Apollos and Alexandria

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andrewcriddle
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Apollos and Alexandria

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:32 am

We know very little about the early history of Christianity in Alexandria or even the early traditions about it.
The following may be relevant.

The standard text of Acts 18:24-25 reads
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit,[a] he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.
However Codex Bezae reads
Now a certain Jew named Apollonius, an Alexandrian by race, a learned man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the scriptures. He had been instructed in his own country in the word of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught carefully the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John
The reading in his own country (i.e. in Alexandria) is unlikely to be original but it agrees with Codex Gigas (with a change in word order) and is likely to be the original reading of the Western text of Acts going back to say the 3rd quarter of the 2nd century CE. Since the arrival of Apollos in Ephesus according to Acts occurs in 55 CE at the latest and probably several years earlier, the claim that Apollos (or Apollonius) had previously been instructed in Christianity in Alexandria implies that Christianity had been established there before the reign of Nero (probably during the reign of Claudius).

(I am not assuming the historicity of Acts here, I am discussing what the Western reading of Acts implies about the beliefs of the creator or creators of the Western text type.)

If there was such an early belief in the pre-Neronian evangelization of Alexandria it may provide a basis for evaluating later more developed traditions.

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spin
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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by spin » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:24 am

Andrew, I think you may not be interpreting "the way of the Lord" correctly. The expression is paralleled in the following verse by "way of God". Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord/God, but Priscilla and Aquila had to explain it a bit more. The Lord in "the way of the Lord" is God.

From my understanding of the passage, Apollos seems to have known nothing about Jesus, but talked strongly of John's messiah, which Priscilla and Aquila interpreted as their messiah and "set him straight".
Last edited by spin on Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by FransJVermeiren » Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:31 am

Spin, in my opinion the the κύριος (“Lord”) in Acts 18:25-26 is not God but the messiah. That Apollos knows the “way of God” is already implied in verse 24, in which he presented as an educated Jew. The “instructed in the way of the Lord” in verse 25 is new, additional information: Apollos is not only a learned Jew, he is also an adherent of the κύριος, to be understood as the κύριος χριστός, the Lord messiah.

In the second part of verse 25 the Majority text gives τὰ περὶ τοῦ κυρίου instead of τὰ περὶ τοῦ Ιησοῦ, and this information on the messiah is based solely on John’s baptism. The ‘kurios’ variant here makes this sentence perfectly understandable, without the hint of a contradiction in the ‘Jesus’ version. The translators insert ‘though’, which is not present in the Greek text, in an attempt to make sense of this twisted ‘Jesus/John’ sequence.
You mention the “way of God” (τὴν ὁδον τοῦ θεοῦ) in verse 26 as support of your interpretation, but Nestle-Alands marks ‘τοῦ θεοῦ’ as an early insertion, so the ὁδον of verse 26 naturally refers to the ὁδον τοῦ κυρίου in verse 25. (Some manuscripts give here τον λογον τοῦ κυρίου, which also supports my analysis).

In summary Acts 18:24-26 stages Apollos, a messianic Jew from Alexandria, who preached messianism in Ephesus on the sole basis of John’s (messianic) baptism. Priscilla and Aquila took him aside to teach him a broader basis of messianism.

IMO your statement that Apollos didn’t know anything about Jesus is correct. Jesus is simply not involved.

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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:36 am

the κύριος (“Lord”) in Acts 18:25-26 is not God but the messiah
Uh oh. Did someone just say 'Rumpelstiltskin?'
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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by FransJVermeiren » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:41 am

It is not so difficult to imagine what the content of Priscilla's and Aquila's criticism was: Apollos preached the particularist messianism of John the baptist while Aquila en Priscilla supported the universalist Paul.

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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:06 am

spin wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:24 am
Andrew, I think you may not be interpreting "the way of the Lord" correctly. The expression is paralleled in the following verse by "way of God". Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord/God, but Priscilla and Aquila had to explain it a bit more. The Lord in "the way of the Lord" is God.

From my understanding of the passage, Apollos seems to have known nothing about Jesus, but talked strongly of John's messiah, which Priscilla and Aquila interpreted as their messiah and "set him straight".
Whether this is right or wrong about the original author of Acts I doubt if it is true of the Western text. The parallelism may not work here.
Now a certain Jew named Apollonius, an Alexandrian by race, a learned man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the scriptures. He had been instructed in his own country in the word of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught carefully the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him unto them, and expounded the Way [of God] unto him more carefully.
There are two textual issues
Bezae reads word of the Lord rather than way of the Lord although this is not shared by Gigas or other Old Latin texts.
Bezae and Gigas both read way in the next verse some other Old Latin reads way of the Lord

I suspect the Western text originally read
Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, a learned man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the scriptures. He had been instructed in his own country in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught carefully the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him unto them, and expounded the way unto him more carefully.
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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by spin » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:31 am

FransJVermeiren wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:31 am
Spin, in my opinion the the κύριος (“Lord”) in Acts 18:25-26 is not God but the messiah.
The "way of the Lord" is thoroughly Jewish (see Isaiah 40:3, Jer 5:5 and Eze 18:25). I can see no way for a Jew of the epoch (or any other epoch) to consider any other referent than the Jewish deity in the phrase. It's even cited from Isaiah in Mk 1:3.

One might think that things are complicated by the fact that in Acts the mysteric use of kurios is already in use, causing confusion, but one must justify why we should look anywhere other than to Jewish tradition for the phrase "way of the Lord", especially in the context of the messianic Jew, Apollos, whose adherence to John suggests a purely Jewish understanding.

I'm traveling at the moment so I don't have access to Aland, but things a never simple in dealing with manuscript traditions.

