Making sense of the Ephesian Riot in Acts

Continuing from the previous post on the literary genre of Acts which left dangling some unusual problems with the Ephesian Riot scene in Acts 19, two of which are: Paul is not involved in the riot at all, so what is the significance of this lengthy graphic narrative? A previously unmentioned Jew is put forward … Continue reading “Making sense of the Ephesian Riot in Acts”


The literary genre of Acts. 7: Chapter 19 as a case study

Continuing notes from Pervo’s Profit with Delight on the literary genre of Acts . . . . Pervo offers a review of Acts 19 to illustrate the magnitude of the problem of reading Acts as history.


“The little apocalypse” — its literary function and context

Immediately before the plot in Mark’s gospel reaches the point where Jesus experiences his final dramatic adventure — passing through betrayal, trial and death before entering the heavenly kingdom — Jesus delivers a long prophetic speech to his disciples. This inclusion of a detailed prophecy prior to the the hero launching out into a new … Continue reading ““The little apocalypse” — its literary function and context”


Gospel of Judas — Opposing translations and their significance

The National Geographic had a best seller on its hands when it published the Gospel of Judas that presented Judas as the hero of the Twelve rather than the villain as he is in the canonical gospels. But the significance is not just that in one version Judas is a hero and in the other … Continue reading “Gospel of Judas — Opposing translations and their significance”


Millenarians and Nationalists

As a past student of American history and society I relished catching up with more recent publications a couple of years ago and one of the more interesting was America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (2004) by Anatol Lieven. Sharing some notes from one section of this book — a discussion of … Continue reading “Millenarians and Nationalists”


Signs in Josephus, Signs in Gospels and Acts

Weeden has presented reasons for thinking the story of Jesus, the son of Ananus, that has come to us through Josephus, played a significant part in customizing details of Mark’s gospel of Jesus. Indeed, this entire section of Josephus‘s Wars that cites 8 warning signs of the imminent fall of Jerusalem has several intriguing overlaps … Continue reading “Signs in Josephus, Signs in Gospels and Acts”


Ancient historians at work: Polybius, Herodotus (cf Gospels, Acts)

For what it’s worth, I’m posting a few excerpts from a couple of nonbiblical historians, mainly for benefit of those following some of the posts and discussion re my Bauckham and Acts 27 (Paul’s sea voyage/shipwreck) reviews. The point is to compare nonbiblical historical methods, approach, critical analysis, with what we read in the Gospels … Continue reading “Ancient historians at work: Polybius, Herodotus (cf Gospels, Acts)”


Ancient Novels and the Gospels

The following notes are taken from pages 74-76 of Mary Ann Tolbert’s Sowing the Gospel: Mark’s World in Literary-Historical Perspective (1989). A wonderful collection of ancient novels can be found in Reardon’s Collected Ancient Greek Novels (1989). Chariton, Xenophon of Ephesus, Achilles Tatius, Longus and others make fascinating reading as they bring us closer to … Continue reading “Ancient Novels and the Gospels”