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WHEN I was honoured by the invitation of Auburn Theological Seminary, I referred the matter to my friends, Dr. Fairbairn and Dr. Sanday, who knew what were my circumstances and other duties. On their advice the invitation was accepted; and it included the condition that the lectures must be published. In revising the printed sheets I have felt strongly the imperfections of the exposition; but I can feel no doubt about the facts themselves, which seem to stand out so clear and distance, that one has only to look and write. Hence I have not withdrawn from any of the positions maintained in my Church in the Roman Empire before 170 (apart from incidental imperfections). The present work is founded on the results for which evidence is there accumulated; but, in place of its neutral tone, a definite theory about the composition of Acts is here maintained (see p.383 f.). Many references were made, at first, to pages of that work, and of my Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia (1895), where views here assumed were explained and defended; but they had an egotistic appearance, and, on the advice of a valued friend, have been cut out from the proof-sheets.

I use in Acts the canons of interpretation which I have learned from many teachers (beyond all others from Mommsen) to apply to history; and I have looked at Paul and Luke as men among men. My aim has been to state the facts of Paul’s life simply, avoiding argument and controversy so far as was possible in a subject where every point is controverted. I have sometimes thought of a supplementary volume of Elucidations of Early Christian History, in which reasons should be stated more fully.

It is impossible to find anything to say about Acts that has not been said before by somebody. Doubtless almost everything I have to say might be supported by some quotation. But if a history of opinion about Acts had been desired, I should not have been applied to. Where I was conscious of having learned any special point from any special scholar I have mentioned his name; but that, of course does not exhaust half my debt. The interpretation of one of the great ancient authors is a long slow growth; one is not conscious where he learned most of his ideas; and, if he were, their genesis is a matter of no interest or value to others. Not merely the writers quoted, but also Schürer, Meyer-Wendt, Zöckler, Holtzmann, Clemen, Spitta, Zeller, Everett, Paley, Page, and many others, have taught me; and I thankfully acknowledge my debt. But specially Lightfoot, Lewin’s Fatsi Sacri, and the two greatest editors of Acts, Wetstein and Blass, have been constant companions.

Discussions with my wife, and with my friends, Professor W. P. Paterson, Rev. A. F. Findlay, and above all, Prof. Rendel Harris, have cleared my ideas on many points, beyond what can be distinctly specified. The book has been greatly improved by criticisms from Prof. Rendel Harris, and by many notes and suggestions from Rev. A. C. Headlam, which were of great value to me. Mr. A. Souter, Caius College, Cambridge, has aided me in many ways, and especially by compiling Index I. But it would be vain to try to enumerate all my obligations to many friends.

I wish to mention two facts about the genesis of my studies in this subject: (1) Dr. Fairbairn proposed to me the subject of “St. Paul as a Citizen” long ago; and I long shrank from it as too great and too difficult; (2) Dr. Robertson Nicoll (mindful of early acquaintance in Aberdeen) urged me in 1884 to write, and gave me no peace, until I published a first article,Expositor, Oct., 1888.

An apology is due for the variations, often harsh, from the familiar translation of Acts; but a little insertion or change often saved a paragraph.

Lectures which I had the honour to give before the Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University (the Levering Lectures), and Union Seminary, New York, are worked up in this volume.

Aberdeen, 23rd September, 1895


There are many sentences and paragraphs which I should have liked to rewrite, had it been possible, not in order to alter the views expressed, but to improve the inadequate expression.

In the new edition, however, it was not possible to introduce any alterations affecting the arrangement of the printed lines; but some corrections and improvements have been made through the aid of valued correspondents and critics, especially Rev. F. Warburton Lewis, Rev. G. W. Whitaker, and the Athenaeum reviewer. Slight, but not insignificant verbal changes have been made in p. 18, 1. 8, 10, 11; 19, 1. 10; 27, 1. 14; 34, 1. 8; 62, 1. 15; 98, 1. 16; 1455, 1. 5; 146, 1. 6-7; 211, 1. 11; 224, 1. 6; 227, 1. 3; 242, 1. 31; 263, 1. 12; 276, 1. 27; 282, 1. 1 (footnote deleted); 307 n. 2 (Matt. XXVII 24, added); 330 1. 13-14; 363, 1. 5. The punctuation has been improved in p. 28, 1. 19, 21; and an obscure paragraph p. 160, 1. 10–17 has been rewritten.

