Acts 9:33: Was Aeneas one of the saints?

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Acts 9:33: Was Aeneas one of the saints?

Postby Andrew Chapman » September 12th, 2013, 8:41 am

32 Ἐγένετο δὲ Πέτρον διερχόμενον διὰ πάντων κατελθεῖν καὶ πρὸς τοὺς ἁγίους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Λύδδα.
33 εὗρεν δὲ ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπόν τινα ὀνόματι Αἰνέαν ἐξ ἐτῶν ὀκτὼ κατακείμενον ἐπὶ κραβάττου, ὃς ἦν παραλελυμένος.

Gloag: '.. the probability is that he was a Christian; for it is said that Peter went down to visit the saints in Lydia; and..'
Alford: '.. from Peter's visit being to the saints, it would seem that he was [a believer]..'

Other arguments are presented, one way and the other, but I would like to ask specifically about the ἐκεῖ. Does it perhaps refer more naturally back to Λύδδα than to τοὺς ἁγίους? Might we expect Luke to have written, say, εὗρεν δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς, if Aeneas was one of their number?

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Re: Acts 9:33: Was Aeneas one of the saints?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » September 13th, 2013, 7:04 am

Andrew Chapman wrote:32 Ἐγένετο δὲ Πέτρον διερχόμενον διὰ πάντων κατελθεῖν καὶ πρὸς τοὺς ἁγίους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Λύδδα.
33 εὗρεν δὲ ἐκεῖ ἄνθρωπόν τινα ὀνόματι Αἰνέαν ἐξ ἐτῶν ὀκτὼ κατακείμενον ἐπὶ κραβάττου, ὃς ἦν παραλελυμένος.

Gloag: '.. the probability is that he was a Christian; for it is said that Peter went down to visit the saints in Lydia; and..'
Alford: '.. from Peter's visit being to the saints, it would seem that he was [a believer]..'

Other arguments are presented, one way and the other, but I would like to ask specifically about the ἐκεῖ. Does it perhaps refer more naturally back to Λύδδα than to τοὺς ἁγίους? Might we expect Luke to have written, say, εὗρεν δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς, if Aeneas was one of their number?

Andrew


Greetings, Andrew. ἐκεῖ simply means "there, in that place" with regard to a geographical location. The use of the word doesn't help one way or another to determine the answer to the question. Personally, the question never occurred to me, although if you pressed it I would have said that he probably wasn't but also that it makes little difference to the point of the story. I also agree that your paraphrase would clarify it.

I must admit, after several years of teaching Vergil's Aeneid (part of the AP Latin exam) seeing the name "Aneas" in this context always amuses me.
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Re: Acts 9:33: Was Aeneas one of the saints?

Postby Andrew Chapman » September 13th, 2013, 7:47 am

Thanks, Barry. By way of explanation, I am addressing a controversial claim by Joseph Prince that we know for sure that Ananias and Sapphira were not believers because Ananias is called 'a certain man', ἀνὴρ τις, rather than 'a certain disciple'.

It turns out that this sort of argument was employed in the nineteenth century (Meyer, Gloag, Alford..) with regard to Aeneas, and also Aquila (τινα Ἰουδαῖον), as evidence that they were not believers (weighed against other evidence in both directions). Thus Gloag on Aeneas:

"Some suppose that, on account of the indefinite expression ἄνθρωπόν τινα, a certain man and from his not being called, like Tabitha, a disciple, he was not a believer (Lechler, Stier)."

Modern commentators (Bruce, Marshall, Bock, Barrett..) don't use this line of reasoning, and generally say that Aeneas was, or probably was, a believer.

The proximity to Tabitha being called τις μαθήτρια must make it a stronger argument in the case of Aeneas than in that of Ananias, and I haven't found anybody (apart from Prince) employing it with regard to the latter.

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