Full Text for The Contacts of the Book of Acts with Roman Political Institutions, part 1 (Text)

. . .' ., "Continuing.. ... . Leh~e'und;Wehre (Vol. LXXVI:) . Magaiirl fuer Ev.~Luth~aomiletik (V;ot tIV): .' Theol.Quartedy(l897 ~1920) ~J'heo1. Monthly (Vol. X)' . .. . CONTENTS .. . ' ... ' ..•.... .•. ...... •. .......• . ,'. .·.·.!'F~ge·' Pl;EPER, F.: :"Dasi:ruclitbare Lesen del' 'Schriften Luther:;;'!Sl' G:RAEBNER, TH. ,:TheIndwellingof the .Trinity in the. .' Beartof the Believer .. ; ......... : ................... : . ;EN:(XELl?E~,~B,:Marlnirg: DerSieg d~s ScJtriftprinzlvs. 99 . ~ENGi1LDER;T:e:. : Does £he Bible Claim Infallible AuthQt~ ..... ; . . >ityfor All I1;s ~artsl''' ....... ; ...... ~; .... ; ..... : .'. ;'; .. J07 :KEINATH, H. O. A.: The.Contacts 9f the Bobk: of A..eta . "withRom8;n Political Institutions ., .............. '.".'; .. lfI~:i>iNE~,F.:SermollStudy .on Phn: '1,· 27~2,~ .......• DlspQSition~nU:eber .die ~jsenacherEvangelienreihe ..... '. ~h~:i()gical' Obs~~er.-<Kirchlich-ZeitgeSchichtli~hes ; .... . 'VI~~schtes und zeitgeschieht'lf:che Notizen ... .' ........... . . ~~~. :ltevie~"~Literatur .. ;.-.." . iE,fu 'Prediger DlltPa nicht allein w6idMl, #da~8erdies~fe unterwei8e.Wte .. &ie . recbte ·~Ii' &o.lleD· &ein\ . IIOllden /aUch :dariebeb den WoelfenwelWm,da&8' . ilie .!ite. Schare. nieht~ffen .. wid .:mit .faI8eher'~·verfu$$ und I~., ~~ •. 4.tuI~er. E~'istk~J>tiig;~'die,Leote meW .... . bei •• ~er .·Kir.che .• ~¥el,t.~fi .. d~., gpt~ . pre1l~~i:-;tPotOqw,:~~f.~if.. '. If th~ tnuIlpet give, an bnceitain ~salmd, who ~~I prepa~h~to!:h'eliilttle1' " 1 Oo .. ;.'.u'~'··'" The Contacts of Aete with Roman Political IDatitutioua. 117 of which the authors of the Bible partake and of which they tell us in. such imperfect human words as they could COlD.lJl&Ild." We have two remarks to offer on this. First; According to this inter­pretation the sentence above: ''Paul sometimes claims to speak the Word of the Lord, but at other times 'gives his opinion' quite tentatively really means: Paul sometimes claims to speak imperfect human words, but at other times speaks imperfect human words. Secondly: Professor Dodd's twelfth assertion absolutely ends the argument. He promised. at the outset to let the Bible speak for itself, but now refuses to accept the plain statements of the Bible. He should have declared at the outset that, when the Bible claims infallible authority, it sets up a preposterous claim. .... TR. ENGELD:tm. The Contacts of the Book of Acts with Roman Political Institutions. When the Christian Church began to spread, its field of expan­sion was practically prepared in the territorial extent of the Roman Empire. Beginning at Jerasalem, the Church rapidly extended its borders beyond this city; it embraced all Palestine and the neigh­boring lands of Syria, Asia Minor. and Egypt and soon had erossed into Macedonia and Achaia Jerusalem did not remain the ge0-graphical center of the Christian Chureh very long; this city very soon found itself on the eastern extremity of church terri:toxy, juIlt as it was situated near the eastern extremity of the Roman Empite. A map of church territory of the second. century A. D. super:im.poI¥KI on a map of the Boman Empire would show that these two were rapidly becoming coextensive. The Acts of the Apostles is a book of early Christian church history. It shows the Ohurch in its ~ at Je!1188lem, traces its westward march into the central portion of the Roman Empire, and closes with the account of the Apostle Paul's going north on the Via Appia into the great city which ruled the world. The Church had started in a clannish provincial city and was now being planted in the center of world activity. In this progress through a large part of the empire the mission­aries of the Ohurch would be expected to come into contact with various manifestations and institutions of this world-power. We