Apologetics in the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews, and by Mark J. Edwards, Martin Goodman, Simon Price, Chris Rowland

By Mark J. Edwards, Martin Goodman, Simon Price, Chris Rowland

This ebook is a entire survey of the discussion among pagans, Jews, and Christians within the Roman empire as much as the time whilst Constantine declared himself a Christian. every one bankruptcy is written by means of a wonderful pupil and is dedicated to a unmarried textual content or staff of texts with the purpose of deciding upon the possible viewers, the literary milieu, and the conditions that resulted in this manner of writing.

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19 The classic locus for this apostolic apologia is of course the Epistle to the Galatians (though the term is not used there). Whether or not we choose to call this material `apologetic' may in the end simply be a matter of personal choice. acts is not an apologetic discourse This brings us within sight of one of the crucial problems for the whole enterprise of reading Acts as apologetic. There is, as we have seen, abundant testimony to the popularity of the label `apologetic' among readers of Acts: but equally signi®cant for our purposes is the high level of disagreement as to the precise lineaments of the text's apologetic situation.

63 For the comparison, see further D. R. Edwards, Religion and Power, and my ` ``In Journeyings Often'' '; also my `Narrative Maps'. 64 Maddox, Purpose of Luke±Acts, 66±7. 65 Even where the dramatic audience is Roman (as in the hearings before Felix and Festus), the accusers and the charges are essentially Jewish; and by bringing on Agrippa as an interested observer in the ®nal court scene (ch. 26), Luke e€ectively turns Paul's last and fullest apologetic speech into a restatement and defence of his whole theological standpoint before a ®gure who can be identi®ed as a symbolic spokesman for Diaspora Judaism.

Yet, as we have seen, there is a distinct ambivalence in Acts' presentation of the Christian case before a Roman tribunal. Paul, certainly, is presented as innocent of the particular charge on which he was tried in Caesarea (which was in fact an o€ence against Jewish law). But he and his associates have incurred a number of other charges along the way which have never in so many wordsÐthat is, in the explicit terms we would expect of apologetic speechÐbeen refuted. Mud has a disturbing tendency to stick, and it is a dangerous strategy for an apologetic writer to bring accusations to the reader's attention without taking the trouble to refute them.

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