Jerusalem as the Place of Origins in Early Christian Imagination
Milton Moreland
University of La Verne


General Considerations on Methodology: Social Construction of Reality

Acts as a Community's Etiology

Jerusalem in the Narrative of Acts

The Beginning of Acts

Stephen's Speech

Samaria, Joppa, and Antioch in Relation to Jerusalem

Paul and the Jerusalem Christians According to Acts

The Acts of the Apostles as a Source for Contemporary Reconstructions of Earliest Christianity




This paper is part of a larger project that is interested in the way that early Christian communities imagined, remembered, and invented the past. As part of that project the current study seeks to examine the variety of ways that the symbol "Jerusalem" was employed by early Christian groups in their social constructions of reality. In particular, this paper will examine the use of "Jerusalem" by the community responsible for one of the most popular stories of Christian origins, the Acts of the Apostles. The study will proceed in three stages. First, I will briefly comment on my methodological approach. My goal in this section is to explore how we might explain the impact and import that the symbol "Jerusalem" could have had for an early second century Christian community. In the second section of the study I will explore the variety of ways that the author of Acts used the idea of Jerusalem within the narrative setting. Finally, I will raise some questions about the usefulness of the story of Acts for contemporary attempts to reconstruct the history of Christian origins. When one examines the extent to which the author of Acts has creatively constructed the idea of Jerusalem as the focal point of Christian origins, the need for modern scholars to reevaluate the veracity of Luke's account is accentuated.

My attention turned to Jerusalem as an interesting symbol to be examined for several reasons. First, Jerusalem is significant to a wide variety of early Christian communities. It appears as a concept or place in almost all of the known texts from the first and early second centuries C.E. Second, Jerusalem is a complex idea, in antiquity as well as the present world, which requires explanation. It is not enough to say, concerning Jerusalem in the first century C.E., that it was a place inhabited by people located West of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River and East of the Mediterranean Sea. Neither is it enough to say that it was a religious, political, and cultural center. Though these definitions are accurate, the idea of Jerusalem far exceeds these descriptions. Finally, Jerusalem was chosen as a focal point because of its importance in contemporary pictures of Christian origins. Jerusalem, as pictured in several letters of Paul and in Acts, has dominated many discussions of how, why, and where Christianity began.(1) Part of my goal in this paper is to raise questions about whether the normal reconstruction of Christian origins, which accepts Jerusalem as the fountainhead, is valid. During the past half-century, with the discovery of many early Christian texts that do not fit the traditional unitary model of Christian origins and with the growing recognition that even the canonical texts furnish a heterogeneous picture, the task is to rethink the stereotypes and develop new models.(2)

General Considerations on Methodology: Social Construction of Reality

Jerusalem is not an innocuous idea. It is a symbol, loaded with social meanings.(3) To claim Jerusalem as a symbol that represented your community or to be at odds with this symbol was significant in the world of late first and early second century Christianity. It was a symbol that could represent authority and power as well as have numerous other connotations. If Jerusalem is to be thought of as a symbol, and I think it is necessary, then there is a need to understand how symbols are created, organized, and described within societies. The goal of the present study is to be clear about what could have been meant when an early Christian community employed the symbol of Jerusalem in the process of community formation. This study intends to show that the way the past is remembered, invented, and framed, or, put another way, the symbols a group selects and orders reveals much about the community that is involved in the process.

Groups have a need to make sense of who they are and how they came to be. They do this by constructing, organizing, interpreting, and narrating. They give meaning to themselves by mapping their "place" within the larger "framework" of the world, especially with regard to the question of what is their past. They construct, organize, and explain their past, and thus their present, by appropriating symbols into their ideological universe.(4) A symbol is an ideological construct. In order to organize and interpret the past and present, groups have to place phenomena into a structured system. This structured system is developed within societies (as a necessary stage in group formation), and no two societies necessarily have exactly the same structure by which they process and understand phenomena.

Symbols employed by a community are connected to a group's historical consciousness. The creation, commemoration, ordering, and rehearsal of a group's past serve a social function within a community.(5) The presence of the past provides a community with meaning and legitimization by combining elements from the community's mythic and remembered past into a story that makes sense of their present social world. "For all invented traditions, so far as possible, use history as a legitimator of action and cement of group cohesion."(6) This social act involves a process of (re)signifying and (re)ordering symbols.

As communities reflect and shape the past they are involved in myth making. The term 'myth' refers to a specific story or group of stories (imaginary or other)(7) which, when they are ordered or mapped out(8) in the community, become integrated into that community's symbolic universe.(9) Geertz' use of the term "symbol" as "tangible formulations of notions, abstractions from experience fixed in perceptible forms, concrete embodiments of ideas, attitudes, judgments, longings, or beliefs" is operative here.(10)

Berger and Luckmann's description of the legitimating process that takes place within a society is also useful to the explanation of this process. They describe a society as creating and maintaining a "symbolic universe" which orders and gives meaning to the individuals in a group. One function of this symbolic universe is the creation and ordering of the past. By ordering the past, societies have the ability to "conceive of themselves as belonging to a meaningful universe, which was there before they were born and will be there after they die."(11) When a community links itself with the past, it is involved in a legitimization process.

It can also be argued that the symbols a community selects are important because they reveal something about the social condition of that community. Out of the mass of symbols that are available from the ideological systems familiar to a group, a community chooses certain symbols with which to identify. As I will argue below, in the case of the symbols that derive from the Hebrew heritage, particularly the choice of 'Jerusalem,' the meaning that is given to the symbol by a particular group reveals something about that group. Jerusalem was not taken up as an important symbol in some early Christian communities, yet other groups found this symbol to be a powerful part of their etiology (in particular, Luke-Acts). The choice of Jerusalem as a key element in a group's symbolic universe might be informative about the particular social situation of the group, or at least, their perceived social identity.

My discussion so far has attempted to paint with a broad stroke a picture of the social process of ideology and mythmaking. I have suggested that the mythology of a group is integrally tied to their creation and maintenance of their symbolic universe. By observing the choice of symbols and the ideological framework that a community uses to create its mythology, I have suggested that we learn something about the social situation of that group. While this sketch of the ideological process has been concise, it should be sufficient to provide a methodological framework for the present project. As a conclusion to this initial methodological exploration, I suggest the following reflection by G. Denning as a means to summarize the discussion and push it a step further:

Histories, transformations of the past into expressions, clothe, constitute, are a present social reality. Histories always have this double entendre. They refer to a past in making a present. The knowledge of the past that re-presents the past in story or account makes the structures of the present - such as class or identity - in the expressing. ... Histories are fictions - something made of the past - but fictions whose forms are metonymies of the present. Histories are metaphors of the past: they translate sets of events into sets of symbols. But histories are also metonymies of the present: the present has existence in and through their expression. The present - social reality, the structures of our living - has being through re-presentations of the past in coded public forms. We read or hear histories in this double way. We know in them both a present and a past.(12)
 Acts as a Community's Etiology

 The invention of a community's past always involves choices. This involves the determination of what epochs, people, monuments, or antiquities are exaggerated, purified, conflated, neglected, despised, or demolished (this applies both to physical and narrative constructions).(13) There are many examples from both ancient and modern communities of how and why these choices are made. Luke-Acts provides us with an opportunity to observe the shaping of a symbol within a community that was very likely far removed from the "reality" of Jerusalem.(14)

The understanding of Acts as a work of historiography from the Greco-Roman world is not an unfamiliar categorization; nor is it one that is innocent. This categorization process often involves the task of comparing Luke-Acts to other "histories" of the Greco-Roman world. Certainly this is not completely inappropriate as a grouping for comparison. While E. Meyer suggested that Luke-Acts was the best historiographical achievement between Polybius and Poseidonius,(15) R. Pervo's assessment is a more valid comparison between Luke and his contemporary authors: "Luke ... was bumbling and incompetent as a historian yet brilliant and creative as an author."(16) As Pervo suggests, Luke's writings do not fit neatly within the category of ancient historiography. Nevertheless, the author of Luke-Acts was interested in creating a story for his community that provided a link to the Hebrew heritage by way of the early Christians in Palestine. As such, Luke-Acts is comparable with other types of social "histories" that allow a community to explore and create etiologies. While there have been many scholars who have attempted to compare Luke-Acts and other New Testament literature to Jewish andor Greek historiography, biography, or Greco-Roman novels, there has been less attention paid to these narrative accounts as social projects.(17)

For Luke's community, this etiology could have been quite a brainstorm. Like other utopian stories, there is power in the creation of imaginary worlds. The 'gap' between Luke's community and the story-world of Luke-Acts allows for thought. Imagining Jerusalem in such an ideal way was not easy. Luke's intellectual effort, exerted in order to manufacture a sweeping epic account that linked his gentile community to the Hebrew epic, is constantly displayed for the reader. It is not a story that was intended to be read literally. It was a creative construction of the past. Every phase in the narrative relates a stage in the development of Luke's community. The sayings of Jesus make sense in their context. The lifestyle of the early Jerusalem group makes sense in its context. The speeches are all relevant to their narrative and etiologic functions. The reader of Luke-Acts is asked to imagine. Imagining the past and linking yourself or your group to it is a common process, but it is not a simple process. Establishing a 'place' for your group takes mental energy.

Much more could be said about how and why history is created. I have attempted to point out several factors that could provide informative background material for the study of earliest Christianity. I have suggested that the process of thinking about the past is part of the cognitive labor that provides validation, identity, guidance through models, enrichment, and escape from present realities for the members of a group. All groups reflect, as part of their social cognitive process, on their past. They choose symbols and order them in their symbolic universe. The way that any group forms a perspective about the past or develops a historical consciousness is conditioned by their present social environment.

In presenting this theoretical and methodological foundation my intention is to suggest the need to understand Luke within a social-historical setting. As an author who was reflecting on, arranging, and creating the past for his community, Luke should be understood as fulfilling an essential role in group formation and stabilization. When one observes his two volumes, the focus should be on how this author rehearses, manipulates, and neglects the specific symbols provided him in his Hellenized context.

Jerusalem in the Narrative of Acts

The fact that Luke intentionally selected Jerusalem as a central place in his narrative has been observed by many scholars. E. Lohmeyer began the modern discussion of the role geographical locations played in the gospel narratives.(18) Then, almost a half century ago, Conzelmann stimulated the discussion of Luke-Acts by noting the close relationship between geographical and theological conceptions in the text.(19) Geographical locations were not inadvertently selected by the author, nor were they necessarily the locations where the events occurred. Rather, the placement of events in the narrative was motivated by more general ideological concerns.

The ability of this author to create accounts that fit the needs of the story should also be emphasized. Luke did not simply have available a stock of stories about Jesus and his first followers to which he attached scriptural "proofs." His ability to create episodes that fit into his grand schemes should not be underestimated. As the remainder of this study unfolds, the extent to which Luke intentionally created stories that were centered in Jerusalem will become increasingly clear.

Considering that by the time Luke wrote there was little to speak of in terms of a physical city of Jerusalem, that there was no active temple cult in the city, and that there were probably few, if any, Christians in the city, its prominence in Luke-Acts is remarkable. In the following analysis of Luke's use of the temple and Jerusalem an attempt will be made to understand why the idea of the temple and this city became so important to this late first - early second century author.

The Beginning of Acts

In the following analysis of the texts of Acts, I will briefly review Luke's use of Jerusalem without consistently raising questions about the historical veracity of the material. Following this overview, I will engage the issue of the usefulness of constructing a picture of Christian origins that is based on Acts. I have used the speech of Stephen and the events surrounding that narrative as the dividing point between the opening chapters, concerned with the ideal Christian community, and the closing chapters, concerned with the life of Paul and his relationship to the Jerusalem leaders. The intention of the following survey is to examine the extent to which Luke used Jerusalem in his second volume as an ideological construct.

The final picture in the Gospel of Luke (24:36-53) is reiterated at the opening of Acts. The stress is once again on a united group of followers who were centered in Jerusalem. The second volume opens with Jesus staying with the apostles for forty days in Jerusalem during the fifty day period between Passover and Pentecost. Two Lukan issues are stressed in the Acts account of Jesus' final words: the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the coming of the kingdom. As in Luke 24:47, there is a mention of the apostles being witnesses beginning in Jerusalem and spreading to the world (1:8), followed by a second account of the ascension (cf. Luke 24:50-52).(20)

In the first eleven verses of Acts the reader is prepared for the remainder of the narrative account. Luke stressed the place Jerusalem would have in his story of Christian origins twice in this sequence of events: as the place to wait for the promise of the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit (vs. 4); and as the first place the apostles would witness (vs. 8). In the words of the two men in white robes who appeared after the ascension, Luke reminds the reader that the apostles were originally from Galilee, but presses the narrative forward by suggesting that now the only important factor for this group is to prepare for the second coming: "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven" (1:11).

In the first events following the departure of Jesus in Luke's narrative, he establishes the body of people who comprise the charter members of the Jerusalem group. The initial data about the group's composition and Peter's address can be accounted for as Lukan creations, without the proposal of source theories. Except for Judas Iscariot, the same apostles given in Luke 6:14-16 are listed in Acts 1:13, along with "certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers" (1:14). The mention of the sum "about 120" was probably selected by Luke as a reasonable amount of people for the setting. That it corresponds to his notion of the twelve apostles is probably not accidental.(21)

It is also clear from this initial data that Luke intended to stress Peter as his next protagonist. As the new leader Peter addressed the group. Three Lukan themes are evident in Peter's initial address: fulfillment of scripture (1: 16, 20), the public nature of the Judas events among the population of Jerusalem (1:18-19), and a concern to define the elements of an apostle (1:21-22).(22) The first theme stresses the link between the Hebrew heritage, Jesus, and the Jerusalem group that dominates Luke's opening narratives. The second theme, seen in Acts 1:19, continued the idea of Luke 24:18, everyone in Jerusalem knew what was taking place concerning the events of Jesus' death. The final theme of Peter's address, apostleship, in conjunction with Luke's story of the appointment of Matthias, provided the reader with an indication of the organization of the community from the very beginning. The selection of Matthias, while dependent on 'divine providence,' was described by Luke as being conducted in a well managed and methodical manner: Peter explained the circumstances of the situation, he interpreted the 'scriptures' (in the style of Jesus), he defined the position that was open, the group nominated two candidates, they prayed, cast lots, and Matthias joined the eleven.

These brief comments on the opening chapter of Acts are sufficient to show several points of Lukan interest that continue to be emphasized in the remainder of his book: (1) The group in Jerusalem began in an organized fashion, the leadership was in place and well defined; (2) The actions of the group were grounded in the Hebrew heritage (1:16), even the decision to select a replacement for Judas was based on the Psalms (69:25 combined with 109:8);(23) (3) The reader is given an initial picture of the group's solidarity and their values by the reference in 1:13 to the idea that the whole group was staying together in an upstairs room (cf., Luke 22:12), and the reference to their major occupation, "all these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer" (1:14); and (4) The Holy Spirit has a heightened role in the community (1:5, 8).

The community's values continue to be illustrated in the following chapters of Acts. As R. Cassidy has observed, there is additional attention paid to the community's care for the sick and the poor, their use of material possessions, their opposition to injustice and corruption, their inclusion of oppressed groups (esp. women and Samaritans), and their rejection of violence.(24) The fact that this was an idealized community portrait, comparable to ancient Greco-Roman descriptions of the model state or the ideal of friendship in the philosophical schools has been observed in several recent studies.(25)

The opening of Acts also maintains a concerted attempt to link this new group with the Hebrew heritage. The idea of the twelve apostles was not a Lukan creation; but, in his text, it became a useful way clearly to symbolize the leadership of the Jerusalem group with a sign that recalled the traditional number of the Israelite tribes. Luke went to great lengths in the opening of his second volume to establish the group of twelve apostles, even though they are only mentioned as a group one other time in the remainder of the narrative (Acts 6:2). I have already mentioned another one of Luke's most blatant ways of adopting the Hebrew heritage, the appeal to 'scripture' that appears in Peter's first address, as well as in most of the other speeches in Acts. Luke's choice of the day of Pentecost for the beginning of the public life of the community can also be seen in the same light: the famous Jewish holiday, representing in some traditions the giving of the Law, was claimed as the great day of the giving of the Holy Spirit.(26) Just as Passover could be claimed for the death and resurrection stories, a tradition inherited from Mark, Luke creatively interjected a forty day period of Jesus on earth after the resurrection, which led up nicely to the next Jewish holiday. The forty day period is reminiscent of the Israelite wilderness wandering (mentioned explicitly three times in Stephen's speech, Acts 7:30, 36, 42), and the temptations of Jesus (Luke 4:2). All three forty year day periods (Israelite wandering, Jesus' temptations, Jesus with apostles) anticipate the arrival of a new period in Luke's grand scheme of history.

In summary, it is clear that by using references to the written Hebrew heritage, adopting the symbolic numbers from the Israelite past (12 and 40), and claiming the Jewish holidays as the dates of important events in the origins of Christianity, Luke continued to manufacture his claim to the Hebrew heritage. Since the setting for all of these events was in and around the temple precinct in Jerusalem, Luke's ideological construction was even further confirmed.

Regarding this Jerusalem setting, the claim that at the time of Pentecost "there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven loiving in Jerusalem" (2:5) is clearly a Lukan ploy to establish the first major group of believers in Jerusalem. The term katoikounte clearly implies that these people from his list of nations (2:9-11) were not simply pilgrims entering the city for a few days, as Jesus' family had done at the beginning of the gospel. These were residents who, after their conversions, would join the community until Luke cleverly had them dispersed after Stephen's speech.(27) As E. Haenchen suggested, Luke "can hardly have the mission's first 3,000 converts, the nucleus of the community secured from among them, streaming off to the four corners of the world within a week of conversion!"(28) Concerning Luke's idea of thousands of converts from among the most pious Jews (cf. 2:41, 47; 6:7; 21:20), it is not simply that Luke has exaggerated the numbers, as most commentators suggest;(29) the entire sequence of events can be well understood as a product of Luke's imagination. The parallels with the opening chapters of the first volume point to the fact that Luke continued to picture a partially receptive element among the most pious Jews of the city ("a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith" [6:7]; "they are all zealous for the law" [21:20]). As in his story of Jesus, the conflict with the unrepentant Jewish leaders escalates (4:1-2, 5-6; 5:17, 21, 24, 26, 27, 33; 7:1, 54) as the group's members preach and do miracles in the city. The dispersion in Acts 8:1, after Stephen's speech, was the culmination of this growing conflict. Just as with his story of Jesus, even though the pious temple priests understood the significance of the events, the majority of priests rose up against the Christians. It is a story Luke created, but one that follows a pattern quite familiar to the readers of the Gospel of Luke.

Besides his interest in claiming the Hebrew heritage and establishing a large group of believers who could in turn go out into the world as the first missionaries, virtuousness was one of the key themes that Luke illustrated in the first section of Acts. The lifestyle of this Jerusalem group was patterned after the ideals of virtuous living and ideal friendship. According to Luke, people were drawn into the group by the thousands not only because of the power of the Holy Spirit, but due to the lifestyle and perseverance of the group. The conditions of community living mentioned in Acts 1:13 are further elaborated in 2:42-47; 4:32-37; and 5:12-16.(30) Like Luke's claim about thousands of converts, scholars are in almost unanimous agreement about the exaggeration of these descriptions.(31) These are summaries of Luke's creativity. The Jerusalem community was in a pristine state, just as the infancy narratives show Jesus in complete harmony with Jerusalem. Having manufactured this ideal state, Luke pictured the group growing and facing opposition from within the temple. Luke also developed scenes that spoke to his community about the group pressures that arose as the Jerusalemites tried to maintain the lifestyle (5:1-11; 6:1-6).

Regarding the need for this group to persevere, Luke elaborated upon three themes in Acts 3-7: (1) the growing tensions with the temple; (2) the ability of the faithful to overcome the persecution; and (3) the inevitable divisions within the Jerusalem group. The relationship of the group to the temple reached its high point in Acts 2:46, "... they spent much time together in the temple." Following Peter's speech in the temple in 3:11-26, the above mentioned escalation of conflict with the temple authorities began (4:1-2). This conflict allowed Luke to stress the second theme, the group's leaders were bold in speech (3:13, 29), and, after praying and being filled with the Holy Spirit, the group's members likewise became emboldened (3:31). Although persecuted (4:3; 5:18), the bold apostles were either miraculously rescued (5:19), or saved by the witness of a wise Pharisee (5:33-40).(32) Like Jesus in the temple before his death, Luke pictured the apostles as preaching in the temple, regardless of the growing conflict (5:25, 42). This drives the narrative forward to the consequential events surrounding Stephen's speech and death.

Before discussing in more detail the function of Stephen's speech in the narrative, a comment about Luke's sources is necessary. I have intentionally avoided lengthy remarks about the scholarship on the sources of Acts in order to permit a more fluid discussion of the narrative as we have it. Yet, the possibility that Luke had various sources at his disposal for the book of Acts, particularly the events in Jerusalem, has produced an extensive body of scholarly debate. There is no scholarly consensus on the issue, though there is widespread agreement on the idea that Luke worked with traditional material.(33) While there are reasons to agree with the majority of scholars who suggest that Luke borrowed freely from traditional material, it must be kept in mind that it is not the case that these sources were necessarily any more historically valid than Luke's own composition. One danger of supplying source theories for Acts or assuming that Luke must have taken his details from an earlier tradition is the often unstated conclusion that the use of sources implies historical accuracy. If sources are identified for Acts, they also must be evaluated in order to understand the reasons for their particular social creation of the past.

Another problem with source theories can be briefly illustrated by observing a single paragraph from Haenchen's famous commentary. His topic was the sources for the first speech of Peter (Acts 1:16-22). In response to the more conservative scholar H. W. Beyer, who claimed a "sound tradition" behind almost the entire speech, Haenchen objected with a more reasonable suggestion for Luke's sources:

Not that Luke freely invented everything! He was certainly not the first to tell of the punishment God meted out to Judas: here he is echoing Palestinian traditions. The interpretation of the Psalms passages he also took over, no doubt from Hellenistic Christianity; and finally the information that Matthias and not Barsabbas was chosen by lot to be an Apostle must also derive from some tradition.(34)
The question that must be raised about this picture of Luke's sources is, To what extent is Haenchen's implicit reconstruction of early Christianity primarily dependent on Acts? His distinction between a "Palestinian tradition" and "Hellenistic Christianity" is based on a division of "Hebrews" and "Hellenists" that was very likely a Lukan invention (see below). Scholars fall quickly into the fallacy of begging the question when they base their source theories on the very text for which they are attempting to supply sources. In other words, if in fact there were no clearly defined "Palestinian traditions" in distinction from "Hellenistic Christianity," then there is a need to rethink the origin of that material. If Luke's picture of the first Christians in Jerusalem was primarily a literary creation, basing source theories on a reconstruction of earliest Christianity that derives from Luke's text is a circular argument.

Regarding the content of the first seven chapters of Acts, it should be noted that there is actually very little material that recommends itself as coming from a source. It can be argued that most of the narrative is a Lukan creation. As L. T. Johnson stated, "When we analyze the first chapters of Acts (virtually everything having to do with Jerusalem), we are struck by how very little real 'stuff' Luke had available to him."(35) My analysis has not questioned the existence of a group of Jesus' followers in Jerusalem; but to postulate that this group is accurately portrayed in Acts disregards Luke's literary and ideological rhetoric. To assume that Acts was based on the same model as the gospel, where Luke relied heavily on Mark and Q, is to overlook the likelihood that most groups of early Christians in the early second century had not written out descriptions of their origins. While Luke had gathered some source material about the life and teaching of Jesus, similar material about early Christian groups may not have been available. Also, even when Luke worked with sources, it is clear that he made them his own by carefully reworking them into a story that made sense to his particular community. Thus, while an interest in the sources of Acts will surely continue to produce a great deal of scholarly hypotheses, a minimalist approach to the source question may provide some balance in contrast to the idea that Luke's Acts was simply a combination of sources.

Stephen's Speech

In order to preserve the unity of the twelve apostles in Jerusalem, and in keeping with Luke's need to picture the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to the rest of the world, the material about Stephen and the other six Greek speakers was produced. Having sketched a brief, but eventful, story of the Jerusalem group, Luke came to the point in the narrative where it was necessary to press forward to the expansion of the group outside the city. Devising the story of the twelve choosing the seven (6:1-6) provided Luke with a connection between the original community and the outward growth of the group. Luke allowed for dissension to enter the ideal community ("The Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews ..." [6:1]) in order to create a second tier of leaders who would be partially responsible for the movement away from the city. These Greek speakers were perfect vehicles for the mission. For instance, note the description of one of the seven, "Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism" (6:5). Luke was at work here creating a connection between Jerusalem and his narrative's other major center of Christian missions, Antioch. Luke was also clearly interested in linking the seven with his group of twelve apostles (6:2, 6). The idea that the seven were to serve a physical need in the community (6:1) was a narrative scheme that drew the readers attention to another Lukan theme: taking care of the poor and widows.(36) But, once elected to serve, Stephen was characterized in the same fashion as the apostles: he did miracles (6:8) and he preached (7:2-53). The famous division between the "Hebrews" and "Hellenists" was probably nothing more than Luke's way of plotting a course for his narrative that would lead to a major speech by someone of importance outside of the group of twelve. The goal was to create a narrative sequence which could account for the dispersion of Christianity, without the removal of the twelve apostles from Jerusalem (8:1).(37)

There is no need to postulate that Luke was reworking a source that contained a description of the choosing of the seven.(38) When Acts 6:1-6 is understood as a necessary narrative shift, the tension that has been noted between this text and the remainder of Acts disappears. Thus, while Stephen and Philip were described as evangelists, rather than feeding the widows as 6:1-6 suggests, the possibility that Luke intentionally created this "conflict" should be considered. He creatively designed a story that introduced new leaders into his narrative: Stephen will press the narrative to move out of Jerusalem; Philip will instigate the mission outside of the city; the mention of Antioch anticipates the next geographical setting; and the suggestion that these leaders were "Greeks" prepares the way for mission into the diaspora. The story also shows that even in the ideal community setting there is a need for organized distribution of goods. Furthermore, the story provides the necessary link between this ideal community and the impending conflict with the temple authorities.

That Luke could have created the Greek names, along with the grouping of seven is not impossible.(39) Since there is no question that Luke had the ability to construct scenes that press his narrative forward, it should no longer be assumed that Acts 6:1-6 was "a historical nucleus in Luke's account of the tensions between the Christian 'Hebrew' and the 'Hellenists' in Jerusalem (Acts 6.1ff.)," and "that it indicates a new and decisive stage in the development of the earliest community."(40)

Regarding the speech itself, the extent to which it was an accurate portrayal of Luke's attitude toward the temple has been a heavily debated topic since Cadbury and Dibelius separately came to the conclusion that the speeches were primarily Lukan constructions that could be mined in an effort to discover the theology of this author.(41) Luke's ability to create speeches that fit his narrative framework has often been illustrated. A recent statement of M. Soards is to the point: "Through the regular introduction of formally repetitive speeches, Luke unified his narrative; and, more important, he unified the image of an otherwise personally, ethnically, and geographically diverse early Christianity."(42) Stephen's speech is no exception.

While many scholars assume that Luke used a source in constructing this particular speech,(43) there is a growing consensus around the notion that the basic ideology of the speech stems from the author of Acts.(44) Recently, several careful studies have convincingly shown that this speech, like the other speeches in Acts, was a Lukan creation.(45) E. Richard's 1976 dissertation is the most thorough literary and ideological examination of the speech and its context in Acts. He concluded that the speech fits well with Luke's narrative development:

The Stephen story, narrative and discourse, finds its place in Acts at an important juncture of the Church's growth. In the midst of debate and threats, the author allows the action of his narrative to pause for an instant. He permits himself a serious definitive review of Israel's history. The wisdom and Spirit of God, Stephen concludes, finds Judaism wanting and so the mission is launched beyond Jerusalem, only to end in Rome.(46)
For the present study, the key observation that arises from this section of Acts relates to Luke's narrative flow. Stephen's speech is a deliberate turning point in the story, away from Jerusalem (8:1; 11:19).(47) Luke's pessimistic attitude toward the temple and Jerusalem, which allows the move away from the city, first arises in 6:13-14, where a "false witness" makes the charge against Stephen: "This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us." It is this charge that Stephen is supposed to respond to in his speech. The charge, while "false," is similar to other instances in Luke-Acts where unsuspecting agents are found to be actually in the service of God's plan (cf. the claims against Jesus at his trial). While scholars have often noted that Stephen's speech does not appear to be a genuine rebuttal of these charges,(48) this is not necessarily the case. Luke's epic sweep is a Christian re-writing of the Hebrew epic that leads directly to the point when the temple's authority is finally denied in Luke's narrative (Acts 8:1). The charge against Stephen, that he had said Jesus would destroy the temple (a Lukan redaction of Mark 14:55-58),(49) is false according to Luke's gospel (no parallel to Mark 14:55-58 is found in Luke). Yet, the reader in the post 70 C.E. context was well aware of the fact that the temple had already been destroyed, and this event was directly related by Luke to Jesus' heroic death in the gospel. The content of Stephen's speech is not a direct rebuttal of the charge. Stephen's argument is not that Jesus never threatened the temple; instead, it is an epic sweep that proves the temple's destruction was caused by false worship and the continual rejection of God's prophets. The denial of the temple's authority makes sense as part of Luke's theme of promise and fulfillment, and within his ideal of kingship.

It is not the goal of the present paper to determine whether Luke's critique of the temple in Stephen's speech should be understood as "transcending" or "rejecting" the temple.(50) Whether Luke had a positive, negative, or mixed opinion of the temple is an interesting question, but it is on the periphery of the present study. For my part, I have considered the temple to be primarily a literary and ideological feature of Luke's narrative. It appears positively when Luke needs it to do so, in order to fit his narrative scheme; it appears negatively for the same reason. His idea of the history of Christianity needs a positive view of the temple at the beginning of the story in order to show that the righteous Israelites of the major cultic center approved of Jesus and his mission. He needs a negative view of the temple when Jesus is rejected by the impure temple authorities, and thus the temple's doom is forecast. He needs a positive view of the temple at the beginning of Acts when the first Christians are found healing and preaching in the temple, accepted by the masses of Jews who gathered there for Pentecost. He needs a negative view of the temple in order to justify the Christian separation from Jerusalem and the cultic center, thus Stephen's speech and death. Finally, as will be seen, he repeats the pendulum swing once more when he presents Paul in Jerusalem. There is both acceptance and rejection of Paul by people associated with the temple. The point is that Luke continually employed the symbol of Jerusalem as a means to create a story of Christian origins that made sense to his community. I would suggest that one reason Luke could paint this mixed picture is because he was writing in a time when the temple was destroyed. The temple was part of his literary and ideological imagination. It was not an institution that had to be defended or derided, except as either characterization was beneficial for his etiology.

Likewise, the closely related issue concerning Luke's view of the Jews is another topic that often focuses on Stephen's speech. Like the issue of Luke's attitude toward the temple, his attitude toward the Jews must be understood first as part of his narrative creation. The temple and people within Judaism were characterized both positively and negatively in the narrative. This is not necessarily because Luke could not make up his mind. His major arguments were not overly concerned with whether the Jews in his story were positive or negative characters. His narrative shows all virtuous people in positive roles, all impious people in negative roles. Did Luke have a positive attitude toward the Jews? The answer is yes, if they were virtuous and accepted the kingship of Jesus; the answer is no, if they were impious and attempted to stand in the way of his kingship. It is not a question of liking or disliking Jews.(51) It is a message that repeats what Pervo has called the "popular" Greco-Roman idea that "Virtue triumphs over evil because God is on the side of the virtuous."(52)

There is no question that the Hebrew heritage was generally a positive ideological construct for the author of Luke-Acts. Luke consistently sought to show that, when understood properly, this heritage was the foundation of his group. As such, when the temple was understood properly by the Jerusalem Jews in his story, it was a positive site, full of virtuous people attracted to the Christian message. When misunderstood, the temple became the headquarters for the priests who sought to persecute and kill the king (Jesus) and his messengers.

By way of conclusion to this section on Stephen's speech, several parallels between the death of Jesus and that of Stephen should be noted.(53) Stephen's speech, recounting the rejection of God's prophets, became a "self fulfilling prophecy." The speaker became the next martyr in the long line of righteous people who suffered and died at the hands of the impious Israelites (particularly Moses and Jesus).(54) Even those scholars who hold the speech to be dependent on a source admit that the framework was contrived by Luke. Acts 7:54-8:3 is a clear narrative transition from the time in Jerusalem to the actions of Philip, Peter, and Paul outside of the city. The choosing of the seven at the opening of the speech prepared the reader for the next stage of development. Philip (listed second, behind Stephen in 6:5) became the main protagonist in the move away from the city into the region of Samaria, anticipated in 1:8.

Samaria, Joppa, and Antioch in Relation to Jerusalem

Turning to the work of Philip in Samaria there is one key point that can be observed: Jerusalem is still in the picture as the central locale. In the final section of this paper I will discuss the evident problem that arises when Luke postulates a thriving leadership still in Jerusalem after the persecutions following Stephen's death. For now, it is important to note that Luke intentionally planted a reference to the Jerusalem apostles within the next section of his narrative. Acts 8:14-17 relates that Peter and John were sent from Jerusalem to Samaria to pray for the new converts in order that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Philip was forced to leave Jerusalem, he went to Samaria where he did miracles, preached, and baptized men and women. But his actions only became validated when observed and blessed by the Jerusalem twelve.

Without explanation, the reader finds one of the apostles who had gone to Samaria, Peter, traveling the country, visiting the "saints" in Lydda, Sharon, Joppa, and finally traveling to Caesarea (9:32-10:48). The existence of new converts in these locations west of Jerusalem is unaccounted for in the narrative, save for the comment in 9:31 that "the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up." Peter's visits in the narrative were clearly intended to show that no activity of the burgeoning group went unaccounted for by the Jerusalem leaders. Jerusalem is clearly pictured as the Christians' administrative center, able to send out officials to inspect the membership. Even though those who participated in the initial conversion of people outside of the city were originally from the group, Luke is careful to manufacture a continuing role for the Jerusalem leadership.

These scenes in which Peter is the protagonist are also used to introduce the transition to the gentile mission, dominated by the actions of Paul. The main point of Peter's travels is the opening of the group to non-Jews. The key for the present study is the clear rendering of the events in Joppa and Caesarea as having to be approved by Jerusalem. Luke's selection of Peter to initiate his gentile mission is a clear indication that Jerusalem was foundational to this mission. The two summaries of the events, given by Peter before the Jerusalem group (11:1-18; 15:7-9), indicate the importance of this event for Luke's etiology. Luke carefully laid out the events in a sequence that made sense of the brewing conflict between Paul and the "mother church."

Once he tentatively established that Peter had acted appropriately, with the approval of the Jerusalem group (11:1-18),(55) Luke quickly shifted the focus to the mission among the gentiles outside of Palestine. He carefully explained the route by which the gentiles in Antioch were able to join the group: Jerusalem members dispersed after Stephen's death; went to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch as part of the Jewish mission (11:19); some of the Cypriotes and Cyrenians among the group went to Antioch and converted Greeks, led by "the hand of the lord" (11:20-21); the Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to Antioch; and he eventually brought Saul from Tarsus to Antioch, where they both stayed for one year. Acts 11:19-29 is a clear Lukan transitional stage between Peter and Paul. In conjunction with the following story about Peter's imprisonment and escape, Luke neatly drew the attention away from Peter, John, and James (the apostle, the brother of John), focusing instead on Paul and James (the brother of Jesus). He began this process by quickly suggesting that James had been killed by Herod (Agrippa I). This broke up the trio that began in Luke 5:8-10: Peter, James, and John. It also essentially brought to an end the idea of "the twelve" in Acts. In exchange, James, the brother of Jesus, was introduced in Acts 12:17 as the one to whom Mary, the mother of John Mark, should tell of Peter's escape (cf. 1:14; 15:13; 21:18). Peter was then all but removed from the story in Luke's next statement: "Then he left and went to another place" (12:17; his only other appearance is in 15:7-11, back in Jerusalem with Paul). Since John Mark will also become a leader in the group, his introduction here is significant, even though his appearance is only in a parenthetical comment about where Peter went after his escape (12:12). Thus, in the context of a typical Hellenistic prison-escape episode, Luke was able to set the stage for the new leadership.(56) The original members of the group of twelve began to disappear rapidly from the scene, and the 'second generation' of leaders took the reigns without fanfare.(57)

This pattern of handing down the tradition is a Lukan technique that explains not only the "history" of the early leaders, it also illustrates the means by which Luke's own community could consider itself to have received their tradition. W. Schmithals' observation that "Luke shows himself to be completely uninterested in an ordered apostolic succession" is probably correct.(58) Yet, as G. Klein and Schmithals agree, Luke is overtly interested in establishing the original authority of the twelve.(59) The idea of twelve apostles must have been very inviting to an author who sought to link his group to the Hebrew heritage. Nevertheless, he had to let the idea fade into the background because the narrative must include significant actors who did not belong to this group.(60) For instance, a comment about Luke's introduction to James, or lack there of, is informative. Luke knew of a man named James, who was described as a leader in the debate with Paul regarding the acceptance of gentiles. This James is never introduced, outside of the brief reference in 12:17. Yet, when he stands to speak, he is suddenly the most authoritative voice in the Jerusalem group (15:13; and 15:19: "Therefore I [James] have reached the decision ..."). Luke had the opportunity to introduce him in the first volume, had he followed Mark 6:3 (par. Matt 13:55; cf. Luke 4:22). Instead, he deleted the names of Jesus' brothers.(61) Following Mark 3:31-35 (par. Matt 12:46-50), Luke 8:19-21 also makes reference to the idea that the physical family of Jesus was not a significant designation.(62) He also could have mentioned James by name in Acts 1:14, where he mentioned Jesus' brothers were in the group which had initially gathered in the upstairs room. Rather, Luke was not interested in the idea that this James was a physical brother of Jesus. The important thing for Luke was the idea that this James was representative of Jerusalem. He was a leader of the group of "apostles and elders" (Acts 15:2, 22) in the city, but there is no indication in Acts that he gained his authority by being a brother of Jesus.(63)

Since this James is the only person who is connected to Jesus and Jerusalem by a witness outside of Christian literature, Josephus,(64) and due to the clear indication in Galatians 1:19 that James was known to Paul as a brother of Jesus, it is difficult to think that Luke did not know the tradition. It is not necessarily the case that we can assume Luke would have considered this James to be so well known that no introduction was necessary.(65) Regardless of what his audience knew about this James, for Luke, he must be seen within the context of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem (see 21:18). While the leadership of James is assumed, the overt claim is to the authority of the larger group of Jerusalem leaders. In Luke, James is authoritative because he is in Jerusalem, not because he is a brother of Jesus. In Paul, the opposite might be true: Jerusalem gains authority because James, "the Lord's brother," is there.

