It was "John's disciples ," not a mere gaoler, that had told him: he "called two of them"a " certain " two, as the Greek has itwhich means that St Luke could name them. This information must have come from some disciple of John. Moreover, it is evident that they were men of high rank, men from the court of Herod: for "as they went their way," as St Matthew puts it, or "when they were departed," as St Luke expresses it, our Lord spoke of the men "clothed in soft raiment" and living "in king's courts.
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Was not this one of the incidents that led to his becoming an avowed disciple of Christ after the tetrarch's death? A further inference from St John's Gospel as to the history of Manaen.
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
I am sure I shall be pardoned for adding one more highly probable conjecture as to information supplied to the Church by Manaen, and a decisive event in his life. In St John iv. What a strange title! It is a title unknown to Jew or Greek or Roman. What does it mean? The word plainly puzzled the translators of both our versions. They suggest in the margin "courtier," "ruler," "king's officer.
Taming the Tongues of Fire
It means simply " royal," a royal personage, but not a king. Now what description could be more appropriate for one who was in the unique position of foster-brother and inseparable companion of the king? It is more, I think, than a probable conjecture that Manaen was the "nobleman," the "royal," who besought Jesus "to come down and heal his son. There are circumstances which support this conjecture, or, as I should prefer to say, confirm this identification. If the conversation with the servants in vv. The incident also occurred very early in our Lord's Galilaean ministry, for it is mentioned that "this was the second miracle that Jesus did, having come out of Judaea 14 into Galilee.
He must have heard of Jesus from John the Baptist. Manaen may have been with the "soldiers on service" of St Luke iii. Some such explanation there must be for the manifestly exceptional treatment of John as a prisoner, for the free access to him of his disciples, for the existence at Herod's court of disciples both of John and of Christ, men and women of high position, and for Manaen's early hearing of Jesus.
May we not then with reasonable probability trace the conversion of Manaen first to the influence of John the Baptist; then to the interview with Jesus at Cana, and the immediate and simultaneous recovery of his son; then to his again seeing Jesus at work, when he went as one of John's messengers; and finally to his seeing Him before Herod's judgment-seat? We are on solid ground. The ordinary text of xv. Fare ye well.
Fare ye well, being sustained by the Holy Spirit. The questions arise, Which of the texts is really Lucan? The importance of the difference may not be immediately obvious, but reflection will show that it is very great.
For the words "things strangled," if they were in the original text of the decree of the Council, would place it beyond doubt that the Council enacted a food-law for Gentile Christians. It would have declared that no Gentile could be recognised as a member of the Church of Christ unless he observed a Jewish food-law in not eating the flesh of any animal that had been strangled. Moreover, this being plainly a food-law, the prohibition of "blood" was taken to be also a food-law, that blood might not be eaten in any form; and the abstinence from meat which had been offered to idols has also been taken as a food-law.
How can the question between the two texts be decided? The nature of the arguments in support of either text of the decree. On the one side, in favour of the correctness of the text to which we are all accustomed, is the overwhelming preponderance of the numbers of the MSS.
If the question is to be decided on the ground of the numbers and antiquity of the MSS. But, on the other hand, the most ancient testimony other than that of surviving MSS. Here we touch on the external evidence. This is of great importance. Some of the Eastern writers quote from the a text.
But even Clement of Alexandria is shewn Journal of Theol. Studies, Jan. These are very cogent arguments. Difficulties in accepting the Ordinary Text.
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Let us also reflect on some of the difficulties which are involved in accepting the words "things strangled" as having been in the original decree. There is the incongruity, which must have struck everyone, of coupling with these food-laws the prohibition of 17 fornication, as if it was on a level with them.
There is the unaccountable omission of all mention of circumcision, which from xv. There is the inconsistency of saying in the decree that "they would not trouble them which from among the Gentiles turn to God," and then imposing on them food-laws which there is evidence to shew were not generally observed among the Jews of the Dispersion, as seems also to have been admitted by St Peter, xv.
