3. The Crusade In Achaia (17:16-18:18)
a. At Athens (17:16-34)
17:16. The glory of Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries b.c. was fading in Paul's day and even Athens, the proud center of Hellenism, was past its bloom. Even so, it was still a vital cultural center with a world-famous university. Many of its famous buildings were built during the days of its leader Pericles (461-429 b.c.). Beautiful as were the architecture and art forms, Paul could not enjoy them because he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. The art of Athens was a reflection of its worship. The intellectual capital of the world was producing idolatry.
17:17. In this city Paul waged spiritual warfare on two fronts, the synagogue and the marketplace. In the synagogue he no doubt used his normal approach, proving from the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah (cf. vv. 2-3). In that synagogue were Jews and God-fearing Gentiles (cf. v. 4). In the marketplace (agora, the center of civic life) where philosophers debated and presented their views, Paul reasoned... with those who happened to be there.
17:18. The primary antagonists of Paul in the agora were the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. The Epicureans, who followed Epicurus (341-270 b.c.), said the chief end of man was pleasure and happiness. This pleasure, they believed, is attained by avoiding excesses and the fear of death, by seeking tranquility and freedom from pain, and by loving mankind. They believed that if gods exist they do not become involved in human events.
The Stoics, on the other hand, were followers of Zeno (ca. 320-ca. 250 b.c.) and got their name from the painted portico or stoa, where he traditionally taught in Athens. Pantheistic in their view, they felt a great "Purpose" was directing history. Man's responsibility was to fit himself and align himself with this Purpose through tragedy and triumph. Quite obviously this outlook, while it produced certain noble qualities, also resulted in inordinate pride and self-sufficiency.
When these philosophers encountered Paul, they began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, What is this babbler trying to say? "Dispute" is syneballon (lit., "to throw with," i.e., to toss ideas back and forth). This differs slightly from what Paul did in the synagogues. There he reasoned (dielegeto, "discussed, conversed," v. 17; cf. the same word in v. 2; 18:4, 19; 19:8). The word translated "babbler" is spermologos (lit., "seed-picker"). It described someone who, like a bird picking up seeds, took some learning here and some there and then passed it off as his own. Others remarked, He seems to be advocating foreign gods. This response was due to their inability to grasp Paul's doctrine of Christ and the Resurrection; it was totally foreign to their thinking (cf. 17:31-32).
17:19-21. Areopagus, literally, "Hill of Ares," was the meeting place of the Council of the Areopagus, the supreme body for judicial and legislative matters in Athens. In the Apostolic Age its power had been reduced to oversight over religion and education.
There is some question as to where this council met in Paul's time. Some think it met on the traditional Mars Hill behind the agora and immediately west of the Acropolis. Others say it met in the Stoa Basileios, a building in the agora. The council wanted to know about Paul's new teaching, which was strange to their ears. In Athens, the ancient world's intellectual center, the Athenians and foreign residents loved to debate the latest ideas. This openness gave Paul an opportunity to preach his message.
17:22. Beginning with this verse (and continuing through v. 31) is another of Paul's "sample sermons" (cf. 13:16-41; 14:15-18; 20:18-35). This one shows how Paul addressed intellectual pagans. The thrust of his message is clear: the Creator God, who has revealed Himself in Creation, has now commanded all to repent, for everyone must give an account to Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead.
Paul's discourse includes three parts: (a) the introduction (17:22-23), (b) the unknown God (vv. 24-29), and (c) the message from God (vv. 30-31).
Paul began wisely by acknowledging they were very religious. These two words translate the Greek deisidaimonesterous from deidō ("to fear or revere"), daimōn ("deities, evil spirits"), and stereos ("firm, hard"). The idea is that the Athenians were firm and rigid in their reverencing of their deities. This was a carefully chosen word. Hearing it, the men of Athens would have thought of their deities or gods. But Paul subtly implied that their deities were evil spirits or demons, not gods. Behind idols are demons (cf. comments on 16:16).
17:23. The Athenians, who feared they might overlook venerating some deity they did not know about, dedicated an altar TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. When Paul referred to this, he did not emphasize the altar but their ignorance of the true God.
