The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

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The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:53 am

Acts 15.30-41 describes what happens after the Jerusalem conference:

30 So when they [= Paul, Barnabas, Judas Barsabbas, and Silas] were sent away, they went down [from Jerusalem] to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message. 33 After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out. 34 But it seemed good to Silas to remain there. 35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord. 36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

In summary:
  1. Four men go to Antioch: Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas.
  2. Judas and Silas, being prophets, deliver a lengthy message.
  3. "They" are sent away from Antioch in peace.
  4. But Silas stays.
  5. And both Paul and Barnabas stay.
  6. Paul and Barnabas disagree and break of their partnership; Barnabas leaves with John Mark.
  7. Paul selects Silas and leaves Antioch with him instead.
There an obvious question to ask here: of the four men, if Silas is staying in Antioch, and if Paul and Barnabas are staying in Antioch, who are the "they" who leave? Judas is just one person, and should not be referred to as "they". The answer is that verse 34 is a later interpolation. Not only is it weird to say, in two separate sentences, that Silas stayed in Antioch and then that Paul and Barnabas did to, and not only does this solve the problem of who the "they" are in verse 33 (they are Silas and Judas, conveniently the subjects of verse 32), but also verse 34 is absent from most of the earliest manuscripts:

omit] p74 ‭א A B E H L P Ψ 049 056 0142 18 35 43 61 69 81 93 103 104 218 228 254 319 321 330 365 398 424 451 617 629 876 1241 1448* 1505 1877 2127 2492 2495 Byz itdem ite itp vgww vgst syrp copbo Chrysostom Theophylacta WH CEI Rivtext TILC Nv NM
ἔδοξε δὲ τῷ Σιλᾷ ἐπιμεῖναι αὐτοῦ] (C αὐτοὺς) 5 6 33 36 88 (181 1875 ἐπιμένειν) 94 180 307 323 (326 441 621 1448c 1611 1642 1837 omit δὲ) 383 431 (436 αὐτοῖς) 453 467 610 614 619 623 (206 429 522 630 945 1003 1251 1490 1509 1704 1751 1831 2200 αὐτόθι) (636 omit δὲ and αὐτόθι) 808 915 1162 1175 1270 1292 1297 1409 1501 1595 1609 1678 1729 (1735 τε τὸν Σιλᾶν παραμεῖναι) 1739 1827 1842 1891 2147 2298 2344 2412 2652 2718 2774 2805 2818 l1178 l1188 itc syrh* copsa copbo(mss) arm eth geo slav Theophylactb ς [NR] ND Rivmg Dio

ἔδοξε δὲ τῷ Σιλᾷ ἐπιμεῖναι πρὸς αὐτοὺς, μόνος δὲ Ἰούδας ἐπορεύθη] p127vid (D* Σιλεᾷ and omit πρὸς) D1 itd (itar itgig itl itph itro itw vgmss vgcl ἐπιμεῖναι αὐτοῦ) (itw vgcl ἐπορεύθη εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ) Cassiodorus

D (Bezae) is highly expansionist in Acts, so it is no surprise that it would contain this verse.

However, now we have another question to answer: if verse 34 is an interpolation, and Silas has left Antioch with Judas, how can Paul have selected him at Antioch and taken him along in verse 40? This would seem to be the reason verse 34 was inserted in the first place. (One might ask the same thing about Barnabas taking along John Mark, whom we last left in Jerusalem in Acts 13.13, but at least in that case there has been a lot of intervening time and I guess we can imagine him having made his way to Antioch offstage in the meantime. In this case, we have to wonder why Silas is not described as having returned, since his departure was only a few verses ago.)

I am aware of one theory that uses this discontinuity to argue for a distinction between Acts I (before the break) and Acts II (added after the break), stages of composition in this book, on the analogy that another discontinuity between the ascension in Luke 24 (apparently on the same day as the resurrection) and that in Acts 1 (40 days later) also implies stages of composition. But is that necessary? Can it merely be sloppy writing, albeit pretty exceptionally sloppy to have lost track of the actors within a span of only a few verses? Is there another explanation? Is the comparison to the ascension discontinuity apt, or are there differences?

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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:39 am

Charles in charge! Sure that's the ticket. It's all some code for a Roman historical personage. Glad to see the forum continues to improve.

What is worth noting is that no one before Eusebius ever cites from the material immediately following Acts 15:30. Irenaeus is our sole authority on this section. It would seem highly probable that he had a hand in shaping the material. For Irenaeus 'knows' that Galatians fits in an important sequence with here. Let's not the section which has no other early attestation save for Irenaeus:
15 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

“‘After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,

17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 things known from long ago.[c]

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. [34] [d] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.

