Friday, April 28, 2017


One of my tasks as a blogger is to seek out new material to benefit and edify my audience. Another task is to view material so to warn readers not to waste their time on what I have viewed. This post fulfills the later task.

The Last Days of Jesus originally aired on PBS before Easter, but I didn't get a chance to see it then. I watched it last Friday online. It will not be available for viewing online for much longer, and so I could have avoided mentioning it altogether. However, every Christmas and Easter, PBS airs material questioning the accuracy of the Bible and orthodox (with a little o) beliefs held by Christians for two thousand plus years. So we can expect PBS to run this program again. And so I feel obligated to steer you away from this time waster.

The overall premise of The Last Days of Jesus is that Jesus was in cahoots with a powerful Roman official, Sejanus, and King Herod. If all went according to plan, Sejanus would become Caesar. Then he would name Herod king of all the Jews. And then, the Temple priesthood would be replaced by Jesus and His followers. However, the plan failed to materialize. Sejanus lost favor with Emperor Tiberius and was executed. When Jesus was informed of this setback, he convened an emergency meeting among his followers (the real Last Supper) to decide what to do. This is when Judas decided to betray Jesus. Jesus was arrested and held in prison for months, and then crucified. The chief piece of evidence, according to this theory's proponents, is the use of palm branches to celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Gospels tell us that Jesus entered Jerusalem right before Passover. According to Simcha Jacobovici, palm branches would only be available to crowds in Jerusalem six months before the Passover. This proves, according to Jacobovici, that Jesus came to Jerusalem six month earlier than what the Bible claims. Another piece of evidence, according to Jacobovici, is that when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers, Jesus wasn't arrested on the spot. The fact that he wasn't arrested right then proves He, Herod, and and Sejanus were co-conspirators.

The proponents of this theory claim that when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers, He and His followers shut down the Temple for two days. Why didn't the Roman guards arrest him right then? For starters, Jesus did not shut down the Temple. The only portion of the Temple that was being prevented from being used for its intended purpose was that portion where the tables were set up. That portion was called the court of the Gentiles. It was an area where non-Jews could come to worship the true God. By allowing trading in the only place in the temple where Gentiles could pray to God, the Temple priests were shutting down Gentile worship and prayer. That is why when He overturned the tables, Jesus quoted Is. 56:7, "...for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." (NIV) By allowing commerce to block Gentile worship in the Temple, Jesus declares that the priests have made the Temple a den of thieves, or robbers. Jesus did not shut down the whole Temple, as the Last Days of Jesus claims. He would never have prevented sincere worshipers from offering up the sacrifices commanded in the Pentateuch. He freed up the one portion of the Temple not being used as God commanded. Why didn't the Romans guards arrest Him? Not because Jesus was a Roman collaborator, but because there were no Roman guards in the Temple. The Temple had its own Jewish guards. The Romans knew that if they entered the Temple, the Jews would very possibly revolt against their Roman occupiers. The priests would never have called the Romans into the Temple to arrest Jesus for they were not permitted to be there. They did not order the Temple guards to arrest Jesus in the Temple because He was popular with the people. The priests didn't want to alienate the people and cause a riot. The theory that Jesus was a co-conspirator has no basis. A clear examination of scripture and biblical scholarship is enough to refute the claims of the Last Days of Jesus.

The underlying assumptions of the narrative in the Last Days of Jesus are the same assumptions that underlie other PBS specials on Christianity. Those interviewed view Jesus as a revolutionary figure determined to over throw the Roman occupation and set up his own kingdom and inaugurate the final period of history. All the writings in the New Testament of Jesus claiming to be the Son of God were claims made by later writers who won the struggle to determine what the Church's message would be. In fact, the New Testament as we now have it is not made up of eyewitness accounts, but were written long after. That's according to one interviewee, James Tabor. Those PBS relied upon to advance the documentary's theory have been associated with dubious theories concerning Jesus. Simcha Jacobovici and Barry Wilson have been one of many claiming that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children by her. James Tabor has claimed that Jesus founded a dynasty before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Helen Bond, also interviewed, views Jesus as a revolutionary figure only.

I figured this special would not be worth watching. But if this brief review keeps you from wasting your time watching it the next time it is aired, then it was time well spent. Today, Friday, will be time well spent as I listen to an interview with the late Thomas Oden.

