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Chapter 2: The Acts of the Apostles in Early Christianity

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Chapter Summary

The idea that early Christian texts can be correlated with specific Christian communities is popular in New Testament studies. Yet, in the case of the Acts of the Apostles, its original literary context and its reception in early Christianity provide little support for such a correlation, whether such a community behind Acts is considered Pauline or not. The Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are first specifically identified as such by Irenaeus in his writing against heresies. For Irenaeus, the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles establishes the historical foundation for his claim that the Gospel is properly attested by a collection of apostolic witnesses. In the early manuscript tradition, Acts is often transmitted alone. When grouped with other texts, sometimes it is placed with the gospels, at other times with the Catholic Epistles.

Keywords: Acts of the Apostles; Catholic Epistles; Christian communities; Irenaeus; Luke acts; New Testament studies

10.1163/9789047401377_003
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