17:24. Because God made everything, He is supreme over all—the Lord of heaven and earth (cf. 14:15; cf. Ps. 24:1). Such a great God does not live in humanly constructed temples, as the Athenians assumed their Greek gods did (cf. Stephen's words in Acts 7:48-50).
17:25. God is above human temples, but He is also self-sufficient and is not sustained by human provisions. This truth would appeal to the Epicureans who believed that what god or gods existed were above human events.
The last part of the verse, dealing with God's providing people with life (cf. v. 28) and material needs (cf. 14:17), suited the Stoic philosophy of aligning their lives with the "Purpose" of the Cosmos. Paul was thus beginning where his listeners were and was leading them from their inadequate concepts of the truth.
17:26. From one man refers back to Adam. This would be a blow to Athenian pride; they were sourced in the same original Creation as everyone else! One purpose of this Creation was to populate the planet (Gen. 1:28).
This sovereign God has omnipotently decreed the history (the times) and boundaries (the exact places) for the nations (cf. Deut. 32:8). Greece was not the only nation on earth!
17:27. One of God's purposes in revealing Himself in Creation and history is that people would seek Him (cf. Rom. 1:19-20). Though sovereign (Acts 17:24), He is also immanent and not so far removed that He cannot be found.
17:28. To buttress his point Paul apparently quoted from Epimenides, the Cretan poet (whom Paul also quoted later in Titus 1:12): For in Him we live (cf. Acts 17:25), and move, and have our being. Also Paul quoted the poet Aratus, from Paul's homeland Cilicia: We are His offspring. This second quotation was from Aratus' work Phainomena. All people—Athenians along with all others—are God's offspring, not in the sense that they are all His redeemed children or in the sense that they all possess an element of deity, but in the sense that they are created by God and receive their very life and breath from Him (v. 25). The Athenians' very creation and continued existence depended on this one God whom they did not know! No such claim could ever be made of any of the scores of false gods worshiped by the Greeks.
17:29. The conclusion is inevitable: since humans have been created by God, the divine Being, He cannot possibly be in the form of an idol, an image conceived and constructed by man (cf. Rom. 1:22-23). ("Divine being" translates theion, lit., "divine nature," used frequently in classical Gr., but in the NT only here and in 2 Peter 1:3-4). This would be a revolutionary concept to the Athenians, whose city was "full of idols" (Acts 17:16) and "objects of worship" (v. 23).
17:30. God overlooked human ignorance revealed in idol-making, that is, He was patient. Though people are under His wrath (Rom. 1:18) and are without excuse because of natural revelation (Rom. 1:19-20), God "in His forbearance (anochē, 'holding back, delay') left the sins committed beforehand unpunished" (Rom. 3:25). This parallels Acts 14:16, "In the past, He let all nations go their way" (cf. comments there). All through time the Gentiles were responsible for the general revelation given to them; now with the worldwide proclamation of the gospel, the Gentiles are also responsible to special revelation. That response is to obey God's command to repent of their sins.
17:31. At this point Paul introduced a distinctively Christian viewpoint. His reference to the Man clearly looks to Daniel 7:13-14 which speaks of the Son of Man. This One, appointed by God the Father, will judge the world with justice (cf. John 5:22). The authentication of Christ's person and work was His resurrection. Here again the resurrection of Jesus was preached. The idea of resurrection (cf. Acts 17:18, 32) was incompatible with Greek philosophy. The Greeks wanted to get rid of their bodies, not take them on again! A personal judgment was also unpalatable to Greeks. The gospel message struck at the center of the Athenians' needs.
Interestingly Paul (vv. 30-31) discussed the topics of sin ("to repent"), righteousness ("justice"), and judgment ("He will judge"), the same areas in which Jesus said the Holy Spirit would convict people (John 16:5-11).
17:32-34. To a Greek it was nonsense to believe a dead man could be raised from the grave to live forever, so some of them sneered. Others with more discretion said they wanted to hear Paul again on this subject. As a result a few men became followers of Paul and believed, including even Dionysius, an Areopagus member (i.e., a council member; cf. comments on v. 19), and a woman named Damaris. Other women converts in Acts include Lydia (16:14-15), a few prominent women in Thessalonica (17:4), and a number of prominent Greek women in Berea (v. 12).
Was Paul's ministry at Athens a failure? This is difficult to assess. There is no record of a church being founded in Athens. Paul later referred to the household of Stephanas (1 Cor. 16:15) in Corinth as "the first converts" (lit., "firstfruits") of Achaia. (Athens was in Achaia.) How could this be if some were converted in Athens, as Acts 17:34 asserts? Probably the solution is found in thinking of Stephanas as the firstfruits "of a church" in Achaia. Also possibly the term "firstfruits" can be used of more than one person.
If no church was begun in Athens, the failure was not in Paul's message or method but in the hardness of the Athenians' hearts.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.
16 Athens is five miles inland from its port of Piraeus, which is on the Saronic Gulf, an arm of the Aegean Sea stretching fifty miles between Attica and the Peloponnesus. It is situated on a narrow plain between Mount Parnes to the north, Mount Pentelicus to the east, and Mount Hymettus to the southeast. Said to have been founded by Theseus, the hero of Attica who slew the Minotaur and conquered the Amazons, Athens was named in honor of the goddess Athena. When the Persians tried to conquer Greece in the fifth century B.C., Athens played a prominent part in resisting them. Though completely destroyed at that time, it quickly recovered and its fleet, which contributed decisively to the defeat of the Persians, became the basis of a maritime empire. Athens reached its zenith under Pericles (495-429 B.C.); and during the last fifteen years of his life, the Partheon, numerous temples, and other splendid buildings were built. Literature, philosophy, science, and rhetoric flourished; and Athens attracted intellectuals from all over the world. Politically it became a democracy.
But Athens had attained eminence at the expense of its allies in the Delian Confederacy. Many of them in dissatisfaction turned to its rival Sparta, and the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) put an end to the greatness of Athens. Culturally and intellectually, however, it remained supreme for centuries, with such figures as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Zeno living there. In 338 B.C. Philip II of Macedonia conquered Athens, but the conquest only served to spread Athenian culture and learning into Asia and Egypt through his son, Alexander the Great. The Romans conquered Athens in 146 B.C. They were lovers of everything Greek, and under their rule Athens continued as the cultural and intellectual center of the world. Rome also left the city free politically to carry on her own institutions as a free city within the empire.
When Paul came to Athens, it had long since lost its empire and wealth. Its population probably numbered no more than ten thousand. Yet it had a glorious past on which it continued to live. Its temples and statuary were related to the worship of the Greek pantheon, and its culture was pagan. Therefore Paul, with his Jewish abhorrence of idolatry, could not but find the culture of Athens spiritually repulsive.
17 men oun (NIV, "so") introduces a new scene, perhaps tying together Luke's introduction (v. 16) with his source material (vv. 17ff.). Though apparently not wanting to begin a mission in Athens till Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul could not keep from proclaiming the Good News about Jesus the Messiah when he attended the synagogue on the Sabbath. There he "reasoned" (dielegeto) with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles. He also continued his presentation in the agora every day (kata pasan hemeran) to all who would listen.
The agora lay west of the Acropolis. It was the forum and marketplace of the city and, therefore, the center of Athenian life. The commercial sections included the large Stoa of Attalus, stretching along the eastern side and flanked by a number of smaller colonnades on the northern and southern sides. The western side consisted of important public buildings: the circular Tholos, or office and dining room of the Prytaneum; the Bouleuterion, or senate house; the Metroon, or official archives, before which stood the temple of Ares and statues of the eponymous heroes of the city; the temple of Apollo Patroon; and the Stoa Basileios.
18 Athens was the home of the rival Epicurean and Stoic schools of philosophy. Epicurus (342-270 B.C.) held that pleasure was the chief goal of life, with the pleasure most worth enjoying being a life of tranquillity free from pain, disturbing passions, superstitious fears, and anxiety about death. He did not deny the existence of gods but argued in deistic fashion that they took no interest in the lives of men. The Cypriote Zeno (340-265 B.C.) was the founder of Stoicism, which took its name from the "painted Stoa" (colonnade or portico) where he habitually taught in the Athenian agora. His teaching centered on living harmoniously with nature and emphasized man's rational abilities and individual self-sufficiency. Theologically, he was essentially pantheistic and thought of God as "the World-soul."
