Luke’s Knowledge of and Access to Paul’s Letters: Paul’s Spirit Languages in Acts as a Test Case

Previously, in critical NT scholarship the book of Acts received attention as a sequel to Luke’s Gospel and a writing that stands in stark contrast to Paul’s Letters and his theology. However, in recent NT scholarship – especially, for the past two decades – the book of Acts itself came into the spotlight as an independent second century writing that was composed (and/or edited), in the full knowledge of Paul’s Letters, to connect with or continue various sub-units of the NT canon. Building on the foundational studies from the Acts Seminar of the Westar Institute from 2000–2011, the main purpose of the present study is to explore the potential case that Luke was aware of essential aspects of Pauline theology, in particular Paul’s pneumatology, or even had access to (at least a few, or a collection, of) the Pauline Letters at the time he composed Luke and Acts.
The current study consists of three arrangements of research. First, this study will investigate Stanley E. Porter’s deconstructive reassessment of Ernst Haenchen and Paul Vielhauer, two of the most well-known classical German scholars who argued for the disjunction between Luke and Paul. Second, we will survey Richard I. Pervo’s constructive studies comparing the literary and thematic affinities between Acts and the Corpus Paulinum. These two preliminary surveys will be the justifying grounds for the third section of this research. That is, under the assumption that both Porter and Pervo have successfully laid out a firm foundation for the plausibility of the view that Acts was initially composed in view of (at least, a few of) Paul’s Letters and his theology, the present study will explore and discuss some possible literary affinities between the Holy Spirit passages in Acts and those in Paul’s Letters (also with the primary focus on the spiritual gifts and Spirit baptism passages). This area of research will be particularly important and relevant to those interested in the question regarding a compatible relationship between Luke’s pneumatology – its emphasis on the charismatic/prophetic aspect of the Holy Spirit – and Paul’s pneumatology – its emphasis on the soteriological/ethical aspect of the Holy Spirit. The outcome of the present study will be that through these literary and thematic parallels we can observe that not only does Luke’s pneumatology continue but also prepare, explain, and extend Paul’s pneumatology.

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