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World Upside DownReading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age$
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C. Kavin Rowe

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377873.001.0001

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Dikaios: Rejecting Statecraft

Dikaios: Rejecting Statecraft

Chapter:
(p.53) 3 Dikaios: Rejecting Statecraft
Source:
World Upside Down
Author(s):

C. Kavin Rowe (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377873.003.0003

In light of the findings of Chapter 2, this chapter argues that the culturally destabilizing character of the Christian mission entails the potential for outsiders to construe Christianity as sedition or treason. In order to counter such a perception, Luke explicitly raises these charges and repeatedly narrates the course of events so that the Christians—here in the mold of Jesus himself—are found “innocent” by the Romans of seditious criminal activity. In the terms of Roman jurisprudence, they are dikaios (iustus). Thus does Luke bring Paul, the representative of the Christians, before the Roman state in the officials that are its living agents: Gallio, Claudius Lysias, Felix, and Festus. With deft narrative development and considerable jurisprudential skill, Luke moves Paul through to Rome while concurrently negating the charges of his opponents on the basis of a revisionary reading of Roman law: the Christian mission is not a bid for political liberation or a movement that stands in direct opposition to the Roman government.

Keywords:   innocent, Roman law, jurisprudence, sedition, treason, cognitio extra ordinem, proconsul, governor, Caesar, Roman Emperor

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