Epicureanism and Stoicism represented the popular Gentile alternatives for dealing with the plight of humanity and for coming to terms with life apart from the biblical revelation and God's work in Jesus Christ. (Post-Christian paganism in our day has been unable to come up with anything better.) When the followers of Epicurus and Zeno heard Paul speaking in the agora, they began to dispute (syneballon, Iit., "to converse," but also "to engage in argument") with him. Some in their pride declared him to be a spermologos ("babbler")—a word originally used of birds picking up grain, then of scrap collectors searching for junk, then extended to those who snapped up ideas of others and peddled them as their own without understanding them, and finally to any ne'er-do-well. Others, however, thought Paul was advocating foreign gods, probably mistaking Anastasis ("resurrection") for the goddess consort of a god named Jesus.
19-20 The Areopagus (Areios Pagos; lit., "Court" or "Council of Ares," the Gr. god of thunder and war) reaches back to legendary antiquity. Presumably it first met at Athens on the Hill of Ares (Lat. equivalent, "Mars Hill"), northwest of the Acropolis, for murder trials. Early descriptions of processions in ancient Greek city-states, however, depict the Areopagus of the cities as always heading the column of dignitaries, which suggests that the "Court" or "Council of Ares" was the senate or city council of a Greek city-state. At Athens, therefore, while the earlier powers of the Council of Ares were greatly reduced with the demise of the maritime empire, during Roman times it was still the chief judicial body of the city and exercised jurisdiction in such matters as religion and education. Today "Areopagus" survives as the title of the Greek Supreme Court. In Paul's time its membership consisted of all city administrators ("Archons") who alter their term of office were free of official misconduct; it met since the fifth century B.C. in the Stoa Basileios ("The Royal Portico") at the northwest corner of the agora.
It was before this council that the followers of Epicurus and Zeno brought Paul—probably half in jest and half in derision, and certainly not seeking an impartial inquiry after truth. The city fathers, however, took their task seriously because the fame of Athens rested on its intellectual ferment and on the interplay of competing philosophies. So we should doubtless understand Paul's appearance before the Athenian Council of Ares as being for the purpose of explaining his message before those in control of affairs in the city so that he might either receive the freedom of the city to preach or be censored and silenced.
21 Luke's comment about the Athenians "doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas" is paralleled in the evaluation of his fellow Athenians by Cleon, a fifth-century B.C. politician and general: "You are the best people at being deceived by something new that is said" (Thucydides History 2.38.5). The Athenian orator Demosthenes (384-322 B.C.) also reproached his people for continually asking for new ideas in a day when Philip II of Macedon's rise to power presented the city with a threat calling for actions, not words (Philip 1.10). Evidently this characterization of the Athenians was widespread, particularly in Macedonia.
17 On the use of μὲν οὖν (men oun), see comments and note on 1:6; also vv. 12 and 30 here.
On Luke's emphasis in Panel S on persuasion in Paul's preaching—here by the use of the verb διαλέγομαι (dialegomai, "to reason")—see comments on 17:2-3.
2. Paul's address before the Council of Ares (17:22-31)
22-23 Paul does not begin his address by referring to Jewish history or by quoting the Jewish Scriptures, as he did in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch (cf. 13:16-41). He knew it would be futile to refer to a history no one knew or argue from fulfillment of prophecy no one was interested in or quote from a book no one read or accepted as authoritative. Nor does he develop his argument from the God who gives rain and crops in their season and provides food for the stomach and joy for the heart, as he did at Lystra (cf. 14:15-17). Instead, he took for his point of contact with the council an altar he had seen in the city with the inscription Agnosto Theo ("To an Unknown God"). Later the second-century geographer Pausanias (Description of Greece 1.1.4) and the third-century philosopher Philostratus (Life of Apollonius Tyana 6.3.5) were to speak of altars to unknown gods at Athens, by which they meant either altars to unknown deities generally or altars to individual unknown gods. But while there is insufficient evidence for us to know the number of such altars at Athens or what their dedicatory inscriptions were, it is not surprising that Paul came across such an altar in walking about the city. Paul used the words of the inscription to introduce his call to repentance.
