At the end of Luke’s gospel there’s a wonderful scene in which Jesus opens the minds of his disciples to understand the Scriptures, the central message of which was that “the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations.” “You are witnesses of these things,” he told them. “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24: 44–49).
In Acts chapter 1 Luke summarizes many of the things that he already covered at the end of his gospel account and highlights the fact that after his resurrection Jesus presented himself alive to his disciples over a period of forty days, teaching them about the kingdom of God. Then in verse 4 we read, “And while staying with them [Jesus] ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”
The promise of the Father to which Jesus referred was that which the Apostle John had mentioned in chapters 15 and 16 of his gospel concerning the coming of the paraclatos, which is a word meaning advocate or intercessor. In the English Standard Version this is simply translated as “helper.” This “Spirit of truth,” Jesus says, “will bear witness about me.” There are a lot of mistaken assumptions about what the Holy Spirit does for us today. Many associate his work with ecstatic experiences, emotional comfort, or even supernatural healing, but how often do we associate the role of the Holy Spirit with leading and guiding us into all truth? (John 16:13). How many of us connect the work of the Spirit to Christ-centered preaching? Yet, Jesus actually said this was what the Spirit would come to do, that he would “bear witness about me” (John 15:26). J.I. Packer once compared the work of the Holy Spirit to that of a great floodlight at the foot of a magnificent cathedral. No one goes up to such a light in order to stare directly into it; rather, they focus on the magnificent structure that the floodlight illumines. The point is that you know the Spirit is at work, not in places where the Spirit himself is the focus, but rather where Christ and his finished work are proclaimed and magnified. This, I believe, is the central point being made in Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost.
In Acts 1:8 we find what many refer to as the thesis statement of the entire book. Jesus says to his disciples, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” As you read through various sections of the book of Acts, you begin to realize that this particular verse has essentially outlined the course of the apostolic witness as it progresses through Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, with Paul ending up in house arrest in the capital city of the empire, Rome itself. Now, with all this in the background, let’s make our way through the events described in Acts 2.
2:1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.
In verses 12–15 of chapter 1 we read that the apostles, with a large number of core followers (120 in all) returned to the upper room in Jerusalem, likely the same room in which they celebrated the Last Supper. Now, many in our day assume that the events of Acts 2 occur in this same location, but we discover in the first verse of chapter 2 that there is both a change in time and place, for “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.” Since this particular day was a high holy Jewish festival, the place at which they gathered would likely have been on the temple grounds, which, according to Luke 24:53, is where they frequently met.
For most of us, when we hear the word Pentecost, the first thing that comes to mind is Pentecostalism, a group which takes its very name from what I will be arguing is a serious misinterpretation of this text. But in reality, the word Pentecost is simply the Greek translation of what the Jews referred to as the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of First Fruits. In Hebrew this was called Shavuot, and this particular festival was to be celebrated on the day after the seventh Sabbath following Passover. Seven weeks amounts to forty-nine days, so the following day would be the fiftieth, which is how we get the name “Pentecost,” since it means “fiftieth,” in the Greek tongue.
This festival was to be a day of rest and rejoicing for the Jewish people as they celebrated the first fruits of the year’s grain harvest, and during this time of rejoicing, the Lord instructed his people to “recall that you were slaves in Egypt” (Deut. 16:12). In Second Temple Judaism, this festival also became a time during which the Jewish people commemorated God’s giving of the law to Moses upon Mount Sinai. This was to be a holy convocation, and according to Exod. 23, during this feast “all males were to appear before YHWH in his sanctuary,” which explains why so many thousands of devoted Jews from around the world made a special pilgrimage to be present during this festival. In fact, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus describes one particular Pentecost celebration, saying “many tens of thousands of the people were gathered together about the temple,” and that “the whole city was full of a multitude of people that were from outside the country,” mirroring almost identically what we find here in Acts 2.
2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
The location of this house has confused many readers, but there are a number of clues that give us a general idea of the disciples’ location. Upon hearing some commotion, we read that a large number of Jews end up coming to investigate. Peter then preaches to this large crowd, and three thousand end up believing the message. The problem with all this is that first-century houses in Jerusalem were situated in the midst of narrow alleyways, which would not allow a crowd of this magnitude to form in the first place. In fact, the only place in Jerusalem that would allow for a crowd of this size would be the temple complex itself. As we’ve already observed, this fits with where we’d expect these Jewish disciples to be at this time, for not only was it a high holy day, but Peter indicates in v. 15 that it was the third hour, or nine o’clock in the morning, which was the starting time of the official morning prayer service at the temple.
