Divine Visitations and Hospitality in Luke-Acts: An Interpretation of the Malta Episode in Acts 28:1-10 Open Access

Jipp, Joshua Wayne (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9w032397k?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract
Divine Visitations and Hospitality in Luke-Acts:
An Interpretation of the Malta Episode in Acts 28:1-10
This study presents a coherent interpretation of the Malta episode by arguing that Acts 28:1-10 narrates a theoxeny, that is, an account of unknowing hospitality to a god which results in the establishment of a fictive kinship relationship between the barbarians and Paul and his God. The scene in Acts 28:1-10 can be understood to unfold along the three lines which are constitutive of theoxenies. First, the barbarians show immediate hospitality to the stranger Paul, the powerful agent of God. Second, Paul's successful encounter with the viper reveals to the barbarians that Paul is a divine emissary. Third, the relationship between Paul and the barbarians is cemented through a ritualized form of hospitality. In light of the connection between hospitality and piety to the gods in the ancient Mediterranean, Luke ends his second volume in this manner to portray Gentile hospitality as the appropriate response to Paul's message of God's salvation.

Chapter one provides an introduction to the dissertation by reviewing previous scholarship and highlighting the significant components of the Malta episode. Chapter two sets forth a socio-cultural literary analysis of Acts 28:1-10 that draws attention to the main components of the text which call for further study, but primarily highlights the necessity of understanding the ancient Mediterranean cultural script of hospitality to strangers for understanding the Malta episode. Chapters three and four are, therefore, devoted to establishing the cultural script of hospitality to strangers through an examination of Greco-Roman and Jewish texts. Chapters five and six examine the role of hospitality in Luke-Acts. Chapter five serves as a micro-level exploration of the grammar, religious sanctions, and purposes of hospitality through four Lukan texts. Chapter six is a macro-level study of hospitality in the Lukan writings which gives a synthetic account of Luke-Acts as a story which centers upon God's visitation of his people and their (in)hospitable response to the divine visit. Finally, the seventh chapter returns to Acts 28:1-10 and answers the questions set forth at the beginning of the study.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Episode at Malta (Acts 28:1-­‐10): A Lukan Text 'Full of the
Viewpoint of Antiquity' .......................................................................................................... 1

I. Illustrative Examples from the History of Interpretation of Acts 28:1-­‐10 ................. 3

A. Concerns with Historicity ....................................................................................................................... 3
B. The Viper Episode ...................................................................................................................................... 4
C. Paul's Character as a Jesus-­‐like-­‐healer .......................................................................................... 14
D. The Literary Relationship between the Malta Episode and the Conclusion of Acts .. 16
E. The Significance of the Barbarians .................................................................................................. 20
F. Hospitality to Strangers ........................................................................................................................ 22
II. Summary of Remaining Questions about the Malta Episode ...................................... 26
III. The Argument and Plan of the Study ................................................................................. 29
A. The Argument ........................................................................................................................................... 29
B. The Plan of the Study ............................................................................................................................. 31
Chapter 2: Placing the Episode at Malta: A Preliminary Examination of Acts
28:1-­‐10 within its Literary Context ................................................................................ 33

I. The Significance of the Sea-­‐Voyage: (Acts 27:1-­‐44) ......................................................... 33
A. The Hellenistic Narrative Setting ..................................................................................................... 34
B. The Roman Centurion's Kindness to Paul .................................................................................... 37
C. Paul as Prophet like Jesus .................................................................................................................... 38
D. The Salvation of the Gentiles ............................................................................................................. 40
II. The Questions Raised by the Episode at Malta ................................................................ 45
A. The Literary Structure of the Malta Episode ............................................................................... 45
B. The Barbarians ......................................................................................................................................... 47
C. The Barbarians think Paul is a God ................................................................................................. 54
D. The Absence of Christological Proclamation//The Presence of Healing ....................... 60
E. Hospitality to Strangers ........................................................................................................................ 66
III. Need for Further Examination ............................................................................................. 71
Chapter 3: Establishing the Cultural Script of Hospitality to Strangers in the
Greco-­‐Roman World ............................................................................................................ 72

I. Constructing the Cultural Script ............................................................................................. 73
A. Homer's Odyssey as Foundational .................................................................................................... 73
B. The Elements of Ideal Hospitality in the Odyssey ...................................................................... 76
C. Some Summative Comments on the Semantics of and Sanctions for Hospitality ....... 87
D. Corrupting the Cultural Script: Odysseus and Polyphemus the Cyclops (bk. 9) ......... 90
E. Excelling the Cultural Script: Telemachus gives hospitality to Athena (bk. 1) ............. 93
F. An Epilogue on Homeric Hospitality: Odysseus' Return to Ithaca (bks. 13-­‐24) .......... 98
II. Extending the Cultural Script I: Hospitality in Post-­‐Homeric Greek Writings ... 106
A. Theoxenies and Euripides' Bacchae .............................................................................................. 106
B. Aeschylus' Oresteia and the Corruption of Hospitality ......................................................... 114
C. The Equation between Inhospitality and Barbarians in the Greek Tragedians ......... 124
D. The Greek Historians and Guest-­‐Friendship//Ritualized Friendship ........................... 127
III. Extending the Cultural Script II: Hospitality in Roman Writings .......................... 135
A. Continuity between Greek and Roman Hospitality ................................................................ 135
B. Vergil's Aeneid ........................................................................................................................................ 138




