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World Upside DownReading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age$
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C. Kavin Rowe

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377873.001.0001

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Collision: Explicating Divine Identity

Collision: Explicating Divine Identity

(p.17) 2 Collision: Explicating Divine Identity
World Upside Down

C. Kavin Rowe (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Luke narrates the Christian mission to the Gentiles in Acts as an apocalypse (e.g., Luke 2:32). At its core, the Christian mission claims to be a revelation of God. Inasmuch as this revelation is carried in the formation of a people (“church”)—rather than merely being a list of academic theses—it entails a necessary challenge to constitutive patterns of pagan life. Embracing the theological vision of the Christian gospel simultaneously creates a new cultural reality. That this process of revelation and formation inherently destabilizes essential assumptions and practices of Mediterranean culture emerges paradigmatically in the scenes in Lystra, Philippi, Athens, and Ephesus (Acts 14, 16, 17, and 19, respectively). These passages, read narratively and in connection to their Graeco-Roman contexts, thus constitute the exegetical lens through which the problem of cultural destabilization is examined.

Keywords:   God, gods, cultural collapse, idols, magic, pagan philosophy, common paganism, Lystra, Philippi, Athens

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