Monday, June 11, 2012

Acts 19, Legitimacy, and Spiritual Power

Another paper, this time on an Acts narrative:



The goal of this paper is to examine Acts 19:11-20 (especially 19:13-16 – the examination of the other verses will be much more cursory) in light of its context in the larger section of 18:24-19:20 and Luke-Acts as a whole, with particular attention to the relationship between spiritual power – whether in the form of exorcism, healing, or magic – and vindication of the subject of such power or his message.  In the course of this study I will be arguing for the thesis that my chosen passage has the effect of re-enacting and re-appropriating the vindication of Jesus and his message, thereby applying this vindication to Paul and his message.[1]
To demonstrate my thesis I will first show how Paul is re-enacting Jesus’ ministry generally in 18:24-19:12.  In the next two sections of the paper, I will then show how Jesus’ vindication in Luke is re-enacted and applied to Paul as Jesus’ legitimate envoy in 19:10-16, with most of my focus being on verses 13-16.  The first of these final two sections will focus on the re-enactment of vindication in the form of both demonic testimony and contrast with other exorcists, and the second will focus on vindication in the form of superior spiritual power. 

Paul Re-enacting Jesus’ Ministry
In this section I will show the ways in which Paul seems to be re-enacting Jesus’ ministry in 18:24-19:12, which will help us to see how Paul, as re-enactor of Jesus’ ministry, can thereby receive Jesus’ vindication.  Like Jesus in Palestine, Paul is preceded in Ephesus by another; in Luke, Jesus is preceded in ministry by John the Baptist, who prepares the way for him, whereas in Acts Paul is here preceded in ministry by Apollos who, teaching accurately about Jesus just as John had done (yet without knowledge of the full truth about Jesus), prepares with his teaching for the fuller message about Jesus to be delivered by Paul.[2] 
As can be seen in Acts 18:24-28, Apollos and John are both portrayed in rather similar ways.  Both, for instance, are associated with “the way of the Lord” (τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου – Luke 3:4; Acts 18:25) and Apollos knows only John’s baptism.  And like John with Jesus, Apollos more or less falls out of the story to make way for Paul’s own ministry in Ephesus.  Apollos, like John, preaches about Jesus, whereas Paul, like Jesus, following, preaches the kingdom of God after his forerunner disappears from the scene (Acts 19:8).[3]  More parallels could be laid out,[4] but the overall effect seems to be that presenting the Apollos episode in the way that it does, and placing it where it does just before Paul’s arrival and preaching of the kingdom of God, has the effect of already inclining a reader towards seeing Paul portrayed as a true successor to Jesus in his ministry and in his message (and makes the further links in this paper to and through the Baptist material in Luke all the stronger). 
Following the material dealing with Apollos, Acts 19 begins with Paul’s arrival at Ephesus and his interaction with more people (called “disciples”) who are associated in some way with John the Baptist and his baptism.[5]  Earlier, John the Baptist and his baptism had prepared for the coming one (a form of ἔρχομαι is used in John’s speech in Luke 3:16 and Luke 7:20, as well as in Acts 19:4) who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.  This coming one, of course, was Jesus, who baptized his disciples with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 (see also Acts 1:5; 11:16; 13:24-25).[6]  So now those prepared with John’s baptism receive the Holy Spirit, Paul playing the part of Jesus as the envoy of Jesus, the one who came after John, and mediator of their Spirit baptism. 
Given the connections outlined between Paul and Jesus as successor to John the Baptist and sender of the Holy Spirit, 19:7’s mention of the number of these disciples being “about twelve” (ὡσεὶ δώδεκα) has the effect of calling to mind the original Twelve disciples called by Jesus (who themselves seem to be connected with John’s baptism in Acts 1:21-22) and the group of “about” (ὡσεὶ) one hundred twenty (Acts 1:15) who meet to reconstitute the Twelve by adding one to the Eleven[7].  Indeed, this latter scene is immediately followed by Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit upon the gathered disciples.  Contra many commentators, then, whatever the historical author’s intention, the effect of the narrative at this point, highlighting the number by setting it at the end of the scene in 19:1-7, is precisely to call to mind these other passages.  The addition of ὡσεὶ to the number in 19:7, rather than detracting from the effect (say, because that word is never applied to the number of apostles), adds to it, since the same word also appears in 1:15 (in connection with the larger group in which the apostles appear), as already stated.[8] 
The effect of saying these disciples were “about twelve” in number, then, is to further set Paul up as a successor to Jesus and also connects him further with apostles such as Peter, who themselves are portrayed as Jesus’ successors and bestowers of the Spirit by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17).  Paul is thus seen as, like the apostles, the legitimate envoy of Jesus and his message is the legitimate one as well, the source for the legitimation and full incorporation of those disciples he lays hands on.[9]  Acts 19:11-12 further links Paul both with Jesus and the apostles as he is associated with displays of spiritual power including exorcism, healing, and the passing on or application of spiritual power from his person to another via physical intermediaries, acts previously associated both with Jesus and with his legitimate envoys, the apostles (see, for instance, Luke 8:43-48; Acts 5:12-16).[10] 
Paul’s entire Ephesian ministry, indeed, can be seen as a paradigmatic fulfillment of Jesus’ mission and his preaching of the kingdom, particularly as he had passed it on to his disciples in Luke 24:46-47 and Acts 1:8 – not only are displays of spiritual power evident but it is one of Paul’s longest, most successful, most universal ministries.  Indeed, it can be seen as a culmination of Paul’s ministry thus far (and thereby a culmination of any and all various portrayals of Paul as legitimate successor or envoy of Jesus).  This ministry (Paul’s last before he goes to Jerusalem for the final time) lasts two years, including a successful three month ministry in the synagogue, where instead of the usual broad rejection he meets with large success and is not kicked out but rather moves out of his own accord when some oppose him, addressing both Jews and Gentiles in his ministry rather than turning from Jews to the Gentiles.[11]  What we have here, then, is a culmination of the various portrayals of Paul so far.
Given what we have seen so far, then, Paul is set up in 18:24-19:12 as generally re-enacting Jesus’ mission and message and is portrayed as, like the apostles before him, a legitimate envoy of Jesus.  In the following sections we will see further how this background serves to help us read 19:13-16 in particular in terms of a transference of Jesus’ vindication to Paul through the topic of spiritual power. 

