Historiography and Self-Definition

Josephos, Luke-acts and Apologetic Historiography


For centuries scholars have recognized the apologetic character of the Hellenistic Jewish historians, Josephos, and Luke-Acts; they have not, however, adequately addressed their possible relationships to each other and to their wider cultures. In this first full systematic effort to set these authors within the framework of Greco-Roman traditions, Professor Sterling has used genre criticism as a method for locating a distinct tradition of historical writing, apologetic historiography.
Apologetic historiography is the story of a subgroup of people which deliberately Hellenizes the traditions of the group in an effort to provide a self-definition within the context of the larger world. It arose as a result of a dialectic relationship with Greek ethnography. This work traces the evolution of this tradition through three major eras of eastern Mediterranean history spanning six hundred years: the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman.
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Biographical Note

Gregory E. Sterling, Ph.D. (1990) in New Testament, Graduate Theological Union, is Assistant Professor of New Testament, University of Notre Dame. His publications include various articles on apologetic historiography.

Review Quotes

' Die Debatte um Lukas 'zwischen zwei Welten' wird also noch weitergehen. Es ist aber deutlich geworden, daß Sterling mit seiner Arbeit einen gewichtigen Beitrag zu dieser Debatte geliefert hat, den niemand ohne Schaden übergehen kann.'
Nikolaus Walter, The Studia Philonica Annual, 1994.
' ...Sterling's study is of great value to anyone wanting to know where Luke-Acts fits in the ancient world of history writing.'
Darrell L. Bock, Westminster Theological Journal.
' ...the book is worth reading and libraries may be advised to have at least one copy on hand. Dr. Sterling is to be complimented for a worthwhile contribution to NT scholarship.'
Brent Kinman, Themelios, 1994.
' ...[the author] is nothing if not complete, and readers will be interested in his analysis of the way the Septuagint has influenced Luke-Acts.'
T. Rajak, Society for Old Testament Study, 1995.


(post)graduates and scholars of the Greco-Roman world, Hellenistic Judaism, and the New Testament.


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