I will be dealing with three very different questions this week in my Weekly Readers’ Mailbag: why does the book of Acts not narrate the deaths of Peter and Paul; what is the difference between the Day of Atonement and the Passover; and how I dealt with discrepancies and contradictions when I was an evangelical Christian in college. If you have any questions for me to address, pass them along!
If Acts was written after 75 CE why do you think Acts doesn’t contain details of Paul’s and Peter’s deaths?
I get asked this question a lot – maybe five times this month! I’m not sure why. But it’s something people seem to be interested in, and in part that’s because some conservative evangelical scholars want to claim that Acts was written before Paul’s death in around 64 CE (since otherwise the author would “surely” have narrated his death), and that therefore Luke’s Gospel (written by the same author) was written before then, so that both Luke and Acts are nearer to the times they describe and that they therefore (so it is assumed, by implication) are more likely to be historically accurate.
That final assumption doesn’t work for me. Just because an account is only, say thirty years removed from an event rather than, say, fifty years, doesn’t make it accurate. You have to evaluate it critically in order to *see* if it is accurate — even if it was written the very next day!
In any event, what about the specific question? If Acts was written around the year 85 or so, why wouldn’t it include an account of Paul’s and Peter’s deaths? Here I think there is a very good and straightforward answer. The entire point of the book of Acts is …
THE REST OF THIS POST IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY. If you don’t belong yet, JOIN UP!! It costs little and gives a lot. And every penny goes to charity!