The presence of Seneca’s brother, Gallio, in Corinth, during the period when Acts 18:12-17 refers to him, is attested by an inscription. The French excavators in the late 19th century found vast numbers of fragments, and Emile Bourguet in 1905 published a group, which contained a letter of Claudius, mentioning Gallio as proconsul.
However, floating in the back of my mind is the idea that, prior to this publication becoming known, some scholars questioned whether Acts was in fact in error at this point, and whether Gallio was ever in Corinth. I find this idea appears, without reference, in Anthony Thistleton, 1 Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary (2011), p.25, where the caption reads:
Prior to 1905 there was some scepticism about this Gallio allusion in Acts, but in 1905 four fragments of a letter of the Emperor Claudius relating to Lucius Junius Gallio were discovered. They were published in 1913.
The details of publication are not in fact accurate – Bourguet certainly printed them in 1905, and they were discovered earlier -, but it does confirm that the idea of a previous scepticism is not a figment of my own imagination. The same author wrote a much longer commentary in 2000, which mentions Gallio on p.29-32; but does not mention the scepticism.
Is this true? Or is it just an urban legend?
I have spent much of the last 24 hours searching older materials online for someone to express this scepticism, but I have drawn a complete blank. Even F.C. Baur in his Paulus seems to accept that the apostle appeared before Gallio in Corinth.
I am no expert on NT criticism. If any reader of this blog can identify a reference to some scholar questioning whether Gallio was there, I would be grateful to be told. The comments are open!