For an explanation of the title, Friday Night Frozen Dinner and an Intellectual, see here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DENNIS KINLAW, 1922-2017

The Wesleyan world has lost two great theologians and spiritual giants in the past few months. Thomas Oden passed away shortly before Christmas. And now Dennis Kinlaw, former President of Asbury College, former professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Asbury Theological Seminary, founder of the Francis Asbury Society, died earlier this month. I met Dr. Kinlaw only once, during a speaking engagement he gave at Wesley Biblical Seminary (WBS) that lasted a few days. I found him to be a person who was interested in talking to whoever came across his path. His love of God was evident to all who spent time with him. While my contact with him was limited to this one encounter, I have known many who have been influenced by him. That influence will continue to have a positive impact on the ministry for many decades to come. I had hoped to post a series of tributes to Kinlaw such as I did when Oden passed away. However, little has appeared on the internet concerning Kinlaw's life and legacy. Asbury College and Asbury Seminary posted tributes to him, as did WBS. The Francis Asbury Society also has a short biography of him on their site. I can only find three individuals who published tributes to Kinlaw. WBS graduate Matt O'Reilly published one on his blog, Orthodoxy For Everyone, and Joe Henderson did the same on the Scriptorium Daily website. One Mission Society (OMS) posted a tribute by OMS president Bob Fetherlin as well.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I was always confident that Hillary Clinton would never be elected President. I had expressed this confidence here before. I had given thought to how I would respond when her defeat was certain, when she would finally cease to be a factor in American politics. This is what I thought I would write:

I have been told that once a virus is introduced into the human body, it is there for the life of the individual. However, that is not necessarily true for the body politic. With the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the Clinton's negative influence on American life and politics is at an end. The nation is no longer mesmerized by Bill Clinton. Most younger voters are not even old enough to remember his presidency. Now that Hillary has lost, politicians, foreign and domestic, will no longer seek favors from them. Chelsea has no future in politics. We have paid a high price for the presence of the Clintons in our political life. Their presence has been like a harmful virus in our system. Fortunately, with Hillary's defeat, that virus has been removed.

However, I would have been naive to think the influence of the Clintons would be over.

We have indeed paid a high price for electing the Clintons in 1992. I don't need to go into detail concerning their crimes and scandals. But I will point out that the brazen way they have flouted the justice system has emboldened the liberal-progressive-democrat party to openly defy the law of the land. To take one example, let me mention the FBI files scandal. Charles Colson, one of Richard Nixon's top aids, went to jail for reading one top secret FBI file. Hillary hired political operatives to obtain FBI files on hundreds of former officials of the first Bush administration. No one was arrested or sentenced for this flagrant criminal activity. The political establishment pretended no crime had been committed. The press had become so invested in the Clintons that they didn't seriously report on it. That the Clintons got away with so much only emboldened President Obama's administration to undermine the rule of law on a grand scale. Had it not been for the Clinton example, Obama's IRS might not had targeted conservative groups or been so openly contemptuous of the efforts to discover the truth. Without the Clinton example, the justice system might not have been politicized to the extent it was under Obama. When another liberal-progressive-democrat enters the White House, they will be as much, if not more emboldened, to undermine the belief that we are a nation of laws and not of men. Our politics have acquired a non-stop intensity because of the Clintons. It was the Clintons who introduced the notion of the permanent campaign into our political life in 1992. They are the ones who established the "War Room" to deal with every criticism of themselves and their policies. Most serious of all, we have paid a high price in human lives The Clinton policy, known as "the wall", made 9/11 possible. That policy prohibited intelligence sharing between the CIA and the FBI. Had that policy not been in place, and had Bill Clinton taken out bin-Laden when he had the opportunity, 9/11 would not have taken place. Were it not for Hillary Clinton's incompetence, four Americans would not have died in Benghazi. If it were not for Hillary Clinton's incompetence, in cooperation with Obama, many in the Middle East would not be terrorized by ISIS. President Trump campaigned against engaging in "unnecessary" wars in the Middle East. Yet the price to reverse the effects of the Clinton-Obama debacles may cost many more American lives, in addition to innocent lives of Muslims and Christians in that region. Because many thought Hillary would be elected President one day, many foreign leaders and business figures have donated enormous sums to the Clinton Foundation. They expected future favors from the Hillary Clinton administration and many received favors while Hillary was Obama's Secretary of State. In one case Hillary signed over to the Russians a major portion of the United States' uranium supply. The Clinton Foundation received donations for charitable enterprises. Yet much of the money was not spent on charity. The people of Haiti have seen very little of the money donated for their relief after the 2010 earthquake which devastated their nation.