36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.


16 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.
The fact that Irenaeus is our sole authority before Eusebius to ever mention this material - and he uses the section to 'prove' the existence of Luke (which everyone else denied) makes it highly probable that the section was concocted to demonstrate that Mark was not loved by Paul (as Clement probably believed). Indeed Clement likely had a version of the text that did not have the rejection of Mark and Barnabas - two Alexandrian figures.

I think that the text was very unstable. Perhaps people added the rejection of Silas to make it seem less of a rejection of Barnabas and Mark. Whatever the case the invention of Luke is inextricably tied to this unstable section:
But that Paul acceded to [the request of] those who summoned him to the apostles, on account of the question [which had been raised], and went up to them, with Barnabas, to Jerusalem, not without reason, but that the liberty of the Gentiles might be confirmed by them, he does himself say, in the Epistle to the Galatians: "Then, fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking also Titus. But I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that Gospel which I preached among the Gentiles."(8) And again he says, "For an hour we did give place to subjection,(9) that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." If, then, any one shall, from the Acts of the Apostles, carefully scrutinize the time concerning which it is written that he went up to Jerusalem on account of the forementioned question, he will find those years mentioned by Paul coinciding with it. Thus the statement of Paul harmonizes with, and is, as it were, identical with, the testimony of Luke regarding the apostles.

But that this Luke was inseparable from Paul, and his fellow-labourer in the Gospel, he himself clearly evinces, not as a matter of boasting, but as bound to do so by the truth itself. For he says that when Barnabas, and John who was called Mark, had parted company from Paul, and sailed to Cyprus, we came to Troas; Acts 16:8, etc. and when Paul had beheld in a dream a man of Macedonia, saying, Come into Macedonia, Paul, and help us, immediately, he says, we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, understanding that the Lord had called us to preach the Gospel unto them. Therefore, sailing from Troas, we directed our ship's course towards Samothracia. And then he carefully indicates all the rest of their journey as far as Philippi, and how they delivered their first address: for, sitting down, he says, we spoke unto the women who had assembled; Acts 16:13 and certain believed, even a great many. And again does he say, But we sailed from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to Troas, where we abode seven days.
The implication seems to be that Silas never left Paul. What is interesting is that Irenaeus also takes the details of the letter to the Galatians to have taken place in this juncture too.
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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:50 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:In summary:
  1. ...
  2. "They" are sent away from Antioch in peace.
  3. But Silas stays.
  4. And both Paul and Barnabas stay.
    ...
There an obvious question to ask here: of the four men, if Silas is staying in Antioch, and if Paul and Barnabas are staying in Antioch, who are the "they" who leave? Judas is just one person, and should not be referred to as "they".
An interesting problem :)

I'm not completely sure that "sent away" has the meaning of "leave". Do you think it could also has the meaning of "release from their (Judas and Silas) official mission as apostles"?

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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:02 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:I'm not completely sure that "sent away" has the meaning of "leave". Do you think it could also have the meaning of "release from their (Judas and Silas) official mission as apostles"?
Interesting idea. It does not seem to have occurred to the archetype behind Bezae and its allies, but the word is certainly not just about simple movement.
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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:44 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:Interesting idea. It does not seem to have occurred to the archetype behind Bezae and its allies, but the word is certainly not just about simple movement.
Agreed.

I think the roles here are
Paul and Barnabas - church of Antioch
Judas and Silas - church of Jerusalem

the official mission for Judas and Silas
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send (πέμψαι) them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,
the farewell in Jerusalem
30 So when they were sent off (ἀπολυθέντες), they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.
the farewell in Antioch
33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off (ἀπελύθησαν) in peace by the brothers to those who had sent (ἀποστείλαντας) them
I think it is not completely clear, but the best choice may be that "they" in verse 33 are just Judas and Silas (contrary to verse 30)

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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:55 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Ben C. Smith wrote:Interesting idea. It does not seem to have occurred to the archetype behind Bezae and its allies, but the word is certainly not just about simple movement.
Agreed.

