Kylie Crabbe

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This article highlights seemingly conflicting presentations of the Spirit’s guidance of Paul’s journeys in Acts 16.6-10 and 21.1-14, noting in particular the difficulties posed by the disciples’ instruction ‘through the Spirit’ not to go to Jerusalem in 21.4b. In contrast to past treatments, I suggest that it is possible to hold together Luke’s portrayal of 21.4b as an inspired instruction and as a positive reading of Paul’s journey to Jerusalem. The study is informed by comparisons to the treatment of the traditional themes of determinism and human freedom in two other first-century texts: Valerius Maximus’s Memorable Doings and Sayings and Josephus’s Jewish War. Although very different texts from each other, Valerius’s popular register and Josephus’s Jewish Hellenistic setting enable each to illuminate aspects of Luke’s presentation. I conclude that the tensions in the Lukan Paul’s discernment of his journey to Jerusalem stem not only from Luke’s focus on a divine plan, but his particular interest in underscoring the importance of human response, with significant implications for the way the plan unfolds across Acts.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Journal Article

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