2020-01-29

Rome, Troy and Aeneas — model for the story of Acts?

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by Neil Godfrey

In a former life back in 2006/2007 I wrote a series of posts suggesting that the “we passages” in the Book of Acts were the author’s technique of vicariously bringing his Roman readers into his narrative as they followed the story of the founding of a second kingdom in Rome. Rome was replacing Jerusalem as the “headquarters” for God’s people and Acts was written primarily for a Roman audience. Those “we passages” begin with Paul leaving the region of Troy, or “the Troad”, and beginning a wandering mission that saw a temporary delay in Jerusalem where his destiny was almost brought to an end, before finally reaching Rome where the book ends. I suggested, encouraged by the views of Marianne Palmer Bonz iirc, that the structure of the narrative was built around the Roman founding epic of Aeneas leaving Troy to found Rome, being detoured on the way via Carthage where his destiny was almost overturned.

Twelve years later and here I am with two new books that encourage me to wonder if that interpretation of Acts, and in particular the “we passages”, had something going for it.

The first one:

Henry Gibbs, 1654

Erskine confirms that the Aeneas epic and Trojan origins of Rome was certainly a major propaganda myth during the time of emperor Augustus and was still being popularized throughout the period of the Julio-Claudian emperors. That’s the era of the “dynasty” stemming from Julius Caesar (more specifically from his distant nephew Augustus Caesar) through to emperor Nero. Speaking of the “Augustan preoccupation” with Aeneas, . . . .

Many ancient writers are introduced into his discussions about how Aeneas escaped from Troy, his route to Italy and especially on the foundation of Rome itself. . . . 

Aeneas is leading his son Ascanius by the right hand, while his father Anchises sits perched upon his left shoulder. This image has been found in many parts of the empire on coins, finger rings, and lamps, in painting, relief sculpture, and statuary, and the most likely explanation for this uniformity is that they are all based on a common model, namely the statue of Aeneas in the Forum of Augustus.

(Erskine, pp. 29 f)

That was in the Augustan period. That technically ended with the death of Augustus in 14 CE. The preoccupation with the story of Aeneas fleeing Troy and being destined to be responsible for the founding of Rome was the consequence of the victory of Julius Caesar’s “nephew” Augustus Caesar over Mark Anthony concluding the civil war period:

The predominance of the Trojan myth may have been the result of the political rivalries of various families; just as the Mamilii favoured Odysseus and the Fabii Herakles, so the Iulii [=Julians] and the Memmii favoured the Trojans. Aineias’ [=Aeneas’] martial prowess could perhaps have appealed to the militaristic Romans more than Odysseus’ cunning, or maybe the attraction lay in Aineias’ piety.66

66 On the piety of Aeneas see Bömer 1951: 39–49, esp. 47–9.

. . . . .

Ilion [=Troy] had a special place in the ideology of the Iulio-Claudians, a dynasty that invoked Trojan ancestry to justify its ascendancy in Rome. . . . In acting as patrons of Ilion Caesar and Augustus were acting in the same way as successive rulers in the east had done before them over the centuries. . . . Support for Ilion and promotion of Trojan ancestry may have gone some way towards repairing relations with Asia Minor at least.

(pp. 145, 245 — I have not had access to the Bömer reference. Virgil certainly dwells heavily on Aeneas’s piety in his epic poem The Aeneid)

Troy remained significant to Romans after the death of Nero in 69 CE, though. The emperor Hadrian paid a special visit to Troy in 124 CE. If Trojans did feel they were being neglected in the imperial propaganda they made up for it by reasserting their distinctive place in the mythohistory of Rome:

In response Ilion [=Troy] may have felt the need to reassert its Trojan identity; it is in the reign of Hadrian that Hektor makes his first appearance on Ilian coins, the first new Trojan hero to do so since Aineias and Anchises about 150 years before. Caracalla’s visit in the early third century was more a homage to Alexander and Achilles than to Troy or Rome’s Trojan past.Nevertheless, Rome’s Trojan origins are again in evidence when Constantine is planning his new city in the East. He is said to have begun construction of the city on the plain in front of Ilion before God intervened and directed him to Byzantion. The story, however, may merely be the product of later mythologies about the foundation of Constantinople.