While the main thrust of Acts 12 is the transition to this new leadership, the stories of Herod also should be seen within Luke's thematic development.(66) With the stories of Herod's persecution (of James, the brother of John, and Peter) and Herod's death framing the prison-escape scene, Luke also reminded the reader of the significance of his Jerusalem group. According to Luke, Herod Agrippa was interested enough in the group to have one of its leaders killed, and another imprisoned.(67) Furthermore, this animosity anticipates the hostility shown to Paul by non-Christians in Jerusalem (21:30, 36), and foresees the trials of Paul before the Roman authorities.(68)

Paul and the Jerusalem Christians According to Acts

Paul's relationship to Jerusalem is a topic that has generated a library of opinions. There is no doubt that Paul was inclined to participate with some people in Jerusalem. The question concerns whether this relationship was actually consequential, or whether it can be explained as part of the rhetorical projects of Paul and Luke.

The introduction of Paul in Luke's narrative is a creative stratagem. His participation in the Stephen episode was most likely a Lukan device, gradually ushering in his next star performer. The idea that he was a persecutor of Christians is cleverly conceived by Luke. While Luke most likely knew the tradition that Paul began his contact with Christianity as an opponent (Gal 1:13; 1 Cor 15:9; Phil 3:6; 1 Tim 1:13), he developed it in a way that fit several of his major themes. Paul became an ideal figure of the transformation from impiousness (cf. 8:3) to virtuousness.(69) The fact that Luke's Paul appeared from the very outset of the post-Jerusalem mission is also no accident. This character is used to illustrate the link between the Hebrew heritage and Christianity. He first appears as a fulfillment of Stephen's message: he is the persecutor spoken of in 7:51-53.(70) By the end of the narrative, Paul has become the new Stephen. He is the one who debates with the Jerusalem Jews in defense of Christianity.(71)

Like Jesus, Paul first appears in a story that is connected to Jerusalem and the temple (7:58; 8:1, 3). The reader next finds him speaking to the high priest in order to gain authority to bring Christians from Damascus back to Jerusalem (9:1-2). His connection to Judaism does not end with the story of his experience on the road to Damascus. He continues to participate in the Jewish rituals after his call. D. Slingerland has observed that this portrayal of Paul is thematically developed by Luke, contrary to Paul's self-portrayal in the epistles. In Luke, Paul became a significant model of virtuousness: a Christian leader who exemplified the ideals of Jewish piety.(72) He is portrayed as participating in the (Nazarite?) "vow" (18:18), the "rite of purification" and temple participation (21:24-26, 27, 30; 22:17), the circumcision of Timothy (16:3), and his Sabbath synagogue participation (13:14, 44, etc.).

His call was also imagined in a way that fits Luke's literary and ideological rhetoric. Luke knew the tradition that Paul was not converted in Jerusalem, and he had knowledge of Paul in Damascus. Thus, the settings for the story are based on earlier material. Nevertheless, Luke's creative hand was at work in describing the early years of Paul as a Christian.(73) The three stories in Acts of his conversion have been shown to be Lukan constructions, each well suited to its place in the narrative (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-18).(74)

Paul's relationship with Barnabas is also a well-conceived Lukan description. Joseph Barnabas was introduced to the reader in Acts 4:36-37 as an example of the ideal community (also see 11:24).(75) Luke characterized him as a native of Cyprus and a Levite. He also suggested that the name Barnabas was given to him by the apostles, and he reports that this name means "son of encouragement." While Luke did not create the relationship between Paul and Barnabas (cf. Gal. 2:1, 9, 13; I Cor. 9:6), Luke developed it within his ideological context. Each of these descriptive elements can be understood as intentionally Lukan. Cyprus was mentioned as a foreshadowing of the role Barnabas would play in the mission outside of Jerusalem (13:4: sent from Jerusalem to Cyprus with Paul; 15:39: went to Cyprus with John Mark). The Levite designation links him clearly to the Hebrew heritage, and develops Luke's idea that pious Jewish leaders understood the significance of Jesus. The idea that Barnabas received his name from the apostles, and laid his money at the apostles' feet, reinforces the central role of the Jerusalem leaders. Since the meaning uios paraklhsew ("son of encouragement") is an impossible rendering from Bar'nabas (son of Nebo), this parenthetical comment is also seen to be a Lukan addition, inserted as a way to strengthen this positive characterization.(76) Once Luke suggested to his Greek speaking audience that Barnabas was so well recognized for his virtuousness that they nick-named him "encourager" or "comforter," then it is not difficult for the reader to understand why Barnabas took the initiative in 9:27 to become Paul's defender before the Jerusalem apostles. Once Barnabas became Paul's defender, it is easy to understand why the two of them became a team (11:25-15:36). The evident willingness of Barnabas to separate from Paul and accept the "deserter" John Mark may also be understood as part of Luke's characterization.

Luke's characterization of Paul in relation to Jerusalem is a well rehearsed tale in New Testament scholarship. Therefore a summary will be sufficient to illustrates the clear Lukan intentions. Having been "called" while traveling from Jerusalem, the well known persecutor of Christians in Jerusalem (9:20) frightened the Jerusalem leaders upon his return. Back in the city, his first contact with the "disciples" followed upon his overwhelming success as a dynamic speaker in Damascus "for several days" immediately following his call. Escaping "the Jews" who "plotted to kill him" there, he returned to Jerusalem (naturally), was accepted by the disciples, after Barnabas intervened, and rapidly found himself on the way to Caesarea and Tarsus, having come into conflict with "the Hellenists."(77)

Hearing of the fertile mission to "the Hellenists" in Antioch, Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem. Barnabas went to Tarsus to get Paul and brought him back as an assistant for a year (11:26). Having received word, by way of a prophet from Jerusalem, that there would be a famine, Barnabas and Paul became the designated carriers of the "relief to the believers living in Judea" (11:29-30). They returned to Jerusalem, either in 11:30 or 12:25,(78) and are next found in Antioch, as two of the five "prophets and teachers" (13:1). Sent out by the Antioch group, they accomplish a missionary journey to gentiles from Cyprus into Pamphylia and Pisidia (chapters 13-14). They returned to Antioch, disagreed with a group of Judeans concerning the need of gentiles to be circumcised, and went to Jerusalem "to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders" (15:2).

Thus, the introduction of Paul was conceived of as falling completely within the influence of Jerusalem: his stay in Damascus was very brief; his return to Jerusalem was immediate, and ended positively; his relationship with Barnabas (a representative of Jerusalem) was well established; his recognition of the authority of the Jerusalem leaders is unquestioned: when a problem arises he travels there to have the issue resolved.

The renowned meeting in Jerusalem was pictured by Luke as a peaceful and orderly scene. Paul and Barnabas were welcomed by the church, Peter spoke for their cause, Paul and Barnabas passively had their say, James defended their work based on the fact that it fulfilled "the words of the prophets" (see Amos 9:11-12), and the apostles and elders agreed with James' decision and wrote a letter to the group in Antioch. Barnabas and Paul returned to Antioch with the letter, Judas Barsabbas, and Silas. Judas and Silas, "leaders among the brothers" in Jerusalem, encouraged the Antiochenes and returned to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas split over the conflict with John Mark. Barnabas and Mark went to Cyprus and were not heard from again. Paul retrieved Silas, and began his second "missionary journey."

Much has been made of this meeting and its consequences for early Christianity. While there it is possible that Paul and Barnabas did meet with people in Jerusalem, the account in Acts 15 is a clear Lukan construction that seeks to reconfirm the authority of Jerusalem. Even though Luke's story is no longer about the apostles in Jerusalem, their impact on his work is always in the background. The instructions from Jerusalem are represented in the next journey sequence by the addition of Silas as a companion.(79) Silas represented Jerusalem's interests. Silas was characterized as one of the "leading men among them [in Jerusalem]" (15:22), and as a prophet who had encouraged and strengthened the Antioch group (15:32).(80) As Tannehill suggests, "... the partnership of Paul and Silas represents the unity of purpose between Jerusalem and the mission launched from Antioch, a unity achieved through the Jerusalem agreement."(81)

More direct references to the Jerusalem agreement can be found in the remainder of Paul's mission with Silas. In Lystra, Paul found Timothy, the son of a Jewish mother and Greek father, and had him circumcised (16:3). This scene is constructed in order to show how closely the Pauline cause is linked to that of Jerusalem. It is a perfect example of Paul's desire to remain under the influence of Jerusalem. In this regard, Luke also emphasized that in each town he visited Paul "delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem" (16:4). There is no doubt that Luke wanted the reader to understand the relationship between Jerusalem and Paul.

The well-known travels of Paul, Silas, and Timothy in Macedonia and Greece (16:6-18:18) end with a reference to Paul getting his hair cut in Cenchreae because of a vow.(82) His last activity in Greece reminds the reader of the Hebrew heritage. Next, Paul had a brief stop in Ephesos (foreshadowing the next journey), before going to Jerusalem(83) and Antioch (18:22). Since Paul's headquarters, according to Luke, was Antioch, the stop in Jerusalem is seemingly unexplained. Regardless of the fact that Jerusalem is about to become the place of Paul's arrest, the reference here makes perfect sense in Luke's narrative: Paul is linked to this city at every stage. Each time he goes on a missionary journey, the path from Jerusalem to Antioch to the rest of the world is in place.

The final journey of Paul could be seen as a micro-rehearsal of the story of Jesus in the first volume. The first two scenes considered the question of John the Baptist (18:24-19:7). Twelve people were converted by Paul from the Baptist group in Ephesos (19:7). This group of converts became his disciples as he traveled around Asia (19:9) preaching (19:9), performing miracles (19:11), and exorcisms (19:12). In the middle of this very successful mission, Paul resolved to turn toward Jerusalem (19:21; note also the foreshadowing of Paul's journey to Rome). The riot in Ephesos could be seen as a narrative aside that helps to justify Paul's exit from Asia; it was clearly dangerous for Paul to be in Ephesos (19:30-31). The route to Jerusalem was not direct: Paul went to Macedonia (20:1), Greece (20:2), Macedonia (20:3), through the Aegean islands and the coast of Asia Minor (20:6-38). In Troas, while meeting in an upper room, Paul raises a man from death (20:9-12). In spite of this winding course, reminiscent of the central section of the Gospel of Luke, the author suggested in 20:16 that Paul "was eager to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost" (also 20:22). Like Jesus moving toward Jerusalem for Passover, Luke's Paul wanted to participate in the Jewish holiday, previously claimed for Christianity (Acts 2). At the end of this wandering course of travel, Paul met with his close disciples, the elders from Ephesos, warning them of his own doom (20:25) and the impending persecutions in their community (20:26-31).

To complete the journey, Luke described a series of stories that warn Paul of his fate. From the coast of Asia Minor, Paul's ship traveled to Tyre (21:1-3). There Paul was warned not to go to Jerusalem (21:4). From Tyre, Paul and his closest disciples(84) went to Ptolemais and Caesarea where they stayed with Philip (21:7-14). Again he is warned not to go to Jerusalem, this time by a prophet from Jerusalem, Agabus (21:10, cf. 11:28). The dialogue between Agabus and Paul is a clear comparison between Paul's fate and that of Jesus.(85) The most important element is the idea that Paul knew his fate, yet was willing to die in Jerusalem (21:13). Since the notice in 20:23 of Paul's fate in Jerusalem, that "the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me," the reader has been prepared for the ensuing suffering. Nevertheless, Paul's heroic valor is heightened by the idea that he is ready to die for the cause. Tannehill has suggested Paul's decision to ignore the prophecies of Agabus is comparable to Jesus at the Mount of Olives (Luke 22 41-44).(86) Like Jesus, Paul was never dissuaded by his friends, even though they too claimed to have advice from the Spirit. Luke's Paul, a pious Jew, was prepared for his suffering at the hands of the impious rulers at the temple in Jerusalem.

Paul's entrance into Jerusalem was greeted with joy by the Jerusalem Christians, led by James (21:17, 20). This positive atmosphere quickly dissipated as Paul received the news that "many thousands" of pious Jewish believers were concerned that he was allowing Jews not to practice the Jewish rituals (circumcision). This concern is the third stage of development in Luke's construction of the relationship between Jews and gentiles in the Christian tradition. Peter was involved in the first stage, baptizing and eating with gentiles - established as valid in Acts 11:18. The second stage saw Paul and Barnabas given the right to allow gentile converts not to be circumcised (15:1-29). Now, the question was raised concerning whether Jews should continue to follow the "laws of Moses."(87) The initial charge against Paul by "Jews from Asia" is interesting: "This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place; more than that, he has actually brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place" (21:28). Although there is nothing in the preceding narrative that suggests this to be the case, this charge became the dominant issue for the remainder of Luke's story (chapters 21-28).(88) It also is the only stage in Luke's narrative that is not resolved by the Jerusalem leaders with a statement that assures the unity of the movement.(89)

Luke was at pains to insure throughout his narrative that this charge against Paul -- and against all the pious Christians in his narrative -- was false. From Jesus to Paul, Luke portrayed his Christian lineage as comprised of the most faithful Jews. Paul, like Jesus and Stephen, had been wrongly accused. But, in each of the previous cases, part of the accusation became an anticipation of things to come. Jesus was accused by the Jerusalem leaders of "saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king" (Luke 23:2). Stephen was accused in almost an identical fashion as Paul:(90) "This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us" (Acts 6:13-14). In both cases the charge is not exactly true. Luke portrayed Jesus as not wanting to replace the emperor as the king. Stephen was never depicted as saying Jesus would destroy the temple. Yet, Luke's community believed Jesus to be the true "king," and, in fact, the magnificent temple was lying in pieces. In both cases the fault appears to lie with the Jewish leaders.

