It should be noted that The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism has undergone a small editorial adjustment in the third chapter: The Case of Agabus. In this chapter there is frequent mention of Rome’s stringent anti-riot laws. The most prominent mention of this is found in a brief citation from the words of Justinian:
“If a man on arrival excites a crowd and incites it to an unlawful object by his shouts or by any act such as making accusations against someone or even by arousing pity, and if damage is committed as a result of his malicious incitement, he will be liable, even if he did not originally have the intent of getting the crowd together… when a person gathers a crowd together himself and beats a slave in front of the crowd in order to do him an unlawful injury rather than with intent to cause loss, the Edict will apply.”
With or without such external sources, the reality of Roman anti-riot laws is inferentially evident in texts like Acts 19:40. However, the broader sphere of Roman law is mentioned in The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism in order to strengthen the reader’s understanding of the profound pressures that fell upon Paul when “all Jerusalem was in confusion” (Acts 21:31). As mentioned in the book, the longstanding history of Rome’s strictures against riotous conduct and treason goes back to its earlier era as a Roman Republic and is evident in legal structures stemming from Rome’s Senatus Consultum de re Publica Defendenda. However, in the autocratic era of the Roman Empire, the legal strictures against treason and riots became more centralized in the sole authority of the reigning Caesar. Simply put, the evolutionary history of Roman law is extensive. Some of this history is helpful when considering Paul’s Roman arrest, however, an exhaustive perusal of Roman law is far more extensive than what is needed for the argument of The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism. Because of this, some of this background information supplied in the earliest version of the book has been simplified for the sake of clarity. One such change deals with the mention of the Senatus Consultum de re Publica Defendenda. Though historically relevant to the evolution of laws protecting Roman rule, its repeated mention in the book is simply unnecessary and has therefore been relegated to one brief footnote. Beyond this, the overall content, structure, and argument of chapter 3 remains completely unchanged.
Soli Deo Gloria