Thursday, March 14, 2024

How The Author's Travels Support The Authorship Attribution Of Luke/Acts

I've written before about how Acts ends with a "we" passage that places the author in Rome and how some of the earliest evidence we have for Lukan authorship comes from sources closely connected to that city. Something else to note about the authorship of Luke and Acts is that multiple sources in multiple locations should have been in a good position to know who wrote the documents. The "we" passages in Acts, which suggest participation by the author in the events in question, are evidence that the author traveled widely. And he apparently was writing Acts as he traveled, doing preparatory work for writing while traveling (e.g., gathering information from people, taking notes), or some of each, given the nature of the details in the document. (For evidence to that effect, see here, here, and here.) So, people in a large number and variety of locations should have had significant evidence regarding who wrote Acts (and the gospel of Luke). That includes being in a good position to falsify an incorrect authorship attribution. That's especially true given all of Luke/Acts' references to times, places, individuals involved, etc. I've argued that some of Luke's material on Jesus' childhood likely was acquired in the context of Acts 21. So, it looks like the authorship of the third gospel, not just Acts, is also directly connected to his travels in the "we" passages. Attribution of the third gospel and Acts to Luke was widespread and seems to have not faced much opposition. That makes more sense if the attribution is correct than if it's incorrect. That's true not only as a general principle, but even more so in light of the author's travels.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Neglected Evidence For Acts' Material On The Resurrection Appearance To Paul

There are some good arguments that are often brought up for the material on Jesus' appearance to Paul in Acts, such as the authorship of Luke/Acts and the general historical reliability of the author. See, for example, my posts on such issues here, Craig Keener's video on Luke's historiography here, and a video featuring Lydia McGrew on the subject of hard things Acts gets right here. What I want to focus on in this post is some evidence that comes up less often. I'll occasionally mention more common arguments in the process of discussing the less common ones, but my focus here is on lines of evidence that have gotten less attention.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Number Of Resurrection Experiences Peter Had

The numbers are significant for other individuals as well, but I want to focus on Peter here as an example. He probably was part of at least three of the appearances mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, and there's a good chance that he was part of four of them. For a discussion of the potential for his participation in the appearance to more than five hundred in 1 Corinthians 15:6, see here. He also witnessed the appearances in John 21 and Acts 1. And he's reported to have witnessed the empty tomb and the condition of Jesus' grave coverings at the time (Luke 24:12, John 20:3-7).

Such a large number of experiences would tend to involve a large amount of variety as well, and we see that with what Peter experienced. He was alone on one occasion, but with one or more other individuals on other occasions, only with John on the occasion of seeing the empty tomb and with varying larger groups on other occasions. The experiences are reported to have ranged across multiple weeks (John 20:26, Acts 1:3), from seeing the empty tomb on Easter day to seeing Jesus at the time of the ascension.

That sort of number and variety of experiences should be kept in mind. It wasn't just one event or one set of circumstances. Peter is the most significant example in this context, but the same point can be made to a lesser extent about other resurrection witnesses.