Luke and Acts with(in) Second Temple Judaism

Rome, 26-29 June, 2022
Facoltà Valdese and Pontificia Università della Santa Croce

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.


Covid Policies

We are aware that the COVID situation is complex in both our local and international communities. As the conference approaches, we will continue to closely monitor the COVID infection rates in Rome and the guidelines established by the World Health Organization (, the US State Department (, and the Center for Disease Control ( We will use this data to guide our policies relating to this event.

Based on the current local and international guidelines, participants will be required to:

• Receive a negative COVID test 24 hours prior to entering into Italy;
• Demonstrate evidence of a COVID vaccination at the conference check-in;
• Abide by local health regulations, including wearing a mask FFP2/KN95 over the mouth and nose, and socially distance, within our meeting space and other local settings;
• Receive a negative COVID test 24 hours prior to departure from Italy (our local contacts will assist with reservations at a clinic on Wednesday evening). Individuals who test positive in Italy will need to self-isolate between 7-21 days, depending on the specifics of the case. The self-isolation will occur at the participant’s own expense.


26 June (*All Conference Events at Facoltà Valdese)

5:00 – 5:30 pm:  Session 1 – Opening Remarks (Facoltà Valdese)

Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan – Ann Arbor), Welcome on behalf of the Enoch Seminar (3-5 mn)
Lothar Vogel (Dean of the Waldensian Faculty of Theology), Welcome on behalf of the Waldensian School of Theology (3-5mn)
Isaac W. Oliver (Bradley University), The 14th Nangeroni Meeting on Luke-Acts with(in) Second Temple Judaism (10 mn)
Joshua Scott (University of Michigan), Technical Notes on the Event (5-10 mn)

5:30 – 7:00 pm:  Session 2 – Situating Luke-Acts with(in) Early Judaism: Methods, Issues, and Contexts (A) (Facoltà Valdese)

Chair: Isaac W. Oliver (Bradley University)
-Joshua Paul Smith, “Reading Luke within Judaism: An Interdisciplinary Theory of Lukan Authorship” [Paper]
-Simon C. Mimouni (École Pratique des Hautes Études), “La datation des Actes des Apôtres: Avant ou après 70?” [Paper] [English Translation]

7:30 – 9:00 pm:  Dinner (Casa Valdese Roma)

9:00 – 11:00 pm:  Session 3 – Situating Luke-Acts with(in) Early Judaism: Methods, Issues, and Contexts (B) (Facoltà Valdese)

Chair: Jocelyn McWhirter (Albion College)
-Matt Jackson-McCabe (Cleveland State University), “Luke-Acts Beyond Jewish and Gentile Christianity: The Nations, the Judeans and the Way” [Paper]
-Craig Keener (Asbury Theological Seminary), “Decree in Acts 15 and Righteous Gentiles” [Paper]
-Brittany Wilson (Duke Divinity School), “The Jewish Shape of God in Luke-Acts: Divine Anthropomorphisms in Synoptic Perspective” [Paper]

Monday, 27 June (*All Conference Events at Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Piazza di Sant’Apollinare 49)

1:45 – 2:00 pm:  Arrival to Pontificia Università della Santa Croce

Juan Carlos Ossandón (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce), Opening/Welcoming Remarks

2:00 – 4:00 pm:  Session 4a – Reading Luke-Acts with(in) Judaism: Key Topics (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Aula Álvaro del Portillo, first floor)

Chair: Jocelyn McWhirter
-Anthony R. Kent (General Conference Ministerial Association), “The Sabbath and the Jubilee in Luke 4:16-30” [Papers]
-Jonathan Kaplan (University of Texas – Austin), “Luke 4:14-30, the Melchizedek Document (11Q13) and the Eschatological Interpretation of Isaiah 61” [Paper]
-Christopher Redmon (Duke University), “‘The Days of Elijah:’ Situating Luke 4:24-27” [Paper]

2:00 – 4:00 pm:  Session 4b – Reading Luke-Acts with(in) Second Temple Judaism: Key Topics (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Aula Benedetto XVI, first floor)

Chair: Isaac W. Oliver
-Simon Butticaz (University of Lausanne), “The Hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20): The Form and Function of Israel’s Salvation in Luke’s Memory of Origins [Paper]
-Rebecca I. Denova (University of Pittsburgh), “The Purpose of the Apostolic Council in Acts 15: Undefiling the Gentiles” [Paper]
-David A. Smith (Duke University), “Stephen’s Speech, Anti-Judaism, and the Rhetoric of Speeches in Acts” [Paper]