Now Luke’s report says that the sound they heard filled the entire “house.” Though some commentators have tried to argue that this word “house” refers to the entire temple, since it is often referred to as the house of the Lord, I think Luke makes it clear that the sound is limited to the particular place “where the disciples were sitting.” In his book The Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus describes the courtyard of the temple grounds, saying that built around the temple were thirty meeting rooms, and these rooms had passages going through them so that people might enter one through the other (Ant. 8.3.2). The word that Josephus uses to describe one of these meeting rooms is oikos (house), the very same word that we find here in Acts 2. In short, I believe we should picture the disciples in one of these meeting rooms just outside of the temple courtyard, which explains why such a large crowd can quickly gather to investigate the strange events that follow.
2:3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
In verse 2 we were told of a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and similarly, here we read of divided tongues as of fire. This was not literal wind or fire, but these words are mere similes for the supernatural signs produced by the Holy Spirit. Wind, of course, is an analogy that Jesus himself used of the Spirit’s work. In John 3 he tells Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wills. You hear its sound but do not know where it comes from. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Similarly, the imagery of fire is often associated with God’s presence, or his holy word, throughout Scripture. In Exodus 3, God speaks to Moses from a burning bush. In Exodus 19, Mount Sinai is “wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire.” Similarly, we read in Jeremiah 23, “‘Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?’”
We also have received an important clue about the meaning of the phrase “tongues of fire” in various fragments found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (1Q29, 4Q376). These fragments present an interesting account of the Urim and Thumin, which were particular stones mentioned in the OT that were to give the acting high priest direction concerning God’s will. In one of the legible sections of these fragments we read that, “The Urim…shall give you light, and it shall come forth with tongues of fire…and you shall observe…all that the prophet shall say to you…” Thus, before the time of Christ the phrase “tongues of fire” appears to have been seen as a symbol of prophetic inspiration. And this, we will see, is precisely what’s happening in Acts 2.
2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
What is the meaning of the phrase, “other tongues”? If you’re anything like me, the first thought that comes to mind relates to the strange utterances that we typically associate with modern Pentecostalism. This is one of the most important mistakes that modern readers of any ancient text can make. R. Clyde McCone helpfully points out that “A common problem that plagues modern man in his attempt to understand any past event is that he projects into that past event his own present situation.” So this writer then asks a very basic question, “Should the Bible be understood in light of personal religious experience or should personal religious experience be understood in light of the Bible?” 
So, what’s really going on here in Acts 2:4? Are the apostles having strange ecstatic experiences? Are they speaking languages unknown to themselves or others? Actually, an examination of the overall context shows that the words of the apostles were clearly intelligible and appeared to be understood by all those around them. What is this text really claiming? A good place to start is by asking what the phrase “other tongues” meant in the time and place in which it was being used.
This exact phrase is found Isaiah 28:11, as it appears in the Greek Translation of the OT known as the Septuagint. “By a people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people.” In 1 Corinthians 14 the Apostle Paul also uses a compound form of this same phrase to refer to “foreign languages.” In fact, this phrase is found in numerous Jewish texts in which Hebrew, the “holy tongue,” is contrasted with the “foreign tongues” of the Gentile nations. For example, in the apocryphal book Sirach we read, “For the things translated into “other tongues,” have not the same force in them uttered in Hebrew.” Similarly, in the Mishna, which is a late second-century compilation of the oral law of Judaism, we read:
The following ritual texts may be recited in other tongues…the tithing declaration, chanting the Shema…grace after meals, the oath of testimony… The following ritual texts must be recited in the Holy Tongue: the declaration of first fruits…the original blessings and curses, the priestly benediction, the blessing of the high priest… (m.Sot.7:1–2)
Not only does this section of the Mishna help us to see that the Jews of the period contrasted Hebrew, “the holy tongue,” with “other tongues,” but Hebrew was to be exclusively used during “the declaration of first fruits,” which was the sacred liturgy associated with the festival of Shavuot, or Pentecost. In other words, during this particular festival, the crowds would have expected religious services presented in the holy tongue of Hebrew. But what they ended up hearing were powerful messages in “other tongues.” This is what accounts for at least some of the surprise and astonishment that we encounter in this passage.
