Monday, November 21, 2016

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AS EVIDENCE FOR THE HISTORICITY OF THE BOOK OF ACTS

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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

STEVE JOBS WAS GRATEFUL FOR NOT BEING ABORTED (AND OTHER PRO LIFE ARTICLES)

Steve Jobs Was Glad He Didn't Become a Victim of Abortion: Steve Jobs was an adopted child who searched for his birth mother when he became an adult. He recounted his meeting with her to his biographer Walter Isaacson:

"Biographer Walter Isaacson unveiled more about Steve Jobs’ life in a new book which recounts interviews with family, friends and other people influential in Jobs’ life. The book reveals some of the fear of abandonment that prompted Jobs to ultimately form a strong bond with his sister, author Mona Simpson, but he eventually refused to be reconciled with his biological father despite feeling a sense of loss for not knowing him.
Still, Jobs put everything into perspective when he said his biological parents could have subjected him to an abortion, and explained to Isaacson why he wanted to find his biological mother. When he finally met birth mother Joanne Schieble, she burst into tears as she apologized for placing him for adoption.
“I wanted to meet [her] mostly to see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion,” he said. “She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me.”
HT: LifeNews.com and @StevenErtelt 
These next two links are from the same source:
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Niece Blasts Abortion: "If Black Lives Matter, They Should Matter In the Womb." : Dr. Alveda King reveals that Planned Parenthood targets minorities by locating most of their clinics in minority neighborhoods.
" “Obviously, microcephaly is a terrible prenatal condition that kids are born with. And when they are, it’s a lifetime of difficulties. So I get it. I’m not pretending to you that that’s an easy question you asked me. But I’m prolife. And I’m strongly prolife. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

WHAT TRUMP LEFT UNSAID

Trump may have thanked Evangelicals for their support during his acceptance speech last night , and he may have supported pastors being able to express political opinions from the pulpit, and he may have promised to put Constitutionalists on the court. But he said nothing about protecting the life of the unborn. I know his speech was 75 minutes long. But he could have said, "I believe that life begins at conception and that all life must be protected by law and by Federal policy." That would have made his speech 75 minutes and 3 seconds. Trumps pro life position is of recent vintage. The party has had a pro life position going back many years. For many Christian conservative Republicans, the pro life position is of paramount importance. In light of this, would the extra three seconds been too much to ask?  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Just A Reminder

I am still working on the project that I have been working on since September. It has taken up all my free time. I still am trying to post articles just so readers won't think this site has gone inactive. I tried to write a post on evangelical political activity, but I am suffering from writers block. I post this instead.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

THE APPENDIX HAS A USE AFTER ALL

Evolutionists maintain that humans are no more special than other species. They claim that the evidence demonstrates that humanity is not the product of an intelligent creator. One such piece of evidence they cite is the existence of vestigial organs in humans. Vestigial organs are those organs that have no function, or are redundant. If we are the creation of an intelligent God, evolutionists argue, then these organs would not be present. After all, they reason, no intelligent God would create living creatures with organs which appear to be useless to the overall functioning of the body. So, evolutionists deny the role of a creator in the creation of the human species, or deny the existence of a creator altogether, all the while speculating on how a non-existent God would create living beings. The evolutionary vanguard denies the existence of God while deciding in their own minds what God would be like and how He would create.

One organ labeled as vestigial is the appendix. All my life, I have heard that it serves no useful purpose. Even if there is no immediate danger to a patient, doctors will often remove an appendix. However, it appears that the appendix has a use after all. Here is a section of an article from Mental Floss:

 “Our study was to investigate the innate lymphoid cells in the gut [of mice] and how they might contribute to the function and protection of the gut,” Gabrielle Belz, of Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, tells mental_floss. “At the same time, we were interested to know how different immune cells impacted the different parts of the gut.

"ILCs can be found “underlying all the body’s surfaces, including the skin, the lungs, the gut, and the reproductive tract, and play a very important and broad role in protecting the body from infections and responses to environmental insults,” says Belz... 


“Thus, surprisingly, altering the balance of immune cells significantly affected what was happening in the cecum, suggesting that a similar effect might occur in humans in the appendix,” Belz says. “This highlights that simply disposing of this organ may not always be in our best interests.” 
While the appendix is not required for digestive functions in humans, Belz tells mental_floss, “It does house symbiotic bacteria proposed by Randal Bollinger and Bill Parker at Duke University to be important for overall gut health, but particularly when we get a gut infection resulting in diarrhea.”
Infections of this kind clear the gut not only of fluids and nutrients but also good bacteria. Their research suggests that those ILCs housed in the appendix may be there as a reserve to repopulate the gut with good bacteria after a gut infection.
ILCs are hardier than other immune cells, and thus vital to fighting bacterial infections in people with compromised immune systems, such as those in cancer treatment; they are some of the few immune cells that can survive chemotherapy." (HT: Uncommon Descent)

So it appears that another piece of evidence supporting Darwinian evolution may destined for the ash heap of history. In the future, we may find evidence that other vestigial organs really have a purpose as well.   

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I'm Not Dead...Yet.

Greetings. Its Mr. Guthrie. Its been a long, long time. In fact, I haven't published here since August. Have I lost interest or inspiration? No. Its just that I have been working on a blogging project since September. Its an 18 part series in which I have so far typed over 100 pages of notes. I have tried to post articles during this time, but this project seems to take up all of my free time. I first conceived of this project in 2009 or 2010. Every time I began my efforts, other matters necessitated that it be placed back on the shelf. Then last September, I determined to get this done. I'm hoping to finish this Spring. I will continue to post here from time to time while this project is underway. That way, no one will think this site is inactive and try to hack it. Then, I'll take this blog out of cyber limbo.




 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

SCOTT WALKER AND ABORTION

I saw the main Republican debate last night (I missed it Thursday because I don't get the cable channel that carries Fox News). Donald Trump looked bad, Marco Rubio made the best appearance. Rand Paul came off as humorless and almost angry. You can find  millions of online comments mirroring these impressions. Yet there was one question and response which has gotten very little comment from reporters as well as conservatives. I am referring to Megyn Kelly's question to Scott Walker concerning his stance on abortion. Kelly mentioned that Gov. Walker had recently signed a law in Wisconsin protecting the unborn while containing an exception for the life of the mother. Walker has voiced opposition to such an exception in the past. Kelly asked Walker if he would really want to see a mother die to protect the life of her unborn baby. Walker not only did not back away from his previous position, he positively stated that there are alternatives to aborting the baby that would keep both baby and mother alive. Kelly later commented that if Walker is the nominee, his answer will haunt him all the way to election night. The press and the Democrats will certainly try to use his answer to paint him as anti-woman. Walker probably knew this when he answered the question. Yet with this answer, Walker has earned the support of social/Christian conservatives. While most of the candidates put in a good performance Thursday evening, Walker's answer was the true moment of courage. All other Republican candidates made bold pronouncements as to what they would do in office. You couldn't call them courageous for doing so as they were auditioning themselves to a largely conservative audience. Pro lifers should test the courage of the other candidates by demanding an answer as to whether they stand with Walker and his answer to Megyn Kelly.