4:00 – 4:30 pm:  Recap of Papers (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Aula Álvaro del Portillo, first floor)

Chair: Gabriele Boccaccini
-Respondents: Archie Wright and Jason Wendel

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Refreshments Provided by the Jewish-Christian Fellowship (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, courtyard)

5:30 – 7:00 pm:  Session 5 – Public Lecture and Panel Discussion, “The Jewish Dimension of Luke-Acts” (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Aula Magna, basement)

Luis Navarro (Rector of the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce), Welcome on behalf of the Pontificia                          Università della Santa Croce

Chair: Gabriele Boccaccini

-Presenters: Isaac W. Oliver (Bradley University) and Jocelyn McWhirter (Albion College)
-Respondents: Iranzu Galdeano (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce) and Antonio Landi (Pontificia Università Urbaniana in Rome)

Papers for the Public Lecture:

7:30 – 9:00 pm: Dinner (Terrace of Pontificia Università della Santa Croce)


Tuesday, June 28 (*Conferences Events at Pontificia Università della Santa Croce & Facoltà Valdese)

9:00 am – 12:00 pm:  Visit to Local Excavations & Basilica

2:00 -4:00 pm:  Session 6a – Reading Luke-Acts with Second Temple Jewish Literature (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Aula Álvaro del Portillo, first floor)

Chair: Isaac W. Oliver
-Michael Kochenash (Radbound University), “How to Think about Non-Jews: Literary Models in Acts and Earlier Jewish Narratives” [Paper]
-Vicki Pedersen (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago), “A Reassessment of Jesus’s Meals with Pharisees, An Argument for Luke’s Jewish Eschatology” [Paper]
-Jocelyn McWhirter (Albion College), “‘The Words of the Prophets’: Messianic Exegesis in Luke-Acts” [Paper]

2:00 – 4:00 pm:  Session 6b – Reading Luke-Acts with Second Temple Jewish Literature (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Aula Benedetto XVI, first floor)

Chair: Gabriele Boccaccini
-Matt Monnig (Boston College School of Theology & Ministry), “Satan and Jewish Apocalypticism in Luke’s Gospel” [Paper]
-Gerbern Oegema (McGill University), “The Coming of the Righteous One in Acts 7 and 1 Enoch” [Paper]
-Kylie Crabbe, (Australian Catholic University), “The Stone that Will Crush (Luke 20.17): Insights from Daniel in Luke/Acts” [Paper]

4:00 – 5:00pm:  Free time. Walk to Facoltà Valdese. 

5:00  – 7:00 pm: Session 7a – Reading Luke-Acts with early Jewish and Christian Literature (Facoltà Valdese)

Chair: Eric Noffke
-Juan Carlos Ossandón & James Mwaura Njunge (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce), “The Few Who Are Saved in Luke 13:22-30: A Comparison with 4 Ezra” [Paper]
-Claude Cohen-Matlofsky (École Pratique des Hautes Études/LEM), “Luke-Acts and Flavius Josephus” [Paper]
-Vadim Wittkowsky (Humboldt University), “Luke-Acts and Flavius Josephus: Problems of Intertextuality and Jewish Identity” [Paper]

5:00 – 7:00 pm:  Session 7b – Reading Luke-Acts with early Jewish and Christian Literature (Facoltà Valdese)

Chair: Jocelyn McWhirter
-Kathy Ehrensperger (Abraham Geiger Kolleg, University of Potsdam), “Teaching and Learning and the Role of Women – Pauline Trajectories in Acts and the Pastorals?” [Paper]
-Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan), “Luke-Acts and Paul”: Reading Session.

7:00 – 9:00 pm:  Dinner

9:00  – 11:00 pm:  Session 8a – Reading Luke-Acts with(in) Judaism with early Christian Literature (Facoltà Valdese)

Chair: Jocelyn McWhirter
-Jason Moraff (The King’s University), “Reading Acts with(in) the Second Century: Acts, Ignatius, and Barnabas on Jews and Judaism” [Paper]
-Susan J. Wendel (Horizon College and Seminary), “’Doing What is Right:’ A Comparison of Discourses about the Mosaic Law in Luke-Acts and Justin Martyr” [Paper]
-Benjamin White (Clemson University), “‘Was Someone Called While Circumcised? Let Him Not Conceal His Circumcision’ (1 Cor 7.18): How the Jewish Paul of Acts Underwent Epispasm in the Second Century” [Paper]

