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THE CHRISTOLOGY OF ACTS

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  • Dennis Goffin
    Having surveyed every christological expression in Acts, it is clear that the Christology of Acts is very early and there is absolutely no reference to any
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 28, 2010
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      Having surveyed every christological expression in Acts, it is clear that the Christology of Acts is very early and there is absolutely no reference to any form of atonement apart from 20:28. Is there any indication anywhere in the literature that this passage is an interpolation ? Ehrman discusses it but only to look at variants that appear later than the Alexandrian texts.


      Dennis Goffin
      Chorleywood UK

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Rikk Watts
      Dear Dennis, An interesting observation to be sure, but if Acts 2 is intended to be the key speech for Luke and his concerns here are two: the eschatological
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 28, 2010
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        Dear Dennis,

        An interesting observation to be sure, but if Acts 2 is intended to be the
        key speech for Luke and his concerns here are two: the eschatological gift
        of the Spirit and Jesus' resurrection as the sign of God vindication of him
        as the heir to the Davidic promises of authority over the nations ‹which
        then Acts seems to develop throughout (including the accounts of Paul's
        call)‹why exactly would one expect to find much (or any) atonement theology
        therein?

        It's interesting how little a role even the mention of Jesus being killed,
        crucified, or dying plays in Acts, except as a prelude to his being
        vindicated by the resurrection. I.e. Luke's point seems to be not to explain
        the mechanics of Israel's forgiveness of sins, but rather to indicate that
        it is Jesus (not e.g. Moses) through whom Israel's and the nations'
        salvation comes. On the other hand, given their extended and intimate link,
        is it possible even to speak of salvation/forgiveness of sins at any kind of
        length within a Jewish narratival horizon without at some point dealing with
        sacrifice? It seems reasonable that Luke's simple statements on these
        matters are the tip of the iceberg.

        So, personally, I'm not at all sure it is safe to assume that Luke is giving
        me his entire Christology in Acts. I think if one could find some clear
        negative evidence that would be much more telling ‹ but then given his
        agenda why would he? And we all know the pitfalls inherent in arguing from
        silence.

        Nevertheless, it seems there are some hints: e.g. 13.38-39: Moses here seems
        to be a synecdoche for the Levitical sacrificial system. If so, then one
        would expect that something similar is implied by the reference to Jesus;
        i.e. his name too functions as a synecdoche pointing to the equivalent
        function. So too perhaps 15:11: what does it mean exactly to be saved by the
        grace of the Lord Jesus? If one asked "Luke" to unpack this, how do you
        think he would go about it? But again, even the reference to Isa 53 in
        8:32-33 seems more to do with Jesus' vindication ‹ though it's possible a
        slaughtered lamb might conjure up a sacrificial image for some (the only
        place Luke mentions "lamb" in his gospel concerns Passover sacrifices).

        Best
        Rikk Watts



        > From: Dennis Goffin <dgoffin@...>
        > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        > Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 11:54:21 +0100
        > To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        > Subject: [XTalk] THE CHRISTOLOGY OF ACTS
        >
        >
        > Having surveyed every christological expression in Acts, it is clear that the
        > Christology of Acts is very early and there is absolutely no reference to any
        > form of atonement apart from 20:28. Is there any indication anywhere in the
        > literature that this passage is an interpolation ? Ehrman discusses it but
        > only to look at variants that appear later than the Alexandrian texts.
        >
        >
        > Dennis Goffin
        > Chorleywood UK
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
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      • David Mealand
        That Acts 20.28 appears to be an unusual element in Acts is a very interesting and intriguing fact. The primary metaphor is that of purchase here. The author
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 28, 2010
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          That Acts 20.28 appears to be an unusual element
          in Acts is a very interesting and intriguing fact.
          The primary metaphor is that of purchase here.
          The author rehearses a speech claiming that
          the community is "purchased". So we have a
          financial metaphor. It is said to be acquired
          presumably for a "price".

          The speech then states the price
          to be blood i.e. (presumably in this case)
          a death. So the metaphor is now something more
          than financial. The purchase cost the blood of
          someone who was "his" (tou idiou). If one
          person rescues several others, but dies in the process
          then the successful rescue can be seen to have a
          "cost", hence the earlier explicit mention of
          purchase or acquisition and an implied price.

          If this is correct then this passage is not too distant
          from those that use ideas of ransom, present outside Luke
          in Mark 10.45, and in Luke at 24.21. The ransom
          metaphor suggests analogy with payment of money to
          buy freedom, but here it seems to intersect with
          the thought that a death is involved, as in a rescue
          where the only rescuer (or one of the rescuers)
          is killed.

          If the above analysis is correct then we do have
          ideas of purchase, cost, ransom and rescue in the
          passage which the author of Acts attributes to Paul,
          but several other soteriological metaphors are notably
          absent. We cannot go so far as to deem it highly probable
          that the author rejects other ideas, but we can say that
          some of them don't seem to appear here
          - or elsewhere in Luke-Acts.

          David Mealand



          ---------
          David Mealand, University of Edinburgh





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          The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
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