The Acts of the Apostles
a balancing of
Judaism within the Christian Church.
by B. Bauer.
published by Gustav Hempel.
After Schrader and Dr. Baur first noted the difference between the Paul of Acts and the Paul of the Epistles, the conformity of the “First” with Peter and the Pauline character of Peter of Acts *) – after Schneckenburger **) then proved in detail the conformity of the figure in which the Paul of Acts appears with that of Peter, there are still two points in dispute, two questions that await decision.
*) The former in the fifth volume of his writing: the Apostle Paul 1836, – the latter in his essays in the Lübinger Zeitschrift. 1836. 1838.
**) in his writing on the purpose of the Acts of the Apostles. Bern. 1841.
The purpose and point of view of the author of Acts is still to be determined and the question of historical credibility, i.e. the question of whether the author of Acts created freely or used reliable sources for his composition, has neither been solved by Schnekkenburger’s effort to assert the Pauline character of this writing alongside that of the Epistles, nor by the admonition of Dr. Baur, who urgently recommends *) that “from the special purpose which the later living historian had, no too disadvantageous conclusion may be drawn about the historical credibility of the Acts of the Apostles in general, since the apologetic interest of the author does not outright excludes it, but only in a limited and modified way.”
*) Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ. Stuttgart 1845. p. 13.
In addition, we have the natural explanation which Neander lastly and with the most assiduous effort gave to the Acts of the Apostles, i. e. that explanation which is satisfied and believes to have achieved all, when it has made one miracle after another into a half-natural, but in truth only more unnatural, event by the imposition of strange, natural or psychological elements, is abandoned to its own worthlessness and insignificance, in which it is forever exposed and even removed from the sphere of investigation as soon as the question has received its proper position, – we will lead the investigation to that point of unity in which the questions of the author’s purpose and standpoint, the question of whether he is a free creator or dependent on earlier works, the question of the time in which he wrote, will no longer appear as separate questions and their answer will depend neither on the violent presuppositions that Schneckenburger holds, nor on the precarious caution that Dr. Baur recommends.
From this point of unity of the investigation, which will clarify the relationship of the author of Acts to the Gospels in general, but especially to the Gospel of Luke, the relationship between Paul and Peter in Acts will receive its final clarification, and the difference between the former and Paul in the Epistles can only be fully established.
Raised to this point of unity, the investigation will finally prove its strength by drawing the Pauline epistles into its circle and subjecting them to the same question to which the Acts of the Apostles are subject. Dr. Baur, who still possesses undoubtedly authentic letters of the apostle in the New Testament canon, can only arrive at the “conviction” from the comparison of these with the Acts of the Apostles, “that in view of the great difference between the two accounts, the historical truth can only be either on the one side or on the other” *) – he must keep within this limited and arbitrary alternative, because the authenticity of the main Pauline Epistles is certain to him – but cannot both representations of the apostle be free works of reflection, late creations – cannot both representations have sprung from the same soil of deliberate reflection and on this soil still assert their difference, indeed, only now assert their difference with full force?
*) a. a. O. p. 5
Between the two accounts, remarks Dr. Baur **), “there is generally a similar relationship as between the Johannine Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels”, and so it is – we shall even prove the correspondence of the authorial relationship in the fact that in the Acts of the Apostles we find in the same way lost and imperfectly processed key words of the Pauline Epistles, as the dissonants of the fourth Gospel – partly also result from the fact that the author could not completely master the key words, echoes and borings which he borrowed from the Synoptic Gospels, But just as we have, with the help of our criticism, proved the difference between the fourth Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels, and at the same time the common origin of Gospel historiography in general from the formative Steflexioa, so we shall now also subject to criticism the boron assumption of the authenticity of the Pauline main Epistles, and bring the question from its previous half-ness to full and complete unity.
The presupposition that “historical truth can only be either on the one side or on the other” can no longer assert itself before the seriousness of the question.
The Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles are subject to one and the same question, and the following examination of the former can therefore only be the preparation for the critique of the Epistles.
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