Jun 5, 2010

Some Problems With Identifying the Apostolic Prohibitions With Leviticus 17-18

Many New Testament interpreters identify the prohibitions in the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25) with Leviticus 17-18. But this identification is not without significant difficulty. As Mark Seifrid notes:

"It is unlikely that the Decree is directly connected to Lev. 17–18, the Noachian commandments, or the
bXwt rg (a Gentile who is not a proselyte). The most serious difficulty in connecting the Decree with Lev. 17–18 is that the term prosh,lutoj had undergone a shift in meaning which is manifest even in the LXX translation. By the first century, prosh,lutoj , by which the foreigner is designated in Lev. 17–18 (LXX) would be understood to refer to a full proselyte, not to a sojourner within Israel. Wilson [Luke and the Law, 86] also points out that the connection of pnikto,j with Lev. 17–18 is “by any reckoning extremely obscure.” There is no evidence that first-century Judaism made Lev. 17–18 a part of its requirements for either proselytes or godfearers.”

Mark A. Seifrid, “Jesus and the Law in Acts.”
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (1987): 49.

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