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2. Placing the Episode at Malta: A Preliminary Examination of Acts 28:1–10 within its Literary Context

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a "first reading" of the Malta episode staying at the level of literary analysis and the recognition of motifs. Acts 28:1-10 is situated strategically between Paul's sea-voyage (27:1-44) and his arrival in Rome (28:16-31) which the reader has been anticipating at least since Acts 19:21. With Homer's Odyssey as the archetype and Vergil's Aeneid following in suit, accounts of sea-voyages were a favorite topos of Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman authors. Despite the influence of Hellenism in first-century Judaism, one can nevertheless justifiably claim that ancient Israelite and Jewish culture had no great love for sea-voyages. Loveday Alexander has shown that in Greek literature contemporary with Acts, particularly in the Greek novels, the Mediterranean Sea was often viewed simply as "the Greek Sea". It was the cultural territory, therefore, of the Greeks, the place where Greeks felt at home and asserted their power.

Keywords: Alexander; Greeks; Homer's Odyssey; Israelite culture; Jewish culture; Malta episode; Mediterranean Sea; sea-voyages; Vergil's Aeneid



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