The role of the ascended Jesus in the Acts of the Apostles

Park, Hansung (2019-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study endeavours to rediscover the significance of the ascension narrative as a key for understanding the activity of Jesus as divine character within the whole Acts narrative by exploring ancient ascension accounts and the theme of divine involvement in Graeco-Roman historiography. This study offers a fresh approach. It illuminates the connection between ascension accounts and the use of divine involvement in ancient historiography, and demonstrates that the ascension of Jesus can be understood in the light of the connection. By extending the investigation to both Graeco-Roman and Jewish ascension accounts, Chapter 2 demonstrates that the ascension narrative reports the absence of the ascended character on earth and the presence of him as a god (Graeco-Roman) or like Elijah (Jewish) in heaven, including an expectation of activity of the ascended character from heaven. Chapter 3 then ascertains that the portrayal of divine character as the driving force of stories/history is a common feature in ancient historiographies, and that a significant number of Graeco-Roman historians insist on divine involvement in human affairs. The Acts of the Apostles shares this feature of Graeco-Roman historiography. Setting Acts in conversation with the previous chapters, focusing on the ascension narrative and the portrayal of the heavenly Jesus’ appearances, shows that the ascension narrative was understood as Jesus’ divine identity and his activity from heaven for people. It also highlights Luke’s theological view that the divine character, like Jesus, is the driving force of the story/history. All of this is affected in fundamental ways by Luke’s portrayal and testimonies of the ascended Jesus’ activity in the Acts narrative. As a result, this thesis clarifies that the ascension narrative in Acts does not merely report the absence of Jesus and his exaltation (Acts 2:33); it also enables the ascended Jesus’ active involvement in the Acts narrative as a whole. Jesus as the divine character thus continues to participate in God’s plan for the church/the disciples as described and testified in Acts. Although Jesus is taken up into heaven, Jesus’ characterisation makes him active and present rather than silent and absent in the Acts narrative.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie streef om die betekenis te herontdek van die hemelvaart-narratief as sleutel vir die verstaan van Jesus se bedrywighede as goddelike karakter in die geheel van Handelinge deur antieke hemelvaart-vertellinge en die tema van goddelike betrokkenheid by Grieks-Romeinse historiografie te ondersoek. Die studie bied ‘n vars benadering. Dit belig die verbintenis tussen hemelvaart-vertellinge en die gebruik van goddelike betrokkenheid in antieke historiografie, en demonstreer dat die hemelvaart van Jesus in die lig van hierdie band, verstaan kan word. Deur die ondersoek uit te brei na beide Grieks-Romeinse en Joodse hemelvaart-vertellinge, demonstreer Hoofstuk 2 dat die hemelvaart-narratief getuig van die afwesigheid van die opgevaarde karakter op aarde en sy teenwoordigheid as ‘n god (Grieks-Romeins) of soos Elia (Joods) in die hemel, insluitend ‘n verwagting van optrede van die opgevaarde karakter vanuit die hemel. Hoofstuk 3 stel vas dat die uitbeelding van goddelikheid as die dryfkrag van verhale/geskiedenis ‘n algemene eienskap van antieke historiografieë is, en dat ‘n beduidende aantal van Grieks-Romeinse geskiedkundiges aandring op goddelike betrokkenheid by menslike gebeure. Die Handelinge van die Apostels deel hierdie eienskap van Grieks-Romeinse historiografie. Wanneer Handelinge in gesprek tree met die vorige hoofstukke en fokus op die hemelvaart-narratief en die uitbeelding van die hemelse Jesus se verskynings, dui dit aan dat die hemelvaart-narratief destyds verstaan is as bevestiging van Jesus se goddelike identiteit en sy optrede vanuit die hemel vir mense. Dit beklemtoon ook Lukas se teologiese standpunt dat ‘n goddelike karakter, soos Jesus, die dryfkrag agter die storie/geskiedenis is. Dit word alles op wesenlike maniere beïnvloed deur Lukas se uitbeelding en getuieniesse van die opgevaarde Jesus se optrede in die Handelinge-narratief. Die gevolg is dat hierdie tesis dit duidelik maak dat die hemelvaart-narratief in Handelinge nie net verslag doen oor die afwesigheid van Jesus en sy ophemeling (Hand. 2:33) nie; dit maak ook die opgevaarde Jesus se aktiewe deelname in die Handelinge-narratief as ‘n geheel, moontlik. Jesus as goddelike karakter neem dus nog steeds deel aan God se plan vir die kerk/die dissipels soos beskryf en van getuig in Handelinge. Hoewel Jesus opgeneem is na die hemel, maak sy karakterisering hom aktief en teenwoordig in die Handelinge-narratief, eerder as stil en afwesig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107294
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