In verse 4 we read, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The Greek word underlying what is translated here as “utterance” is actually quite rare, having only a handful of occurrences in both the NT and Greek versions of the OT combined. The actual word is apophthegomai. Drop it into the conversation at your next office party and it’s sure to be a smashing success. One of the most frequently used Greek lexicons defines this rare word as follows: “To express oneself orally, to speak out, declare boldly, loudly, or with urgency.” In particular, it has reference to the “speech of a wise man, oracle-giver, diviner, prophet, exorcist, and other inspired persons.” We get this same idea as we evaluate the way this word was used by those who translated the OT into Greek, as this word appears in Deuteronomy 32:2 in which God says “Let my speech be looked for as the rain.” This wasn’t just any kind of utterance but specifically referred to the Word of the Lord. The same word for “utterance” also appears in 1 Chronicles 25:1, in which David sets apart specific men “who had prophesied.” The word was used by the Septuagint translators as well to describe the divinations of the false prophets referred to by Ezekiel and Micah, and it appears only once in the voluminous writings of Josephus, who spoke of those who were “conversant in the discourses of the prophets.”
When we put all this information together, we see that in Acts 2, the actual gift being emphasized is the fact that the Holy Spirit has empowered the disciples to prophesy and to boldly proclaim the Word of the Lord, and this is exactly what we find in verse 14, which is the only other instance of this word in all Luke’s writings. According to the ESV translation, Peter lifted up his voice and addressed them, but perhaps a better translation would be that he lifted up his voice and prophesied. Too often we think of prophecy as a kind of foretelling of future events, but in the Hebrew use, it was more often associated with speaking forth the Word of the Lord. And as we see throughout Acts 2, Peter, by divine inspiration, delivers a message completely centered on Christ, showing how his death, burial and resurrection sums up all of redemptive history. This is what the Holy Spirit had inspired them to do. This is how the Spirit would lead them into all truth and bear witness concerning Christ. If you think about it, this is why we as Christians believe that the writings of the apostles (collected in the form of the NT) are just as inspired as the writings of the OT prophets before them.
2:5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
We should stop here to ask the question as to what sound Luke refers to here in verse 6. Some have tried to argue that the noise of the “mighty rushing wind” is actually what attracts the crowds, but I believe the sound mentioned here refers to the noise of the disciples who began to preach in common languages. Verse 6 makes this clear, for the multitude came together as each one heard them speak. As we observed above, the kinds of speeches that were delivered were most likely bold prophetic proclamations, which means that Luke’s account, as in other parts of his narrative, has likely been compressed. After the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they likely stepped out of the meeting room and began to boldly proclaim the wonders of God to the immense crowd gathered in the temple courtyard on the day of Pentecost. This is the sound that attracts the multitudes, the sound of bold proclamation in common ordinary languages familiar to the hearers.
Here members of the crowd make two observations. First, they notice that there are many speakers. Now, if these disciples were all speaking in normal voices inside one particular meeting room, it would not have attracted any outside attention. And, if they were all speaking loudly and boldly, yet while still in this same meeting room, it may have attracted some attention, but it would hardly have been intelligible due to the chaos. Yet, as our text goes on to indicate, Jews from all over the world begin to hear and respond to the disciples’ messages, and after Peter addresses them, three thousand end up being converted. Now, at no point are we told that the disciples left this particular meeting room on the temple grounds, but this is the most obvious explanation. The apostles simply step outside into the temple courtyard and begin preaching about Christ in common ordinary languages, fulfilling the mission which they had been empowered to perform as Christ’s witnesses. Through their proclamation, God was “assembling the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” as we read in Isaiah 11:12. The second observation that the crowd makes is that the disciples are from Galilee.
2:7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?”
Question: How were these temple visitors able to tell that these men were from Galilee? Some have suggested that it could be due to the disciples’ northern accent, and I’ll deal with that claim in a moment. The most credible theory in my opinion relates to the fact that it was widely known by all those familiar with the recent events in Judea that Jesus and his followers were Galilean (Mark 14:70, John 7:52). Thus, when travelers from other parts of the world would inquire as to what was going on and who these men were, they were likely informed by many in the crowd that this group was composed of disciples of the Galilean Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, who had been recently crucified. Now again, this most likely took a bit of time to unfold, which is further indication of compression in Luke’s narrative.
Verse 8 presents an interesting challenge since it appears that members of the crowd are surprised that Galileans would be able to speak their own native languages. According to Michael Wise, professor of Hebrew and Ancient Languages at Northwestern University, “Palestine in the time of Jesus was strongly trilingual. Not everyone knew Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. But many knew two of these languages. Essentially, everyone but foreigners knew Aramaic, somewhere between 60–80% spoke a version of Hebrew, and a significant percentage knew Greek.” Now in the region of Galilee where Greek-speaking Gentiles outnumbered Jews by a ratio of over 3 to 1, Greek would have been much more essential since it would have been the language of commerce and the marketplace. So in all likelihood, these Galilean disciples knew both Greek and Aramaic. The problem, however, is that these are the very languages that characterize the regions listed in Acts 2:9–11.
