The reason I am posting a reply to the Cadre blog here is because Cadre has a history of deleting my posts from their blog. This is a backup.
Most recently, as a result of my blog posts attempting to share what I have found of interest in Richard Pervo’s works (see the Pervo link in the right hand column Categories list, look under Book Reviews and Notes), Layman has written at length “refuting” what he sees as as Richard Pervo’s arguments about the genre of Acts.
Having already defended my views and writings (see my my Comprehension and honesty post) I thought it time to allow Pervo “to speak” for himself in response to Layman’s (Chris Price’s) argument.
Chris Price states categorically that Richard Pervo’s “theory” is that the Book of “Acts is an ancient romance novel” (see the Comprehension and honesty link above).
Chris Price also claims to have read Richard Pervo’s book, Profit with Delight. I ask Layman/Chris Price to cite a single sentence or passage where Richard Pervo makes any claim that Acts is a romance or fictional novel.
Layman/Chris Price has referenced Marion Soard’s Journal of the American Academy of Religion’s review of Profit with Delight. I intend in the near future to write a post discussing Soard’s review in the light of my own reading of Pervo’s Profit with Delight, and will challenge a number of Soard’s apparent “observations” in the light of the actual words I read in Pervo’s book.
But back to Pervo’s “reply to Layman/Chris Price”:
On the front cover
Profit with Delight.
Is Richard Pervo actually suggesting by the title that the book of Acts is more than a delightful tale/fiction?
In the preface
[M]ost studies have concentrated upon the profit and ignored the delight. A major task of this book is to elucidate the entertaining nature of Acts. Since one customary means for rejecting popular literature has been to label it pure entertainment, I wish to make clear that there is no intent here to deny Luke’s serious theological program. . . .
Through comparison of Acts with ancient popular narratives I seek not only the identification of literary affinities but also clarification of the religious and social values of the milieu in which it emerged. . . .
In the middle (p.86):
Although clearly a theological book and a presentation of history, Acts also seeks to entertain.
In the conclusion:
By reference to novels in general and historical novels in particular I have attempted to provide detailed evidence for the ancient novel’s relevance to the understanding of Acts. My intent is that such comparison proceed alongside, as well as in competition with, investigations using historiographical models. . . . Reconsideration of the question of genre does not eliminate the possibility of sources.
On the back cover
The one who combines profit with delight, equally pleasing and admonishing the reader . . .
Challenge to Layman/Chris Price
Let him quote or cite pages and paragraphs in Profit with Delight where Pervo claims that Acts is a romance novel, and/or devoid of any historical content or value.
Next: Soard’s review
I intend in the near future to write a review of Marion Soard’s review of Profit with Delight.
How much historical fact there is in Acts is a separate although inevitably related question entirely. But as we have seen Cadre even misleadingly selectively quotes Sherwin-White on that score.