C. Theoxenies in the Writings of Ovid ............................................................................................... 148
D. Dio Chrysostom's the Hunter: a Critique of Upper-­‐Class Hospitality ............................. 153
Chapter 4: The Cultural Script of Hospitality to Strangers in the Hebrew Bible
and Post-­‐biblical Jewish Literature .............................................................................. 159

I. Constructing the Cultural Script of Hospitality to Strangers ..................................... 159
A. The Hospitality of Abraham and the Divine Visit in Genesis 18:1-­‐16 ............................ 159
B. The Hospitality of Lot and the Inhospitality of the Sodomites in Genesis 19:1-­‐11 .. 165
C. Post-­‐biblical readings of Genesis 18-­‐19 ...................................................................................... 172
D. Other Jewish Heroes as Paragons of Hospitality in Post-­‐biblical Literature .............. 181
E. Legislated Hospitality to Aliens and Wanderers in the Pentateuch ................................ 184
II. Corrupting the Cultural Script of Hospitality to Strangers ....................................... 190
A. Violated Hospitality in the Book of Judges ................................................................................. 191
B. The Inhospitable Egyptians in Philo ............................................................................................. 202
III. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 207
Chapter 5: The Grammar, Symbols, and Practices of Hospitality in the Lukan
Writings ................................................................................................................................. 209

I. Hospitality Corrupted and Excelled in Simon and the Sinful Woman: Luke 7:36-­‐50
............................................................................................................................................................ 209

A. The Divine Visitation and the Peoples' Response: Luke 7:1-­‐35 ........................................ 209
B. The Pharisee and the Sinful Woman: Luke 7:36-­‐39 ............................................................... 214
C. Hospitality as a Sign of Acceptance of Jesus: Luke 7:40-­‐47 ................................................ 217
D. The One Able to Forgive Sins: Luke 7:48-­‐50 ............................................................................. 220
II. Hospitality and the Kingdom of God, Inhospitality and Judgment: Luke 9:51-­‐
10:24 ................................................................................................................................................ 223

A. The Journey to Jerusalem Begins: Luke 9:51 - 62 .................................................................. 223
B. Hospitality and Inhospitality to the Lord's Emissaries: Luke 10:1-­‐16 .......................... 228
C. The Success of the Lord's Visitation: Luke 10:17-­‐24 ............................................................. 233
III. Hospitality and the Recognition of the Lord: Luke 24:13-­‐35 ................................. 238
A. To See the Crucified: Luke 23:1-­‐24:12 ......................................................................................... 238
B. Journeying with the Concealed and Disguised Lord: Luke 24:13-­‐27 ............................. 240
C. The Stranger is transformed into the Host: Luke 24:28-­‐35 ................................................ 244
IV. Ritualized Hospitality and the Inclusion of the Gentiles: Acts 10:1-­‐11:18 ......... 249
A. Scene One: Cornelius' divine vision (Acts 10:1-­‐8) .................................................................. 251
B. Scene Two: Peter's divine vision (Acts 10:9-­‐16) ..................................................................... 253
C. Scene Three: Peter's hospitality to Cornelius' embassy (Acts 10:17-­‐23a) ................... 256
D. Scene Four: Cornelius welcomes Peter into his home (Acts 10:23b-­‐33) ..................... 257
E. Scene Five: Peter declares God has shown hospitality to the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-­‐48)
............................................................................................................................................................................ 261
F. Scene Six: The Judean Church Welcomes the Gentiles (11:1-­‐18) ..................................... 264
V. Hospitality in the Lukan Writings at the Micro-­‐Level ................................................. 266
Chapter 6: Divine Visitations and Hospitality in Luke-­‐Acts ................................. 268
I. God's First Visitation of his People through Jesus in the Gospel of Luke .............. 269
A. The Infancy Narrative Establishes Jesus as the Agent of God's Salvific Visitation ... 269
B. Jesus' Ministry Enacts the Divine Visitation .............................................................................. 272
C. Hospitality to Jesus and the People's Acceptance of the Divine Visitation .................. 274
D. Inhospitality to Jesus and the Rejection of the Divine Visitation by Israel's Leaders
............................................................................................................................................................................ 281




E. The Theoxeny of Luke 24 and the Continuation of the Divine Visit ................................ 287
II. God's Second Visitation of his People in the Acts of the Apostles ........................... 288
A. Hospitality and Inhospitality to the Travelling "Word of God" ......................................... 289
B. Hospitality and Inhospitality to the Traveling Emissaries of the Lord .......................... 295
C. The Jewish Leaders Reject God's Second Visitation ............................................................... 304
Chapter 7: Divine Visitations and Hospitality in the Malta Episode: An
Interpretation of Acts 28:1-­‐10 and its Literary Function in Luke-­‐Acts ............ 312
I. The Success of God's Visitation to the Gentiles in Acts 27:1-­‐28:10 ......................... 313
A. The Salvation of the Gentiles through Paul in Acts 27:1-­‐44 ............................................... 313
B. The Divine Visit and the Hospitality of the Barbarians in Acts 28:1-­‐10 ........................ 316
III. The Literary Function of the Malta Episode within Luke-­‐Acts ............................... 333
A. The Malta Episode and the Divine Visitation of the Gentiles in Luke-­‐Acts .................. 333
B. The Literary Placement of the Malta Episode before the Conclusion to Acts (28:17-­‐
31) ..................................................................................................................................................................... 334
Bibliography ......................................................................................................................... 354








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