Testimony and Contrast of Power
In the next two sections I will show how the theme of Paul as Jesus’ legitimate envoy is once again established in Acts 19:11-16 and how Jesus’ own vindication is applied to Paul, thus effectively demonstrating my main thesis.  In the current section I will demonstrate that the effect of 19:11-16, following as it does the previous verses (and seen in the larger context of Luke-Acts), is to display Paul as being vindicated with the vindication of Jesus by demonic testimony and by contrast with other exorcists, which is one example of the pattern posited in this paper’s thesis. 
In various places in Luke, demons recognize Jesus’ identity and power, thus vindicating his message of the kingdom of God and his person (e.g., Luke 4:31-37, 40-43).  As spiritual beings with a grasp of spiritual powers and realities, the demons provide a kind of hostile (though, paradoxically, consistently reliable) witness to Jesus in the Third Gospel.  This is re-enacted to a certain degree in Acts 19:15, where the demon answers the sons of Sceva who are attempting to cast it out, not by recognizing them but by recognizing Jesus and also Paul – that is, it recognizes Jesus, re-enacting earlier vindications, but also recognizes Jesus’ power and its presence in Paul as well (and not in the sons of Sceva).   
In contrast to the spiritual power evinced by Paul, then, including his own exorcisms, the sons of Sceva seem to be lacking – the power of Jesus present in his ministry and in his legitimate followers is not similarly present with them and thus sets Paul up as one vindicated like Jesus, with Jesus’ own vindication, in contrast with these others.  Coming right after 19:11-12 and immediately prior to the response of the burning of magical texts, it would seem that these would-be exorcists use Jesus’ name to rival Paul’s own spiritual power he had been demonstrating in Ephesus.  But instead Paul is the one who is vindicated in connection with Jesus and Jesus’ name, not them – he is the one who is vindicated through the Vindicated One.  Like the greater spiritual power evinced by Paul in contrast with the Jewish sorcerer Elymas in 13:4-12, the power of Paul in Ephesus again is in contrast, this time with these other Jewish seekers after spiritual power. 
The story similarly connects with 8:9-25, where there is a contrast between the magician Simon who covets the apostles’ spiritual power and their bestowing of the Holy Spirit and the apostles themselves (this connection works whether or not we want to call the lesser spiritual power of the sons of Sceva “magic”).  Because of the connection with Elymas and Simon, the proximity to the burning of the magical texts in the following verses – and the fact that this is a response to the current episode – suggests a formulaic usage of Jesus’ name in 19:13; an attempt, like Simon the Magician, to co-opt the spiritual power of the church which had been so apparent in Paul.[12]
The episode here thus re-enacts in these events the situational vindication of Jesus in Luke 11:19-20, where Jesus charges his opponents with inconsistency in ascribing to him illegitimate spiritual power derived from the demonic realm and yet not doing the same against certain other Jewish exorcists – despite the fact that his exorcisms and miracle working are even more unmistakably unlike magical practices than the more ambiguous exorcisms traditionally performed by Jewish exorcists.[13]  But if Jesus’ power is not demonic, his deeds are by God’s own power.  Hence, by the liberating power of God, Jesus’ kingdom message as seen throughout Luke is vindicated and the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ) – God’s eschatological power and rule which has broken proleptically into the present, constituting the sphere of God’s salvation – are present in Jesus.[14]  Thus his message of the coming kingdom in his person is vindicated and hence Jesus himself is vindicated as well. 
Here again, then, Jesus’ kingdom message, now proclaimed by Paul, is once again vindicated in the display of that liberating kingdom power by which Paul heals and casts out demons.  And because it is Paul who is the legitimate envoy of Jesus here, and is affirmed as such by the demon’s testimony as well as the deeds and words of Paul, the vindication of Jesus now applies to Paul as well.  Hence, like Jesus, demonic testimony and the contrast with other exorcists vindicates Paul.