Besides correcting p. 141, 1. 9, I must apologise for having there mentioned Dr. Chase incorrectly. I intended to cut out his name from the proof, but left it by accident, while hesitating between two corrections; and I did not know that it remained on that page, till he wrote me on the subject. On p. 27, 1. 14, I quoted his opinion about the solitary point on which we seem to agree; but, as he writes that my expression “makes him responsible for what he has never maintained,” I have deleted the offending words. He adds, “may I very earnestly ask, if your work reaches a second edition, that, if you refer to me, you will give in some conspicuous place a reference to my papers in the Expositor, that those interested in the subject may have the chance of seeing what I have really said.” See “The Galatia of the Acts,” Expositor, Dec., 1893, and May, 1894 the title shows deficient geographical accuracy on the part of my distinguished opponent, for Luke never mentions “Galatia,” but only “the Galatic Territory,” and there lies one of the fine points of the problem. After finishing the Church in the Roman Empire before 170, I had no thought of troubling the world with anything further on this subject; but Dr. Chase’s criticism roused me to renewed work, and then came the Auburn invitation. With the Galatian question the date and authorship of Acts are bound up: the more I study, the more clearly I see that it is impossible to reconcile the “North-Galatian theory” with the first-century origin and Lukan authorship of Acts: that theory involves so many incongruities and inconsistencies, as to force a cool intellect to the view that Acts is not a trustworthy contemporary authority. But, on the “South-Galatian theory,” the book opens to us a fresh chapter in the history and geography of Asia Minor during the first century.

The form of Index II was suggested, and the details were collected in great part by Rev. F. Warburton Lewis (formerly of Mansfield College), and Indices III and IV were compiled, amid the pressure of his own onerous duties, by Rev. F. Wilfrid Osborn, Vice-Principal of the Episcopal College, Edinburgh; and my warmest gratitude is due for their voluntary and valuable help.

I add notes on some contested points.

1. Reading the Agricola before a college class in 1893–4, I drew a parallel between its method and that of Luke in respect of careful attention to order of events, and inattention to the stating of the lapse of time; but in each case knowledge acquired from other sources, and attention to the author’s order and method, enable us to fix the chronology with great accuracy; on p. 18 my lecture on this topic is summarized in a sentence.

2. The chronology established in this book is confirmed by the statement in an oration falsely ascribed to Chrysostom (Vol. VIII, p. 621, Paris, 1836), that Paul served God thirty-five years and died at the age of sixty-eight. As there can be little doubt that his martyrdom took place about A. D. 67 this fourth century authority (which bears the stamp of truth in its matter of fact simplicity) proves that he was converted in 33 A. D., as wee have deduced from the statements of Luke and Paul (p. 376, and my article in Expositor, May, 1896). If Paul died in the year beginning 23rd Sept., 67, his birth was in 1 A.D. (before 23rd Sept.). Now he evidently began public life after the Crucifixion, but before the death of Stephen; and he would naturally come before the public in the course of his thirtieth year; therefore his birth falls later than Passover A.D. 1.

3. The punctuation of Gal. II 1-4, for which an argument was advanced in Expositor, July, 1895, p. 105 ff., is assumed in the free translation on p. 55. The view taken my me of Gal. II 1-14 is controverted by the high authority of Dr. Sanday in Expositor, Feb., 1896, and defended March, 1896. Mr. Vernon Bartlet informs me that Zhan dates Gal. II 11-14 between Acts XII 25 and XV 4 (as I do, p. 160), see Neue Kirchl. Zft., 1894, p. 435 f.

