Review of Paul (2006)
Review: Günther Bornkamm. 1971. Paul. New York: Harper and Row. 259 pp.
He struggles in a kind of lunatic sport; he spends himself, like an athlete; he “phrases” like an orator; he is caught, stuffed into a role, like a statue. The figure is the lover at work.
— Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse (trans. Richard Howard, 1979)
The laconic title of Bornkamm’s book belies the magnitude of the task involved in unraveling an ingenious and enigmatic character like Paul. Bornkamm states that it would be naïve to think that the book gives a simple and complete résumé of Paul and his theology. Nevertheless, he attempts exactly that in the 259 pages that comprise the book.
It is very well written in an artistic language with a critical tone maintained throughout. The presentation is split into two parts, with the first part outlining Paul’s life and work, and the second part explaining his theology and gospel.
Bornkamm draws ideas from the works of Rudolf Bultmann, Ernst Kasemann, Johannes Weiss, Eduard Schweizer, Ferdinand Hahn, Martin Dibelius, and Werner Kramer and largely relies on his own interpretation of Pauline epistles and Acts and the interplay between them. The book has a scant bibliography with no footnotes, and the reader is left to evaluate Bornkamm’s arguments largely on their own merit.
The demands the book makes on the reader are not heavy because it is designed for both the layman and scholar. Those seeking a thorough exposition of Pauline theology with respect to his peculiar phraseology and rich Christology will find bits and pieces to chew, but will ultimately be left wishing for more when Bornkamm concludes that Paul and his theology are too “obscure and perplexing” to explain conclusively.
Like Barthes’ lover at work, the figure of Paul emerges from Bornkamm’s book: an ordinary man caught in a momentous situation, an overzealous Pharisee driven by his own momentum into the backwater of the unreal, estranged from the early Church, into which he emerges like one untimely born (1 Corinthians 15:6-8). Locked in conflict with himself and with fellow men, he finds comfort in a gospel of the cross. His discourse takes the form of letters to his young, fragile, conflicted congregations scattered over the Roman Empire. Nourishing letters—to exhort and guide his nascent flock as shrewd, unscrupulous “apostles” and enthusiasts—crouch and circle round his young converts like vultures.
For good reasons which he explains, Bornkamm is clearly wary of Acts, treating it suspiciously in nearly every reference to it. Because Pauline epistles are silent on several matters about Paul’s life, Bornkamm relies on Acts to supplement the epistles. Repeatedly, he cautions the reader against uncritical harmonization of the letters with Acts. However, without any clear methodology to distinguish the products of the author of Acts’ creative efforts and authentic reporting, against his best intentions, Bornkamm’s approach is ultimately ad hoc, as his presumptions sit in judgment in areas where the texts are silent or in conflict. Bornkamm’s effort is nevertheless edifying and rewarding to any reader. He manages to draw out Paul from his checkered spiritual journey and obscure theology, presenting a man who struggled with his limitations in a dynamic and religiously competitive environment—a man whose greatness and limitations go hand in hand, and whose rough edges, Bornkamm writes, “leave no place for clichés for the traditional picture of the ‘saint'” (p. 239).
Bornkamm regards only seven letters as genuinely Pauline: 1 Thessalonians (A.D. 50), 1 and 2 Corinthians (A.D. 54/55), Galatians (A.D. 54), Philippians (A.D. 54), Philemon (A.D. 54), and Romans. He regards the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) as Deutero-Pauline (i.e., composed under Paul’s name) alongside Colossians, Ephesians, and 2 Thessalonians (he finds the expression “forgeries” too derogatory to describe these latter texts).
Bornkamm provides the reasons for rejecting the Deutero-Pauline letters as authentic. Pastoral epistles, he argues, provide events in Paul’s life that “cannot be verified from the rest of the (undisputed) letters: post-apostolic ordering of the Church; the characteristics of the heresy; vocabulary and theological evidence” (p. 242).
Ephesians is dropped because the name is not attested by textual evidence and it lacks a relationship to any Church. In addition, it is not a letter but more of a theological treatise (and writing theological treatises was not Paul’s style). It also contains theological conflicts with Paul, such as the portrayal of the Church as a cosmic body with Christ as the “head”—an idea that Bornkamm’ argues was influenced by Gnosticism.