Jesus’ Kingdom Power against the Demons
In this section, I will now show further how Acts 19:11-16, in its context, portrays that Paul’s spiritual power, greater than that of the sons of Sceva, belongs to him precisely as the kingdom power of God present in Jesus, now manifest in him on account of his being a legitimate envoy of Jesus himself.  The kingdom power present in Jesus makes him the possessor of supreme spiritual power and hence one whose power is greater than that of the demonic realm.  Hence, Paul is in this way also presented as vindicated since Jesus’ defeat of the demonic vindicates both Jesus and his message and Paul is his envoy.  Hence, again, we have an instance of the thesis presented at the beginning of this paper.
In addition to what has been shown in the previous section, Paul’s own displays of spiritual power and their contrast with the failed exorcism of the sons of Sceva also (re-)enact Jesus’ defeat of the demonic realm as discussed in Luke.  As seen in the first section of this paper, in Luke 3:16 John the Baptist, who prepares for the coming of Jesus, speaks of Jesus as the one who is coming (as discussed above).  In the same verse, however, he also speaks of Jesus as “the stronger one” (ὁ ἰσχυρότερος).  In other words, Jesus is not simply the coming one but also one with spiritual power beyond John, one who can grant the Holy Spirit.  In Luke 11:21-22, the notion of ὁ ἰσχυρότερος once again shows up, this time in the context of the defeat of a demonic tyrant, a strong one or strong man (ὁ ἰσχυρός); like the Exodus pattern found in Isaiah 49:24-26 (and 59:16-18), God’s people are rescued from an oppressive tyrant by the even more powerful divine warrior.[15]  Jesus, as the stronger one foretold and prepared for by John, is the one who defeats the powers of darkness by his more superior power – their spiritual power is no match for his, for his power is none other than that of the eschatological reign of God, God’s own kingdom. 
Additionally, Luke 11:21-22 here seems to look back not only to Luke 3:16 but also to Luke 10:17-19 – the spiritual power of Jesus is available to his envoys, whose casting out of demons by that power and in Jesus’ name amounts to the defeat of the demonic realm.  Read together with 11:21-22, the effect is that Jesus not only directly defeats the demonic with God’s power but also does so through his own chosen, legitimate envoys.[16]  Having argued in the previous verses that his defeat of the demonic is not through demonic power, Jesus affirms that it is in fact through God’s own power, which makes Jesus stronger than the demonic, that the demonic realm suffers defeat in every exorcism accomplished by him or his disciples, thus again vindicating Jesus’ message of the coming of the kingdom and its presence in him.
By contrast with Jesus and his envoys in Luke, what we have in Acts 19:13-16, as Richard I. Pervo notices, is a kind of exorcism in reverse.  In a normal exorcism the one possessed by the demon could be naked (Luke 8:27), exorcists were expected to win, and the demons were supposed to flee and the exorcists were left standing.  Instead, the exorcists are the ones left naked and fleeing and the demon is the one who wins and is left standing.[17]  The word used for the demon’s overpowering of these would-be exorcists is a verbal form of ἰσχυρός (the verb ἰσχύω), thus emphasizing that here we have one who is stronger than the sons of Sceva.  Now, Paul is already being portrayed as following after Apollos just as Jesus followed after John and the connection has already been established between the broader passage and Luke 3:16.[18]  And Luke 3:16, as we have seen, itself connects us with Luke 11, thus strengthening the link between Luke 3, Luke 11, and Acts 19.  Hence, the effect seems to be that the sons of Sceva suffer from one who is stronger than them, not being disciples of the even stronger Jesus (truly ὁ ἰσχυρότερος), whose spiritual power is capable of defeating the demon but to which these sons do not have access as they are not legitimate envoys of Jesus – even though, as sons of a Jewish “chief priest” they might otherwise seem entitled to spiritual power and authority.[19] 
In this contrast, Paul emerges as like one of the disciples from Luke 10:17-19, a disciple of the truly stronger one foretold by John the Baptist, a legitimate envoy of Jesus with access to the eschatological power of God which belongs to Jesus.  That kingdom power at work in Jesus, vindicating him and enabling him to defeat evil and hence to transfer that power and authority to his apostles, is now with Paul.  And Jesus’ vindication is once again, we see, now Paul’s own.  Jesus, in other words, is vindicated as the stronger one than the demon in this passage and Paul is thereby vindicated as his approved envoy and disciple – Jesus brings the message and power of God’s kingdom through Paul and Paul is able to bestow the Holy Spirit, do miracles, and defeat the demonic world through him, unlike the sons of Sceva.  Jesus, successor to John and stronger than demons, has sent Paul, successor to Apollos in Ephesus and servant of Jesus the stronger one.

