Of course, it doesn't say Jesus didn't lay his hands on them, did it?
Irrelevant, since the burden of proof is not on me to show that the ritual of laying on of hands is required to receive the Holy Spirit. Rather, the burden of proof is on you to show that it is required. Citing a couple of texts in which laying on of hands is mentioned does not demonstrate the necessity of that ritual.
What it does say, however, is that Jesus preformed a ritual act to give the Holy Ghost. It didn't just spontaneously come. It didn't come because Jesus told it to. It came in association with a ritual act. Jesus' "breath," by the way, is the divine Spirit/Pneuma/Ru'ach, right? Jesus can uniquely breathe the breath/spirit/pnuema/ru'ach of God. (Also, note that speaking is breathing; it is impossible to speak without breath.)
You have just proven that it isn’t
a ritual act. Jesus could give them the Holy Spirit because he was the divine Son, not because he performed the requisite ritual rigmarole. It makes no sense to describe an act that one person performs one time in all of history as a “ritual.”
The fact that Acts does not expressing mention the laying on of hands does not mean it was not done. Just as I can say "I drove to Salt Lake" or "I drove my car to Salt Lake." One explicitly say I drove a car, the other that I just drove, but any modern reader would know that both meant driving a car, while a hundred years ago "I drove to Salt Lake" would mean I drove a wagon or carriage. So, it is quite possible that laying on of hands is implied in many cases where it is not explicit.
The reason why the use of a car is implicit in the statement “I drove to Salt Lake” is that “drove” in the modern context has an established linguistic
usage to denote the operation of an automobile to travel from one place to another. This kind of implicature is not present in any of the Acts passages in which people receive the Holy Spirit and in which nothing is said about the laying on of hands.
What is clear, however, is that a laying on of hands ritual was performed by early Christians.
To be more precise, what is clear is that laying on of hands was something that some early Christians sometimes did. I can even agree that in a few instances there is some justification for describing the act as ritual (particularly in the commissioning of people to ministry positions). What is not clear is that this ritual is prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the evidence of the Cornelius episode (Acts 10:44-48) is decisively against that claim since Cornelius and his family received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized, a point I raised in another thread.
The idea that Simon Magus believed the HS was received by laying on of hands is not a uniquely magical belief, since that is exactly what the Christians did. It was, without question, a Christian practice. Guilt by association is a rather feeble tactic.
I see assertion here, not argument. That the apostles Peter and John laid hands on the Samaritans is a fact. That they interpreted their action as a magical impartation of the Holy Spirit was Simon Magus’s interpretation of that fact. My point was a very simple one: You cannot support the LDS interpretation by citing Simon Magus’s interpretation unless you agree that the ritual was a magical act!
I note that you ignored this passage:
. I haven’t “ignored” the passage. I have already pointed out that Acts 19 is one of just two instances in Acts, out of six occasions of people receiving the Holy Spirit, in which hands were laid on the recipients.
Here’s the passage:
Acts 19:1 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples
. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed
?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit
.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism
.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus
. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands
on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
Here we have disciples of Jesus (19.1), who have not received the Holy Spirit.
No. Luke does not say they were disciples of Jesus. He calls them “disciples.” Upon questioning them, he determined that they were actually disciples of John, not disciples of Jesus. They had not been baptized in Jesus’ name, but had only received the baptism of John (vv. 3, 5). Paul had to tell them that John came to prepare the way for the one who would come after him, namely, Jesus (v. 4). If they already believed in Jesus, they would have known at least that much! So the evidence of the passage clearly supports the conclusion that they were not already believers in Jesus.