Paul in Acts and the Letters

While expressing doubts about the correctness of the “New Perspective(s) on Paul,” Stan Porter makes the following, interesting observation about the New Perspective(s) vis-à-vis the question of continuity between the portraits of Paul in Acts and the letters:

If this new perspective is correct, then it would appear that the Jewish elements that typify the account in Acts, such as Paul’s beginning much of his local preaching with a visit to the synagogue . . . , his agreeing to participate in the ritual in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17–26 . . . ), and his defenses focusing upon his continuity with Judaism, all point toward continuity between the Paul of Acts and of the Letters. Thus, the new perspective on Paul would appear to render this criticism of [E.] Haenchen [that Luke is unaware of Paul’s answer to the question of the law and the Gentile mission] no longer valid (191).

Despite Porter’s preference for “the traditional view of Paul and the law” (190), he still disagrees with Haenchen’s position about the portraits of Paul in Acts and the letters, but Porter bases his argument on grounds other than those that are available to those who prefer a New Perspective reading of the background behind these key texts (see 191–93).

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Paul in Acts
Stanley Porter

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