1. Salaam Corniche

    Hello desierasmus
    Is it possible to take this conversation back to Thessalonica? There is no doubt that the Areopagus address is important and that is referenced in the article as well. The title of the article concerns Thessalonica and your thoughts on that would be valued.

  2. desierasmus

    “Faber’s point is that the simple quotation of a source in no way shape or form acknowledges that he condones what is said.”

    He not only “condones” this reference, he references it immediately in verse 29 as a basis for rejecting idolatry.

    If the goal of referencing “common ground” is “avoiding controversy”, then of course Paul did not achieve that goal. On the other hand, if finding “common ground” is a move to demonstrate that even the testimonies that the audience take as authoritative (or “valid” or “traditional”) in their own culture line up with one’s own narrative, or are in conflict with other testimonies accepted by the audience (so that the self-refutation of the audience’s view provides them with an opening to consider the merits of your testimony), then Paul did a lot of that. He both “comforted the afflicted” and “afflicted the comfortable – – which got him in a lot of trouble with those whose vested interests he was threatening. They were given access to the light, but then had to choose whether the light was more or less important than the prior interests.

  3. Roger Dixon

    I am not sure how the quoting of Acts 17- Paul in Athens (by desierasmus) relates to the points of the author(the Editor) concerning Acts 17- Paul at Thessalonica, but it does show that Paul quoted Greek poets at times. However, back to the article. The Editor gives a short summary of Paul’s experience at Thessalonica in which we clearly see parallels with his experience in other places (also recorded in Acts & mentioned in his letters). Paul created waves wherever he went and this is obvious by the number of times he got into serious trouble with the Jews, with the local religious leaders, and with the Roman authorities. Of course, he must have had some “common ground” with the populace such as using the Greek language, working sometimes at a trade they knew, etc. but generally speaking any objective reading of Acts leaves us with the conclusion that Paul ruffled feathers every where he went. This is clear even in the much quoted Acts 17 at Athens where he was called names (v.18) and mocked (v.32). However, he deserved it because he told them they were living in a time of “ignorance” (v. 30). Seems a bit confrontative to me.

  4. Salaam Corniche

    Hello desierasmus:
    Thanks for note. Yes indeed, Paul did quote those poets. Might I direct you to an article by a professor of the classics which shows that as much as Paul did quote Aratus, he used it to drive home a point. Quoting Faber: “.Thus the apostle in no way identifies with Stoic or Epicurean theology, but declares the God who is Creator and Judge.”.
    Faber’s point is that the simple quotation of a source in no way shape or form acknowledges that he condones what is said. Frequently that is insinuated in writings that attempt to make Paul and the philosophers some kind of buddies.
    Thanks again for writing.

  5. desierasmus

    In the same chapter you reference, Paul indeed uses ‘common ground’ to connect with his audience, quoting from their classical literature as authority for two steps in his presentation: Acts 17:24-31
    24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[a] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

    “‘In him we live and move and have our being’;[b]

    as even some of your own poets have said,

    “‘For we are indeed his offspring.'[c]

    29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

    Acts 17:28 Probably from Epimenides of Crete
    Acts 17:28 From Aratus’s poem “Phainomena”

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