(p. 253)

But concerning the time of the composition of Acts we have more concrete evidence in the epic poem of Lucan. Lucan was forced by Nero to commit suicide in 65 CE. He was not allowed to live long enough to complete his epic poem Pharsalia about the war between Julius Caesar and Pompey. That poem is a total opposite of everything Virgil wrote about the journey of Aeneas from Troy to Italy. Lucan’s epic has even been called an anti-Aeneid because it strongly appears to be an attempt to undo all the idealism in Virgil’s epic about Aeneas.

On Lucan’s poem as ‘anti-Aeneid’, Conte 1994: 443–6.

(p. 249. Google Books gives access to 443-444, 446, but not 445. Anyone has access to p. 445 will gain my appreciation if they could forward it to me.)

Lucan’s witch of Thessaly, Erichtho

Lucan evidently knew of Virgil’s Aeneid and sought to undo what to him was its sickening idealism. That is, as late as the reign of Nero (54-68 CE) the ideal of the pious Aeneas fleeing the great city of Troy to found the Roman nation was known well enough for Lucan to write an “anti-epic”, an “anti-Aeneid”, in response.

One passage in Lucan’s epic, Pharsalia, speaks of a Thessalonian witch who can raise the dead and speak in horrific sounds to tell the future (book 6). It is difficult not to be reminded of Paul exorcising a demon-possessed girl in the same region who speaks of the future with respect to Paul in Acts 16:11-15.

So the Aeneid, the grand propaganda epic of the heroic and pious Aeneas fleeing Troy to commence his God-ordained destiny to found the imperial city of Rome, was “a topic of conversation”, let’s say, towards the end of the first century CE at least. The point was, of course, that the Roman rulers, and then Rome itself, were the spawn of the great Troy.

The second: 

I’m not alone in proposing that the “we” in Acts is an attempt by the author to draw the readers into the story and its destiny.

I will argue that the use of the passages is probable evidence of the presence of the author or his source along with Paul . . . and that the we-passages serve the additional function of pulling the reader into the story by implying ‘our’ presence and participation, at least in spirit, in the Gospel mission. Parallels for this device can be found elsewhere, especially in early Christian literature. Often in such visionary passages, the narrator identifies the person reporting the dream as ‘he,’ but this is quickly followed by a reference to the effect which the vision has on ‘me’ or ‘us’, and thus the vision or prophecy is linked to the work at hand: its truth is established by a divine blessing, or the author (distinguished from the one who reports the vision) chooses this moment to step into the narrative with a personal reflection or mention of mission: a mission into which the reader may be implicitly drawn. The emergence of the author into his narrative gives permission for the extension of his message out to include the community of which he is a part.

(Smith, pp. 171 f.)

It’s time . . .

It is time to look again at the nature and significance of the first passage which seems to prompt the narrator to switch to ‘we,’ considering the possibility that the author uses these passages as a way to introduce himself into the story, as well as a way to suggest the reader’s inclusion, at least in spirit, in the new mission which is opening up for Christians.7

7 Compare the ‘we’ passage in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, which clearly invites the reader to be included in the celebration of Homer as poet: “But we will carry your renown to wherever on earth we wander…” (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 174-175).

(p. 175)

Passing over . . .

The significance of the “crossing over” urged by the Macedonian man is underscored by the sudden change in narration occasioned by his appeal: before the appeal, ‘they’ arrive in Troas; after the appeal, ‘we’ travel across. The importance of the transition is further underlined by the use of the verb διαβαίνω in view of the resonant sense this verb has elsewhere in the New Testament: in Luke 16,26 it is used of Dives wanting to “pass over” from the torments of hell into the bliss of heaven, and in Heb. 11,29 it is used of the Hebrews “crossing over” the Red Sea to escape the soldiers of Pharaoh. Clearly the verb often has the implication of a momentous passage, often across a river or from one realm or state of being to another, like hell to heaven, or from Egypt to the promised land, or in this instance, Christianity expanding to a new continent.

(pp. 175 f.)

We have in Acts the vision of a man in Macedonia calling Paul to “cross over” . . . .

