ST PAUL’S ENCOUNTER WITH ATHENIAN STOICS AND EPICUREANS
AbstractThe account in Acts 17 is approached from an historical point ofview in the context of Athens’ situation as an ‘autonomous’ city in aprovince of the Roman Empire. Despite the allusions to the trial ofSocrates, the circumstantial evidence suggests that Paul was notformally put on trial, and if the hearing was more of a public debatethen one might have expected more of a three-cornered exchange.Commentaries on Acts 17 generally focus on Christological issuesreflected in Luke’s account of Paul’s encounter with Stoics andEpicureans in Athens, and naturally treat the episode as a chapter inthe history of Christianity, but the aim here is to approach theepisode more from an historical point of view in the context ofAthens’ situation in a province of the Roman Empire.1 It is argued, ifonly in summary form, that Luke’s text is not meant to be taken asreferring to a formal trial, especially when one allows for literaryinfluences and Luke’s structuring of Paul’s challenges in this periodin Greece.
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