Hillary's defeat has indeed rendered her and Bill Clinton politically irrelevant. But we have not yet paid the full price for their conduct. The consequences of policies may be reversed over time. But the corruptions of our system of government are here to stay.

You might say, "Why write this now? The election is over. Why didn't you post this during the campaign, or right after the election? This is old news." But is this really old news? We hear much in the news these days about the threat posed by North Korea. President Trump may have no option but to launch a preemptive strike to prevent North Korea from launching a nuclear attack on South Korea or Japan. Who knows how many lives will be lost. What does this have to do with the Clintons? It was the Bill Clinton administration that allowed North Korea the ability to produce nuclear weapons. The North Koreans were permitted to produce nuclear power for "peaceful purposes." Anyone with any sense should have known the North Koreans would use this opportunity to build nuclear weapons. This world is now a much more dangerous place because the Clintons were elected to high office. Who knows how much more damage their presence has caused?


Saturday, March 18, 2017


Redemptive Thoughts is now running at full steam. Barely an article has appeared here for a year and a half. I was at work on a project that took all my time I had to blog. That project is now complete and will be featured on this site later this year. In the meantime, I hope to post here a couple times a week to build back the readership Redemptive Thoughts once had. A few political posts will be my first focus. My primary concern for posting these is to counter the view of some Christians who believe that Christians must abandon evangelical political and social action. I would like to to post more audio material with the purpose that I might engage in podcasting later on. The semi-regular feature "Friday Night Frozen Dinner and an Intellectual" will return, providing not only book reviews but more reviews of web pages, internet articles and podcasts. In the past, I had expressed my intention to examine the situation and views of the Global Church. I intend on turning that intention into a reality here. I also hope to feature more Christian biography and history, and Wesleyan writings. As always, feel free to comment on anything that appears here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

THOMAS ODEN, 1931-2016

Thomas Oden, the best known American Evangelical theologian from the Wesleyan-Arminian branch of the Church, died last month. He was already a professor of theology when he came to faith in Christ after studying the early Church Fathers. His 3 volume systematic theology was required reading at Wesley Biblical Seminary. His theological method was not to create something new. He applied the wisdom of the historic Church, from the early Church to the Reformation, to our understanding of scripture, the Christian life, and to the Church's mission in today's world. He sought out the truths that have been acknowledged by all branches of the Church from its beginning as the standard by which we discover the source of this wisdom. (Oden acknowledged that Scripture has greater authority than Church teaching.)   Oden's method is often referred to as Classical Consensual Christianity. Oden referred to it as paleo-orthodoxy. Oden also sought to locate the place of Wesleyan theology and spirituality within the greater Church tradition. Recently, he had been educating the Church on the roots of African Christianity and its place in Church history. I never met Thomas Oden. However, many of my professors at Wesley Biblical Seminary were taught and mentored by him. I would like to think that my classmates and I were influenced by Oden through them and help carry on his legacy in the ministry and in the classroom. Here is a collection of articles on Oden that appeared after his death. I hope you take some time to gain some perspective on one of the 20th century's theological giants from a variety of theological viewpoints.

Before examining Thomas Oden's theology and impact, here is a humorous personal account of what kind of person Oden was by C. Michael Patton, a Calvinist. (HT: Kevin Jackson's Wesleyan-Arminian blog).

Andrew Dragos of Asbury Seedbed gives a short account of Oden's life and importance.

This article from Christianity Today was linked to more than any other by those who wished to bring attention to Oden's life and work after his death. It features praise for Oden and his contributions to theology from theologians of many perspectives. For instance, J.I. Packer is quoted as saying that Oden's work on classical Christianity was needed by the Church for centuries.

Here, in Oden's own words is a short account from of his journey from spiritual futility to a robust faith in Christ. (HT: A short article on Oden from Mark Tooley, President of the Institute On Religion and Democracy, on the Caffeinated Thoughts blog. Here is a tribute to Oden written by Tooley after Oden's death. (HT: The Gospel Coalition.)

