Have just had another look in Marianne Palmer Bonz’s The Past as Legacy: Luke-Acts and Ancient Epic and rediscovered the obvious original inspiration for my view of the we-passages in Acts. She writes, after discussing the other suggestions up to the Robbins and MacDonald views:
The “we” passages do not represent historical, eyewitness accounts. But while they are, therefore, rhetorical, they were not created to add verisimilitude to Luke’s historical narrative. Nor was Luke merely attempting to follow a literary convention for certain types of adventurous voyages. Rather, the “we” references serve as rhetorical shorthand for the Pauline Christians — those who are vicariously privy to Paul’s example and who, as heirs to his legacy, have been called by him to continue his unfinished mission. They are Luke’s intended audience, whose participation in the ongoing drama of God’s salvation plan is signaled by the words of the Luke prologue: “concerning the events that have been fulfilled among us“. . .’ (p.173)
What I am attempting to do is to elaborate on this, though not necessarily in the way that Bonz herself might go. I am seeing the “we” less in terms of Pauline Christians per se than in the targets of the revised founding myth.
Notes from Mandell and Freedman contd:
Intro One: Aims and methods
Many historians consider the Primary History of Israel as both a theological document and a historical one, even if only sometimes one can barely glimpse a historical nugget behind the myth. Yet Herodotus’ Histories is read differently: It is seen as essentially a historic book with no theological worth; or as a work where the mythic element was relegated mostly to the first 4 books leaving the remainder as essentially historical reporting.
Gerhad Von Rad (1944) was apparently the first to suggest that the Hebrews were the first to write “history” and that by giving it a theological meaning (that God’s purpose is being acted out through it, even in only behind the scenes) is what distinguishes it from Greek history. In other words, historians don’t consider references to the gods in Herodotus’ Histories of any worth or relevance to the overall work. (Some, however, do see more comparisons between Herodotus and his presumed near contemporary author of Chronicles.)
Is this difference in the way historians read Herodotus Histories and Israel’s Primary History justified? Continue reading “Herodotus and Bible History: Mandell & Freedman contd”