“Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.”
King James Version (KJV)
17:18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosopher - The Epicureans entirely denied a providence, and held the world to be the effect of mere chance; asserting sensual pleasure to be man's chief good, and that the soul and body died together. The Stoics held, that matter was eternal; that all things were governed by irresistible fate; that virtue was its own sufficient reward, and vice its own sufficient punishment. It is easy to see, how happily the apostle levels his discourse at some of the most important errors of each, while, without expressly attacking either, he gives a plain summary of his own religious principles. What would this babbler say? - Such is the language of natural reason, full of, and satisfied with itself. Yet even here St. Paul had some fruit; though nowhere less than at Athens. And no wonder, since this city was a seminary of philosophers, who have ever been the pest of true religion. He seemeth to be a proclaimer - This he returns upon them at the 23d verse; #Acts 17:23| of strange gods - Such as are not known even at Athens. Because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection - A god and a goddess. And as stupid as this mistake was, it is the less to be wondered at, since the Athenians might as well count the resurrection a deity, as shame, famine, and many others.
Ac 17:18 Of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks. Two of the philosophical schools then prevalent in Athens. The first held that the gods were careless about human affairs, and that a man's best course was to get as much pleasure out of life as possible. With them pleasure was the chief good. The Stoics were fatalists, believers in a sort of pantheism, and insisted on self-righteousness. Epicurus was the founder of the first sect; Zeno, of the second. What will this babbler say? A contemptuous expression. A setter forth of strange gods. He spoke of God and the risen Jesus. Some have thought that they mistook "Anastasis", the Greek for "resurrection", for the name of a goddess.