Julius the Centurion?
In Acts 27:1-3, Luke gives an account of the first leg of Paul’s voyage to Rome. Twice in these verses he mentions the centurion who was put in charge of taking Paul to Rome. Interestingly, he calls him by name, “Julius.” This is in contrast to the centurion and the tribune (of even higher rank) mentioned in Acts 22:25-28, both of whom remain anonymous. Why does Luke give the name of the centurion in Acts 27? In his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauckham suggests that typically the reason why some characters in the Gospels are named, while others are not, is that those who are named were believers in Christ whom the audience would have known, and who could have been called upon as eyewitnesses to the accounts in which they were involved. This could explain the reason why Luke refers to the centurion in Acts 27 by his name, Julius. He may have been known to the believing community for whom Luke wrote the book of Acts. Citing his name may have been intended as a way to add veracity to Luke’s account, by referring to a known person who would be able to substantiate the story. Incidentally, the man in this picture is a reenactor dressed as a Roman centurion prepared for battle. The transverse crest on his helmet is the kind usually worn by centurions.
Cool observation. Thanks! I love this kind of analysis. It really helps frame the culture it was written in.