Likewise, Paul never defiled the temple or spoke against the law of Moses. Luke did not want to suggest that Paul brought this charge upon himself. Like Jesus, Paul was completely innocent (24:11-21; 25:8, 11; 28:17-18). He was a pious Jew, always abiding by the laws and practicing the rituals. He was faithful to Israel and always acted for their benefit, as Jesus did (23:6; 24:14-15; 26:6-8, 23; 28:20). He was wrongly accused and persecuted by Jews who refused to accept the truth of his message (9:23-25, 29-30; 20:3, 19; 21:27-28; 23:12-35).

The fact that the conflict quickly moved beyond the realm of James and the elders in Jerusalem is evidence of Luke's need to move the setting of the story to another place. The reader is finally confronted with the reality that even though early Christians were truly pious, they were rejected by the impious people of Jerusalem. In the end, the story is about the fulfillment of God's plan, plainly revealed to Paul "by the Holy Spirit," just as Jesus' death was no surprise in the gospel.

The charge against Paul that led to this final break with Jerusalem was one that may have been relevant to Luke's community. The inclusion of the gentiles was a settled matter, as was the fact that they did not need to uphold the Jewish ritual purity laws. Both decisions were manufactured by Luke as having been determined by the Jerusalem leaders. They were part of Luke's "historical" account. The remaining question concerned whether Jewish rituals were still valid, even for Jews. The question is very intriguing in the context of Luke's project. He creatively related a story of Christian origins that linked every major event to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. He now had to reveal the instigation for the final break between Christianity and this key symbol. The deciding issue, the issue that finally drove Paul from the city in chains, never to return, was the issue of the relevance of the law of Moses and the temple. If the pattern established at the trial of Jesus and stoning of Stephen is valid in this case, Luke could be understood as actually suggesting the law of Moses is no longer important. Luke revealed how stringently the forefathers, especially Paul, had clung to a hope for Israel. They followed the laws and participated in the rituals in order to maintain hope for the salvation of Israel. But the conclusion, like the beginning (Luke 2:34), declared that the message had been rejected by Israel -- salvation belonged to the realm of the gentiles (28:25-28).

As part of Luke's etiology, the conclusion helped to fill the gap that existed between the description of Paul in the narrative, and the reality of Luke's community. Luke legitimized the gentile constituency, linked them foundationally to the Hebrew epic, and finally, released them from the commands of the law of Moses. Paul's example was not meant to suggest that the readers should pattern their behaviors after him and become ritually pure.(91) Rather, according to Luke, Paul's actions were part of God's plan in history. In spite of all Paul's attempts to bring salvation to Israel, he was not successful. His decision at the end of the story was authoritative because he was the supreme example of one who was called for the sake of the gentiles, but always remained faithful to Israel. In the end he concedes that even all his ritual purity failed to save Israel. Thus, "this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."(92) The one-time persecutor of Christians from within the Israelite tradition became the full-time defender of Christianity against and among the Israelites, and finally the one who pressed the mission beyond Israel.

The Acts of the Apostles as a Source for Contemporary Reconstructions of Earliest Christianity

Considering the close of Luke's first volume and the opening of the second, it is interesting to note that the details of the story about the group in Jerusalem after Jesus' departure are generally found by commentators to be historically inaccurate. Having observed Luke's diligent efforts to make Jerusalem the center of attention in his first volume, it is not surprising to see his purposeful exaggerations at the beginning of the second volume. In the following analysis I will not only question the details of the story, but also raise the logical question as to whether Luke could have contrived almost the entire story as a way to teach his community about the ideal life of a Christian community. The details of the story have been questioned by many generations of scholars; this accumulated evidence against the historicity of Luke's story of the Jerusalem church now provides a useful foundation for re-thinking the Lukan idea of Christianity stemming from Jerusalem.

I have selected a monograph by Conzelmann as an entrance point into the questions concerning the reliability of Luke's account. In his book, History of Primitive Christianity, he rehearsed the traditional view of Jerusalem as the home of the "mother church." He did raise many questions about the historicity of the details in Acts, but he did not doubt the basic outline of events that the author presents.(93) Although he went so far as to state, "The study of this book leads to the conclusion that the history of the primitive church remains almost wholly unknown," he was not willing to devalue substantially the traditional picture of origins.(94)

He recognized several problems with the acceptance of the details about the founding of the community of Christians in Jerusalem by the twelve apostles.(95) The following eleven points are the most pertinent of his questions relating to the founding of Christianity in Jerusalem. The list can be divided into three main questions: (1) Why does Acts lack information about other early disciples of Jesus outside of the Jerusalem? (points 1-3, below); (2) Why did Luke portray the composition and activities of the community in Jerusalem as we have it at the opening of Acts? (4-6); and (3) Why did he emphasize the dominance of the Jerusalem leaders and their organization? (7-11).

(1) The notion that the post-resurrection appearances occurred only in the region of Jerusalem rather than Galilee is not supported by the other gospel accounts.(96)

(2) The fact that Luke neglects to mention Galilee as a place where some followers of Jesus likely continued to reside after his death is an intentional lacuna.(97)

(3) The fact that Acts 1-8 does not account for a community of Christians in Damascus, yet Paul is said to have gone there to persecute that community, is problematic.(98)

(4) Conzelmann doubts the historicity of the miracles at Pentecost.(99)

(5) The number of Christians in Jerusalem according to Acts is not to be taken literally.(100)

(6) The description of a "general renunciation of private ownership" within the Jerusalem community is said by Conzelmann to be "idealized" and to have "never existed thus."(101)

(8) The fact that "the twelve" are never mentioned acting as a group except at the beginning of Acts raises questions about what role (if any) this group played in the community.(103)

(9) The description of the Jerusalem apostles continuing to speak publicly, undisturbed, and the fact that they continue as an organized group in the city even after the Christians were expelled in Acts 8:1-4 does not make sense.(104)

(10) "The representation of the relationship of the Twelve to the 'seven' (Acts 6) cannot be correct."(105)

(11) Peter's role as the initiator of the Gentile mission is not historical.(106)

These specific points, along with Conzelmann's more general observations about the role of Jerusalem in Luke's theology, did not stimulate any major reconception of the role of Jerusalem, either for Conzelmann or most of the following generation of scholars.(107) Since Conzelmann is widely recognized as the stimulant for recent discussions about the theological intentions of Luke, especially regarding Luke's use of geographical references, one might expect that Conzelmann's thesis would have led to a re-evaluation of the traditional description of Christianity. It seems logical to suggest that if Luke's use of Jerusalem was motivated by theological concerns, then there should be some doubt about the belief that Christianity actually began in Jerusalem. Rather, it is clear, even from Conzelmann's own reconstruction of Christian origins, that there has been no desire to rethink the central role of Jerusalem.

Although Luke's story of origins is inviting for many reasons, not least because of its simplicity, these issues, noted by Conzelmann, have to be swept under the rug if the story is to be accepted. Regarding the first set of reservations, it is often noted that the question of what happened in Galilee after the death of Jesus is not raised in Acts. Luke did not explain the transition between the Galilean community and the Jerusalem settlement. Having recounted the stories of Jesus' successful mission in the Galilee, Luke quickly moved the setting to Jerusalem without explanation of what became of the original "community" of believers. Luke evidently wanted the reader to assume that all the followers of Jesus moved to Jerusalem.

We know of many groups, both from the remainder of Acts, and from other early Christian literature, that are unaccounted for by his story. Galilee, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome all had pre-70 C.E. communities that either are not mentioned in Acts, or, if mentioned, demand more explanation of their origins. For example, besides Damascus, a clear problem in Luke's account arises with the introduction of Aquila and Priscilla (18:2). According to Luke, they were Jews from Rome, already established as Christians in Corinth before they met Paul. They traveled to Ephesos with Paul, and after Paul departed (18:21), they stayed on in the city. Prior to Paul's return they had already met and instructed Apollos about a "more accurate" Christianity (18:27). Their connection to Paul was constructed by Luke in a manner that suggests they were influenced by his authority. But Luke is clearly straining to find a way to include these noted early Christians into his story (cf. Rom 16:3; I Cor 16:9; 2 Tim 4:19). Luke's next introduction of Paul into Ephesos (19:1) proclaims that Paul was the real founder of the group there (19:2-7). Thus Luke connected Priscilla and Aquila to Rome, Corinth, and Ephesos, but declared that, in reality, Paul was the founder of the Christianity in those places.

Likewise, Apollos, from Alexandria, was already "teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus" (18:25). Thus, he too had become a follower of Jesus prior to encountering any direct contact with Jerusalem. Whether he was instructed in Alexandria or Ephesos is unclear.(108) Nevertheless, like Priscilla and Aquila, he is unaccounted for by Luke, except in as much as all three characters have come into contact with Paul, directly or indirectly, prior to their active participation in the story.

To the same extent that Luke's narrative does not account for many types of Christian groups and Jesus movements that we know existed in the first century, his story neglects to tell how the early Christians actually came to settle in Jerusalem. If we concede that Luke exaggerated the number of people who were converted, and if we admit that Luke drew an unrealistic picture of the egalitarian nature of the group, as many scholars do, with what are we left? Rather than assume a large group of Christians in the city, is it possible that this group was rather small? Might their importance have stemmed from ideology rather than sheer size, the strength of a symbol, rather than strength in numbers?

A brief consideration of Josephus may help illuminate the problem. The Jerusalem group was not mentioned by Josephus. Is this 'argument from silence' significant? When significant information is missing in a text, like a stratified layer of excavated earth, some tentative conclusions are logical. In this case, Josephus' silence might help us determine how significant this group of Christians really was. Had they been a significant group, participating in the temple and speaking boldly about the messiah -- as in Acts -- it is difficult to understand how Josephus could have avoided this information. Information about a significant group in Jerusalem, known to combat temple authorities and speak against the temple, and whose leader had been killed in a dispute about kingship, seems to fit Josephus' argument that specific groups were disturbing an otherwise peaceful people (i.e., the 'Zealots' did not represent the normal Jewish attitude toward Rome). When he did mention James, it is only in passing. James was important only as a person who stimulated a conflict.

This single mention of James is relevant to Josephus only as part of a larger story that illustrates a problem between "strict observers of the law" (Pharisees?) and Ananus II, a Sadducee. He was at the conclusion of his Antiquities (recounting the early 60's C.E.), attempting to establish how the Jews could have come to the point of going to war with Rome. Mason comments, concerning the story of Ananus II, "Although Josephus had praised this man's virtues in War, here he wants to expose the lawlessness of many Jewish leaders before the revolt, to explain the cause of the catastrophe. So he introduces Ananus II as a rash and impertinent fellow."(109) James is not portrayed as a group leader. Had Josephus known of any significant Christian group, there is reason to suspect that he would have found it useful as part of his explanation of why certain Jews wanted to press for rebellion against Rome. Clearly James was a Christian in Jerusalem, killed in the early 60's C.E. As is well-known from Paul, he was considered by some Christians to be a significant leader of this movement. But this does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the Jerusalem group was a decisive factor in the origins of Christianity.

As Conzelmann's other questions illustrate, the reader is also left without explanation about why the major followers of Jesus suffered no consequences from the rulers in Jerusalem, even though their leader had just been persecuted and executed in the city. Why were the disciples able to continue to speak boldly to large crowds and go to the temple? I have argued earlier in this paper that the introduction of "the seven" was a Lukan technique, a way to explain how the message of Christianity spread beyond Jerusalem, without having to remove the "apostles and elders" from the realm of Jerusalem. Thus, when Luke did report a persecution of the Christians in the city following the stoning of one of their members, Stephen, "the seven" became the vehicles for the outward mission. His purpose for this story was to suggest that the origins of Christian missions were due to the dispersion of the "mother church" (Acts 8:1-6; 11:19). Yet, even as most of the Jerusalem Christians scattered from the city, according to Luke's narrative, the apostles were unfazed by the experience. They remained in Jerusalem as the leaders of Christianity (Acts 8:2).

Luke's narrative is completely shaped by his themes. There was probably no group of twelve, that choose a group of seven, that led to the first century mission around the Mediterranean. Yet, it is interesting to observe how many modern attempts to reconstruct Christian origins avoid dismissing Luke's story as inoperative. Many scholars have suggested that in fact Luke did emphasize and exaggerate Jerusalem as the focal point of earliest Christianity. Nevertheless, the assumption is that we should be grateful that at least he provided the 'essence' of the story that we can use. Regardless of the concession that Luke inflated the numbers of people involved, and overstated the group's unity, what often remains in modern reconstructions of Christian origins is the tacit assumption that Jerusalem was, somehow, the place in which Jesus' followers gathered. My goal in this brief paper is to examine the extent to which Luke's story is shaped by the needs of the author, rather than by what modern critics would call "history."


