Plots of Epiphany: Prison-Escape in Acts of the Apostles

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Past scholarship on the prison-escapes in the Acts of the Apostles has tended to focus on lexical similarities to Euripides' Bacchae, going so far as to argue for direct literary dependence. Moving beyond such explanations, the present study argues that miraculous prison-escape was a central event in a traditional and culturally significant story about the introduction and foundation of cults - a story discernable in the Bacchae and other ancient texts. When the mythic quality and cultural diffusion of the prison-escape narratives are taken into account, the resemblance of Lukan and Dionysian narrative episodes is seen to depend less on specific literary borrowing, and more on shared familiarity with cultural discourses involving the legitimating portrayal of new cults in the ancient world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"W.s Studie ist eine luzide, methodisch wie inhaltlich überzeugende Untersuchung der Befreiungswunder der Apg."Theologische Rundschau 3/2008 "A careful study which adduces a wealth of comparative material for understanding Luke's apparently artless narratives."Loveday Alexander in: Booklist 5/2006 "[...] all who specialize in [Luke and) Acts will do well to place Plots of Epiphany on their „must read? lists. Epiphanies await."Richard I. Pervo in: The Journal of Religion 3/2006 "The volume is rounded out by a bibliography and useful indexes opf sources, subjects, and modern authors. Weaver has presented a learned and very readable interpretation of Acts' prison-escape stories as cultic foundation legend. His ›myth-critical apporach‹ is a stimulating development of older from-critical studies."Heike Omerzu in: Catholic Biblical Quarterly 67/2005
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ph.D. dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Carl Holladay, Emory University.John B. Weaver is now the Reference and Periodicals Librarian at Pitts Theology Library, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Prison-escape and myth-criticism 1
Ch. 2 Epiphanic rescue from prison in ancient myth and history 29
Ch. 3 "Beginning from Jerusalem :" prison-escape and the mythopoesis of Christian origins in Acts 1-7 93
Ch. 4 Rescue and regicide : the poetics and politics of group validation in Acts 12 149
Ch. 5 "A door of faith opened to the gentiles :" prison epiphany and cult foundation in Acts 16 219
Ch. 6 Conclusions 281
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