 Here is a short but useful article from Ben Witherington of Asbury Seminary explaining Oden's contribution to theology with a lament that Oden was not able to produce more on Wesleyan theology. 

Here is a article that links to a great interview by Ray Nothstein of Oden. It is a wide ranging interview covering not only classical Christianity, but its application to such subjects as poverty and social witness, ministry to prisoners, immigration, and suffering. The link to this interview appeared in an article on the Acton Institute blog by Joe Carter.  Here is a link to another interview with Oden, this time with Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Its not as wide ranging as the interview with Nothstein. It focuses almost exclusively on Oden's theological and spiritual journey. The link to the original audio for this interview is provided below.

Michael J. Kruger, of Reformed Theological Seminary, learned seven lessons from Oden's life story.

Short tributes to Oden by Stephen Beard of Good News Magazine and Jason G. Duesing

Here is a examination of Oden's theological method from the SUMMA PHILOSOPHIAE blog. This is not an article that can be understood through speed reading.

You can read reviews of Oden's autobiography , A Change of Heart, on Amazon .com . (HT: Gene Vieth.)

Here is a lecture given by Thomas Oden. I haven't had time to listen to it yet. It was given at Seattle Pacific University. It is entitled The Renewal of Classic Christianity:Spirituality (HT: Kevin Jackson's Wesleyan-Arminian blog). When I recommence blogging in earnest, one of my first posts will be my impressions of it, along with the interview with Mohler mentioned above.

Here is a post with a very short video of Oden. However, after it is over, links to longer interviews appear. From Terry Mattingly's On Religion blog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


This blog is ten years old. On 12/7/06, from a solitary seat in a Panera Bread, somewhere in America, I began expressing myself on various subjects to the world. Whether the world wants to know what my opinion is on any subject is another matter. (One angry American atheist in Austria wanted me to tell him where I lived, probably so he could find me and punch me in the nose. But our exchange occurred on another blog.) I was reluctant to begin blogging. I was afraid it would compete for valuable time with legitimate spiritual activities. I have actually received a few comments over the years questioning whether one can be both a blogger and an active disciple of Jesus Christ. After ten years, 428 published articles (449 if you count those in draft), my fears did not materialize. In fact, much good has come from it. I learned anew how to express my thoughts in written form. I had let that skill deteriorate after college. I did not regain it while in seminary, which was very inconvenient when writing papers and taking exams. Only after I began blogging did I regain this ability. Many of the books I have on my shelf would not have been read had I not disciplined myself to read them so I could review them online. Many of these books were bought from the Wesley Biblical Seminary library. These books influenced my spiritual and theological development. One in particular influenced how I taught a class at the church I currently attend. The book was The Goodness of God by the late John Wenham. It sat on my shelf for at least ten years. As I turned each page, the page became separated from the binding. I wrote some good articles based on it that will appear one day on this blog. Some of the scriptural references appeared on my other blog, Notes From My Study. I thought that this this book would influence me no further. But soon after reading it, I heard a member of my class ask my pastor about some of the difficult issues surrounding the Old Testament. In God's sovereign timing, I had just been been prepared to deal with her questions. I already had background in the subject, but this particular book prepared me to teach the subject I was already going to teach in far more effective manner. And I would not have read the book if I had not been a blogger. In some cases, expressing myself in print has allowed me to sort out what I really believe on a subject. This was the case with the article, A Post Without Answers. It was a response to the controversy surrounding Pat Robertson's remarks on the earthquake in Haiti. It was the hardest single article for me to write because my position kept changing as I wrote. I have also learned that I have the greatest difficulty expressing myself theologically. It took me a year to produce an article in response to the theological writings of N.T. Wright. Being a blogger has caused me to express myself on other sites. Some of those exchanges were heated, but I also have had worthwhile contact with others I would not otherwise have had. These benefits have been a great blessing over the years, and I expect more positive benefits in the future. Social Media certainly deserves the criticism it has received for its adverse affect on our culture. But it has had one benefit for me. In certain instances, it has offered me an opportunity to define myself instead of having myself defined by others. Even in Christian circles, there are those who would try to marginalize you by painting a false picture to others of your intelligence and capabilities. Blogging has allowed me to transcend such attempts at marginalization. As to those heated exchanges, they have proven to be beneficial to me as well. Learning how to engage a hostile internet antagonist in a civil, Christian manner has been good training. Recently, I had needed that training as I dealt with someone who became somewhat aggressive toward me on another site. That kind of training carries over into other areas of human interaction as well.

