Giancarlo Biguzzi, «Witnessing Two by Two in the Acts of the Apostles.», Vol. 92 (2011) 1-20
The program of Act 1,8 is carried through by the Twelve only in Jerusalem, Samaria and the Mediterranean coast, — but not «till the end of the earth». Their witness, however, is prolonged by the Seven of Jerusalem, the Five of Syrian Antioch, and the Seven companions of Paul of Act 20,4. Surprisingly, for everyone of the four groups of witnesses, the author narrates then the witnessing of only two of them. The narrative lacuna, apparently intentional since it recurs four times, allows Luke to involve the reader in reconstructing the spread of the gospel in all the directions for the remaining ten twelfths.
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WITNESSING TWO TWO ACTS APOSTLES
BY IN THE OF THE
into account the provenance of each of the Seven: Beroea and
Thessalonica (Macedonia), Derbe (Lycaonia) and the Roman pro-
vince of Asia. Other authors consider significant the number of
Paulâ€™s companions: â€œSince in Luke they are only companions,
Luke can limit this retinue to the sacred number sevenâ€ 18.
â€œ Number â€˜sevenâ€™ is the number of the fullness of the people who
bring their gifts to the Mother-Churchâ€ 19.
Whatever the ecclesial function of the Seven of Corinth may
be, it remains clear that only two of these Seven are once again
p r o t a g o n i s t s of the narration that follows. The format of
witnessing two by two, then, recurs here again, surprisingly for the
The first to reappear is Trophimus, who enters the scene when
at Jerusalem Paul is accused of defiling the temple by introducing
a person uncircumcised into the court of the sacrifices: â€œThe Jews
which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up
all the people, and laid hands on him, crying out: â€˜He has actually
brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy placeâ€™.
They had previously seen Trophimus of Ephesus with Paul in the
city, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the templeâ€
(21,27-31). The second is Aristarcus who sets sail from Caesarea
M a r i t i m a for Rome together with Paul who is in chains:
â€œ Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to
the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by
Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonicaâ€ (27,1-3).
At the end of the book, Trophimus and Aristarcus are certainly
minor protagonists, but they possibly reflect the circumstances to
which the entire story of Acts moves. Trophimus, as the figure pro-
voking the accusations levelled at Paul by the Jews at Jerusalem,
serves to remind the reader of the difficult relationship between
Paul, his Churches and the Jewish world, while Aristarcus, who
embarks together with Paul for Rome, represents for the reader the
pauline evangelisation of the Greek-Roman world. It is not inci-
HAENCHEN, The Acts of the Apostles, 583.
W. SCHMITHALS, Die Apostelgeschichte des Lukas (ZÃ¼rich 1982) 184:
â€œ ( . . . ) ist Paulus tatsÃ¤chlich mit sieben Begleitern gefahren, die als solche die
â€˜ FÃ¼lle der Heidenâ€™ (RÃ¶m. 11,25) reprÃ¤sentieren, die von der Jerusalemer
Christenheit â€˜geistliche Gabenâ€™ empfing und sich dafÃ¼r mit â€˜fleischlichen
Gaben â€™ bedankt (RÃ¶m. 15,25ff)â€.