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The Apologetic Revisited

Exonerating Luke from an Ancestral Exegetical and Theological Burden


Innocent Emezie Ezeani

The trend in the scholarship of Luke has been that of presenting Luke as being interested in the survival of Christianity within the Power apparatus of the Roman world. To achieve this pivotal aim, he seems to overlook the abysmal social maladies and wrongdoings of the Powerful of his time hoping not to endanger the peace and tranquility of Christianity. The intention of this research, however, is to show the defiance and fearlessness of Luke in dealing with the rich and the Powerful. He did not compromise the basic teachings of Christianity even in his respect for the constituted profane Authorities of the Roman order. A second proper look beholds the critical dynamics of his Gospel and the Acts, beginning with the Magnificat running through the angelic Annunciation scene and the Temptation of Jesus and ending with the punishment of Herod Agrippa. The reader beholds a hitherto unknown Luke, who operates from a particular critical stance and distance to the Powerful from the sociological perspective of hidden transcripts.
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Chapter 7


1. The Hubris of Herod: God’s wrath on an arrogant king

1.1 Introduction

The Lukan dislike for domination and oppression extends to all facets of his double work. Some texts in his gospel have shown what role this theme plays in his theology. In Acts, Luke did not derail from this theme. He avails the reader the opportunity of a concrete example of the danger of power and oppression: One sees himself in the position of God, convinced of ones omnipotence. The hubris of Herod exemplifies this conviction.

1.2 Text and Translation of Acts 12: 20–24

1.2.1 Greek text

1.2.2 English Translation

2. The Context of the death of Herod

Our text would not have any meaning if it were not seen as belonging to a macro-context. The whole of chapter 12 is a unit,1 because only in the correct contextualisation within this twelfth chapter is a correct analysis of our micro-text dealing with Herod’s death possible. At the first glance, our text of Acts 12:20–24 appears to be out of place. However, a correct reading reveals the connectedness of the whole chapter, which could be summarised thus: For the reader, the death of Herod becomes imperative after being intimated on the malicious intentions and actions of Herod, who not only attacks the church, but also failed to give God ← 234 | 235 → His glory.2 The shift from Antioch to Jerusalem...

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