Full Project – OLD TESTAMENT QUOTATIONS WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF STEPHEN’S SPEECH IN ACTS

Full Project – OLD TESTAMENT QUOTATIONS WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF STEPHEN’S SPEECH IN ACTS

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Abstract:

The aim of this study is to contribute to ongoing studies on the Acts of the Apostles, particularly in the area of the manner in which the NT writer quotes and interprets the OT. Many scholars have studied the use of the OT in the NT, though few have investigated the explicit quotations in Acts. The discussion confines itself to an examination of the nine explicit quotations in Stephen’s speech of Acts 7 which are identified with introductory formulae, i.e.: (7:3 from Gn 12:1; 7:6-7 from Gn 15:13-14; 7:27-28 from Ex 2:14; 7:33-34 from Ex 3:5, 7-8, 10; 7:35 from Ex 2:14; 7:37 from Dt 18:15; 7:40 from Ex 32:1, 23; 7:42-43 from Am 5:25-27; and 7:49-50 from Is 66:1-2). The study first seeks to situate the quoted texts in their original context, after which attention is paid to their appearance in Stephen’s discourse in Acts. Specific attention is given to the question of the presence of a possible independent Lukan Textvorlage which might underlie these quotations. To this end, firstly an overview of the differences between the pertinent OT textual traditions (e.g., MT, LXX, etc), and the NT is provided. This clearly establishes the nature of the changes and modifications present in Luke’s reading of his original material. Secondly and finally, the discussion seeks to provide an assessment of Luke’s theological and hermeneutical framework, reflected within the OT quotations of Stephen’s defense. Through the method referred to above, best depicted as consisting of text-historical, methodological and hermeneutical aspects (Steyn 1995:31-37), this study makes the following observations: Firstly, most of the explicit quotations in Ac 7 are not found anywhere else in the NT, except for the book of Acts. Only the 8th quotation from Am 5:25-27 in Ac 7:42-43 occurs in CD 7:14-15, but the quotation from CD differs from the meaning of the original context. It seems clear that these quotations are attributable to Luke himself via his LXX version – although it is possible that Luke might have used either the LXX or the MT in a few places. Secondly, when Luke relates the quoted texts from his LXX version of the OT to his new hearers, most of the changes that Luke made are likely to be expected within the change in context between that of Luke and the original source of the quotation. That is, the grammatical and stylistic changes were made by Luke, although the possibility of the changes being due to his Vorlage, should not altogether be excluded. Luke’s cautious theological and hermeneutical intention is also to be detected in Stephen’s speech. However, it is true that the original meaning is not significantly altered by these changes. At last, it may be assumed that Luke is the author of the changes to these quotations. Thirdly and finally, Luke’s theological intentions for applying the quotations are revealed as follows: God as the subject of the history has been constantly at work for his people. However, his people repetitively reject God’s servants and go against God’s words given through them. The climax of this pattern is found in the killing of Jesus and Stephen (Ac 7:52, 60). Nonetheless, God continues to be working to accomplish his salvific plan for his people, regardless of the hostile attitude of the Israelites toward God himself as well as his messengers. At last, it results in his salvific activity (endless love) ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Ac 1:8), viz., even to the Gentiles through his numerous witnesses again. This study comprises of seven chapters according to the flow of the narrative, which are designed as follows: the Abraham Story (chapter 2); the Joseph Story (chapter 3); the Moses Story (chapter 4); the Temple (chapter 5); Stephen’s Indictment (chapter 6). In addition, chapter 1 presents the introduction, and chapter 7 describes the synthesis and conclusion.

 

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Full Project – OLD TESTAMENT QUOTATIONS WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF STEPHEN’S SPEECH IN ACTS

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