From followers to leaders : the Apostles in the ritual of status transformation in Acts 1-2
This thesis is a study of Acts 1-2 using perspectives from the social sciences. The study is focused on the twelve apostles of Jesus and attempts to understand the process and purpose of their change of status from being followers to becoming the leaders of the Christian community. Specifically, this thesis employs the model of Rituals of Status Transformation as its primary theoretical framework in order to clarify and define the stages and phases of the apostles' status transformation. The primary purpose of the status transformation is to promote the leadership integrity of the apostles. This leadership integrity was put into question because Judas -a member of the Twelve - betrayed Jesus. Judas' betrayal brought social embarrassment on the apostolate and thus necessitated the author's campaign to show his readers the apostles' status transformation. A major part of this study is the suggestion of a plausible solution to the questions surrounding the function of the pericopes of Acts 1: 12-14 and 1: 15-26 in relation to the Ascension and Penetecost events. Contrary to the common view that the prayer of unanimity between the Eleven apostles, the women, and Jesus' family in the upper room is simply an empty interval in preparation for the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, this thesis proposes that the pericope is propagandistic intended to win support from the clienteles of the women disciples and Jesus' family. Thus, while the Ritual of Status Transformation serves as our main theoretical framework, this thesis uses other social- scientific models to fully explore the social conditions within the said pericopes. In the case of Acts 1: 12-14, the model of patronage/brokerage together with the mechanics of social networking has been employed. The same perspective applies to Acts 1: 15-26. Again, contrary to the more popular view that the election narrative is the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to his apostles in Lk. 22: 30, we suggest that the setting is the stage of the apostles' ritual confrontation before the presence of the 120 believers. This ritual confrontation is understood within the concept of honour and shame which works interactively with our theoretical framework. This concept is able to bring out our suggestion that Peter's speech is an apologetic speech in behalf of the apostles - attempting to defend their honour and leadership integrity which was marred by Judas' betrayal of Jesus.