I've read before that after the destruction of the Temple, the sects of the Sadducees and Zealots evaporated because they were no longer relevant or viable. This left the Pharisees and the followers of Jesus in a bare knuckle brawl over who had a legitimate claim to post-Temple Judaism. The Pharisees, who became the Rabbis who invented Judaism in the form we know it today, ended up winning the hearts and minds of most Jewish folk, and the Way became "Christianity," a Gentile religion.
I believe Acts was written in the context of this brawl to make the case for the Way, especially to diaspora Jews who had enjoyed good relationships with their communities and would have been embarrassed and endangered by the revolt in Judea. It seems to me that the statement you quote is a key part of the argument that the destruction of the Temple does not threaten the future of the Jesus movement; in fact it has revealed the validity of a main premise of the movement.
Rev. Chuck Jones
--- On Sun, 7/4/10, Dennis Goffin <dgoffin@...> wrote:
Reading Paul's speech to the Athenians, I was struck by his repetition of the identical statement made by Stephen that God " does not live in houses (shrines) made by human hands ". I can't help feeling that this was at the heart of the outrage caused to traditional Jews by the Jesus sect. It ties in too, with the strange accusation made against Jesus that he "will build another (temple), not made with hands" (Mk. 14:58). The whole idea echoes Enoch 90: 28/9, as well as Rev.21:2 and Ezekiel 40/48. The DSS also have a lot on the subject dating from the turn of the era. The prophets had downplayed the relative importance of the Temple cult in comparison with right living and Jesus, echoing their message suffered the same fate as theirs. The beneficiaries of the status quo in Jerusalem did not welcome this boat-rocking message and decided to shoot the messenger.
Or so it seems to me.
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