I’m delighted to say that my editor’s copy of this book popped through the door this week. It’s a fascinating collection of essays looking at the Book of Acts through the lenses of masculinity and ancient politics. The papers and responses were presented at meetings of the SBL Book of Acts section in 2014 and 2015, and they are very thoughtful, wide-ranging and stimulating to read. The authors are an international collection of scholars with considerable expertise in both Acts and the major themes of the book.
Here’s a summary:
This book looks at the Acts of the Apostles through two lenses that highlight the two topics of masculinity and politics. Acts is rich in relevant material, whether this be in the range of such characters as the Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius, Peter and Paul, or in situations such as Timothy’s circumcision and Paul’s encounters with Roman rulers in different cities. Engaging Acts from these two distinct but related perspectives illuminates features of this book which are otherwise easily missed. These approaches provide fresh angles to see how men, masculinity, and imperial loyalty were understood, experienced, and constructed in the ancient world and in earliest Christianity.
The essays present a range of topics: some engage with Acts as a whole as in Steve Walton’s chapter on the way Luke-Acts perceives the Roman Empire, while others focus on particular sections, passages, and even certain figures, such as in an Christopher Stroup’s analysis of the circumcision of Timothy. Together, the essays provide a tightly woven and deeply textured analysis of Acts. The dialogue form of essay and response will encourage readers to develop their own critiques of the points raised in the collection as a whole.
And here’s the contents list:
List of Contributors
1. Introduction, Eric D. Barreto
Warts and All? Acts in the Discourses of Masculinity
2. The Language of Gender in Acts
Christina Petterson, Humboldt Universität, Germany
3. Taking the Measure of Masculinities in the Book of Acts
Colleen Conway, Seton Hall University, USA
4. Contextualizing Masculinity in the Book of Acts: Peter and Paul as Test Cases
Brittany E. Wilson, Duke University, USA
5. Making Jewish Men in a Greco-Roman World: Masculinity and the Circumcision of Timothy in Acts 16:1-5
Christopher Stroup, Boston University, USA
Empowering, Engaging, or Distancing? Acts in the Discourses of Politics
6. The State They Were In: Luke’s View of the Roman Empire
Steve Walton, St Mary’s University, UK
7. Who Speaks For (or Against) Rome? Acts in Relation to Empire
Matthew L. Skinner, Luther Seminary, St Paul, USA
8. Paul and Roman Law: The Luck of the Draw
Bruce W. Winter, Queensland Theological College, Australia
9. Empowering, Empire-ing or Engaging? Acts in the Discourse of Politics: A Response
Mikeal C. Parsons, Baylor University, USA
10. Turning the Empire Upside Down: A Response
Barbara Rossing, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, USA
11. Afterword, Matthew L. Skinner
My piece is a reprint of a much-cited article reviewing how things look in scholarly discussion of the Roman empire in Luke-Acts, and I’m delighted it’s joined by Matt Skinner]s excellent updating of the discussion to the present.
The book is out in hardback and eBook (EPUB and PDF) on 12 January. It’s not cheap, I’m afraid, although Bloomsbury are offering a 10% saving if you order online from their website (see the link in the title below). If you fancy it, but can’t come up with the price—be patient, as a paperback will follow in about eighteen months.