Keener - Acts - Commentary - 3 - (15-23)

Craig S. Keener - Acts : an exegetical commentary. Volume 3 (15:1-23:35)
Historians recounting the origins of peoples often reported not only the stories of their founders but also major changes in their constitutions after the founders’ deaths. A work documenting the earliest history of the Gentile mission would need to include the theological watershed for that mission that occurred at the Jerusalem Council (a decision the leaders seemed to uphold even when dissent was widespread, Acts 21:25).
In this section, the church, led by Gods Spirit, ratifies the Gentile mission without the requirement of circumcision. Ihe Jerusalem church previously affirmed the ministry to Cornelius’s household but now has to reckon both with the Gentile ministry’s dramatic spread (and perhaps some Jerusalemite complaints; cf. Gal 5:11; 6:12) and with miracle accounts suggesting that God is with this mission.
Ihat circumcisionists after this meeting continued to cause Paul trouble, as attested in his letters, is less relevant for Luke’s narrative, which focuses on the Pauline mission and its continuity with the apostolic leadership of the Jerusalem church. In any case, by Luke’s day, the Gentile mission was too widespread and the remnants of the Jerusalem church too scattered for the circumcisionists to remain a primary potent threat for Luke’s Diaspora audience. Luke thus reports a theological battle important in the historical development of the Gentile church of his day, but it was no longer a major battle in his day. Continuity with the church’s heritage, however, remained an important theological issue, making the events of the council a matter of continuing interest. The council’s decree can hardly be Luke’s fiction; it is a compromise solution that pacifies the circumcision party (by treating Gentile converts as God-fearers) rather than ratifies Gentile converts’ full status as members of God’s people. Nevertheless, it was a compromise that saved the day and prevented a major schism from forming.

Craig S. Keener - Acts : an exegetical commentary. Volume 3 (15:1-23:35)

Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Grand Rapids, MI, 2014. - 1196 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8010-4838-8 (cloth)

Craig S. Keener - Acts : an exegetical commentary. Volume 3 (15:1-23:35) - Contents

Part 5: Paul’s Diaspora Missions (12:25-19:41) (continued) 
  • Ratifying the Gentile Mission (15:1-35)
  • Excursus: Circumcision 
  • Paul and Companions in Asia and Achaia (15:36-19:41)
  • Excursus: Dreams
  • Excursus: Acts and First-Person Usage in Some Ancient Historians
  • Excursus: Purple
  • Excursus: Patrons, Clients, and Reciprocity 
  • Excursus: Hospitality 
  • Excursus: Pythoness Spirits 
  • Excursus: Demons and Spirit Possession 
  • Excursus : Ancient Anti-Judaism 
  • Excursus: Suicide in Antiquity
  • Excursus: Epicureans
  • Excursus: Stoicism
  • Excursus: Baths in Greco-Roman Antiquity 
Part 6: To Rome via Jerusalem (20:1-28:31)
  • Journey to Jerusalem (20:1-21:16) 
  • Excursus : Acts and the Pastorals 
  • Excursus: Prophetesses 
  • Excursus: Why Mention Their Virginity? 
  • Dangers in Jerusalem (21:17-23:35) 
  • Excursus: Hostility to Paul's Temple Theology?
  • Excursus: The Defense Speeches of Acts 22-26, Especially 22:2-21 


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