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The Cultural Origin of “Receiving all Nations” in Luke-Acts: Alexander the Great or Roman Social Policy?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the antecedents of social policy that includes the reception of all nations into the people of God. There are structural parallels between Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, and Luke's history that involve this social policy. A social policy that the Founder of Rome and the Founder of the church have in common is the policy of receiving foreigners into the citizen/church body. By comparison with Dionysius, at least, it would appear that Luke has assimilated a Roman social policy. Arrian usually presents Alexander the Great as seeking to become lord of Europe and Asia, not of "all nations". The social policy advocated by Luke-Acts is a contrast to Maccabean and Athenian values and employs language that goes beyond Alexander's policies. "Receiving all nations" is a Romanization, not a Hellenization, of the people of God.

Keywords: Alexander the Great; Arrian; Asia; Dionysius of Halicarnassus; Europe; Luke-Acts; Roman Antiquities; Roman social policy

10.1163/9789047402190_024
/content/books/b9789047402190s024
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