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Paul's Collection and the Book of Acts Revisited

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2005

Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ 08542, USA


The narrative of Acts has often been mined for historical information about the monetary collection that Paul raised among the Gentile churches of his mission for the saints in Jerusalem. Most scholars have assumed that Acts refers to the Pauline collection, either in 11.27–30 or 24.17. Against this consensus, this paper contends that the narrative of Acts, when read on its own terms and without the imposition of information from the Pauline epistles, neither mentions nor alludes to Paul's collection for Jerusalem. In its narrative context, Acts 24.17, far from being a reference to the collection, identifies Paul before his accusers as a faithful Jew whose individual piety is demonstrated by almsgiving and worship. Information from the book of Acts, therefore, cannot be used to write the final chapter of the historical reconstruction of the Pauline collection.

Research Article
© 2006 Cambridge University Press

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I would like to thank Professor Beverly Roberts Gaventa, my colleagues in the ‘Luke–Acts’ Seminar at Princeton Theological Seminary, Dr Verlyn Verbrugge, and the anonymous readers at NTS for their helpful input on earlier drafts of this paper. I am especially grateful to Professor Gaventa for the guidance and encouragement that she offered from the initial stages of this project. Any errors or deficiencies in the present work are, of course, no one's responsibility but my own.