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Conversion in the Acts of the Apostles: Ancient Auditors’ Perceptions

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Chapter Summary

In 1979, Paulist Press published The Salvation of the Gentiles, which contained an essay on 'Conversion in the Acts of the Apostles'. In Acts, instances are identifiable of both the moral and the cognitive types of conversion. If the modification of Dupont's proposals is granted, Acts describes some conversions as primarily moral, which involve issues of sin and forgiveness, and others as essentially cognitive, which involve a shift of basic paradigms about the world. Conversion to philosophy belongs to the moral type, although the categories employed are those of vice and virtue rather than sin and forgiveness. The final aspect of Dupont's portrayal of conversion in Acts is that Christian conversion involves a continuing change of life. The ancient auditors who heard the Acts narrative and reflected on its depiction of Christian conversion would have sensed little formal discontinuity in the way conversion was described.

Keywords: Acts of the Apostles; Christian conversion; Dupont's proposals; Paulist press; The Salvation of the Gentiles



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