Alleged Anachronism In Acts 5:36 In Relation To The Sedition Of Theudas -- By: H. B. Hackett

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 005:19 (Aug 1848)
Article: Alleged Anachronism In Acts 5:36 In Relation To The Sedition Of Theudas
Author: H. B. Hackett


Alleged Anachronism In Acts 5:36 In Relation
To The Sedition Of Theudas

H. B. Hackett

[Introductory Note. The original Article is contained in the “Theologische Studien und Kritiken,” edited by Ullmann and Umbreit; Jahrgang, 1837, drittes Heft, p. 622 sq. The title there is—Theudas, der Aufruehrer, Apstlg. 5:36. Von Dr. Friedrich Sonntag, Grossherzoglich Badischem Kirchen-und Ministerialrathe. In the translation the object has been to convey faithfully the sense of the original, but without being bound by the form of the German sentences.—Tr.]

§1. The anachronism charged on Luke, which forms tire subject of the present investigation, occurs in the speech of Gamaliel delivered before the Jewish Sanhedrim, as recorded in Acts 5:35-39. The apostles, among whom Peter appears as specially prominent, stood

arraigned before this body on account of the courageous testimony which they had borne to the resurrection of Christ, and their death was now demanded by many of the members as the penalty of their offence. Under these circumstances Gamaliel, so revered for his personal character and learning, arose and admonished his associates not to proceed with such rigor, but to release the accused without punishment. Belonging to the party of the Pharisees, and entertaining fully their belief of a divine fatality, everywhere and always active in the concerns of men, he remarked to the assembly that if the undertaking of the apostles was a human affair, it would not stand; but, on the other hand, if founded in the purposes of God, that it could not be overthrown. To enforce this advice, he reminded them of two insurrectionists who had formerly risen up among the people before the apostles appeared, as promulgators of the gospel, but who had perished and their schemes with them. “Before these days” says the speaker, “arose Theudas, saying that himself was some one of importance, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves; who was slain, and all those who obeyed him were dispersed, and came to nothing. After this one arose Judas the Galilean, in the days of the taxing, and drew away many people after him; and he also, and all who obeyed him, were scattered”

From these words of Gamaliel we perceive, in the first place, that the Theudas named by him, who appeared at the head of about four hundred men, was an insurrectionist. Since men only are expressly mentioned who attached themselves to him, we have reason to infer that Theudas was not a person who merely sought to lead the peopl...

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