Decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
Authorship of Acts and the Epistles
Tue, 09/30/2008 - 6:12pm — skellmeyer
June 12, 1913 (AAS 5  291f; EB 419ff; Dz 2166ff)
I: In view especially of the tradition of the whole Church dating back to the earliest ecclesiastical writers, and in consideration of the internal characteristics of the book of Acts whether considered in itself or in its relation to the third Gospel, and especially of the mutual affinity and connection of both prologues (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1f), should it be held as certain that the volume with the title Actus Apostolorum or Praxeis Apostolon had the Evangelist Luke for its author?
Answer : In the affirmative.
II: Can critical reasons derived from language and style, from the character of the narrative, and from the unity of aim and teaching, demonstrate that the Acts of the Apostles should be attributed to only one author; and that consequently there is no foundation at all for the opinion of recent writers according to which Luke was not the only author of the book but different authors are recognized in the said book?
Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.
III: In particular, do those sections, so noticeable in the Acts, in which the use of the third person is abandoned and the first person plural introduced (We passages), weaken the unity of composition and the authenticity; or, historically and philosophically considered, should they rather be said to confirm it?
Answer: In the negative to the first part ; in the affirmative to the second.
IV: Does the fact that the book hardly mentions the two years of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome and ends abruptly, warrant the inference that the author wrote a second but lost work or intended to write one, and consequently can the date of the composition of the Acts be postponed till long after the said captivity? Or rather is it legitimately and rightly to be maintained that Luke finished the book towards the close of the first imprisonment of the Apostle Paul at Rome?
Answer: In the negative to the first part; in the affirmative to the second.
V: If consideration be given both to the frequent and easy intercourse that without doubt Luke had with the first and chief founders of the Church in Palestine and with Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, whom he helped in his preaching of the Gospel and accompanied on his journeys, and to his habitual industry and diligence in seeking witnesses and in personal observation of events, and finally to the frequently obvious and remarkable agreement of the Acts with Paul's own Epistles and with the more exact historical records, should it be held for certain that Luke had at his disposal entirely trustworthy sources and used them carefully, honestly, and faithfully, so that he rightly claims for himself full authority as an historian?
Answer: In the affirmative.
VI: Are the difficulties commonly raised both from the supernatural facts narrated by Luke, and from the report of certain discourses, which on account of their brevity are thought to be invented and adapted to circumstances, and from certain passages in at least apparent disagreement with history, whether profane or biblical, and finally from certain narrations in apparent conflict either with the author of Acts himself or with other sacred authors, of such a nature as to throw doubt on or at least in some measure to diminish the historical authority of Acts?
Answer: In the negative.
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