Claiming Places: Reading Acts of the Apostles as a Colonizing Narrative Open Access

Moore, Eric (2017)

Permanent URL:



Claiming Places: Reading Acts of the Apostles as a Colonizing Narrative

By Eric C. Moore

Claiming Places employs ancient colonization as an analytic framework to study Acts of the Apostles. Its value lies in the way it identifies cultural topoi related to colonization in the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods; demonstrates how they are expressed in literary and material accounts of colonization; and utilizes them as a framework for analyzing Acts.

The layout of the work is designed to highlight the benefit of the colonization framework. Chapter 1 surveys other approaches to Acts while outlining my own. I argue that using colonization as a cultural lens generates insights not fully accounted for in literary and geographical approaches to Luke's work. Chapter 2 delineates the analytic framework. I lay out three overarching motifs common in reflections about colonization in ancient sources: origins, divine sanction, and founder(s). I then trace expressions of these motifs in accounts about colonization in different historical periods. In chapter 3, I demonstrate how the colonization model allows us to analyze Acts 1-5 as an account of the origins of the "colonizing community." Jerusalem functions like the mother city of Christian "colonies," the apostles like founding figures, and Jesus's oracle (1:8) and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (2:1-4) like forms of divine sanction. In chapter 4, I show how Antioch of Syria plays a pivotal role in Acts (11:19-30, 13:1-3, 15:1-35), with the community there functioning like a colony of the Jerusalem community in addition to a mother city of its own. As a "colony," its beginnings were precipitated by "crisis"; facilitated by cult transfer; and marked by a "mixed" Jewish-gentile membership possessing distinctive nomenclature ("Christians"). As a mother city, Antioch initiated the further replication of the Christian community in accordance with divine sanction (13:1-3). Chapter 5 focuses on Paul's speech in Antioch of Pisidia as a sort of rhetoric of "second-generation" colonization, or replication outside Jerusalem-Judea. I suggest that the speech employs colonizing topoi to legitimate this expansion. Finally, in chapter 6 I summarize my conclusions while suggesting the value of the colonization framework in identifying and explaining the prominence of characteristic features in Acts.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Present Project and Its Approach to Acts 1

1.1 Introduction: Reading Acts as a Colonizing Narrative 1

1.2 Other Ways of Reading Acts: A History of Scholarship 2

1.2.1 Genre Debates 2

1.2.2 Geographical Studies 9

1.2.3 Foundation Analyses 18

1.3 The Argument and Outline of this Project 33

Chapter 2 Ancient Colonizing Motifs--A Framework for Analyzing Acts 38

2.1 Introduction 38

2.2 Colonization in the Ancient Mediterranean World 39

2.2.1 A Variegated Phenomenon 39

2.2.2 Colonization Motifs 41

2.3 Colonization Accounts: Case Studies 57

2.3.1 Colonization in the Archaic Period 57

2.3.2 Colonization in the Classical Period 110

2.3.3 Colonization in the Hellenistic Period 131

2.3.4 Colonization of Rome 141

2.4 Conclusions 160

Chapter 3 The Origins of the Cult Community in Jerusalem (Acts 1-5) 162

3.1 The Community's Founder(s), Origins, and Divine Mandate(Acts 1-2)163

3.1.1 Founding Figure(s) 163

3.1.2 Jerusalem Origins 170

3.1.3 Divine Sanction 172

3.1.4 Summation 198

3.2 The Colonizing Mission in Jerusalem (Acts 3-5) 199

3.2.1 Comparative Introduction 199

3.2.2 The Founding Acts of the Apostles 210

3.2.3 The "Institutions" of the Jerusalem Community 219

3.3 Conclusion 230

Chapter 4 Antioch of Syria: Colony and Mother Community 232

4.1 Introduction: The Pivotal Role of Antioch in Acts 232

4.2 Socio-Historical Sketch of Antioch 234

4.3 Antioch, Colony of the Jerusalem Community 245

4.3.1 Crisis Origins 245

4.3.2 Foundation through Cult Transfer 252

4.3.3 Constitution as a "Mixed" Community 254

4.3.4 Jerusalem Oversight 275

4.4 Antioch, Mother City of Second Generation Colonies 281

4.4.1 Divine Sanction of Colonizing Ventures 283

4.4.2 Community "Institutions" 288

4.4.3 Conclusion: The Antiochene Community's Colonies 314

Chapter 5 Pisidian Antioch and the Rhetoric of Second Generation Colonization 316

5.1 Introduction: The Significance of Acts 13 316

5.2 Socio-Historical and Architectural Sketch of Antioch 319

5.3 Paul's Speech: The Rhetoric of "Second Generation" Colonization 337

5.3.1 Introduction 337

5.3.2 The Ancestral Prehistory (13:17-22) 343

5.3.3 The Colonizing Message for Antioch (13:23-41) 365

5.3.4 Summation: The Rhetoric of "Second Generation" Colonization 401

5.4 The Outcome of Second Generation Colonization at Antioch 403

5.4.1 The Foundation of a "Mixed" Community 404

5.4.2 The Colonization of Pisidian Antioch--A Success? 413

Chapter 6 Conclusion 416

Appendix Abridged Chart of Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman Colonies 422

Bibliography 429

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
Subfield / Discipline
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files