We seem to agree on Apollos's position as a follower of John who had no knowledge of the Pauline Jesus.
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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by spin » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:36 am

Andrew, I was wondering what Bezae Latin indicates in the three areas of interest (way of the Lord/things concerning the Lord/way....). It might shed some light. I'm traveling at the moment and have no access to books except what I have on my phone, which includes a defective Bezae Greek--the phone can't seem to show accented characters.

I'm pretty sure of the source not indicating Jesus with the Jewish phrase "way of the Lord" (Isa 40:3, Jer 5:5, Eze 18:25), but the Bezae Greek is harder to fathom. "way/word of the Lord" is still a fair bet for the Jewish understanding, "Lord" in the phrase indicating God, despite some drift of kurios onto Jesus in Acts.

The "way of God" is a very strange addition in the Christian tradition. Doesn't Bezae Greek have it? My defective version shows thn tou qeou odov.
andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:06 am
...
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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:58 pm

spin wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:36 am
Andrew, I was wondering what Bezae Latin indicates in the three areas of interest (way of the Lord/things concerning the Lord/way....). It might shed some light. I'm traveling at the moment and have no access to books except what I have on my phone, which includes a defective Bezae Greek--the phone can't seem to show accented characters.

I'm pretty sure of the source not indicating Jesus with the Jewish phrase "way of the Lord" (Isa 40:3, Jer 5:5, Eze 18:25), but the Bezae Greek is harder to fathom. "way/word of the Lord" is still a fair bet for the Jewish understanding, "Lord" in the phrase indicating God, despite some drift of kurios onto Jesus in Acts.

The "way of God" is a very strange addition in the Christian tradition. Doesn't Bezae Greek have it? My defective version shows thn tou qeou odov.
andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:06 am
...
Here is Scrivener: https://archive.org/stream/bezaecodexca ... #page/n472.

A transcription:

Acts 18.24-26 (Greek Bezae, unedited from BW9): 24 Ιουδαιος δε τις ονοματι Απολλωνιος γενει Αλεξανδρευς ανηρ λογιος κατηντησεν εις Εφεσον δυνατος ων εν ταις γραφαις. 25 ος ην κατηχημενος εν τη πατριδι τον λογον του ΚΥ και ζεων τω ΠΝΙ απελαλει και εδιδασκεν ακριβως τα περι ΙΗΥ επισταμενος μονον το βαπτισμα Ιωανου 26 ητος ηρξατο παρησιαζεσθαι εν συναγωγη. και ακουσαντος αυτου Ακυλας και Πρισκιλλα προσελαβοντο αυτον και ακριβεστερον αυτω εξεθοντο την οδον. 27 εν δε τη Εφεσω επιδημουντες τινες Κορινθιοι και ακουσαντες αυτου παρεκαλουν διελθειν συν αυτοις εις την πατριδα αυτων συνκατανευσαντος δε αυτου οι Εφεσιοι εγραψαν τοις εν Κορινθω μαθηταις οπως αποδεξωνται τον ανδρα ος επιδημησας εις την Αχαιαν πολυν συνεβαλλετο εν ταις εκκλησιαις.

Acts 18.24-26 (Greek Bezae, edited): 24 Ἰουδαῖος δέ τις ὀνόματι Ἀπολλώνιος, γένει Ἀλεξανδρεὺς, ἀνὴρ λόγιος, κατήντησεν εἰς Ἔφεσον, δυνατὸς ὢν ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς, 25 ὃς ἦν ἐν κατηχημένος τῇ πατρίδι τον λογον τοῦ Κ{υρίο}υ, καὶ ζέων τῷ Π{νεύματ}ι ἀπελάλει καὶ ἐδίδασκεν ἀκριβῶς τὰ περὶ Ι{ησο}ῦ, ἐπιστάμενος μόνον τὸ βάπτισμα Ἰωάνου· 26 ητος ἤρξατο παρησιάζεσθαι ἐν συναγωγῇ. καὶ ἀκούσαντες αὐτοῦ Ἀκύλας καὶ Πρίσκιλλα, προσελάβοντο αὐτόν, καὶ ἀκριβέστερον αὐτῷ ἐξέθεντο τὴν ὁδόν. 27 ἐν δὲ τῇ Ἐφέσῳ ἐπιδημοῦντες τινες Κορίνθιοι καὶ ἀκούσαντες αὐτοῦ παρεκάλουν διελθεῖν σὺν αὐτοῖς εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτῶν συνκατανεύσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ οἱ Ἐφέσιοι ἔγραψαν τοῖς ἐν Κορίνθῳ μαθηταῖς ὅπως ἀποδέξωνται τὸν ἄνδρα ὃς ἐπιδημήσας εἰς τὴν Ἀχαίαν πολὺν συνεβάλλετο ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις.

Acts 18.24-26 (Latin Bezae, edited): 24 Iudaeus autem quidam nomine Apollonius natione Alexandrinus vir disertus devenit Ephesum potens in scripturis. 25 hic erat doctus in patria verbum D{omi}ni et ferbens sp{irit}u eloquebatur et docebat diligenter de Ih{es}u sciens solum baptisma Iohannis. 26 adque hic coepit cum fiducia loqui in synagoga. et cum audissent eum Aquilas et Priscilla adprehenderunt eum et diligentius ei exposuerunt viam. 27 in Aephesum autem exeuntes quidam Corinthii et audierunt eum hortantes transire cum ipsis in patria ipsorum rede unte autem eo Ephesi scripserunt qui sunt in Corintho discipulis quo modo exciperent hunc virum qui cum exibit in Achaiam multum contulit in ecclesias.

ETA: Corrected a couple of transcription errors and added verse 27, which is rather different in Bezae than in other manuscripts.
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andrewcriddle
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Re: Apollos and Alexandria

Post by andrewcriddle » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:53 pm

You can look up the Old Latin of Acts 18 here

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