The Acts of Peter, Gospel Literature, and the Ancient Novel: Rewriting the Past
The Acts of Peter, one of the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles that detail the exploits of the key figures of early Christianity, provides a unique window into the formation of early Christian narrative. Like the Gospels, the Acts of Peter developed from disparate oral and written narrative from the first century. The apocryphal text, however, continued to develop into a number of re-castings, translations, abridgements, and expansions. The Acts of Peter present Christian narrative in an alternate universe, in which canonization did not halt the process of creative re-composition. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Thomas examines the sources and subsequent versions of the Acts, from the earliest traditions through the sixth-century Passions of the Apostles, arguing the importance of its "narrative fluidity": the existence of the work in several versions or multiforms. This feature, shared with the Jewish novels of Esther and Daniel, the Greek romance about Alexander the Great, and the Christian Gospels, allows these narratives to adapt to accommodate the changing historical circumstances of their audiences. In each new version, the audiences' defining conflicts were reflected in the text, echoing a historical consciousness more often identified with primary oral societies, in which the account of the past is a malleable script explaining the present. Although the genre most closely comparable to these works is the ancient novel, their serious historical intent separates them from the later, more self-consciously fictive novels, and maintains them within the realm of the earlier historical novels produced by ethnic subcultures within the Roman empire.
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1 The Apocryphal Acts in a Literary World
Literary Processes at Work in the Acts of Peter
3 Fixity and Fluidity in the Narrative Trajectory of the Acts of Peter
4 Narrative Fluidity as a Generic Characteristic
5 The Acts of Peter among the Novels and Histories
Overview of the Ancient Editions of the Acts of Peter
Intertextual Relationships between the Actus Vercellenses and Other Early Christian Literature
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Achilles Tatius Actes apocryphes Actes de Pierre Acts of Andrew Acts of Paul Acts of Peter Actus Vercellenses AcVer Agrippa Albinus Alexander romance allusions ancient novel antiquity Apocryphal Acts Apostles appears argues arrest attested audience canonical chap characters Chariton Christ Christian literature codex contest continuous Greek text early Christian episode erotic novels Eubula fabula fiction figures genre gospels Greek martyrdom Greek Novel historical novels historiography idem Intertextual Jerusalem Jesus Joseph and Aseneth later Latin translation Linus text Lipsius literary Luke Luke's Acts MacDonald manuscript Marcellus text martyrdom account martyrdom of Peter Metiochos miracle multiforms narrated narrative fluidity narrative trajectory Nereus and Achilleus Nero Ninos novelistic oral tradition papyrus Peter and Paul Peter and Simon Peter's daughter Pseudo-Hegesippos quo vadis reader reading recensions refer relationship Rome Schmidt Schneemelcher scholars second century Simon Magos story storyline Testament textual tion Töv University Press Vouaux written