Miracle Stories in the Acts of the Apostles

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This study first examines how Luke adapted the miracles from the Gospel of Mark and identifies consistent patterns in the way he used his source materials; it then applies these criteria to the stories and summaries in Acts, and uncovers the basic outlines of eleven pre-Lukan miracle traditions and few legend fragments. It examines how the author of Luke-Acts used these stories, how they fit in the literary design of Acts, what the relationship is of miracle to faith and conversion. The miracles stories throw into sharp relief Luke’s own understanding of Christ, the human condition, and the sovereignty of God.


“This study represents a necessary point of reference for those studying miracles in Luke or Acts, those who follow the themes of Luke and Acts, those who engage in historical Jesus studies, those who study the historical Paul and more generally early Christian mission and expansion in the first and second centuries C.E. . Since Williams also considers the Semitic and Hellenistic forms of the miracles story, the book is valuable for those who wish . . . to weigh in on whether Luke-Acts was written from a Semitic or Hellenistic perspective. . . . A particular strength of this book is its balance. Williams has first of all achieved a difficult balance between literary and historical concerns. After the careful form critical and redaction critical examinations of Luke-Acts and the solid literary results these yield, Williams effectively can move to discuss questions of historicity, including the manner in which the miracle stories circulated. . . . The book is valuable for these sorts of key insights into the role of miracles within the text of the New Testament and within early Christianity in general. . . . Williams concludes with balanced discussions of the place of miracles in Christian theology and the theology of Acts. This leads to valuable insights into the Chirstology of the Acts and the portrait of salvation history that is found in Acts.” – Mark Reasoner

Table of Contents

Foreword by Juergen Roloff
1. The Miracle Stories of Acts in Current Research
2. On Telling Miracle Stories: Tools of Form Criticism; Motifs, Themes
Form and Culture
Faith and Religion
3. Establishing Criteria: Luke’s Use of Mark
4. The Miracles of Acts: Tradition and Redaction
5. Tradition and Redaction in the Miracles Summaries
6. The Miracle Traditions: Motifs
7. Themes
8. History and Transmission
9. Function and Theology
10. The Function of Miracles in Acts
11. Miracles in the Theology of Luke
Index of Primary Sources

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