Acts of the Apostles

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Acts of the Apostles

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. Luke. 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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The truths of the book of Acts should be sufficient to make my point here.
While this overlooks periods of Muslim domination of Spain, Sicily, Albania and the Balkans, or patches of secularism since the Enlightenment, it is pertinent in observing that the magical world seen in the Book of Acts was marginalized in modern times and is reappearing in postmodern culture.
Foxe explains: "For as the Apostles in the primitive age first planted the Church in truth of the Gospel: so the same truth being again defaced and decayed by enemies in this our latter time, there was none that travailed more earnestly in restoring of the same in this realm of England, than did William Tyndale." [51] First in priority among the lives of the three writers that Foxe abbreviates out of the 1570 Acts and Monuments is "the history and discourse of the life of William Tyndale out of the book of Acts and Monuments briefly extracted." It begins with an advertisement that refers the reader to Foxe's already published martyrology:
Or would she criticise his disciples, referred to in the Bible Book of Acts, who went from door to door without let-up, preaching the good news of God's Kingdom?
Among the topics are whether reception history is pertinent to literary criticism, reading Luke-Acts as Luke and Acts, the Book of Acts as narrative commentary on the letters of the New Testament, and hearing Acts as a sequel to a multiform gospel.
Instructions: In your Bible read chapter 2 of the book of Acts. Then fill in the answers to the Pentecost Puzzle Questions below.
Of Widows and Meals: Communal Meals in the Book of Acts. By Reta Halteman Finger.
The Way According To Luke: Hearing The Whole Story Of Luke-Acts by Paul Borgman (Professor of English, Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts) is a narrative study of the classic Greek and Jewish literary tale elements of the New Testament Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts. As Professor Borgman insightfully explores the historical complexities of these biblical narratives, The Way According To Luke deftly guides readers through the two-part drama with its principal focus on the mission of Jesus and his apostles through attention to the use of repetition, patterns and other oral narrative particulars as the scriptures were originally intended to be read and understood by the early Christian community.
But it is clearly identified with Jesus--most of the references in the gospels and the book of Acts to Nazareth are in the phrase "Jesus of Nazareth." John, alone among the gospel writers, even tells us that the word "Nazareth" appeared on the identifying notice on the cross.
Every diminishing church needs to have its minister encourage the attendees to read the book of Acts. If they read this Bible book with an open heart, that congregation will yearn for God to manifest His power amongst them as He did in those days!
At the same time Luke is also sketching out for us in these meals just what it means to be "church," to be "the Body of Christ." For, as we see in the Book of Acts, the community of disciples of Christ is a community shaped and nurtured by the table fellowship and hospitality of Jesus, a community where disciples proclaim their faith in Jesus by sharing their tables and lives.
This collection of essays seeks to serve as an introduction to the recent trends which have emerged in studies of the book of Acts. The contributions, by specialists who represent a diversity of views, are grouped according to three themes, all related to the original historical setting of Acts: (a) Issues of Genre and Historical Method, (b) Historical, and Theological Difficulties in Acts, (c) Issues of Literary Criticism.