Friday, June 15, 2007

The Book of Acts - peer review

From here.
In his life Sir William Ramsay did extensive archaeological work in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Entering into this work he was an unbeliever who was thoroughly convinced that the book of Acts was the product of the 2nd Century (a theory taught in the German schools of higher criticism). As a matter of fact, one of his goals was to prove that the history given by Luke was inaccurate. However, his beliefs were drastically changed as his archaeological finds proved that the book of Acts was accurate to the minutest detail. As a result Sir William Ramsay became a Christian. He writes:

I may fairly claim to have entered on this investigation without prejudice in favour of the conclusion which I shall now seek to justify to the reader. On the contrary, I began with a mind unfavorable to it...but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth. In fact, beginning with a fixed idea that the work was essentially a second century composition, and never relying on its evidence as trustworthy for first century conditions, I gradually came to find it a useful ally in some obscure and difficult investigations. (W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1951), pp. 7-8.)

Luke is a historian of first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy...this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. (W. M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953), p. 222.)