Monday, November 06, 2017

84 facts from the Book of Acts confirmed by history and archaeology



Ron said...

With very mild effort, Icould make an even longer list for all sorts of well known fictional stories. The new Spider-Man move is full with well known historical landmarks. I’m currently watching the Stephen King show 11.22.63 and it’s filled with real people, events, quotes, etc. but it’s a balatant fiction.

What of significance is this list supposed to demonstrate?

Peter K. Rufus said...

Dear Ron,

The makers of the new Spiderman movie have taken in more than $850M at the box office.

The writer of the book of Acts earned what exactly?

Secondly, the viewers of the new Spiderman movie are able to confirm that it is fiction through their own personal experience.
Are you suggesting that the author’s audience confirmed that the author was writing a work of fiction?

Third, are you suggesting that the names/ events/ places in the Spiderman move e.g. The Daily Bugle, which are demonstrably fictional to the movie’s audience, are in the same category of names/ events/ places in the book of Acts (as shown in the list)?

Fourth, please produce your “longer list for all sorts of well known fictional stories” so that we may compare it with the list already provided to see the similarities which would compel us to reject the Acts list on grounds that it is insufficient to prove the historicity of the Acts account.

Callum said...

I recommend the work of Craig Keener who is practically encyclopedic on scholarship on Acts. There were no historical novels at the time.

Ron said...

Imagine 2,000 years from now someone tries to identify all the confirmed facts in Spiderman: Homecoming:

1. Historians have confirmed that the model ship made by Peter Parker - the Millennium Falcon - was from a real movie popular among children Peter Parker’s age and it was in fact common for children his age to make models of this ship out of Lego’s, a real toy

2. Historians have confirmed that the phone used by many characters – the iPhone 7 – was in fact a popular phone at precisely the time depicted

3. Historians have confirmed the correct location of the Washington monument

4. Historians have confirmed the correct positioning of the Arlington memorial bridge in relation to the Washington Monument

5. Historians have confirmed the correct travel time in 2017 between Queens and Washington DC

6. Historians have confirmed that high school students in NY did in fact commonly take school field trips to Washington DC in this era

7. Historians have confirmed the existence of the Staten Island Ferry

8. Historians have confirmed the proper location of the Queens within NY

9. Historians have confirmed that bodegas were in fact common in this section of the Queens

10. Historians have confirmed that ATM robberies were in fact common at bodegas in the Queens

11. Historians have confirmed that Homecoming dances were a real ritual

12. Historians have confirmed the distance between Maryland and DC depicted in the film is accurate

13. Historians have confirmed that the makes and models of the cars shown were real cars used in the era

14. Historians have confirmed that YouTube, used by Peter Parker, was a real website

Etc. etc. This could go on for pages. The author of the article posted by Victor says that the facts in Acts are *sufficient* to establish historicity. It long lists of facts about matters peripheral to the story is sufficient to establish historicity, then Spider-Man must be history too.

If you think any of the facts on my list are weak, then take a look at some of the examples on the list Victor posted. Some of those are really pushing it. For example, #84 says “84. the conditions of imprisonment, living "at his own expense" [28:30-31]” Umm what? It’s supposed to impress us that Luke knew imprisonment was a real thing at the time? Golly, what a shocker! Only a true eyewitness to the events could have known that kind of obscure detail! But then I guess we need to add this “confirmed historical fact” to the Spiderman list as well, because Vulture is imprisoned at the end of the movie. Or what about this one: “79. the local people and superstitions of the day [28:4-6]” So the widely known and extremely general fact that people were superstitious in this era is supposed to be a historical fact that suggests the author bore firsthand witness specifically to Paul’s travels? Please, this is insulting. I might as well add this “historical fact” to my Spiderman list: “Breaking news! Historians have confirmed that the average high school boys really did have crushes on girls! The author of Spiderman must have really witnessed these events!”

Victor Reppert said...

Fiction writers of the present day have easy access to tons of information. Even before the Internet, a fiction writer had access to fast transportation to go to locations where the events in question might have occurred. Someone who wants to write a novel set in New Orleans could by a plane ticket there for a few hundred bucks. Luke shows pinpoint accuracy about everything from Jerusalem to Malta.

If Luke knew details about the conditions prisoners of the time experienced, that would be significant. If he knew details about what the superstitions of the locations to which he traveled which were shown to be accurate by archaeological investigation, that would be significant. The devil is in the details on these.

Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

It’s significance would be the conclusion 1) “Luke had knowledge of these areas/times” not 2) “Luke was a witness/interviewed eyewitnesses to the events and therefore we can trust the whole thing.” You can argue that 1 is evidence for 2, but that is not what the author of the article is claiming. He’s claiming 1 is a sufficient condition for 2

Miguel said...


And it's important to show how the Acts is a historical work, close to the actions and events described in it. Even if, by itself, it wouldn't establish its narrative as true, it shows how it had broad reliability as a historical document. It's evidence that Luke was writing close to that time and to the events of the age, and that he has a good track record as a historian. This raises the plausibility of the events and, when taken in the context of other facts, is even more relevant

Peter K. Rufus said...

Dear Ron,

The author of Acts (Luke) is not obliged to prove the veracity of his narrative to readers inhabiting a different era; he is only obliged to those who inhabit his era of time.

The issue is not whether Luke’s account holds up in the light of twenty first century audiences; the issue is whether audiences in the first century would have accepted his testimony as plausible.

That is the point of the article.

The issue is not whether the story of Peter Parker would be accepted as credible by audiences living 2000 years in the future. The issue is whether the story of Peter Parker will be accepted by audiences today.

Apples will always seem a bit off when compared to oranges.


Peter K. Rufus said...

Oh, and one more thing, dear Ron —

The makers of the new Spiderman movie have taken in more than $850M at the box office.

Luke earned what exactly?