4. The phrase “the God” (p. 118, 1. 5) refers, of course to v. 15.

5. While grateful for the publication of such essays by Lightfoot as that quoted on p. 199, I cannot hold that great scholar (of whose spirit in investigation I should be satisfied if I dared hope to have caught a little) responsible for them in the same way as for works published by himself. (1) His lectures were not written out, but in great part spoken, and the notes taken by pupils are not a sufficient basis: a slight verbal change in the hurry of writing often seriously modifies the force of a lecturer’s statement: moreover a speaker trusts to tone for many effects, which it requires careful study to express in written words. (2) Even those parts which were written out by himself, belong to an early stage in his career, and were not revised by himself in his maturity. (3) A writer often materially improves his work n proof: I know that some changes were made on the proofs even of the Ignatius, his maturest work. Hence the reader finds pages in Lightfoot’s finest style side by side with some paragraphs, which it is difficult to believe that he expressed in this exact form, and impossible to believe that he would ever have allowed to go forth in print. The analogy with Acts I-V (see below, p. 370) is striking.

6. It seems to me one of the strangest things that almost all interpreters reject the interpretation which Erasmus’s clear sense perceived to be necessary in XVI 22 (p. 217). Some of the many difficulties involved in the interpretation that the praetors rent the clothes of Paul and Silas are exposed by Spitta, Apostelgesch., p. 218 f. To discuss the subject properly would need a chapter. It is not impossible that the title “praetors” may have been even technically accurate; but I have not ventured to go beyond the statement that it was at least employed in courtesy.

7. The short paragraph about the politarchs should be transferred from p. 227 to p. 229, 1. 6 ff.

8. The fact that Paul’s friends were permitted free access to him in Rome and Cæsareia (Acts XXVIII 30 and XXIV 23) cannot be taken as a proof of what would be the case in a convoy, which must have been governed with strict Roman discipline. The argument on P. 315 f. is consistent with the supposition that Julius learned that the two attendants of Paul were friends acting as slaves; but their presence in the convoy was legalized only under the guise of slavery.

9. My friend and former pupil, Mr. A. A. G. Wright, sends me a good note on p. 329, confirming the interpretation (adopted from Smith) of χαλάσαντες τὸ σκεῦος from the practice of the herring boats in the Moray Firth; these boats, fitted with a large lug-sail, are a good parallels to the ancient sailing ships. In Paul’s ship the sailors “slackened the sail-tackle,” and thus lowered the yard some way, leaving a low sail, which would exercise less leverage on the hull (p. 328).

Aberdeen, 25th March, 1896


I am partly glad, partly sorry, to have little change to make in this edition—glad, because the words printed, however inadequate I feel them to be, have on the whole, stood the test of further thought and growing knowledge—sorry, because so few of the faults which must exist have revealed themselves to me. On p. 275 a change is made in an important detail. The following notes are confirmatory of arguments in the text:—

1. The examination of the development of Christianity in Phrygia, contained in Chapters XII and XVII of my Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia (Part II, 1897), shows that Christianity spread with marvelous rapidity at the end of the first and in the second century after Christ in the parts of Phrygia that lay along the road from Pisidian Antioch to Ephesus, and in the neighborhood of Iconium, whereas it did not become powerful in those parts of Phrygia that adjoined North Galatia till the fourth century. Further, in a paper printed in Studia Biblica IV, I have pointed out that Christianity seems to have hardly begun to affect the district of North Galatia which lies on the side of Phrygia until the fourth century. The first parts of North Galatia to feel the influence was so strong as in some parts of Phrygia. These facts obviously are fatal to the theory that St. Paul’s Galatian Churches were founded in the part of North Galatia adjoining Phrygia.