Colossians, he argues, possesses differences in conceptions of Christology, the Church, and baptism, in the apostolic office, and in eschatology. With respect to 2 Thessalonians (which is supposed to be dependent on 1 Thessalonians), Bornkamm argues:
The use of a previous letter is unlike Paul and above all, the very different answer to the question at the end of the world and Christ’s parousia, involving detailed apocalyptic teaching is odd (enumeration of the events that must precede the eschaton and delay the end; cf. 2:1-12). Further, there is polemic against letters “purporting” to be from Paul (1 Thess. ?), announcing the nearness and imminence of the day of the Lord, and the apostle’s own signature to letters is adduced in support of the “authenticity” of 2 Thessalonians (p. 243).
He enumerates problems with 1 and 2 Corinthian’s authenticity, Philippians, and Romans. Notable are his reasons for regarding Romans 1:13 as pre-Pauline credo. He argues that the passage uses participles, which is characteristic of propositions in primitive Christian confessions, and the synthetic parallelism. Another reason is the “according to the flesh—according to the spirit” Christological scheme, which is also found in non-Pauline sources like 1 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 18:2; Letter of Ignatius to the Trallians 9, Letter of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 1:1. An additional reason is the motif of Jesus as son of David, which is found nowhere else in Paul. Bornkamm also adds in this list the un-Pauline turns of phrase like “designated as,” “Son of God in power,” “spirit of holiness,” and “Since [his] resurrection from the dead.”
In support of this last argument, Bornkamm writes:
In itself the credo reproduces the Christology of the early (Jewish Christian) church: Jesus, legitimated by his Davidic descent, is by his resurrection exalted as “Son of God.” The formula does not speak of the significance of his death for salvation, nor is it oriented on the gospel of justification (p. 248).
Bornkamm considers Romans 1:16 primitive because it is formulated on soteriological terms, which is unlike the purely Christological credo. These terms include expressions like “the power of God or salvation for everyone who has faith,” “God’s righteousness through faith for faith,” and “he who through faith is righteous shall live.” In addition, we find no honorific Christological titles like Son of god, Kyrios (Greek term for “Lord”), and the title Christ is not used.
Acts of the Apostles
Besides the genuine epistles, Bornkamm uses Acts of the Apostles as a source of Paul’s life. He regards the author of Luke and Paul as being the same person. He argues that the differences between the Pauline epistles and Acts arose because Acts was written when the controversies and views of the earlier period testified by Paul’s letters were alien. At the time when Acts was written, Bornkamm explains, an accurate memory of those controversies had faded, some of the traditions had been suppressed, and the church faced new questions, new challenges, new views, and new tasks. The ground on which Luke stood, Bornkamm writes, was prepared by Paul, and the tensions that prepared that ground had dissipated by the time Luke wrote.
Bornkamm smoothens the differences between Acts and Pauline epistles by arguing that the conflicts arise naturally as a result of the “noise” introduced by having two people trying to say the same thing. He writes: “When two people say the same thing, it ceases to be the same thing” (p. xvi). He uses the metaphor of a river and its tributaries to illustrate his point:
What emerges from comparison between Acts and the authentic Pauline epistles is like a river which has not only deposited much during its course, but also been replenished by new sources and tributaries (p. xvi).
In a manner that departs from his vigilant approach, Bornkamm uses the texts he has judged as inauthentic as reliable sources of information. He uses Philemon 1:24, Colossians 4:14, and 2 Timothy 4:11 to conclude that Luke accompanied Paul on journeys and further, and he uses them to declare Luke as an eyewitness to Paul’s life.
This approach is objectionable because it is ad hoc and contrary to source-critical methods. There is much to be said about the impropriety of this pick-and-choose methodology, but first, let us focus our attention on Bornkamm’s groundwork.
There are several speeches in Acts and stereotyped formulas relating to the growth and relationships between churches. These twenty four speeches, which make up a third of Acts, Bornkamm argues, “are not transcripts or excerpts from speeches actually delivered, but are compositions by the author of Acts. He is not interested in characterizing the various speakers as individuals: Paul, Peter and others” (p. xvii).