As a final point in this quest to think critically about Luke's story, it is interesting to note that Acts was not a message that became immediately popular in other Christian communities. As R. Cameron has illustrated, its message became entrenched in Christianity only after it was accepted by Eusebius. Prior to that it is difficult to maintain its primacy as the story of Christian beginnings.(110) Until it was recognized by Irenaeus as a useful tool against his opponents at the end of the second century,(111) there is no incontrovertible evidence for its use by other early Christian authors.(112) W. A. Strange has argued recently that because it seems to have had no influence in the second century, Acts was probably not published until the end of the second century, as a posthumous document.(113) While this is possible, it might be better explained as being a text that was not actually attractive, ideologically, to many early Christian communities. Besides the popularity it received after being found useful as "anti-Gnostic" propaganda literature, it may have gained some notoriety as Paul became more popularly disseminated in the late second and third centuries. But prior to its usefulness in those settings and eventually as a source for Eusebius, its message of the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome may have seemed quite outlandish to Christian groups who had created quite different etiologies for themselves. The fact that this was not the way Christianity actually began also may have been problematic.

Jerusalem in such an ideal way was not easy. Luke's intellectual effort, exerted in order to manufacture a sweeping epic account that linked his gentile community to the Hebrew epic, is constantly displayed for the reader. It is not a story that was intended to be read literally. It was a creative construction of the past. Every phase in the narrative relates a stage in the development of Luke's community. The sayings of Jesus make sense in their context. The lifestyle of the early Jerusalem group makes sense in its context. The speeches are all relevant to their narrative and etiologic functions. The reader of Luke-Acts is asked to imagine. Imagining the past and linking yourself or your group to it is a common process, but it is not a simple process. Establishing a 'place' for your group takes mental energy.

In Luke-Acts, Jerusalem represents a social and political symbol that could provide prominence to a group in need of an identity. As part of its role in Luke's imagination as a theologically operative symbol, it takes on importance as the place where Christianity began. For Luke, within a developing community in the late first or early second century, claiming the heritage of an ancient tradition was both politically and theologically motivated. If Luke was writing from one of the large urban centers of the Mediterranean, such as Rome, Ephesos, or possibly even Antioch, his ability to claim that Christianity derived from Jerusalem could have had political consequences. Jerusalem was one of the few cities of Early Roman Palestine that people all around the Mediterranean would have readily recognized. Claiming Capernaum or Nazareth as the fountainhead of your community would not have pulled much weight. Claiming Jerusalem conjured ideas of ancient religion and ritual.

Since we know of many early Christian groups that were apparently not interested in linking their communities to Jerusalem, Luke may also have intended his construction of Christian origins to establish the prominence of his group over against other early Christian communities. By portraying Jerusalem as having such a prominent role in the story, Luke may have been positioning his community as the most valid type of Christianity. If Luke's community was located in Rome, this account may have been intended to show the supremacy of that community due to its direct connection with Paul. This is, of course, one of the ways Eusebius applied this story as he wrote his Church History two centuries later. Similarly, a setting in Ephesos could explain both Luke's strong interest in the story of Paul, and the need of Luke's community to establish itself as a viable religion amid the rapidly developing Roman city.(114)

Luke's account of the Hebrew epic recounts the history of Israel in a way that both counters the temple institution and considers it positively as a part of the community's etiology. In Luke-Acts there is evidence of a debate about the epic. The temple, or more specifically, its destruction, had given rise to rethinking the past. In the Lukan community, the history of Israel was retold in order to suggest that the temple never was the end result of Israel's epic. The Lukan community had time to reflect on the destruction and could reread the history of Israel in a way that attempted to make sense of the ruin and supersession of this institution. Luke was interested in explaining the destruction of the old and portraying the instigation of a new institution in a setting of mostly gentile Christians where the message of the past was understood in terms of examples of virtuousness. His community was not trying to condemn the Judaism that was represented by the temple institution. Rather, Luke was interested in portraying Jesus as providing an ethical message which led to a new salvation for the people of God, once the temple was gone. Luke's historiography follows a deuteronomistic pattern for all of Israel's history, as well as the history of Jesus' life and that of the early church. Following this pattern, Luke claimed that the Hebrew epic should be understood within the context of a long and continuous pattern of history focused on the repentance and restoration of Israel. Luke explained the cruel events of history, the destruction of the temple, and the death of Jesus within the context of a long expanse of time in which God had continually reached out to a people who have continually rejected God's prophets. But in this often bleak picture there is a continuous chain of virtuous living that provides the reader with an example for conduct, and hope for the future.

Luke was an author deeply entrenched in the Greco-Roman world, an argument that is supported by many factors, not the least of which is the fact he used the Greek language for his texts. He was also very interested in linking his community to the heritage of the Hebrews. The combination of these two factors can account for the story he writes. Luke was not the first to combine these worldviews; Paul and then Mark had already portrayed Jesus within the typical Greek milieu, using the topoi of the martyred hero and basing many stories on elements that were familiar in the Mediterranean world due to the overwhelming proliferation of the Homeric epics. But Luke was not satisfied with simply portraying Jesus as a typical Greek son of god, hero, or perfect example of virtuousness; his portrait was layered with motifs and topoi from the Hebrew epic that sought to prove that Jesus, and Jesus' early followers were the rightful descendants of the Hebrew epic.

It is not possible to say it is a story that makes since to gentiles, or to Jews. It is a story that makes sense to a community in the Hellenistic world. Unfortunately, the specifics of that setting could be as diverse geographically as Antioch, Ephesos, Rome, or many points in between. The language was Greek, the general pattern of thought was Hellenistic, with a healthy mix of the Hebrew epic, and the stories could be grasped by anyone who had heard or read the great epics of either tradition.(115) Nevertheless, I have argued that Luke's story was not for every Christian in the Roman period. The details of the development of earliest Christianity would have sounded bizarre to many groups. The point I have argued is that Luke ingeniously manufactured a story that claimed Jerusalem for his group. The need and the desire to do this in other Christian communities that we know of in the late first and early second centuries do not appear anywhere as intensely as in Luke's two volumes. No other community constructed and claimed Jerusalem the way Luke did.


1.  This paper is part of a larger study submitted as my 1998 Claremont dissertation, "Jerusalem Imagined: Rethinking Earliest Christian Claims to the Hebrew Epic." Also see the recent article by Merrill P. Miller, "'Beginning From Jerusalem ...': Re-Examining Canon and Consensus," Journal of Higher Criticism 2 (1995): 3-30, which provides a clear description of several reasons why Jerusalem became an important idea in early Christianity and why it remains important to so many scholarly reconstructions of Christian origins. His summary of scholarship and his critical analysis of the issues has served as a significant stimulus for my own work.

2. The precursor for this task is, of course, W. Bauer, Orthodoxy and Christianity in Early Christianity, especially as it has been refined by J. M. Robinson and H. Koester, see Trajectories Through Early Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). See especially Koester's "Gnomai Diaphoroi: The Origin and Nature of Diversification in the History of Early Christianity," 114-57. He states, "The task is not limited to a fresh reading of the known sources and a close scrutiny of the new texts in order to redefine their appropriate place within the conventional picture of early Christian history. Rather, it is the conventional picture itself that is called into question. At the same time, the convenient and time-honored labels for the distinction of heretical and orthodox prove to be very dangerous tools, since they threaten to distort the historian's vision and the theologian's judgement" (114-15).

3. No doubt comparable in the present world to designations like "L.A," and "the White House" that are full of symbolic meanings. Depending on the social, economic, and political situation of the speaker and audience, and depending on the literary or oral context (rhetoric), the terms could potentially have innumerable meanings.

4. There is a wide range of terminology to express this process and the relationship between the "real" world of the group, their symbols, and their symbolic or ideological universe.

5. In the following analysis of this theory several terms will be used to describe this process and its outcome, such as mythmyth making, epicepic imagination, historydeveloping a historical consciousness. As will be shown, all of these terms can logically refer to the same social process.

6. Eric Hobsbawm, "Introduction: Inventing Traditions," in Inventing Traditions, eds. E. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 1-14, here p. 12. Similarly see Hobsbawm's "The Social Function of the Past: Some Questions," Past and Present 55 (1972): 3-17. Also the analysis of the "endurance" of the past as presented by Edward Shils is informative on the subject of the re-use of symbols, Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), esp. 63-161.

7. I will not attempt to survey the abundant attention that has been paid to the definition of myth. In this paper I am working with a rather broad definition of myth, such that I will not distinguish between legend, folktalelore, etc. and myth. Rather, I prefer to see these as all functioning in the same way in a community's social process (see below). A short and rational survey of the definitions of myth from the Ancients through Vico and finally, modern authors, can be found in Harry Levin, "Some Meanings of Myth," in Myth and Mythmaking, ed. H. A. Murray (New York: G. Braziller, 1960), 103-14. Also see G. S. Kirk, Myth: Its Meaning and Function in Ancient and Other Cultures (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970), 1-31, 42-83. By using the term myth in this broad sense, I hope to collapse the characteristically Protestant Christian understanding of myth as "false" as compared to history which is "true", with legend representing the partially "historical" (see J. Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine, esp. 85-109). I also would suggest that the distinction between myth and folktale made by Kirk (31-41) is too neat a solution because the two tend to overlap: myth has "serious underlying purpose" and folktales "reflect simple social situations."

8. For the image of mapping as a social construct see J. Z. Smith, "Map is Not Territory," in Map is Not Territory: Studies in Histories of Religion (Leiden: Brill, 1978), 289-309.

9. Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973). Similarly see the description of the use of symbols in society that is presented in Natalie Z. Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975); and Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Basic Books, 1984).

10. Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures, 90.

11. Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality (New York: Doubleday, 1966), here p. 103. Also see P. Berger, The Sacred Canopy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1967).

12. Greg Denning, "A Poetic for Histories: Transformations that Present the Past," in Clio in Oceania: Toward a Historical Anthropology, ed. Aletta Biersack (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991), 347-80, here 349-50.

13.  For the idea that the past is determined by choices, and a critique of the idea that the past is a reality that is discovered by historians, the "realist" notion of history, see Kenneth Goldstein, Historical Knowing (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1976).

14.  Following scholarly convention, I often refer to the author of Luke and Acts as "Luke." This is not intended to suggest that "Luke" a companion of Paul was the author. Rather, as will be noted below the author's identity is unclear, but most likely a late first or early second century person from Western Asia Minor, Greece, or Rome who had some connection to Pauline traditions. For details about the scholarly debate on this issue see my "Jerusalem Imagined," 30-101.

15.  Eduard Meyer, Ursprung und Anfänge des Christentums, I: 2.

16.  Richard I. Pervo, Profit with Delight: The Literary Genre of the Acts of the Apostles (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), 3.

17.  The most wide-ranging survey of the material of ancient historiography in comparison to New Testament texts is found in David E. Aune, The New Testament in Its Literary Environment, in the Library of Early Christianity, ed. Wayne A. Meeks (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1987).

18.  Ernst Lohmeyer, Galiläa und Jerusalem (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1936).

19.  Hans Conzelmann, The Theology of St. Luke (New York: Harper and Row, 1960).

20.  Mikeal C. Parsons provides a useful summary of the scholarship on the repeated reference to the ascension and supplies a reasonable conclusion, "The ascension narratives represent Luke at his literary best. Through the literary device of redundancy in the ascension narrative, he both ties his two volumes together with repetition, yet moves ahead to tell the tale of the early church by expanding the symbol" (The Departure of Jesus in Luke-Acts: The Ascension Narratives in Context, JSNTSup 21 [Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1987], 189-199, here 198).

21.  Luke's use of the idea of twelve apostles is well illustrated by GŸnter Klein, Die zwölf Apostel. Ursprung und Gehalt einer Idee, FRLANT NF 59 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1961), 114-185. Yet, his assumption of historicity is not to be followed.

22.  Conzelmann referred to Luke's story of the death of Judas as a Lukan creation, "constructed around a well-known motif: the death of the opponent of God" (Acts of the Apostles [Philadelphia: Fortess Press], 11).

23.  Donald Juel has proposed that studying Luke's particular form of scripture interpretation may help clarify the social situation of the Lukan community, "Social Dimensions of Exegesis: The Use of Psalm 16 in Acts 2," CBQ 43 (1981): 543-56. As the title suggests, his main point of reference is the use of Psalms in Peter's speech, but his point may also help explain the use of Psalms in Acts 1:20.

24.  Richard J. Cassidy, Society and Politics in the Acts of the Apostles (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Boods, 1987), 21-38.

25.  See David L. Mealand, "Community of Goods and Utopian Allusions in Acts II-IV," JTS n.s. 28 (1977): 96-99; A. C. Mitchell, "The Social Function of Friendship in Acts 2:44-47 and 4:32-37," JBL 111 (1992): 255-72; Luke T. Johnson, The Literary Function of Possessions in Luke-Acts, 1-5; idem, The Acts of the Apostles, Sacra Pagina 5 (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1992), 62; S. Scott Bartchy, "Community of Goods in Acts: Idealization or Social Reality?", in The Future of Early Christianity: Essays in Honor of Helmut Koester, ed. B. A. Pearson (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1991), 309-18; and Jacques Dupont, "Community of Goods in the Early Church," in Salvation of the Gentiles, trans. J. Keating (New York: Paulist Press, 1979), 85-102.