2. On p. 43, 1. 1, it should be stated more clearly that Cornelius was a “God-fearing” proselyte.

3. On p. 46, 1. 12 ff., the limits are stated beyond which Paul’s work in the eight years (not ten), 35–43, was not carried; and the rather incautious words on p. 46, 1. 10, do not imply that he was engaged in continuous work of preaching during that time. It is probable that quiet meditation and self-preparation filled considerable part of these years. The words of XI 26 (compare Luke II 24) suggest that he was in an obscure position, and Gal. I 23 perhaps describes mere occasional rumors about a personage who was not at the time playing a prominent part as a preacher, as the Rev. C. E. C. Lefroy points out to me in an interesting letter (which prompts this note). But the facts, when looked at in this way, bring out even more strongly than my actual words do, that (as is urged on p. 46) Paul was not yet “fully conscious of his mission direct to the Nations, and that his work is rightly regarded in Acts as beginning in Antioch.

4. On p. 212, as an additional example of the use of the aorist participle, Rev. F. W. Lewis quotes Heb. IX 12, εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος, “entered and obtained.” I add from a Phrygian inscription quoted in my Cities and Bishroprics of Phrygia, Part II, 1897, p.790—

ἅστεσι δ᾽ ἐν πολλοῖσιν ἰθαγενέων λάχε τειμὰς, λέιφας καὶ κουνρους ούδὲν ἀφαυροτέρους,

“He was presented with the freedom of many cities, and left sons as good as himself.”

5. P. 264. The safe passage of the Jewish pilgrims from the west and north sides of the Aegean to Jerusalem was ensured by letters of many Roman officials, especially addressed to the cities of Cos and Ephesus. It is obvious that these cities lay on the line of the pilgrims’ voyage; and as the pilgrims were the subject of so much correspondence they must have been numerous, and pilgrim ships must have sailed regularly at the proper season.

6. P. 271. To illustrate the view that Paul used the School of Tyrannus in the forenoon and no later, Mr. A. Souter quotes Augustine Confess., VI, 11,18, antemeridianis horis discipuli occupant (of the School of Rhetoric at Milan), while the scholars were free in the afternoon, and Augustine considers that those free hours ought to be devoted to religion.

7. I have changed p. 275, 1. 2 ff. The words of 2 Cor. XII 14; XIII 1, would become, certainly, more luminous and more full of meaning if there had occurred an unrecorded visit of Paul to Corinth. The only time that is open for such a visit is (as Rev. F. W. Lewis suggests) after he left Ephesus and went to Troas; and the balance of probability is that such a visit was made, probably in March, 56 (as soon as the sailing season began), by ship from Philippi. The paragraph, XX, 1-4, is confessedly obscure and badly expressed; and it is probable that, if the book had been carried to its final stage by the author, both v. 4 would have been added between vv. 1 and 2.

8. P. 341. Mr. Emslie Smith, Aberdeen, sends me a valuable note, the result of personal inspection of St. Paul’s Bay, in which he completely clears up the difficulty which I had to leave. It will, I hope, form the subject of an early article in the Expositor.

9. P. 389, note 2. With the words of Eusebius compare the exactly parallel expression of Aristides, Σεβῆρος τῶν ἀπὸ της ἄνωθεν Φρυγίας (Vol. 1, p. 505, ed. Dind.), which means that this Roman officer belonged to a Jewish family connected with Upper Phrygia (and also, as we know from other sources, with Ancyra in Galatia), but certainly does not imply that he was Phrygian by birth or training. It is practically certain that a Roman consul, with a career like that of Severus, must, at the period when he flourished, have been educated nearer to Rome, and probably in the metropolis. The scion of a Phrygian family, growing up amid Phrygian surroundings in the early part of the second century, would not have been admitted to the Roman senatorial career, as Severus was in his youth. His family, while retaining its Phrygian connection, had settled amid strictly Roman surroundings; and its wealth and influence procured for the heir immediate entry into the highest career open to a Roman. The quotation from Aristides shows that the interpretation of Eusebius’s expression given on p. 389 is on the right lines. The history of Severus’s family in Asia Minor is sketched in Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, Pt. II, p. 649 f.

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