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Early Christianity and Greek Philosophy: The Argument of Acts 17:16-34 in Light of the Philosophical and Religious Debates of Early Post-Hellenistic Times



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Cuany, Monique 


The speech in Athens (Acts 17:16–34) is a key text to assess the relationship between the early Christian movement and the Graeco-Roman world in Acts, but its interpretation has led to diametrically opposed conclusions, some seeing it as a rapprochement with Graeco-Roman wisdom, and others as incompatible with, and condemnatory of, Gentile religiosity and philosophy. For both sides, however, the Christological conclusion of the speech has remained a puzzle, both in terms of its connection with the rest of the argument, and its accessibility to the Greek audience of Acts’ narrative. This dissertation suggests that the speech must be interpreted in the context of the religious grammar and the philosophical debates between Hellenistic schools in early post-Hellenistic times. It argues that this approach sheds light on the argument of the speech and its Christological conclusion, and leads to a new evaluation of the relationship between the Christian message and Hellenistic philosophy, and the way Acts pictures the kerygmatic proclamation in a Gentile context.





Gathercole, Simon


Acts 17, Paul in Athens, Speeches in Acts, Paul in Acts


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge