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24196Re: [XTalk] Paul and James

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  • Richard Fellows
    Apr 25, 2014
      Ron wrote:
      > By my reckoning this makes
      > his writings at least 30 years after Acts, which I take to have been written
      > ca. 100 CE. I can see no reason to trust the testimony of Hegesippus if it
      > contradicts what we can deduce from Galatians, Mark and Acts.

      Hegessipus's journey was in about 160 CE, as I mentioned on my blog.

      Acts is clear that James supported the inclusion of Gentiles without circumcision. Some argue that Luke's silence about the collection is evidence of its failure and that it failed because James and others refused to accept it. However, the pillars, including James, ASKED for a collection from Paul (Gal 2:11). It would be surprising for them to reject a collection that they had requested. The collection demonstrated to Judean Christians that Gentile Christians had a genuine commitment to the faith, even though they were not circumcised (see 2 Cor 9:12-14). The collection therefore served to unite the church behind the Gentile mission. We can assume that James, Peter, and John supported (or at least tolerated) this objective, since they asked for the collection. The supposed rejection of the collection does not, in any case, fully explain Luke's silence about it. Luke mentions plenty of conflict within the church, so it does not follow that he would want to be silent about the rejection of the collection. And why could he not mention the collection, but remain silent about its rejection? A better explanation is that the Romans would have viewed such collections with suspicion, so Luke kept a cautious silence.

      It is also sometimes suggested that the Jerusalem church did not come to Paul's aid when he was in custody, and that this shows that they opposed his views on Gentile liberty. I suggest the opposite. If they did not speak in Paul's favour it was because they were known to have endorsed Gentile liberty (Acts 15). Paul had been accused of bringing an uncircumcised man into the temple. To defend himself he must present himself as a pious Jew (21:40ff) who associated with pious Jews such as Ananias (in 9:10 Ananias is disciple, but in 22:12 Paul stresses that he is a devout man according to the law). If the Jerusalem church had defended Paul, his accusers would have said, "look, he is a friend of those people who want to include Gentiles: he must have brought Trophimus into the temple!". The Jerusalem church leaders, I suggest, could help Paul best by keeping a low profile.

      So, I don't think Acts can be used to argue for a split between Paul and James. I'll leave it to others to discuss Mark, if they want to.

      Richard Fellows.
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