In my next post I will be staking stake out the “negative” side on the debate I had with myself in class, arguing against the resolution, Resolved: The Book of Acts is Historically Reliable. I have already made the affirmative case; in the negative I will argue that the book is not reliable (that first speech was a set speech, prepared without reference to anything the affirmative side said). I will then give a negative refutation of the affirmative’s first speech, and I will end with an affirmative rebuttal of the negative’s two speeches.
Before I do all that, however, I need to take a time-out and explain one negative counter-argument that would take too much space if it were simply part of a longer post laying out the negative position.
The affirmative side in the debate argued that based on archaeological evidence Luke can be shown to have presented accurately the laws, custom, and geography mentioned or alluded to in the book of Acts: there really was an Areopagus where philosophers gathered, as mentioned in Acts 17; Thessolonica really did have local rulers called politarchs; Lystra really did have a temple of Zeus located outside its city walls. That all sounds very impressive in the abstract, that Luke’s account can be and has been verified by significant archaeological discoveries. The negative side of the debate, however, maintains that this information is completely irrelevant to the issue.
The reason is this:
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