Paul's citizenship and its function in the narratives of Acts
The thesis aims to observe the function of Paul's dual citizenship in the narratives of Acts. Luke reports Paul's status as a Tarsian and a Roman citizen. However this conflicts with the account of Paul's origins mentioned in his own letters. After surveying Paul's origins in his letters and Acts, the conclusion drawn is that the biblical texts are inconsistent. Thus, the issue of Paul's citizenship reaches an impasse in terms of historical discussion. Therefore, the study of Paul's citizenship turns to a literary approach, since Paul's Roman citizenship is the dominant force which enables Paul to appeal to Caesar in the trial narrative. Without Roman citizenship, the narratives of Acts cannot be interpreted clearly. For a fuller understanding of the trial narratives in Acts, this thesis also investigates the trial narratives in the Acta Alexandrinorum, a collection of ancient documents which record the political conflict between the Alexandrian Greek citizens and Jews in Alexandria during the early Roman Egypt, as the closest known parallels to the Acts texts. At the centre of each of their accounts is the issue of citizenship. The Acta Alexandrinorum also contain significant motifs, particularly "patriotic motifs" and "martyrdom motifs", and two propagandistic ideologies: "anti-Semitism" and "anti-Romanism" which form the groundwork for our understanding of the function of Paul's dual citizenship. The comparison between the two documents casts new light on Luke's genuine purpose. This thesis shows that Paul's citizenship functions primarily to control the narratives of Acts as well as Luke's ideological stance. Luke's ideological stance is demonstrated to be "anti- Jewish" and "anti-Roman" in a manner which ultimately discloses the power of the Gospel of Jesus. The dramatis personae and even the Roman empire are won over by the Gospel of Jesus in Paul's trial narratives.