Dating Acts: Between the Evangelists and the Apologists Paperback – November 1, 2006
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A wonderful book-carefully researched, beautifully written, powerfully argued, and possibly a landmark that could radically reshape the study of the book of Acts. This book changed my mind. --Calvin Roetzel, University of Minnesota
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.55 pounds
- Paperback : 513 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0944344739
- ISBN-13 : 978-0944344736
- Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 8.75 inches
- Publisher : Polebridge Press (November 1, 2006)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,877,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Back in the 19th century, a genius named Ferdinand Christian Baur proposed that Acts was written in the second century. Baur had a student named Matthias Schneckenburger who produced a detailed study of the parallels between Peter and Paul in Acts and concluded that there was a definite agenda and shaping of Acts. Paul is made to speak and act like Peter and Peter is made to speak and act like Paul. Baur proposed that the only reason he could see for this bizarre presentation was that the author/editor of Acts wanted to present a well-established mutual agreement among the early followers of Jesus and projected it back into the past. It could be said that Acts was the spin-doctoring of Paul and early Christianity; the obvious objective being to create a false picture of apostolic agreement on all things.
Having read Baur's compelling work, I am very glad to see that Pervo's work can be seen to support it. Now, perhaps, more young scholars will be willing to read Baur for the wonderful theological insights as well. Another scholar whose work deserves more attention is John Knox.
Drawing on the work of Morton Enslin, William Walker, Heikki Leppa, Lars Aejmelaus in addition to that mentioned above (and still others), Pervo develops a comprehensive argument for the use of Paul's letters in Acts and also the evidence for their influence on the gospel of Luke. This moves the date of composition to definitely after a collection of letters of Paul was circulated. He points out, logically, that if Luke omitted sections of Mark and creatively altered others, and then created episodes on his own in respect of his gospel, one shouldn't expect any other procedure to have been utilized in the writing of Acts.
One of the most interesting parts of this book is Pervo's connection of the Acts of the Apostles to the works of Josephus. If you doubt this, just read Josephus: clearly, the author of Acts knew almost nothing about the history of the time of Jesus and the apostles and relied almost entirely on Josephus for the historical elements that he scattered throughout the text to lead the unwary astray. And for 2000 years, Biblical readers and scholars have been under its spell.
What is sort of staggering to me is the naivete of most Biblical scholars who just can't believe that their beloved/believed texts can be/probably are, fraudulent right down to the foundations.
For the casual reader: this is a scholarly work and is tough going now and then. Best to have your dictionary and Bible to hand to cross-read. However, Pervo is courteous and translates his Greek quotes, so that was a relief!
Pervo's research is stellar, his arguments clear and decisive, and this book SHOULD completely change the dialogue on Biblical history.
Highly recommended though keep in mind, it is dense and scholarly.