John Kilgallen, «Hostility to Paul in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13,45) — Why?», Vol. 84 (2003) 1-15
Throughout Acts 13–14 Luke brings to the reader’s knowledge opponents of Paul who are called " the Jews" . The present essay attempts to clarify the meaning of this short-hand identification of Paul’s Jewish opponents. It seems best to understand these particular Jews in the light of zealotry which has its roots in centuries of vigorous defense of Jewish religious convictions.
Again, in the Pentecost discourse, Peter crowns his presentation with the proclamation that Jesus is Messiah and Lord; Peter, in this context, asks that the entire house of Israel acknowledge the truth of this statement. But to Cornelius, Peter will present a Jesus who is pa/ntwn ku/rioj (Acts 10,36). Peter goes to no particular lengths to prove this lordship over all people; one is forced to go back to the Pentecost speech in order to grasp fully the reasonableness of this claim, and of the claim as well that Jesus will be krith_j zw/ntwn kai_ nekrw=n (Acts 10,42; cf. 17,31).
Again, one may point to the angelic words e)pi_ gh=j ei)rh/nh e)n a)nqrw=poij eu)doki/aj (Luke 2,14) and to Simeon’s words, that Jesus will be a sign of contradiction ...o$pwj a!n a)pokalufqw=sin e)k pollw=n kardiw=n dialogismoi/ (Luke 2,35) — examples of descriptions which fit the moment, but which anticipate, in proleptic fashion, the history Luke will later recount in Acts.
If, then, the Antioch pagans of Acts 13 are attracted to ‘hear the word of the Lord’, and the concrete expression of this word is, as offered by Luke, the synagogue homily of Paul, then it seems best to say that what attracted the pagans from that homily was at the very least the assurance, contained at the end of that homily: pa=j o( pisteu/wn dikaiou=tai. The phrase only gives the condition on which happiness can be had by pagans, but it is a statement which encourages the pagans to accept the blessings Jesus, and only Jesus, can bestow.
Luke is not concerned here to spell out more exactly how pagans can relate to forgiveness and justification — terms which make eminent good sense to Jews and Godfearers, but make us wonder about their attractiveness to pagans. A problem of logic and coherence as that may be, the concern of the author is not to dwell on pagan entrance into the Jewish religion; Luke is concerned with the dangerous fact that certain Jews, now identified as oi( 'Ioudai=oi, cannot abide the thought that pagans, not as Godfearers, but by virtue of ‘faith alone’, will enjoy the blessings entrusted to David for Israel.
VI. The Contextualization of oi( 'Ioudai=oi
As noted earlier, since Jews appeared in the Antioch story with none of the significance we are to apply to ‘the Jews’, it seems clear that ‘the Jews’ does not embrace all Jews, and may even include like-thinking Godfearers; because they are related to pagans over a topic of religion, ‘the Jews’ is not an ethnic description, but a title of