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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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The Jerusalem Council and the Foundation of Salutaris

The Jerusalem Council and the Foundation of Salutaris

(p.70) Three The Jerusalem Council and the Foundation of Salutaris
The Christians Who Became Jews

Christopher Stroup

Yale University Press

This chapter assesses how Acts of the Apostles uses the image of Jewishness constructed in Acts 2:5–13 to depict the Jewishness of Christian non-Jews in the Jerusalem council (15:1–21). Comparing the ethnic rhetoric of Acts 15 with ethnic rhetoric of the Salutaris Foundation inscription, it calls attention to wider negotiations of civic identity and within the context of formal public documents like this inscription. The Salutaris Foundation inscription, which contains the stipulations for a donation given by a wealthy citizen of Ephesus, provides a useful comparison with the Jerusalem council narrative in two primary ways. First, the inscription was composed within a decade or two of the likely publication of Acts and therefore offers a glimpse of a contemporaneous use of ethnic rhetoric. Second, a majority of the narrative of Acts takes place in an urban context, including in Ephesus. The Salutaris Foundation thus provides a securely dated and located example of the negotiation of identity within the city, demonstrating who had the power to influence identity claims and how such negotiations took place. Both Acts and the Salutaris Foundation leverage religious ideology in their respective forms of ethnic rhetoric in order to legitimate ethnic change, employing ancestral religious rhetoric, a shared sense of the flexibility of ethnic identity, and the authority of councils in ways that delimit the identity of contested populations and their religious activities.

Keywords:   Acts of the Apostles, Jewishness, Christian non-Jews, Jerusalem council, ethnic rhetoric, Salutaris Foundation, civic identity, religious ideology, ethnic change, ethnic identity

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