I think the roles here are
Paul and Barnabas - church of Antioch
Judas and Silas - church of Jerusalem

the official mission for Judas and Silas
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send (πέμψαι) them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,
the farewell in Jerusalem
30 So when they were sent off (ἀπολυθέντες), they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.
the farewell in Antioch
33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off (ἀπελύθησαν) in peace by the brothers to those who had sent (ἀποστείλαντας) them
I think it is not completely clear, but the best choice may be that "they" in verse 33 are just Judas and Silas (contrary to verse 30)
Thanks. I will put some more thought into this.
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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:23 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote: I think the roles here are
Paul and Barnabas - church of Antioch
Judas and Silas - church of Jerusalem

the official mission for Judas and Silas
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send (πέμψαι) them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,
the farewell in Jerusalem
30 So when they were sent off (ἀπολυθέντες), they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.
the farewell in Antioch
33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off (ἀπελύθησαν) in peace by the brothers to those who had sent (ἀποστείλαντας) them
I think it is not completely clear, but the best choice may be that "they" in verse 33 are just Judas and Silas (contrary to verse 30)
KK-
A few years ago, you could have been driving around Dallas, Texas, listening to Sports Radio Stations. You could have heard the following:
"Dallas HAS the ball!!!"
<<Change Stations>>
"Dallas HAVE the ball!!!"

"Huh?!?? Wha...?"

How could both sentences have been correct? "Dallas" is a large city with several Sports Franchises named "Dallas _________", in one case, the "Dallas Cowboys" (National Football League, American Football) and in the other, the "Dallas Tornado" (North American Soccer League). Using American English* (sic), the proper usage would be "Dallas (It) has the ball". In a nod to British English, the Soccer Folks say, "Dallas (They) have the ball."

How are the Uniplurals handled in Latin? Greek? Aramaic/Hebrew? I'm not even sure it is a significant question. Teeple Deconstructed GJohn on the basis of the Definite Article attached to names in some cases but not in others. If a Latinized thinker is writing in Greek and there is a difference in Uniplurals, he might get confused if "Silas" is a label for a group instead of a name of the person Silas.

What say ye?

Thnx,

CW
* We are fast approaching the end of "American English". In several places, the Courts have "Translators" who translate Dialects between witnesses from the same neighborhood. What does "Pooney sayz dun bleezuhl" mean? Not one word means what it appears to mean in any place or position in the sentence. Spelin' is taught by the "Look, See, Guess" method with no right or wrong answer. Certificates of Participation for everyone...

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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:52 pm

Charles Wilson wrote:... he might get confused if "Silas" is a label for a group instead of a name of the person Silas.

What say ye?
If this is the case the label of the group would be in verse 33 "Judas Barsabbas" :cheers:

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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:25 pm

Secret Alias wrote: makes it highly probable that the section was concocted to demonstrate that Mark was not loved by Paul (as Clement probably believed). Indeed Clement likely had a version of the text that did not have the rejection of Mark and Barnabas - two Alexandrian figures.

I think that the text was very unstable. Perhaps people added the rejection of Silas to make it seem less of a rejection of Barnabas and Mark. Whatever the case the invention of Luke is inextricably tied to this unstable section:
...
The implication seems to be that Silas never left Paul. What is interesting is that Irenaeus also takes the details of the letter to the Galatians to have taken place in this juncture too.
I mostly agree. It may be interesting to note the "career" of Mark and Silvanus, both from the Pauline camp, in Acts and 1 Peter.

Their names are slightly changed in Acts (John Mark and Silas) and at the end they are (with their real names) in the Petrine camp.
1 Peter 5:12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son.
It would be good to know more about Silvanus (Do not call this brave man "Silas"! ;) )

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Re: The discontinuity at Acts 15.34.

Post by rakovsky » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:03 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:Acts 15.30-41 describes what happens after the Jerusalem conference:

30 So when they [= Paul, Barnabas, Judas Barsabbas, and Silas] were sent away, they went down [from Jerusalem] to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message. 33 After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out. 34 But it seemed good to Silas to remain there. 35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord. 36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

In summary:
  1. Four men go to Antioch: Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas.
  2. Judas and Silas, being prophets, deliver a lengthy message.
  3. "They" are sent away from Antioch in peace.
  4. But Silas stays.
  5. And both Paul and Barnabas stay.
  6. Paul and Barnabas disagree and break of their partnership; Barnabas leaves with John Mark.
  7. Paul selects Silas and leaves Antioch with him instead.
There an obvious question to ask here: of the four men, if Silas is staying in Antioch, and if Paul and Barnabas are staying in Antioch, who are the "they" who leave? Judas is just one person, and should not be referred to as "they".
For what it's worth, Ben I don't find it a contradiction here:
"33 After they had spent time there, they were sent away from the brethren in peace to those who had sent them out. 34 But it seemed good to Silas to remain there."

By comparison, if I said: "I sent my friends Chris and Carl away, but Carl decided to stay regardless of my instruction", I don't find an inherent contradiction.
I can "send a letter to Mars", but it doesn't mean that my letter is going to get very far, even beyond the town post office. Such a letter would "remain in the town".


I am not arguing whether or not this is an interpolation, just that conceptually I don't find it necessarily one. What I get from that is that Paul sent Silas away, but Silas didn't listen to Paul and stayed.

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