Dating act


28-Dec-2014 09:16

The early chapters, set in Jerusalem, describe the Day of Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit) and the growth of the church in Jerusalem.

The later chapters tell of Paul's conversion, his mission in Asia Minor and the Aegean, and finally his imprisonment in Rome, where, as the book ends, he awaits trial.

According to Church tradition dating from the 2nd century, he was the "Luke" named as a companion of the apostle Paul in three of the letters attributed to Paul himself; this view is still sometimes advanced, but "a critical consensus emphasizes the countless contradictions between the account in Acts and the authentic Pauline letters." (An example can be seen by comparing Acts' accounts of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1–31, 22:6–21, and 26:9–23) with Paul's own statement that he remained unknown to Christians in Judea after that event (Galatians –24).) He was educated, a man of means, probably urban, and someone who respected manual work, although not a worker himself; this is significant, because more high-brow writers of the time looked down on the artisans and small business-people who made up the early church of Paul and were presumably Luke's audience.

The last possible date would be set by its first definite citation by another author, but there is no unanimity on this – some scholars find echoes of Acts in a work from c.95 AD called I Clement, while others see no indisputable citation until the middle of the 2nd century.

The majority of scholars date Luke–Acts to 80–90 AD, on the grounds that it uses Mark as a source and looks back on the destruction of Jerusalem, and does not show any awareness of the letters of Paul (which began circulating late in the century); if, however, it does show awareness of Paul and also of Josephus, then a date early in the 2nd century is more likely.

It is not known whether this was an existing title or one invented by Irenaeus; it does seem clear, however, that it was not given by the author.Together they account for 27.5% of the New Testament, the largest contribution attributed to a single author, providing the framework for both the Church's liturgical calendar and the historical outline into which later generations have fitted their idea of the story of Jesus and the early church.



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