Aug 7, 2011

Schnabel on Genre, History, and the Book of Acts

“Genre remains important. We can read the gigantic Chicago phone book as a poem celebrating shared humanity, as an ode to ethnic diversity, as a sonnet on the relevance of facts and figures, or as the meta-story of the hidden identities of the Chicago mafia. As interesting as such literary games might be, they would miss the point of the book. If we accept that the Book of Acts is a short historical monograph, or apologetic historiography, or a ‘lively political theology in its time,’ or a biography, or a ‘biographical history of important developments in earliest Christianity,’ historical questions are an integral, indeed foundational part of Luke’s concerns. Scholars who do not want to engage historical reality of the first century should, perhaps, seek other objects of inquiry than the Acts of the Apostles.”

Eckhard J. Schnabel, “Fads and Commen Sense: Reading Acts in the First Century and Reading Acts Today,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 54 (2011): 257–8.

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