« PoprzedniaDalej »
of Macedonia; it was clearly written after Paul had passed through
these the names of Roman governors? But though he would not have Theophilus thought a Roman governor, we perceive, he even contends from this title which Luke has given bim, that he was a man of such rank as was not to be met with in all Macedonia, the inhabitants of which country, he makes Paul represent as so extremely poor, that a man of Theophilus's rank could not live among them. Whether they were even incapable of supporting an Epi. tropus or a Ducenarius, he has not thought it worth his while to inform us. And after all, “this great critic," as he is accounted by the author of the key to the New Testament, and perhaps by some others, we find admits that this dignified friend of our Evangelist may have been some nobleman in Upper Egypt; but, if so, why not a Roman governor? By what other means did this Greek obtain his nobility in a foreign country?
Otofons.“ The Greek name Theophilus, (says Michaelis) agrees likewise with the opinion that he wrote in a Grecian city. The only objections that can be made to this are: first, that St. Paul, in his ad epistle to the Cor. ch. viii. 2, 3, represents the Macedonian Christians as being extremely poor; whereas Theophilus, as appears from the title which St. Luke has given him, was a inan of rank: and, secondly, that St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Philippians, has greeted no person of the name of Theophilus; nor in his ad Epistle to the Cor. which he wrote in Macedonia*, has he mentioned Theophilus as greeting the Corinthians. But neither of these objections are of any weight. For we are not certain that Theophilus was a Christian; and if he were, there is no necessity for supposing, either that he lived in the city of Philippi, or that he was acquainted with the members of the Christian community at Corinth.” Vol. iii. p. 203.
Theodore Hase contends that Theophilus bad been a Jewish high-priest. According to Josephus, Annas, in whose pontificate Christ suffered, had, beside his son-in law Caiaphas, four sons and a grandson pontiffs before the commencement of the Jewish war.
His sons were, Jonathan, deposed by Vitellius; Theophilus, appoinred by Vitellius in his brother's room, and deposed by Agrippa, king of Judæa ; Matthias, appointed by the same Agrippa,
* The second Epistle to the Corinthians, was not written in any part
in the room of Simon Cantheras; and, after several changes, Ananus. His grandson was Matthias by Theophilus. Michaelis thinks that the arguments advanced in favour of this opinion are so strong, as to render it more probable than any other*, and remarks, that this Theophilus is the only person of that name, whose history is recorded in the annals of the first century, vol. iii. But if Theophilus was the son of Annas, and brother-in-law to Caiaphas, and himself high-priest, how is it that he stood in need of being instructed by a foreigner, (for so the professor thought Luke was) in the history of our Lord's ministry? Surely he must have had at least as good an opportunity during his residence at Jerusalem, as Luke, of bringing hiniselfacquainted with the particulars of Christ's ministry; if not much better, especially after his admission into the fellowship of believers. Besides, how is it that St. Luke has described so circumstantially a variety of particulars, with some of which it can hardly be supposed that any high-priest could have been unacquainted; and with many of which, it is not a little remarkable, that Theophilus should have been so: for instance, -Though he may not have been aware of the general taxation that took place about thirty years before his brother-in-law became his father's colleague in the high priesthood, yet it
may seem not a little strange, that he should not have been acquainted, at least as well as any foreiguer whatever, with the names of those governors who presided over Judæa and its neighbouring districts, at the very time when they were co-assessors in the pontifical chair; and it must appear much more strange, that he should have stood in the least need of being told by any one, that John and Alerander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high-priest were present, in the council when Peter and John were examined as to the good deed done to the impotent man: and though he might not have heard of the priest Zecharias, or of the descent and name of his wife, &c.; or, that there had been such a prophetess as Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; or,
“ All these circumstances put together, render the opinion highly probable, that St. Luke's Theophilus is no other than Theophilus, the son of Annas, woo is mentioned by Josephus. And if the opinion be true, as I really believe, it adds greatly to the credibility of St. Luke's gospel for, &c." Mich. vol. iii.p. 940.
that Barnabas was a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus; yet'it seems very strange, that he did not know, at least as well as Luke, the rank, character, and religious persuasion of Gamaliel, and that the name Barnabas, meant the son of consolation. Of what use was it to tell a Jew, that Arimathea was a city of Judæa? that Nazareth and Capernaum were towns of Galilee, and that the country of the Gadarenes was over against Galilee? or an inha bitant of Jerusalem, that every body in that city knew how Judas had purchased a field with the reward of his iniquity; that he soon after destroyed himself in that very piece of ground; and that it obtained the name Aceldama, for that reason. And above all, to give a Greek explanation of that word to an inhabitant of that city, as though his own language was less intelligible to such an one, than Greek? Or, to inform a Jewish high-priest, that the mount called Olivet, was a sabbath-day's journey; and that the village called Emmaus was about three score furlongs from Jerusalem; that the feast of unleavened bread was called the Passover, and that the paschal lamb was to be killed on that day; and that there was a certain custom, by which,“ of necessity,” the Roman governor must release a certain prisoner to the Jews at that feast, " whomsoever they would?”