would expect a great traveler like Paul to meet imperial officials, appear before Roman courts, and to use the rights of his Roman citizenship when the need arose. This is precisely what the Book 118 The CotItaeta of Ada with BomaD PolWcaJ 1MtJtuUoal.. of Acts preseIlts. A careful reading ~11 a large number of contacts with, and allaaioDS to, exi8ting politiW inatitutioDll, which do not only throw some light upon the 'ficiaUtudes of the Church and its m.iss.ionaries, but are also important in giving detailed in­formation about some political arra.ngeDlenta of the Roman Empire. We shall consider the outataDding oont.actll approximatctl, in the order in which they occur in the Acta. In the fifth chapter of this book we meet wilh .. political insti­tution whose relation to the Roman Empire it noteworthy. The apostles Peter and John are preaching in Jeruu.ielD. but an thereby arousing the opposition of the Jewiab l8de.... ThNe IDen pl"OC.'eed to take action against the apostles. whom tJwy wnaider ntligioua innovators, and to bring them before the tribunal c:alMd the San­hedrin. This is the same tribunal which bad conducted the famoua trial of Jesus. The question naturall, I.1'i.teI, How could IUch a non-Roman court Wst p What were ita righta and ita relation to Roman authority? The Sanhedrin 11'88, of COW1Ie, DOt a Boman, but a Jewish court.. It consisted of seventy Jeadm of the JewiM peop~ and ita chairman was the high priest. At the time wben Peter aod John stood before this court, the Jewa bad 1o&t their independe1tC» and were subjects of Rome. For when Pompey bad conquered the But in 63 B. C., Judea had become .. part of the Roman .;mpin; and although this territory bad subaequent1)' enjoyed the pri'l'ilege of being a kingdom under Herod the Ol'Nt (u rt'~ ~) and hie eon AlChelaus, yet August08 had found feUOna tor depolliog the latter in 6 A. D., and Judea had bet.'OID8 a Roman prov;1Kl8 of the second rank. From this time onward the port of Catlllllll.t'8ll wu the seat of Roman administration in Judea; the", a pl'l'JCUntor guarded imperial interests, having at bis colDIJWJd a number of soldiers. In addition thereto a garrison wu kept at Jerua.1em)1 But in administering Judea. the ROmaDJI had carried out the usual policy of allowing existing institutions to continue in c0n­quered territory to the extent that they did not conflict with Roman interests. Thus the Sanhedrin was allowed to functioQ (lyen under Roman rule. This court was IItrictly Jewish both in mtUDbclrabip and in the law on which it based its actions; it did not purpose to judge according to Roman law. Its authority W&ll I"e(:ogni&ed by all faithful Jews, ",bether they were in Jeruulem or ,-,.wbere. but its jurisdiction did not extend to Oentilee. The wurt bad both The Contaeta of Acta with Roman Political Institutions. 119 civil and criminal jurisdiction in its Jewish sphere. It could order arrests; it had independent authority in police affairs; it could meet without special authorization from the procurator; it could punish; it could receive and settle appeals from lower Jewish courts which existed in various Jewish communities. In capital cases, however, this court did not have final jurisdiction. Though cases involving the death penalty might properly come before it, and though it might condemn to death, yet the execution of a criminal could not take place unless the procurator had sanctioned the step.2) For instance, we find the Sanhedrin condemning Christ to death, but the sentence was not carried out until the unwilling procurator Pilate had finally consented, when he delivered Him. to be crucified. Thus a native court existing under Roman rule is one of the first political contacts made by the workers of the Church. The next contact with Roman political institutions is in the field of military practises. In the tenth chapter of Acts we :find one of those significant events which took the Church out of its purely Jewish sphere and caused it to embrace also those of non­Jewish races. In Oaesa.rea there was a man of the Roman army, Cornelius; evidently he was a convert to the Jewish faith, for he is described as a fPOfJoVJUI'O~ ~o,. f}w".ff) Moved by a vision, this man sends for the Apostle Peter in near-by Joppa and becomes 8 convert to Christianity. This Cornelius is identified as d~ ~"" tv KauJ~ . . . hearon&t!m' he ~~ -rij~ ~~ ·I~altxij,. 