This article examines how Greco-Roman ethnoracial views inform our understanding of Peter and Cornelius’s encounter in Acts 10:28–48. By drawing from the Gentile perception of Jewish misanthropy mentioned by Diodorus of Sicily and Tacitus, we find that Peter was harboring a resistance to preach the gospel to the Caesareans. By rereading the narrative from this perspective, visions and Spirit baptism within Acts 10 become divine events that challenge the reluctance to preach the gospel and associate with foreigners.
I. Howard MarshallThe Acts of the Apostles (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans1983) 189–192; Mark Plunkett “Ethnocentricity and Salvation History in the Cornelius Episode: Acts 10:1–11:18” SBLSP 24 (1985): 465–479; F.F. Bruce The Book of the Acts (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans 1988) 210–211; Julius Scott “The Cornelius Incident in the Light of Its Jewish Setting” JETS 34 no. 4 (1991): 481–484; Robert Tannehill The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: The Acts of the Apostles (Minneapolis: Fortress 1994) 131; Joseph Fitzmyer The Acts of the Apostles (New Haven: Doubleday 1998) 461; Ben Witherington The Acts of the Apostles: A Social Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans 1998) 354; Chris Miller “Did Peter’s Vision Pertain to Men or the Menu?” BSac 159 (2002): 302–307; Vanthanh Nguyen “Dismantling Cultural Boundaries: Missiological Implications of Acts 10:1–11:18” Missiology 4 (2012): 459; Samuel Perez Millos Hechos (Barcelona: Clie 2013) 733.
James DunnBaptism in the Holy Spirit: A Re-examination of the New Testament on the Gift of the Spirit (Philadelphia: Westminster1939) 82; Max Turner The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts: In the New Testament and the Church Today (Grand Rapids: Baker 1997) 55; Power from on High: The Spirit in Israel’s Restoration and Witness in Luke-Acts (Eugene: Wipf & Stock 2015) 387.
Roger StronstadThe Charismatic Theology of St. Luke: Trajectories from the Old Testament to Luke-Acts (Grand Rapids: Baker2012) 77; See also William Atkinson who champions a modified pentecostal view of Spirit baptism in Baptism in the Spirit: Luke-Acts and the Dunn Debate (Eugene: Pickwick 2011); French Arrington “The Indwelling Baptism and Infilling with the Holy Spirit: A Differentiation of Terms” Pneuma 3 no. 2 (1981): 6; Tak-Ming Cheung “Understandings of Spirit Baptism” JPT 8 (1996): 124–128; Mark Lee “An Evangelical Dialogue on Luke Salvation and Spirit Baptism” Pneuma 26 (2004): 91–92.
See Jonathan HallEthnic Identity in Greek Antiquity (New York: Cambridge University Press2000) 34–35; In Homer’s Iliad the term race is applied to young men (2.91; 3.32; 7.115; 11.724) birds (2.459) and flies (2.87 469).
John ElliottWhat is Social–Scientific Criticism? (Minneapolis: Fortress1993) 7–9; Bruce Malina Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology (Eugene: Wipf & Stock 2010) 1–9; The Social World of Jesus and the Gospels (New York: Routledge 1996) 7.
See Virgilio ElizondoGalilean Journey: The Mexican American Promise (Maryknoll: Orbis Books1983) 21; Justo Gonzalez Santa Biblia: The Bible through Spanish Eyes (Nashville: Abingdon 1996) 20–21; Nestor Medina “Transgressing Theological Shibboleths: Culture as Locus of Divine (Pneumatological) Activity” Pneuma 36 no. 3 (2014): 441; Mestizaje: (Re)Mapping Race Culture and faith in Latina/o Catholicism (Maryknoll: Orbis Books 2009) 1; Luis Rivera-Rodriguez “Reading in Spanish from the Diaspora through Hispanic Eyes” ThTo 54 (1998): 481; Rodolfo Estrada “Is a Contextualized Hermeneutic the Future of Pentecostal Readings?” Pneuma 37 no. 3 (2015): 341–355.
Max RadinThe Jews Among the Greeks and Romans (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America1915) 49; Adrian Sherwin-White Racial Prejudice in Imperial Rome (New York: Cambridge University Press 1970) 1–12; John Balsdon Romans and Aliens (London: Duckworth 1979) 30; Hannaford Race 20; Benjamin Isaac The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2004) 1; Isaac Ziegler and Eliav-Feldon The Origins of Racism in the West 9; McCoskey Race 1.