Rome 2022 (June 26-30)

Luke and Acts with(in) Second Temple Judaism

Chairs: Isaac W. de Oliveira/Oliver and Jocelyn McWhirter

Co-Chairs: Gabriele Boccaccini and Eric Noffke

Secretary: Joshua Scott

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are nearly always attributed to a single gentile author writing for a gentile audience. Many studies thus concentrate on how Luke and Acts as gentile Christian texts relate to Hellenistic culture or the Roman Empire, with little to no consideration to their ancient Jewish context. Attention to Luke and/or Acts in relation to Judaism is often limited and tends to focus on either the author’s familiarity with Jewish scripture and tradition or the author’s perspective on Torah obedience for gentile followers of Jesus. Even then, scholars assume that “Luke,” as one of the first writers to designate Jesus’ followers as “Christian” (Acts 11:26; 26:28), situates Christianity outside of Judaism.

This meeting seeks to situate Luke and Acts with(in) Second Temple Judaism. Can we make a case that Luke and Acts were written by a Jew (or Jews) for an audience that included Jews? If so, what kind of a Jew was the author? A “Hellenistic Jew”? A gentile proselyte? In which kinds of Jewish settings and intellectual traditions can the writings of Luke and Acts be effectively appreciated (apocalyptic, diasporan, sectarian, synagogal, etc.)? How might we relate Luke and Acts not only to Second Temple Jewish works such as the Septuagint, 1 Enoch, and the Dead Sea Scrolls but also to post-70 Jewish works such as 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, or the writings of Josephus? What can we say about the Jewishness of Torah interpretation, messianism, eschatology, and other relevant topics in Luke and Acts? How do Luke and Acts relate to Paul’s letters, Matthew’s Gospel, and other early Christian writings as they concern Judaism and Jews, including Jewish followers of Jesus? Finally, how might Luke and Acts be appreciated within their Greco-Roman environment in light of their Jewish heritage and possibly even as ancient Jewish texts?

This conference will investigate these questions and others under the conviction that they are equally relevant for comprehending Luke and Acts as they are for Paul, Matthew, and other figures and writings of the Jesus movement whose Jewishness has been reclaimed in recent times.


Gabriele Boccaccini, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
J. Andrew Cowan, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Kylie Crabbe, Australian Catholic University
Rebecca I. Denova, University of Pittsburgh
Kathy Ehrensperger, Abraham Geiger Kolleg – University of Potsdam
Vered Hillel, MJTI
Mark S. Kinzer, MJTI
Shelly Matthews, Brite Divinity
Jason Moraff, Fuller Theological Seminary
Matt Jackson McCabe, Cleveland State University
Jocelyn McWhirter, Albion College
Eric Noffke, Waldensian School of Theology
Isaac W. Oliver/de Oliveira, Bradley University
Vicki Pedersen, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Joshua Scott, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
David C. Sim, Australian Catholic University
David Andrew Smith, Duke University
Joshua Paul Smith, University of Denver
Matthew Thiessen, McMaster University
Benjamin L. White, Clemson University
Karin Zetterholm, Lund Universit2y