The Book of Acts: Form, Style, and Theology

By Martin Dibelius; K. C. Hanson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

11
The Text of Acts

While there are many problems, any one of which might be singled out as “the next task” of New Testament scholarship, the text of Acts is to me a particularly conspicuous one. I feel justified in calling attention to it by a treatment which of necessity can be only of a preliminary and tentative nature.1

To be sure, the objection may be raised that the problem of the text of Acts has been sufficiently dealt with in the discussions of Codex D.2 But the question to which I wish to call attention was minimized rather than emphasized by the debate on the so-called Western text. It is the question whether the text of Acts deserves the same confidence as the text of the Gospels and of the letters of Paul. There is reason to believe that a special literary fate has befallen Acts—a fate which created a special kind of text, a fate which forces us to approach the textual problem of Acts differently from the way we approach that of other New Testament writings.


THE WESTERN TEXT

Before submitting proof for this proposition, I must on my part briefly touch on the problem of the Western text. Although much has been said about Codex D and its parallels, I believe that the method of form criticism still has a contribution to make to the evaluation of this text type.

In the case of writings like Acts the form-critical method raises the question not only of the sources but also of the “small units” which, deriving from popular tradition, may have been incorporated into the text. As a matter of fact, all parts of Acts include brief narratives of various kinds that beyond doubt circulated in the churches before the composition of Acts.3 One sees that from their “closed,” well-knit form; one sees it also from the fact that these small units do not fit easily into the literary framework.

When these old narratives retain their original, closely knit, and finished form, they stand out noticeably against their context. In such cases seams are bound to show between Luke’s own work and the narratives he incorporates.4

-153-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Book of Acts: Form, Style, and Theology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 239

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?