The vision has a far-reaching implication, as it causes Paul and his companions to cross over from Asia into Europe; and it triggers the first of the four ‘we’ passages, which describe the mission voyage of these companions (compare the drama of Acts 1,8, where Jesus says just before his ascension, “you (ὑμεῖς) will be my witnesses… to the end of the earth”). Suddenly, when it broadens to Europe the mission becomes ‘ours,’ which first of all implies both the narrator’s presence and authority; as Campbell observes, the use of the first person plural “reinforces the assertion that the expansion of Paul’s mission from Asia Minor to Greece is mandated by God in a vision to the apostle”;9 secondly, however, it draws the reader him/herself into the story, as though in being extended to Europe the Christian mission has been widened in syntactical submission to Jesus’ prophecy to include the reader him/herself.

9 Campbell 2007, 73

(p. 176)

Smith expands on the idea. The crossing from Asia to Greece, most notably through Troy, carries deep historical significance.

The widening of the Gospel mission to Europe also implies its extension to the Gentiles, in which Luke took particular interest and which is already implied in the infancy narrative of the Gospel of Luke when Simeon speaks of Jesus being a light to the Gentiles.The “Macedonian man” is anonymous, yet his calling to Paul has the momentous consequence that the preaching of the Gospel is now being invited to cross over to a new continent.

The implication of the unnamed ‘Luke’ without explanation entering his own narrative, with the further suggestion that the reader is being drawn in as well, is a startling way of calling our attention to the sphere at which the Christian mission is now operating. We have stepped into Europe along with ‘Luke’ on a mission for which God has provided the direction and paved the way. The uniqueness of the device has baffled and intrigued so many readers of Acts. It is meant to get our attention. The consequence of a summoning vision at this crucial moment elevates Paul’s crossing into Europe to the status of the journeys of great world conquerors like Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. Caesar’s own account in the Civil War (1.8-12) about his reentry into Italy and defiance of the will of the senate is quite matter-of-fact, but the legend quickly grew about divine portents attending him. According to Suetonius (Jul. 32), Caesar was invited to cross the Rubicon by a gigantic divine figure who crossed the river in front of him blowing a trumpet, whereupon Caesar cried out, “Let the course be taken where the signs of the gods and the false dealing of our enemies point out. The die is cast!” This proclamation, even if a literary fiction, both declares Caesar’s mission and announces his passage into a new sphere of activity where human rules will be subordinated to divine mandate.

A momentous crossing of continents in earlier Greek history was the Persian invasion of Greece under Darius and Xerxes. . . .

. . . More specifically, the reference in Acts 16 to a “certain Macedonian man” may suggest the most famous ‘Macedonian man,’ Alexander the Great. Paul’s failure to recognize him specifically would then have a parallel with Luke’s story in his Gospel of the disciples’ failure to recognize Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24,16). Alexander conceived of himself as being on a divine mission to conquer the world by traveling from Europe to Asia.

(pp. 177 f.)

Did Luke develop the idea from the letters believed to be from Paul?

In the case of the crossing over to Macedonia, there is also a noteworthy parallel in Paul’s own account in 2 Corinthians 2,12 sq. where Paul, in describing the incident, initially uses the first person singular describing the very same moment as does Luke in Acts 16, his arrival in Troas, and then continues it in his crossing over to Macedonia (“When I came to Troas. . . So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia,” 2 Cor 2,12-13), but then he digresses to exclaim how God in Christ always leads ‘us’ in triumphal procession (2,14). Later in that same epistle after a long digression he finally returns to a description of the trip (2 Cor. 7,5), but now he has switched to the first person plural, even to the extent of saying “bodies” instead of ‘body’ (“For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest…”). The variations do not seem forced but have a natural enough explanation. As he begins to generalize his experience Paul switches to the plural to include his companions, and as he reflects on how God consoles the downcast, distraught over the possible failure of their mission, it is natural for him to continue to see the trials of his mission as befalling not himself alone but the little group who shared in suffering with him (2 Cor 7,5-6).Perhaps in a similar extension, the ‘we’ of the mission trip described in Acts figuratively broadens as the mission widens to Europe, to include all those whom God blesses and guides, now on the verge of the third generation after the first generation of Jesus and the apostles, and the second generation of Paul and his fellow missionaries.

(pp. 179 f.)

On the other hand, if we come back to the myth of Troy as the origin of Rome and the myth of Aeneas being divinely guided to cross over to Greece and then on to Italy, and if we add this perspective to a second-century author of Acts writing a rationale for Rome’s leadership of the new religion, we have a more specific “extension”. The “we” of the mission is not so much a “widening to Europe” as it is the beginning of the Roman church and its leadership status. (Yes, I should have mentioned earlier, I am assuming a post-Justin and mid-second-century provenance for our canonical version of Acts.)

