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The Christians Who Became JewsActs of the Apostles and Ethnicity in the Roman City$
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Christopher Stroup

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300247893

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300247893.001.0001

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Recontextualizing Acts

Recontextualizing Acts

Religious, Ethnic, and Civic Identity

(p.17) One Recontextualizing Acts
The Christians Who Became Jews

Christopher Stroup

Yale University Press

This chapter situates Acts of the Apostles historically and examines previous scholarship on Jewish identity and Acts. It argues that Lukan ethnic reasoning—as mediated by the cultural context of Greek cities under Roman rule—sought to create an alternate construal of Jewish and Christian identity. This alternate identity integrated Christian non-Jews into the civic hierarchy. The chapter then surveys the scholarship on Jews and Judaism in Acts and looks at recent developments in interpretation that have emphasized the author's rhetoric rather than “attitude.” It also discusses four texts that highlight the value of ethnic reasoning and, scholar of ancient Christianity, Denise Kimber Buell's discussion of four uses of religious rhetoric in ethnic reasoning. Ultimately, Acts leverages the connection between gods, people, and places in its depiction of Jewish identity. It employs ethnic rhetoric in order to present all Christians as Jews and to privilege Christians as an ideal embodiment of Jewishness for the Roman-era polis.

Keywords:   Acts of the Apostles, Jewish identity, ethnic reasoning, Christian identity, Christian non-Jews, Jews, Judaism, Christians, Jewishness

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