Contextualizing Acts

Lukan Narrative and Greco-Roman Discourse


This collection of essays provides an array of complementary studies on Acts that illustrate the move away from traditional modes of interpretation toward more innovative historical, cultural, and literary analyses. It focuses particularly on the intersection of early Christian literature and its Greco-Roman cultural and discursive contexts. The essays include examinations and reevaluations of the use of ancient rhetoric, the relation of Acts to ancient historiography, influence by and imitation of epics and novels, the status of classic designations such as “apologetic,” the role of orality in narrative formation, and the profile and direction of contemporary Acts scholarship. The collection also explores the implications of these new approaches for understanding early Christian identity formation and their serviceability for reconstructing the social location of early Christian history and ideology.

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Todd C. Penner, Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christianity (2000), Emory University, is Assistant Professor of Religion at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Caroline Vander Stichele, STD and Ph.D. in Religious Studies (1992), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, is Universitair Docent in Religious Studies at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Contextualizing Acts, Todd Penner From History to Rhetoric and Back: Assessing New Trends in Acts Studies, Joseph B. Tyson Luke and the Progymnasmata: A Preliminary Investigation into the Preliminary Exercises, Mikeal C. Parsons Civilizing Discourse: Acts, Declamation, and the Rhetoric of the Polis, Todd Penner The Trial Scene in the Greek Novels and in Acts, Saundra Schwartz ΜΕΤΑΒΟΛΗ ΠΟΛΙΤΕΙΩΝ—Jesus as Founder of the Church in Luke-Acts: Form and Function, David L. Balch Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders and Hector’s Farewell to Andromache: A Strategic Imitation of Homer’s Iliad, Dennis R. MacDonald Cultural Divides and Dual Realities: A Greco-Roman Context for Acts 14, Amy L. Wordelman Roman Propaganda and Christian Identity in the Worldview of Luke-Acts, Gary Gilbert History or Story in Acts—A Middle Way? The “We” Passages, Historical Intertexture, and Oral History, Samuel Byrskog The Jerusalem Community in Acts: Mythmaking and the Sociorhetorical Functions of a Lukan Setting, Milton Moreland Gender and Genre: Acts in/of Interpretation, Caroline Vander Stichele Bibliography of Primary Sources Bibliography of Modern Authors Index of Primary Sources Index of Modern Authors