Smith addresses other occasions in the gospels where we find a similar transition from the third to first-person plural in a narrative (e.g. John 21:24) after a prophecy to draw in the readers or audience to be at one with the author.

Smith’s conclusion:

The we-passages in Acts come at the momentous outset of the crossing of Christianity from Asia to Europe. The vision of the Macedonian Man calling Paul to “come over and help us” is given emphasis and importance by being the climax of a set of three divine warnings to cease preaching the word in Asia and move on to new territory, and it has parallels in the traditional stories of Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Xerxes whose missions are sanctified (or seem to be sanctified) by a divine injunction. But even more important, the first-person plural pronoun moves the Christian mission into a wider framework that embraces the reader as well and sees him or her as part of the divine plan, and does this by the bold device of making the reader actually appear to become an actor in the new and unfolding drama. Though there is no explicit parallel for seeming to make the reader a participant in the narrative along with the author, the device does recall other passages in pagan and Christian literature (Gospel of John, 2 Corinthians, Life of Apollonius, First Epistle of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle to Diognetus, the Didache, the Philosophiae Consolationis) where a divine figure in a dream or vision opens up the message to the single recipient to include a wider audience. That wider audience is the ‘you’ plural or ‘we’ who are now encouraged by the solemnity of this other-worldly message to put into practice the word of God, in this to become part of the injunction of Jesus that “you shall be witnesses for me…even to the very ends of the earth” (Acts 1,8).

(p. 187)

I would suggest a change to Smith’s broad conclusion. I would suggest we consider the possibility that the wider audience is in fact the church in Rome. Paul is the new Aeneas. Rome has replaced Jerusalem as the centre of God’s mission on earth.

It’s just a thought. I won’t leave me, though.

Previous related posts:

For later posts relating to the we-passages in Acts see https://vridar.org/tag/we-passages-in-acts/


P.S. If anyone can supply me with a copy of page 445 of Conte’s Latin Literature I would be very grateful. It’s a key page missing in the Google Books Preview.


 

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4 thoughts on “Rome, Troy and Aeneas — model for the story of Acts?”

  1. The “we” section as emulation of the Aeneid makes sense. I see the leadership of orthodoxy in the mid second-century as contested. There was the Asian network (probably headquartered in Ephesus) that produced GLuke/Acts, GJohn, Papias, Polycarp/the Ignatians, the Pastorals, possibly one layer of redaction of the Letters of Paul–and the first edition of the canon–and Rome, which had produced GMark, Hermas, perhaps I Clement and …? Not nearly as much, and perhaps without satellite congregations, but on the other hand Rome was Rome.

    I see the second part of Acts as a statement of alliance between these two centers of orthodoxy. Both are affirmed. Paul = Aeneas, therefore the Roman congregation is implicitly great/destined for greatness like the ancient Romans, and the Ephesian congregation is identified with (nearby) Troy, which was older than Rome.

    1. I hadn’t thought of that possibility but it does fit with “Luke’s” ecumenical tendencies of reconciling different narratives in our canonical version of Luke-Acts. I was thinking more along the lines of how his epic tale begins in Jerusalem (Luke) and ends in Rome (Acts), narrating the shift from the Jewish centre to the centre of the world, in effect (imperial Rome representing the reaching of all nations with the gospel). There are many potential questions to explore.

  2. The argument that the “we” passages of Acts are an origin story of the church at Rome starting from Troy, sort of like the way (here in the northern hemisphere) the Pilgrims on the Mayflower is a foundation story told each Thanksgiving of how “we” Americans came to North America from Europe . . . is intriguing. Without gainsaying the intriguing positive part of your argument, an objection is that in its present form, Acts does not make a point of starting from Troy. Yet the “we” from Troy to ending up in Rome is sufficiently striking that it seems there must be something to what you suggest, here and in your previous series on this on Vridar (all of which I went back and read). That is, on the one hand, something seems to be there, but on the other hand it seems so subtle it seems questionable that the author of Acts intended it or that ancient first readers would have noticed. Therefore let me make some probings that might address this objection, basically in terms of a source interpretation.