As we have seen so far, Paul has re-enacted Jesus’ vindication by displaying the same power as Jesus and preaching the kingdom message as Jesus did, bestowing the same Spirit, being the subject of testimony by demons, comparing favorably versus other users of spiritual power, and displaying that kingdom power as supreme over all other power.  All other spiritual power is impotent in the face of the kingdom power of God present in Jesus and now manifested through Paul.  In Acts 19:17-20, in direct response to the incident with the sons of Sceva, others seem to acknowledge this greater power of Jesus (and of Paul as his envoy), burning magical texts which might otherwise be thought to be sources of spiritual power for their users.[20]  Next to Paul’s Jesus, these other sources are worthless and illegitimate. 
The Word of the Lord in 19:20 is said to be strong (again, a form of ἰσχύω), emphasizing again that true spiritual power is found in Jesus’ message and hence in Jesus.[21]  And since Paul is his legitimate envoy, it is also present in Paul’s message and in Paul as well.  Jesus is vindicated and so is Paul.  What we see in 18:18-19:20 as a whole (and as it is condensed down into 19:11-20 in particular) is that Paul does and preaches as Jesus, re-enacting Jesus’ vindication through his kingdom ministry and hence that Paul is a legitimate envoy of Jesus and thus Jesus’ vindication transfers to Paul as well.  As a culmination of Paul’s ministry prior to his final “mission” to Rome, this passage arguably thus sets the stage in Acts for the trials and questions concerning Paul and his message that will follow. 