4) It is just at Caesarea that we should expect to :find such a military official and a detachment of soldiers. For the R0-mans had made Caesarea the administrative center of the Judean province. There the procurator ordinarily resided, and the gar­rison would consequently be stationed in this city. TAearon&t!XJ1' was the Greek equivalent for the Latin centurio and signified an officer placed over about one hundred men. 5) This man Cornelius belonged to a ~, cohors, evidently the troop stationed at Caesarea. A cohors consisted of about 600 men; in this case the men were very likely auxiliaries, since thd!e auxiliary cohorts were often stationed in the procnratorial provinces as the sole garrison. The full name of this cohors was Oohors II Italica civi-um Bomar 2) Schuerer, JewiBh People m the Tim&! of J681S8 alvrist. 2d. Div., I, 185-189. 3) Acts 10,2. 4) Acts 10,1. 5) Marquardt-Mommsen. HtmdbuM d. roem. Altertuemer, V, 455. 120 ".Mae CGDtaeU 01 Act. wit!! Roman Political lD8tltutiOllS. IIOrIIM V ol~m muW:aria.1) The colum is described &8 .u...,pm, "hcUanf. Thi8 erpreeaion again reflects a military pneti.ee of the Roman Empire.l) In times before the empire only Boman citiaDa served in the legiona. Later the legions were re­eraited in the pro'riDcee, and ooly t.boIIe soldiers were recruited in Italy who served in Rome. When military service began to be Joobd upon II an occupation, volunteers began to join the cohorts, . IiDc:e sucll eemee W&8 euier than that in the regular legions..8) .~, tihtn, t.u. U8 that the cohort mtioned at Caesarea bad been reenzited from Italy and not from the province where it ,,&8 .. tioned. Here we may brieO,. indicate the othar military arrangements wlUeb are met in the Book of Acta. When the ApoetJe Panl ,,&8 I8Dt to Beme II prisoDer, be was committed to the care of a cen­turion named Julina,~, L~,. The latiDS called this cobort OoluM 1 A.,..,la. The practiae of giving a particular name to a cohort was quite common, and this one bad elidentIy been DIm8d after the first emperor, hence z.~.f) Other military t.erma loud in Acta IN: zaJ.laf%~. tribune of a Roman cohort; ft~ bea'rily armed fooWoldiera; ~; ja'f8lin men, or aliDpra. Passing on to Acta 12, we meet another political iDBtitution re8ecting the policy of the Roman Empire. In this chapter, men­tioD is made of a KiDg Herod who appears 88 a persecutor of the Cbureh. This Herod W88 the grandson of Herod the Great and ia &lao knOW'll as Herod Agrippa I. The history of this man preriOlJl to his appointment II king bad been cloeely interwoven with the f0rtnDe6 of some Roman emperors. In 86 A. D. he bad fied from hie creditors in Alexandria and bad taken up his abode in Rome, where Tiberius put him in prison. Hia star began to riae, how­e'fer, wben the profligate Caligula became emperor. Herod wu DOW not only set free, but W&8 even allowed to go back to Palestine II king. Caligula gave Herod the tetra:reby of Philip (Batanea., Trachoniti&, and Auranitis) and the tetrarcby of Lysanias; the Senate voted pretorian Iionors on Herod. A little later Herod's dominions were enlarged still more; for when Claudius became emperor. 41 A. D., be not only confirmed the acts of Caligula COD­eeJ'tiliJg Herod, but even added Samaria and Judea to the domiDioDS .} Pauly, W'-owll, Kroll, IUoJ~lIk'OfJfU'd~. s. cr. ooAon. 7) IWII. 8) lIIarquardt-lIotum.ND, I. c., 467.408. ') Pauly. Wu.owa.ltroU, IlHlneqlcl