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Mnason

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Mnason

Mnason (}

}}: μνασωνι τινι κυπριω) was a first-century Cyprian Christian, who is mentioned in chapter 21 of the Acts of the Apostles as offering hospitality to Luke the evangelist, Paul the apostle and their companions, when they travelled from Caesarea to Jerusalem. The wording of the verse that mentions Mnason ( Acts 21:16) has prompted debates about whether Mnason accompanied the travellers on their journey or merely provided lodging, and whether his house was in Jerusalem or in a village on the way to Jerusalem. Although only mentioned in one verse, many Christians have drawn lessons from the example of Mnason about persevering in the Christian faith and the exercise of hospitality.

Biblical references

In Acts 21:16, Mnason is recorded as providing lodging to Paul and "certain of the disciples of Caesarea" (KJV), when they were travelling with a collection for the church in Jerusalem at the end of Paul's third missionary journey in AD 57. The location of Mnason's house is not explicitly mentioned on the text, and may have been either in Jerusalem or in a village en route to the city (the journey itself was between 60 and 70 miles, so would have taken at least two days).[1]

Interpretation

Background

No other contemporary sources contain biographical details on Mnason, so very little is known of him. He was a Hellenistic Jew from Cyprus, like the apostle Barnabas. His name means "remembering"[2] and was a common Greek name at the time.[1] It appears in the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum as a personal name around 30 times.[3] The name is a variant of "Jason",[2] and in the Codex Sinaiticus, his name is written as "Jason".[3] F. F. Bruce has raised the alternative possibility, that his name is a Hellenized form of the Hebrew name "Manasseh", but concludes that it is more likely to just be a Greek name.[4]

Mnason is described as an "old" or "early disciple" (}

}}: ἀρχαίῳ μαθητῇ), although exactly how long he had been a believer is not mentioned in the text, and is the subject of some discussion. J. J. Hughes has suggested he had been a believer since the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, as described in Acts 2:1-31, and consequently a founding member of the church at Jerusalem.[5] It has also been proposed that he might have been one of the unnamed seventy disciples sent out by Jesus in Luke's gospel, and he is named as one of them in the 13th-century Book of the Bee.[6][7] It is also possible that he was converted under the ministry of Barnabas and Paul when they travelled to Cyprus, as recorded in Acts 13.[6]

Codex Bezae, which explicitly locates Mnason in a village on the way to Jerusalem rather than in the city itself. In Acts 11:2, the Codex contains another variant reading, which records the apostle Peter preaching in the districts between Caesarea and Jerusalem. Salmon concludes, "It is a natural combination to infer that Mnason was one of his converts".[8]

As an "early" disciple, it is possible that Luke, who accompanied Paul on the journey from Caesarea to Jerusalem and wrote the narrative, may have questioned Mnason to gather historical source material on the early church, to assist with the writing of Acts. This would explain the mention of him by name, despite his apparently minor role in the narrative.[5][9] More specifically, W. M. Ramsay has suggested that Mnason was Luke's source for the healings of Aeneas and Dorcas recorded in Acts 9.[9]

The fact that Mnason owned a house that was able to accommodate all of Paul's companions is a likely indicator of his wealth.[10]

Service to Paul

The main scholarly debate around the figure of Mnason has concerned the location of his house. The location is not recorded in most manuscripts, although the idea of Mnason living outside of Jerusalem finds explicit support in the fifth-century Friedrich Blass,[8] and Ajith Fernando, in his volume in the NIV Application Commentary series.[12] Salmon finds it unusual that Paul would rely on a stranger for lodging in Jerusalem, when he would have had many friends in the city, including the believers who are recorded as welcoming him "gladly" in Acts 21:17.[8]

Other New Testament scholars have seen this view as being very unlikely, including F. F. Bruce,[9] Richard C. H. Lenski[11] and I. Howard Marshall.[13] Lenski has argued that this interpretation is contrary to the flow of the text, stating: "The point of the narrative is never where the travelers stopped for the night...but where Paul's party lodged in Jerusalem".[11] Marshall has commented that it would be unusual for Luke to just name Paul's host for an overnight stay rather than his host in Jerusalem.[13]

Ambiguity in the text recording the hospitality shown by Mnason to Paul has also led to debate about whether Mnason travelled with Paul and his companions from Caeserea before offering them lodging at his home.[3] Translations such as the Authorised Version, Revised Version and New English Bible read that the disciples brought Mnason with them, whereas the Revised Standard Version, New International Version and the Jerusalem Bible record the disciples bringing Paul to Mnason. The latter interpretation is generally favoured by modern commentators; J. J. Hughes concludes: "While either understanding is possible from the difficult syntax of this passage, the latter is probably correct since it is difficult to understand why the disciples would bring the prospective host".[5]

Christian writers such as Matthew Henry, Frederick Hastings and Alexander Maclaren have pointed to Mnason as an example of persevering in the Christian faith, emphasising his willingness to provide hospitality even after many years of being a Christian. Maclaren writes, "How beautiful it is to see a man...holding firmly by the Lord whom he has loved and served all his days".[14] In John Bunyan's classic allegorical work The Pilgrim's Progress, the pilgrims stay in the house of a Mr. Mnason, who is named after the Biblical figure.[15]

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
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