Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The odd couple (Acts 25)

Well, Festus comes to power, replacing Felix, and has a bright idea. Why not hear Paul's case -- in Jerusalem? Please everybody -- Paul gets his Roman justice, in the heart of the Jewish nation! Paul asserts, in no uncertain terms, that the suit is groundless:
Act 25:8 Pavlus, "Ne Yahudiler'in yasasına, ne tapınağa, ne de Sezar'a* karşı hiçbir günah işlemedim" diyerek kendini savundu.
English frowns on multiple negatives. Turkish relishes them. "Not Jewish customs, not the temple, nor even Caesar / contrary to / not one thing / evil / I have not done."

Festus has a bee in his bonnet, though, a fixed idea. In desperation, Paul "appeals to Caesar." A trip to Jerusalem would be a one-way ticket for him. After several years, he's learned that there's not much hope of getting justice from these provincial magnates.

After this turning point, Paul is invited to present his case once again, before Jewish puppet rulers Agrippa and Bernice. History calls her "Berenice of Cilicia," so we see the Turkish connection again. Luke is a meticulous historian, and tactful. For the interesting details, we need to visit Agrippa's friend, the Jewish turncoat / Roman officer / historian Josephus. Bernice, you see, "got around." After several failed marriages, she moved in with her brother, Agrippa -- who never married. Although Bernice later lived as a common-law wife with Titus, the destroyer of Israel, people then, and today, suspect that something incestuous was going on.

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