Eric Clouston, How Ancient Narratives Persuade: Acts in its Literary Context
Lanham, MD: Fortress Academic/Rowman & Littlefield, 2020
ISBN 978 1 9787 0660 6
I am delighted to receive my copy of my student Dr Eric Clouston’s revised doctoral thesis, How Ancient Narratives Persuade: Acts in its Literary Context. Scholars have long studied the speeches in Acts as persuasive; Eric looks at how the whole book functions as persuasion, by comparing it with other first-century Jewish writers: Philo, Josephus, the author of Joseph and Aseneth, and the author of the Letter of Aristeas. He approaches this by constructing a grid of the persuasive features of a narrative—a new contribution this area of study—and then applying that grid to these text and Acts, finishing with a case study of the Cornelius narrative in Acts 10:1–11:18. He concludes by revisiting the ‘purpose’ of Acts, much discussed in scholarship, in the light of its persuasive force.
I greatly enjoyed working with Eric on this project. He is a Brit who serves in theological education with the Church Mission Society in Bangalore—and CMS gave support toward his fees while he was studying, which was excellent. This is Eric’s second PhD: his first is in engineering.