Many critics have asserted that all the speeches in Acts—particularly that to the Areopagus—are Luke's free compositions, showing what he thought Paul would have said. Certainly, as with every precis, Luke edited the missionary sermons of Paul in Acts; he must also be credited with some genius for highlighting their suitability to their audiences (cf. Introduction: The Speeches in Acts). But for one who elsewhere said he was willing to be "all things to all men" for the sake of the gospel (1Cor 9:20-22), Paul's approach to his Areopagus audience is by no means out of character. On the contrary, in his report of this address, Luke gives us another illustration of how Paul began on common ground with his hearers and sought to lead them from it to accept the work and person of Jesus as the apex of God's redemptive work for humanity.
24-28 The substance of the Athenian address concerns the nature of God and the responsibility of man to God. Contrary to all pantheistic and polytheistic notions, God is the one, Paul says, who has created the world and everything in it; he is the Lord of heaven and earth (cf. Gen 14:19, 22). He does not live in temples "made by hands" (en cheiropoietois), nor is he dependent for his existence upon anything he has created. Rather, he is the source of life and breath and everything else humanity possesses. Earlier, Euripides (fifth century B.C.) asked, "What house built by craftsmen could enclose the form divine within enfolding walls?" (Fragments 968); and in the first century B.C., Cicero considered the image of Ceres worshiped in Sicily worthy of honor because it was not made with hands but had fallen from the sky (In Verrem 2.5.187). While Paul's argument can be paralleled at some points by the higher paganism of the day, its content is decidedly biblical (cf. 1 Kings 8:27; Isa 66:1-2) and its forms of expression Jewish as well as Greek (cf. LXX Isa 2:18; 19:1; 31:7; Sib Oracles 4.8-12; Acts 7:41, 48; Heb 8:2; 9:24 on the pejorative use of "made with hands" for idols and temples).
Contrary to the Athenians' boast that they had originated from the soil of their Attic homeland and therefore were not like other men, Paul affirms the oneness of mankind in their creation by the one God and their descent from a common ancestor. And contrary to the "deism" that permeated the philosophies of the day, he proclaimed that this God has determined specific times (prostetagmenous kairous) for men and "the exact places where they should live" (tas orothesias tes katoikias auton; lit., "the boundaries of their habitation") so that men would seek him and find him.
In support of this teaching about man, Paul quotes two maxims from Greek poets. The first comes from a quatrain attributed to the Cretan poet Epimenides (c.600 B.C.), which appeared first in his poem Cretica and is put on the lips of Minos, Zeus's son, in honor of his father:
They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one—
The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead; thou livest and abidest for ever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being
(M.D. Gibson, ed., Horae Semiticae X
[Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1913], p. 40, in Syriac; italics mine).
The second comes from the Cilician poet Aratus (c. 315-240 B.C.): "It is with Zeus that every one of us in every way has to do, for we are also his offspring [italics mine]" (Phaenonlena 5); which is also found in Cleanthes's (331-233 B.C.) earlier Hymn to Zeus, line 4.
By such maxims, Paul is not suggesting that God is to be thought of in terms of the Zeus of Greek polytheism or Stoic pantheism. He is rather arguing that the poets his hearers recognized as authorities have to some extent corroborated his message. In his search for a measure of common ground with his hearers, he is, so to speak, disinfecting and rebaptizing the poets' words for his own purposes. Quoting Greek poets in support of his teaching sharpened his message. But despite its form, Paul's address was thoroughly biblical and Christian in its content. It is perhaps too strong to say that "the remarkable thing about this famous speech is that for all its wealth of pagan illustration its message is simply the Galilean gospel, `The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the tidings'" (Williams, p. 206). Nevertheless, there is nothing in it that really militates against Paul's having delivered it or that is in genuine opposition to his letters.
29-31 The climax of the address focuses on the progressive unfolding of divine redemption and the apex of that redemption in Jesus Christ. Being God's offspring—not in a pantheistic sense but in the biblical sense of being created by God in his image—we should not, Paul insists, think of deity in terms of gold, silver, or stone. All that idolatrous ignorance was overlooked by God in the past (cf. 14:16; Rom 3:25) because God has always been more interested in repentance than judgment (cf: Wisdom 11:23: "But you have mercy on all men, because you have power to do all things, and you overlook the sins of men to the end that they may repent"). Nevertheless, in the person and work of Jesus, God has acted in such a manner as to make idolatry particularly heinous. To reject Jesus, therefore, is to reject the personal and vicarious intervention of God on behalf of man and to open oneself up in the future to divine judgment meted out by the very one rejected in the present. And God himself has authenticated all this by raising Jesus from the dead.
