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.
city’ comes to Paul and Barnabas, the Christian apostles spoke some words other than what we have in Paul’s speech in the synagogue or in the later summary phrases: ‘the word of the Lord’, ‘the word of God’.
Indeed, such is the way Luke wrote that these latter and summary phrases stand for what Paul has concretely expressed in his synagogue homily. What ‘almost all the city’ gathered to hear can have no other definition that what is a continuation of what we have read thus far in the Pauline homily in Antioch. One is at a loss to identify these words, ‘the word of the Lord’ and ‘the word of God’, as essentially or substantially different from what Paul has been known to preach in Antioch.
Chances are slim, or none, that one can avoid the conclusion: zeal and jealousy are aroused because ‘the word of the Lord’ is being offered to Gentiles or pagans of Antioch, and that the word of consolation and exhortation given by Paul to the members of the synagogue in Antioch are now offered to the Gentiles or pagans of that city.
III. ta_ e!qnh
At this point it is worthwhile to consider other, new terminology introduced by Luke here. We notes that only in these verses do we read of ta_ e!qnh, a group equivalent to ‘almost all the city’ and ‘the crowds’. Given the structural importance of the Isaiah citation of justification at v. 47, ta_ e!qnh becomes the term of choice.
We had already met with oi( fobou=menoi to_n Qeo/n at vv. 16 and 26. Given the atmosphere of peace surrounding those verses, these ‘Godfearers’ cannot be the ‘pagans’ of later verses. That the Godfearers are pagans in the sense of not Jews, and thus very much pagans or Gentiles — this is true. But their pagan or gentile character no longer presents to Jews a cause for opposition, a state of soul that would arouse the zeal and jealousy of Jews7.
In other words, what Paul had to say in the synagogue he said to both Jew and Godfearer, and no Jew was upset or put out by Paul’s directing his words to Godfearers. Now, there is great opposition to Paul’s words being spoken to pagans, Gentiles, ta_ e!qnh. Crucial, then, to the hostility aroused against Paul and Barnabas is Luke’s notice that almost all the city has gathered ‘to hear the word of the Lord’. This