The contrasting structure of Acts 12:5−17: A spatial reading

The episode of Peter’s rescue from prison in Acts 12:5–17 occupies an intriguing position in the narrative of Acts as a whole. Scholars hold differing views on the episode’s function. These views range from seeing the episode as a hermeneutical key to the work as a whole to making no discernable dif...

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Published in: Hervormde teologiese studies Vol. 69; no. 1; pp. 1 - 5
Main Author: Van der Bergh, Ronald H
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Portuguese
Afrikaans
Published: African Online Scientific Information Systems (Pty) Ltd t/a AOSIS 01-14-2013
Reformed Theological College of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Pretoria and Society for Practical Theology in South Africa
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Summary: The episode of Peter’s rescue from prison in Acts 12:5–17 occupies an intriguing position in the narrative of Acts as a whole. Scholars hold differing views on the episode’s function. These views range from seeing the episode as a hermeneutical key to the work as a whole to making no discernable difference to the narrative whatsoever. The present article seeks to contribute to the debate by reading Acts 12:5–17 spatially. In paying attention to the various spatial references in the text, the movement of characters, their locales and their own and the reader’s experience of them being present or not present, a contrasting structure may be perceived in the text. Furthermore, spatiality helps to point out the contrast between different character groups in the narrative. Some implications for reading the episode in this contrasting fashion will be indicated, and the enigmatic statement about Peter’s ‘going to another place’ (Ac 12:17) will be read against the text’s spatial background.
ISSN: 0259-9422
2072-8050
2072-8050
DOI: 10.4102/hts.v69i1.1313