2:9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
This text is confusing for us modern readers, since we don’t know what languages these particular regions represent. In fact, most of us read this list as if it were a list of languages. But as McCone observes, “Medes, Mesopotamia, Pontus, and Asia are no more language designations than Cuba, Canada, or Switzerland would be today.” The fact of the matter is that the areas mentioned here by Luke only represent two or three different languages. In the first century, Jews from Parthia, Media, Elam, Arabia, and Mesopotamia spoke Aramaic. Jews visiting from Cappadocia, Pontus, Phrygia, Pamphylia, and the area around Asia Minor, as the NT Epistles demonstrate, spoke Greek. The native language of Jews from Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Crete, and Rome was also Greek. You might expect Jews from Egypt to speak Egyptian, but from the time of Alexander the Great this area had essentially become a Greek colony, and it was from here that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT) was produced by the seventy Jewish scholars. It’s possible that Jewish residents of Rome were fluent in Latin, but they would also certainly be fluent in Greek, for in the early part of the first century, this was the common language of the Roman marketplace and most forms of writing, including graffiti. Recall that Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans in Koine Greek.
The only other locality from Luke’s list that I have not yet mentioned is the region of Judea. The great majority of the temple visitors on the Day of Pentecost were actually from this region, as Peter admits when he addresses the crowd in verse 14 saying, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem.” In verse 22 he says “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know…” Peter is appealing to the great majority of those in the crowd who are not visitors from other countries. Yet, we already know that these residents from Judea were Aramaic speakers and that many of them also spoke Greek.
So back to our original question: Why would members of this crowd be surprised that these Galileans could speak their own native languages? Galileans were fluent in both Aramaic and Greek, and by use of those two languages they would have been able to communicate with all the visitors at the temple that day, at least in a rudimentary form. In reality, both Greek and Aramaic of the first century could be broken up into a number of varying dialects. Greek alone was divided up into Koine, Attic, Doric, Aeolic, Ionic, and possibly others. In fact, the difference between these dialects is so great that each one has its own set of grammatical and structural rules. Now, another interesting fact is that the two words that Luke uses in this account, as he refers to “tongues” and “languages,” (glossa and dialectos) can be used interchangeably to refer either to languages or dialects.
So though there may not have been a need for a language miracle, there would have been significant differences between the various dialects that would have made the disciples’ speech difficult to follow for many of the out-of-town visitors that day from different parts of the empire. Therefore, I think the best explanation for what we find here in Acts 2 is that part of the Spirit’s empowerment that day may have included a kind of miracle of hearing, so that the prophetic words of these Galilean fishermen were heard so crisply and clearly, it was as if they were uttered by men from their own native country. This is basically what we read at the end of verse 6: “each one (of the temple visitors) was hearing them (the disciples) speak in his own language (dialectos). This is why I don’t think that the listeners would have perceived a northern Galilean accent, as some have argued. It has also become very clear that speaking in tongues, as it is outlined here in Acts 2, is not some kind of ecstatic prayer language. In verse 11, visiting Jews say, “we hear them telling in our own tongues (or dialects) the mighty works of God.”
2:12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Though some were amazed, others ridiculed. “New wine” is a first century way of saying strong wine, so the claim being made is that these men are doing something inappropriate because they have lost all inhibition due to intoxication. That actually sounds like the kind of objection one would have heard if the crowd was expecting high holy prayer services recited in a ceremonial “holy tongue” half-forgotten from their school days. Instead, these visitors witnessed things that they did not expect; they heard men speaking boldly about the finished work of Christ in clear common, everyday languages and dialects.
I have been arguing that the disciples first met in one of the meeting rooms just outside of the temple courtyard on the morning of Pentecost. If this view is correct, another dimension we could throw in at this point is the fact that Gentiles were not allowed in this particular meeting area, which was situated just outside of these meeting houses. In other words, in order to gain access to this area, one had to be either of Jewish decent or a proselyte (which for males meant becoming a circumcised adult convert). So if all this is taking place beyond the court of the Gentiles on a high holy day, at the time of the temple prayer service, perhaps this provides the larger context for us to understand the ridicule that the disciples received. Visitors to this section of the temple were expecting something formal, and what they saw and heard was informal. They were expecting a holy convocation in the holy tongue, and what they heard were bold proclamations in the common tongues of the unholy Gentile nations.
