This chapter situates the book's argument within a wider intellectual horizon—the relation between knowledge and concrete patterns of life—and within the history of scholarly interpretation of the book of Acts. The claim is that the dominant view of Acts' political vision has failed to deal with more basic theological ingredients of the text that determine what politics means in Acts, and that attending to the practical theology of Acts requires a radical reassessment of the political contour of this ancient text. Chapter 1 also explains the argumentative sequence of the book as the unfolding of a profound tension that animates the whole of Acts: the Christians spell cultural collapse (Chapter 2), but claim to be innocent of sedition/treason (Chapter 3); this political posture is particular to the Christians and arises from core practices that constitute a different way of reading reality (Chapter 4).
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