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Paley, H. P. 166, 7, has so clearly and acutely advanced, may be allowed, I think, as of themselves quite strong enough to set that erroneous date of 1 Tim. aside ; it cannot be deemed a work of supererogation, if by a line of argument quite distinct and apparently original (as this seems to me) the total improbability of that hypothesis be once for all thus demonstrated.
Luke, his Gospel, and the Acts of the Apostles. s. 1. Where was Luke, when he wrote the gospel ? s. 2. The gospel of Luke posterior to those of Mat
thew and Mark. S. 3. Where was Luke when he wrote the Acts?
s. 1. Of all the eight opinions which have assigned a locality for Luke when he wrote his gospel, (Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. part i. p. 248.) Antioch, Troas, Alexandria, Egyptian Thebes, in Achaia, Bithynia, Macedonia, &c., there is not one in any probability at all comparable to that opinion, which would assign Palestine as the place for that purpose, and for the time to write it part of those two years, during which he appears to have been at Cesarea, generally in company with St. Paul, even if he was occasionally sent on missions elsewhere. We have definite fact for that time and that place, which for no other time and place is even pretended. And as to opportunity for the composition of the sacred narrative, could any scene be imagined more happy and appropriate than Cesarea ? Jerusalem was only seventy miles distant : and the intercourse betwixt the seat of Roman government and the Holy City must have been as expeditious as it was frequent.
Then, too, in what other situation could Luke enjoy such ready access to those who “from the beginning.” (L. i. 2.) had been "eye-witnesses and ministers of the word ?” To James the Less in particular (as well as to others) we are certain that Luke had become personally known ; when, on their arrival in Jerusalem, A. xxi. 18., “ Paul went in with us unto James, and all the elders were present.” An acquaintance, thus begun with that eminent minister of our Lord, he would certainly cultivate by opportunities afterwards.
But it may naturally be asked, Allowing the Gospel to have been written at Cesarea in the time of St. Paul's imprisonment there, who was Theophilus, to whom the Gospel is dedicated ? Here again we enjoy the decisive advantage of referring to a real person, the only one known to us by that name at that period ; a person belonging to Judea, as having been high priest, who from the time about which he held that office, and from the early age at which it could then be held, was likely enough to be alive at the very date required, and who, as having held the high priesthood, was entitled to the address of rank, xpátiote, “most excellent.”
We are indebted to the acute perspicacity of Theodore Hase (Michaelis, u. s. pp. 238...240.) for this most ingenious and highly probable supposition, in all
its principal points. And I am disposed to go farther than Michaelis as to the satisfaction with which we may contemplate it. He, after examining all the other notions which have been advanced upon the subject, declares (p. 266.) of this, that though not confirmed by (direct) historical evidence, it is supported by its own internal probability, and is on the whole more eligible than any of the merely traditionary reports.
For my part, I see no difficulty whatever in Theodore Hase's hypothesis, except it be from a point of chronology which shall be noticed at the close of this section. And I am strongly inclined to recommend its adoption to the readers of these pages, not only as harmonising well with all the phenomena of the case, but as favoured by positive considerations already stated, and therefore as greatly superior to the other hypotheses which have nothing but obscure tradition to rest upon.
As to a high priest's having become a Christian convert, what should hinder it ? At an early period, and in Jerusalem, we read, A. vi. 7., that “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” In Corinth, several years after, we find one ruler of the synagogue at least, Crispus, A. xviii. 8., to have been so converted. And why should we doubt but that some even of the highest dignity might be converted in Jerusalem ?
Note above referred to. Mr. Greswell, it is true, in his own calculations, or in those adopted by him, having made the high priesthood of Theophilus extend from A. D. 37 to 41, and having fixed the conversion of St. Paul in 37, sees an insuperable objection to that Theophilus having been the Theophilus of St. Luke; since, according to Mr. Greswell's tables, it was he that must have given to Saul the letters of prosecution, A. ix. 1., against the believers at Damascus.
But inasmuch as in these matters exactness now is of very questionable attainment, and since the late learned Dr. Burton, in his Lectures upon the First Three Centuries, v. i. p. 88., did not hesitate to fix the conversion of Saul in the early year of A. D. 31 (fixed by Bp. Lloyd of Worcester in A. D. 35), why may not advantage be fairly taken of so great a difference in the estimate of dates and facts ? at least so far as to allow a somewhat earlier year to be assumed for that miraculous event. And any year before A. D. 37 being assigned to the conversion, removes the personal difficulty, if after all there be any real weight in it, which lies against the high priest Theophilus being the Theophilus of the evangelist.
And be it remembered, that after all, this defence proceeds on the idea of A. D. 37. as the first year of Theophilus's high priesthood being demonstratively settled: whereas a small deviation from the precise reckoning there also adopted by Mr. Greswell, would serve to solve for us that point of chronology
s. 2. On the posteriority of Luke's gospel to those of
Matthew and Mark.
Without pretending to enter into any
consideration of time and date, except so far generally as the order and succession of events is concerned, I cannot but declare myself entirely satisfied with the demonstration so fully given by Mr. Greswell, vol. i. pp. 17... that Luke's Gospel must have been intended as supplemental to those of Matthew and Mark. The reader's attention is for the present particularly directed to the two following instances; which are selected as almost of themselves decisive to the mind on that very important question. .
1. MATTHEW xxvi. 51. and Mark xiv. 47. relate that one of the followers of Jesus smote a servant of the high priest's and cut off his ear. LUKS (xxii. 50, 51.)
has added, that it was the right ear, and that Jesus healed him.
(St. John, the last of the four, xviii. 10., farther records, that it was Simon Peter who drew the sword, and that the servant's name was Malchus.)
2. MATTHEW (xxvii. 44.) relates that the malefactors who were crucified with our Lord reviled him ; which is virtually repeated by Mark xv. 32.
Whereas LUKE (xxiii. 39...43.) not only records that one of the malefactors rebuked the other for what he did, but has preserved the dialogue betwixt our Lord and that penitent on the cross.
s. 3. Where was Luke when he wrote the Acts of
the Apostles ?
If the sacred historian, as we have just seen, was enabled to make his Gospel supplemental to the two others, by opportunities which his residence in Palestine afforded; surely also, if in writing the Acts he could have been resident there, he must have enjoyed advantages which no other locality could in the same degree supply.
Now, when St. Paul wrote to the Colossians (iv. 14.) and to Philemon (24.), it is certain that Luke was in his company.
Not many months perhaps afterwards, from his name not appearing in the Epistle to the Philippians, he had, on some errand, doubtless one of importance, quitted Rome, and left St. Paul behind him. Again in St. Paul's second imprisonment we find Luke once more, 2 Tim. iv. 11., along with the apostle.
Here then comes the question ; which involves a desideratum equally interesting to all students in this