At this point I’d like to draw your attention to a number of fascinating structural similarities between the events described here in Acts 2 and what Luke outlines later in Acts 10. In that chapter, the focus is on a devout Gentile named Cornelius. In Acts 2 the focus is on devout men of the Jewish dispersion. Cornelius receives a sign by way of an angelic vision (10:3); in Acts 2 the Jewish disciples see and hear signs (2:2–3). After being invited to the home of Cornelius, Peter struggles with the fact that it’s unlawful for him to enter the house of a Gentile (10:28). In the temple courtyard, Gentiles were not allowed to enter the house of God, since there was a “dividing wall of separation” (Eph. 2:14). In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jewish believers (2:33); in Acts 10 the same thing occurs among this group of Gentile believers (10:44–45). In both chapters there is perplexity and amazement (2:7, 12; 10:45). In both chapters Peter preaches a lengthy Christ-centered sermon, which concludes with the baptism of believers (2:14–36; 10:34–43). All these structural similarities are no doubt intentional. Luke is showing that there is no longer any difference between Jew and Gentile and that God shows no partiality. But there is still one further structural similarity yet to explore. In Acts 2 there is a great deal of focus on the issue of “other tongues.” And as I have argued, this otherness relates to the Jewish understanding of Hebrew as a “holy tongue.” In Acts 10 we find something similar. In this text Peter has a vision about a sheet descending from heaven with what appears to be common or unclean food. Though it isn’t kosher, he is told to kill and eat, for that which God “has made clean do not call common.”
By comparing these two texts the similarities become apparent. In one, the focus is on the distinction between common and holy tongues, while in the other it is between common and holy foods. Our take- away point applied to Acts 2 is as follows: If the Holy Spirit has empowered men to speak prophetically on the temple grounds during this high holy day in common ordinary languages, then we should no longer consider these common tongues as “unclean.” Another brick in the dividing wall of hostility has been removed.
2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.’”
Here Peter gets right to the point. All that you are seeing here today is a fulfillment of Jewish prophecy and expectation. As the prophet Joel looked forward to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he pointed to a time in the last days in which both “sons and daughters would prophesy.” Peter is saying that this is being fulfilled right before your very eyes. The view that prophecy and miracles had disappeared was actually quite widespread among Jews of this period. Yet, many continued to believe that miracles would return, along with new revelation at the dawning of the messianic age, and this is precisely what Peter is claiming here. The most important thing that occurred that morning was not the visible sign of the tongues of fire, though it was probably fascinating to behold. The most important thing was not the noise that sounded like a mighty rushing wind. The most important thing was not the fact that the disciples were able to communicate with people who spoke various dialects of Greek and Aramaic. The most important thing was not the individual signs, but the thing to which all these various signs pointed. According to Peter, the most important thing was the fact that prophetic utterance had returned to the sons of Israel by the gracious gift of the Holy Spirit and the focus of this prophetic word—rather than looking forward—was now looking back at the finished work of redemption, accomplished by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and applicable to both Jew and Gentile alike.
Alfred Edersheim’s reflections on the meaning of the day of Pentecost from his book The Temple, provides a fitting conclusion:
If Jewish tradition connected the “Feast of Firstfruits” with the “Mount that might be touched,” and the “voice of words which they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them anymore,” we have in this respect “come unto Mount Zion,” and to the better things of the New Covenant. To us the Day of Pentecost is, indeed, the “feast of firstfruits,” and that of the giving of the better law, “written not in tables of stone, but on the fleshy tables of the heart,” “with the Spirit of the living God.” For, as the worshippers were in the Temple, probably just as they were offering the wave-lambs and the wave-bread, the multitude heard that “sound from heaven, as of a mighty rushing wind,” which drew them to the house where the apostles were gathered, there to hear “every man in his own language” “the wonderful works of God.” And on that Pentecost day, from the harvest of firstfruits, not less than three thousand souls added to the Church were presented as a wave-offering to the Lord. The cloven tongues of fire and the apostolic gifts of that day of firstfruits have, indeed, long since disappeared. But the mighty rushing sound of the Presence and Power of the Holy Ghost has gone forth into all the world.
1. R. Clyde McCone, Culture & Controversy, A New Investigation of the Tongues of Pentecost (Self- published, 1978), 2. McCone was a cultural anthropologist at California State University, Long Beach who applied his knowledge of the linguistic situation of the ancient world to the context of Acts 2. The book is hard to find, but Robert Zerhusen interacts with McCone’s approach in various published articles that can be found online.
2. Michael Wise, email message to author, June 2, 2014.
3. McCone, Culture & Controversy, 10.
4. Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as They Were at the Time of Christ (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), 266–67.