The Literary Artistry of the Book of Acts

I am in the middle of a thread dealing with the New Testament book of Acts, the first account that we have of the history of the Christian church at its very beginnings – starting with the events happening right after the resurrection of Jesus and covering the spread of the Christian faith through the Roman world up until the time Paul reached the city of Rome, presumably in the early 60s CE.   And so this is an account of ...

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The Book of Acts: An Overview

Now that I have explained at some length how the debates work in my Introduction to the New Testament class, I can talk a bit about the debate that I staged in front of the class.   The class debates that the students themselves will participate in start next week – one a week for three weeks.   I’ve always thought that for students to see how a debate is supposed to work, they need to observe one in action.  So I ...

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Reader’s Mailbag on Virgin Birth: 10/29/15

 

Many thanks to everyone who responded to my queries about how we could make the Blog better.  I received some very good ideas, and one in particular that I want to implement, starting with this post.  That involves a weekly Reader’s Mailbag. 

I get a lot of questions each week, and usually can only devote an occasional post to them.  Otherwise, all I can do is give a one-sentence or so response in my Comments.   But the idea that several ...

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The Death of Judas in the NT

In this and the next couple of posts I will be talking about what we know was in Papias’s five-volume book, now lost, Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord.  As I previously indicated, the only reason we have any clue about the matter is that later church fathers quoted a few passages from the book.  Would they had quoted more!  But what they give us is very tantalizing.

The first passage I want to discuss involves the death ...

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Why Are There Contradictions in the New Testament?

QUESTION:

If I had collected a lot of stories about a person and put them together into a “biography” I would at least make sure that all the stories were at least somewhat consistent. I don’t understand why the writers of the gospels didn’t make sure their final product made sense – they certainly didn’t seem to have any problems changing things to suit them in many cases. Did they just write down everything they heard without any regard ...

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Summing Up: Was Luke Luke?

I started this thread over a week ago on the authorship of the Third Gospel, and would like now simply to bring some closure to it before moving on to other things. To sum up: there is a kind of interpretive logic that can lead one to think that this Gospel was written by Luke, a Gentile physician who was a traveling companion of Paul. This is what I myself thought for years, and it was based on this logic, ...

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The Accuracy of Acts: Part 2

We could deal forever with the question of the historical accuracy of Acts. There are entire books devoted to the problem and even to *aspects* of the problem, and different scholars come to different conclusions. My own view is that since Acts is at odds with Paul just about every time they talk about the same thing, that it is probably not to be taken as very accurate, especially in its detail. In yesterday’s post I dealt with a couple ...

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The Historical Accuracy of Acts

I am circling around the ultimate question of this thread, whether Luke the gentile physician, the companion of Paul, wrote the Gospel of Luke. The first step was to show that Paul never *mentions* Luke as a gentile physician in any of his undisputed letters. The second step involves asking the question of whether *any* companion of Paul – whether Luke or someone else – wrote the books of Luke and Acts. The argument that one did is based on ...

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Who Wrote Luke and Acts?

In this thread I have been discussing whether Luke, the gentile physician, the traveling companion of Paul, wrote the Third Gospel. The first point I’ve made, over a couple of posts, is that the idea that Paul *had* a gentile physician as a traveling companion is dubious. That notion is derived from the mention of Luke in the book of Colossians, but Paul almost certainly did not *write* Colossians. Paul does mention a companion named Luke in the book of ...

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Persecutions for Calling Jesus God

QUESTION:

If the pre-‘resurrection’ Jesus and, later on, his earliest (Jewish) followers had declared Jesus to actually BE God then wouldn’t they have been kicked out of the synagogues from the start because of blasphemy? But since that did not happen (Jesus preached in synagogues and his disciples continued to go to synagogues after his ‘resurrection’ for a while) doesn’t that indicate that the earliest Christian belief did NOT contain the claim that Jesus actually was God?

RESPONSE:

This ...

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