So I look forward to another ten years of blogging. I hope soon to increase my productivity. In recent years, my productivity has declined. Productivity declined by half beginning in 2010 when I moved to my present location. Some of the ability to express myself in print seemed to disappear when I made the move. Also, since 9/15, I have been at work on a project which has taken up all the time I have to produce material for posting. I hope to finish this month. I might not produce the 70, 80, or 90 posts a year that appeared in my blog's first few years. But I do hope to produce at least 50 posts a year under my present circumstances.

If you have taken time to peruse my posts on this blog in the past, thank-you. I hope they were beneficial to you in some way. I hope Redemptive Thoughts continues to be a place where you can find articles of interest on a wide range of subjects.

I would also like to thank one of my fellow Wesley Biblical Seminary alumni Jason Kranzusch for encouraging me to be a blogger.  

Monday, November 21, 2016


The following is taken from The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History by Colin Hemer. It is a summary of local knowledge supporting the historical accuracy of Acts. It is knowledge that could only be available to one who lived at the same time as the Apostles and who traveled the routes outlined in Acts. This knowledge would not be available to those who lived a couple hundred years later. It is proof for the historicity of Acts and against the claims of scholars who maintain that Acts was written much later. This summary from Hemer's book appeared in the comment section of an article posted on Victor Reppert's blog, Dangerous Idea.  The summary is provided by someone who identified himself as Jayman, who blogs at Biblical Scholarship.

