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Confronting Oracular Contradiction in Acts 21:1-14

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In Acts 21:1-14, several Tyrian prophets order Paul to abandon his journey to Jerusalem, but Paul ignores them, travelling to Jerusalem anyway. Modern commentators have struggled to explain how Paul’s behavior was not impious. The present study attempts to resolve this tension by interpreting Paul’s behavior in light of Jewish and Hellenistic practices for evaluating oracles. The argument proceeds in three stages: an exegetical survey of Acts 21:1-14, a discussion of relevant Jewish and Hellenistic strategies for interpreting oracles, and a conclusion arguing that Luke’s depiction of Paul may be understood in light of these complex practices of oracle reception.

Affiliations: 1: Graduate Division of Religion, EmoryAtlanta,


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