Luke’s agenda, alongside presenting his idealized view of the Church, entailed portraying Paul as Judaistic and treating Paul as unworthy to bear the title “apostle.” Instead of being treated as an apostle, Paul is presented as the missionary sent to the Gentiles by the twelve. It is apparent that Luke wrote Acts in a background where the battle between Jews and Christians over the validity of the law had been settled and the law had come to be accepted as a common dispensation to all, as opposed to the earlier particularism that it was subjected to. Bornkamm writes:
Luke is emphatic in representing Paul, even after he has become a Christian and a missionary, as still the convinced Pharisee, continuing faithful to the law of his fathers and to belief in the resurrection of the dead, a belief held particularly by Pharisees and now confirmed by Jesus’ resurrection, whereas the Jews, by rejecting Jesus, have betrayed their most holy traditions (e.g., Acts 26:2)…. [T]he real Paul was completely different from this. Philippians in particular shows that he abandoned the former Pharisaic zeal for righteousness based on the works of the law and counted everything as “refuse” or “loss” finding salvation solely in faith in Christ (Phil 3:5) (p. xviii).
The picture of Paul as one exhibiting Judaistic tendencies conflicts directly with what we find in Paul’s epistles, like Galatians and Romans, where we find him clashing with Judaizers or the “enthusiasts,” and is contrary to Paul’s “message of the cross,” which was central to his theology. Bornkamm writes that we find obvious traces of “legendary embellishment, of the overriding interests of the book, and of the literary artistry of the author.”
Acts, unlike Luke, was a pioneering work because the former appears to have had literary predecessors and the author mentioned as much. Bornkamm agrees with Vernon Robbins, Burton Mack, Earl Doherty, and Martin Dibelius that there is no reason to believe that there is a written source behind the “we passages” in Acts. He agrees with Robbins and Dibelius that “parallels in other ancient historians show that the change in person was a favorite history device, to add vividness” (p. xx).
As far as dating is concerned, Bornkamm’s start of Pauline chronology is guided by Acts 18:12, which mentions the governor L. Junius Gallio, one of Seneca’s brothers. Bornkamm relies on an inscription found at Delphi to date the period of J. Gallio’s office as proconsul of Achaia to the spring of AD 51 and 52. All subsequent epistolary events are dated backward or forward from this point. Acts is dated to the nineties and all synoptics post 70 A.D.
The Rise of Paul
Bornkamm places Paul’s birth in Tarsus from a Jewish family living in the diaspora. Tarsus was a flourishing Hellenistic city and was renowned as a center of Greek culture, often treated similarly to Athens by Strabo, for example. Luke’s attempts to link Paul to Jerusalem and paint Paul as an out-and-out Jew are neatly brushed off by Bornkamm, for if Paul were such a strict Jew, “Paul would certainly have mentioned Jerusalem in his account of himself in Philippians 3:5” (p. 3).
The sociopolitical setting from which Paul emerged had, among other things, the allowance for Jews to acquire Roman citizenship (civis Romanus); the Roman name “Saul” (Acts 13:9) marked out Paul as a Roman citizen. Toleration, dispersion, and privileged status contributed to the increase of the number of Jews in the heathen diaspora. The strong consciousness about the Jew’s place in history (from Isaiah 42:6, etc) brought an awareness of mission which was typical of diaspora Judaism (p. 7).
Philo (De Vita Mosis II, 20) and Josephus (Contra Apionem II, 39) indicate that Jewish law attracted the attention of Greeks, barbarians, and people from all places and ilk. Pagan writers like Seutonius, Seneca, Strabo, and Dio Cassius also confirm this attraction, though with disgust at the seductiveness of the Jewish mission. Mystery cults and doctrines flourished and everywhere “a process was afoot of syncretizing the old religions with new ones steaming especially from the east, and the odder and vaguer, the greater the attraction” (p. 7).
Bornkamm explains that Hellenistic Judaism, which was practiced in the diaspora, was marked by a number of changes: the temple had been superseded by the synagogue, sacrifice was overridden by exposition of the Torah, and the priests were replaced by lawyers and scribes. In a sense, diaspora synagogue was fairly liberal in its mission with respect to observance of the Sabbath, dietary laws, and circumcision of the proselytes.
When Paul comes in the scene, he is a strict Pharisee, that is, one who is strictly orthodox both in thought and manner of mission. Bornkamm states that Pharisaim was a greatly esteemed movement that survived the Jewish war, and upon the reconstruction of Judaism, was the sole authority and served as the seedbed of Talmudic Judaism (p. 11). On account of Paul’s passionate devotion to the law (Philippians 3:6), Bornkamm allows for the possibility that Paul may have been a student of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), who was a renowned teacher of the law (Acts 22:3).
