 that "they stoned" him. The double use of the term elithoboloun has called forth many curious explanations. Heinrichs (ad vii: 57, p. 205), and after him Kuinoel (iv., p. 288), explain the first as meaning only that they prepared to stone him, or that they wantonly threw stones at him on the way to the place of execution. Olshausen (on vii. 57-60, p. 125) considers the first to be a mere anticipation of the second more definitely described stoning. So also Meyer (on vii. 57, p. 193). Bleek (Einl. N. T., p. 341 f.) conjectures that the author only found it stated generally in the written source which he uses, as in 5:58, that they cast Stephen out of the city and stoned him, and that, from mere oral tradition, he inserted the second elithoboloun, 5:59, for the sake of what is there related about Saul.

[663:3] Acts 6:12; cf. Luke 22:66, Matt. 26:57.

[663:4] Acts 6:11; cf. Matt. 26:59, Mark 14:55.

[663:5] Acts 6:13 f.; cf. Matt. 26:60 f., Mark 14:57 f.

[663:6] The words in Acts 7:1 are: eipen de ho archiereus, Ei (ara) El tauta outôs echei; in Matt. 26:63, apokritheis o archiereus eipen autô, Exorkizô se ... hina hêmin eipês ei su ei ho Christos...; in Luke 22:66 …legontes, Ei su ei ho christos, eipon hêmin. Cf. Zeller, Die Apostelg., p. 153, anm. 2.

[664:1] Acts 7:56, Luke 22:69.

[664:2] ... legonta, Kurie Iêsou, dexai to pneuma mou. Acts 7:59. kai phônêsas phônê megalê ho Iêsous eipen, Pater, eis cheiras sou paratithemai to pneuma mou. touto de eipôn exepneusen. Luke 23:46.

[664:3] ... ekraxen phônê megalê, Kurie, mê stêsês autois tautên tên amartian. kai touto eipôn ekoimêthê. Acts 7:60.

[664:4] Ho de Iêsous elegen, Pater, aphes autois, ou gar oidasin ti poiousin. Luke 23:34.

[664:5] Paulus, i., p. 64, anm. 1.

[664:6] Apostelgesch., 152.

[664:7] Neander admits that the narrative in Acts is wanting in clearness and intuitive evidence of details, although he does not think that this at all militates against the trustworthiness of the whole (Pflanzung, u.s.w., p. 68, anm.). Bleek points out that 8:1-3, which is so closely connected with this episode, shows a certain confusion and want of clearness, and supposes the passage interpolated by the author into the original narrative of which he made use (Einl. N. T., p. 342).

[665:1] Pflanzung, u.s.w., p. 68, anm.

[666:1] Dr. Wordsworth says of those who venture to observe them: "The allegations in question, when reduced to their plain meaning, involve the assumption that the Holy Ghost, speaking by St. Stephen (who was 'full of the Holy Spirit'), forgot what He Himself had written in the Book of Genesis; and that His Memory is to be refreshed by Biblical commentators of the nineteenth century! This kind of criticism is animated by a spirit very alien from that Christian temper of reverential modesty, gentleness, and humility, which are primary requisites for the discovery and reception of truth. Mysteries are revealed lo the meek (Eccles. 3:19). Them that are meek shall He guide in judgment; and such as are gentle, them shall He learn His way (Psalm 25: 8). But such a spirit of criticism seems willing to accept any supposition, however fanciful, except that of its own fallibility! It is ready to allege that St. Luke is in error in saying that St. Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost. It is ready to affirm that St. Stephen was forgetful of the elements of Jewish history … No wonder that it is given over by God to a reprobate mind" (Greek Test., Acts of the Apostles, p. 66 f.).

[666:6] Gen. 46:27, Exod. 1:5, Deut. 10:22. It must be added that in the last two passages the version of the Septuagint also gives 75 including the sons of Joseph.

[667:1] Even de Wette says: "The numerous historical errors are remarkable; they may most probably be ascribed to an unprepared speech" (K. Erkl. Apostelgesch., p. 93).

[667:2] Schneckenburger, Zweck der Apostelgesch., p. 130.

[667:3] See back, p. 623 f.

[668:1] Cf. 1 Cor 2:8, kurios tês dozês ; cf. Septuagint, Ps. 28:3.

[668:2] Compare with this verse Rom. 4:13; Gal. 3:16, 29.

[668:3] Cf. Rom. 4:11, kai sêmeion elaben peritomês.

[668:4] ... poiêsas terate kai sêmeia ... 2:22 ... terasin kai sêmeiois ois epoiêsen.

[668:5] 7:23 reads ... tesserakontaetês chronos ... and 13:18 ... tesserakontaetê chronon ... and again 7:23, anebê epi tên kardian autou ... 1 Cor. 2:9, epi kardian anthrôpou ouk anebê ...

[668:6] The authorised version, on the authority of several important MSS., adds "unto the fathers" (pros tous pateras); but the balance of evidence is decidedly against the words.

[669:1] 7:11. Then came a famine upon all Egypt and Canaan.

[670:1] This analysis will be found in the Complete Edition 1879, vol. iii., p. 164-175.

[671:1] Lekebusch, Die Comp. und Entsteh. der Apostelgesch., p. 79 f.

Return to Pt 4, Ch 5      Contents
HTML © 2002 -