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 {And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers
encountered him} (	ines de kai t(936e) Epikouri(936e) kai St(9369)k(936e)
philosoph(936e) suneballon aut(9369)). Imperfect active of sunball(935c),
old verb, in the N.T. only by Luke, to bring or put together in
one's mind ( Lu 2:19 ), to meet together ( Ac 20:14 ), to bring
together aid ( 18:27 ), to confer or converse or dispute as here
and already  4:15  which see. These professional philosophers
were always ready for an argument and so they frequented the
agora for that purpose. Luke uses one article and so groups the
two sects together in their attitude toward Paul, but they were
very different in fact. Both sects were eager for argument and
both had disdain for Paul, but they were the two rival practical
philosophies of the day, succeeding the more abstruse theories of
Plato and Aristotle. Socrates had turned men's thought inward
(Gn(9374)hi Seauton, Know Thyself) away from the mere study of
physics. Plato followed with a profound development of the inner
self (metaphysics). Aristotle with his cyclopaedic grasp sought
to unify and relate both physics and metaphysics. Both Zeno and
Epicurus (340-272 B.C.) took a more practical turn in all this
intellectual turmoil and raised the issues of everyday life. Zeno
(360-260 B.C.) taught in the Stoa (Porch) and so his teaching
was called Stoicism. He advanced many noble ideas that found
their chief illustration in the Roman philosophers (Seneca,
Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius). He taught self-mastery and hardness
with an austerity that ministered to pride or suicide in case of
failure, a distinctly selfish and unloving view of life and with
a pantheistic philosophy. Epicurus considered practical atheism
the true view of the universe and denied a future life and
claimed pleasure as the chief thing to be gotten out of life. He
did not deny the existence of gods, but regarded them as
unconcerned with the life of men. The Stoics called Epicurus an
atheist. Lucretius and Horace give the Epicurean view of life in
their great poems. This low view of life led to sensualism and
does today, for both Stoicism and Epicureanism are widely
influential with people now. "Eat and drink for tomorrow we die,"
they preached. Paul had doubtless become acquainted with both of
these philosophies for they were widely prevalent over the world.
Here he confronts them in their very home. He is challenged by
past-masters in the art of appealing to the senses, men as
skilled in their dialectic as the Pharisaic rabbis with whom Paul
had been trained and whose subtleties he had learned how to
expose. But, so far as we know, this is a new experience for Paul
to have a public dispute with these philosophical experts who had
a natural contempt for all Jews and for rabbis in particular,
though they found Paul a new type at any rate and so with some
interest in him. "In Epicureanism, it was man's sensual nature
which arrayed itself against the claims of the gospel; in
Stoicism it was his self-righteousness and pride of intellect"
(Hackett). Knowling calls the Stoic the Pharisee of philosophy
and the Epicurean the Sadducee of philosophy. Socrates in this
very agora used to try to interest the passers-by in some desire
for better things. That was 450 years before Paul is challenged
by these superficial sophistical Epicureans and Stoics. It is
doubtful if Paul had ever met a more difficult situation. {What
would this babbler say?} (Ti an theloi ho spermologos houtos
legein?). The word for "babbler" means "seed-picker" or picker
up of seeds (sperma, seed, leg(935c), to collect) like a bird in
the agora hopping about after chance seeds. Plutarch applies the
word to crows that pick up grain in the fields. Demosthenes
called Aeschines a spermologos. Eustathius uses it of a man
hanging around in the markets picking up scraps of food that fell
from the carts and so also of mere rhetoricians and plagiarists
who picked up scraps of wisdom from others. Ramsay considers it
here a piece of Athenian slang used to describe the picture of
Paul seen by these philosophers who use it, for not all of them
had it ("some," 	ines). Note the use of an and the present
active optative 	heloi, conclusion of a fourth-class condition
in a rhetorical question (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1021). It
means, What would this picker up of seeds wish to say, if he
should get off an idea? It is a contemptuous tone of supreme
ridicule and doubtless Paul heard this comment. Probably the
Epicureans made this sneer that Paul was a charlatan or quack.
{Other some} (hoi de). But others, in contrast with the "some"
just before. Perhaps the Stoics take this more serious view of
Paul. {He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods} (zen(936e)
daimoni(936e) dokei kataggeleus einai). This view is put cautiously
by dokei (seems). Kataggeleus does not occur in the old
Greek, though in ecclesiastical writers, but Deissmann (_Light
from the Ancient East_, p. 99) gives an example of the word "on a
marble stele recording a decree of the Mitylenaens in honour of
the Emperor Augustus," where it is the herald of the games. Here
alone in the N.T. Daimonion is used in the old Greek sense of
deity or divinity whether good or bad, not in the N.T. sense of
demons. Both this word and kataggeleus are used from the
Athenian standpoint. Xenos is an old word for a guest-friend
(Latin _hospes_) and then host ( Ro 16:23 ), then for foreigner
or stranger ( Mt 25:31  Ac 17:21 ), new and so strange as here
and  Heb 13:9  1Pe 4:12 , and then aliens ( Eph 2:12 ). This view
of Paul is the first count against Socrates: Socrates does wrong,
introducing new deities (adikei S(936b)rat(8873), kaina daimonia
eispher(936e), Xen. _Mem_. I). On this charge the Athenians voted
the hemlock for their greatest citizen. What will they do to
Paul? This Athens was more sceptical and more tolerant than the
old Athens. But Roman law did not allow the introduction of a new
religion (_religio illicita_). Paul was walking on thin ice
though he was the real master philosopher and these Epicureans
and Stoics were quacks. Paul had the only true philosophy of the
universe and life with Jesus Christ as the centre ( Col
1:12-20 ), the greatest of all philosophers as Ramsay justly
terms him. But these men are mocking him. {Because he preached
Jesus and the resurrection} (hoti ton I(8873)oun kai t(886e) anastasin
eu(8867)gelizato). Reason for the view just stated. Imperfect middle
indicative of euaggeliz(935c), to "gospelize." Apparently these
critics considered anastasis (Resurrection) another deity on a
par with Jesus. The Athenians worshipped all sorts of abstract
truths and virtues and they misunderstood Paul on this subject.
They will leave him as soon as he mentions the resurrection
(verse  32 ). It is objected that Luke would not use the word in
this sense here for his readers would not under stand him. But
Luke is describing the misapprehension of this group of
philosophers and this interpretation fits in precisely.

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