It hasbeen thought, that Theophilus was of Antioch, and, adds Michaelis, a bishop of that city. This too, notwithstanding he has informed us, that the Greek name Theophilus agrees likewise with the opinion, that Luke wrote in a Grecian city, he pronounces to be a mistake, and says, that it probably arose from a confusion of St. Luke's Theophilus, with the Theophilus who was Bishop of Antioch in the second century. As the professor has not told us who made this mistake, why should we not suspect it to be a mistake of his own making, and for the purpose of giving himself an opportunity of telling us, that there was a bishop of that name at Antioch in the second century? By the manner in which he has done this, it is however observable, he has left us to conclude, that Theophilus, though not a bishop, could not have been of Antioch. But was there indeed no person of this name at Antiochin St. Luke's time? As this Evangelist is supposed by some to have been of Antioch, in which city the Greek language was, to say the least, most fashionable, and the Greek name Theophilus, as the professor obVol. XI. Charchm. Mag. Sept.
serves, agrees likewise with the opinion that Luke wrote ina Grecian city; why should it not be thought still credible, thai Theophilus lived at or near Antioch? Or rather why should it not be thought inore likely, that he lived in or neur Antioch, than in Macedonia. or Bythynia, or Upper Egypt, or even in Judæa?
Karnay0ns." That Theophilus was not a Christian (says Michaelis) but either a Jew or an Heathen, when St. Luke addressed his gospel to him, I think not improbable, because St. Luke in his preface, uses the word xatnyybris, from which it appears, that Theophilus had then a very imperfect knowledge of the history of Christ; and the expression used by Luke“ among us; that is, among us Christians ; seems to imply, that Theophilus was at that time nol of the number,” p. 237. And again at 253, he says, “We are not certain that Theophilus was a Christian.” But how does it appear from St. Luke's having used the word xarnyntins, that Theophilus had a very imperfect knowledge of Christianity? If this word implies nothing more than viva voce instruction, will it follow that he had not been previously brought acquainted with most, if not all the particulars of our Lord's ministry? Apollos, it seems, obtained his knowledge of the way of the Lord by the same means, and yet it is said that he, living in the spirit, spake and taught the things of the Lord amfieas. And though it seems, he was not, at first, so well acquainted with every particular as he should be, yet Aquila and Priscilla, by pursuing the same mode of instruction, made hiin perfectly acquainted with the way of God. But does this word never 'imply any thing more than instruction instilled into the ear? What then can be the meaning of St. Paul, 2 Rom. 18, where we find he gives a Jew credit, for having obtained by the catechetical way of learning, so complete a knowledge of the law of Moses, as to think himself much superior in that respect to all around himn? Does he not appear to intimate that this supposed learned lawyer had obtained his imagined superiority in this respect by a close attention to the written law of Moses? Why then should we think that this word means nothing more than oral report in this case ? That Theophilus knew that many written accounts of our Lord's ministry were in circulation, we may pretty safely conclude, from the words with which St. Luke begins his preface : that it cannot with any certainty be inferred from the expression “among us," used by Luke,
that Theophilus was not of the number, is very evident; that he had read some of those early accounts, Michelis himself has adınitted in the page where he endeavours to account for Luke's motive in writing: be there says, “ We must conclude, therefore, that his intention was to correct the inaccuracies of the accounts which were then in circulation, and to di liver to Theophilus a true and genuine document, in order to silence several idle stories, which might have prejudiced Theophilus against the Christian religion.” That he took it for granted that Theophilus was not so far prejudiced against the Christian religion, as to refuse to read what he was about to write, is very clear; that Luke wrote to assure his honourable friend of the infallibility Tehyw in which he had been catechised, cannot be denied, and that the word Anyos is used by Luke himself, to denote a written treatise, we learn from 1 Acts i.
Of the motive which induced St. Luke to write a Gospel.
Professor Michaelis, speaking of those many Gospels which are adverted to by St. Luke, says, “ At the time when St. Luke undertook to write a history of the transactions of Christ, various but uncertain Gospels were already in circulation. These Gospels, probably owing to the circumstance, that the accounts which they contained were uncertain, have either totally perished, or are preserved only in a few scattered, and even interpolated fragments. It is certain that they were never received by the Christian Church as credible and authentic documents; that they were never deemed worthy to be read in the public service, nor admitted into the catalogue of the New Testament. Whether internal or external evidence contributed chiefly to their rejection ; whether their accounts, which have the appearance of fable rather than history, and not seldom contradict each other, rendered them suspected; or whether an opposition on the part of the Apostles and other eye-witnesses prevented them from being generally received, is at present difficult to be determined, because we have no christian. historian of the first century.” Vol. iii. part i. p. 2, 3. And again, at p. 145, he says, “In this preface St. Luke, at least as I understand himn, casts an indirect censure on the Gospels which had been written before his own." By these extracts it appears, that the professor could not bring any specific charge against those early Gospels; and by the Bb 2