Dating of events in the book of acts

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Initially, the Jews are receptive to the Christian message, but later there is Jewish opposition to the followers of Jesus.The message is taken to the Gentiles, initially by the Apostle Peter.The title "Acts of the Apostles" (Praxeis Apostolon) would seem to identify it with the genre telling of the deeds and achievements of great men (praxeis), but it may not have been the title given by the author.The anonymous author aligned Luke–Acts to the "narratives" (διήγησις, diēgēsis) which many others had written, and described his own work as an account "in order" (καθεξῆς) (see Luke 1:1-3).He begins his gospel with a preface addressed to Theophilus (Luke 1:3; cf.Acts 1:1), informing him of his intention to provide an ordered account of events so that his reader will know the certainty of what he has been taught. He also engages with the question of a Christian's proper relationship with the Roman Empire, the civil power of the day: could a Christian obey God and also Caesar? The Romans never move against Jesus or his followers unless provoked by the Jews, in the trial scenes the missionaries are always cleared of charges of violating Roman laws, and Acts ends with Paul in Rome proclaiming the Christian message under Roman protection; at the same time, Luke makes it clear that the earthly rulers receive their power from Satan (Luke 4:6), while Christ is ruler of the kingdom of God. The first is the geographic movement from Jerusalem, centre of God's Covenantal people, the Jews, to Rome, centre of the Gentile world.

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Western texts of Acts are 6.2–8.4% longer than Alexandrian texts, the additions tending to enhance the Jewish rejection of the Messiah and the role of the Holy Spirit, in ways that are stylistically different from the rest of Acts.

This structure reaches back to the author's preceding work, the Gospel of Luke, and is signaled by parallel scenes such as Paul's utterance in Acts , which echoes Jesus's words in Luke : Paul has Rome as his destination, as Jesus had Jerusalem.

The second key element is the roles of Peter and Paul, the first representing the Jewish Christian church, the second the mission to the Gentiles.

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 held by some, but others reject it, going so far as to say, "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's account of Paul leaving Damascus for Jerusalem after his conversion and being introduced to the apostles (Acts –27) with Paul's own statement that he went to Arabia, and when he went to Jerusalem three years later he only met Peter and James (Galatians –24).) According to Eugene Boring, the author "is an admirer of Paul, but does not share Paul's own view of himself as an apostle; his own theology is considerably different from Paul's on key points and does not represent Paul's own views accurately." According to Joel B.

Green 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.

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