26.  Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971), 174. Robert F. O'Toole, S.J., has argued that Luke links his story to the day of Pentecost because of his Davidic covenant theme, rather than the traditional law of Moses or Sinai covenant idea, "Acts 2:30 and the Davidic Covenant of Pentecost," JBL 102 (1983): 245-58.

27.  On the list of nations, see Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles, 14-15.

28.  Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 175.

29.  A recent article by Wolgang Reinhardt illustrates the scholarly consensus concerning Luke's numbers, "The Population Size of Jerusalem and the Numerical Growth of the Jerusalem Church," in The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting, ed. R. Bauckham, vol. 4 in the series The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 237-65. Like most of the contributions to this recent six volume series of essays on Acts, Reinhardt's contribution is an attempt to defend the historicity of Acts. Thus, unlike the majority of scholars that he surveyed, he attempts to show that Luke's numbers could be accurate. His argument is based on the contention that J. Jeremias' estimates of the first century population numbers for the city were too low, 25,000-30,000 (Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, trans. F. and C. Cave [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969], 84). Reinhardt argues that if the city was substantially larger, 60,000-120,000, then Luke's conversion numbers make sense. This reasoning is evidently based on the need to justify the accuracy of Luke's account. Whether the city had 30,000 or 3,000,000 inhabitants, the idea that 3,000 law-abiding Jews were baptized in Jerusalem is still best explained as a Lukan creation.

30.  On the literary techniques in the descriptions and the repetition, see Johnson, Literary Function of Possessions in Luke-Acts, 5-12, 183-190.

31.  See the recent article by Brian Capper, "The Palestinian Cultural Context of Earliest Christian Community of Goods," in The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting, 323-56. Like the article by Reinhardt in the same volume, after listing numerous recent monographs and articles that argue for Acts being an idealized picture, Capper argues instead that Luke's description could have been accurate. His argument is based on the parallels that exist with descriptions of the Essenes' living conditions. The logic is quite weak. Just because a group can be shown to have similar property-sharing practices as Luke's description of the Jerusalem Christians, this does not make Luke's picture any more historically probable. Scholars have often noted the parallels between Luke's description and the descriptions of the Essenes or descriptions in the Qumran scrolls, without claiming that this implies accuracy in the Lukan account. See the comments and bibliography of scholarship on comparisons between Acts and Qumran in Johnson, Literary Function of Possessions in Luke-Acts, 3-4.

32.  The witness of Gamaliel fits the Lukan theme of pious Jews realizing the validity of the Christian claims, and remindes the reader of the trials of Jesus where Pilate and Herod claimed Jesus was innocent.

33.  See Dupont's conclusion: "Despite the most careful and detailed research, it has not been possible to define any of the sources used by the author of Acts in a way which will meet with widespread agreement among the critics" (Sources of the Acts [London: Darton, Longman, Todd, 1964], 166).

34.  Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 163. He responded to Hermann W. Beyer, Die Apostel-geschichte, NTD 5 (Gšttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1945), 11-12.

35.  Johnson, Acts of the Apostles, 4.

36.  F. Scott Spencer has shown that the theme of the neglect of the widows was a Lukan interest (cf. Acts 9:36-43), not from a source, "Neglected Widows in Acts 6:1-7, CBQ 56 (1994): 715-33.

37.  My reference to the "famous division" of Acts 6:5 is, of course, intended to call to mind F. C. Baur's thesis that continues to influence modern reconstructions of earliest Christianity. The thesis has been recently critiqued in detail by Craig C. Hill, Hellenists and Hebrews: Reappraising Divisions within the Earliest Church (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992). Hill convincingly shows that this distinction is not an useful categorization for early Christianity because it does not reveal the complexity and diversity of the first century situation. The distinction also tends to imply the positive nature of the "Hellenists" (liberal), at the expense of the "Hebrews" (conservative). Again, Hill shows how this is a unhelpful scholarly construct that was not intended by Luke. While Hill's study is useful as a resource for combating this scholarly construct, he does not go far enough in his depiction of the complexity of earliest Christianity. His reconstructions of Christian origins are still based on Luke's text; Jerusalem is still the central, "Mother church." Nevertheless, it is a welcome addition to the growing number of studies that are discontent with the traditional picture of earliest Christianity.

38.  See, for example, the reasons Conzelmann provides as he speculates about a source for the choice of the seven, Acts of the Apostles, 44-45. See also Gerd LŸdemann's commentary in which he attempts to determine at what points Luke used a source, Early Christianity according to the Traditions in Acts: A Commentary, trans. J. Bowden (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989), 73-79.

39.  For a description of the individual Greek names, see Gerhard Schneider, Die Apostelgeschichte, I. Teil: Einleitung. Kommentar zu Kap. 1,1-8,40 (Freiburg, Basel, Wein: Herder, 1980), 428. On the number seven as a "sacred number," see LŸdemann, Early Christianity according to the Traditions in Acts, 77.

40.  Stated by Martin Hengel, Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity, trans. J. Bowden (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 71.

41.  See esp. Cadbury, "The Speeches in Acts," in The Beginnings of Christianity, Vol.5: Additional Notes to the Commentary: 402-27; and Martin Dibelius, "The Speeches in Acts and Ancient Historiography," in Studies in the Acts of the Apostles, 138-185. Thorough reviews of the interpretation of the speeches can be found in Marion L. Soards, The Speeches of Acts: Their Content, Context, and Concerns (Louisville, Kentucky: WestminsterJohn Knox Press, 1994), 1-11; and, more particularly on Stephen's speech, Earl Richard, Acts 6:1-8:4: The Author's Method of Composition, SBLDS 41 (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1978), 1-31.

42.  Soards, Speeches of Acts, 12.

43.  Graham Stanton lists ten different theories about the origin of the source speech behind Acts 7: (1) Stephen as a solitary early Christian figure; (2) it was associated with early traditions affiliated with the Gospel of Matthew; (3) with early traditions affiliated with the Gospel of Mark; (4) with Q; (5) with traditions behind the Gospel of John; (6) precursor of Paul; (7) related to Paul's opponents in 2 Cor; (8) associated with the Epistle to the Hebrews; (9) dependent on Samaritan views; and (10) stemming from James, related to Jewish Christians in Jerusalem ("Stephen in Lucan Perspective," Studia Biblica [1978]: 345-60, here p. 346). For the specific scholars responsible for these theories, see his references on p. 358, notes 2-11). Additionally, A. F. J. Klijn suggested the "Hellenists" that were behind this speech were related to the Dead Sea Covenanters ("Stephen's Speech -- Acts VII. 2-53," NTS 4 [1957]: 25-31); J. C. O'Neill suggested a story of a Jewish prophet was the primary source (Theology of Acts in Its Historical Setting, 89-90); and Hans-Joachim Schoeps claimed an Ebionite source could be detected behind the speech (see esp. his Theologie und Geschichte des Judenchristentums [Tübingen: Mohr, 1949]). While most of these theories are cursory suggestions that are not well developed, the link between Stephen's speech and the Samaritans has a lengthy history in twentieth century scholarship. The thesis was based on the existence of several sections in Acts 7 that have their closest textual parallels in the Samaritan Pentateuch. But, E. Richard has convincingly shown that these can all be explained without recourse to a Samaritan source. They are informative about the development of the LXX, but not about the origin of Stepehen's speech ("Acts 7: An Investigation of the Samaritan Evidence," CBQ 39 [1977]: 190-208). It should also be noted that most of the source theories for the speech are based on the problematic distinction between "Hebrews" and "Hellenists," and all of the theories are based on a presentation of Christian origins that is foundationally reliant on the narrative of Acts. Thus, Marcel Simon's famous description of the "Stephen group" as a key component in early Christianity should be treated with much skepticism, until such a group can be accounted for outside of the Lukan narrative (St Stephen and the Hellenists in the Primitive Church [London, New York, Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co, 1958]). My contention is that neither the distinction of a "Hellenist" group, nor the understanding of Acts as the actual history of events is acceptable for reconstructing the potential sources of this speech.

44.  Dibelius, Haenchen, and Conzelmann basically agreed on the idea that Luke used a source for his epic sweep, best described as a speech from a Hellenistic synagogue (Dibelius, "The Speeches in Acts and Ancient Historiography," 169; Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 289; Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles, 57). Similarly, Ulrich Wilckens' argued that Luke used, not a Jewish, but a Jewish-Christian source that was based on the deuteronomistic view of history (Die Missionsreden der Apostelgeschichte, WMANT 5, 3rd ed. [Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1974], 208-219). Leslie Barnard suggested the speech derived originally from early Christians in Egypt ("Saint Stephen and Early Alexandrian Christianity," NTS 7 [1960-61]: 31-45). See also the earlier theory of Wilhelm Soltau: the speeches in Acts derived from Alexandrian sermons ("Die Herkunft der Reden in der Apostelgeschichte," ZNW 4 [1903]: 128-154). In contrast, several other scholars have argued that the traditional elements in the speech are very sparce. Gustav Stählin argued that what little source material Luke had, it was so interwoven into the speech that it is now inseparable (Die Apostelgeschichte, NTD 5 [Gšttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1962], 112).

45.  Johann Bihler argued it was almost completely a Lukan invention (Die Stephanusgeschichte im Zusammenhang der Apostelgeschichte, Münchener theologische Studien 1,16 [Munich: Hueber, 1963], 81-86). See the similar conclusions of Jack H. Wilson, "Luke's Role as a Theologian and Historian in Acts 6:1-8:3," Ph.D. dissertation, Emory University, 1962, esp. 244-45; Richard, Acts 6:1-8:4, passim; and John Kilgallen, The Stephen Speech: A Literary and Redactional Study of Acts 7,2-53, AnBib 67 (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1976), esp. 121. M. Sabbe has also convincingly shown that there is no need to postulate a source for this speech, it is completely a Lukan invention ("The Son of Man Saying in Acts 7,56," in Les Actes des Apôtres: Traditions, rédaction, théologie, ed. J. Kremer, BETL 48 [Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1979], 241-279).

46.  Richard, Acts 6:1-8:4,, 352.

47.  On the idea of the death of Stephen being a major turning point in Luke's narrative, similar to the death of Jesus in the Gospel, see Johann Bihler, "Der Stephanusbericht (Apg 6,8-15 und 7,54-8,2)," Biblische Zeitschrift, NF 3 (1959): 252-70, esp. 255, and 261.

48.  See, for instance, the analysis of George Kennedy, New Testament Interpretation Through Rhetorical Criticism (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1984), 121-22.

49.  For an analysis of Luke's redaction of Mark in the accusation against Stephen, see Richard, Acts 6:1-8:4, 221-23, 287-93. He concludes that the accusations are a creation of the author of Acts.

50.  The terms are from Dennis D. Sylva, "The Meaning and Function of Acts 7:46-50," JBL 106 (1987): 261-75. Sylva argues that Luke, in Stephen's speech, intends to show God transcending the temple, rather than rejecting it. The argument is part of a long running debate about Luke's general view of the temple, the focus of which is often based on the interpretation of Stephen's speech. While I agree with Sylva that transcendence is a useful term for describing Luke's idea of what happened to the temple in his salvation history, my focus is not on the same issue that Sylva is concerned with.

51.  My suggestion that the characterization of the Jews in Luke-Acts was often dictated by the narrative flow is not intended to suggest that Luke's community was completely separate from Jews and nothing in his narrative about Judaism was directed as his own group. Rather, there is a need to be aware of the literary techniques Luke employed, prior to attempting to reconstruct the group for which he was writing.

52.  Pervo, Profit with Delight, 74. In keeping with his comparison between Acts and ancient novels, he further suggests about this idea that "Culturally, it is thoroughly compatible with the naive idealism that emerges in sentimental fiction."

53.  See esp. Moessner, "The Christ Must Suffer: New Light on the Jesus-Peter, Stephen, Paul Parallels in Luke-Acts," NovT 28, 3 (1986): 220-56.

54. Johnson, Acts of the Apostles, 142.

55.  It is established "tentatively" because a defense of the action will have to be repeated in 15:7-9.

56.  On the customary prison-escape scenes in Greco-Roman fictions, see Pervo, Profit with Delight, 21, 147, note 15; and Johnson, Acts of the Apostles, 217. Pervo states, "More than thirty such tales can be studied, in Acts and Apoc. Acts, Dionysiac literature, Jewish narrative, historical and romantic novels, and novellas" (21). Robert Tannehill has also shown that there are many Lukan elements in this story, similar to other arrest scenes in the gospel and Acts (The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation, Vol. 2: The Acts of the Apostles (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 152-58.

57. 57. Note that Luke's character John disappears from the narrative after Acts 8:25. The reader is left to assume that he is part of the group of apostles in Jerusalem, but there is no explanation about why he no longer has a clear leadership role.

58. 58. Walter Schmithals, The Office of Apostle in the Early Church, trans. J. E. Steely (Nashville and New York: Abingdon Press, 1969), 249.

59.  Klein, Die zwšlf Apostel, 114-185; Schmithals, Office of Apostle, 247-50.

60.  Similarly, Joseph Tyson regards Luke to have had a interest in both continuity and change within Christian leadership. "The emphasis on change shows that Luke is sensitive to historical development and would probably not want to impose the structures of an earlier age on a later. The emphasis on continuity suggests that whatever changes might be considered legitimate in the church, there is a sense in which later structures emerge from earlier ones and do so with the concurrence of the earlier leaders" ("The Emerging Church and the Problem of Authority in Acts," Interpretation 42 [1988]: 132-145, here 145).

61.  Since Mark's characterization of both Jesus' brothers, and Jesus' disciples is negative, it is not difficult to imagine why Luke deleted a reference to specific family members in this part of his story.

62.  Note that Luke accepts the tradition from Q (Lk 9:59-60; 12:52-53; and 14:25-26) and Mark (Lk 18:29b-30 par. Mk 10:29-30) regarding the commands to abandon family members.

63.  On the sudden introduction of the term "elders" in Acts 11:30 and again here, see Alastair Campbell, "The Elders of the Jerusalem Church," JTS, NS 44 (1993): 511-28. His contention that the term should not be taken as a historically viable group, distinct from the apostles, is probably correct. Nevertheless, his assumptions about the historicity of the group of apostles should be questioned. Note that the use of the term is paralleled in literature from the "Pauline school": 1 Tim 5:17; Tit 1:5; 1 Pet 5:1 (cf. James 5:14). Thus, it appears that the use of the term had become "technical" by the early second century. This also helps link Luke to a Pauline type of Christianity, though, a half-century after Paul.

64.  Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200.

65.  Cf. Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:186.

66.  Contrary to the majority opinion, understanding Luke 12 to be primarily unedited material handed down from the Palestinian Christians, Robert W. Wall has convincingly argued for the need to see the Lukan authorship and intentionality of this material, "Successors to "the Twelve" According to Acts 12:1-17," CBQ 53 (1991): 628-43. His point is essentially the same as mine: Luke wrote this as a transition between the two groups of leaders. For the assumption that this is all traditional material, see Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 390-91.

67.  The impious characterization of Herod is clearly elaborated in Acts 12:22-23.

68.  Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:157.

69.  Luke's characterization of Paul as fitting the ideal of Greco-Roman virtuousness is well illustrated by John C. Lentz, Jr., Luke's Portrait of Paul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

70.  See Beverly Roberts Gaventa, From Darkness to Light: Aspects of Conversion in the New Testament, Overtures to Biblical Theology 20 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 55; and Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:114.

71.  Compare one of the charges against Stephen (6:11), to that against Paul (21:21). For the comparison between Stephen and Paul, see Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:100, 114-115.

72.  Dixon Slingerland, "'The Jews' in the Pauline Portion of Acts," JAAR 54 (1986): 305-21. His conclusion is worth noting, "Thus, the Pauline portion of Acts paints a picture composed of most unusual components. On the one hand, its main character, drawn in a thoroughly positive light, is portrayed as a law-observant Jew. On the other, its principal villains, drawn in a thoroughly negative fashion, are also Jews. Readers are to understand evidently that the best of the old religio licita is now to be found among 'the Christians' (Acts 11:26) as typified by the Jew Paul, while the worst -- and that associated with the hellenistic stereotype --manifests itself among 'the Jews," i.e., specifically 'the unbelieving Jews' as Acts designates them. In any case, and regardless of the understanding which lies behind it, the historical reconstruction turns out to be all the more unusual because, in fact, it is not historical either in its picture of Paul or in its portrayal of 'the Jews'" (318-19).

73.  Beverly Roberts Gaventa has shown that the conversion narratives play a central role in Luke's characterization of Paul, "The Overthrown Enemy: Luke's Portrait of Paul," in Society of Biblical Literature 1985 Seminar Papers, ed. K. H. Richards (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985), 439-49.

74.  See, most notably, Charles Hedrick, "Paul's ConversionCall: A Comparative Analysis of the Three Reports in Acts," JBL 100 (1981): 415-32; and, most recently, Daniel Marguerat, "Saul's Conversion (Acts 9, 22, 26) and the Multiplication of Narrative in Acts," in Luke's Literary Achievement: Collected Essays, ed. C. M. Tuckett, JSNTSup 116 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 127-155. Marguerat provides a bibliography mentioning twenty-four other studies on this particular topic.

75.  Mitchell suggests that Barnabas was pictured as a benefactor (land owner), his act of humility (laying proceeds of sale at apostles' feet) was a reversal of the normal patron-client relationship. Mitchell states, "Giving without receiving implies forgoing the social benefit of public honor and sets a quite different example for the well-off in Luke's community ("Social Function of Friendship," 270). Bartchy also finds Barnabas to be represented as a patron ("Community of Goods in Acts," 315). His assumption that this story is historical is unsupported. It is better explained as a Lukan construction, part of Luke's characterization.

76.  The following conjecture of Eduard Schwartz has been followed by the major commentators: Luke applied the description of Manaen (Menahem: 'the comforter'), from his source for the list in 13:1, to Barnabas ("Zur Chronologie des Paulus," in Nachrichten von der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen [Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1907], 282, note 1). See Haenchen for other attempts to solve the problem, Acts of the Apostles, 231-32.

77.  Compare this reason for leaving Jerusalem to the later statement that Paul left Jerusalem because he received a vision from Jesus while praying in the temple, 22:17-18. The idea that the temple was the place to receive insight from the deity is similar to Simeon's proclamation in Luke 2:30-32. See Tannehill's conclusions about this reference in Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:283.

78.  The problematic textual variant at 12:25 is thoroughly discussed by Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, corrected ed. of the United Bible Society (Stuttgart: Biblia-Druck, 1975), 398-400. The committee selected the well attested eis, with a vote of {D}. Thus, unless the word order is changed, it appears that Barnabas and Saul returned with John Mark to Jerusalem from Antioch, yet they are back in Antioch in the next sentence.

79.  Even if Silas is "Silvanus", a known companion of Paul (2 Cor 1:19; I Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:1; cf. 1 Pet 5:12), the relationship between this figure and Jerusalem is not attested in the Pauline corpus, and could be understood as manufactured by Luke.

80.  Note that both of Paul's companions, Silas and Barnabas, are referred to as "encouragers" (cf. 4:36). In Luke's mind, the outspoken and bold Paul seems to be always paired with a person from Jerusalem who is characterized as a comforter.

81.  See Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:196.

82.  On the nature of the vow, see the discussion in Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 545-46.

83.  The text does not mention Jerusalem specifically, but it is assumed based on three items: (1) the terminology implies a trip to Jerusalem ("going up ..."); (2) stopping in Caesarea first, rather than going directly to Antioch, is unexplained, unless he used this port because of its proximity to Jerusalem; (3) the cutting of the hair in 18:18 suggests a visit to the temple. Cf. Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 547-48.

84.  Note that the disciples listed as his traveling companions in 20:4 are representative of the extent of Paul's missions.

85.  Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:265-66.

86.  Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:264.

87.  Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:268.

88.  Paul took disciples with him when he left the synagogue in Ephesos and began preaching in the lecture hall of Tyrannus (19:9). This is the only action in Acts that possibly accounts for Paul's reputation as one who did not conform to Jewish rituals. However, the speech of Peter in 15:7-11 might suggest that Paul was known by Luke to teach that the law was a "yoke" and that "faith" was the most important element for those who wished to join the group.

89.  See Joseph B. Tyson, "The Problem of Jewish Rejection in Acts," in Luke-Acts and the Jewish People, 135-137.

90.  On the comparison, see Tannehill, Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, 2:273.

91.  However, there is no question that Luke intended Paul to be a model of virtuousness and an example of evangelistic zeal. See Marie-Eloise Rosenblatt, "Under Interrogation: Paul as Witness in Juridical Contexts in Acts and the Implied spirituality for Luke's Community," Ph.D. dissertation, Graduate Theological Union, 1987; and Lentz, Luke's Portrait of Paul.

92.  The major scholarship on the ending of Acts is reviewed by Paul W. Walaskay, "And So We Came to Rome": The Political Perspective of St. Luke, SNTSMS 49 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 18-22. Luke's reasons for ending his narrative in such a punctilious fashion are well defined by Daniel Marguerat, "The End of Acts (28:16-31) and the Rhetoric of Silence," in Rhetoric and the New Testament (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993), 74-89.

93.  Conzelmann states, "... Jerusalem determined the future formation of ideas: Jesus is the Messiah; the church is his people, the true Israel. This historical self-consciousness was responsible for the fact that the new communities which arose outside Jerusalem knew themselves ideally to be joined with the founding of the church and with the mother congregation. For them this had more than sentimental value: it was an insight of faith, in which the historical connection of the faith was expressed. The church is in principle a unity, and this is visibly represented by the original community" (History of Primitive Christianity, 38).

94.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 35.

95.  "Certainly historical is the circle of the Twelve (cf. also I Cor. 15:3-5). It organized the community," Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 36. The extent to which Paul's reference to Jesus appearing to "Cephas, then to the twelve" is useful as a historical proof of the existence of a group of twelve followers residing in Jerusalem is not questioned by Conzelmann. He does admit that the number twelve in reference to the apostles is anachronistic, but the reference in I Cor. to a group of twelve is taken as proof of the account in Acts. On the question of the definition and role of an apostle according to Conzelmann, see History of Primitive Christianity, 40-41, 55, 148-151.

96.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 33.

97.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 33, 41.

98.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 37.

99.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 36.

100.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 62-63: "They [the numbers of Christians] are meant to render impressive the marvel that here the Lord himself is at work."

101.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 36.

102.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 35.

103.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 36.

104.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 36.

105. Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 37. Conzelmann argues that the author of Acts intentionally downplayed the role of the Hellenists ("Jewish Christians whose native language is Greek" [57]) in order to solidify a picture of unity in Jerusalem. The existence of the Hellenists and their importance to the community is revealed, according to Conzelmann, by a careful examination of the role of "the seven," who are taken to be the leaders of the Hellenists. Conzelmann argues that Stephen's speech is representative of the Hellenists in that it is "a trustworthy kernel of the tradition that the Hellenists criticized the Mosaic law and the temple cult in a way different from that of the Twelve (Acts 6:13-14)" (58). Due mainly to this critical stance toward the temple, the Hellenists were expelled from Jerusalem and became the founders of Christianity in Antioch, and thus, the founders of the Gentile mission.

106.  Conzelmann, History of Primitive Christianity, 58-59. This point is directly related to point (9) in that the author of Acts tells the story of Peter's conversion of Cornelius in order to suggest that "the non-law-observing mission must issue from, and be sanctioned by, Jerusalem" (59). In reality, according to Conzelmann, the mission to Antioch, and then to the rest of the world, was founded by the expelled Hellenist Christians. These Hellenists, though geographically separated from Jerusalem, never lost their connection to the Jerusalem church as the "mother church" (59). Yet Luke did not give the historical account of the Hellenist's mission to Antioch and beyond, because these details would have detracted from the central role played by the major Jerusalem leaders.

107.  See the compelling article of Conzelmann, "Luke's Place in the Development of Early Christianity," in Studies in Luke Acts (298-316), which provides an outline of the major questions of dating and locating Luke's setting.

108.  The Western text tradition clarified the point by adding that he was instructed (D, gig [Latin, 13th century]). Several ideas have been proposed that attempt to link Apollos to followers of Stephen who supposedly went to Alexandria after the first persecution (see the review of scholarship in Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 550). As Haenchen suggests, trying to make sense of Luke's text in this way is "highly unlikely." The use of the perfect passive may imply that his instruction had occurred before he came to Ephesus. Regardless, the point remains, that the people who taught him about Jesus are unaccounted for in Luke's story.

109.  Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, 175.

110.  Ron Cameron, "Alternative Beginnings - Different Ends: Eusebius, Thomas and the Construction of Christian Origins," in Religious Propaganda and Missionary Competition in the New Testament World, eds. L. Bormann, K. Del Tredici, and A. Standhartinger (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 501-25.

111. The most relevant text is Adv. haer. III, 12.1-15. Irenaeus' description of the author of Acts as "Luke," which is based solely on information he gleaned from reading Luke-Acts, not an independent tradition, is found in Adv. haer. III, 1.1; 10.1; 14.1-2 (see Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 9).

112. The evidence of its influence is examined in Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 3-14. He suggests Justin Martyr knew Acts in the middle of the second century (the relevant texts are Apol. I 39.3; 49.5; 50.12). But the evidence is very weak and has been rejected as a clear proof of influence by Harnack (Theologische Literaturzeitung 53 [1928]: 126; referred to by Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles, 9); O'Neill (Theology of Acts, 28-53); and, most recently, Strange (Problem of the Text of Acts, [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992] 179-181).

113.  Strange, Problem of the Text of Acts, 178-183.

114. The Ephesian setting has also been suggested due to the details available to Luke about Paul's activity there (Acts 18:24-20:1; cf. 20:17-38). Luke also highlighted it as the city to which Paul was emotionally attached (see esp. Acts 20:36-38). The significant set of articles collected in a new volume edited by Helmut Koester provides a valuable starting point for re-evaluating Ephesos as Luke's setting (see esp. Koester, "Ephesos in Early Christian Literature," in Ephesos Metropolis of Asia: An Interdisciplinary Approach to it Archaeology, Religion, and Culture, ed. H. Koester [Valley Forge: Trinity, 1995], 119-40).

115. Vernon Robbins has suggested that the mix between Jewish and Greek elements suggests a diverse group in Luke's audience, "The Social Location of the Implied Author of Luke-Acts," in The Social World of Luke-Acts, 305-332.