Re: Who sent Paul and Barnabus?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Sep 30 1998 - 06:10:55 EDT

At 1:16 AM -0500 9/30/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>In Acts 15:2 the subject of ETAXAN is not exactly obvious. I read and reread
>and read again Acts15:1-5 and the subject of ETAXAN was still not obvious. It
>almost looked like the subject was the TINES from 15:1 but I ruled that out as
>illogical. H.A.W. Meyer says the subject is ADELFOUS from 15:1, but I don't
>find that compelling either.
>Codex Bezae has a long expansion just before ETAXAN where the subject is
>provided very explicitly but I am not convinced that the Bezae reading is

It looks to me (at first glance) like the Codex Bezae reading might be an
endeavor to solve the very problem you raise by filling in between the
lines. I'm looking at this closely for the first time and I don't really
know what to think of the Codex Bezae reading. However, I do think that
Meyer is right--that the ADELFOI of 15:1 is implicitly the plural subject
of ETAXAN, and I see this more or less conclusively indicated in the phrase
referred to must be the congregation in Antioch, and I think that this
EKKLHSIA must be constituted precisely of the ADELFOI who have been told by
the Jerusalem people that salvation requires circumcision. So, although the
subject of ETAXAN is not explicitly stated, it seems to me that the context
points to this action being taken collectively by the ADELFOI of verse 1,
i.e. those who constitute the EKKLHSIA that PROEPEMYEN Paul and Barnabas.

>Can anyone give me an argument supporting Meyer's reading? Meyer provides no
>argument, just announces it like it is self evident. Do all German NT scholars
>do this or only the ones in my library? BTW, I appreciate Meyer a lot. Like
>him so well I bought two complete sets of his Handbook and gave one of them
>away to an old friend.

I'd hesitate to characterize all German NT scholars (or Italians,
Englishmen, Americans, etc., etc.) in any one way. Your comment, however,
calls to mind my recurrent complaint about commentaries, whether on NT
texts or on classical authors: although they generally DO talk about
interesting questions, they ALMOST NEVER address the particular concern
that made me consult the commentary in the first place. I think this must
be just the way we ornery human beings behave, whether it's when we hear
something said by someone or when we read a Biblical text or an ancient
author (or a modern author): different ones of us find different things in
the oral statement or literary text puzzling--we are by no means all
puzzled by the same thing--and when we are NOT puzzled by something, we
tend to think that what puzzles others is--or should be--self-evident. This
is one reason why I try to urge students to discuss openly whatever they
find puzzling in a text: so often it turns out that things that we read and
think we understand turn out to be more complicated when we are forced to
face questions about them.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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