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Negotiating a New World View in Acts 1.8? A Note on the Expression ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς*

  • Peter-Ben Smit (a1)
Abstract

This article argues that the expression ‘to the end of the earth’ in Acts 1.8, while not referring to one specific geographical location, as has often been argued in contemporary scholarship on Acts, is best understood as a way of (re)ordering the world geographically and, therefore, ideologically. Drawing on Greco-Roman geographical and literary conventions, the article suggests that the author of Acts invites the work's readers to look at the world in a new way, with Jerusalem and the gospel emanating from it as its centre – and the rest, including Rome, as its ideological (and therefore geographical) periphery. In this way, Acts proceeds to renegotiate the ‘world-view’ of its readers in an intercultural and subversive way.

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Footnotes
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With thanks to Martine van der Herberg, BA, of the Protestant Theological University (Amsterdam) for a critical review of the paper and helpful suggestions, and to Dr Iveta Adams for copy-editing the text.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

G. Yorke , ‘Biblical Hermeneutics: An Afro-Centric Perspective’, Religion and Theology 2 (1995) 145–58

I. J. F. de Jong , ed., Space in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative (Leiden: Brill, 2012)

R. J. A. Talbert , ed., Ancient Perspectives: Maps and their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012)

R. J. A. Talbert and R. W. Unger , eds., Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Fresh Perspectives, New Methods (Leiden: Brill, 2008)

R. A. B. Mynors , XII Panegyrici Latini ix (iv) (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964)

J. M. Scott , Geography in Early Judaism and Christianity: The Book of Jubilees (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) 56

J. Jervell , Die Apostelgeschichte (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998)

M. Sleeman , Geography and the Ascension Narrative in Acts (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2009)

C. G. Thornton , ‘To the End of the Earth: Acts 1 8’, Expository Times 89 (1977) 374–5

E. Best , ‘The Revelation to Evangelize the Gentiles’, JTS 35 (1984) 130

C. Burchard , ‘Fußnoten zum neutestamentlichen Griechisch’, ZNW 61 (1970) 157–71

C. Barnett , ‘Postcolonialism: Space, Textuality and Power’, Approaches to Human Geography (ed. S. Aitken and G. Valentine ; London: Sage, 2006) 147–59

J. D. Sidaway , ‘Postcolonial Geographies: an Exploratory Essay’, Progress in Human Geography 24 (2000) 591612

J. Punt , Postcolonial Biblical Interpretations: Reframing Paul (Leiden: Brill, 2015)

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New Testament Studies
  • ISSN: 0028-6885
  • EISSN: 1469-8145
  • URL: /core/journals/new-testament-studies
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