PIUS X 1903-1914
The Author, Time of Composition, Historical Veracity of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles
[Reply of the Biblical Commission, June 12, 1913]
2166 I. Whether in view especially of the tradition of the whole Church going back to the earliest ecclesiastical writers, and noting the internal reasons of the book of Acts, considered in itself or in its relation to the third Gospel, and especially because of the mutual affinity and connection between the two prologues [Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1 f.], it must be held as certain that the volume that is entitled Actus A postolorum, or, (Greek text deleted), has Luke the Evangelist as author?–Reply: In the affirmative.
2167 II. Whether for critical reasons taken from the language and style, and from the manner of narrating, and from the oneness of aim and doctrine, it can be demonstrated that the book of the Acts of the Apostles should be attributed to one author alone; and therefore that the opinion of more recent writers which holds that Luke is not the only author of the book, but that different persons are to be recognized as authors of the same book is devoid of any foundation?–Reply: In the affirmative to both parts.
2168 III. Whether in outward appearance, the prominent chapters in the Acts where the use of the third person is broken off and the first person plural introduced, weaken the unity and authenticity of composition; or rather historically and philologically considered are to be said to confirm it?–Reply: In the negative to the first part; in the affirmative to the second.
2169 IV. Whether because of the fact that the book itself is abruptly concluded after scarcely making mention of the two years of Paul’s first Roman captivity, it may be inferred that the author had written a second volume now lost, or had intended to write it; and so the time of composition of the Book of Acts can be deferred long after this captivity; or whether it should rather rightly and worthily be held that Luke toward the end of the first Roman captivity of the Apostle Paul had completed his book?–Reply: In the negative to the first part; in the affirmative to the second.
2170 V. Whether, if there is considered together the frequent and easy communication which Luke undoubtedly had with the first and prominent founders of the Palestinian church, and also with Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, whose assistant in the preaching of the Gospel and companion in travel he was; also his customary industry and diligence in seeking witnesses, and in observing things with his own eyes; also, and finally, the evident and amazing agreement for the most part of the Book of Acts with the letters of Paul and the more genuine monuments of history, it should be held with certainty that Luke had at hand sources worthy of all trust, and applied them accurately, well, and faithfully, so that he rightly indicates for himself full historical authority?–Reply: In the affirmative.
2171 VI. Whether the difficulties which are usually raised from the supernatural deeds related by Luke, and from the narration of certain discourses which, since they are handed down in summary, are considered fictitious and adapted to circumstances; also from certain passages, apparently at least, in disagreement with history whether profane or biblical; finally also from certain accounts which seem to be at odds with the author of the Acts, or with other-sacred authors, are such as can call the historical authority of the Acts into doubt or at least in some manner diminish it?–Reply: In the negative.