26 The Western and Byzantine texts read ἐξ ἑνὸς αἵματος (ex henos haimatos, "from one blood") for ἐξ ἑνός (ex henos, "from one [man]").
27 The Western text reads ζητεῖν τὸ θεῖον (zetein to theion, "to seek the divine being") for ζητεῖν τὸν θεόν (zetein ton theon, "to seek God"), evidently in agreement with τὸ θεῖον (to theion, "the divine being") of v. 29.
28 Clement of Alexandria attributed "the Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!" of Titus 1:12 to Epimenides (Stromata 1.14.59). The Syr. version of the quatrain comes to us from the Syr. church father Isho'dad of Mero (probably based on the work of Theodore of Mopsuestia), which J.R. Harris translated back into Gr. in Exp, 7 (1907), p. 336.
B and P74 read ἡμᾶς ποιητῶν (hemas poieton, "our poets"), perhaps taking into account that both Aratus and Paul were from Cilicia. The Western text omits ποιητῶν (poieton, "poets"), thereby suggesting "your own men."
30 On the use of μὲν οὖν (men oun), see comments and note at 1:6; also vv. 12, 17 here.
3. The response to Paul's address (17:32-34)
32 While the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the convincing proof to the early Christians and Paul that "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ" (2Cor 5:19), to the majority of Athenians it was the height of folly. Five hundred years earlier the tragic poet Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), when describing the institution of the Athenian Council of Ares, made the god Apollo say, "When the dust has soaked up a man's blood, once he is dead, there is no resurrection" (Eumenides 647-48). If Paul had talked about the immortality of the soul, he would have gained the assent of most of his audience except the Epicureans. But the idea of resurrection was absurd. Outright scorn was the response of some of his hearers. Others, probably with more politeness than curiosity or conviction, suggested that they would like to hear Paul on the subject at another time.
33-34 Paul obviously failed to convince the council of the truth of his message, and he evidently failed as well to gain the freedom of the city and the right to propagate his views. The council decided to hold the matter in abeyance for a time. But Paul could tell from this first meeting that sentiment was against him. Some, of course, did believe, for God always has his few in even the most difficult of situations. Among them were Dionysius, who was himself a member of the Council of Ares, and a woman named Damaris. But because no action had been taken to approve Paul's right to continue teaching in the city, his hands were legally tied. All he could do was wait in Athens till the council gave him the right to teach there or move on to some other place where his message would be more favorably received. And with a vast territory yet to be entered and a great number of people yet to be reached, Paul chose the latter. We hear of no church at Athens in the apostolic age; and when Paul speaks of "the first converts [aparche; lit., `first-fruits'] in Achaia," it is to "the household of Stephanas" that he refers (1Cor 16:15).
Many have claimed that Paul's failure at Athens stemmed largely from a change in his preaching and that later on at Corinth he repudiated it (cf. 1Cor 1:18-2:5). He spoke, they charge, about providence and being "in God" but forgot the message of grace and being "in Christ"; about creation and appealed to the Greek poets but did not refer to redemption or revelation; about world history but not salvation history; about resurrection but not the cross. We should remember, however, that going to Athens was not part of Paul's original missionary strategy, nor did he expect to begin work there till Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia. Moreover, there were some converts at Athens, and we should not minimize the working of God's Spirit or Paul's message because only a few responded or because we don't know what happened to them afterward. Still, the outreach of the gospel at Athens was cut off before it really began, and in overall terms the Christian mission in the city must be judged a failure. But the reason the gospel did not take root there probably lay more in the attitude of the Athenians themselves than in Paul's approach or in what he said.
34 Dionysius of Corinth (c A.D. 171) is cited by Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 3.4.11; 4.23.3) as saying that Dionysius the Areopagite was the first bishop of Athens, but that is probably only an inference drawn a century afterward from the text itself.
D omits any mention of Damaris as a convert, which is consistent with Bezae's attitude toward women (cf. 17:12; 18:26).
Expositor's Bible Commentary, The - Volume 9: John and Acts.