Acts of the Apostles

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Acts of the Apostles,

book of the New Testament. It is the only 1st-century account of the expansion of Christianity in its earliest period. It was written in Greek anonymously as early as c.A.D. 65, but more likely later in the century, as a sequel to the Gospel of St. LukeLuke, Gospel according to Saint,
third book of the New Testament. It was composed in the second half of the 1st cent. Since the 2d cent. it and the Acts of the Apostles have been ascribed to St. Luke; Acts is sometimes considered a sequel to the Gospel.
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. Luke has been traditionally regarded as the author. It falls into two divisions. The first 12 chapters focus on Peter and are an account of the Palestinian church from the Ascension of Jesus and Pentecost until the death of King Herod Agrippa I in A.D. 44. Chapters 13–28 deal with the missionary work of Paul, his arrest in Jerusalem, and his trial and journey to Rome. Passages written in the second person plural suggest that the author was a companion of Paul, though it is also possible this was a literary device lending vividness to the travel narrative. Acts conveys the author's particular concept of the Holy Spirit's providential guidance of the plan of salvation in history in the face of Jewish and Roman opposition. When believers encounter Roman officials, Acts seems to stress the political innocuousness of the believers.


See W. W. Gasque, A History of the Criticism of the Acts of the Apostles (1975); F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts (rev. ed. 1988); G. Lüdemann, Earliest Christianity According to the Traditions in Acts (1989).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Acts of the Apostles


an anonymous early Christian work, which is included in the New Testament; it is a continuation of the Gospels—that is, it tells of the spread of Christianity after the death of Jesus Christ.

The first part of the Acts of the Apostles is taken up with the description of the activities of the disciples of Christ in Jerusalem and the second part, with the teachings of the apostle Paul. The author (who is most likely the same person who wrote the Gospel of Luke) made use of written sources, which he put into literary form and to which he added long speeches. The material of the Acts of the Apostles at times contradicts information in the Epistles of the apostle Paul; even between the two parts of the book of the Acts itself there are contradictions (for example, the so-called miracle on the road to Damascus is differently described in the author’s story and in the sermon of Paul). Debate still rages over the dating of its compilation—Protestant theological literature dates it at 80–100 A.D., and Soviet scholars attribute it to the second quarter of the second century. Also disputable is the purpose of the Acts of the Apostles: Did it appear as an apology for Christianity in general, directed against paganism and Judaism? Or was it the reflection of an internal struggle within Christianity—that is, between the Judeo-Christians, who advocated preserving certain Judaic elements in Christianity, and the Paulinists who sought a radical break with Judaism, or between whatever other groupings there may have been? The Acts of the Apostles is an important source for the study of early Christianity.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
On this early non-use of Acts see Ernst Haenchen, The Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971), 3-9.
Looking at how often Luke tells stories in Acts of the Apostles of well-to-do Gentiles who accept the gospel and help spread it, it is likely this is how he would have us understand Lydia as well.
John Paul II reflected on the spirit of the Year of the Eucharist in his apostolic letter Mane Nobiscum Domine: "At each holy Mass we are called to measure ourselves against the ideal of communion which the Acts of the Apostles paints as a model for the church in every age.
Next, the first reading is chosen, usually from one of the books of the Old Testament, or from the Acts of the Apostles in Eastertime.
Toward the end, I was rooting for Wilson to bring about what the Acts of the Apostles stops short of : a face-to-face meeting of the two, the most powerful man in the world and the "powerless tent maker" who by such proximity would seem all the more heroic.
Have we strayed too far from the Spirit-led model of church in the Acts of the Apostles? As children of the Creator and followers of the Christ, are we not equals--a priestly people who need our church to honor our baptismal call and the gifts of the Spirit we have been given?
The early Christian commies are described in the Acts of the Apostles as Christ's followers who broke bread and prayed together: And all who believed were together and held all things in common, and would sell their possessions and goods and distribute them among all according as anyone had need.
This participative spirit can be seen in the earliest Christian documents, most clearly in chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostles.
But Luke has another version of this story in his second volume, the Acts of the Apostles. In that reckoning, we hear that Jesus spent 40 days appearing to the apostles, who have been cautioned not to leave Jerusalem until the Spirit comes.
This is described in the New Testament book, Acts of the Apostles and the event represents the birth of the early Church.
In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke sets Pentecost 50 days after Easter.
Pentecost had a lengthy history before appearing in Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2.