Feb 7, 2010

Malleson on the Prohibitions in Acts 15

The paragraph below from F. A. Malleson, The Acts and Epistles of St. Paul (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1881), 197, is interesting in that they were published in 1881 but yet anticipates at least two conclusions reached by a number of modern interpreters. First, Malleson seems links the prohibitions in Acts 15:20, 29 to the issue of pagan idolatry. This is a view championed by Ben Witherington and others. Second, Malleson seems to see Law observance as still required of Jewish Christians. This position is also quite prevalent today.

“My sentence, therefore, is, that we neither trouble nor molest by harassing laws of ancient ceremonial those from among the Gentiles who are turned to God, forbearing to lay upon them a yoke which we ourselves are glad to feel removed. But that instead we write unto them to abstain from the pollutions of idol worship; from the uncleanness, and from all manner of foul iniquity, taught and practised by the priests of idolatry; and because the blood of animals is their very source and support of life, that they abstain from the strangled and bloody carcasses of the sacrifices, eating nothing from which the life-blood has not first been poured out. To the converted Jews there will be no need to read this decree, for of old time the Jews of the Dispersion, in every city of the world, hear the Law of Moses read in the synagogue every Sabbath day.”

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