The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting

The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting

The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting

The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting

Synopsis

"Working to place the Book of Acts within its first-century setting, well-known historians and biblical scholars from Australia, the United States, Canada, Russia, Germany, France, Israel, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have collaborated here to provide a stimulating new study that replaces older studies on Acts, including aspects of The Beginnings of Christianity." "The composition of Acts is discussed beside the writing of ancient literary monographs and intellectual biographies. Recent epigraphic and papyrological discoveries also help illumine the text of Acts. Archaeological fieldwork, especially in Greece and Asia Minor, has yielded valuable information about the local setting of Acts and the religious life of urban communities in the Roman Empire. These volumes draw on the best of this research to elucidate the Book of Acts against the background of activity in which early Christianity was born." "The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting is devoted to a series of studies of those parts of the narrative of Acts that are specifically set in Palestine. The geographical, political, cultural, social, and religious aspects of first-century Jewish Palestine are all explored in order to throw light on Luke's account of the Palestinian origins of early Christianity. There are fresh assessments of the historical significance of key features, persons, and events in Luke's narrative." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Forty years ago the great American Acts scholar Henry Cadbury, in his still valuable study, The Book of Acts in History (London: A. & C. Black, 1955), sketched with broad but expert brush ‘how well [the Book of Acts] fits its contemporary setting’ (p. v). He classified the contemporary contexts into which Acts fits as Greek, Roman, Jewish and Christian, devoting a chapter to each. These, of course, are not geographical, but cultural distinctions. Cadbury’s chapter on the Jewish setting is as much about the western Diaspora as it is about Palestinian Judaism. His chapter on the Roman setting takes some of its major examples from Palestine. Another on the Greek setting perhaps betrays its date in that it does not refer to the hellenization of Palestinian Jewish culture which more recent writers cannot ignore, even if they still debate its extent. All of these cultural settings overlapped in Palestine and therefore impinge on those chapters of Acts which are set in Palestine.

The present series of volumes on the Book of Acts in its contemporary setting divides the material differently from Cadbury’s book, and by devoting a volume to the Palestinian setting makes it possible to focus on the particular cross-cultural situation in 1st-century Roman Palestine. More than half of the narrative of Acts is in fact set in Palestine, a fact which makes it surprising that so little sustained attention has been given to this Palestinian context in recent study of Acts. The very considerable advances in our knowledge and understanding of Jewish Palestine in the late Second Temple period which have occurred in recent decades make this a particularly appropriate time to attempt to remedy this neglect, as this present volume does, while the complexity and diversity of the subject make the collaborative . . .

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