We can be certain of Paul’s Pharisaic background from the defense he mounts when his Judaizing opponents in Galatia challenge him based on his background. In Galatians 5:11, he says: “But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted?” Whilst an Orthodox Jew, Paul was zealous in persecuting the Hellenistic Church (which was in Damascus), and that is why, upon his conversion, his opponents exploited his former activities against him.
Struggle and Conflict
There was strife in the early Christian communities from which Paul emerged. Acts 6:1-6 talks of the clashes between the “Hellenists” and the “Hebrews,” who were both Christians of Jewish descent; the former, who came from the diaspora, spoke Greek, and the latter group, which lived in Palestine, spoke Aramaic.
Bornkamm writes that the Hellenists were persecuted because they were regarded as revolutionary in the eyes of the rest of the Church, conflicted with Jewish law, and called into question the chosen people’s hallowed traditions, the temple worship, and their exclusive claim to Christianity. Acts contradicts itself when it claims that with the exception of the twelve, the whole of the Jerusalem Church was persecuted and scattered (Acts 8:1), yet in later accounts portrays the Jerusalem Church as intact. Bornkamm argues that it was only the non-Hellenistic part of the mother Church that was left unmolested.
There are therefore strong reasons against Acts’ idea that, while still a resident in Jerusalem, Paul persecuted the mother Church, a Church which in fact still observed the law and so was not in the slightest opposed to the crucial charge of hostility toward it (p. 15).
Bornkamm observes that Luke’s picture (that Paul persecuted the Church widely) is contradicted by Paul’s words (Galatians 1:22), that he was unknown to the Churches in Judaea, and therefore, before that, to the Churches in Jerusalem because they only knew Paul when he had changed from the antagonist (Saul) to the successful missionary to Syria and Cilicia (p. 15). Paul nowhere speaks of persecutions in Jerusalem, and on account of the people’s inability to recognize him (Galatians 1:22), it is not possible for him to have been present at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58; 8:1).
Bornkamm rules out the journey to Damascus as a historical event because it would have been impossible for the high priest (who, according to Luke, sent Paul to go to Damascus to drag the Christians in bonds before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem):
Under Roman administration, the supreme court never possessed such a sphere of jurisdiction—Damascus is far beyond the frontiers of Judaea! We must assume, then, that Paul the Pharisee was acting within the framework of the internal penal power (scourging, ban, excommunication) granted to synagogues. We have ample evidence that the front line battle for and against Christ lay in and around the synagogues. Paul himself says in 2 Cor 11:24 that later on as a witness to Christ he more than once suffered the synagogue’s gruesome punishment of scourging (p. 16).
Bornkamm traces Paul’s struggles with Judaizing opponents and his efforts to present himself as independent of “the twelve” in Jerusalem. His quest for independence is captured in Galatians 1:1, 1:11: “Paul an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the father, who raised him from the dead.” Paul took the appearance of the risen Christ as the only source and legitimation of his call and proclamation. This constituted a substitution of the primitive Church’s tradition about Jesus with his own vision of Christ, Bornkamm observes.
Once more Bornkamm abandons the skepticism with which he handles the journey to Damascus and writes that the fact that the vision that Paul had on that journey (a vision he links to 1 Corinthians 15:8; 9:1) “was the occasion of the apostle’s conversion and call, is not in dispute” (p. 21). This means that Bornkamm believes that Paul undertook a journey to Damascus and that the author of Acts made up Paul’s reasons for going there. This appears like pick-and-choose methodology since Bornkamm does not provide any reason to believe that Paul undertook any journey to Damascus other than the fact that he himself chooses to believe that. Under the book’s chapter on Paul’s persecution, conversion, and call, Bornkamm shares with the reader another conflict between Paul and Acts. This time it is between Galatians 1 and Acts 9:23, with Acts indicating that Paul’s missionary work originated from Jerusalem, contrary to Galatians.
Bornkamm takes us through Paul’s missionary activities from Damascus, to Arabia (the Gentile district east of Jordan and southeast of Damascus, as in Galatians 1:17), and to Petra, where he came in conflict with the Nabatean King Aretas (2 Corinthians 11:32). Bornkamm assumes that this was Aretas IV (9 B.C.-A.D. 40)—this date, however, is supported by no clear evidence.
