[b-greek] Re: Acts 21:20: Who are these Jews?

From: Mike Sangrey (mike@sojurn.lns.pa.us)
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 15:41:42 EDT

yochanan bitan-buth <ButhFam@compuserve.com> kai egrapsen:
> Sangrey egrapsen:
>> Are these IOUDAIOIS fully committed (faithful) Jews? Or are they Christian

>> (believing) Jews?

> The question is a bit strange and feels like its being read from
> "outside".

> [as a pseudo-dichotomy, like "did you take the bus to school, or did
> you bring your lunch?"] At least from cultural/linguistic remains of
> the 1st and 2nd century, it is difficult to conceive of a first
> century Jewish believer in Yeshua as not being zealous for the Law.
> The "law issue" was an issue for the gentile believers not Jewish
> believers.

Actually, I'm very well aware of this, though I'm glad you pointed it out.
Your statements underscore the difficulty of understanding the original text.
And I'll readily admit the question wasn't framed as well as it could have
been. I usually take more time to "construct" the questions I ask. The last
one and this one I've been in more of a hurry. I apologize.

Sure! It IS difficult to conceive of a 1st century Jewish believer NOT being
dedicated to Torah observance. If you'll pardon the expression, asking them
to toss 2000 years of God's direct involvement in their identity is like
asking them to sew the skin back on. No self-respecting Jew would do that
without giving it some very, very serious thought. The NT; Acts, Galatians,
Ephesians, Romans, James, to name a few; gives ample evidence of the problem,
especially as it related to the touch-points between Jew and Gentile. This
was not a time of eat, drink, and pass the pizza, kosher or otherwise.

However, that doesn't dismiss the question. It would, I would think, be
common at that time to describe the non-Christian Jews who are strict with the
Torah as "faithful". What I'm trying to determine is whether these Jews named
in Acts 21:20 are the same Jews in Acts 21:28, "ANDRES ISRAHLITAI". Or might
they be the same Jews (or same type of Jews) as those related in Gal. 2:12?

Is James asking Paul to do the things he did because of believers being
dedicated to Torah and therefore James is trying to NOT fan an intra-church
conflict of which he succeeded and the conflict which ensued was generated by
non-Christian Jews. Or, is James trying to avoid an extra-church conflict of
which he would have succeeded except for the Asian Jews?

And, more to the point of this list, to my knowledge (or ignorance), I think
the Greek text can lean either way; however, do any of the linguistic
(semantic, pragmatic, syntactic) tools help us to lean more one way than the

Thanks again.
Mike Sangrey
Landisburg, Pa.
       Every Christian library should have a plaque which states:
              "There is one book which explains all these."

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