9:00 – 11:00 pm:  Session 8b – Reading Luke-Acts with(in) Judaism with early Christian Literature (Facoltà Valdese)

Chair: Isaac W. Oliver
-Vered Hillel (Messianic Jewish Theological Institute), “The Double Love Command as Imitatio Dei in Luke 10:25-37 and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs” [Paper]
-Valéria Terézia Dančiaková (Comenius University in Bratislava), “Anti-Judaic Tendencies of the Ms D and the Acts in the Changing Roman Empire” [Paper]
-Karin Zetterholm (Lund University), “Acts in Light of Its Reception in the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.27–71 and Homilies” [Paper]


Wednesday, 29 June (*All Conference Events at Facoltà Valdese)

2:00 – 3:00 pm: Recap of Previous Day (Facoltà Valdese)

-Respondents: Archie Wright and Jason Wendell

3:00 – 5:00 pm Session 9 – (Facoltà Valdese)

Jocelyn McWhirter
-Malka Z. Simkovich (Catholic Theological Union), “A Life in Common: Universalist Influences on the Book of Acts” [Paper]
-Antonio Landi, (Pontificia Università Urbaniana in Rome), “Within or without Judaism? Narrative Role and Theological Significance of Paul’s Vision in the Temple (Acts 22:17-21)”  [Italian Paper][English Translation]
-Christy Cobb (Wingate University), “Reopening the Open Ending of Acts: Judaism, Dialogue, and Bakhtinian Unfinalizability” [Paper]

5:00 – 5:15 pm: Break

5:15 – 6:00 pm:  Session 10 – Closing (Facoltà Valdese)

Chair: Isaac W. Oliver
-Closing Remarks

7:00 – 9:00 pm: Dinner

Gabriele Boccaccini, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Simon Butticaz, University of Lausanne
Christy Cobb, Wingate University
Claude Cohen-Matlofsky, École Pratique des Hautes Études/LEM
Kylie Crabbe, Australian Catholic University
Valéria Terézia Dančiaková, Comenius University in Bratislava
Rebecca I. Denova, University of Pittsburgh
Kathy Ehrensperger, Abraham Geiger Kolleg – University of Potsdam
Iranzu Galdeano, Pontificia Università della Santa Croce
Vered Hillel, Messianic Jewish Theological Institute
Jonathan Kaplan, University of Texas – Austin
Craig Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary
Anthony Kent, GC Ministerial Association
Michael Kochenash, Radboud University
Antonio Landi, Pontificia Università Urbaniana in Rome
Simon Claude Mimouni, École Pratique des Hautes Études
Jason Moraff, The King’s University
Matt Jackson McCabe, Cleveland State University
Jocelyn McWhirter, Albion College
Matthew Monnig, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
James Mwaura Njunge, Pontificia Università della Santa Croce
Eric Noffke, Waldensian School of Theology
Gerbern Oegema, McGill University
Isaac W. Oliver/de Oliveira, Bradley University
Juan Carlos Ossandón, Pontificia Università della Santa Croce
Vicki Pedersen, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Christopher Redmon, Duke University
Joshua Scott, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Malka Z. Simkovich, Catholic Theological Union
David Andrew Smith, Duke University
Joshua Paul Smith, University of Denver
Susan Wendel, Horizon College and Seminary
Jason Wendel, University of Cambridge
Benjamin L. White, Clemson University
Brittany E. Wilson, Duke University
Vadim Wittkowsky, Humboldt Univeristy
Archie Wright, Catholic Biblical Association of America
Karin Zetterholm, Lund University

Travel Plans

Directions to the Casa Valdese Roma

The best way to travel to the conference is to fly into the FCO Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci Airport. Once you arrive at the airport, purchase a train ticket and take the train to the Termini Station. Transfer at the Termini Station to the MEA train towards Battistini. Exit the MEA train at the Lepanto stop and walk to ground level. Walk east from the stop, turn right on Via Alessandro Farnese (south – the first street), and the Casa Valdese Roma is two blocks down the street on your left (east). 

The address of the Casa Valdese Roma is Via Alessandro Farnese, 18, 00192 Roma RM, Italy. Phone: +39 06 321 5362.

A member of the conference leadership will be present in the lobby on the morning of 26 June to welcome and check-in participants for the event. Please bring your vaccination cards to registration (paper cards or a picture of your card). Only participants with vaccination verification will be invited to join us in the meeting rooms. We will communicate more details about this registration table at a later date.