1. Acts 13:4-5: The natural crossing between the ports of Seleucia and Salamis is noted.
2. Acts 13:7: While the name of the proconsul Sergius Paulus cannot be confirmed his family is confirmed.
3. Acts 13:13: "The text names Perga, a river-port, and perhaps the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus, whereas a coaster would have called only at the coastal harbour town of Attalia" (p. 109).
4. Acts 14:1, 6 "implies that Iconium was not in Lycaonia, as has often been supposed on the strength of sources reflecting boundary changes and conditions of different date. Its ethnic inclusion in Phrygia, not Lycaonia, is confirmed by the geographical distribution of Neo-Phrygian texts, and could be illustrated extensively by onomastic study" (p. 110).
5. In Acts 14:6 the "bizarrely heteroclitic declension of the name Lystra is actually paralleled in Latin in the documents, though the point hinges on correct restoration" (p. 110).
6. Acts 14:11: The Lycaonian language was spoken in Lystra. The use of a native language was unusual in the cosmopolitan, Hellenized society in which Paul normally worked. Lystra was a Roman colony in a less developed part of Anatolia and was able to preserve its language.
7. Acts 14:12: The deities Hellenized as Zeus and Hermes are paralleled epigraphically in Lystra and its district. Barnabas and Paul are identified with the two deities in a way consistent with native beliefs.
8. Acts 14:25: Paul and Barnabas return to the coasting port of Attalia to intercept a coasting vessel.
9. Acts 16:1: The correct order of approach overland from the Cilician Gates is, in fact, Derbe then Lystra.
10. Acts 16:2: Lystra and Iconium were relatively close together so it was natural for Timothy to be known by both these churches.
11. Acts 16:8: The form of the name Troas is given as current in the first century.
12. Acts 16:11: The island of Samothrace, with its 5,000 foot mountain, was a conspicuous sailors' landmark.
13. Acts 16:11: Nea Polis, properly rendered as two words in the best manuscripts, was the seaport of Philippi.
14. Acts 16:12: Philippi is correctly described as a Roman colony.
15. Acts 16:13: The small river Gangites flows close to the walls of Philippi.
16. Acts 16:14: Thyatira was a center of dyeing.
17. Acts 16:20-21 "gives an ironical treatment of the anti-Jewish feeling on the part of colonists proud of their Roman status" (p. 115).
18. Acts 16:22: The use of the term stratēgos for magistrates is attested in Pisidian Antioch.
19. Acts 16:35: Flogging was appropriate to the rhabdouchos.
20. Acts 17:1: The mention of Amphipolis and Apollonia should be taken to imply that the were stops along the way as, in fact, they were stations on the Egantian Way from Philippi to Thessalonica. This would divide the journey into three stages of about 30, 27, and 35 miles.
21. Acts 17:1: An inscription confirms that there was a Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica.
22. Acts 17:5: In the free city of Thessalonica Paul is brought before the dēmos ("assembly").
23. Acts 17:6: The title of the board of magistrates in Thessalonica was politarchēs ("city officials").
24. Acts 17:10: Berea was a suitable refuge off the major westward route, the Via Egnatia.
25. Acts 17:14: "The implication of sea-travel is at once the most convenient way of reaching Athens with the favouring 'Etesian' winds of the summer sailing-season and also removes Paul to a different jurisdiction remote from nearer land-routes where opponents might be expecting him" (p. 116).
 26. Acts 17:17: Jewish inscriptions attest to a synagogue existing in Athens.
27. Acts 17:17: Philosophical debate in the Agora was characteristic of Athenian life.
28. Acts 17:18: The Stoa (portico) from which the Stoic philosophers took their name was in the Athenian Agora.
29. Acts 17:18: The term spermologos ("babbler") is characteristically Athenian slang.
30. Acts 17:19: The two-word form Areios pagos applied to the court and is regularly used in many inscriptions of the period.
31. Acts 17:23: Paul would have seen the Athenian "objects of worship" at the main approach to the Agora from the northwest.
32. Acts 17:23: Altars to unknown gods are mentioned elsewhere (Pausanias 1.1.4; Diogenes Laertius Vita Philos. 1.110; cf. Philostratus Vita Ap. Ty. 6.3.5). While many of these altars use the plural ("gods") at least one phrase from Diogenes is singular.
33. Acts 17:24: Paul mentions temples made by human hands in Athens with its Parthenon and other shrines.
34. Acts 17:24-29: Paul's speech is appropriate for a dialogue with Stoic and Epicurean terms.
35. Acts 17:28: The words "in him we live and move about and exist" are attributed to Epimenides the Cretan, who figures in Diogenes's story of the altars mentioned in Acts 17:23.
36. Acts 17:28: The words "for we too are his offspring" are from the Stoic poet Aratus, of Soli in Cilicia, near Paul's home in Tarsus. This citation is consistent with Paul's quotation of Greek literature in 1 Cor. 15:33.
37. Acts 17:31: Paul states that a "man" was appointed to judge the world. He does not use Christological constructs that would be meaningless to the pagan audience. This is suitable for Paul speaking in Athens rather than a Lukan theological construct.
38. Acts 17:32: Paul takes issue with the denial of resurrection in Greek culture (Aeschylus, Eumen. 647-48). The reaction of the Stoics and Epicureans is understandable in the Athenian context.
39. Acts 17:34: Areopagitēs is the correct title for a member of the court.
40. Acts 18:2: Displays a synchronism with the probable date of Claudius's expulsion of the Jews.
