Review of C. Kavin Rowe, World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age [Review of the book World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age, by C. K. Rowe]

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World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age is an ambitious and challenging exploration of the theology at work in narrative of Acts, focusing on the much-debated question of Acts' stance with respect to the political realities of the author's day and in particular its stance toward Rome. Kavin Rowe's argument goes against the long-held and widespread view that a central aspect of Acts is the claim that early Christianity and Rome can happily co-exist. But his argument is not a simple counter. At the heart of Rowe's approach is a nuanced reading of Acts that takes seriously the task of situating it in the context of the late-first/early-second century by trying to understand the logic of the narrative in the light of what Rowe often refers to as the "cultural encyclopedia of the text." In addition, Rowe is clear from the outset that he is interested in understanding the text in the light of the contemporary setting for how it can help readers in today's world. His aim, then, is to understand Acts in its own terms and context in order to "offer significant resources on which we [early twenty-first century readers] can draw to understand conflicts that arise in light of profoundly different schemes of life" (7).


Society of Biblical Literature

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Review of Biblical Literature

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