17:11 These Jews 1 were more open-minded 2 than those in Thessalonica, 3 for they eagerly 4 received 5 the message, examining 6 the scriptures carefully every day 7 to see if these things were so.
17:18 Also some of the Epicurean 8 and Stoic 9 philosophers were conversing 10 with him, and some were asking, 11 “What does this foolish babbler 12 want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” 13 (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 14 17:19 So they took Paul and 15 brought him to the Areopagus, 16 saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? 17:20 For you are bringing some surprising things 17 to our ears, so we want to know what they 18 mean.”
1 tn Grk “These”; the referent (the Jews in the synagogue at Berea) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
2 tn Or “more willing to learn.” L&N 27.48 and BDAG 404 s.v. εὐγενής 2 both use the term “open-minded” here. The point is that they were more receptive to Paul’s message.
3 sn Thessalonica was a city in Macedonia (modern Salonica).
4 tn Or “willingly,” “readily”; Grk “with all eagerness.”
5 tn Grk “who received.” Here the relative pronoun (“who”) has been translated as a pronoun (“they”) preceded by a semicolon, which is less awkward in contemporary English than a relative clause at this point.
6 tn This verb (BDAG 66 s.v. ἀνακρίνω 1) refers to careful examination.
7 tn BDAG 437 s.v. ἡμέρα 2.c has “every day” for this phrase in this verse.
8 sn An Epicurean was a follower of the philosophy of Epicurus, who founded a school in Athens about 300
9 sn A Stoic was a follower of the philosophy founded by Zeno (342-270
10 tn BDAG 956 s.v. συμβάλλω 1 has “converse, confer” here.
11 tn Grk “saying.”
12 tn Or “ignorant show-off.” The traditional English translation of σπερμολόγος (spermologo") is given in L&N 33.381 as “foolish babbler.” However, an alternate view is presented in L&N 27.19, “(a figurative extension of meaning of a term based on the practice of birds in picking up seeds) one who acquires bits and pieces of relatively extraneous information and proceeds to pass them off with pretense and show – ‘ignorant show-off, charlatan.’” A similar view is given in BDAG 937 s.v. σπερμολόγος: “in pejorative imagery of persons whose communication lacks sophistication and seems to pick up scraps of information here and there scrapmonger, scavenger…Engl. synonyms include ‘gossip’, ‘babbler’, chatterer’; but these terms miss the imagery of unsystematic gathering.”
13 tn The meaning of this phrase is not clear. Literally it reads “strange deities” (see BDAG 210 s.v. δαιμόνιον 1). The note of not being customary is important. In the ancient world what was new was suspicious. The plural δαιμονίων (daimoniwn, “deities”) shows the audience grappling with Paul’s teaching that God was working through Jesus.
14 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
15 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
sn The Areopagus has been traditionally understood as reference to a rocky hill near the Acropolis in Athens, although this place may well have been located in the marketplace at the foot of the hill (L&N 93.412; BDAG 129 s.v. ῎Αρειος πάγος). This term does not refer so much to the place, however, as to the advisory council of Athens known as the Areopagus, which dealt with ethical, cultural, and religious matters, including the supervision of education and controlling the many visiting lecturers. Thus it could be translated the council of the Areopagus. See also the term in v. 22.
18 tn Grk “these things”; but since the referent (“surprising things”) is so close, the repetition of “these things” sounds redundant in English, so the pronoun “they” was substituted in the translation.
19 tn The participle ἀκούσαντες (akousante") has been taken temporally.