There is the statement, in the Bezan text, of Acts xxi. And, finally, there is the fact that no Western Father, or apologist, or hostile critic, ever alludes to such a food-law as enjoined on Christians. If it ever existed it was ignored from the first. That such a food-law should have formed part of the decree is, on such grounds as these, so incredible, that critics have always regarded this chapter as their chief support for denying the early date and Lucan authorship of at least this part of the Acts.
Harnack, for example, who up to accepted the a text as giving the original form of the decree, wrote that "the statement was so inconsistent with facts that to suppose the writer to have been a companion of St Paul was quite inadmissible. Difficulties removed by accepting the Text in this Codex as the true report of the Decree. For if the words "things strangled" were not in the decree, the natural interpretation of the decree, would, beyond all question, have been that it forbade the three great sins of idolatry, murder, and fornication; and was in 18 fact a purely moral law: idolatry, of which the outward expression was sharing in the "sacramental communion with the idol," the temple feast, which St Paul describes 1 Cor.
These are the crimes forbidden to all Gentile Christians by the decree; associated here as in Rev. It was the final emancipation of Christianity from Judaism. Christianity had never been bound to the temple and the Sacrificial priesthood of the Jews. Now it was publicly transformed from a tribal or national religion to one that was universal; and the declaration is that the mark of the universal religion was to be faith in Christ's Revelation of God, along with morality and the observance of the golden rule. Well may Harnack say, "The Scribe who first wrote the little word 'strangled' opposite 'blood' on the margin of his exemplar created a flood, which has for almost years swamped the correct interpretation of the whole passage We can close whole libraries of commentaries and investigations, as documents of the history of a gigantic error!
The importance of Codex D Bezae supported to be sure by all the Western authoritiesis here brought into great prominence. The words "things strangled" a later Interpolation unknown to the earliest Texts. But how did the words "things strangled" get into the a or Antiochian text? This is not known. Harnack offers the conjecture given in the last section; that it was a mistaken explanation of the word "blood," put by someone in 19 the margin of a MS. Additions to the author's text have sometimes originated in this way.
Introduction to the New Testament
Or it may have been a deliberate interpolation on the part of someone of "the sect of the Pharisees who believed," who wished to get apostolic authority for insisting on this part of the ceremonial law. This suggestion receives some support from the significant omissions in the later text of Acts xxi. This is in accordance with history. The Church from the first understood the Apostolic document as an ethical rule.
Jewish morality was to be insisted on as a law of God; but Jewish ceremonial was not. The Evidences internal and external for the view here advocated cumulative and convincing. This is the main point; which the reader will, I think, after due study, come to regard as finally established.
But this leads me to repeat that the grounds for so accepting it are only outlined and illustrated in this Introduction. No one can appreciate the full force of the cumulative internal evidence till he has read the whole text, and satisfied himself that of the numerous excisions, short or long, all are explicable on the hypothesis that an author is revising and somewhat shortening his own work, and that most of these omitted words or phrases are so superfluous, and so entirely free from any doctrinal tendency, as to make it 20 extremely unlikely, to say the least, that any copyist should have thought it worth his while to interpolate them.
The rewritten passages also lead to the same conclusion. It will, of course, be understood that the Bezan texts which we possess were copied from older MSS. It is well, however, to remember Hort's saying that the doubtful words scarcely exceed one-thousandth of the whole N.
To discover the most probable underlying text or, in this case, texts is the highly skilled work of the textual critic. But this I am not called to expound in detail here, or to enforce. Confirmed by minor verbal alterations, and an avoidance in the revision of over statement. There is a class of minor differences between the two texts, in which one word is substituted for another, which is in most cases a synonym.
These changes are in general, I suppose, matters of style or rhythm; as if an English writer on revision preferred "he beheld" to "he saw": or "he went away" to "he departed thence. But there is one change of a word, which I have not seen noticed, which is of considerable interest. It is not a change to a synonym, and it suggests careful and scientific accuracy on the part of St Luke. But on revision and rewriting I imagine that he felt this to be an over-statement. He therefore left out the first clause altogether; and instead of a word which means "cured" he used a word which strictly means "attended to," "relieved," "medically treated.
But St Luke was a physician, and uses them accurately.
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He observes the distinction. He perhaps knew Galen's maxim quoted by Harnack, that "a physician ought first to cure his own symptoms, and then attempt to treat those of others.