More Acts-Paul Collisions
Regarding the apostolic assembly in Jerusalem, Bornkamm argues that Acts is of little value as a source of information on the status of the Church because he sees the picture presented in Acts as based on Luke’s own idealized view of the Church. He advises that Galatians 2 furnishes us with a trustworthy account of the assembly.
Acts, states Bornkamm, was meant to elevate Petrine Christianity at the expense of the Church at Antioch (led by Paul and Barnabas). He states that the portrayal by Acts of Paul and Barnabas as emissaries acting under the authority of the Jerusalem assembly is impossible to harmonize with the authentic account given in Galatians 2. Paul’s terse “we to the Gentiles and they to the Jews” in Galatians 2:9 exposes the schism between them in terms of their parallel missions. Paul was not ready to concede any authority to the Jerusalem assembly and always asserted his independence. He refers to the apostolic Church in Jerusalem in vague terms like “those of repute” “who were reputed to be pillars” (Galatians 2:2,6,9), and at other times refuses to recognize them as a formally constituted authority, such as when he writes “What they were makes no difference to me” (Galatians 2:6).
The Account in Acts shows no trace of what we learn from Galatians, neither with respect to the significance of the questions of circumcision nor regarding Paul’s battle for the truth of his gospel and its freedom. Instead, according to Luke, Peter and James at once resorted to lengthy well-timed speeches smacking of later “Paulinism,” and represented that it would be unfair to impose on gentiles the yoke of a law that even the Jews by birth were unable to bear (p. 41).
Regarding the accounts of Paul’s first journey to Cyprus and Asia Minor and the conflict at Antioch, Bornkamm finds faults with Acts as a putative source, and Acts repeatedly conflicts with Pauline epistles.
Bornkamm states that the speeches and incidents in Acts are “obviously legendary … including the vivid description of the execration of a Jewish sorcerer Bar-Jesus (Elymas), a court magician of the Roman Governor in Cyprus, Sergius Paulus” (p. 44).
Severally, Bornkamm chooses when to believe Luke and when to ignore Luke without recourse to any clear criteria, though he maintains that “only in a very small degree can we recognize the Paul in Acts as the Paul of the epistles” (p. 45). Yet, at other times he refers to Acts as a “primary source” of Paul’s activities (p. 62).
And when Paul says something Bornkamm is uncomfortable with, he dismisses it as inauthentic without offering any supportive arguments. For example, he writes regarding Philippians 2:6-11 that this was a hymn “not composed by Paul himself but taken from the hymnody of the early church” (pp. 58-59). Where is the evidence for this claim? Bornkamm provides none.
The Nascent Church and Pesky “Enthusiasts”
In the seventh chapter, Bornkamm takes us through the development of the first Church in Greece, Phillipi, Thessalonica, and Athens, and shares with us another theological conflict between Luke and Paul. In Romans 1:20, Paul says that all men are guilty in God’s sight because God had revealed himself to all men through all things. In the speech on the Aeropagus (Acts 17:30), Luke has Paul state that God only overlooks deeds done during times of ignorance. In addition, Acts 17 speaks nothing of a Christ crucified—a stumbling block to Jews and folly to the Gentiles; something Bornkamm regards as too great an omission to be made by Paul. Bornkamm states that “The two pictures cannot be reconciled” (p. 66).
In Corinth, the young Church had split up between the time of Paul’s departure from Corinth and the writing of 1 Corinthians. The splinter groups had slogans that we find in “I belong to Paul, I to Apollos, I to Cephas, I to Christ” (1 Corinthians 12). Besides this split, Paul also had to contend with “enthusiasts” who called themselves “apostles” and “servants of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:5,2; 12:11). Paul dealt with them by challenging them, urging reconciliation, sometimes abasing himself (2 Corinthians 12:9), and avoiding overvaluing or elevating himself: “What is Apollos, what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed” (1 Corinthians 3:5). He also sent Titus to put the Church in order.
Acts 19 contains accounts of the events in Ephesus where Paul allegedly won over the members of the sect of John the Baptist, which elicited a riot by the servants of Demetrius. Bornkamm is skeptical about relying on Acts 19 because he finds the triumphal picture of the riot typical of Luke’s narrative style and view of history, and because Paul’s epistles give a very different picture.