    First, that the “we” is the final author of Acts, despite the presentation of Acts that that is the case, cannot be correct on chronological grounds of the dating of Acts. Much literature and argument here with which you and most here are familiar, but here is one that I have not seen cited here or receive much attention anywhere yet, but which appears solidly and independently to argue for, indeed may establish, a mid-second CE dating of Acts: Laura Nasrallah, “The Acts of the Apostles, Greek Cities, and Hadrian’s Panhellenion”, JBL 127 (2008): 533-566. Also and separately arguing for the same mid-2nd CE dating, David Trobisch, “The Book of Acts as a Narrative Commentary on the Letters of the New Testament: A Programmatic Essay”, pp. 119-127 in Gregory and Rowe, eds, Rethinking the Unity and Reception of Luke and Acts. Andrew F. Gregory, C. Kavin Rowe (University of South Carolina Press, 2010).

    Second, that the “we” reads as the author or the author’s circle inviting readers’ identification vicariously–an inclusive authorial “we”–is the portrayal, yet that cannot be correct historically, therefore it is deception on the part of the actual author. Third, while earlier comments you have made show well that Acts is not history in the sense of Thucydides or Josephus, and is fiction-like, at the same time I question that it is properly called fiction either. Were not ancient romances and actual ancient fiction understood by readers to be just that–entertaining stories, not to be taken too seriously, not history? (Like Jesus’s parables or Aesop’s fables.) But Acts reads as intended by first authors and readers to be understood as history, tendentious history, but history, analogous to the way colonists’ might answer outsiders if asked “where do you come from? how did you get here?” Acts seems to be analogous to conscious writing of a foundation story, constructed history, not meant to be objective but to establish a shared foundation story understood emically as history . . . “our history”, “history as we have decided it to be” . . . in a text which explains–as a claim of history–why salvation history has come to where it now is, in Rome. (With the harmonization of Peter and Paul founding figures and the golden age of the first generation all part of this.) The “we” device works with this in Acts’ final form literarily.

    From here I now move to increasingly tentative conjecture. The starting point is the “we” passages may be from a source reworked. It is generally understood that Acts has worked from and reworked other sources, such that it is not unreasonable to suppose the “we” itinerary may be one more. I am not going to try to prove that, but assume that for purposes of conjecture going forward, in which, if that assumption is correct, some interesting possibilities may or may not emerge. Fourth, it has been brought out (Hyldahl, Justin Taylor and others) that the “we” passages connect together in what reads as originally a single itinerary, despite reading in present-form Acts as separated in narrative over a period of years. The conclusion seems to be that an original itinerary has somehow been “exploded” with narrative filler in between sections of an original connected “we” source itinerary. Fifth, though I do not have space to go into this point here, suffice it to say I am convinced the ship voyage from Jerusalem to Rome of Acts, and the ship voyage of Josephus to Rome in Vita, are the same ship and shipwreck. I do not find fully convincing that the similarities in details are explicable in terms of literary tropes; instead, it is two versions of the same ship and voyage. I perceive that the only reason this is not more recognized is because of a perception of a chronological discrepancy of ca. two years. Yet the dating of Paul’s voyage to Rome in Acts depends on the datings of the Felix/Festus and Festus/Albinus accessions which continue to be recognized as problematic, uncertain, and debated as to specific years. The argument for identity of the two ship voyages seems to me to be sufficiently strong as to itself justifiably introduce weight on the still-unresolved issues of the dating of the Felix/Festus accession.

    Continuing, sixth, the strong study of William Sanger Campbell, The “We” Passages in the Acts of the Apostles: The Narrator as Narrative Character (Leiden: Brill, 2007) is of interest, in arguing that “we” replaces the role of Barnabas narratively. As Acts has it, Barnabas exits the picture at 15:39 before the “we” narratives begin at 16:10, but Acts has arguably mixed up and rearranged story fragments and doublets in its narrative construction. I suggest (this is not Campbell) that the long-disputed mystery of who “we” is may be resolved as: it is the voice of Barnabas. The voice is that of Barnabas, of the original source where we read “we” in the second part of Acts.

    This then raises the question of who was Barnabas? I suggest consideration, seventh, that Barnabas could be none other than Josephus, and that the “we” source, which ends at the point of Paul’s trial in Rome, could be something of an ancient account, in first-person voice, of a legal advocate for Paul, namely Josephus, somehow related to Paul’s trial in Rome.