Barrett, C. K. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume II: Introduction and Commentary on Acts XV-XXVIII.  ICC. New York: T&T Clark, 1998.
Bruce, F. F. The Book of Acts, Revised Edition. NICNT. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988.
Caragounis, Chrys C. “Kingdom of God, Son of Man, and Jesus’ Self-Understanding.” Tyndale Bulletin 40 (1989): 3-23, 223-238.
Emmrich, Martin. “The Lucan Account of the Beelzebul Controversy.” Westminster Theological Journal 62 (2000): 267-279.
Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schüssler. “Miracles, Mission, and Apologetics: An Introduction.” In Aspects of Religious Propaganda in Judaism and Early Christianity, edited by E. Schüssler Fiorenza, 1-25.  Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1976.
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. The Gospel According to Luke I-IX: Introduction, Translation, and Notes. AB. Garden City: Doubleday, 1981
_____.  The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV. AB. Garden City: Doubleday, 1985.
_____.  The Acts of the Apostles: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. AB. New York: Doubleday, 1998.
Humphries, Michael. “The Kingdom of God in the Q Version of the Beelzebul Controversy: Q 11:14-26.” Forum 9 (1993): 121-150.
Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Gospel of Luke.  SP. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1991
_____. The Acts of the Apostles. SP. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1992.
Kurz, William S. Reading Luke-Acts: Dynamics of Biblical Narrative. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox, 1993.
Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. NIGTC. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1978.
_____.  The Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction and Commentary. TNTC. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1980.
_____. Luke: Historian & Theologian, Third Edition.  New Testament Profiles. Downer’s Grove, Illinois: IVP Press, 1988
Pereira, Francis. Ephesus: Climax of Universalism in Luke-Acts: A Redaction-Critical Study of Paul’s Ephesian Ministry (Acts 18:23-20:1). Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1983.
Pervo, Richard I. Acts: A Commentary. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009.
Shauf, Scott. Theology as History, History as Theology: Paul in Ephesus in Acts 19. BZNW. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2005.
Shirock, Robert. “Whose Exorcists are They? The Referents of οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν at Matthew 12:27/Luke 11:19.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 46 (1992): 41-51.
Talbert, C. H., and J. H. Hayes. “A Theology of Sea Storms in Luke-Acts.” In Jesus and the Heritage of Israel: Luke’s Narrative Claim upon Israel’s Legacy, edited by D. P. Moessner, 267-283. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press, 1999.
Tannehill, Robert C. The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation, Volume 2: The Acts of the Apostles. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.
Witherington, Ben, III. The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998.