Bornkamm then outlines Paul’s activities in Rome, where the nascent Church comprised gentile Christians. Romans is a letter that is polemical throughout, but also tells a lot about Paul’s own life, his conversion and call, and the battles that he fought. Bornkamm calls it Paul’s greatest letter; his testament. Beyond Romans, Paul went to Jerusalem, and from that point on Bornkamm depends on Acts regarding the rest of Paul’s final journey to Jerusalem, his imprisonment, and his death. Bornkamm regards the itinerary of Paul’s journey provided by Luke as “bearing the marks of a worked-up itinerary.” He writes regarding one of the scenes:
One of them, obviously reminiscent of stories about Elija and Elisha (1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4), is a dramatic legend of Paul’s bringing back to life a young man, who, overcome by sleep during the apostle’s sermon at Troas, fell down through a window (Acts 20:7-12) (p. 98).
Once more, the reader encounters uncritical acceptance from Bornkamm when he writes regarding Acts 6 and 8: “There can be no doubt that this is based on sound tradition in spite of having been artistically shaped by Luke in order to follow.” He adds: “According to the account given in Acts, which is perfectly trustworthy” (p. 99). On p. 102, Bornkamm writes: “Even if these accounts, as a whole and in many of their details, do not withstand the test of historical criticism, they nevertheless undoubtedly rest upon at least some important historical facts.” In a circular manner, he relies on Acts to provide these “historical facts.”
Bornkamm rejects the we passages as ahistorical because the word “we” is “in no sense certain evidence of an eyewitness account but is frequently found as an effective trick of style” (p. 104). He also argues that the Paul in them is the Lukan Paul and out of character. He believes that on the voyage from Palestine to Italy, Luke “drew on a piece of writing already in existence and originally having nothing to do with Paul, and filled it out after the fashion employed elsewhere in secular Hellenistic travels and short-stories” (p. 104).
The manner of Paul’s death is uncertain and Bornkamm suggests that “Paul probably suffered martyrdom at the hands of Nero, likely from the beginning of the sixties.” He infers this from 2 Timothy 4:6. Another source he relies on for Paul’s death is 1 Clement, which is equally vague. Bornkamm tries to link this with Romans 15:24, and finally concedes: “Paul’s fortunes in his last years are obscure” (p. 106).
The last part of the book delves into Paul’s theology, his understanding of how salvation was to be attained, and his doctrinal beliefs. Bornkamm’s interpretation of Pauline Christology is confined to a historicist framework that treats a historical Jesus as an axiom. Paul’s saving event was in the gospel of justification by faith alone, which Paul believed the Church stood or fell by (cf. James, who believed that faith alone was not enough, requiring both faith and works). Because of the importance of faith to him, Paul saw Abraham as the prototype of the true believer.
Bornkamm also outlines the sacramental rituals and their significance, Paul’s eschatology and ethics, Christology, beliefs regarding the parousia, marriage, the archotons, and so on. In the appendix, he covers the authentic and inauthentic Pauline letters and Paul’s Christology and justification. Bornkamm’s Paul is a great book, but as we have seen, its main shortcoming is the occasional ad hoc element that intrudes upon critical evaluation of the sources.
 A synthetic parallelism is a literary construction in which a theme is worked up progressively by building one thought upon another, similar one. An example of a passage with synthetic parallelism is Psalms 92:4.
 Soteriology is derived from two Greek terms: soter, meaning “savior” or “deliverer,” and logos, meaning “word,” “matter,” or “thing.” In systematic theology, it refers to the study of theories of salvation. We have, for example, “ransom soteriology” (as used by Earl Doherty) in Mark 10:45, which treats Jesus’ death as the ransom for several people.
 Bornkamm oddly refers to “Christ” as a name. “Christ” is derived from the Greek word Christos (CristoV), a title meaning “the anointed one,” which refers to the Hebrew Mashiach (the Messiah).
 The we passages are characterized by sudden shifts from the third-person narrative to the first person plural, for example: Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16. Vernon Robbins argued that sea voyage narratives were a distinct genre and that one of the features of that genre was the presence of first person plural narration particularly narrative shifts to first person plural at the start of sea voyages (see Vernon K. Robbins, By Land and By Sea: The We-Passages and Ancient Sea Voyages in Perspectives on Luke-Acts. C. H. Talbert, ed. Perspectives in Religious Studies, Special Studies Series, No. 5. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press and Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1978: 215-242.)
Copyright ©2006 Jacob Aliet. The electronic version is copyright ©2006 by Internet Infidels, Inc. with the written permission of Jacob Aliet. All rights reserved.