RC 501 Tasting Wines Old and New: A literary-historical and narrative reading of the principal characters of Luke-Acts.

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Module Level

9/10 STL Reading Course

Time Allowance

Seven two-hour meetings over the First and Second Semesters.


A formal seminar presentation and two end-of-semester papers (each 5,000 words).

Module Aims

Both Jesus and Paul exerted a strong fascination for Luke. The debate about Luke’s portrait of Jesus and the consequent Christology, has been given new impetus by the publication of Kavin Rowe’s Early Narrative Christology: The Lord in the Gospel of Luke in 2006. In contrast to the older title Christologies, the use of the narrative methodology opened up new horizons. Narrative studies have also been employed for Paul in Acts (Macnamara and Lentz). These studies offer fresh insights not only into the characters Jesus and Paul, but also more broadly into Luke’s theological concerns. The course seeks to explore, chiefly through the works of John Darr, the principle techniques of characterisation, including ancient methods of characterisation, for Luke’s main characters.

Indicative Syllabus

· Luke theologian or historian

· The Unity of Luke-Acts

· Ancient history writing and rhetoric

· Methods of characterisation: old and new

· Luke’s Jesus and Luke’s Paul


  • Core Reading:
  • Darr, John A. On Character Building: The Reader and the Rhetoric of Characterisation in Luke-Acts. Louisville: Westminister John Knox, 1992.
  • ___________, Herod the Fox. Audience Criticism and Lukan Characterisation. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1998.
  • Lentz, John C. Luke’s Portrait of Paul. SNTSMS; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Cheng, Ling. The Characterization of God in Acts. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2011.
  • Macnamara, Luke. “My Chosen Instrument”: The Characterisation of Saul in Acts 7:58-15:41. AnBib 215; Rome: Gregorian Biblical Press, 2015.
  • Rowe, Christopher Kavin. Early narrative Christology: the Lord in the Gospel of Luke. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2006.
  • Additional Bibliography:
  • Adams, Sean A. The Genre of Acts and Collected Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Cadbury, Henry J. The making of Luke-Acts. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999.
  • Cosgrove, Charles H. “The divine dei in Luke-Acts: investigations into the Lukan understanding of God’s providence.” Novum Testamentum 26 (1984): 168-190.
  • Garcia Serrano, Andrés. The Presentation in the Temple. The Narrative Function of Lk 2:22-39 in Luke-Acts. AnBib 197; Rome: Gregorian Biblical Press, 2012.
  • Jipp, Joshua W. Divine visitations and hospitality to strangers in Luke-Acts: an interpretation of the Malta episode in Acts 28:1-10. Leiden: Brill, 2013.
  • Marguerat, Daniel. The first Christian historian. Writing the ‘Acts of the Apostles’. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Mason, Steve. Josephus and the New Testament. 2d. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2005.
  • Parsons, Mikeal C. and Richard I. Pervo. Rethinking the Unity of Luke and Acts. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.
  • Rothschild, Clare K. Luke-Acts and the rhetoric of history. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004.
  • Weaver, John B. Plots of Epiphany: Prison-Escape in Acts of the Apostles. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004.