Barnabas and the split with Paul – an Excerpt from Acts, Volume 3

The following is an excerpt from Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 3, by Craig Keener.


Cover ArtGiven our evidence for Paul’s later reconciliation with Mark (Phlm 24; Col 4:10) and appreciation of Barnabas (1 Cor 9:6), either this separation did not lead to enmity or relations were later reconciled (whether in person or by letter).

….Luke does not provide us this information, however, because his interests lie elsewhere. Luke thus is certainly not “covering up” for Paul; he may well have known of the reconciliation (especially since he ends up in Rome himself, Acts 28:16; and this was where Mark joined Paul, Phlm 24). Because it is not his focus, he does not revisit their reconciliation, though one topic that interested some ancient writers was notable reconciliation between famous men (Aul. Gel. 12.8).

Although Luke tells us no more about Barnabas (his focus being Paul), later legends filled in Barnabas’s story, many or all of them fancifully. The fullest source, Acts of Barnabas, is from the fifth or sixth century C.E. In it, Barnabas ordained as Cyprus’s bishop one Heracleides, who had spent time with Paul at Kition (Latin, Citium); given that such bishops probably do not predate Ignatius by many decades, this tradition is likely false, though Heracleides may have been an early bishop. The legend claims that Barnabas carried an early gospel from Matthew (on the basis of Papias’s tradition that Matthew wrote first).He confronted Bar-Jesus again, through whose instigation Cyprian Jews burned Barnabas alive in the hippodrome; Mark then went on to Alexandria (the last claim according with earlier tradition).

Tradition also claims that in 478 C.E. Barnabas’s tomb was revealed through a dream to Cyprus’s bishop, Anthemius; Barnabas was supposedly still holding Matthew’s Gospel. Some earlier traditions claim that Barnabas authored Hebrews. What is relevant for the text of Acts is that revisiting the churches was originally Barnabas’s plan (15:36); Barnabas chose to revisit those in Cyprus with Mark (who had remained with them during their Cyprus mission), leaving Paul to deal with southern Asia Minor.

©2014 by Craig Keener. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on Acts: An Exegetical Commentary,Volume 3, click here.

Turning South – an Excerpt from From Every Tribe and Nation

The following is an excerpt from From Every Tribe and Nation, by Mark Noll.


Cover ArtThose of us who have been trained as students of Western Christian or North American religious history must make a major intellectual adjustment when turning south.

….North America, in the main, would be Protestant, of a strongly Dissenting influence, and it would rely largely on voluntary organization; Latin America was Catholic and of a strongly integralist hue that strove toward an ideal of social-cultural unity.

North American colonists mostly wiped out or isolated native populations as they went about replanting European Christianity; Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America largely absorbed the native populations and tolerated a syncretism of native religions and European Christianity.

North American religion accepted (relatively quickly) intra-Protestant diversity and showed how lay religious initiative could create the mediating institutions of civil society; Latin America witnessed a stronger Catholic homogeneity than anywhere else in the world during the early modern period and (for its first centuries) a social order organized by crown and cross from the top down.

North America moved rapidly, if also with considerable friction, toward what became the separation of church and state; in Latin America the early arrangement whereby the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs received nearly carte blanche to organize the church (called Patronato or Padroado Real) encouraged much more authoritarian assumptions about connections between church and state.

In North America the usual Christian leaders were married pastors exerting limited authority in settled communities with many other centers of cultural power; in Latin America celibate leaders of religious orders exercising broad powers over native and mixed European-Indian communities competed with viceroys and colonial officials for cultural power.

Perhaps most importantly, North American religious history has always been marked by forces of Christianity and forces of political liberalism moving in roughly the same direction (though more obviously in the Thirteen Colonies/United States than in British North America/Canada); in Latin America the forces of Christianity and political liberalism have been mostly opposed.

©2014 by Mark A. Noll. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on From Every Tribe and Nation, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 17, 2014

Lawrence Osborn, at Theosblog, reviewed Basil of Caesarea by Stephen Hildebrand. "Basil of Caesarea was one of the key theologians of the early Church. As such, he is well known to contemporary students of theology, but often only in a fragmentary … [Continue reading]

New Release: From Every Tribe and Nation

Christianity's demographics, vitality, and influence have tipped markedly toward the global South and East. Addressing this seismic shift, one of America's leading church historians shows how studying world Christianity changed and enriched his … [Continue reading]

Bonhoeffer’s First Theses on Youth Work – an Excerpt from Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker

The following is an excerpt from Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, by Andrew Root. ——– "Since the days of the youth movement, church youth work has often lacked that element of Christian sobriety that alone might enable it to recognize that the spirit of … [Continue reading]

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 10, 2014

Edith Humphrey, author of Scripture and Tradition and Grand Entrance, was interviewed by Alvin Rapien at The Poor In Spirit. "Many people believe that tradition is stultifying and repressive, where it is the living experience of the Church. Also, … [Continue reading]

New Release: Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker

The youth ministry focus of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life is often forgotten or overlooked, even though he did much work with young people and wrote a number of papers, sermons, and addresses about or for the youth of the church. However, youth ministry … [Continue reading]

Bryan Litfin: “Why I Wrote Early Christian Martyr Stories

“Why I Wrote Early Christian Martyr Stories” by, Bryan Litfin In a time when beheadings of Christians have been making international headlines, a book on martyrdom needs no elaborate justification. The fact of Christian persecution is just as real … [Continue reading]

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 3, 2014

At Books & Culture, Brett Beasley reviewed Robert Johnston’s forthcoming book God's Wider Presence. Johnston succeeds in carefully analyzing our transcendent experiences while preserving their unpredictability. He shows that, while we can … [Continue reading]

The Edict of Milan – an Excerpt from Early Christian Martyr Stories

The following is an excerpt from Early Christian Martyr Stories, by Bryan Litfin. ——– When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I, Licinius Augustus, met on a happy occasion at Milan, we took the opportunity to consider everything that related to … [Continue reading]