41. Acts 18:3: Paul's trade as a tentmaker is appropriate to his Cilician origin.
42. Acts 18:4: A synagogue in Corinth is attested epigraphically.
43. Acts 18:12: "Gallio is said to be a proconsul, resident in Corinth as provincial capital. Achaia was governed by a proconsul from 27 BC to AD 15 and from AD 44. I have argued elsewhere that the incident belongs to the time of Gallio's arrival in the province in early summer 51, the only point in Paul's residence (autumn 50 - spring 52) when his opponents would be able to take advantage of a new and untried governor" (p. 119).
44. Acts 18:13-14: Gallio is unconcerned that Paul's teaching is in conflict with accepted Jewish theology.
45. Acts 18:16: The judgment seat (bēma) overlooking Corinth's forum is visible today.
46. Acts 18:21: "The hasty departure from Ephesus in spring would suit the assumption, made explicit in the Western text, that Paul was anxious to reach Jerusalem for a feast, presumably Passover, in the limited time available after the opening of the sailing season" (p. 120).
47. Acts 18:23: "The 'Galatian country and Phrygia' is a peculiarly difficult phrase, not the same as in 16:6. I am now inclined to think that 'the Galatian country' is here resumptive of 16:6, and refers generally to Paul's sphere of work in ('South') Galatia, and that 'Phrygia' (here, but not there, a noun) is appended loosely in the awareness that Phrygia extended into the province of Asia, beyond Galatia in any sense, and on Paul's present route towards Ephesus. Possibly Luke knew of Paul's preaching on this journey in Asian Phrygia, in e.g. Apamea Cibotus or Eumenea, major cities on or near the route implied by a likely geographical interpretation of 19:1 below" (p. 120).
48. Acts 19:1: The description of the journey plausibly refers to the traverse of the hill-road reaching Ephesus by the Cayster valley north of Mt. Messogis, and not by the Lycus and Maeander valleys, with which Paul may have been acquainted (Col. 2:1).
49. Acts 19:9: The name Tyrannus is attested in first-century inscriptions from Ephesus.
50. Acts 19:13-14: Jewish exorcists are attested in Asia Minor. The title "high priest" may have been used by Sceva in order to impress his clientele.
51. Acts 19:24: Shrines to the goddess Artemis are well known.
52. Acts 19:27: The formulation "the great goddess Artemis" is known from inscriptions.
53. Acts 19:29: The theater was the meeting place of Ephesus.
54. Acts 19:31: The Asiarchs are naturally situated in Ephesus.
55. Acts 19:32-34: "The deflection of the move against Paul into an anti-Semitic channel accords with surviving evidence for such tensions in Ephesus, where Jews seem to have held citizenship and other special privileges guaranteed first by the Seleucids and maintained under the Romans. Cf. the humorous comment in v. 32" (p. 122).
56. Acts 19:35: The title grammateus is the correct title for the chief executive magistrate of Ephesus and is attested in inscriptions.
57. Acts 19:35: The diopetēs was the archaic sacred image of Artemis, whether it was literally a meteorite or an ancient sculpture.
58. Acts 19:37: Thea was the formal designation of Artemis.
59. Acts 19:38: The term agoraios "reflects the Roman practice in Asia of holding courts under the proconsul in nine or more principal cities which served as district capitals. Ephesus was capital of one of the conventus, or assize-districts" (p. 123).
60. Acts 19:38: "If not merely a generalizing plural, anthypatos may refer to the remarkable fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul temporarily after murdering their predecessor subsequent to Nero's accession in AD 54 (Tac. Ann. 13.1; Dio 61.6.4-5), a date which precisely suits the ostensible chronology of this passage. This view is severely criticized by Ramsay, however" (p. 123).
61. Acts 19:39: The phrase "legal assembly" is the precise phrase attested elsewhere and the concept is mentioned repeatedly in the Salutaris inscription of Ephesus itself.
62. Acts 19:40: Reflects the preoccupation with civic privileges and the fear that sedition or irregularity could provoke Roman intervention.
63. Acts 20:4: The form of the ethnic designation Beroiaios (Berea) is the precise form attested on local inscriptions.
64. Acts 20:4: The ethnic designation Asianos (Asia) is characteristic of the period.
65. Acts 20:13: "Paul's staying behind at Troas and travelling overland to rejoin the ship's company at Assos is appropriate to local circumstances, where the ship had to negotiate an exposed coast and double Cape Lectum before reaching Assos" (p. 125).
66. Acts 20:14-15: The sequence of places on the trip are correct and natural.
67. Acts 20:16: "The choice to by-pass Ephesus had presumably been made already in the choice of ship at Troas, where a faster coaster may have deliberately avoided entering the gulf of Ephesus, especially if the silting there was already causing delays. Paul too may have been acutely conscious that a visit to the church from a ship calling there would be likely to imperil his commitment to Jerusalem through personal entanglements there and the probable need for further trans-shipment" (p. 125).
68. Acts 20:17: Miletus was about 30 miles from Ephesus by land and by sea. The summons is understandable if the ship was to stay at Miletus for a few days.
69. Acts 21:1: The name of the city Patara is correctly given in the neuter plural, as it is in the local epigraphy and elsewhere in literature (Hdt. 1.182; Paus. 9.41.1; Diodorus 19.64.5; Lucian, Philopseud. 38; Appian, Mithridatica, 4.27; Arrian, Anab. 1.24.4).
70. Acts 21:3: The route was probably favored by the persistent northwest winds.