Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity: The World of the Acts of the Apostles

Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity: The World of the Acts of the Apostles

Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity: The World of the Acts of the Apostles

Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity: The World of the Acts of the Apostles

Synopsis

Klauck describes the religious world into whichChristianity was born, by looking at it from the many experiences of the firstChristians as recorded in Acts. For example: Peter encounters Simon themagician, the people of Lystra want to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas,and a soothsaying slave-girl is the occasion for conflict in Philippi. We cometo Athens where Paul finds the city full of idols but also discovers an altar"to an unknown god" and delivers the famous Areopagus speech, and to Ephesus,where some burn their books of magic formulae, while others provoke a riot inthe name of Artemis.

"Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity" makesfor a fascinating account of these phenomena and their significance forChristianity historically and today.

Features:

  • A fresh treatment of the Book of Acts in light of Greco-Roman religions
  • Extensive bibliography
  • Multiple indexes

Excerpt

The German version of this book was very well received when it appeared in 1997, perhaps because the theme discussed here is relevant to our own day, although it has been little studied hitherto. For example, C. W. Stentschke wrote: 'KIauck takes the prize for writing the first monograph length study of the Gentiles in Acts,' and: 'For the material he covers, the author provides a significant and exemplary study' (Luke's Portrait of Gentiles, 8). It was in fact necessary to reprint the German version in 1999, but unfortunately, for technical reasons, it was not possible to publish that as a genuine second edition. Happily, the situation with the English version is different: the text has been completely revised and the relevant secondary literature up to 1999 has been taken into consideration.

The following pages had their origin in a lecture in English which I gave at various places in South Africa in 1994 and which was subse quently published as an article (cf. Neotestamentica 28 [1994J 93–108). The German monograph, dedicated to my 'friends in South Africa', was written at a later date. Thus I am especially happy that this English translation and revision of my book is now published, since it is more accessible than the German text to the first hearers of my lecture. Brian McNeil has translated this book with his customary skill. I should like to express my gratitude to him and to the publishers, T&T Clark in Edinburgh.

Munich HANS-JOSEFKLAUCK

January 2000

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