[1] Previous readers had trouble with my use of the term “vindication” for what is going on in this passage since vindication generally implies the existence of some opponent, whether that be a human opponent or a more metaphorical one (such as a vicious rumor).  That is, the word “vindicated” is often used to mean that someone is vindicated versus someone or something else.  We do not need to choose just one opponent for Paul here, however.  As Luke-Acts has already demonstrated, there is plenty of opposition to Jesus and his followers and to Paul in particular, both from fellow Jews and from pagans.  Paul even experiences opposition to his ministry in the form of other Christians who do not see eye-to-eye with him on the question of Gentile Christians.  Paul’s vindication here can be understood as vindication of himself and his message versus the many opponents which have shown up in Acts so far and a vindication of him against any opponents that may come against him in the final chapters of Acts, as well as any potential real-life opponents outside the text.  Slander and an unwillingness to accept Paul or his message are both shown to be in the wrong here, just as Jesus was vindicated versus his enemies and those unwilling to accept him or his message.  If a different word is sought, however, “legitimation” and its cognates could handily be used in place of “vindication” and its own cognates, if so desired.
[2] Cf. Francis Pereira, Ephesus: Climax of Universalism in Luke-Acts: A Redaction-Critical Study of Paul’s Ephesian Ministry (Acts 18:23-20:1) (Anand, India: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1983), 60-64.
[3] Pereira, Ephesus, 64.
[4] Pereira, Ephesus, 62-65.  Richard I. Pervo, Acts: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009), 470 notes also parallels between Apollos as forerunner of Paul and Stephen (and to a lesser extent, Philip) as forerunner of Peter and Paul in the Gentile mission.  Compare, for instance, Acts 6:10 and 18:25.
[5] The relation between Apollos and these disciples, their differences, which if any were already Christians, and the nature of the disciples’ puzzlement about the Holy Spirit are all contested questions that go beyond the scope of the current paper.  See C. K. Barrett, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume II: Introduction and Commentary on Acts XV-XXVIII (New York: T&T Clark, 1998), 888, 894; F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1988), 359, 363; Luke Timothy Johnson, The Acts of the Apostles (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1992), 337; I. Howard Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1980), 304, 306; Pereira, Ephesus, 56, 86-92; Scott Shauf, Theology as History, History as Theology: Paul in Ephesus in Acts 19 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2005), 107, 146-153; Robert C. Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation, Volume 2: The Acts of the Apostles (Minneapolist: Fortress Press, 1990), 232; Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998), 565, 570-571.
[6] Cf. Johnson, Acts, 332; Pervo, Acts, 470; Shauf, Theology as History, 159.
[7] That is, the original Twelve minus Judas Iscariot.
[8] Those who simply dismiss this verse as a historical footnote with no broader relevance include Barrett, Acts XV-XXVIII, 808; Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 642; Marshall, Acts, 308.  On the other side, see Johnson, Acts, 338; William S. Kurz, Reading Luke-Acts: Dynamics of Biblical Narrative (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox, 1993), 97; Pereira, Ephesus, 102-103.  Cf. Shauf, Theology as History, 159-161.
[9] Cf. Fitzmyer, Acts, 642; Shauf, History as Theology, 157.
[10] Cf. Pereira, Ephesus, 182.  Note that in the case of Acts 19:12a, Paul combines two varieties of miracles accomplished by Jesus in one kind of miracle: healing through physical intermediary and healing at a distance.  Hence, rather than going beyond Jesus or doing something radically new, it is merely a different combination of the characteristics of Christ’s miracles.
[11] See Pereira, Ephesus, 135, 148, 153; Shauf, History as Theology, 87, 124, 126, 165-168; Tannehill, Narrative Unity, 234-236.
[12] See Barrett, Acts XV-XVIII, 910-912; Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “Miracles, Mission, and Apologetics: An Introduction,” in Aspects of Religious Propaganda in Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. E. Schüssler Fiorenza (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1976), 24; Fitzmyer, Acts, 646; Marshall, Acts, 311; Pervo, Acts, 478; Shauf, Theology as History, 194-195, 199, 223; Tannehill, Narrative Unity, 237.
[13] See Chrys C. Caragounis, “Kingdom of God, Son of Man, and Jesus’ Self-Understanding,” Tyndale Bulletin 40 (1989): 229; Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV (Garden City: Doubleday, 1985), 918.  For an alternative (and less plausible) interpretation according to which these exorcists are the disciples rather than Pharisees (or some other Jews outside Jesus’ circle), see Robert Shirock, “Whose Exorcists are They? The Referents of οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν at Matthew 12:27/Luke 11:19,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 46 (1992): 41-51.  Note that this important move on Jesus’ part in no way implies or requires the acceptance of the other exorcists and their exorcisms by Jesus, contrary to the assumption of the opposite by, e.g., Michael Humphries, “The Kingdom of God in the Q Version of the Beelzebul Controversy: Q 11:14-26,” Forum 9 (1993): 132-134; Shauf, Theology as History, 195-196. 
[14] See Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke I-IX: Introduction, Translation, and Notes (Garden City: Doubleday, 1981), 154-155.  As I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1978), 198, puts it, “In Lk. the kingdom of God is his activity in bringing salvation to men and the sphere which is thereby created; God is active here and now in the ministry of Jesus and will consummate his rule in the future.”  See also I. Howard Marshall, Luke: Historian & Theologian, Third Edition (Downer’s Grove, Illinois: IVP Press, 1988), 128-136.
[15] Martin Emmrich, “The Lucan Account of the Beelzebul Controversy,” Westminster Theological Journal 62 (2000): 273; Marshall, Luke, 478.
[16] Cf. Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1991), 183.
[17] Pervo, Acts, 478.
[18] For some further links with Luke which fall outside the scope of the current paper, see C. H. Talbert and J. H. Hayes, “A Theology of Sea Storms in Luke-Acts,” in Jesus and the Heritage of Israel: Luke’s Narrative Claim upon Israel’s Legacy, ed. D. P. Moessner (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press, 1999), 281.
[19] This last point is further strengthened in that Luke 9:49-50 would seem to show that one need not even be one of Christ’s apostles or closest of disciples to legitimately cast out demons in Jesus’ name.  The sons of Sceva, thus, are cast in a decidedly negative light in comparison with Paul.
[20] Though I cannot do it here due to considerations of space, it would be interesting, given how Luke 3:16 has linked to my passage in other ways so far, to examine the potential for reading the burning of the magical texts in its context in chapter 19 in light of John’s foretold baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  It would also fall outside the scope of this paper to discuss the unique situation in Acts 19:18 where we have people confessing sin, something that does not happen often in Luke-Acts.  This issue is, after all, intertwined with the broader issue of who these people in 19:18-19 are – Christians, new Christians, or something else – and the nature of what they are doing exactly.  Since there is no universal agreement among commentators about such issues and they go beyond the scope of the current paper, I have chosen to set them aside, given my overall focus on 19:13-16.
[21] Indeed, according to Fitzmyer, Luke I-IX, 154, the kingdom of God in Luke arrives already in its proclamation by Jesus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a very helpful post, with an unique-to-me perspective on Acts 19, yet a perspective with concepts about which I had been grappling.

Thanks for doing the heavy lifting in gathering the pieces and assembling them into a most readable format.

Your thoughts will be, gratefully, shared with others in our study group.