Friday, February 01, 2008

Acts 1:8

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth"

For those of us in Pentecostal circles, Acts 1:8 is an important verse. It occurred to me today that Samaria, the capital of the old northern kingdom, could perhaps be understood as symbolic of the ten lost tribes in Acts.* After all, 'Jerusalem and all Judea' likely indicates the southern kingdom of Judah, and 'the ends of the earth' is an appropriate Gentilic scope of view that comes into sight, in the Prophets, only after the twelve tribes are restored.

Add to this Richard Bauckham's fascinating analysis of the significance of the nations mentioned at Pentecost in Acts 2:9-11 (cf. Bauckham, "The Restoration of Israel in Luke-Acts." In Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish and Christian Perspectives, edited by James M. Scott, 435–487. Leiden: Brill, 2001).

* My friend, Steve Walton, tells me that there is a discussion about this in Samkutty, Vanmelitharayil J., The Samaritan mission in Acts, London: T & T Clark, 2006


At 2/01/2008 2:50 AM, Anonymous J. B. Hood said...

Hey CT, has The Samaritan mission in Acts available for searching. Hook yourself up.

At 2/01/2008 2:57 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Robinson said...

Am i right in thinking that the Samaritans as well as adopting the religion (pentatuech) would also have interbred with what remnant of the 10 tribes there was left in that vicinity? In that sense they really were the Ten tribes, but in an ethnically as well as religiously diluted way, which was why the Judeans loked down on them so much?

At 2/02/2008 6:30 AM, Anonymous Jeremy Priest said...

I should have mentioned David Ravens' monograph, Luke and the Restoration of Israel , when we were having the discussion around Jesus' reconstituting the 12 Tribes.
He asserts that "Luke firmly believed that God's restoration was an ongoing process and one that will result in Israel having the unity it once possessed under David, prior to the separation into two kingdoms."
As far as the Samaritans, he reports that the community around Mt. Gerizim "claimed to be descended from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Levi and that it worshipped Yahweh at what had always been the true Israelite sanctuary." He also points to the division in the North over the shrine that Eli founded in Shiloh to rival the temple on Mt. Gerisim (cf. 74-5). It would seem from John 4.20 that this was one of the central issues.
The Shiloh incident may indicate further divisions among the Northerners. If that's the case it seems to follow that speaking with any precision of the 10 Northern Tribes as a unity to be found in the Samaritans would be difficult to maintain.
Just some thoughts, though I'm sure someone has done some work on this.

At 2/02/2008 6:37 AM, Anonymous Jeremy Priest said...

Ravens' monograph is part of the JSNTSups, where Bauckham, Dunn, and C.A. Evans (among others) sit on the Editorial Board.

At 2/02/2008 1:30 PM, Anonymous Ben Byerly said...

"If Samaria . . . could perhaps be understood as symbolic of the ten lost tribes in Acts." David Pao Acts and the Isainic New Exodus (2002) certainly thinks so. He calls them theopolitical terms and points out that Judea and Samaria are also placed together in 8:1 for similar ends. (p.127-129).

He also wonders with Ravens (previous comments)if the summary statement in 9:31a that "the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace" is intended to signify the healing of the divided kingdom in this new era of salvation."

Pao points to Jervell "The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel: The Understanding of the Samaritans in Luke-Acts" pages 113-132 in Luke and the People of God. Jervell certainly believes that Samaritans are considered Jews by Luke.

Fuller, The Restoration of Israel: Israel's Regathering and the Fate of the Nations in Early jewish Literature and Luke-Acts (BZNW 138, 2006) doesn't seem to treat the Samaritans at all (unless I just missed it). He does however have several pages discussing "the 12" from your earlier post and discussion. Add Jervell's "The Twelve on Israel's Thrones" chapter in Luke and the People of God to your bibliography for that discussion too.

At 2/03/2008 1:09 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Superb, thanks for your comments guys. Great list of reading material. Danke.

With a simple "yes" or "no", where any of you you convinced by the linkage between Samarian and the lost tribes of the northern kingdom?

At 2/03/2008 5:58 AM, Anonymous Jeremy Priest said...

Yes, I think that's what Luke is doing with Samaria in this passage. Certainly, it's part of the plan regarding "restoring the kingdom to Israel," as the apostles' question suggests: Judea and Samaria are the essential parts of the old Davidic unified kingdom!

Yet, the kingdom has already arrived in Jesus: the disciples will witness to kingdom through their witness to her king.


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