Living in Two Worlds - A Postcolonial Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.
Dissertation under the direction of Professor Fernando F. Segovia. </br> <br> This dissertation approaches the Acts of the Apostles from the optic of postcolonial criticism. I argue that the Lukan community struggles to legitimate itself, in hybrid fashion, before two structures of powers or hegemonies: the Roman Empire and its system of imperial worship and the defining institutions of Judaism. I take Acts 12 as point of departure, with its twofold motif of self-exaltation and self-attribution of divine prerogatives. </br> <br> Regarding Rome, I read Acts 12 as a hidden transcript within the system of imperial worship, pointing to the fate of any power that would usurp divine prerogatives and claim allegiance to any Lord other than God. I also analyze the representation by mimicry of Roman worship in Acts, based on supremacy and hegemony and exercised by way of imperial decrees, the erection of temples, neokoroi, religious customs, and so forth. I further analyze the representation of Roman officers, whom, I argue, Luke portrays as full of fear, liars, seekers of bribes, and, more importantly, in need of salvation and peace. </br> <br> Regarding Judaism, I read the Lukan community in Acts as a Jewish Christian group within the development of a plurality of Judaisms and within the Jesus movement. They see themselves, I argue, as the legitimate heirs of the correct interpretation of the Jewish Scriptures. Further, they do not deny their ethnicity, but do proclaim the eschatological/apocalyptic end of the institutions that define Judaism (the kingship and the Sanhedrin as a temple establishment) as well as the restoration of the Kingdom of God, rather than of Israel, with a full acceptance and inclusion of the Gentiles. </br>