    I have separately already become convinced that Josephus appears in the Gospel stories under his own proper name as Joseph of Arimethea, the only named disciple in the Gospels or Acts said to be a “secret” disciple. Josephus was not Christian–he remained Jewish and I doubt believed the miracle parts of Christianity if he heard them–but he may have been sufficiently involved with christian-figure circles and events that 2nd CE Christians looking back on the time of Domitian and earlier remembered stories of Josephus as a “secret” disciple, though the doublets (if indeed these were) of Joseph of Arimethea, or Barnabas, as other traditions of Josephus were not recognized to be Josephus by 2nd CE Christians. (Christians also had stories of Pilate and other figures as Christians so the phenomenon is not unthinkable, though in those cases the referents are recognized and not a doubling phenomenon.)

    Therefore can it be considered that Barnabas–whose proper name was Joses–was Josephus who was on the same ship with Paul to Rome, and the voice of the “we” source? Josephus’s activities and whereabouts, after his birth in early 38 CE, are known only for the years 53-56 and 63 forward (ship voyage to Rome onward). Many historians have suspected that Josephus leaves out a lot of personal history perhaps relating to Sicarii or other revolutionary activity (Josephus, although known to be from elite priestly circles in Jerusalem, nevertheless emerges in 66 seemingly inexplicably as a leader of the revolt, with apparent military expertise not explained). Therefore although nothing in Josephus’s writings gives positive argument to link Josephus with Paul of Acts–other than the ship voyage putting them together on the same ship–I am not sure there is negative evidence which would rule out the conjecture either. Josephus does not disclose much of why he went to Rome, apart from that he himself is not a prisoner and he is going to advocate on behalf of certain priests being held there on uncertain charges (perhaps Ishmael ben Phabi and other priests hostage in Poppea’s house, from Josephus elsewhere). The point of interest here is that Josephus, from elite circles in Jerusalem, seems to be going as an advocate, or witness of some kind, to secure freedom for some in Rome. This raises, to me, the question: does the “we” source of Acts reflect some sort of legal brief or account for Paul by an advocate, Josephus (telling of Paul’s activities, the events leading up to his arrest, his trials in Jerusalem and Caesarea and why he was innocent of the charges for which he had been arrested), and that is why the “we” source ends at the point that legal brief would have been delivered or orated–at Paul’s trial in Rome? Does wealthy Jerusalem land-owner (per Acts 4:36-37) Joses “Barnabas”, with the surname interpreted in Acts as meaning “son of Paraclete”, allude to a forensic or advocacy role of that Joses? Barnabas is introduced again in Acts 13:1 in Antioch as a prophet; Josephus was a prophet. Joses Barnabas is likely to be identified, by separate argument, with Joses Barsabbas of Acts 1, the candidate for #12 replacement apostle who did not become #12 (the Bezae western text directly reads “Barnabas” in Acts 1 not Barsabbas). It would be ironic if, although heretofore unrecognized, Acts, the foundation history of Christianity of the ages, begins and ends with Josephus.

    To wrap up these probings, the mid-2nd CE final author/redactor of Acts in its present form, working from sources, would not know this. By that time figures such as Joseph of Arimethea and Barnabas, just as the other figures in the Gospels and Acts, had taken on lives of their own in the world of story and legend. The original “we” source (was it originally written with “I” and rewritten changed to “we” for literary inclusiveness by the author of Acts?) was incorporated into the Acts framework–in which Peter-Christianity is harmonized with Paul-Christianity, and Paul’s final visit to Jerusalem parallels Luke’s story of Jesus’s final visit to Jerusalem and Passion–and Paul and the gospel ending up at Rome in Acts, upon which note the story ends, is the analogue to Jesus’s resurrection to heaven–all of that is the literary doing of the 2nd-CE author of Acts. But whoever wrote Acts in the 2nd century did not present the work as a 2nd CE text. The text is presented as if it is a 1st CE text. It became the Christian foundation story, and continues so to this present day with, at least traditionally, much history of Christianity found in encyclopedias being paraphrase of Acts.

    In the framework of this analysis, the Troy to Rome Aenead themes that you see might be a survival from the source. The “we” in present Acts, as you bring out, would function literarily to include 2nd CE Christian readers of Rome in understanding how “they” came from the Mediterranean/Greek world and Judea, to Rome. Anyway, this is some thinking in response to your stimulating posts on the “we” sections of Acts.

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