In a recent episode of The Bible and Beyond Podcast: Early Christian Texts, Shirley Paulson interviewed Perry Kea, formerly of the Westar Institute, on the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles. He points out a lot of things that scholars do when discussing Acts’s reliability, like the conflicts between Paul’s letters and what Acts claims. But he does something else that I don’t always see: he urges us to consider first the author’s narrative agenda. Framed this way, the discussion of the reliability of Acts shifts to the author’s theological and rhetorical interests. It then becomes clear that Acts is an ideology driven account of the early Jesus movement and cannot be just accepted as a source without qualification.
This was a great interview and I think you’ll get a lot out of it.
Update: Dr. Kea was kind enough to comment on this post but did offer one correction concerning his current association with Westar. I had stated he was “formerly of the Westar Institute,” but that isn’t the case. Kea clarified in the comment by saying that he was no longer the Chair of Wester’s Board of Directors but is still “a member of Westar and serve as a volunteer member of Westar’s staff.”
2 thoughts on “Perry Kea Talks the Reliability of Acts”
Thank you for your friendly review of my interview with Shirley Paulson. I was only summarizing results from the Westar’s Acts Seminar completed over a decade ago. I am glad you found the interview useful. Minor correction: I am not “formally of the Westar Institute.” I am the former Chair of Westar’s Board of Directors, but I remain a member of Westar and serve as a volunteer member of Westar’s staff. Best wishes to you and your work!
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My apologies, Dr. Kea! I quite clearly misunderstood your current association with Westar. Thank you for the correction!