Meaning and normativity of Jerusalem Council’s prohibitions in relation to textual variants of Acts 15:20.29 and Acts 21:25. An analysis and comparison of early interpretations (2nd-5th Century)
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Rybka, Wojciech Pawel
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The thesis collects and analyses the very first (2nd-5th century) clear quotations, references and interpretations of Acts 15:20.29 and Acts 21:25. It consists of three parts: Part I, which is introductory in nature, presents and comments upon the textual variants of these biblical verses. Part II catalogues and analyses all the relevant texts referring to and commenting on Acts 15:20.29 and Acts 21:25. The purpose is to discover each ancient author’s understanding of the Jerusalem Council’s prohibitions, enumerated in the above verses of Acts. The writers and their texts are divided into three groups depending on which main textual variant of Acts 15:20.29 and Acts 21:25 they referred or quote. Part III presents in its first two chapters a synthesis of the above analyses, juxtaposing and summarizing early authors’ views on the meaning and normativity of the prohibitions. Then, the last chapter examines the potential influence of a variant of Acts 15:20.29 and 21:25 quoted or referred to (or preferred if more variants were known to a given author) by the writers on their understanding of the prohibitions. The thesis shows that despite different textual variants used by the early writers, their interpretations of the prohibitions, although often superficially different, have in a number of cases and on a deeper level more in common than one would preliminarily surmise.